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What Happens When You Don’t Trim Your Trees?

No one wants yet another home maintenance chore to perform, so you might balk at the idea that you need to trim your trees regularly. After all, they’re outside! Shouldn’t they take care of themselves?

You could certainly just let nature take its course, with regard to your trees’ maintenance and health. But keep in mind that nature often does undesirable things, and that the appearance or even value of your property might be impacted. There’s a reason we live in neighborhoods with cultivated lawns, rather than in the woods. Most of us like things this way!

So if you forgo regular tree trimming, what’s the worst that could happen? Probably nothing, right away, but over time you will likely experience one or more of these problems.

Your trees could get sick. Overcrowded branches reduce air flow and can contribute to a number of tree diseases. Your trees could become less attractive over time, and probably won’t live out their normal life span.

Loose branches and accidents. Limbs that become diseased or simply too long will weaken over time. There’s no immediate risk, but at some point (and no one knows exactly when) those brittle or dead branches will break and fall. You could end up with damage to your roof or car. If the limb falls onto your neighbor’s house or car, you might be liable for damages. Limbs that fall onto power lines could cause inconvenient outages. And in the worst case scenario, someone could get hurt.

Unwanted pests and diseases. Decaying trees attract a lot of attention from termites, rodents, fungal diseases, and more. As those infestations move in and begin to thrive on your dead or dying tree, they will reproduce and move along to more spots in your yard – or even your home.

And of course, neatly trimmed trees simply look nicer in your landscape. Call us to discuss your tree trimming needs, and we’ll help you protect your property and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.


Your Trees Might Be Deficient in Iron

We’re always available to help you with a tree removal if necessary. But in many cases you probably hope to save the tree, and we definitely support that goal. If you watch diligently for signs of illness or nutritional deficiency in your trees, you can often prevent the tree from becoming so sick that it needs to be removed. That is definitely the case with iron deficiency, or chlorosis. If you notice signs of iron deficiency early enough, the condition can be reversed and the tree saved.

But first, what causes iron deficiency in trees? In the Western half of the country, our soils tend to be very alkaline. So even though it might actually contain enough iron, the alkalinity interferes with your trees’ ability to absorb the nutrient. And in compacted soils (such as from foot traffic or poor drainage) the lack of oxygen in the soil can make the problem even worse.

Some species of tree are more susceptible to iron deficiency than others, such as silver maples, red maples, pin oaks, and river birch. Iron deficiency is much less common in cottonwoods, sweet gums, bald cypress, swamp white oak, and Eastern white pine, but can still occur in these species.

Iron deficiency interrupts the process of  photosynthesis, in which trees use chlorophyll to make food. Over time the tree becomes malnourished and susceptible to many forms of illness or pests. And in time, the iron deficiency will contribute to the tree’s death.

But if you catch the signs of iron deficiency in trees early, you can reverse this problem. Look for:

  • Leaves that turn light green or yellow early in the summer
  • Leaves turning brown on the edges
  • Dark green veins in leaves
  • Leaves turn brown and fall off (before the expected time in the fall)
  • Branches begin to die

Iron deficiency in trees can be reversed by watering more often during dry spells, mulching two inches deep or less, amending the soil to make it less alkaline, and avoiding fertilizers with nitrogen or phosphate. Some or all of these methods might be recommended, depending upon the particular problems with your soil.

Hopefully you can save your sick trees. But if tree removal is necessary, do give us a call and we’ll get the job done safely.


Earth day concept. Close up image of hand holding big trees growing on soil over garden and sky background. Planting trees will help reduce global warming, reduce pollution.
Earth day concept. Close up image of hand holding big trees growing on soil over garden and sky background. Planting trees will help reduce global warming, reduce pollution.

4 Tree Care Tips for Spring

Spring is just around the corner, and that means getting your lawn and gardens in tip top shape. And of course, you want to make sure your trees are happy and healthy. These four tips can help you take good care of your trees, whether they’re old and established or new young saplings.

Water. With a long growing season ahead of us, not to mention the energy required for flowering or fruiting, your trees need plenty of water. This is especially true for younger trees, whose root systems are not yet established enough to reach moisture deep underground. Check regularly around the base of your trees, to be sure the top four to six inches of soil are comfortably moist (but not soaked). Do this each week throughout spring and summer, especially if we experience a drought.

Water deeply when needed (ideally before allowing the soil to dry out). And consider a drip irrigation system for your landscaping; it uses less water than overhead waterings, and will get the job done automatically so that you don’t risk forgetting.

Remove weeds. Make sure to remove weeds from around the base of your trees, especially the younger saplings. Weeds compete with trees for nutrients, and they detract from the beauty of your landscaping anyway.

Mulch. Mulch around the base of your trees to preserve moisture and nutrients in the soil. Mulch will also help to prevent weeds, so that aspect of tree care will be much easier.

Give your trees a checkup. Inspect your trees carefully for signs of disease and damage, including:

  • Missing bark on the trunk
  • Signs of rot
  • Broken or weak branches
  • Over-crowding of branches
  • Odd spots or discoloration on leaves
  • A lack of fruiting or flowering at the appropriate times

If you’re concerned about your trees’ health, or feel they might need trimming, give us a call. Regular trimming can help to preserve the health and life of your trees, and prevent situations like dropping limbs or loss of the entire tree.

Did You Mulch Around Your Trees?

The last thing any of us want is another chore to perform. But we also don’t want to see our trees suffer, become damaged, or die. So keeping that in mind, it makes sense to add just one more small chore to your to-do list. If you haven’t mulched around the base of your trees yet, there are five really great reasons to do that now.

Reduce erosion and water evaporation. Mulching around the base of your trees will help to reduce erosion. You will also retain more water in the soil around the roots, so that your tree is less likely to suffer from drought. You might not have to water them as often either.

Retain nutrients in the soil. When you reduce soil erosion at the base of your trees, you also retain more nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil.

Maintain a more consistent temperature around the tree’s roots. Stable temperature means a healthier tree. Mulching around your tree’s roots will keep the roots cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter, so that extreme temperatures don’t harm them.

Reduce weeds at the base of your tree. Mulch always reduces weeds. Placing it around the base of your trees will mean you don’t have to weedeat close to the trunks and risk damaging them. Plus, it’s less time spent weeding!

Double your tree’s growth rate. For all of the above reasons, mulching around the base of trees will help them stay healthy. And a healthy tree grows up to twice as fast! Therefore mulch is important around any tree, but especially young saplings that you hope to get established quickly.

Yes, mulching aorund the base of your trees is yet another household chore to perform. But it will save you time in other ways, and most importantly, it can save your trees. But if you do have questions about a tree’s health, or need tree trimming or removal services, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you.

This Tree is Rotten! What Now?

Most of us feel pretty attached to our trees. They provide beauty and shade around our homes, and there’s just something majestic about them. So when you notice something odd going on, saving the tree will probably be your first instinct. And yes, taking action quickly is your best bet. Like humans, trees can go downhill fast if they develop a health problem.

So what can you do if you notice rot on the tree’s trunk? Keep in mind the importance of the trunk. It provides support to the entire tree, and nutrients travel through it from roots to branches. A disease in the trunk is much more difficult to cure than one that affects a few limbs, because the trunk is a central part of the entire organism.

Once you’ve noticed rot on the trunk, it probably already extends deep inside the tree. That’s because rot typically starts inside and then spreads outward. Therefore, once you’ve spotted it, it can be hard to know how extensive the problem actually is. And now your tree’s entire structural integrity is in question. A weak trunk will eventually mean a falling tree. And it can fall on your car, your home, or anything else in its way.

The only question is when. Will your tree fall tomorrow, or does it have years left? That question can be difficult to answer.

Your best course of action is to contact a tree expert right away. We can help determine the extent of the rot, and the cause of it. Then we’ll know whether your tree can be saved, and how to potentially save it.

Sometimes tree diseases can be healed with the right water, fertilization, pruning, and fungal or pesticide treatments (depending upon what is needed). An honest assessment will give you the odds of saving the tree, so that you can decide whether or not to invest in the effort. You also need to learn the odds of the tree declining and falling, so that you can opt for removal. Sometimes it is better to remove the tree, rather than risk your own property and safety.

Whatever you decide to do about a rotting tree, we’re here to help. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to give you a fair and honest appraisal of your situation.

Stump Removal Isn’t As Simple As You Might Think

If you’ve spotted a few unsightly stumps in your yard, you might be tempted to remove them yourself. It’s just a stump, right? It seems like an easy do-it-yourself project.

But really, stump removal can become much more complicated than you would imagine. What looks like a simple project on the surface can actually be much more complicated below. Attempting DIY stump removal can even be dangerous.

You have no idea how far the roots extend. One method of stump removal involves pulling up the entire stump. But you can’t possibly know how far the roots extend, and you might not be aware of all electrical lines, gas lines, septic tanks, and other things underground that the roots might be touching. The end result can be that you have a much larger hole in your yard than you had pictured, and perhaps damage and disruption to vital utilities.

The necessary stump removal machinery requires experience and expertise. It seems simple, but using the necessary machinery for stump removal can become complicated. You’re facing the possibility of a lot of flying debris. And the old “pickup truck and a rope” method is far more dangerous than you would think. That rope will be under an incredible amount of tension, and accidents can happen in an instant if that rope snaps. You could be facing injuries or damage to the truck.

It’s actually a lot of work. A tree’s roots are extensive for a reason. Because it’s their job to hold up an entire tree, you can be certain that they won’t give up and let go of the soil easily. That means you could end up with a much larger hole in your yard than you had pictured, and it might require a large amount of work to fix.

Having said all of that, you can probably see that a simple little stump can quickly become a huge headache. Save that work for the professionals. Give us a call for an estimate, and we’ll help you decide if whole stump removal or simple stump grinding is right for your situation.


Protect Your Home From Fires by Trimming Your Trees

Sometimes it feels as though rapidly spreading wildfires are just an inevitable part of life here in California. But there are definitely steps you can take to protect your home from providing kindling to these events. If a fire is located near your neighborhood, cleaning up your trees and yard can discourage any stray sparks that head your way.

Inspect your yard for obvious fire risk factors, such as:

  • Trees that are excessively dry or have lost a lot of leaves
  • Trees that have been losing limbs due to dryness or brittleness
  • Trees with frail bark that is dropping
  • Trees with fungal growth or rot (because it weakens trees)

If you notice these signs in any of your trees, it is probably dying and needs to be removed anyway. But that’s especially true in our area, where wildfire is such a danger.

Some less obvious, but equally important signs of fire risk include:

  • Trees that are closer than 10 feet apart, or closer than 10 feet from your home
  • Trees on a moderate slope that are closer than 20 feet apart from one another
  • Trees closer than 30 feet apart on a steep slope

When tree limbs are closer than the above rules, they should be trimmed back to allow for more air space between each tree. Overcrowded underbrush and bushes should also receive some pruning attention. The idea is to prevent fire from spreading quickly, so that the fire department has time to respond before the flames reach your house.

Finally, remember to create a buffer zone around your home. Remove dead or dry vegetation, and trim back tree branches and shrubs so that they’re not encroaching upon the structure. Keep your lawn mowed to four inches or below, too.

If you do notice fire risks around your home, give us a call about tree trimming or tree removal services. We can help you keep your home safe while making the yard more attractive at the same time.



4 Signs That a Tree Could Be Dangerous

When you think of trees, “danger” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But over 100 people are killed by falling trees or branches every year! Sure, the trees don’t mean to do it, but deadly is deadly. And aside from the risk to your life, falling trees can also pose a danger to property like houses and cars.

Since trees can be significantly damaging or deadly, it’s a good idea to learn the signs of danger. Observe your trees in the following four ways, so that you can be on the lookout for trouble.

Check the soil underneath the tree. A tree is only as healthy as its roots. And while any tree could potentially fall in a storm, one with an uncertain foundation is much more likely to do so. Look for fungi in the soil around the bottom of the tree, because this can be a sign that the roots are rotting underground. And if there’s a disturbance going on below the surface, you  might spot cracked or raised soil around the foundation of your tree.

Inspect the trunk. The trunk is your tree’s support system, so you want it to be strong and healthy. If you spot cracks or cavities in the trunk, your tree could be weak and at risk of splitting. If the trunk is shedding bark, the tree could be sick with a fungal disease or simply dying. Dying trees are frail trees, and they’re much more easily toppled by wind or other stress factors.

Look at the limbs and leaves. Dead wood and bare spots might be a sign of disease. As those branches become more brittle, they are more prone to falling on cars, houses, or people.

Observe the direction of the tree. It’s not a sure thing, but a tree that is leaning is likely to be weakened already. If it falls, you can predict the direction it will go. Is your home underneath?

If you think a tree might have become hazardous, give us a call right away. It’s hard to predict exactly when a tree will fall or the direction it will go, but we can help you prevent danger by removing it safely.

Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover You If Your Tree Falls on Your Neighbors House?

Lately it’s been so windy outside, you might be wondering if you’ve been mysteriously transplanted into Wyoming! And when the weather gets unpredictable, any cautious homeowner starts to feel concerned about their property. What happens if your home is damaged due to events such as a tree that falls during a windstorm?  Will homeowners insurance cover this type of disaster?

Luckily, yes, homeowners insurance almost always covers damage to your home from fallen trees. Do make sure that you properly document the incident with pictures and call your insurance company right away to report the damage. As for your home’s contents that might have been damaged in the event, policies can vary drastically regarding their coverage limits for personal possessions. Make sure you’ve documented any very expensive items that you might own.

If the tree is not on your home, but in the yard, homeowners insurance varies on coverage for cleanup. If the tree blocks your driveway, for example, cleanup might be covered. But homeowners insurance often does not cover the cleanup for fallen trees that are simply lying in the yard.

If a neighbor’s tree falls onto your house, your policy should cover the damage just as if it were your own tree. However, if it becomes clear that the neighbor failed to address certain concerns, such as a rotting or diseased tree, they might actually be legally responsible for paying for the damages.

And on that note, you don’t want to be that neighbor for someone else! If wind or some other event blows one of your trees onto a neighbor’s home, there is a chance you could be held liable for damages in the event they decide to sue. That’s because neglecting a tree that obviously needs to be removed can be considered an act of negligence.

So while you’re enduring this windy weather, remember to watch out for potential problems that can befall you. Give us a call to discuss diseased or dead trees that concern you, and we’ll help you decide if they need to be removed for the sake of safety.

Why You Should Mulch Underneath Trees

If you’ve noticed that most people tend to mulch underneath their trees, you might be wondering if this is a purely aesthetic preference, or is there some other reason? And maybe you’re tempted to skip mulching under your trees, because it seems like an extra, unnecessary step. But actually, this practice is not just done for appearances, and there are several good reasons that you should go ahead and add mulch at the bottom of your trees. In fact, there are six very good reasons!

Mulch will stop erosion and help retain moisture. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of your trees will stop the soil from eroding away in those spots. It will also help to retain vital moisture in the soil. This is extra important in our climate, since Southern California experiences frequent droughts.

Mulch will keep nutrients in your soil. When you reduce water runoff and erosion, you also prevent nutrients from washing away. Adding mulch to the base of your trees will help to trap more nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to feed your tree.

Mulch insulates the tree’s roots in winter, and keeps them cool in summer. A more stable temperature prevents damage to the tree’s roots, and of course we worry about high heat here in our climate. Mulching under your tree can reduce heat from the sun and lower the temperature of the soil.

Mulch fights weeds. Without weeds at the base of your tree, you won’t have to weedeat there or apply harsh chemicals. And because you won’t be weedeating in that spot, you can protect the trunk of your tree from potential damage by the equipment.

Mulch increases your tree’s growth rate. Since your tree is protected from various risk factors, well nourished, and thoroughly watered, it can grow much more healthfully. It might surprise you that simply adding mulch can potentially double your tree’s growth rate! That’s important if you’ve planted a young tree and want to get it established quickly.

We always hope our advice can help you keep your trees healthy and happy. But if you do need tree trimming services or other help with your trees, don’t hesitate to call us.


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