As a home or property owner, you’re familiar with the seemingly never ending expenses that crop up throughout the year. While it is certainly wise to learn a few skills and accomplish some of these tasks on your own, tree pruning and removal should not be on your DIY list.
Tree trimming and removal are dangerous tasks. In fact, the chance of injury for tree care professionals is three times higher than for those in the police or fire industries. (Source) When it comes to the trees on your property, play it safe and hire a professional.
Four Reasons to Hire a Certified Arborist
1. Improper pruning causes more harm than good and can even kill your tree.
We have a saying here at Friendly Tree Service: “Pruning is a science as much as it is an art.” In fact, it’s better not to prune at all than to prune incorrectly. Every year, more trees are killed or damaged from improper pruning than from insects and pests.
Each individual tree has its own requirements as far as which cuts need to be made, and where. A skilled arborist knows which limbs are weak or diseased, and how they should be trimmed. He knows how to make training cuts to develop the tree’s natural shape or fill in an open area, and he knows how to eliminate weak spots so that the rest of the tree grows healthy and strong.
Trained arborists also understand when minor trimming or aggressive pruning is needed, and they know how to properly remove dead or diseased trees safely – without endangering themselves, other people or the property.
2. Tree pruning and removal is more dangerous than you think.
Unfortunately, many well-meaning people think as long as you have a good saw, anyone can prune a tree. This line of thinking can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities from falls, falling trees or branches, contact with power lines and injuries from cutting equipment.
Still not convinced? Here are some statistics provided by ArborGlobal.com:
- The risk of serious accident for a tree worker is 1:120
- Tree workers experience 6 deaths per 100 accidents
- The fatality rate in Arboriculture is 35 deaths per 100,000 workers per year, compared to the average fatality rate for all industries of 4 deaths/100,000 workers per year
Sometimes trees only show minimal signs of damage; it takes a highly trained eye to know if the tree is hazardous and poses a serious risk. A trained professional understands how to recognize a hazardous tree and the safest method to remove it. Certified arborists, like those at Friendly Tree, have been trained in safe tree pruning and removal practices and know how to limit the impact to your property.
3. Arborists have the necessary equipment and training.
Professional arborists have tree cranes that allow them to reach large or difficult to access trees and branches. At Friendly Tree, our crane can reach more than 150 feet away and can lift up to 42 tons! Our arborists have the necessary training and experience to handle our advanced tree care equipment without injuring themselves or others.
At Friendly Tree, we follow the highest ANSI Z133 and OSHA standards for workplace safety, which are recognized in the U.S. as the primary safety standards for pruning, repairing, maintaining or removing trees or brush. These standards are reviewed and updated every five years and ensure that trees and equipment are handled in the safest way possible.
4. A certified arborist will have liability and insurance that protect you and your assets.
Imagine if a large, heavy branch crashed down on your roof – or your neighbors’ – during tree pruning. Are you protected?
A reputable tree care service will carry liability insurance, which protects you and your property from damage, and workers compensation insurance, which protects tree care professionals in the field. Any arborist you hire should have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability and workers compensation insurance. Check to make sure your name and address are added to the Certificate of Insurance before any work has begun.
At Friendly Tree, we don’t cut corners – our certified arborists put the safety of you, your home and your property first, not our bottom line. Our stringent adherence to ANSI standards and our crew’s combined 239 years of experience means we can guarantee our work is safe and of the highest quality.
Need help with tree pruning or removal? Give us a call. We can recommend the most appropriate action for the trees in your landscape, and our inspections and assessments are always free.
There’s a lot to enjoy in the summer ? but there’s also a lot of work to do. When it comes to your trees, there are a few jobs you can do now to ensure a vibrant and healthy growing season and keep your trees strong going into the upcoming winter.
First things first ? inspect your trees.
Winter frosts and heavy snows can do a number on your trees. Inspect all of the trees on your property for damage, like winter burn. This happens when a tree does not receive enough moisture in the fall and cold winter winds dry out the leaf tissue. If you notice vertical cracks in the tree’s bark, you may be looking at sun scald, which can eventually lead to decay. Sun scald is more likely to be a problem with younger, thin-barked trees and occurs in the winter and spring months.
Additional signs of damage include abnormal leaf size, off-color bark and oozing sap. Any severely damaged or dead branches or trees should be removed.
Check for pests and diseases.
Unfortunately, trees are not immune from getting sick or overrun with pests. Insects tend to target vulnerable trees which are already weak from stress. Aphids are a common issue, notable for the sticky residue they leave behind after munching on tree leaves and stems.
The Emerald Ash Borer has caused devastating damage throughout most of the country. If you have Ash trees on your property, look for signs of dead branches starting at the top of the tree, and small D-shaped holes in the tree’s bark where the beetles exit in June. Trees with bad infestations may lose a third to a half of their branches in one year. The U.S. Forest Service operates an informative website on the Emerald Ash Borer, which you can find here.
Proactive care goes a long way in keeping your trees free from pests and diseases. If your tree has a bad infestation, it may need to be removed by a professional. Look for a certified arborist who meets the criteria of the International Society of Aboriculture.
Pick up the rubble.
Take advantage of the warm weather to pick up old leaves and twigs, fallen branches, or anything else that may be littering the floor of your landscape. Be especially careful to remove diseased material, and DON’T compost it; throw it in the trash.
Get out the pruning shears.
Now is the time to prune those dead or diseased branches you noticed in your inspection. Trees don’t try to repair or regrow injured or diseased wood; instead, they stop sending resources to the damaged tissue.
Pruning allows the tree to put energy into its healthy branches, it improves airflow and it can even lower the risk of insect infestation. If you are dealing with very large or very high dead branches, or branches that pose a risk to structures, vehicles or people, make sure you consult a professional first.
Feed your trees.
After a long, hard winter, trees are often desperate for nutrients. Help them recover and put their energy into new growth with a slow-release fertilizer. Healthy trees have the best defense against disease and insects.
Know how to water.
As the days become longer and hotter, it’s important to give your trees adequate moisture. Following a consistent watering schedule that mimics rainfall (a slow, deep soak) is the best bet. Established trees need one gallon (or one inch) of water each week and younger trees may need twice as much. Consider installing a drip line below ground and don’t water in the afternoon, when moisture can be lost to evaporation.
Apply new mulch.
Mulch provides so many benefits to your trees and can be a lifesaver in the hot summer. Add two to four inches of mulch around the base of each tree, being careful not to pile it up around the trunk (this is called “volcano mulching” and can kill your tree). In addition to retaining moisture and keeping soil temperatures cool, mulch provides added nutrients to the soil.
If the warm weather is calling to you, go ahead and answer. Dust off those gardening gloves and give your trees the attention they need to make it through the long summer.
Summertime in New Jersey often evokes images of backyard barbecues, baseball games and weekends at the Jersey Shore. But with every summer also comes the less idealistic but very real summer thunderstorms, which can really do a number on your landscape.
Many of us remember last year around this time when one particularly strong storm left over 250,000 people in South Jersey without power, damaging buildings and tearing down trees. There’s not much you can do about an approaching storm, but did you know there are simple preventative steps you can take now to give your trees a fighting chance?
The arborists at Friendly Tree have put together a list of five things you can do to minimize summer storm damage:
Thinning the Canopy
Thinning the top of a tree reduces wind sail, allowing wind to blow through the tree. This type of pruning should only be done by a certified arborist experienced with correct and safe pruning methods.
Installing support cables for large trees can also provide strength and minimize storm damage. Arborists use cables and bracing rods to help to redistribute the tree’s structural weight and provide extra support to weak spots. We can help you determine if your tree could benefit from cabling and bracing.
Pruning Dead Branches
Diseased or dead branches break easily, and your car could be the perfect target. Pruning will minimize falling branches during a storm causing damage to people or property.
Trees provide a great pathway for lightning to strike the ground. A lightning protection system is a reliable and inconspicuous way to protect valuable trees or those close to a home or other structure.
It’s not just for the dentist’s office! Cavities are weak spots in the trunk of a tree that can compromise its overall strength. If you notice a cavity in your tree, give us a call and we can help you fill it correctly.
Losing large trees is a costly problem – thankfully, these preventative measures can keep your trees at their best when Mother Nature is at her worst.
Give Friendly Tree a call if you need help with tree pruning, trimming or any other tree care services. For over 25 years we’ve been helping New Jersey residents with their tree care needs, and we’ll be there to help your trees weather the storm.
It usually happens while walking through the yard one day – you notice leafless limbs or dead branches lying on the ground. But how do you know when a tree needs a good pruning or when it should be removed?
In this article, we’ll explain when a tree is considered a safety hazard and when it just needs a good, healthy trim.
Signs Your Tree Needs Pruning
Tree Pruning is essential for the healthy maintenance of trees, but improper pruning can cause damage and in some cases the tree’s death. That’s why trees should only be pruned by Certified Tree Care Safety Professionals, like the experts at Friendly Tree, who practice safe, proven and effective methods.
Damaged, Diseased or Dead Branches
Besides the danger of falling, broken or damaged limbs can serve as an entry point for insects and disease. In general, a tree has a good chance of survival if less than 25% of its branches are damaged.
A tree canopy that is too dense is a problem, as restricted sunlight and airflow can lead to disease.
Sometimes, weak or troublesome limbs must be removed in order to benefit the health of the entire tree. Suckers and water sprouts steal a tree’s resources and should be removed. Crossing branches can damage each other and should also be pruned. Co-dominant leaders (two branches of similar size growing up from the top of the tree) are prone to splitting and tearing during strong winds. Eliminating one of these branches provides the tree with more stability.
Weak or Split Crotch
As a tree ages, its crotch (where two branches come together) may grow weak and split apart; removing split crotches helps keep the tree healthy and strong.
Approaching Power Lines or Structures
A more obvious reason for pruning is a tree’s proximity to power lines or other structures. Unfortunately, people sometimes plant trees under power lines not knowing how tall they will get at maturity. Be sure to hire a professional for these kinds of jobs, as there is significant risk to people and property if the job is not done correctly.
The best time to prune your trees is when they are dormant in late winter or early spring, which encourages healthy spring growth. Dead, damaged or hazardous branches should be trimmed as soon as possible.
Signs Your Tree Should be Removed
Not all dead or dying trees need to be removed. Those that don’t pose a risk to people or structures can be left alone and serve the neighborhood birds as a shelter and food source. Here’s how to tell when tree removal is necessary:
Large Number of Dead or Damaged Limbs
If 50% or more of the tree is damaged, and falling limbs pose a hazard, it’s time to say goodbye. If the dead branches are all on one side of the tree, it’s typically a sign of root or trunk problems and the tree should be evaluated by one of our arborists.
Severe Trunk Damage
Severe damage to the tree’s main trunk (more than 25% of the trunk’s circumference), including large cracks and seams, indicate decay.
A tree can live for many years with a hollow trunk, but it will eventually come down. If a third of the trunk is hollow (or rotted), consult an arborist about getting it removed.
Root Damage or Weakness
It may be hard to tell if a tree has substantial root damage, but if the ground nearby has been excavated or you suspect any damage to the root system, consider removing the tree. Also look for trees with shallow root systems as a result of their growing environment. Trees near ledges, large rocks or right next to a water source often have shallow roots.
If your tree is suddenly leaning in one direction, it could mean root damage or weakening. A tree that is noticeably leaning in any direction is unsafe and should probably be removed.
Need help determining if your tree needs pruning or removal? Friendly Tree can help. For over 25 years we’ve been helping New Jersey residents with their tree care needs. Our certified arborists adhere to ANSI standards for tree care practices, with the expertise to help you assess what your trees need to stay happy and healthy.
As summer approaches, it’s up to us to protect the trees on our property. Trees that are exposed to extreme heat and dry conditions during the summer can be stressed and more prone to health issues the following winter.
Young trees, especially, need extra care and diligent watering in hot, dry weather. Older, more established trees may not require extra watering, but there are steps you can take to ensure the tree and root system remains healthy.
Summer Watering Tips
Follow a regular, consistent watering schedule that mimics natural rainfall. Give each tree one gallon of water (the equivalent to one inch of rain) every week or so.
Take Extra Care.
For newly planted or young trees, water more frequently during hot, dry weather. They are still establishing their root systems and need extra care during drought, otherwise they will become stressed.
Choose the Right Time.
Avoid watering trees during the afternoon, when evaporation is at its peak. The best time to water is early in the morning, before the heat of the day.
Deep watering is the best kind of watering. If possible, install a drip system and bury it at least a feet below the ground.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Mulch.
Keep trees well mulched (2-4 inches) to retain moisture and regulate the soil temperature. If you have a drip system, make sure to apply mulch beyond the drip line for maximum water uptake. Read how to properly apply mulch to your trees here.
Keep Your Trees Happy Year-Round.
Keeping trees happy and healthy throughout the year goes a long way toward keeping them protected during the harsh summer months. Fertilize regularly and apply compost to the soil twice a year to improve the soil structure and reduce water runoff.
How to be Firewise
Going into the summer season, there has been a flurry of news articles highlighting wildfire danger in New Jersey’s Pinelands, with Rolling Stone Magazine going so far as to report headlines like “Apocalypse in the Garden State.”
Since the last major blaze in 1963 – known as Black Saturday – the population in the Pinelands has tripled. According to the article, “If a series of blazes starts on the right dry and windy day, it could take out a large chunk of the Jersey coastline.”
Although most city dwellers don’t think much about wildfire danger, the 720% population increase in wildland/urban interface areas across the U.S. (since 1960) has put more homes and lives in jeopardy than ever before. Because embers from wildfires can travel up to 14 miles, home ignitions can happen anywhere.
What Does That Mean for New Jersey Homeowners?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “When it comes to wildfire risk, it is not a geographical location, but a set of conditions that determine the home’s ignition potential in any community.”
There are simple, proven steps you can take to protect your home or property from fire, like:
- Pruning trees on the property so that the lowest branches are no lower than 6 feet from the ground
- Keeping grass, trees and shrubs on the property well watered and maintained
- Clearing leaves and dead vegetation from gutters, porches, and decks within 10 feet from the home or building
- Removing flammable items like firewood and propane tanks within 30 feet from the home or building
For more tips on how to protect your home, download NFPA’s Firewise Toolkit.
If you need help getting your trees ready for summer, give us a call. The tree care experts at Friendly Tree are here to provide skilled, reliable service, taking the utmost care of our customers and their trees.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to apply mulch to the trees on your property. As with everything in life, spending a little extra time to do it the right way will give you much better results.
The New Jersey certified arborists here at Friendly Tree understand the issues urban trees face, and we work diligently to mitigate these issues for a healthy, happy landscape.
Lessons From Nature
Next time you take a stroll through your favorite wooded trail, take a moment to look at the forest floor. Trees are naturally blanketed by a layer of leaves and other organic material which help to retain moisture, suppress weeds, regulate soil temperature and replenish essential nutrients.
The best way to mulch trees in an urban landscape is to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Mulching
- Apply mulch in the Spring once the ground has thawed, or after planting.
- Ensure proper soil drainage before mulching. Use less mulch if the tree is in a poorly drained area.
- Clear a 3-10 foot circle around the base of the tree, free from grass, rocks or debris. DO NOT spray an herbicide, like Roundup, to kill the grass.
- Before mulching, spread compost within the circle and water thoroughly.
- Choose a natural mulch material such as hardwood chips, hardwood or softwood bark, composted leaves, straw or pine needles. Inorganic mulch (such as pulverized rubber) won’t supply nutrients or improve soil structure.
- Layer mulch 2-4 inches deep above the compost.
- Use a rake to spread the mulch evenly out to the edge of the circle, making sure excess mulch isn’t piled up against the trunk of the tree.
- Spread mulch up to the tree’s trunk; this is known as volcano mulching and can eventually kill your tree! Keep mulch away from the tree’s root flare, which is where the roots begin and the trunk ends.
- Use compost or mulch that is too “hot,” which simply means it hasn’t had adequate time to break down and decompose (like fresh manure or fresh grass clippings).
- Apply mulch too deep, which can cause root rot in wet soils.
- Use fine mulch, which can limit the penetration of air and water as it becomes compacted.
- Mulch right before the ground freezes, which creates an ideal shelter for rodents and pests looking for a warm winter hideaway.
Mulch is a Tree’s Best Friend
Mulch is essential to the health and vitality of the trees on your property, and the benefits far outweigh the cost and time invested. In fact, it’s one of the most important practices for optimal tree health. In urban landscapes, where trees may not naturally grow, it’s important to provide a rich, protected soil environment similar to their natural growing conditions.
- Helps trees conserve moisture, which also means less watering and lower water bills.
- Prevents weed growth and competition.
- Regulates and insulates soil temperature, protecting roots from extreme heat and cold.
- Reduces trees’ susceptibility to diseases.
- Helps to prevent soil compaction around tree roots.
- Protects trees from lawn mower or weed whacker damage.
- Improves soil structure, aeration and drainage.
- Enhances soil fertility, providing nutrients and microorganisms essential to tree growth.
- Provides a uniform, aesthetically pleasing look to the landscape.
How Much Mulch Do You Need?
Now that you know the proper way to mulch your trees, exactly how much mulch will you need?
The easiest way to determine that is to use our mulch calculator, which tells you how many cubic yards of mulch you will need per tree (or garden bed).
Or, simply give us a call and we can help you determine what kind and how much mulch you need for your property. With 26 years in the business, there is no other company in New Jersey that knows more about tree health. At Friendly Tree, we pride ourselves on providing expert, reliable service, taking the utmost care of our customers and their trees.
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