Comment of the Day: How To Grow the City Money on Trees

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW TO GROW THE CITY MONEY ON TREES Money Growing on Tree“Hedge funds would blush at these returns. What did it cost the city to plant these suckers? $1k at most . . . And they got $50k apiece for them? Now I’m not saying we should celebrate the loss of these trees, but I hope right now some keen eager young city arborist is planning some oak plantings along the most outrage-worthy corridors in Houston, where they will best rankle the franchises of the future. How old does a tree have to be to elicit outrage? Maybe 20 years? At an eye-popping 22% IRR, perhaps some strategic tree-driven investments can make future union pension negotiations a bit easier . . .” [Sebastian Good, commenting on City Nets $300K Settlement for Late-Night Kirby Dr. Wendy’s Oak-Axing Incident] Illustration: Lulu

9 Comment

  • But what you are saying is … the trees just aren’t worth that much?
    The issue is more than a ‘tree’. It is the principle. The trees are on the City RoW, and therefore belong to all of us. We expect them to be there, not removed on a whim, and certainly not after dark.
    The hefty fine, when enforced, is a strong deterrent.

  • Valuation of trees, or any nursery stock, that is sold from a grower takes into account the residency time in the nursery. During this residency time, water, labor, pesticides, fungicides, etc. are used, all of which are input costs. When the tree goes out the door, you must account for these costs to recoup your investment, plus earn a profit. So that, in a nutshell, is why a 20 year old tree is worth so much money.

  • It’s about replacement value. Based on the size and condition of the trees that were removed, replacements would run around 50k a piece in today’s market as valued by a certified arborist. Seems fair to me.

  • It’s naïve to think that there is not some punitive aspect and that the fine is based totally on replacement value or the time value of money. The intent to ignore protocol is clear when you’ve convinced workers to show up at 2 in the morning to cut trees at night (real safe). I’m no tree hugger but you are suggesting exactly what the city is trying to discourage, making the removal a simple long term cost figured out in the planning and bidding stages of a project.

  • If I walk up to Wendy’s and smash out all the windows with a sledge hammer, I will go to jail. If people think the fine is inappropriate, we can just lock up the owner of the property for a few months and put a felony on his record. Or maybe $50k a tree is fair and keeps the destruction from being expensed out by the owner as a cost of doing business.

  • I can see now that Swamplot’s talented illustrator should also have given that nice tree a tongue firmly planted in its cheek.

  • The city didn’t pay anything to plant the trees, they were planted by the neighborhood association. Your comment is nonsense.

  • Can someone explain the idea of tree replacement to me? If you chop down a 50 year old tree, how does that get replaced with another 50 year old tree? After all, that 50 year old tree you buy to replace it has to come from somewhere… And that “somewhere” just lost ITS 50 year old tree.
    Seems the only way you can truly replace a tree is by planting a new one and waiting, right? The fine should be based on replacement cost — yes — but also needs to have a punitive effect since even if you replace it, there is a net loss of trees in the system

    And no, I’m not a tree hugging big government environmentalist. If they chopped down their OWN trees, I’d be saying “eh, it’s their tress, suck it hippies”. But they did a pretty dick move by cutting down CITY TREES under the cover of darkness no less. So… Suck it builder. You mess up. Pay your fine.

  • I dont see why it has to have anything to do with replacement cost. If i break a rule and remove something, the replacement cost should be the minimum. The amount should be enough for reasonable replacement PLUS whatever else is needed to create and legit disincentive.