When is the best time to trim my trees?
In general, evergreen trees (those that stay green year around) may be trimmed anytime. Deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in winter) are best trimmed after the leaves drop in the fall, but before they start to re-bud in the spring. In Redding, due to its mild climate, leaf drop can be as late as December and re-bud can start as early as February
I have a Grey (digger) pine that is starting to lean. What are my options?
Grey pines do not have a tap root and grow rapidly. They also seldom have a central stem but instead may have two, or several, main stems, quite different from most pine trees. As they grow they become very top heavy, and it is not uncommon for them to start to lean. If the lean is toward a structure, then it might be time to remove the tree. The tree can also be lightened by having some of the main stems removed. Keep in mind, grey pines typically only live about 100 years before they either topple or start to fall apart.
I want to plant a tree in my yard, how close to the house can I plant it?
This is not always an easy answer. Keep one thing in mind: a tree has a root system that is usually as large, or larger, than the canopy of the tree itself. If you are planting a tree that is going to have a canopy of 50 feet, you probably do not want to plant it any closer than about 25 to 30 feet from your foundation or other cement work.
I have a tree that is close to my house and the roots look like they are going under the foundation. Can I cut these roots and not disturb the tree?
Maybe! In general, cutting the roots of a tree can weaken it in two ways. One, the roots supply nutrition to the tree and cutting off the supply could weaken the tree’s health. Two, the roots are what anchor a tree. Cutting a major root may cause the tree to become weak in structure and topple in a heavy wind.
I have roots all over the yard and it makes it difficult to mow the lawn. How do I get rid of the roots? You don’t unless you get rid of the tree and have the roots ground out. The other option is to bring in more top soil and cover the roots. This may require some additional lawn seeding depending on how you proceed. Keep in mind, the roots will continue to grow just like the limbs. Special Note: do not put the soil above the root collar.
How do I keep the roots of a new tree from spreading on the top of the ground?
Assuming you are planting a new tree, it is best to keep a bare patch of ground around the base of the tree as big as the crown, then deep water the tree. Deep watering is to water for a long period of time, but not too often, allowing the top layer of soil to dry out between watering. This causes the roots of a newly planted tree to grow downwards to get water instead of traveling along the surface.
I want to put a raised flower bed around an existing tree in our yard. Will this damage the tree?
Not if you avoid putting soil (or any other type of debris) against and above the root collar of the tree. The trunk of the tree is not designed to be underground just like the roots are not designed to be above ground. If you put soil above the root collar the tree will most likely get pests, disease, and/or begin to rot, eventually killing the tree.
How much will it cost to have a tree removed?
I get this question on the phone almost daily. Unfortunately all trees are different and all live in a different spot. The only way to give an accurate figure is to actually look at the tree and its surroundings. We have worked on trees that cost thousands of dollars to remove and ones that could be done for free. Estimates from almost all local contractors are free, so expect the contractor to want to see the tree before giving you an estimate.
Which trees make the best shade trees?
Again, not an easy question to answer. I think the best answer to this question is to defer it to the nurseryman. A small, but not all-inclusive, list of things to consider are: elevation, soil conditions, water table, surrounding trees, surrounding structures, power lines, and sunlight. All have a bearing on what type of tree you decide to plant.
I have a fir tree that is getting quite tall, can I top this tree to prevent it from growing taller?
I would not recommend it. Topping trees that are “apical dominate” (meaning the central stem of the tree grows more rapidly than the rest of the tree) is only a good idea on certain trees and most evergreen trees like firs, pines, and cedars are not candidates to have their tops taken out. Other trees that are not so “apical dominate” may be topped; although, we prefer to use the term “crown reduction.”
I notice people who have trees in their yard that are cut back to mere stubs each year. Is this a good idea?
That pruning technique is call Pollarding and is very common in Europe. The idea is to control the size and shape of a tree by pruning it back each year to the same specific point. Not all trees are good candidates for pollarding and the method is most commonly used in this area on two types of trees, Mulberries and Sycamores.
I have a power line coming into my house from a pole on the street. It passes through many branches from the trees in our yard. Is this a hazard?
This is your power supply and should always be kept clear of limbs and other obstacles. That cable that runs along the insulated lines coming into your house is actually a ground wire. Should it be interrupted, you could short out everything in your house, as well as cause a fire. It is recommended that you always keep this line clear of limbs. As an added note, it is the responsibility of the home owner to keep the power supply from the power pole to the house clear. It is not the responsibility of the utility company.
Are all tree contractors required to be licensed?
Although this may fringe on the part of legal advice, the answer is no. The California State Contractors Board only requires that a person doing tree work be licensed if the job’s total cost is $500 or more. Under $500 a license is not required, but it may be recommended. Having an unlicensed and/or uninsured person doing work on your property can leave you vulnerable. If something is damaged or someone is hurt, it becomes the liability of the landowner. You may want to check with your insurance agent before hiring an unlicensed contractor. I was recently called in on a situation where an unlicensed contractor caused serious damage to a structure and the homeowner found out that their insurance would not cover repairs due to a clause in their policy about using unlicensed contractors. [Note: the contractor did not have insurance either, though he said he did. Always ask or check if a contractor has insurance]
How can I check on the contractor I want to hire and be sure he is licensed?
Go to the following link and follow the online instructions.