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Species Ratings for Landscape Tree Appraisal in Utah

Mike Kuhns, Extension Forester, in cooperation with the Utah Community Forest Council & Utah Chapter ISA

06/01/2018

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This fact sheet establishes species ratings to be used by tree appraisal experts with the trunk formula method for appraising the monetary value of trees in Utah.

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Species Ratings and the Trunk Formula Method

The dollar value of a landscape tree occasionally needs to be determined for insurance purposes, condemnation, real estate transactions, or tree inventories. For larger trees the trunk formula method often is used for establishing these values. This method starts with calculation of a basic value and adjusts that value for the species, condition, and location of the tree

This fact sheet establishes species ratings for nearly all trees likely to be found in the Intermountain West, with a particular focus on Utah. These species ratings are for use with the trunk formula method of tree appraisal. These ratings are not to be used with the replacement cost method since they are already reflected in the cost of the replacement tree.

The complete tree appraisal procedure is described in detail in the “Guide for Plant Appraisal” prepared by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers and published by the International Society of Arboriculture (9th edition, available from ISA, P.O. Box 3129, Champaign, IL 61826; phone (217)355-9411.

Uses and Limitations

Species ratings in this guide are given by Latin name and common name and are expressed as percentages, with a maximum possible value of 100% and a minimum value of 5%. Latin names are used to keep like species together in the table. These ratings are subjective, based on a tree’s adaptability to environmental factors, growth characteristics, aesthetics, maintenance needs, structural qualities, longevity, and allergenic properties.

Each species is given a rating range of about 10 to 20 points, within which most trees of that species will likely fall. Ratings should be adjusted within or even outside of the given range if local conditions require. For example, a species planted on a site where it is poorly adapted might get a lower rating, and an otherwise poor species planted in an especially harsh area where nothing else will do well might get a higher rating. Species ratings should be based only on overall species-related factors, without regard to condition or location factors that are tied to a specific tree and its site. Note that fringetrees (Chionanthus spp.) and ashes (Fraxinus spp.) are at risk if the emerald ash borer makes it to Utah, but it hasn't yet, so their ratings are unaffected for now.

These species ratings and the related appraisal methods generally are for trees in cultivated or developed landscapes where the tree lends considerable aesthetic and functional contribution to the site. They generally should not be used for appraising trees in undeveloped, unpopulated rural areas. Such trees may be better evaluated using forest/timber appraisal techniques. Better appraisal techniques also exist for shrubs, windbreak trees in rural, non-residential situations, and for appraisal of orchard trees or Christmas trees.

Knowledge is Essential

Appraisal of landscape trees and adjustment of the species ratings included in this fact sheet should only be done by persons who are experts in use of the appraisal techniques. These persons also must be knowledgeable about species involved, site conditions, and about trees and tree biology.

The species ratings in this fact sheet are based on the knowledge and opinions of the author and of several experts involved in community forestry in the area. We welcome input and advice. Contact Mike Kuhns, Extension Forester, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5230, or send e-mail to mike.kuhns@usu.edu.

Other Appraisal Factors

The following factors are needed for conducting tree appraisals (see the “Guide to Plant Appraisal”) and were derived from a 2018 survey of nurseries in Utah. They will change regularly. For up-to-date figures, or for other community forestry assistance, contact the Utah Community Forest Council.

Largest commonly available transplantable tree size – the average size (caliper) of the largest normally available tree: 2.17 inch trunk caliper (3.70 square inches)

Replacement cost – the cost to buy the largest normally available tree (see above), including warranty: $266

Installation cost – including delivery ($81) and planting ($133): $214

Installed tree cost – including tree, delivery, and planting: $480 – note: 2/3s of respondents do not offer planting

Unit tree cost – the cost per square inch of trunk area (not including installation): $72 per square inch

Wholesale tree cost – the wholesale cost to buy the largest normally available tree for the surveyed nurseries (generally reflects a discount given to landscapers): $219

Species Ratings

Species Rating
Gymnosperms (mostly with needle or scale foliage)
Abies concolor white or concolor fir 75-95%
Abies lasiocarpa subalpine or alpine fir 60-80% 
Calocedrus degurrens, Libocedrus decurrens  incense-ceder 75-95%
Cedrus atlantica, deodara, libani, etc. true cedars 90-100%
Chamaecyparis obtusa Hinoki falsecypress • Hinoki cypress 75-95%
Cupressus arizonica Arizona cypress 75-95%
Cupressus sempervirens Italian cypress 75-95%
Ginkgo biloba ginkgo  maidenhair tree (male only; female 10-30%) 90-100%
Juniperus chinensis, osteosperma, scopulorum, virginiana, etc. junipers 55-75%
Larix decidua, kaempferi, etc. larches 80-100%
Metasequoia glyptostroboides dawn redwood 80-100%
Picea abies Norway spruce 75-95%
Picea engelmanni Engelmann spruce 70-90%
Picea glauca white or Black Hills spruce 75-95%
Picea glauca 'Conica' dwarf Alberta spruce 50-70%*
Picea omorika Serbian spruce 75-95%
Picea pungens blue or Colorado blue spruce 75-95%
Pinus bungeana lacebark pine 90-100%
Pinus contorta lodgepole pine 60-80%
Pinus densiflora Japanese red pine 70-90%
Pinus edulis Pinyon • Colorado pinyon 65-85%
Pinus eldarica Afghan pine 70-90%
Pinus flexilis limber pine 80-100%
Pinus halepensis Aleppo pine 60-80%
Pinus heldreichii Bosnian pine 70-90%
Pinus longaevea, aristata bristlecone pine 80-100%
Pinus monophylla singleleaf pinyon 75-95%
Pinus monticola western white pine 70-90%
Pinus mugo Mugo or Swiss mountain pine 50-70%*
Pinus nigra Austrian pine 70-90%
Pinus parviflora Japanese white pine 75-95%
Pinus ponderosa ponderosa pine 70-90%
Pinus strobiformis southwestern white pine 80-100%
Pinus strubus eastern white pine 50-70%
Pinus sylvestris Scotch or Scots pine 75-95%
Pinus thunbergiana Japanese black pine 70-90%
Pinus wallichiana Himalayan or Bhutan pine 70-90%
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas-fir 65-85%
Sequoiadendron giganteum giant sequoia 70-90%
Taxodium distichum baldcypress 80-100%
Thuja occidentalis northern whitecedar • eastern arborvitae 65-85%
Thuja or Platycladus orientalis Oriental arborvitae 45-65%
Thuja plicata western redcedar 70-90%
Angiosperms (mostly broadleaves)
Acer buergeranum trident maple 75-95%
Acer campestre hedge maple 75-95%
Acer ginnala Amur maple  Ginnala maple 50-70%*
Acer glabrum Rocky Mountain maple 75-95%
Acer grandidentatum canyon or bigtooth maple 80-100%
Acer griseum paperbark maple 85-100%
Acer negundo boxelder  ash-leaved maple  Manitoba maple 50-70%
Acer nigrum black maple 85-90%
Acer palmatum Japanese maple 75-95%
Acer platanoides Norway maple 50-70%
Acer pseudoplantanus sycamore maple 65-95%
Acer rubrum red maple & Freeman hybrids 50-70%
Acer saccharinum silver maple & Freeman hybrids 40-60%
Acer saccharum sugar maple 70-90%
Acer tataricum Tatarian maple 75-95%
Acer truncatum purpleblow or Shantung maple 75-95%
Aesulus california, glabra, hippocastanum buckeyes, horsechestnuts 60-80%
Aesculus x carnea red horsechestnut 70-90%
Ailanthus altissima tree-of-heaven  ailanthus 35-55%
Albizia julibrissin mimosa  silk-tree  albizia 65-85%
Alnus glutinosa European or common alder 60-80%
Alnus tenufolia thinleaf or mountain alder 65-85%
Amelanchier anifolia Saskatoon  western serviceberry 75-95%*
Amelanchier arborea downy serviceberry 80-100%
Amelanchier x grandiflora apple serviceberry 80-100%
Amelanchier utahensis Utah serviceberry 65-85%*
Betula nigra river birch 60-80%
Betula occidentalis water or river birch 60-80%
Betula papyrifera paper birch 55-75%
Betula pendula European white birch 55-75%
Carpinus betulus European hornbeam 80-100%
Carpinus caroliniana American hornbeam  musclewood 85-100%
Carya illinoensis pecan 60-80%
Castenea mollissima Chinese chestnut 70-90%
Catalpa bignonioides, speciosa, etc. catalpas 50-70%
Celtis occidentalis hackberry  common hackberry 75-95%
Celtis reticulata netleaf hackberry 75-95%
Cercidiphyllum japonicum Katsuratree 60-80%
Cercis canadensis eastern redbud  Judas-tree 80-100%
Cercis occidentalis Californa redbud  western redbud 90-100%*
Cercocarpus ledifolius curlleaf mountain-mahogany 70-90%*
Chilopsis linearis desertwillow  45-65%*
Chionanthus virginicus fringetree  white fringetree 0-100%
Cladrastis kentuckea or C. lutea yellowwood  70-90%
Cornus alternifolia, florida, etc. dogwoods  65-85%
Cornus kousa Kousa dogwood  75-95%
Cornus mas pagoda or alternate leaf dogwood  75-95%
Corylus americana, colurna, cornuta, etc. hazelnuts  filberts  70-90%
Cotinus coggygria, obovatus, etc. smoketrees  60-80%*
Cowania mexicana cliffrose  quininebush  75-95%*
Crataegus crusgalli, douglasii, laevigata, x lavallei, phaenopyrum, viridis, etc. hawthorns  70-90%
Cydonia oblongata quince  60-80%
Elaeagnus angustifolia Russian-olive  5-30%**
Eriobotrya japonica loquat  60-80%*
Fagus grandifolia, sylvatica, etc. beechs  80-100%
Fraxinus americana white ash  70-90%
Fraxinus anomala singleleaf ash  dwarf ash  70-90%*
Fraxinus excelsior European ash  35-55%
Fraxinus pennsylvanica green ash  60-80%
Fraxinus quadrangulata blue ash  65-85%
Fraxinus velutina velvet ash  Modesto ash  40-60%
ledistria triacanthos honeylocust  70-90%
Gymnocladus dioicus Kentucky coffeetree  80-100%
Ilex opaca American holly  80-100%
Juglans cinerea, major, nigra, regia walnuts and butternut  65-85%
Koelreuteria paniculata goldenraintree  70-90%
Laburnum x watereri goldenchain tree  Waterer laburnum  65-85%
Lagerstroemia indica crapemyrtle  65-85%*
Liquidambar styraciflua sweetgum  American sweetgum  60-80%
Liriodentron tulipfera yellow-poplar  tuliptree  tulip-poplar  70-90%
Maclura pomifera Osage-orange  70-90%
Magnolia acuminata, grandiflora, kobus, x loebneri, x soulangiana, stellata, etc. magnolias  75-100%
Malus pumila apple  50-70%
Malus spp. crabapple  65-90%
Melia azedarach Chinaberry  30-50%
Morus alba, rubra, etc. mulberries  60-80%
Ostrya knowltonii Knowlton hophornbeam  75-95%
Ostrya virginians Eastern hophornbeam  ironwood  80-100%
Phellodendron amurense Amur corktree  70-90%
Pistacia chinesis, vera pistachio, pistache  75-95%
Platanus x acerifolia, occidentalis planetrees, sycamores  65-95%
Populus x acuminata lanceleaf cottonwood  40-60%
Populus alba white poplar  40-60%
Populus angustifolia narrowleaf cottonwood  40-60%
Populus balsamifera balsam poplar  45-65%
Populus x canadensis Carolina poplar and other hybrid poplars 40-60%
Populus candicans balm-of-Gilead  45-65%
Populus deltoides eastern cottonwood  50-70%
Populus fremontii Fremont cottonwood  60-80%
Populus nigra var. italica Lombardy poplar  35-55%
Populus tremuloides quaking or trembling aspen  45-65%
Populus trichocarpa black cottonwood  50-70%
Prosopsis glandulosa or P. juliflora honey mesquite 60-80%*
Prunus armeniaca apricot  60-80%
Prunus avium wweet cherry  Mazzard  50-70%
Prunus cerasifera purpleleaf plum  cherry plum  Myrobalan plum 45-65%
Prunus cerasus sour cherry  50-70%
Prunus domestica common plum  50-70%
Prunus padus European bird cherry  May Day tree  60-80%
Prunus persica peach  40-60%
Prunus sargentii Sargent cherry  65-85%
Prunus serrulata Japanese flowering or Oriental cherry  70-90%
Prunus subhirtella Higan cherry  70-90%
Prunus virginiana common chokecherry  55-75%*
Prunus x yedoensis Yoshino cherry  70-90%
Ptelea angustifolia common hoptree  water-ash  western hoptree  70-90%*
Pyrus calleryana Callery pear (wide variation by cultivar; 'Bradford' 50-70%)  65-90%
Pyrus communis common pear  50-70%
Pyrus ussuriensis Ussurian pear  65-85%
Quericus acutissima sawtooth oak  75-95%
Quericus alba white oak  80-100%
Quericus bicolor swamp white oak  90-100%
Quericus cerris turkey oak  75-95%
Quericus gambelii Gambel, scrub, or Rocky Mountain white oak  70-90%*
Quericus imbricaria shingle or laurel oak  60-80%
Quericus macrocarpa bur or mossycup oak  90-100%
Quericus muehlenbergii chinkapin oak  80-100%
Quericus palustris pin oak  35-55%
Quericus robur English oak  80-100%
Quericus rubra northern red oak  75-95%
Quericus shumardii Shumard oak  80-100%
Quericus turbinella shrub live oak  65-85%*
Quericus undulata wavyleaf oak  65-85%*
Robinia x ambigua Idaho flowering locust  40-60%
Robinia neomexicana New Mexican locust  50-70%
Robinia pseudoacacia black locust  40-60%
Salix amygdaloides peachleaf willow  50-70%
Salix babylonica weeping willow  35-55%
Salix fragilis crack willow  30-50%
Salix matsudana Hankow willow cultivars, including globe Navajo willow  25-45%
Salix nigra black willow  40-60%
Sambucus cerulea blue elder  60-80%*
Sophora japonica Japanese pagodatree  scholar-tree  60-80%
Sorbus alnifolia Korean mountain-ash  55-75%
Sorbus americana American mountain-ash  50-70%
Sorbus aucuparia European mountain-ash  Rowan  45-65%
Sorbus scopulina Greene mountain-ash  60-80%*
Syringa reticulata Japanese tree lilac  80-100%
Tamarix parviflora, ramosissima tamarisk  salt-cedar 5-20%* **
Tilia americana, cordata, x euchlora lindens, basswoods  65-85%
Tilia tomentosa silver linden  75-95%
Ulmus americana American or white elm  35-65%
Ulmus glabra Camperdown elm  75-95%
Ulmus parvifolia lacebark or Chinese elm  65-85%
Ulmus procera English elm  elm hybrids  55-75%
Ulmus pumila Siberian or Chinese elm  25-45%
Yucca brevifolia Joshua-tree  60-80%*
Zelkova serrata Japanese Zelcova  65-85%

*Often shrubby; **May be a noxious weed; †Utah native

Acknowledgments: I thank the Utah Community Forest Council for their support, and several anonymous reviewers who advised me on the species ratings. And thanks to the nurseries that contributed price and other data.


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Updated June 2018.