Tree Appraisal in Utility Easements and Rights of Way

Utility Line Clearance is an often misunderstood procedure. Lines often need to be cleared of vegetation so that the utility can provide “safe and reliable service”. Safety should be considered for the general public, for utility workers and for the utilities facilities. When determining “damages” to trees in easements and rights-of-way an appraiser should take into consideration the following directive from the Guide for Plant Appraisal.

An appraiser would be thought unreasonable to use plant valuation methods to assess pruning or removal practices when utility clearance or routine maintenance is performed in a way that is consistent with easement rights. In cases where it is alleged that the utility has injured a party, outside the scope of its normal rights and responsibilities, the appraiser should distinguish and quantify the injury that was outside the scope of the rights and responsibilities of the utility. A substantially qualified working familiarity with right-of-way vegetation management and legal documents (for example deeds and surveys) within which that work is conducted is imperative (see chapter 11).


Reference: Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th Edition, Council of Tree & Landscape Appraisers, International Society of Removal hazardous sycamore, Champaign IL, 2000.

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