An arborist by definition is someone who is specifically trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining trees. ISA arborist certification is a voluntary process monitored by the International Society of Arboriculture. Trees that are well cared for can add considerable value to your property. Pruning large trees can be dangerous work! Tree work should ONLY be done by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.
Most landscapers are not trained properly to safely work on trees. Also, most landscapers do not hold the correct liability and Workman's Comp insurance that is required to perform work at heights. Besides the obvious dangers involved in tree climbing, it takes many years of experience to move around trees to successfully prune a tree.
Yes – it's very important to keep an eye on your trees and shrubs to prevent stress. Trees require sufficient water, light and the right balance of nutrients to thrive. Too much or too little of any of these environmental conditions can weaken plants, making them more susceptible to insect and disease attack. Trees often deal with stresses (such as shading and competition for water and nutrients) by limiting their own growth. Signs of poor tree health include trunk decay, crown dieback, or both. These symptoms often indicate problems that began several years before. Loose bark or deformities such as trunk conks (mushrooms) are common signs of stem decay. Ask about our Plant Health Program –for early detection and prevention of tree diseases.
Newly planted trees require frequent watering (1-2x week), depending on which specimen tree and cultivar you select. Their root systems are still developing. On the other hand, mature trees have expansive root systems that extend 2 to 3 times the size of the leaf canopy. They require less watering. Exceptions to the rule are in drought years, or if you have trees that have high water requirements (ex: Japanese Maples, Redwoods and Birches). Most trees prefer deep, infrequent water cycles. The best way to properly water larger trees is by using a soaker hose placed over the root system of the tree. On a monthly basis, the hose can be turned on anywhere from 6-24 hrs, depending on your particular soil. A general guideline is to allow water to penetrate the soil down to a 2-3 foot depth. Moisture meter checks can really help determine whether a tree needs more water. Signs of water stress include early leaf drop and slower-than-expected growth.
Mulch breaks up heavy soils, helps prevent soil compaction and even moderates soil temperature. It also reduces water requirements, and helps build a healthy root system. Trees with mulched root systems--versus trees growing in lawns-- develop fine, feeder roots which more easily absorb water and minerals! Mulching also allows nitrogen to be naturally placed back into the soil. Always layer 2-4" of organic mulch for optimum results.
Trees are fertilized on an "as needed basis", so give us a call and we can let you know if your trees require supplemental feeding. Fertilizing trees really assists with more growth, and will "green up" the canopy. Feeding is a tool to usually help lethargic trees get back on path or to prepare a tree for a project where the root system of the tree may become impacted (ex: Construction, landscape projects). It is important, however, not to over feed. Over feeding can cause too much rapid growth, increase insect populations, or more shoot growth then root growth. We will advise the best fertilization program for your trees and shrubs.
Typically, it's wise to prune certain fruit and ornamental trees annually. Here is the rule of thumb: if your trees become loaded with deadwood, it's time to prune! Also, if your tree limbs are bumping into each other, brushing up against a house, or appear to be top heavy, pruning may be needed.
Most trees in the Bay Area can be safely pruned year round. There are, however, a few trees which can only be pruned at certain times of the year. Monterey Pines should only be pruned from late November through February. Apricot trees should be pruned towards the end of the rainy season. Birch trees should be pruned from May-August (after Birch Borer flight period). If you are unsure about the timing of pruning on your trees, give us a call.
We definitely use rope without any spikes to climb a tree! Spikes are only used if a tree is going to be removed. We place our lines into the canopy of the tree by using a throw line. A throw line is a thin piece of rope with a small weight bag on the end. The bag is thrown up into the tree to the desired location, and then comes down to the ground. The climbing line can now be tied on to the bag, then pulled back up into the tree and set for climbing.