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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.

Tree Removal in Small Spaces Can Be Tricky Business

You can already imagine how difficult and dangerous a full tree removal can be, even if the tree is growing in a wide open space. We need the tree to fall in the correct direction, both to protect ourselves and and to avoid damage to nearby buildings, cars, or other property.

But when that tree is located in a tight space, those same problems are multiplied. Not only do you need that tree to fall where expected; missing by mere feet can be dangerous and disastrous.

On top of that, some tight spaces won’t even allow for the entire tree to fall at once, in any direction! In those situations we must take down the tree in pieces. The job is much more complicated, and requires more skill and time to complete. And of course, we must calculate not just one, but multiple cuts. Each cut must result in that piece of the tree falling exactly where we want it to go.

For these jobs we use professional climbing and rigging equipment. Climbers make calculated cuts where needed, and ropes ensure that each piece of the tree falls correctly. These jobs require a specialized team, with each member tasked with ensuring safety of each other as well as nearby property.

As you can imagine, a lot of professional training and experience is required for tree removal in small spaces. This is why we urge property owners to never attempt tree removal themselves, but especially in cases like these. Any time you attempt tree removal yourself, you’re taking an enormous risk. But when that job is conducted in multiple stages with multiple cuts to the tree, you’re taking an enormous risk with each cut. 

You might view YouTube videos on this topic, and the professionals make the process look smooth and simple. We promise, it only looks that way due to years of training and experience!

So if you do need a tree removal of any type, but especially one in a tight space, please call us for assistance. We will review the work needed and explain it step by step, so that you can make an informed and, most importantly, safe decision.

6 Steps to Keeping Your Trees Healthy

Trees hold a special place in our hearts. There’s just something so majestic and timeless about them, even the common species that exist in our own yards. Plus, since they also add curb appeal and value to your home, you want to keep your trees healthy. These six tips can protect your trees and help them thrive for many years to come.

Choose right tree for the right location. If you’re planting a sapling, make sure to choose a species that thrives in your climate. Then, choose a space that receives plenty of sunlight and provides space for the tree to grow to its full size. Remember to avoid planting near power lines, because the tree could pose a danger in the future or even need to be removed.

Mulch around the base of your tree.  Taking this quick step will help to preserve moisture (especially important in drought-prone areas) and protect the roots from lawnmower blades. Take care not to cover the trunk of the tree with mulch, however.

Water regularly. Young trees have yet to develop extensive root systems, so they need more regular watering than adult trees. A sapling needs 10 to 40 gallons of water each week. Mature trees require only about an inch of watering each week, and you might only need to worry about watering during droughts.

Fertilize regularly. In the forest, trees are nourished by decaying natural matter all around them. But in our yards, we tend to clear away leaves, lawn cuttings, and other items that would ordinarily feed a tree over time through their decomposition. Test your soil and use an appropriate slow-release fertilizer when recommended for each tree species.

Prune your trees. Trim dead or cluttered limbs during the tree’s dormant (non-growing) season to help it thrive. It is also necessary to prune your tree when damage occurs, to prevent injury or property damage from weakened limbs.

Ask an expert to assess your trees. Give us a call, and we can give your trees a checkup. Certain issues, such as disease or overgrown limbs that reduce airflow, should be corrected before long term damage occurs.

4 Tree Trimming Hazards to Avoid

Do-it-yourself projects can be part of the fun of home ownership. You learn something new, you save a bit of money, and you feel the satisfaction of a job well done. But there are some cases in which DIY projects can be risky, not just financially but physically. When trimming trees, four main hazards pose a risk of injuries and even death.

Chainsaw mishaps. The fact that over 30,000 people are injured by chainsaw accidents each year is really all you need to know. If you haven’t received training on using a chainsaw correctly, and don’t own the right protective equipment, you’re taking a big risk any time you use one. Simple pruning is one thing, but leave the chainsaw work to experts.

Falling limbs or entire trees. Due to direction of tree growth, gravity, wind, slopes, nearby trees, or unseen damage inside a tree, things won’t always fall the way you imagine they will. Tree trimming or tree removal can become dangerous in an instant, with little to no warning.

Falls from trees or ladders. Any time you’re climbing a tree, a fall can result. The odds increase substantially once you add in heavy equipment, unstable ladders, and the bodily contortions often required to reach higher tree limbs. That’s why the pros typically use a bucket lift or at least professional grade climbing equipment.

Power lines. You might be surprised at the number of people who forget to check for power lines before trimming trees, or mistakenly assume a downed line isn’t “live”. Any time power lines are present in the vicinity of tree work that you need to perform, it’s time to call in the experts. If you see a downed power line call your electric service provider immediately, and stay away from it in the meantime.

Don’t risk your life over a trimming job or tree removal. Instead, give us a call and we’ll be happy to offer you an estimate on safe and professional services.

Don’t Assume Your Trees Are Getting Enough Water!

As we barrel headlong into the hottest part of summer, many homeowners assume that their lawn irrigation systems will provide enough water for their trees. We urge you not to make this assumption, and to be on the lookout for signs of drought stress even if you have sprinklers installed in your yard. That’s because…

Your tree’s root zone might not be covered. Irrigation systems are primarily designed for the lawn and decorative garden installations. Depending upon the location of your tree(s), a discharge head might not adequately cover the root zone.

Sometimes discharge heads malfunction. If you’re simply assuming that your irrigation system is in good working order, you might soon notice dry or dead spots on the lawn. And of course, this will affect trees in those areas as well. This happens due to discharge heads becoming clogged or otherwise malfunctioning, so make sure to inspect them regularly.

Irrigation might not be deep enough for trees. Again, because irrigation systems are designed for grass management, the water output might not be sufficient for trees. Often these systems are set to soak only the top inch of soil, which is not deep enough for tree roots. If your timer is set for less than twenty minutes, the saturation is unlikely to be sufficient.

The signs of drought stress in trees are:

  • Wilting
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Leaf scorch
  • Defoliating
  • Cracks in the bark

Keep in mind that these issues can also be symptoms of over watering! That certainly makes tree care a bit more complicated. If the tree sits in a more saturated part of the yard, over watering is more likely to be the case than under watering. But in order to be sure, you should consult a professional tree care expert.

Give us a call if you have any concerns about your trees, and we can help you assess the situation. Otherwise, just remember to gauge your irrigation efforts carefully this summer, particularly with regard to younger and less established trees.

 

Tree Roots Are Important Too!

We blog quite often about tree trimming and tree removal, but there’s more to tree health than removing unnecessary or damaged limbs. The tree’s roots are the foundation of their wellness, because they absorb water and vital nutrients from the soil. They also provide stability so that your tree remains upright and firmly attached to the ground.

So naturally, you want to keep your tree’s roots healthy. Taking these steps can help to prevent disease and damage that sometimes lead to unsightly sickness or even death.

Never cut a tree’s roots. If you’re performing landscaping work in the vicinity of a tree, try not to cut into its roots any more than necessary. You especially want to avoid larger roots, because cutting them can leave the tree vulnerable to infections and insects.

Avoid suffocating a tree’s roots. Roots need oxygen, so avoid any actions that can suffocate them. An occasionally deep watering is preferable to daily watering, because your tree’s roots need time to dry out somewhat in between. Also, avoid compacting mulch and soil tightly around the tree’s base.

Speaking of water… Yes, you do want to water your trees. This is especially true if you’re experiencing a drought, or if your tree is young and has not yet developed an extensive root system. Just remember to water deeply, but not daily.

Mulch around your tree. Mulch will help to retain moisture so that your tree’s roots have plenty to drink. In the winter, a layer of mulch protects roots from the cold. As it decomposes, mulch will also provide valuable nutrients to your tree and encourage healthy growth.

Care for exposed roots. Over time, erosion of the soil underneath your tree can expose the roots. Avoid running a lawnmower over them, as this will damage both the mower and the roots. You can cover exposed roots with about two inches of soil, keeping it at least six inches from the trunk to prevent trunk rot. Or, you can use an inch or two of mulch. Planting a ground cover is another popular option.

Luckily, none of that sounds overly complicated. Take care of your tree’s roots now, and you will probably experience fewer problems down the road. But do remember that tree trimming will also keep your tree healthy. Call us to schedule your regular trim, and ward off health problems before they have a chance to develop.

 

 

Trimming Trees Near Power Lines

If a tree limb (or the entire tree) falls onto a power line, you could face a power outage or a safety hazard. So when you notice a tree in your yard that seems a bit too close to the lines for comfort, you might wonder, “who is responsible for trimming trees near power lines”? More importantly, is it safe?

Performing any sort of work near power lines can pose a potential hazard. This is true of both overhead lines through your neighborhood and the service line that runs from the pole to your house. However, the ways in which electric service providers deal with trees near these lines can vary depending on the location.

If a tree or its limbs are encroaching upon the overhead lines running through your neighborhood, you should never attempt to remove the tree or trim the limbs. The California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Cal/OSHA) requires specific training and certification of anyone working within a certain distance of these power lines. Only the electric company’s qualified contractors can work within these locations. Attempting to perform tree trimming work within these strict boundaries can result in legal liability.

As for trees encroaching upon the service line to your own home, the rules are a bit different. These lines are of lower voltage and are insulated, so they pose less of a risk to the public than the main overhead lines. They are not subject to the same Cal/OSHA regulations. However, pruning trees near these lines could still result in an accident that causes a power outage (to your home) and the work can still be dangerous (although to a lesser degree).

If you’re concerned about a tree that is growing too closely to a power line, addressing this situation now can prevent power outages and dangerous situations in the event of storm damage. But you should definitely consult with your electric service provider and/or a qualified tree trimming service before deciding how to proceed. Give us a call and we can advise you on the regulations regarding your situation, and help you remove the tree or trim its limbs when allowed and necessary.

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