My tenant recently moved out and I found he trimmed all branches off my 20 year old fig tree and top it badly.
can I take money from his deposit as a compensation?
the tenant also maintained my yard for which I pay him $70 a month.
i was told by the other gardener that my tree will prone to disease and insect because of bad topping.
photo is before and after.
I doubt it. You paid him for lawn/yard services so in fact it appears you have a contractor relationship with him - separate from the lease/rental. You can take him to small claims court but unless you can prove damages (which it appears they are in the making versus actually sustained), you would most likely not be able to collect.
Did you inspect his landscaping work? How long did he live there? I imagine that you would have to prove that he/she intentionally pruned the tree to damage it and had knowledge on how to properly care for the tree. Also, it looks like a single family home that you rented to them with a backyard. If that is the case, is there anything in the lease saying that they couldn't touch the fig tree? I have 3 SFH rentals and I have no restrictions on their gardening. Just no permanent structures without my approval.
Using a security deposit to pay for non-rental/lease items will never fly. Hopefully lesson learned and you will have a pro take care of the important items next time.