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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.

What Do Yellow Leaves Mean?

When autumn approaches, you expect to see gorgeous shades of yellow, gold, and red as leaves on deciduous trees begin to change. But what if you spot yellowing leaves early in the summer months? Is this normal, or a sign of a problem?

Yes, leaves that turn yellow before the expected time of year can indeed signal a problem with your tree. In some cases you might simply need to adjust your tree care routine, especially if you’re nurturing a younger sapling that needs more support. In other cases yellowing leaves can signal a more serious disease in your tree. Tree removal can often be prevented if you catch the problem early.

Here are the tree possibilities:

Lack of water. Here in Southern California, we’re familiar with the effects of a drought. When we experience times of low rainfall, it might become necessary to increase watering of our lawns, gardens, and even trees. This is especially true with regard to younger trees, which haven’t yet developed an extensive root system that will help maximize their uptake of water. If your tree is relatively young and develops yellowing leaves, increasing waterings will often do the trick.

Pest infestations. Sometimes a tree will respond to a pest infestation with yellowing leaves. If this is the case, you might spot other signs of a pest problem, such as egg sacs (on undersides of the leaves, usually) or chewed leaves. Of course, you might spot the pests themselves, which is an almost certain way of diagnosing the problem.

Disease. Certain tree diseases, such as chlorosis, can manifest signs such as prematurely yellowing leaves. This can happen when soil is iron deficient (when there’s too much lime in the soil) or when trees aren’t getting enough light.

It’s always a good idea to have your tree’s problem correctly diagnosed before attempting to treat it. Often you can save a tree with quick attention to symptoms. But if you can’t, tree removal is sometimes necessary to protect your property from the risk of a weak tree falling. If you’re concerned about this possibility, give us a call and we can evaluate whether a diseased or dying tree should come down.

3 Ways to Tell If Your Tree is Healthy

Trees add beauty to our landscape, and curb appeal to our homes. They also provide shade to keep us cool and keep our air clean. Naturally, we want to repay all of these favors by ensuring that the trees in our yards stay healthy.

It’s a good idea to check your trees once or twice per year, or more often if you suspect storm damage or disease. We don’t expect you to become a tree expert overnight, but you can learn a lot by examining these three parts of the tree.

Trunk. If the trunk is missing bark, displays obvious signs of fungus, or shows other signs of distress such as deep holes or cracks, your tree could might be damaged or showing signs of a health problem.

Leaves. For most species, leaves should be green and shiny. If they’re dull, yellowed, spotted, or discolored, you should call an expert. Of course, these rules don’t apply if your tree is simply changing colors in the fall.

Canopy. A healthy canopy should be dense. Proper spacing of limbs is a good thing, but if they seem sparse you might have a problem.

Those methods sound fairly elementary, but tree health can become quite complicated. The good news is that you can tell a lot just by taking a few moments to quickly scan the main parts of your tree. Once you spot the obvious signs of a problem, an expert can diagnose your tree and help you decide how to proceed.

Sometimes a tree can be brought back to good health, and sometimes not. But as with human health, early action is always preferable. Give us a call if you suspect a health problem in one of your trees, and we can take a look at it for you. Then together we will decide if treatment, trimming, or removal is the best course of action.

How Will My Tree Removal Be Performed?

We always want to answer as many questions as we can over the phone, especially right now as we all practice social distancing. So a lot of you might be wondering how your tree removal will be performed, how long it will take, or how much it will cost.

We can offer some information through these blogs and over the phone, but the truth is that we really need to take a look at your tree(s) in person before we can get into details. That’s because a number of factors can make a tree removal simple or more complicated, and often we can’t spot those until we check out the site itself.

Factors like power lines, proximity to your house or other structures, nearby trees and other landscaping features will influence our removal methods. In some cases a tree might be leaning in a particular direction, or the slope of the property could influence the direction in which it falls. Prior damage to the tree itself can also make a difference.

And of course, the type of service you actually need will influence the process greatly. Depending upon the situation, you might need one or more of the following services:

Fallen tree removal.  The tree has already fallen, due to a storm or other reasons. It might have fallen completely and cleanly, in which case you just need it hauled away.

Or, a half-fallen tree might require some “help”. Due to the risk of injury those jobs can sometimes be more complicated than they look!

Large tree removal. It won’t surprise you to learn that the size of the tree significantly influences the type of removal process we need to use.

Branch removal. Sometimes you just need some branches removed, such as when they are dead, dangle over your home, or have become crowded and unsightly.

Stump grinding. Any time we cut down a tree, a stump is left over. Some homeowners are fine with this, but if you find it unsightly or need that space for another project, then we can grind it down for you.

As you can probably guess, we need to view your yard and the tree in question in order to offer you an accurate estimate. But don’t worry; we can do this while maintaining proper social distance. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to come take a look.


5 Home Projects to Tackle Right Now – Plus 3 You Should Avoid

There’s only so many times you can binge-watch Friends, and at some point you’ll want to get up off the couch. If you’re sticking close to home to ride out the coronavirus outbreak, you might be tempted to complete some long-overdue home maintenance tasks. Which ones will be most productive, and which ones should you skip for practical and/or safety reasons? We’ve got the answers…

Organization. Who wouldn’t feel better with a neat, organized home? You can start as small as that junk drawer in the kitchen, or go nuts and revamp the garage. Just stick to one area of the house at a time in order to avoid overload and confusion.

Rearrange the furniture. Before cabin fever overwhelms you, give yourself a change of scenery by rearranging the furniture. You’ll feel energized, and moving things around will give you some exercise.

Evaluate your lighting. Brighter bulbs or a few new lamps can freshen up your ambiance, and you won’t have to spend a fortune.

New decor. Online shopping offers a much better selection than brick and mortar stores, anyway. Luckily, you can score some great deals on clearance sales right now. Order up some new curtains, throw pillows, or a duvet cover, and enjoy the cozy new nest you’ve created for yourself.

Gardening. Don’t forget about the exterior of your home. You can boost curb appeal and get some healthy fresh air (and vitamin D, which supports the immune system) by planting some new flowers or a vegetable garden.

All of these ideas will keep you busy… but there are a few things you should avoid right now, too. The following activities could be dangerous:

Anything that requires unnecessary trips to the store. Order your organizing bins, gardening supplies, and so on from an online retailer. Obviously the point of quarantining is to avoid contact with others!

Work that requires professional licensing. Most of us can perform minor repairs and upgrades, but leave the serious electrical or plumbing work to the pros. There are too many different ways you can hurt yourself, and the hospital is the last place you wand to end up right now.

Tree trimming. Aside from very light pruning, leave the tree trimming work to the professionals. We have the right safety equipment for the job, and know how to make limbs (or whole trees) fall where they need to go. Give us a call if you have a tree trimming project to complete, and we can help you protect yourself and your property by giving you a quote on the work you need performed.



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