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Tree Trimming: Which Branches Need to Be Removed?

As with any other part of owning property, maintaining your trees is simply part of protecting the beauty and value of your home. But because your trees change gradually over time, it can be difficult for the average homeowner to spot what needs to be done with regard to tree trimming. At what point do your tree’s branches need to be trimmed? Which ones, and why?

Of course, for those of us in the tree trimming business, answering these questions has become second nature. With a quick glance at a tree, we can often spot the problems, which usually fall into one of three categories: Branches are overgrown and crowded, they’re broken and unappealing or dangerous, or the tree has become diseased. Sometimes more than one factor is present.

Overgrown and crowded branches need to be thinned, to allow more light to penetrate into the crown of the tree. Thinning these branches can also improve air circulation and keep your tree more healthy. Sometimes, overgrown branches can become too long and brittle, and pose a risk of breaking (and possibly falling). And if those branches are touching your home or overhanging it, they become a risk to the structure as well.

If branches have already broken, the tree might look uneven and unsightly. Those that are halfway broken and dangling will fall at some point, and could pose a danger. And if one side of the tree is badly damaged, the whole thing might be off-balance and more likely to fall at some point.

Finally, a tree that is beginning to show signs of disease will often respond to some regenerative pruning. Tree trimming can remove diseased branches so that a disease does not spread throughout the whole tree, or to nearby trees. Allowing more air to circulate will also improve the health of the tree. If we take this step early enough, we can often save the tree.

If you haven’t had your trees assessed recently, now is the time to do so. Give us a call, and we’ll help you decide if your trees’ health could be improved, or your property protected, by a simple trim of the branches.

What to Do About Broken Branches

Broken tree branches are a normal occurrence, due to wind, disease, overgrowth, snow and ice, or other natural events. But when a major limb breaks off and falls, you might soon face some decisions regarding tree trimming or removal.

First, start the cleanup. Look up. Are there more broken pieces of the branch, dangling and ready to fall? Are any branches touching power lines? In the event of a dangerous situation, call in the experts immediately. Otherwise, you can begin the cleanup process. If you’re not extremely comfortable using a chainsaw, and don’t have the right protective equipment, consider using hand tools or calling a professional to cut up large limbs.

Check out the “wound”. Did the branch break off cleanly from the trunk, or are pieces left hanging? Is the trunk damaged? Ripped bark can be repaired by using a knife to smooth the wound’s edges. Doing this can help to prevent further decay from setting in.

Note: If climbing will be necessary to perform this chore, use all necessary safety precautions or call a tree trimming company for help.

Address severe damages. If the trunk split deeply where the branch detached, the entire tree could be weakened. Another common situation is that trees become unbalanced, with heavy limbs all on one side. If the tree has become a danger of falling, especially onto your house, the whole thing might need to be removed. Don’t attempt this task yourself, especially if the tree is a large one. A damaged tree can be particularly difficult to remove, and poses a danger if you don’t possess the right equipment and expertise.

Address aesthetics. If the tree can be saved, you might still find its new shape unappealing. Call us to discuss tree trimming services, and we can help you re-shape the tree.


What to Do With That Ugly Old Stump

For most situations, a tree removal is an inevitable part of home ownership. Trees get sick and die, and must be removed when they become a danger. Problem is, they leave an unsightly stump in your yard when the job is done. If you’re wondering what to do with that ugly old stump, here are a few common courses of action. Some are more advisable than others.

Leave it there. Some homeowners simply leave the stump in their yard, and let nature take its course. This isn’t the best plan for a few good reasons. Eventually the stump will begin to rot, and attract pests and encourage the spread of certain tree diseases. You could be placing other trees at risk, or even your home if the rotting wood attracts a termite swarm.

Dig it up. Believe it or not, some stumps can be dug or pulled out of the ground. This is only the case when a young tree has died or been removed, because they haven’t yet established an extensive root system. However, for species with fast-spreading roots, or older trees, digging out the stump can be impossible – or at least wreck your yard if you try.

Burn it. Some people choose to burn old stumps, but this method can be risky for obvious reasons. Fires can quickly get out of control and put your home at risk, especially during dry weather. And in some municipalities you could violate the law.

Grind it down. Stump grinding is the best course of actions for more mature trees with extensive root systems. However, we want to caution you that stump grinding can be dangerous work, and it’s not something you want to attempt alone or without the right training.

If you have an unsightly stump in your yard, give us a call to discuss your options. In most cases stump grinding is the way to go, and we will leave your yard looking like the stump was never there!

4 Tree Trimming Mistakes to Avoid

The DIY (do-it-yourself) mentality is admirable, but can sometimes backfire. While most lawn and garden chores can be successfully completed by the average homeowner, we wanted to caution you about potential tree trimming mistakes. Trees require a bit more finesse than many other home maintenance chores, because the results of a mistake can range from unsightly to expensive and even to dangerous. Most tree trimming mistakes fall into these following categories, which we definitely recommend that you avoid.

Using the wrong tools. If you don’t have just the right tools for the job, results can turn out unattractive or even unhealthy for the tree. Rough or jagged cuts, from dull blades, can do more damage than good. Even something as simple as failing to properly clean tools between jobs can spread diseases from one tree to another.

Topping your tree. Simply put, topping a tree is something that an amateur should never attempt. Not only are climbing jobs inherently dangerous; topping can result in unexpected results. Often this technique will stimulate secondary growth with a weaker structure, and the result is an unattractive tree that poses a risk of splitting and falling in the future.

Improper technique. Tree trimming involves more precision than simply removing cluttered branches. Without the right technique, you tree can end up with an odd shape, unsightly scars, or water sprouts.

Unsafe practices. Without the right equipment and training, homeowners who attempt DIY tree trimming can experience unexpected falls and other mishaps. Damage to cars and buildings is the least of your worries; amateurs are sometimes injured and killed by falling limbs. And whatever you do, never attempt a complete tree removal on your own. Trees often do not fall the way bystanders believed they will.

We certainly don’t want to discourage a can-do attitude. But unless you’re dealing with the smallest of trees under the safest of circumstances, the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and call us. We will assess your tree trimming job and help you determine the safest and wisest way to proceed.

3 Reasons to Trim Your Tree in the Cool Season

When you think of doing work in the yard, you usually don’t picture yourself doing it in late fall or winter. But actually, that’s just the right time for certain tasks.

You might already know that trimming trees regularly can promote healthier growth, keep them looking nicer, and reduce the risk of breakage or falls (and damage to your home). But you might not have realized that late fall or winter is the best time to perform this type of maintenance, for three main reasons…

Lower risk of damage from pests. Trimming trees leaves them with a “wound”. And while these wounds do heal, they can be vulnerable to certain problems in the meantime. If you trim trees in the hot summer months when more pests are present, you’re practically inviting them to infect your trees. That’s why we usually recommend tree trimming in the cooler months, when certain pests are dead or dormant. If they’re not lurking around, they’re less likely to infect vulnerable spots on trees and cause a problem.

It’s easier to trim them now. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall, so as we head into winter they’re looking “naked”. This helps us to spot which areas need to be removed or trimmed back, and you can get a good look at the tree’s structure. When leaves grow back in the spring, you’ll enjoy a nicely shaped, symmetrical tree with plenty of air flow to allow for optimal health.

Trimming trees now will accelerate growth in the spring. Trim your trees during their dormant season, so that they aren’t stressed by trying to both grow and heal at the same time. Your trees will enjoy a nice rush of growth when spring arrives, after their wounds have healed slowly over winter.

It’s easy to see why late fall or winter are the best times to trim trees. But if you have any other questions about the process, or what is right for your particular situation, give us a call. We’ll take a look and then advise you on how to proceed with trimming your trees.

4 Ways Trees Can Damage Your Home

Trees add beauty to your landscape and shade to keep you cool… But they can also be dangerous, to both lives and property. Whether you’re considering a new sapling or evaluating an older tree on your property, it’s important to remember that trees can and do damage homes.

Trouble for foundations. When trees are just young saplings, it’s hard to imagine them damaging your home. But whatever you plant today will grow much larger in the future. And that includes their root systems, which lie unseen underground. When a tree is planted too close to the home, roots can invade around the foundation and eventually cause cracks which compromise the integrity of the whole structure.

Complications for plumbing. Tree roots can invade underground plumbing and water lines, too. If you notice a sudden drop in your usual water pressure, a common culprit is a break in the line due to encroaching tree roots.

Swarms of pests. Okay, they usually won’t “swarm” dramatically, but trees growing too close to your home can serve as a helpful entry point for many types of pests. Squirrels, mice, and even raccoons can use nearby branches to access your attic. If the tree is unhealthy or dead, you could end up dealing with a large carpenter ant or termite nest near the home.

Fire hazard. As you might suspect, trees growing too close to your home or any other structure can increase the risk of fire. Fire prevention experts recommend that you keep encroaching branches trimmed way back away from the house, and that you remove any dead trees that could serve as easy kindling to wildfires.

Falling dangers. Finally, as you might have expected, there is always the danger of a tree falling onto your home. This is more likely to happen if the tree is damaged, diseased, or dead, but can happen with living trees as well. Since a falling tree can endanger your family and cause massive amounts of (expensive) damage to your home, it is wise to regularly assess any that are growing within “falling distance”.

If you have questions about tree trimming, give us a call. Taking action now can keep trees healthy and less prone to breakage or falls.

How to Know It’s Time for Tree Trimming

You see your trees every day, so it can be difficult to notice gradual changes over the long term. How do you know it’s time to trim your trees? Just be on the lookout for these signs.

Broken branches. Broken branches can be unsightly, but they can also drop unexpectedly and cause damage or injury. These needs to be removed promptly to save you from more problems later.

Dead sections. If you notice sections of dead wood on your tree, it needs to be assessed immediately. Decaying wood can drop off unexpectedly and pose a danger to people and property below. In some cases the entire tree might need to be removed, but in other cases tree trimming can remove dangerous sections and save the tree.

Dense branches. If you can’t see through your tree, it’s time for a trim. Thick, dense branches are more likely to catch wind during a storm and sustain damage. Plus, trimming those overgrown branches can allow more light and air to all parts of your tree, keeping it healthier in the long run.

Wandering branches. When a branch grows too long it can tangle in power lines, help unwanted critters access your attic, or simply become structurally unsound. Overly long branches need to be removed promptly before they cause considerable damage to your home or other structures.

Abnormal growth patterns. In some cases, competing with other nearby trees can cause a tree to grow in strange shapes. If your tree is growing more outward than upward, for example, the entire thing can eventually collapse under its own weight. Regular tree trimming can prevent loss of the entire tree.

In other cases, an oddly shaped tree might simply be an eyesore. Trimming it into a more pleasing shape can rejuvenate the look of your whole yard.

Do remember that tree trimming can be dangerous, and don’t attempt these tasks yourself. Give us a call and we can offer you an estimate on pruning your trees into a safer, more attractive shape.


5 Trees That Add Value to Your Property

If you’re making a few changes to your yard, adding a tree can both increase the attractiveness of your home and boost the value of your property. Even if you don’t intend to sell your home in the near future, it makes sense to consider the potential added value of a tree before selecting one. After all, it will (hopefully) grow there for a very long time!

So on that note, you might be wondering about the most popular trees, and why many home buyers tend to prefer them. These are just suggestions, of course, and individual tastes do vary, but many people appreciate the following species:

  • Crepe myrtle
  • Japanese maple
  • Ornamental cherry
  • Magnolia
  • Citrus trees

Crepe myrtles, ornamental cherry trees, and magnolias are all known for their beautiful blooms, whereas Japanese maples produce brilliant red foliage. Citrus trees, of course, produce delicious fruit which many people enjoy growing in their own yards. In the past some homeowners bemoaned fruit trees as “messy”, but these species have enjoyed an uptick of popularity in recent years due to growing interest in local and organic food.

What about trees that are unpopular with buyers? Again, this issue can often be a matter of taste. But in fire-prone areas, gum trees are generally a very bad idea. These trees are highly flammable.

When choosing a new tree for your yard, remember to consider space issues. Don’t plant the tree too close to your home, driveway, sidewalks, or other concrete structures that could be disturbed by the tree’s roots. Also consider the future height of the tree, to avoid shading areas you don’t want shaded, or blocking important views. Finally, remember that all trees require pruning throughout the years, both for safety and aesthetic reasons. If you have questions about tree trimming and other aspects of tree care, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.


Tree Care for Boosting Your Home’s Curb Appeal

As with many things in life, first impressions matter a lot in real estate sales. Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see, whether they drive by, view your ad online, or show up with a realtor for a walk-through. So when you list your home for sale, one of the most important things you can do is boost the curb appeal by cleaning up the yard and performing repairs on the exterior of the home.

Buyers will often evaluate a home’s condition by inspecting the landscaping. Flower beds, shrubs, and trees that are properly maintained not only increase the beauty of the home’s exterior; they also signal a dedicated owner who takes care of home maintenance tasks as they arise. This might subconsciously hint to the prospective buyers that you’ve also done a good job at maintaining the home’s exterior – particularly hidden areas like plumbing and electrical work.

As you ready your home for showings and possible sale, consider the following tree care chores to be “must do’s”:

Gather and remove fallen debris. Fallen branches and leaves make your yard look unkempt. Luckily, they’re also easy to gather and remove. Make sure to look up, too; debris on the roof is just as distracting as debris on the lawn.

Trim trees that are overgrown and crowded. Tangled, messy limbs are less visually appealing. Discriminating buyers might also view unkempt trees as a sign that other parts of the house have not been well maintained. At the very least, they know that tree care will be one more chore they must address immediately, so take care of that for them.

Evaluate safety hazards. Trees that are damaged, diseased, or overhanging important structures pose a risk to both property and life. Prospective buyers can surely see these things as well, and will probably view them with dollars signs hanging in the air! Since potential danger and expensive damage can turn off buyers, remove any diseased or damaged trees before showing your home.

Remember to consider stump grinding services. Removing dangerous trees is most important, but keep in mind that some people find the leftover stump to be unsightly as well. If you’re removing dead or dying trees anyway, go ahead and remove the stumps to add maximum curb appeal to the home.

If you have questions about any of these tree care services, please call us for a complimentary estimate and we’ll be happy to assist you.

How to Know It’s Time to Say Goodbye

When a tree is really and truly dead, it needs to come down. Leaving it can be risky, since dead trees become a risk for falling on your house, car, other property, or even a person.

But for other trees, the answers aren’t so simple. If the tree is diseased or otherwise weakened, you might be tempted to try and save it. How do you know when that’s possible, and when should you accept the inevitable and say goodbye?

Where is the tree located? Is it near your home or other property? If it falls, will it take out power lines or a children’s play structure? If the tree poses a significant risk to live or property, and is significantly compromised already, it might be better to go ahead and have it removed.

What is the cost of attempting to recover the tree? Treating a diseased tree isn’t always cheap. Some problems can be fixed with the appropriate nutrients, water, or anti-fungal treatments. Others require specialized applications and can require several years to restore to good health. Often, you will need to consult a tree expert to be sure you’re doing the right things… And even then, there are not guarantees, which brings us to our third consideration.

What are the odds of recovery? A professional arborist can give you an honest assessment of your tree’s odds of recovery. With damage, loss of 25-50 percent of the canopy spells disaster for most hardwood trees. But with disease, even a 15 percent loss of canopy can signify an unlikely recovery. It is possible that you would spend quite a lot of money to recover the tree, only to lose it anyway.

Is the disease communicable? If other trees on your property are at risk, removing the diseased one right away can often save the rest.

If you assess these three factors and decide that tree removal is necessary, try not to feel bad about it. Trees live long lives, but nothing lives forever. Chances are good that most of the trees on your property will thrive for years to come. Call us for an estimate on your tree removal, and we can walk you through the process and help you make the decision that is right for you.


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