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Tree Trimming Can Aid in Fire Prevention

You might guess that tree trimming can prevent falling limbs and debris, and perhaps spare your home or other structures from damage. But there’s actually another enormous benefit of tree trimming, from both safety and property protection perspectives. Pruning your trees can help to prevent fires, or at least slow their spread.

Some trees are more susceptible to fire, particularly those with:

  • low hanging branches
  • excessive amounts of debris on the ground underneath
  • dry, brittle limbs
  • overgrown branches that are crowded close together

All of those factors basically serve as kindling, helping a small fire to spread and overtake your tree(s). And if that tree is near your home, you could have an even bigger problem.

So, how can tree trimming reduce your risk of a major fire?

Vertical spacing. Branches and vegetation can create a link between the ground and treetops, so that even a small ground fire quickly spreads and overtakes a large area. When we trim trees to reduce this risk, we can remove branches that hang close to the ground, or that hang too closely over nearby shrubs.

Horizontal spacing. When trees become overgrown, their limbs might touch structures such as your house, or the limbs of other trees. Ideally, we would have at least 10 feet of clearance between individual trees’ limbs, and between tree limbs and your home (or garage, tool shed, and so on).  This distance needs to increase with a slope.

A defensible space around your home. In order to discourage the spread of fire close to your home, surround the structure with a “defensible space”. Within about 30 feet of the house, remove all dry and dead vegetation, and trim trees according to the horizontal spacing guidelines above. Within about 100 feet of the home, you should keep grass cut to a maximum of four inches, and create vertical spacing between trees and ground.

A baseline rule is this: Anything that could serve as fuel for a fire should be cleared away from your home, and you should promote sensible spacing between trees with regular tree trimming. For an evaluation of your home’s tree safety, as well as a quote on services, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to take a look.



6 Reasons to Mulch Around Trees

You’re busy, so it makes sense to skip any unnecessary chores. And considering the heat in July, you probably aren’t feeling too keen on extra yard work anyway. So, you might be wondering whether it’s really necessary to mulch around your trees, or is this simply an aesthetic step that you could skip?

Actually, there are several important reasons that mulching around your trees is a good idea.

Mulch reduces erosion and water evaporation. Retaining more water in the soil around your tree’s roots provides more hydration for the tree, and also cuts down on the frequency of necessary watering.

Mulch helps the soil to retain nutrients. By reducing water runoff and erosion, you can retain more nutrients around your tree’s base. Adding a few inches of mulch will help the soil to provide more potassium, nitrogen, and phosporus to the tree.

Mulch keeps the roots cool in the summer and warm in the winter. A more stable temperature leads to a healthier tree. Of course, summer heat is a particular concern here in California.

Mulch reduces weeds. A layer of mulch will reduce weeds by up to 85 percent. You might prefer the look of a less weedy yard, but this also means you won’t need to weedeat close to the base of your tree.

Protect the base of your tree. And on that note, you should avoid weedeating near your tree, because tree trunks can sustain damage from the equipment. Over time, weakened trunks mean a weakened, sickly tree.

Mulch can nearly double your tree’s growth rate. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that healthy, well-nourished and hydrated trees will grow faster – up to almost twice as fast! That can be a big incentive when you’re trying to get a young tree established in your yard.

As you can see, mulching your trees might be yet another household task you need to perform. But once you’ve taken care of this step, you can actually save yourself time on other chores (frequent watering, weedeating, and so on). And of course, a healthy tree is a strong and stable tree, that is less likely to sustain damage over time.




6 Critical Tree Care Tips for Summer

Your trees provide welcome shade during the hot summer months. In return, why not perform a few basic wellness checks to keep them healthy? This brief guide will introduce a few basic tree care tips, but please feel free to call us with more complicated questions.

Check the soil. Many tree health issues begin with the soil. Nutrients, acidity, and other components of your soil will go a long way toward protecting the health of your trees (or creating health problems, as the case may be). Check your soil acidity and adjust according to your tree’s needs, and remember to fertilize regularly. These steps are particularly important for young saplings.

Water your trees. During periods of dry weather, especially when it’s hot outside, your trees will appreciate a thorough watering. During periods of drought, offer your trees about one inch of water every 7 to 10 days. Since it’s better to water deeply just once, rather than offering shallow watering more frequently, this should be easy to fit into your schedule. Just be careful not to over-water if your yard drains poorly.

Mulch your trees. A mulch ring, at least two inches deep, will help to retain moisture and discourage weeds.

Check for pests. You might notice the pests themselves, clinging to leaves and branches, or simply their signs of damage (chewed leaves in most cases). Japanese beetles and bagworm are especially problematic in the summer. If you notice a proliferation of any pest, call a tree expert immediately to prevent further damage.

Read all herbicide labels. Some herbicides that kill weeds can also damage trees. Read labels carefully and use chemicals correctly in your yard.

Address damages right away. If a storm, pest infestation, or some other event damages your trees, address the problem right away. Removing dead or dying limbs can rejuvenate the tree and prevent damage to roofs, cars, and structures in the yard. Call us for professional tree trimming services, and we can help to improve the health of your trees while protecting your property.



What Are Your Trees Trying to Tell You?

When something is wrong, you can communicate your symptoms quickly and efficiently by talking to your doctor. But trees obviously don’t possess the gift of spoken language, so they communicate in other ways. If you’ve noticed any of these changes in your trees’ leaves, they might be attempting to tell you something. Pay attention, and you can preserve their health.

Leaves are turning sooner than expected. We all look forward to the brilliant colors of fall, but if deciduous tree leaves begin to turn yellow, gold, or brown throughout the summer this could be a sign of stress or disease. The culprit could be simple dryness, in which case watering your tree should preserve its lush green leaves. But if your trees are getting enough water and the leaves are still taking on an unexpected hue, this could be a sign of insect infestation or disease. Call a tree expert to diagnose the situation before the damage is permanent, or spreads to more trees in your yard.

The leaves aren’t changing. Sometimes the opposite problem happens, and autumn arrives without the long-anticipated explosion of color. In California this is often due to a long summer, and is not a sign of a serious problem. Your trees just don’t realize that it’s fall yet. But continue watering your trees if the summer has been a hot and dry one.

Leaves are falling in late summer. Yes, we expect certain trees to lose their leaves in the fall. But if those leaves begin to drop sooner than October or November, it doesn’t mean that autumn is arriving sooner. In many cases this happens because your trees are suffering from a long, dry summer (usually those that prefer a cooler, more Northern climate). If you begin to notice these signs of stress in late summer or early fall, watering the tree will help to keep it healthy.

Much of the time, the problems communicated by a tree’s leaves are simple and easy to remedy. But if you suspect a tree is dying, it could become a hazard quite quickly. Give us a call to discuss whether tree trimming services can help with your situation, or if you might need to remove the tree entirely to keep your home and family safe.

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.


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