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4 Tips on Choosing a Tree Trimming Service

Your yard, and everything in it, provides important aesthetic and monetary value to your home. It’s no wonder most homeowners pay considerable attention to their landscapes, and want them to look their best. Beyond that more obvious fact, your trees in particular can also become a safety hazard or a risk to your home’s structure. Naturally, you want to carefully screen any tree service before hiring them, both to protect your investment and to quite literally protect yourself!

But how exactly do you choose a professional tree trimming service? Because the work requires not only knowledge of trees, but also a certain level of skill and expertise, we urge you to carefully select your service before beginning any trimming or removal work.

Ask about insurance. Occasionally, tree trimming and removal work can become dangerous, especially when trees don’t fall exactly as planned. While experience almost always prevents these situations from happening, you definitely want to hire a tree service that carries the appropriate insurance just in case something does go awry.

Ask about credentials. Anyone with a chainsaw can knock on your door and offer to remove a tree for you. Yikes! While the deal might sound good with regard to upfront pricing, the cost of damage to your home or other trees can quickly grow to thousands of dollars. Ask your potential tree trimming service about credentials their employees possess, which indicate appropriate knowledge and training.

Check reviews. Check the tree company’s website, look them up on Yelp, or call the Better Business Bureau and inquire about them. A reputable company will be able to provide references from happy customers.

Ask for a written estimate. Verbal agreements can be difficult to enforce, and might change unexpectedly. Ask for an itemized written estimate of all tree trimming services to be performed, including clean-up work, so that there are no surprises. A professional tree trimming company won’t have any problem with providing this.

If you have questions on the above topics, or anything else regarding your trees’ health and upkeep, please give us a call. We’re always happy to discuss any issues with you, and will give you a fair and honest estimate of any tree work that you need performed on your property.


Can Tree Trimming Increase Your Home’s Value?

We all take pride in our homes, wanting to keep them looking nice while also protecting our monetary investment. That’s why many of us spend a considerable amount of time, and sometimes money, upgrading the interior and installing attractive flower beds and shrubs outside. But don’t forget about the health of your trees! Regular care and maintenance of your trees will also contribute to your home’s overall value, in several important ways.

Prevent damage. Preventing costly damages is the most obvious way that regular tree trimming and health checks can benefit your home. Dead or dying trees are at risk of falling, and this can lead to damages that must be repaired. And of course, if left unchecked, some diseases will spread to other trees and create an even bigger problem. You also want to keep limbs trimmed back, away from your home, to discourage pests from taking up residence in your attic, eaves, and walls.

Curb appeal. Obviously, increasing your curb appeal will help your home to look more attractive to potential buyers. Even if you don’t have plans to sell your home in the near future, regular maintenance now will prevent large and costly problems later, when you do want to sell.

Cost of upkeep. Most potential buyers understand the above issues, and are aware of the potential costs associated with sick or unstable trees, and damages to the home. And of course, they are also aware of the amount of work required to renovate a yard that has not been well maintained for many years.

If you have questions about the health and safety of your trees, or simply wish to improve the aesthetic value of your home, give us a call. We can offer our expert advice on tree trimming and removal, cleanup of fallen trees, or stump grinding, so that your home retains its curb appeal and monetary value for years to come.

3 Signs You Need Emergency Tree Services

Regular care, maintenance, and attention to the trees in your yard can keep you informed of their health and stability. But sometimes, a problem does develop quickly. And, once a tree poses a danger to your property, you probably need to seek emergency tree services in order to remedy the situation swiftly and safely.

But what warrants an “emergency”, with regard to tree services? Various situations can arise, but the following three are most common.

You notice long, unstable branches hanging over your home. Any time a tree’s branches grow too close to your home, there is a risk of large debris falling onto your roof, porches, or other structures. This is especially true if the tree has grown quite large, and branches extend far from the trunk. They’re beginning to lose stability, and are at risk of cracking and falling due to age, winds, disease, and so on. Always seek tree trimming services if branches have grown over your home.

A tree is leaning (or has fallen). If a tree is leaning, it has become a hazard. It will come down at some point, and anything in its path is in danger (it also might not fall exactly the way you think it will).

Obviously, if a tree has already fallen, you need to have it removed right away. If it has fallen on a power line, please contact your electric provider immediately, and don’t go near the site.

A tree begins to look diseased. If you notice rotting on the trunk, discolored leaves, or unusual growths, call for emergency tree services right away. Sometimes the tree can be saved by remedying the source of the disease. But if not, it needs to come down before it poses a falling hazard.

If you notice any of these signs in your trees, please don’t hesitate to call us for emergency tree services. We want to quickly take care of any looming problems, to keep you, your family, and your home safe.



Does Homeowners Insurance Pay for Tree Removal?

Your home is covered by a homeowners insurance policy, but what does that mean, exactly? What about your yard, or things that happen in your yard? In particular, what do most insurance policies offer with regard to tree removal?

In most cases, homeowners insurance policies are designed to cover damages to your home and property. Therefore, the removal a tree that has not yet fallen (and has not inflicted any damage), will not likely be covered. This is true even if the tree is leaning, cracked, or otherwise appears quite ominous. The rule is simply that homeowners are responsible for routine maintenance and repairs, and removal of dead or dying trees falls under that rule.

On the other hand, if the tree does fall on your house, that type of event is almost always covered. The insurance policy will typically pay for removal of the fallen tree, as well as damage to your home. The same rule usually applies if the tree falls on a fence, workshop, or other structures connected to your property – assuming those structures are included in your coverage.

But what if the tree falls in the yard, and does not damage anything? Once again, removal and cleanup are most likely your responsibility. That’s because a covered structure was not damaged by the event.

Occasionally, some insurance policies will cover removal of a tree that has fallen and blocked your driveway. If you’re disabled, your insurance might also cover the removal of a fallen tree that blocks access to a wheelchair ramp. Again, these terms are conditional based upon the exact insurance policy you previously selected, so we can’t guarantee this will always be the case. When in doubt, always call your insurance representative, describe the event and damage, and let them assess your coverage limits.

What your tree falls and damages a neighbor’s home? Their insurance policy will be the one on the hook for damages, but you could be liable for repayment if you had been previously warned that the tree was a hazard.

Finally, if your tree falls into a public roadway, you should call your municipality for advice on your next steps. Local laws govern these events, and will determine whether cleanup is your responsibility or that of the city.

If a tree does fall on your property, or if one appears to be a falling risk, give us a call right away. While you work out the details with your insurance company, we can assess the cost of cutting down the tree or removing debris.

Can You Prune Your Trees in the Spring?

According to the calendar, spring officially begins next week. But you might already be seeing some signs of spring in your own yard, and you’re ready to get things spruced up and looking cheerful. So, if you’re wondering about pruning trees in the spring, read on to discover what you should and should not attempt at this time of year.

Generally, it is better to prune most trees during the winter, when they are leafless. That’s because their growth cycle is dormant, and deep pruning can be performed without harming the tree. But there are certain exceptions to this rule.

Safety. If a limb is broken or overgrown to the point that it is hazardous, it needs to come down regardless of season. Otherwise it could pose a falling danger to nearby structures or even people.

Shaping. If a tree is looking overgrown and messy, you can trim it back by about ten percent. Avoid taking off more than that, though, or you could damage the tree or limit leaves and buds this season.

New trees. If you’re planting a new tree, go ahead and prune away any dead or damaged branches. This helps to ensure a stable and attractive form as the young sapling grows.

Certain species are more easily pruned in late spring or early summer. Maple, walnut, and birch trees tend to ooze sap and make a mess if you try to prune them in the winter. Pruning trees in the spring, after they have all of their leaves, will reduce this problem. But again, this only applies to the aforementioned species.

If the above situations don’t apply, then hold off on pruning trees in the spring. Many species will be left vulnerable to pests and diseases if you trim them right now, and you will also reduce leafing and flowering.

Or, you can give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise you on the best times to trim back excess branches, shape your trees, and improve health and safety.

What is Crown Reduction, and Why is it Necessary?

We tend to think of homes with established yards and mature trees as “low maintenance”. And they certainly are, in most cases, especially when compared to the time and effort required to establish landscaping for a new construction home. But low maintenance doesn’t mean “no” maintenance! From time to time, even mature trees will need some care and attention.

In particular, older trees may begin to look overgrown, messy, or misshapen over time. At this point, crown reduction might be required, to improve both the appearance and health of your tree.

What is crown reduction? Crown reduction refers to a specialized tree trimming procedure, in which we cut down primary branches and foliage around the top of the tree (the “crown”). This might sound simple, but it’s actually a very technical horticultural technique. It requires the removal of a significant amount of branches, but the “right” ones should be carefully identified by an expert first. Crown reduction does result in shortening of the tree, and can seem severe when you see how much is pruned away! But it’s all done very carefully and with a lot of forethought.

Why is crown reduction performed? Crown reduction, along with thinning, will improve your tree’s stability and encourage healthier growth in the future. It also reduces the amount of dead wood in the center of the tree, allowing more sunlight to penetrate through the branches. This improves the health of your tree, and you will appreciate the cleaner aesthetic appearance as well. Safety is another consideration, since cluttered branches and dead wood can create hazards from falling debris.

Because crown reduction requires climbing, potentially dangerous equipment, specialized techniques, and professional judgement, we definitely recommend against trying this procedure yourself. Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to come out and evaluate your trees’ needs. Then we can make recommendations to improve the look and health of your trees, while performing this complicated procedure safely.

Do My Trees Pose a Danger?

We all love our trees, but at times they can actually pose a danger to life and property. Falling branches (or the entire tree coming down) can be an obvious problem. Even if they don’t fall on you or your house, power lines are another important consideration.

There is also the risk of dead, dried-out trees creating a fire hazard, and trees growing too close to the house can damage your foundation and help introduce pests like termites to your home.

Obviously, checking your trees periodically for signs of potential danger is a good idea. Use this simple checklist, and give us a call to discuss your concerns.

  • Can I see any rotten wood or cavities running along the trunk or main branches of the tree?
  • What about cracks or splits in the trunk, or where larger branches attach to it?
  • Are mushrooms growing near the base of the tree?
  • Do I see any large, dead branches?
  • Are there detached branches hung up in the tree?
  • Do many branches attach at the same point on the trunk?
  • Have nearby trees died from disease, or fallen for any reason?
  • Is the trunk leaning at a concerning angle?
  • Have the roots of the tree been damaged by installing hardscape, lowering the soil level, or digging for any reason?
  • Do the leaves look unusual? Is their color or condition different from expected?
  • Has the tree been heavily pruned or topped?
  • Do I see anything else that leads me to believe this tree is unhealthy?

The above checklist serves well as a preliminary checklist for homeowners. But if you haven’t had your trees assessed by a professional in some time, we would advise you to take that step as well. Sometimes trees begin to pose a danger before the more obvious signs present themselves. Give us a call, and we can check the health of your trees, make recommendations for improvements, and help with pruning or removal when necessary.

Getting Your Trees Ready for Spring

With spring arriving soon, many homeowners are feeling excited about planting new flowers and shrubs. But as you begin to plan your spring gardening projects, don’t forget to care for the plants you already have. While trees typically aren’t too needy, there are a few brief steps you should take to protect their health as seasons change.

Inspect your trees. Generally speaking, we don’t have the sort of weather here in Southern California, that typically leads to declining tree health over the winter. But spring is a good time to check your trees regardless. Observe things like limbs that seem frail, signs of fungus or rot, trees that are leaning, or those that have grown too close to the house or other structures.

Perform necessary tree trimming. Pruning should usually be performed in the dormant season (winter) for healthiest results. However, damaged limbs can be removed now. Spring is also an excellent time to observe your trees for signs of aging or disease, because those limbs won’t produce leaf buds. Dead or dying areas can be pruned back.

Mulch your trees. As spring arrives, hot weather won’t be far off. Mulching around the bottoms of your trees can help to preserve soil temperature and retain moisture, protecting each one during hot weather. Mulch also mimics the nutritional substance your trees would gain naturally in the forest, from organic substances that would normally accumulate on the soil around the bottoms of each trunk.

Fertilize. Spring will bring your trees’ growing season, as they leaf out and (in some species) produce flowers and fruit. They need energy for these activities, which you can provide via the right fertilizer. Plus, healthy trees resist disease and pests much more readily. Choose a slow-release fertilizer that will feed them all season.

If you have questions about caring for your trees as spring arrives, please give us a call. And remember, if you do choose to engage in any tree trimming, safety is of utmost importance. We can perform that for you, or remove any trees that have grown too close to your house, porch, garage, or other structures.


Why Do You Need to Fertilize Trees and Shrubs?

Keeping your trees and shrubs healthy will ensure the beauty of your yard, and help them to leaf out and flower attractively in the spring. Healthy trees and shrubs are also less prone to limb breakage, disease, or total loss. Having said that, you might wonder why trees and shrubs occasionally need deep fertilization. Don’t established root systems ensure adequate nutrition for these larger plants?

In general, it should work that way. But over the years, numerous events can damage the roots of trees and shrubs, and they might need a bit more care and revitalization.

Removal of debris. In a natural setting, decaying leaf litter or grass clippings would provide nutrients to the soil. But since we tend to clean up materials like those in our yards, trees and shrubs don’t necessarily receive the nutrition they might otherwise.

Construction. Sometimes, construction of new structures around your home can disrupt a tree’s root system. This is especially true for swimming pool installations, which require digging deep into the ground. Keep in mind that tree root systems extend far beyond the base of most trees, so you don’t even have to dig next to the tree in order to disturb its roots.

Soil compaction. Repeatedly driving over an area will deprive the soil of necessary gas exchange. This might be a problem for you, if you routinely park an extra car in the yard, for example.

Drought and heat. Severe weather patterns can distress smaller plants in one season; over time, larger shrubs and trees can be impacted as well.

At times, it is necessary to deeply fertilize trees and shrubs with a slow-release treatment that will nourish the tree for about a year. Your chosen fertilizer should be high in nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. This type of fertilizer will not only feed trees and shrubs, but also encourage the development of underground mycorrhizae (beneficial fungi which help trees stay healthy).

Ideally, you would apply a deep fertilization treatment before stress and illness damage your trees. But if you do find that it’s too late, and trees appear damaged, give us a call right away. We can help you assess each tree’s health status, and make recommendations for pruning or removal when necessary.

3 Basics of Tree Care to Remember

Most people enjoy the look of trees on their property, and we certainly all enjoy the shade that they provide. But when it comes to tree care, most people assume that established trees won’t need any work, or they simply aren’t sure of what to do.  While it’s true that some adult trees are more low-maintenance than others, most trees need at least basic care in these three areas.

Fertilization. Fertilization mostly applies to younger trees, but could apply to adult trees depending upon the species and climate. If you aren’t sure of how to feed and water your tree, ask a professional for guidance. Like people, properly nourished trees are healthier, grow better, and are more resistant to disease.

Disease prevention and pest control. More trees die of diseases and pest infestations than of old age. Take the time to learn about the specific species of tree(s) on your property, and the types of diseases or pests that tend to prey upon them. As with human diseases, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But if you do need to cure a problem, consult with a professional to discover which treatments will work best on your tree.

Occasionally, a tree cannot be saved when it has become too damaged by disease or a pest problem. These trees will need to come down, because they can be a falling risk when weakened. You also want to avoid the disease spreading any further to nearby trees.

Proper tree trimming. Much like you need an occasional haircut or shave, trees need their growth managed as well! We trim trees for several important reasons, such as reducing falling risk of overgrown limbs, and managing diseases in the early stages. Tree trimming can also thin out limbs, helping the tree to receive more light and air. This will keep it healthier and more attractive in the long run.

For more information on tree care, particularly tree trimming or tree removal, give us a call. We can help you evaluate your trees, and make recommendations for improvement in both health and aesthetics.



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