Welcome to Our Blog

Tree Tips and More


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.

Are You Listening? Your Trees Are Trying to Tell You Something

If you’re feeling under the weather, you probably communicate your symptoms to your doctor by scheduling an appointment or at least calling them on the phone. But trees don’t talk, so they communicate the status of their health in other ways. If you’re listening, and willing to learn the signs of various health conditions in trees, you can diagnose any problems early and treat them quickly.

Look for these signs of tree health in their leaves, so that you know how to proceed with watering tree trimming, or other methods to save them.

Leaves are changing earlier than usual. If your trees’ leaves begin to change, you might assume fall has arrived. But fall is not supposed to arrive in the summer, and you shouldn’t celebrate prematurely. If you notice your deciduous trees changing to yellow, gold, or red before the usual time, something is probably wrong.

In many cases, drought is to blame. Your trees might simply need more water. But if you’ve been watering your trees faithfully and still see signs of autumn before September, an insect infestation or certain diseases might be to blame. It’s time to call an expert.

Or, the leaves don’t change on time. Generally speaking, this part of nature should be predictable. So when unpredictable things happen, it’s usually a sign of something wrong. When autumn arrives and your trees’ leaves have not started to change color, drought or another problem might be afoot.

Leaves begin to drop at the wrong time of year. We expect the leaves of deciduous trees to change color and fall off the tree in autumn. But if they begin to drop earlier than about October, your trees are trying to tell you that they’re sick or thirsty (and perhaps both).

Always contact an expert at the first sign of an infestation or disease in your trees. With prompt attention and sometimes tree trimming or other service, we can often save your tree if the problem isn’t too advanced.

Is That Tree Too Close to Your House?

In the tree removal business, we sometimes deal with trees that have fallen on a customer’s house. But we would rather hear from you before that tree ever falls, so that we can remove the danger before anything serious happens. Preventing a catastrophe with tree removal is a lot safer and more affordable than dealing with one after it happens.

When a tree is growing too close to your home, a lot of negative consequences can occur, such as…

  • The tree dies or is damaged by a storm, and comes down on your roof. The damage can be extensive, people can get hurt, and you might face days or weeks of repairs.
  • Limbs that overhang your home come down onto the roof. Even though it’s not a whole tree, your roof can be damaged and leaks (water damage) might even occur.
  • The tree’s roots grow into the foundation of your home, causing serious damage over time.
  • The tree is simply in the way, blocking sunlight to your home. This might not sound like a big deal, but it can lead to rotting wood on your home’s trim or roof.

These events can occur because a previous homeowner didn’t think ahead to the future. Maybe they planted a cute little sapling without much consideration for how large it would grow. And now, 40 years later, you have a massive tree placed way too close to your house.

On the other hand, many trees planted at a safe distance from your home can still become a problem. The roots are far away and there’s no danger of overhanging limbs… But the tree is now weakened by damage or disease, and leaning precariously toward the house. If it’s tall enough, it can still land on your roof when it falls. And the timing of that fall can be unpredictable.

In any of these situations, taking preventive action is the way to go. Give us a call if you think a tree is too close to your home. We’ll assess the situation and help you decide whether tree removal is necessary.

How to Properly Maintain Your Citrus Tree

If you’re lucky enough to have a citrus tree in your yard, you probably feel motivated to take good care of it. After all, who wouldn’t love to enjoy an abundance of free, delicious fruit right outside their door?

But you might make the mistake of thinking that a citrus tree won’t need much care, because they do grow so easily here in Southern California. Yes, our climate is ideal for this type of fruit tree, but they still need some attention and maintenance in order to stay perfectly healthy. When you take good care of your tree, you’ll enjoy a prettier landscaping feature as well as more fruit each season.

Prune away dead branches. Even a healthy tree will have some dead twigs and branches. When you see these, remove them right away. Dead branches can attract certain pests that will take a deep toll on fruit trees.

Remove suckers if they appear. Does it look like your tree is sending up new shoots at the base of the trunk? While it might seem like a harmless attempt at procreation, suckers can actually damage the tree by sapping too much of its energy. Remove these as they appear.

Thin your citrus tree as needed. Like any other type of tree, citrus trees might need occasional thinning. Each year before it begins to produce flowers, look at your tree’s branches. If the canopy is so overgrown that branches are touching, they could suffer lack of light and air circulation. Properly thinning them can ensure that the tree stays healthier, resists fungal infection, and produces better quality fruit.

Consider keeping your tree shorter. Pruning your citrus tree won’t increase fruit production, as is often the case with many types of fruit trees. But if you keep it on the shorter side, you’ll still enjoy plenty of fruit and you’ll be able to gather it all!

If you need help with pruning your citrus tree, or have any other questions, give us a call. We can help you keep your tree healthy and productive for many years to come.

Why Crown Reduction is Important for Your Trees

If you have an established yard with mature trees, you might think of your yard as “low maintenance”. At least, it could seem that way by comparison with new landscaping that requires intensive care and support. But even older trees do need occasional trimming and other maintenance work.

In particular, mature trees can eventually look overgrown or messy. Their shape might become less pleasing over time, as many smaller branches began to crowd one another. If that is the case, crown reduction can restore your tree’s former splendor.

What is crown reduction? Crown reduction is a specialized horticultural technique in which primary branches and foliage around the top of the tree (the crown) are trimmed or removed. The correct branches must be identified by an expert so that the end result is a pleasing shape at the top of the tree. The result can shock you at first! But this very carefully planned type of pruning is necessary for both aesthetic and health reasons.

Why is crown reduction important? The primary reason you might consider crown reduction is to achieve a more “clean” appearance for your tree. But this technique will also serve to keep your tree healthy. When we remove cluttered branches, more sunlight can penetrate through the branches. Crown reduction also improves air flow, lowering the risk of some diseases. And because old and dead wood is removed, we can often reduce the risk of falling branches that can be messy or even create a hazard.

Crown reduction is not something the amateur should consider! It requires knowledge of the technique along with special climbing equipment, and the job can be dangerous. Give us a call to discuss crown reduction for your tree, and we’ll help you restore its beauty and health in a safe, professional manner. And we’ll even clean up before we leave!

Should You Consider Stump Grinding?

We all love our trees, and hate to see one go. But that sometimes has to happen for a variety of reasons. The tree might get sick and die, or it might become too damaged to save. It could partially fall during a storm, or it might simply grow too large and encroach upon your home. Whatever happens, there will be a stump left over. There might even be a few stumps in your yard already, from trees removed in the past.

Some homeowners simply leave the stump there, but that’s not always a good idea for several reasons. For one, the stump can actually begin regrowing a new tree. So if the tree needed to be removed for aesthetic reasons or because the roots were growing into your foundation, you’ll simply regrow a new problem.

And unfortunately, a decomposing stump will invite termites into your yard, because they love rotting wood. From the stump they are very likely to move on into your home, where they can do thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

Stumps can also get in the way of new projects you want to install, like a garden or a walkway. And of course, stumps just aren’t very appealing from an aesthetic point of view.

When we remove a tree, we can truly remove the entire thing – stump and all. And we will often do that with stump grinding. But if a tree was removed in the past and you have a leftover stump, you might just need a stump grinding service.

Stump grinding is one way to deal with these stumps that are so unsightly and inconvenient. We simply grind it down level with the ground, and you can’t tell there was ever a tree there! If that sounds like the solution you’re looking for, just give us a call. We will come out and assess your situation, and advise you on whether stump grinding can solve your problem.


How Frequently Should Palm Trees Be Trimmed?

Most of us mow our laws and trim our shrubs regularly. But what about palm trees? You might be wondering how frequently palm trees should be trimmed, and we have the answer!

First, it depends upon your reasons for wanting to trim the palm. Primarily, we trim palms for a few very important reasons:

  • It’s overgrown, many fronds have died, and the tree has become unattractive
  • The dead fronds and clutter create a concern about fire hazards
  • The overgrowth has become too large and encroaches upon the house, porch, or other structures
  • The overgrowth is blocking your view
  • Numerous dead fronds and just general overgrowth have created the perfect nesting spot for scorpions and other pests – Yuck!

On the other hand, we’ve heard a few bad reasons for trimming palm trees. Unlike other trees and shrubs, trimming a palm won’t stimulate new growth! So rejuvenation pruning is not necessary with palms. In fact, you could damage the tree if you trim it unnecessarily. So only trim palm trees when needed, for one of the above reasons.

Having said that, the frequency of trimming a palm will depend upon whether it has become unattractive, a nuisance, or dangerous. That might mean you need to trim it every few years, but the situation varies depending upon whether the above factors are present.

And of course, you want to be safe when trimming a palm or any other tree. Wear the correct protective equipment, and don’t use sharp implements or any other tools if you don’t feel completely confident about your ability to handle them.

In many cases, professional consultation is the way to go with palms. Give us a call, and we’ll assess the health and appearance of your palm tree. If trimming is necessary, we can do the job for you without risking the health of the tree. And all you have to do is make a phone call!


Is Your Tree Sick? What to Do Next

You would probably notice if a child or another family member looked ill. There are signs of sickness that we can all recognize. But when it comes to your trees, would you notice if one of them were suffering from a disease? And would you know what to do?

Is your tree sick? Trees provide us with shade and natural beauty, and can increase both the curb appeal and monetary value of real estate. Plus, many of us are simply emotionally attached to our trees! And so it makes sense that we want to take care of them. The following signs can point toward a disease, pests, or something else going wrong with your tree:

  • Leave are discolored, spotty, or have holes
  • Limbs are dropping off
  • Shedding of brown or red needles (in evergreens)
  • Bark is flaking or falling off
  • You actually notice bark beetles on the tree
  • Fungus is present on the trunk or limbs of the tree
  • Leaves become brittle in the summer months
  • Insects are nesting in the tree’s roots
  • Sightings of carpenter ants

If you see any of these signs, it’s a good indication that your tree is sick and needs help.

What to do for a sick tree. As with human illnesses, a correct diagnosis will help you decide what to do next. Early treatment can possibly save your tree from death, so you don’t want to delay by ignoring the problem or treating the tree for the wrong illness. So if you notice the above signs, consulting with a tree expert should be your next action.

Call us for assistance right away, and we can help you determine what is going wrong with your tree. In many cases a sick tree can be cured and saved. But if it turns out that your tree is too far gone and needs to be removed, we can do that safely.



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.