Tree Appraisal

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Formula for Basis Replication Cost - [1]

Basics are Unit Tree Cost per square inch of trunk, determined by the Regional Plant Appraisal Committee (RPAC) or local wholesale cost * cross sectional area

Basic Reproduction Cost = Unit Tree Cost * Cross Sectional Area

Unit Tree Costs

  • Species rating for maclura pomifera is 60-70% in Indiana [2]
  • texas uses a generic Unit Tree Cost of $87/square inch, regardless of species [3]
  • Kentucky has $50/si unit tree cost [4]
  • Check.pngArbor Day Foundation guide shows tree trunk method as largest available tree cost + additional area accounted by unit tree cost (per sq in) [5]
    • Unit Tree Cost is essentially taking a common largest available tree cost, and dividing by the area - to get cost per square inch of a given tree.
  • Example of calculation from Tree Care Industry magazine [6]
  • Large trees are approximately $150/caliper inch for the tree alone [7]. 8" tree is $1200, without the labor to plant.

Regional Plant Appraisal Committee

  • Mentioned in Purdue guide - [8]

Seminal Text

  • Guide for Plant Appraisal. Good review of the 'self-proclaimed standard' - [9]
  • “ . . . where the appraiser is asked to estimate the cost ... to restore a site to some previous condition or utility, it may be appropriate to use cost methods without particular regard for market value or transaction behavior." is a fundamental tenet.
  • It is the court of law that decides what is or is not going to be accepted as ‘fact’ and it is the court of law that decides what is or is not reasonable.
  • that many court results include punitive damages that are quite separate from the appraised damages.
  • Technique nomenclature:
    • cost of cure method is now functional replacement cost
    • Replacement cost is now reproduction cost
    • the trunk formula method is now the trunk formula technique
  • There are decades of established practice, precedent, and in some cases statute law, where it is quite clear that plant values do not necessarily have to reflect real estate market values
  • From 9th to 10th editions - One of the more troubling changes is that the familiar species, condition and location factors have been replaced with physical, functional and external depreciation factors. These real estate terms are an awkward, ill-conceived fit with plant appraisal. Species, condition, and location have been “factors in plant appraisal”since the 5th edition and remain so


Tree appraisal is a professional service provided by consulting arborists.

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