Why are so many tree branches falling in Sacramento? What to know on cost, clean up, cars

·3 min read

With the capital region heating up, you’re probably seeing more fallen tree branches than usual around Sacramento.

Tree branches are most likely to fall when wind gusts reach above 30 mph, according to a weather blog written by meteorologist Cliff Mass.

Why are so many branches falling, who cleans them up, what does tree removal cost and what happens when my car gets hit? Here’s what to know:

Why branches are falling now

Self pruning trees are a natural phenomenon, known as the “summer branch drop” or “sudden limb failure.”

In short, it is the plant’s response to dry and hot weather conditions, and rarely has to do with the health of the tree, according to researchers from University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. However, mature trees are more susceptible to sudden branch drops.

Limb failure is also not exclusively related to wind conditions. Drops usually occur on windless, calm afternoons, according to the UC department. Tree breaks due to the wind are a separate issue.

Water stress from drought conditions may also contribute to tree branches falling. California experienced its driest start to the year in 2022.

“One possibility is that drought stress during a hot calm afternoon reduces the flow of water in the branch, causing the branch temperature and the concentration of ethylene to increase,” the UC blog writes.

In addition, trees that have lost one branch are more likely to lose another, according to a blog from a forest expert at the University of Florida.

Who is responsible for clean up?

If you’re in the city of Sacramento and a tree on your private property comes down, you are responsible for clearing it, Jennifer Singer, the media and communications spokesperson for the city, previously told The Bee.

The same rule for private property trees from the city applies to Sacramento County.

If your neighbor’s tree falls into your yard, it is your responsibility to remove it, and your neighbor may be willing to help.

It is not recommended to pick up the tree by yourself — ask for professional help and use tree removal services particularly for large branches.

Some local tree services include Lopez Tree Service, Environmental Tree Service and Bailey Tree Company.

If a tree or its branches fall in the public right of ways, such as sidewalks, city streets or parks, then you should call 311 and report it.

Your neighbor’s tree is dropping branches in your yard. Can you take legal action?

If your private tree falls over the street, then you can call the city for help.

“City crews can come out and clear the debris,” Singer said.

In the case that a tree collapses over electrical wiring, assume that it is “energized and dangerous,” according to the city. Do not touch the tree or debris next it and call the Sacramento Municipal Utility District as soon as you can.

How much does it cost to get it picked up?

When it comes to removing tree branches on your own property, tree removal services will charge a fee.

The national average for tree branch removal is around $180, according to GoTreeQuotes.

For small branches that’s around $120, for medium, $250, and for large, up to $750.

Can I trim branches from a neighbor’s tree if they are on my property? Here’s what to know

What to do if my car gets hit?

If a tree branch falls on your car, it is likely you will have to pay out of pocket for repair costs, whether that’s a broken window or a dent.

If the estimated repair costs are lower than your deductible, it may not be worth it to file a claim, QuoteWizard, an insurance research tool, advises.

Comprehensive auto insurance would cover the payment of a tree or branch falling, but most standard insurance plans will not.

Here are some other steps you can take, according to QuoteWizard.

  • Take a photo

  • Clear any debris that’s left on your car

  • Review the damage to see if it’s worth reporting

  • File the claim if the damage is extensive

What do you want to know about life in Sacramento? Ask our California Utility Team your top-of-mind questions in the module below or email utilityteam@sacbee.com.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting