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19 Feb 2017
why spring is great time to call your arborist

Why Spring Is a Great Time to Call Your Arborist

The Four Main Reasons Why You Should Hire an Arborist in Spring


Before we figure out why spring is an excellent time to contact your local Arborist, perhaps we should first provide the reason it is imperative that you hire an Arborist.

If you have trees in your property, whether it’s residential or commercial, you will need someone to maintain, trim, prune, and look after the plants’ health and well-being on a regular basis. That someone is a professional known as an Arborist.

Arborists are trained professionals who specialize in the care and maintenance of individual trees. They have the appropriate training and knowledge with regards to the proper handling of various types of trees. In layman’s terms, Arborists are tree experts who are certified to apply their expertise.


So why is spring a good time to contact an Arborist?

Well, if you want to do annual spring cleaning on your home, office, or business establishment, there is no reason why you shouldn’t invest the same time and effort taking care of your tree’s needs during this time of year.

All the other seasons can be challenging to most trees because of the extreme temperatures, storms, and winds they have to endure. Droughts, heavy rains, thunderstorms, ice, and snow—all of these can take a toll on the trees in your property, especially if you live in an area that experiences these types of conditions each and every year.

Springtime is the only time when trees can grow new life, recover, and then relax, making is a good time for maintenance and light pruning if necessary.  Removing dead, diseased and broken branches should be removed when noticed, especially after an active winter. Look for water sprouts and suckers for removal as well. These advantageous limbs and sprouts which are weakly attached and drain needed nutrients to healthy limbs.


4 Key Reasons Why Spring Is the Ideal Time to Call an Arborist

1. To Do Maintenance Checks on Your Trees

Much like your car, your home’s air conditioning system, or your own body, trees also require routine inspections and maintenance. And these checks are best conducted during spring. Tree maintenance is necessary to ensure optimal health, diagnose potential diseases, catch mold and pest infestation before they spread, and to check the soil condition.


2. To Do Some Trimming

The subfreezing temperatures during the winter months and the fluctuating temperatures in late winter and early spring can cause serious problems to your trees. These harsh conditions can leave their limbs and branches weak. If left alone, those weakened branches can become a serious hazard, especially when faced with strong winds and storms. The warm spring weather provides an opportune time to remove these potential hazards and allow the tree to recover and grow.

Through a proper trimming process, you can remove some of the winter damage sustained by the trees and help restore their vibrant beauty as spring progresses.


3. To Do Some Pruning

Pruning is one of the processes employed by Arborists to restore the shape and structure of snow-damaged trees. Removing dead, broken and diseased branches should be removed when noticed, this can be done any time of the year. As spring progresses, your trees will start to become thicker as they get covered with green leaves. During this period, pruning becomes essential to help give the tree proper shape and structure.

Pruning will also help ensure the right balance of new growth, especially when new growth is heavier or thicker on one side. The right pruning process will not only help restore beauty and shape to your trees, it also helps with the integrity of their limbs and branches.

Note: You should avoid hiring Arborists or tree companies that practice tree topping as a technique to control tree shape and structure. Tree topping, the practice of removing whole tops of trees, is not only detrimental to the health and integrity of the tree; it’s downright illegal in some states.


4. To Provide Tree Removal Services

Let’s get one thing straight: tree removal should only be considered as a last resort and not a primary solution to dealing with snow-damaged trees. Often times, trees that sustained damage from the previous winter can still recover when handled correctly.

However, there are times where the damage sustained by a tree is so severe that restoring it is virtually impossible. At times like these, when the structural integrity of the tree is so compromised that it now poses a potential hazard, tree removal may be your only option. Springtime is the best time to do it.


What do you think? Comment below.


More info: photo by Arno Smit

16 Jan 2017
watch out for improper practices

Watch Out For These Improper Practices Used By Untrained Tree Companies

Did you know that even with advanced knowledge, recently developed techniques for proper tree maintenance and the vast amount of information we have at our disposal, there are still a lot of tree companies out there that call themselves “professionals” who practice outdated and harmful tree care practices?

And here’s the thing . . .

These improper practices are sometimes so common in certain areas that most people, homeowners to be exact, believe that the methods these so-called tree professionals employ are harmless and accepted by the community.

Take for example the use of spikes or spurs to climb trees that are about to be pruned—there are a lot of safer and more harmless ways to climb trees without poking or stabbing them with spikes from your boot. You just have to take the time to do your research and learn.

But no, a number of tree companies still adopt this method of climbing trees. It’s a shame to say, but some of these companies are quite established and have been in operation for decades.

Improper Practices Still Being Adopted by a Number of Tree Arborists in the Industry

If you think that climbing trees using spikes is a problem, hold on to your hat; there are a lot more harmful practices that many untrained Arborists still employ today.

Not considering overhead and underground obstructions when planting trees.

Believe it or not, a lot of professionals don’t really think enough about proper spacing when moving or planting trees. These people fail to grasp the importance of spacing to avoid overhead and underground obstructions.

So what happens when spacing is disregarded?

Trees grow, and sooner or later they will outgrow a small space. As a result, tree canopies could reach power lines; root systems could reach pavements or any man-made structure and cause damage to that structure, as well as to the roots.

Before planting, the type and size of the tree when fully grown should be considered when determining the appropriate amount of spacing to be allotted.

Incorrect application of mulch to insulate the soil around the tree.

Every professional, every tree company appreciates the value of mulch in providing appropriate insulation for the tree’s root system. But not all of them are aware of the proper way to actually apply it.

Are you aware of the term “mulch volcano”? Mulch volcano refers to mulch that is piled up against the trunk of a tree, making it look like a volcano. This is a practice that can damage, sometimes even kill, trees. Unfortunately, a lot of untrained tree companies still observe this practice for aesthetic purposes.

So what’s the correct way to apply mulch?

We can all agree that mulch is very important, especially when preparing the tree for the cold winter months. The right amount of mulch and the proper way to apply it depends on the species of the tree.

The safest way to apply the mulch is to place it around the tree, 3-4 feet in diameter, without the mulch ever touching the trunk. And as far as the thickness of the mulch being applied is concerned, it should be around 3-4 inches deep.

Improper pruning of trees, particularly the practice of topping.

Topping is a pruning practice that is widely rejected by reputable tree companies and professionals in the industry. In fact, topping is illegal in some states.

So, what is topping?

Topping is a pruning practice that refers to the indiscriminate removal or cutting of branches and limbs in order to shorten the height of the tree. Also known as a tree haircut, this lazy and inconsiderate practice actually creates more problems instead of providing an aesthetic appearance to your trees.

Tree topping creates large wounds on the tree that could result in decay, and eventually, the death of the tree. The decay can spread quite quickly over time and will compromise the structural integrity of the limbs and branches.

A small gust of wind and the weight of ice or snow can cause the limbs to break and fall off, which may result in unfortunate accidents, especially if the tree is in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic.

These improper tree care practices are just a few of the many incorrect methods and techniques being used by a number of so-called tree professionals. The sooner you learn about these kinds of practices, the better you are at choosing the right tree company to handle all your tree care needs.


Comment below and share your thoughts!


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Wikimedia Commons photo by Kenneth Allen

07 Jan 2017

6 Common Misconceptions about Tree Pruning

You might think you know all about tree pruning. But just so you know, there are plenty of experienced gardeners and tree caretakers who still have no clue regarding what it is really all about and why it is necessary.

As a matter of fact, gardeners and other people in charge of tree care and management have contradictory views and opinion about pruning. Let’s take for example the fact that most of them think that tree topping and pruning are the same. They are not.

Topping is an improper trimming practice that reputable Arborists would not practice, and in fact is illegal by many city pruning ordinances. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) defines topping as an “inappropriate pruning technique to reduce tree size, cutting back a tree to predetermined crown limit, often at internodes.” In other words – tree topping is bad, tree pruning is good. 

We’re going to debunk some of the common misconceptions about pruning. But before we do that, let’s tackle why pruning is considered essential for growing trees:

  1. Pruning removes diseased, damaged or crossing branches. When not removed, these branches can prove deleterious to the tree.
  2. Pruning prevents can prevent conflicts with structures, walkways, traffic and views.
  3. Pruning can be used to thin the crown of the tree in order to improve air circulation and reduce negative effects of high winds.
  4. Pruning improves tree structure through removal of hazardous branches and suppression of competing branches.

Debunking Pruning Myths

  • Myth #1: Trees Can Perfectly Do Well without Pruning

This is surely the most common misconception people believe concerning pruning. We hate to break it to you, but trees (regardless of what species) need pruning. Failing to prune your trees will not only have a negative effect on their appearance but their health too.

Apart from promoting a fuller appearance, pruning makes the tree grow stronger too. Any Arborist worth his or her salt won’t ever deem this process as an optional one.

  • Myth #2: Trees That Are Pruned Early in the Spring Will Bleed and Suffer from Health Problems

Some species of trees bleed excessively when pruned early during the spring season. However, this bleeding does not do any significant damage to the tree. When pruning trees like birch or maple during spring, don’t panic when they start to exude sap.

  • Myth #3: Cutting Close to the Tree’s Trunk When Pruning Help the Wounds Heal

A proper thinning or reduction cut is located outside the branch bark ridge and branch collar an easily identifyable elevated or humped area near the point of attachment. This region contains the tissues responsible for wound closure. The practice of flush cutting or cutting which removes the branch bark ridge and branch collar remove the trees ability to close the pruning wound and needs to be avoided.

  • Myth #4: Trees Should Not Be Pruned during Summer

This is another misconception that is not altogether true. Some pruning including corrective pruning, or light crown cleaning can be done during the summer months without causing any harm. On the other hand removal of large quantities of live tissue during periods of high temperatures or drought can cause significant stress or decline especially in mature trees. Be sure to consult your ISA Certified Arborist before any significant trimming especially in the summer.

  • Myth #5: Fruit Trees and Shade Trees Can Be Pruned Similarly

Ask any Arborist or a professional tree care management expert and you will immediately know that pruning shade trees and fruits trees in the same manner would be a huge mistake.

Shade trees should not be pruned as heavily as fruit trees. Pruning practices should be based on species and property owners goals, some fruit trees flower on second year growth which would require pruning be done shortly after bud break in the spring to ensure beautiful spring flowers where other species fruit on first year growth, in this case pruning should be done during the dormant season.

  • Myth #6: Root Pruning Will Not Harm the Tree

Removal of substantial roots can cause significant damage, and significantly reduce the trees ability to translocate water and nutrients into the canopy to fuel the process of photosynthesis. Removing even 1 large root could significantly increase a trees risk of failure or decline. Consult an arborist about proactive ways to reduce the conflict of roots with structures or landscape improvements.


What are some of the myths you’ve heard about tree pruning? Comment below.


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Tree Trimming photo by Stephen Ellis