Posts Tagged ‘consulting’


No plant appraisal assignment requires more skill, knowledge, training and combined horticulture knowledge than appraising a tree farm or plant nursery.  And the deep end of the pool is eminent domain (especially if there is a partial Taking) and product liability.  The former requiring the appraiser to make whole the client and the latter a hide and go seek format in data collection and evidence.

The plant (including trees) appraiser’s first obstacle is how to value a plant that has no value in the marketplace.  Not 100% of plants are ready for sale in any given wholesale nursery at any given time.  There are different stages of development that a plant must go through to become ready for market.  The problem comes when the plant is at one end of the development scale or the other; either just a seedling or within a few months of maturity.  And everything in between. The law has definitive rulings on just how to appraise such developmental stages of growth.  And the plant expert must be able to testify as to the correct approach to each development stage of growth.  This is a contact sport.  Put in your mouth piece.

Further, the plant appraiser must be able to quantify and qualify the costs of producing each plant size; from soup to nuts, the math and knowledge of producing plants is formidable.  And the subject nursery operation is never the same from grower to grower.  The plant appraiser must be able to separate what is being claimed by the grower and the truth and facts.  When people are scared they tend to state what they think the appraiser wants to hear.  Many times the truth lies elsewhere.  The plant appraiser must know where to find these facts so that just compensation may be established by the trier of fact.

The rate of turn-over in inventory must be established and published. An opinion of value must include how many times in a given time period a particular plant sells and the growing cycle renews.  This cycle is necessary to establish values into perpetuity.

What maintenance practices are being employed is crucial to the opinion of value.  The chemicals used and their set-back requirements by label instructions must be known.  The methods of pest control, including weed control is crucial in the understanding of how the business is being professionally operated.  Is there waste?  Is there efficacy?  And what of quality of the plant material, is that a factor in placing a value on a plant.

I’m not at all certain there exists more than a ½ dozen arborists in our nation that are truly qualified to appraise a plant/tree nursery.  I know of one other than myself, and I’m still learning; so is the other person.  My history includes 50 years of practice in the trade and a former nursery owner as well.   As a professional I was fortunate enough to be trained in nursery appraisals by one of the nation’s foremost property rights attorneys. Over the decades I’ve had the good fortune to be trained by scores of other property rights attorneys.  My collegiality are trained by other arborists.  In a group of those trainers at a recent international conference I posed the simple question to them: just how many of you guys have defended your opinions of value in a court of law?  How many depositions?  Not one hand went up.  Not one of the trainers had ever been to court or deposition.  And these are the good professionals training other arborists how to appraise a nursery and trees and plants.

Caveat emptor is now gently offered advise to the fine and gifted attorneys who defend and prosecute those clients looking for just compensation in the valuation of trees and plants.

Posted in Appraisals

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Samnik & Ballard Preserve Four Grand Oaks

Samnik and Ballard were selected to preserve four highly visible grand oak trees in the cities of Sarasota, Florida and Tampa, Florida.  Their technique of applying soil on top of existing roots to regenerate and grow new roots is beyond cutting-edge technology and will be implemented on these subject trees.  The old dirt, aged over a century, is first removed as part of the overall treatment plan; much like repotting a houseplant, except the soil required is typically 50 cubic yards.   Tissue tests reveal to the parts per million what nutrients are and are not present inside the tree biology.  Deficient nutrients are then added to the tree in chelate form.  The most recent and highly publicized use of this technique was the historic Baranof oak in Safety Harbor, Florida.  This unique improvement approach to tree preservation was discovered accidentally by Joe over 20 years ago.  He and Lori have perfected this approach now used on highly visible and valuable trees throughout the southeastern United States.

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TREE PRESERVATION Joe Samnik, Consulting Arborist

Different people have different perspectives on tree preservation.  The first thing a client, typically a developer thinks about regarding tree preservation is money; nothing wrong with that, and it’s perfectly understandable.  The first thing a tree colleague thinks about when preservation is the subject is tree biology.  Nobody is right and nobody is wrong.  It’s always a matter of emphasis. But what should be the first thing the consultant thinks about regarding tree preservation or its kissing cousin, tree transplanting?

The Golden Rule at Samnik and Ballard is:  Protect Your Client.  The first thing that ought to come to mind as a consultant is how many national standards, best management practices, or other treatise must be considered to protect the client from litigation or claims if something goes wrong.


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Having knowledge means sharing knowledge by giving back to those in the industry who want to explore new sources of revenue.  Joe Samnik and Lori Ballard will be teaching tree appraisal to arborist from both the Florida and Southern Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).  Putting a value on a tree can prove to be very challenging when utilizing industry accepted formulas.  In addition to the basic fundamentals of tree appraisal, arborists have to have a complete understanding of how to utilize these formulas.  Arborists will get the opportunity to learn these skills at the upcoming Tree Appraisal Workshop taking place at the UF-IFAS Leon County Extension in Tallahassee on March 3, 2016.


Joe Samnik and Lori Ballard have both been selected to present at the upcoming Florida Chapter ISA Annual Conference, Trees Florida taking place June 12 – 14, 2016 in Delray Beach Florida.  Joe and Lori will be teaming up with an attorney and other industry experts to present Killer Trees and Negligence.  This Academy will explore how to best avoid being named as a litigant by examining the concepts and applications of tree law and the misconceptions regarding perceived tree risk assessment of the discrepancies and significant gaps in knowledge that exist at each level of biology, standards and assessment/maintenance.


Posted in Announcements

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Whose Tree is it?

Couple having argument in quarrelBefore you prune that tree, are you certain that it belongs to you? If a limb from a neighbor’s tree hangs over the property line, do you have a right to prune it? Who owns the tree if half of it is on the neighbor’s property and half is on your property? Who is responsible for the cost of pruning if the tree belongs to your neighbor but endangers your property? Think before you cut! Having someone on your side that understands tree law is paramount to making the right decisions to avoid future problems.

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