Welcome to Our Blog

Tree Tips and More


What to Do When Branches Break

If you have trees, you’re going to have broken branches. Whether from weakness due to disease, damage, wind, or just simple overgrowth, at some point you will have branches that snap and come down. Others might break and then get hung up in the tree, looking very untidy. Either way, you should know what to do about broken branches.

Clean up. First, check to be sure no branches are touching a power line. If so, stop what you’re doing immediately and call the power company to report the incident. Then, check to be sure there aren’t any more branches half broken or hung up in the tree, ready to fall at any moment. Cleaning up can be dangerous in these circumstances.

Assuming you’re safe to begin work, it’s time to cut up large limbs into manageable pieces so that they can be hauled away or used as firewood. If you aren’t totally comfortable with a chainsaw, or if you don’t have the proper protective equipment, use hand tools instead. And of course, you can always call us to help you clean up.

Investigate the tree’s wound. Don’t attempt to climb the tree without the correct safety equipment. But if you can reach the tree’s “wound”, check to see if it’s a clean wound, or if it’s “ripped” or pieces are left hanging. The wound should be smoothed out to prevent disease and to help it heal.

Make a plan to deal with severe damages. In some cases, the tree will be too badly damaged after a major limb falls. It might be weakened if the trunk was deeply damaged, or the tree might be unbalanced if most of the weight is now on one side. In this case, the tree will pose a danger of falling onto your house. Give us a call to discuss whether it needs to be removed for the sake of safety.

Assess your tree’s appearance. If the damage is purely cosmetic, you can probably reshape it to some degree. We can discuss tree trimming that will help your tree to maintain a more appealing shape.

Does That Tree Need to Come Down?

Unfortunately, our trees sometimes die no matter how well we care for them. And once a tree is dead, it becomes a hazard before too long. As the wood dries out, it becomes brittle. Limbs are likely to snap and fall, or the entire trunk could break. When the tree eventually comes crashing down, it can destroy anything in its path. Tree removal is always necessary when a tree is completely dead.

But what about the ones that are ill, or barely hanging on? Do you have a chance to save the tree, or does it need to come down for the sake of safety? The best way to know is to call us for a professional consultation. But in the meantime, you can get a good idea of the urgency of your situation by asking the following questions.

How sick is the tree? If the tree is diseased, even a 15 percent loss of the canopy can mean it will never recover. If the tree is merely damaged by a storm or some other event, it could lose between 25 and 50 percent of the canopy before it’s definitely doomed. In some cases, an investment into treatment could save the treee. But the best way to know for sure is by consulting with a professional arborist.

Is the disease communicable? If the disease could be spread to other trees on your property, often the right course of action is to remove the sick tree before others are infected.

How much will it cost to recover? Sometimes a tree can be saved with the right nutrients, water, specialized applications, or anti-fungal treatments. But sometimes you will invest a significant amount of time and money into a tree and lose it anyway. A professional arborist can explain your odds of success.

Where is the tree located? If it falls, will your home, car, or other structures be at risk? What about power lines, or your family’s safety in general? When lives are at risk, it is usually better to get the tree removed as soon as possible.

Nothing lives forever, not even our trees. If a tree does need to be removed, don’t feel too bad about it. Give us a call for a professional opinion, and we can help protect your family and keep your other trees healthy.

Can You Plant Trees Around Your Swimming Pool?

If you’re considering a pool installation, you might already suspect that you will need to remove certain trees from the area. This would include species like large oak trees, whose expansive root systems can grow into the pool area and significantly damage it. But at the same time, you might want to landscape around your pool, to make it attractive and lend that beach or jungle vibe.  That’s completely understandable, and yes there are some varieties of tree that you can plant near a pool.

Acacia. Don’t plant these evergreens too close to your pool, but otherwise they are fine to place in the backyard. Their roots aren’t attracted to water, so they shouldn’t grow into your pool area. And acacias provide plenty of shade without much shedding; that’s perfect for your backyard pool area.

Windmill palms. A windmill palm lends that tropical feel, and they’re evergreen so they will look great all year long. A palm grows quickly, making it a great landscaping choice when you want the yard to look “finished” before too long. And a windmill palm won’t drop a lot of debris in your pool.

Spruce or cypress. These evergreens grow quickly and provide plenty of shade during hot summer months. And because they’re great noise blockers, a cypress or spruce tree will make your backyard retreat a bit more peaceful.

Before planting any tree near your pool, do your research so that you understand how quickly they grow and how expansive their root systems will become. But on the other hand, keep us in mind if you need to remove a tree or two before your pool installation. Call us and we’ll be happy to give you an estimate on removal, along with stump grinding or any other services you require.

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.




We welcome you to contact us for more information
about any of our products or services. Feel free to use the form below,
send us an email, or give us a call.