Our Current Blog Articles
August 21, 2017
Should Your Tree Stay or Go?
At A Touch of Class Tree Service, we know how to answer the question, should your tree stay or go? If you are pondering this issue and are unsure of what your options are, we will guide you on all the pros and cons of whether your tree should stay or be cut down. Don't take this matter into your own hands, when our professionals are here to serve all your landscaping needs.
Certified arborists, such as ours, are your best bet to help give a clear and unbiased picture of the situation. We will assess the overall condition and health of the tree in question so you can make an educated decision on tree removal. Many times, arborists can spot the sources of future problems before it’s too late, and advice for avoiding and correcting problems.
Here are some questions to ask when deciding should your tree stay or go:
- Is the species desirable?
There are many species of trees that harbor various problems such as weak wood prone to frequent breakage from wind and ice, always dropping large quantities of debris, shallow roots that damage lawns and pavement, infestations with diseases or insects specific to the tree species, and invasive species due to prolific reseeding in the landscape.
- Is it healthy?
If 50% of the tree is damaged or infested with a pest, you should probably eliminate it. A tree in decline can survive for many years, but will always have limited or abnormal growth and appearance, and can cause unforeseen damage if a storm hits and knocks it over.
- How healthy is the trunk?
If you notice vertical cracks, seams, dead branch stubs, and large, older wounds, this may suggest internal decay. Severe damage to the main trunk often requires removal of the tree. If the degraded area is less than 25% of the circumference of the trunk, the tree's wound could gradually heal over, and no lasting injury will remain; but again, a professional opinion is necessary for the right conclusion.
- Is it hollow?
The life-support tissue, the xylem, and phloem, of a tree, are on the outer edges of the trunk, which means many trees will live for years with a hollow trunk. However, there could be possible compromised trunk strength which could make the tree dangerous. The rule of thumb in decision-making on this issue is, if 1/3 of the interior is hollowed out or rotten, remove the tree.
- Are there large dead branches?
This problem is most definitely a danger to people and property. If less than 25% of branches are damaged, the tree will probably survive. Remove crossed or rubbing branches and narrow branch angles, especially if the main trunk is particularly prone to splitting. Get the help of a certified arborist. If a narrow crotch is too extensive to remove, the two co-dominant leaders could be cabled, to relieve the strain and avoid breakage.
- Are all the dead branches only on one side?
A lopsided tree has many potential hazards. Dead branches only on one side of a tree can be a symptom of root or trunk damage on that side.
- Are there sprouts or shoots coming from the trunk?
These sprouts are a response to severe stresses inflicted on the tree that indicates that there is something wrong. This is typical of trees enduring new home construction injuries, over-exposure to the sun, or soil compaction.
- Is there trunk rot?
Fungi appearing on the outside of a tree are an indication of internal rot, and should be evaluated by an arborist.
- Has there been excavating near the tree?
If so, it is necessary to check for root damage. If half of the roots are damaged, the tree needs removal.
- Does the tree lean?
A sudden lean indicates breakage and weakening of roots and that means the tree should probably be removed immediately. More than 15% from vertical points to removal of a dangerous tree.
- Are there power lines above the tree?
A tree growing up near power lines will need tree trimming and thinning. During wet weather conditions, electricity can arc as much as 10 feet over to the wet tree foliage, grounding out and causing a power failure or property damage. Never attempt removing tree limbs that are near power lines, for obvious safety reasons.
- What is the tree's history?
Unsavory previous pruning jobs such as tree topping practices can cause problems later. A change in the soil level over the root system is a cause of a gradual decline of trees also. If 3" or more of soil is piled over the root system, there is a high likelihood it will die. If caught early and before stress symptoms develop, the tree can be saved.
- How is the tree's environment?
Trees that are growing on rock ledges or near bodies of water, frequently have shallow root systems. Trees suddenly exposed to sunlight are severely stressed by the sudden change in exposure. There are also issues with soil compaction, grade changes, and the sudden exposure to full sun.
- Is there enough space?
When it comes to your home, it is best to avoid trees hanging over the roof. Larger trees should be at least 20 feet away from your house. Are there other nearby trees, whose growth will be enhanced by the tree's removal? Is the location of the tree such that, it interferes with sight lines in traffic flow and stop lights? If it poses a risk, consider dangerous tree removal.
So many things to consider for our amazing and beautiful trees that most of the time bring us shade, beauty, and add to our landscaping view and investment. Be sure to do the right thing when it comes time to question a damaged or severely diseased tree that may need to come down.
A good rule of thumb to consider is, if you take care of your trees, they will take care of you! Protecting your family and your investments should be a priority over any unhealthy or damaged trees. So, should your tree stay or go? Call A Touch of Class Tree Service today, and get an honest answer on what to do.
July 13, 2017
Everything You Need to Know About Tree Trimming
How do you keep your trees looking their best? Today, A Touch of Class Tree Service discusses everything you need to know about tree trimming to ensure your trees get the utmost attention and look their best for years to come. We can also provide superior services in many different areas and are professional arborists with extensive backgrounds and skills for maintaining and bringing longevity to your landscapes.
The importance of having trees on our planet is necessary for life, as we all know, and the importance of healthy trees is equally important to control infestations and decline of our precious and beautiful species of trees. Tree trimming is an inherently important factor in maintaining the health of all your trees or shrubs. But there is a science to how, when and why to trim trees.
Why do we need to trim our trees? First, pests and infestations spell danger. When a tree is damaged or untrimmed, it can invite unwanted pests to attack the tree even further which will lead to the trees death or decay eventually and could even spread to nearby trees, wreaking havoc on your entire yard.
Nutrients are necessary for plants, trees and shrubs to sustain life, when we do not trim the scraggly branches, sunlight is blocked from reaching areas of the tree, and the tree will suffer. Air flow is also needed to keep the tree vigorous and healthy from unwanted diseases. So, trim your tree down, and allowing in the sun and air.
Safety is another reason why you should keep low-lying tree branches trimmed and away from your home or possessions. Wind storms, ice damage and dead trees all pose big problems if the tree in question is close to your dwelling. Have the professionals assess the situation if you are uncertain about the tree in question and have them provide the best solutions.
How often should you trim trees? When it comes to everything you need to know about tree trimming, this is rather important! If you notice dead or damaged branches hanging from the tree, trim them immediately, so they don’t affect the healthier parts of the tree. The best time to trim a tree, in general, is in the winter or late fall when most of the leaves are gone. During winter, most of us do not want to battle the cold or the dangers of slipping and falling, so it is always suggested to hire a professional company, such as A Touch of Class Tree Service to do the job.
In any case, whether it is winter or summer, do not trim any tree if the weather is extremely intense, it will cause too much stress on the tree.
If you do decide to try trimming trees yourself, here is a 3-step program you can follow:
- Make the very first cut just about 1-2 ft. from the trunk of the tree. This cut starts underneath the limb and goes into it, but only about one-third of the way. This is a critical step in the process, so be sure you know and understand the procedure.
- Make the second cut just outside of the first cut, about another foot or two. This cut will be all the way through the branch. The branch is highly likely to break away as you saw through the limb, which is ok. Since you have made the first cut on the underside and closer in from the previous step, the bark will not continue to tear down into the tree trunk.
- The final cut is right at the branch collar where the branch meets the tree's trunk. You will be looking for a flared area here. Make the final cut so that the flair is still noticeable afterward. If cut properly, this "flair" will heal over, eventually filling in with new bark and scar tissue. You’ll know the tree is healing correctly when you see a "doughnut" forming where you made the cut. And that is all there is to it!
A word on "bleeding". There are some trees that 'bleed' excessively when cut. This is a type of sap oozing from the fresh wound, and it can look rather severe and unsightly, but rest assured, it causes no harm. Some trees that are especially prone to bleeding are beech, birch, elm, maple, and yellow wood.
How much does tree trimming cost? Well, depending on where you live, the size of the tree to be trimmed, and the risk factor involved, for example, is it near power lines, a home, or dangerous hill area, will factor into the price of the service. When hiring the professionals, be sure to tell them the situation and have them come out to see the extent of the job and give you a quote before deciding to move forward. Here are some tree trimming services that companies can provide:
Young Tree Pruning: experienced arborists will begin training young trees ranging from 10-15 feet in height which is essential for the long-term structure and health.
Evergreen Pruning: While pines and spruce trees require very little attention, especially in metropolitan areas, overgrowth can block passageways and sight lines. Evergreen shrubs often can acquire blight if neglected. This type of trimming is incredibly stunning and a great feature or focal price to any yard.
Dormant Tree Pruning: Certain trees, especially certain fruit trees, can only be pruned during the dormant season. Dormant pruning is also the best way to lessen emergency storm damage.
Now that you have everything you need to know about tree trimming and the importance of this necessary task, feel free to enlist the help of A Touch of Class Tree Service. There is no doubt your trees and landscaping will be the envy of the neighborhood. We look forward to providing excellent service at any time of the year for all your tree maintenance needs. Call or contact us today for a free quote on trimming, lot clearing, stump grinding, dangerous tree removal and more.
June 12, 2017
Why Topping is Not Healthy for Your Trees
A Touch of Class Tree Service wants you to understand why topping is not healthy for your trees, and the extreme damage it may cause with irreversible circumstances. We understand the need to prune or "clean up" the look of mature trees and shrubs in your yard, especially for aesthetic purposes or the fact that the tree is obstructing something, but we think you should leave this task to the professional arborist who knows what is best for your landscape and trees.
WHAT IS TREE TOPPING?
Tree topping is most often desired to reduce the size of a tree. It is the cutting of tree branches or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the end role, typically to the stubs. The other names associated with this procedure are "heading," "rounding over," "tipping," and much more, depending on where you are from.
WHY IS IT BAD?
STRESS: No one likes stress, and neither do our trees! This act alone can remove 50 to 100 percent of the tree’s leaf-bearing crown, that is a huge portion of the trees livelihood! Leaves are how your tree keeps healthy, nourished and rich in color. Removing or topping them can starve a tree and trigger various survival mechanisms, such as, the dormant buds will awaken and be activated, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree then feels the need to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible as it is going into a state of fear and panic.
If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do so, it will be severely weakened and is at serious risk of dying. A stressed tree with large pruning wounds is more vulnerable to insect and disease infestations as well as other attacks such as molds and fungus. The tree may lack sufficient energy to chemically defend the wounds against invasion, and believe it or not, some insects are attracted to the chemical signals trees release! So, there you have a recipe for disaster!
DECAY: If you want to prune your tree correctly, cuts are to be made just beyond the branch collar, where it attaches. The tree is adapted, and able to close such a wound when this happens provided the tree is healthy, and the wound not too big. If a cut is made along a limb between lateral branches, this creates stubs with wounds that the tree may not be able to close; exposing wood tissues that could begin to decay. Very few trees can defend the severe wounds caused by topping, and the decay organisms will find a way to freely move down through the branches, destroying everything in its path.
SUN EXPOSURE: Who knew that our precious trees could also suffer severely from the damages the sun emits? Branches within a tree’s crown produce thousands of leaves absorbing sunlight, so when you top your tree, you remove vital leaves that provide protection and nourishment to the tree. Those remaining branches and trunk are suddenly exposed to high levels of light and heat, which can result in sunburn of the tissues beneath the bark, and lead to cankers, bark splitting, and even death.
RISKY BUSINESS: When a tree must turn to survival mode to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut, it comes at an enormous expense to the tree. These shoots develop from buds near the surface of the old branches and are anchored solely in the outermost zones of the parent branches which are weakly attached. The new shoots grow very fast in one year in some species and are prone to breaking, especially during windy, icy, or stormy conditions. So, while your intention was to reduce risk by reducing height, the risk of limb failure has now very substantially increased.
UNSIGHTLY: Beyond why topping is not healthy for your trees, the look of a topped of tree is not great to look at. The shape and structure of a trees natural growing path is an amazing wonder, with their only goal being to get their leaves as much sun and nourishment as possible. Topping removes the ends of the branches, leaving ugly stubs, and it destroys the natural form of a tree. Without leaves, a topped tree looks butchered and sick, but with leaves, it is a packed green ball of foliage, that is beautiful and rich to your landscape. A tree that has been topped can never fully regain its natural form.
EXPENSIVE: Tree topping is not generally in the cheap range, it requires a lot of equipment, safety procedures, and experienced crews. Because not only do you have the cost of the actual job itself, there are other factors to consider such as:
- Increased maintenance costs: If the tree survives, it will most likely need corrective pruning within just a few years. If the tree dies, it must be removed.
- Reduced property value: Healthy, well-maintained trees can add 10 to 20 percent to the value of the property. If you are plan on selling in the future, you may want to hold off on your tree topping.
- Increased liability: Topped trees may pose a level of risk. Because topping is considered an unacceptable pruning practice, any damage caused by branch failure of a topped tree may lead to negligence in a court of law.
OPTIONS AND ALTERNATIVES
At times, it is necessary to top a tree, that is understandable. Some instances would be if utility lines need to be put in, or it is obstructing something or could be a hazard to a home or building. If possible, it is best to try and remove the tree and replace it. Or have a professional do some light tree trimming to help allow the tree to choose a different direction of growth.
It is important to know why topping is not healthy for your trees, and at A Touch of Class Tree Service, we understand the concerns of our clients, and we take into consideration the best options for your trees in all situations. Our professional arborists have a keen eye and skilled regimen for topping trees if necessary, but we will always try to maintain and retrain your trees before resorting to that option. If you have any questions, have us sit down and discuss other options available to your situation.
May 9, 2017
Planting Trees This Spring? Read This First
Spring is in the air and A Touch of Class Tree Service knows the weather will bring fresh new growth. Are you planting trees this spring? Read this first to get a heads up on the "do's and don’ts" of what will make your trees healthy, happy and vigorous this year. Our experts are by your side to guide you every step of the way with experienced arborists and knowledgeable tree pruners to help out.
Why plant in the springtime? The plain and simple answer is the weather and temperature. It is not too cold and not too hot, so trees can adjust and thrive in just the right temperatures, allowing them an easy transition and safety from freezing in the winter or overheating in the summer. Here a few ways to keep your trees looking healthy and happy.
- Choose the RIGHT tree, the RIGHT spot, and the RIGHT time when planting the tree of your choice. Take into consideration just how big the tree will get, make sure there is plenty of room for the root system, and ensure there are no overhead obstructions such as roof lines or power lines.
- Consider hiring a professional arborist such as A Touch of Class Tree Service for all your planting needs. Specialists know tree species and could save you a lot of money and heartache from losing trees due to incorrect planting. They will also know the best trees for the area where you live.
- Water; this seems like an easy task, but knowing how much water new young trees need is essential to their health. Ten gallons of water per week for a new young tree during the summer months is typical for this area and necessary for their growth. Remember to water during cooler temperatures as in the early morning or evening.
- Mulch around your trees to avoid compaction. Mulching will protect the soil from drying out and prevent lawn machinery from injuring the root system.
So now you know some basic points about tree planting, let's dig a little deeper to understand the dynamics of planting a tree in the ground and what is involved. You have chosen the perfect tree and the perfect spot to put it; now it is time to dig the hole and get your hands dirty!
TOOLS: Get yourself a long-handled shovel and a pair of gloves; neoprene will save your hands from callouses and blisters. Purchase some composted soil and composted pine bark soil conditioner to enrich the dirt. Never use unfinished compost or fresh manure. You will also need some root stimulants and mulch, placing it above ground after planting the tree. Use any form of mulch including pine bark, pine needles, shredded hardwood, cocoa shells, cedar mulch, or whatever you may find in the area.
DIG THE HOLE: Start by digging up the soil at a circumference of about twice as wide as the rootball itself and one and a half as deep; this is the norm for planting. Make the hole in a saucer shape, not straight up and down along the edges. This helps the tree roots move upward into the higher-oxygenated soil. Turn the ground over, breaking it up so that it’s fine and the topsoil is mixed in with the deeper soil. Now add the soil amendments; mix in a generous amount of each.
PREPARE THE TREE: Gently work the rootball out of the pot, being very careful to avoid damaging the roots. Tear or cut the sides of the pot if necessary. Then tease the roots out of the rootball with your fingers rubbing through the sides of the rootball to loosen the roots. If your tree is wrapped in burlap, do not remove root ball material. Remove any twine or string at this time.
PLANT YOUR TREE: Place your tree in the center of the hole. The rootball should be level with the ground and sit on the undug soil. Add soil to the hole and tamp it down to make it firm. If the rootball is below grade, the tree could undergo root rot or suffocate. Once positioned in the hole, gently drop the backfill into the hole, around the rootball, about halfway up. Now you can add a bio stimulant around the roots before filling up the hole. Do not pat down the soil or compact it at this point.
LAST STEPS: Spread excess soil around the tree to make it level and feather out a fair amount of mulch around the tree. It should only be about 1 inch in depth to avoid fungal or moisture issues. Mulch is a great way to help conserve moisture, moderate temperature and keep weeds at bay. Water the tree immediately after planting with a gentle pour, such as with a water wand. If the soil sinks in too far, add more backfill.
STAKE or NOT? Most trees do not need staking. Trees naturally develop roots and trunk growth. Placing stakes creates an artificial support causing the tree never to develop properly, making the tree weak and prone to breakage once the supports are removed. If necessary to stake, do so only as long as it takes the roots to develop – only a few months, but no longer than a full growing season. Be sure to use staking straps. Down the road, it may need support via cabling and bracing, but that’s different story.
WATERING: For the first year of tree growth, water once a week with at least 1 inch of water. Temperatures, drought conditions, rainfall, and tree size, may mean you will need to water twice a week. But remember, overwatering can lead to root rot so the soil should be moist, but not soaking in standing water. Early morning or evening in cooler temperatures is the best time to water the tree. To prepare your tree for winter, water it thoroughly in the fall.
By following these above planting chores and having the help of A Touch of Class Tree Service, you won't have to ask, "How and where should I be planting trees this spring? Read this first, and you will be one step ahead of the game and enjoy the fruits of your labor on warm, summer evenings.
April 24, 2017
Tree Diseases You'll Find in Colorado
There are a few tree diseases you'll find in Colorado that could be attacking the greenery around your yard this spring. At A Touch of Class Tree Service, we are at your service to correct the problem quickly and efficiently. In the meantime, here are some tips and ideas for what you can do to detect and identify problems and know when and if you need to call the professionals to step in.
PURPLE SPRUCE NEEDLES: If you see these purple needles popping up here and there, it is not a changing of the seasons, but something more serious. All spruce trees need water during the dry fall and winter months to keep the needles hydrated, happy, and healthy. However, some factors can dehydrate spruce roots; consider these when diagnosing the problem. If you have been using de-icing salts and excess fertilizer around the home, this can cause or add to the off-color because they dehydrate roots. A girdled root reduces the amount of water reaching the needles, and in turn, causes purple needles. Any activity that damages spruce roots also prevents them from absorbing water very well. If you suspect this may be your situation, attend to the issue immediately.
THE COOLEY SPRUCE GALL APHID: You will more than likely find these growths on the north and east side of the tree, they are a cone shaped light brown in color, and it is similar to a woolly aphid. They tend to be most active come April and May when new buds are springing. And while this does not affect the health of the tree, it is rather ugly. The insect is efficiently managed by spraying the underside of twigs to kill the overwintering stages in spring before the buds arrive.
SCALE INSECT: Small, but damaging scales, and one of the most insidious insect pests affecting landscape plants in Colorado. They like to spend their days silently removing sap from trees and shrubs and cause severe damage such as dieback of branches and occasionally killing the tree. These scales give the insects a lot of protection from the environment, as well as from many of the control sprays we use. These pests are hard to manage, but there are several soaps and oils that will help tremendously.
IPS BEETLE or BARK BEETLE: with recent droughts in the area these pests have taken over. They will usually attack environmentally stressed or weak and diseased trees and shrubs, but if an infestation is in the works, no greenery is safe. With 11 species in Colorado, they specifically attack mostly spruce and pine trees as their hosts. Other factors aiding the increase of the IPS beetle is the creation of fresh cut wood from forest homeowners that experienced fire damage or that are seeking to limit wildfire hazards. These beetles will breed in the cut wood, making the population numbers increase.
ZIMMERMAN PINE MOTH: Scots, Ponderosa, and Austrian pine, are mainly affected by this pest, and typically infested branches will break at the crotch where they join the trunk. You will see small grape-sized clustered masses on the tree.
With our lush forests and yards, it’s likely that there will be many tree diseases you'll find in Colorado. But with due diligence and a company like A Touch of Class Tree Service, you will most definitely get a step ahead of these pests and enjoy a beautiful landscape all season long.