What is the difference between My Tree Value and a value from a Qualified Professional?

An appraised value by My Tree Value is very general. More detail (provided by a qualified professional) will add increased accuracy. The most accurate appraisal will be provided by an on-site inspection. In some situations, the on-site visit is critical. In most cases, the expense of that visit isn’t needed. Let’s start with the free approach. As always, if you need a Qualified Professional visit, we’ll find a way to make it happen.


What is the Trunk Formula Method?

Real estate experts note that a tree in the front yard can dramatically increase the value of a home. To help understand this, university professors developed a formula called the Trunk Formula Method (TFM), which has been revised and perfected 9 times since the 1920’s. The TFM is described in fine detail in the Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th edition. Here at My Tree Value, we make it easy to use and apply.

In essence, certain species of trees are more valuable than others. A big one may be more valuable than a small one. A healthy one is more valuable than a sick one. The TFM factors all that (and more) into an Appraised Value for your tree. When needed, a qualified appraiser can help with the nuances. That’s where My Tree Value comes in. Let us know if it helped!


How do I determine my tree type? (Deciduous Vs. Conifer)

Although there are other tree types, the two most easily identifiable are Conifers (Pine Trees or Evergreens) or Deciduous (Hardwoods). Many characteristics go into identifying the type of tree in front of you. Deciduous trees usually lose all of their leaves in the fall or at some point during the year. Conifers usually have cones. Some cones can be small and difficult to recognize. Some cones are the size of pineapples. Below are two links that will help you figure it out. Often it’s not easy. Arborists regularly get confused. At the homepage, we’ve listed the species of trees that we’re able to appraise. Happy hunting!

Deciduous [icon color=”Accent-Color” size=”tiny” icon_size=”” image=”fa-external-link”]  |  Conifer [icon color=”Accent-Color” size=”tiny” icon_size=”” image=”fa-external-link”]


How do I identify my tree species?

If you have the genus ( Oak, Poplar, Pine, etc. ), that is usually  enough to get started. Often, an experienced person is needed to determine the species: ( Garry Oak, Black Poplar, White Pine ). Species can often be determined by geography. For instance, palm trees are pretty rare in Alaska.


How do I rate the condition of my tree?

The CONDITION or HEALTH rating of a tree can be determined by a qualified observer inspecting 5 factors, as shown below. Roots, trunk, scaffold branches, small branches and twigs, and foliage and/or buds all contribute to a detailed rating for your tree. Each factor has individual attributes that contribute to a partial subtotal. The five subtotals are added to produce an assessed subtotal of 8 (indicating extreme problems) to 32 (indicating NO apparent problems). The assessed subtotal (8 to 32) is divided by 32 (the most points possible) to calculate the percentage CONDITION rating (25 % to 100%).


How do I measure my tree’s trunk circumference?

The circumference is the measurement AROUND the trunk. A standard measurement is usually taken at 4 and a half feet above grade (where the roots meet the dirt).


What about trees with a Trunk Diameter of more than 30”?

An interesting quirk in the process is that above 30 inches in stem diameter, the appraised values become increasingly unrealistic. At 31 inches of stem diameter and larger, it becomes necessary to use a value known as the “ Adjusted Trunk Area “ or ATA. More details ( and values ) are available in the Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th edition, page 39.


Understanding Site Rating:

The value of a site is expressed by its relative market value in a local city, county or region. The area’s functional and economic aspects are important factors. The value of a site is expressed by its relative market value within the area in which the site is located. A site is rated in relation to the value of other areas in the same city, county, or region, including the areas economic, functional, and aesthetic aspects.

The general appearance of a site in which the appraised plant(s) is located is important. An attractive, well – maintained house, in an effective natural or designed landscape with attractive, well-proportioned, healthy plants adds to the value of a site. On the other hand, a median of a busy four-lane, divided boulevard in a business district with attractive, well – kept stores is more valuable than a similar setting with poorly maintained stores and utility poles along the street.

The relative market value of the area and site is rated as follows:

Very high: 90% – 100%
High: 80% – 89%
Average: 70% – 79%
Low: 60% – 69%
Very low: 10% – 59%

A remote site in a wooded area may get a higher rating than a similar wooded site in an intensive development. On the other hand, the greater the use of a mall or park, the greater could be its rating.

Credit: Page 52, GFPA, 9th edition.


Understanding Contribution Rating:

Functional and aesthetic contributions of a plant influence its value in most settings. Functional and aesthetic contributions of a plant influence its value in most settings. These benefits may be affected by plant size, shape, branch structure, foliage density, and distribution. A plant may have historic significance, be a rare species, or possess a unique structure. Plants may have screening, privacy control, wildlife habitat, or energy saving qualities.

Credit: Page 52, GFPA, 9th edition.


Understanding Placement Rating:

The placement of a plant being appraised may determine how effective it is in providing its functional and aesthetic attributes ( ranging from 10 to 100 percent ). From the GFPA, 9th edition:

The placement of the plant being appraised may determine how effective it is in providing its functional and aesthetic attributes ( rating range 10 to 100 per cent ). For example, the placement of a deciduous tree to provide summer shade and winter sun for a patio is critical. Similarly, plant PLACEMENT is functionally important for windbreaks, snow deposition, erosion control, and dust reduction. PLACEMENT in the site is also important from an aesthetic viewpoint when a plant can provide a landscape focus, frame a view, screen unsightly objects, or accent a building. Certain species may have characteristics that require greater maintenance to be effective in the landscape unless the plants can be placed to minimize the amount of care. For example, a tree with a heavy fruit or leaf problem would require high maintenance, unless it were located where such litter would not be a problem. The seed pods of the Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora Japonica) are messy on walks in rainy autumnal areas. In colder regions, however, the pods remain dry and hard. Ratings should be adjusted to reflect these or other possibilities.
PLACEMENT within a site usually would have little effect on a plant’s transpirational, photosynthetic, or air purification contribution. An exception might be the reduction of air particles and / or fog by the proper PLACEMENT of a thick windbreak planting.
A single specimen tree may have greater value than it would if it were one among several. The loss of a single tree would be a greater loss than if one of several were lost. On the other hand, the loss of one tree in a row of a formal planting of trees could be a greater loss than the average value of all the trees would be: the loss of one tree would be much more apparent, and its loss would detract from the appeal of the intact planting.
A plant’s PLACEMENT also may have an unfavorable effect on the SITE and on the plant. Overhead utility wires, streetlights, and nearby buildings or walls are major obstacles that often prevent a plant from obtaining ( or maintaining ) a natural form. Controlling a plant’s size can be expensive. Large trees in narrow planting strips and other restricted spaces can be adversely affected, causing considerable damage to pavement and structures.
Plant PLACEMENT, and its functional and aesthetic contributions, are more important in certain landscapes than in others. For example, plant PLACEMENT to protect a building entrance from winter winds may be more important than it would be in a public park or along a city street.


How do I determine my replacement tree cost?

“The median wholesale and retail costs of the largest commonly available transplantable tree of at least three commonly grown, high quality species from at least three local or regional nurseries, suppliers, or contractors should be obtained. These costs may vary with species.“

( GFPA, page 59 )

The REPLACEMENT TREE COST is the cost of a tree of REPLACEMENT TREE SIZE. As in the eighth edition of the GFPA, this COST can be wholesale, retail, or installed, as decided by the Regional Plant Appraisal Committee. The REPLACEMENT TREE SIZE ( TAr ) is the trunk area ( measurement height depends on the trunk diameter ) of the largest commonly available transplantable tree.
Footnote: Page 70 GFPA, 9th edition.


******* Portions of the above FAQ’s come from the Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th edition, published by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers and the International Society of Arboriculture.