The view from a Muskoka home is often one of its most valuable and cherished qualities. With hundreds of gorgeous lakes, rivers and creeks, and countless vistas of forest, field and marsh, you’re almost guaranteed to find a property with a perfect vantage point for daydreaming.
Of course, along with these beautiful settings come the complications of maintaining some of the very features that create the gorgeous landscape you love to look out over – trees. Trees provide direct benefits (see below!): they are beautiful in themselves, can raise property values and lower heating and cooling costs.
Trees are also important to the health of our landscapes: they filter water and air and stabilize riverbanks and lake shores. Trees also provide homes and food for our Muskoka wildlife. In the winter, gold- and purple finches, chickadees, and sparrows can often be found in the shelter of a cedar, fir, spruce or pine clothed in evergreen needles that shield them from the winter’s chill.
But, all these great things aside, sometimes trees get in the way of that perfect vista of the lake from your kitchen window. If you’re thinking about cutting down or pruning trees on your property, here’s some advice that could save you money, headache, and even injury:
Check your local and district by-laws to avoid fines
Before you cut down any trees on your property, check with your local municipality and district (if you’re in Muskoka, that’s Muskoka District, as well as your area municipality) to make sure you’re not breaking any by-laws. Some municipalities have by-laws that restrict when or if trees can be harmed or removed from certain properties. If you break a by-law, you may be levied a fine.
Hire a professional to prune or cut down trees
Cutting down trees or pruning large limbs is dangerous work. Even if you feel comfortable with a chainsaw, you could be harming your tree. Your safest bet is to look for an arborist who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
ISA-certified arborists are knowledgeable in the art and science of tree care and have passed an exam to obtain their certification. They are trained in how to prune and cut down trees to minimize damage and injury to the tree and humans, including using proper safety equipment and protocols. Bad pruning jobs can lead to trees with unstable structure that could topple in a snow or wind storm. A clear view isn’t worth a tree falling on your boathouse, dock, or roof!
It is also essential to make sure your arborist has proper insurance. According to the ISA, a reputable arborist should carry personal and property damage insurance, as well as worker’s compensation insurance.
Whether you see a frozen lake or snow-laden branches, enjoy your Muskoka view!
Susan Brown, B.A., MVA, SRES/Broker
Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage