One of our clients in Raleigh recently asked us to trim some dead and dying limbs from a pine tree located next to his fence and back patio. We decided to create a short video of our climber performing this task, in order to give you an idea of what is involved with a trimming project. As you will see, trimming is by no means an easy task. The climber must have proper training, a great deal of physical ability, and safety awareness. Before you watch this video, let me point out a few important highlights:
- For a trimming project, it is important not to use spikes when ascending the tree. Spiking a live tree leaves small wounds along the trunk. These open wounds could lead to health problems in the future.
- Pruning cuts must be made at the branch collar. If pruning cuts are made too close to the trunk (this is called a “flush cut”) the tree is not able to properly heal over the cut. Flush cuts leave a tree more susceptible to future rot, infections, and pest infestations.
- It is often necessary to lower limbs down using a rope. This is called rigging. This prevents the branches from causing damage to property below.
Enjoy this video and be sure to let us know if you have a trimming or pruning project in mind. We would love to send one of our ISA Certified Arborists out to meet with you in order to discuss your needs and offer solutions. As always, these estimates are free.
Have you ever wanted to see how we grind and remove stumps? Well the wait is over! The video below includes some footage of both our portable stump grinder and our tow-behind stump grinder in action at several different job sites in Raleigh. You will see this in the video, but the portable grinder is perfect for removing stumps in hard-to-reach areas, gated lots, and anywhere that minimizing impact is a priority. Because it is smaller than many other grinders, the portable stump grinder causes minimal damage and is able to fit through anything 36 inches or wider. The tow-behind grinder is much more powerful, but must be towed behind a truck. It is much heavier and does cause more impact. We try to minimize use of the tow-behind grinder, simply because it is so large. But for very big stumps that are easily accessible, the tow-behind grinder is the way to go, due to its superior power.
Anyways, enough chit-chat. Enjoy the video and let us know what you think!
Congratulations to Stuart! We are proud to announce that he has successfully passed the Certified Arborist exam administered through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)! After years of experience in the industry, months of studying, and one grueling 3-hour exam, Stuart joins the small group of arboriculture professionals who have achieved this status.
The International Society of Arboriculture is a scientific and educational organization committed to spreading information regarding the care and preservation of trees. It is one of the largest organizations of tree care professionals in the world. In 1992 the ISA founded its certification program with the goal of improving the knowledge and standards of practice within the tree care industry. In addition, the program is designed to help the general public in identifying quality professionals who have a thorough knowledge of tree care practices, as demonstrated by passing the ISA education program and exam.
This program is voluntary. All individuals who choose to earn this certification must complete an education program and exam that covers all facets of arboriculture. This includes topics such as soil management, tree identification & selection, tree biology, safe working practices, pruning, diagnosis & treatment, tree risk management, and much more.
When you work with Leaf & Limb Tree Service, you can rest easy knowing that our ISA Certified Arborists have a working knowledge of how to properly tend to your trees. We are able to offer consultations, advice, and plans of action for all your tree care needs. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
For those who have been following our company – either via this blog, Facebook, or another source – you know that we are in the process of offering many new tree care services. We have spent the last two years reading, studying, earning certifications, and attending classes in order to learn the skills and information necessary to offer these services.
With 2012 under way, we are finally ready to begin offering each new service. Today we are featuring an exciting new segment: tree root care. Roots are vitally important to the health and longevity of a tree. While most tree services focus on the canopy of a tree, many overlook its underground component – the root system. Yet when a tree displays problems such as disease, pest infestation, dead branches, or overall decline, these can often be traced back to issues within the roots. Once the root system is damaged, the tree will begin declining in health, to the point where it could die.
To learn more, be sure to read our page about Tree Root Care
In the meantime, enjoy the below video the we recently created. It features aeration and de-compaction of the soil around an oak tree. Before you begin watching, here is the background:
In this video, the soil surrounding the oak tree was badly compacted. When compaction occurs above the key structural roots of a tree, it diminishes the available soil pores (air spaces) that hold oxygen. This limits the oxygen diffusion rate in the soil and results in root suffocation. But a tree’s roots must have oxygen in order to grow. As such, compaction can severely harm a tree. Aerating and de-compacting the soil in the critical root zone will fix the problem. As you will see in this video, we do so using an Air Spade. This tool blasts out air at over 1200 MPH. This is powerful enough to break up the soil, but does not harm the roots. Once the aeration is done, we cover the area with mulch. The mulch helps trap moisture, regulate temperature, and keep weeds and grass from growing.
….Leaf & Limb Tree Service! Angie’s List notified us today that we are the recipient of a 2011 Super Service Award! This award is given to less than 5% of all businesses listed on Angie’s List.
According to Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, “Only a fraction of the businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling service record of being a Super Service Award winner because we set a high bar.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their clients, and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Here at Leaf & Limb we are honored to have received this award. Although it is only one small award from one of many companies, it is nice to see that our efforts to offer excellent service are being recognized. For us, the client is king and we strive to demonstrate this through our service.
Thanks to each of you who took time out of your busy day to post feedback about our company on Angie’s List. It is because of you that we won this award.
Consider the following: Your trees are valuable assets. First, trees increase your property value by as much as 20%. Second, trees provide a number of important benefits such as:
- Reducing energy bills by providing shade
- Absorbing pollutants in the air, soil, and water
- Cleaning carbon dioxide from the air
- Lessening noise pollution
- And more!
Whether you are looking to add value to your existing property, sell your property for a higher price, or command higher rent rates from tenants, your trees should be an important consideration.
Many tree service companies are able to fell trees, trim trees, and remove stumps, but they do not have the expertise with which to identify, diagnose, and solve tree disorders. As such, they are unable to recommend solutions that heal and preserve trees.
To offer tree care services requires a great deal of knowledge about tree physiology, diseases, root systems, pests, abiotic factors, as well as the surrounding environment. But this expertise does not translate into offering services that are more expensive. As a matter of fact, tree care services are generally cheaper than tree removal services.
According to various surveys and cost analyses performed by USDA Forest Services, municipalities, and the private sector, it is estimated that the average cost to remove a tree is somewhere around $500-$700. In contrast, tree care services (fertilization, pest control, etc.) generally range from $50 to $200 per tree. Not only that, but tree care involves less risk to workers and property. Best of all, by caring for your trees you have maintained and enhanced these assets rather than removing them.
The end result of tree care? You have saved money and increased your property value. Contact Leaf & Limb Tree Service today for all your tree care needs.
NOTE: This blog post is an excerpt from Leaf & Limb article entitled Tree Care: Save Money and Increase Your Property Value. You can read the full version of this article by clicking the link.
We are proud to announce that Colin has successfully completed the Certified Arborist exam administered through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)! Congratulations Colin! By combining a great deal of hard work, many hours of studying, and over 10 years of experience in the tree service industry, Colin aced the three and a half hour exam. His certification number is SO-6603A.
You may be wondering, what exactly is an ISA Certified Arborist? To answer, let me explain a bit about the ISA, as well as the program itself. The International Society of Arboriculture is a scientific and educational organization committed to spreading information regarding the care and preservation of trees. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, organization of tree care professionals in the world. In 1992 the ISA founded its certification program with the goal of improving the knowledge and standards of practice within the tree care industry. In addition, the program is designed to help the general public in identifying quality professionals who have a thorough knowledge of tree care practices, as demonstrated by passing the ISA education program and exam. Since 1992, over 25,000 professionals world-wide have earned one of ISA’s credentials.
This program is voluntary. All individuals who choose to earn this certification must complete an education program and exam that covers all facets of arboriculture. This includes topics such as soil management, tree identification & selection, tree biology, safe working practices, pruning, diagnosis & treatment, tree risk management, and much more. As an aside (in case you are wondering), arboriculture is defined as the cultivation, management, and study of trees and related perennial woody plants. But between you and I, the word “arboriculture” is mostly just a fancy term tree service professionals like to throw out for “oohs” and “ahhs” :)
All Certified Arborists have a minimum of three years worth of full-time experience working in the tree service industry. After passing the exam, individuals must adhere to ISA’s Code of Ethics. In addition, they must also undergo regular recertification and educational requirements. This ensures that Certified Arborists stay abreast of new industry developments and techniques, which maintains high standards for the Certified Arborist program overall.
For you the reader, having an ISA Certified Arborist on staff means that if you are interested in using Leaf & Limb you can rest easy knowing that we have a working knowledge how to properly tend to your trees. We are able to offer consultations, advice, and plans of action for all your tree care needs. So give us a call – we would love the opportunity to meet with you!
We have finally decided to join the 21st century and we now have Facebook and Twitter pages for Leaf & Limb Tree Service! Ok, confession time: we have actually had these pages for a while but have not been very active. Well, that has changed and we are now being far more active. We will regularly post photos, interesting information, links to good articles, and other fun things pertaining to our business and industry. Please join either one (or both!) of these pages today! We would love for you to be a part of the fun. You can go directly to these pages by clicking one of the icons below. Once you are there, you can join by clicking the appropriate buttons to either “Like” (Facebook) or “Follow” (Twitter). Thanks in advance and we look forward to seeing you out there in Social Media Land!
PS: You may have noticed that there are also snazzy new links for Facebook and Twitter at the bottom of every page on the website.
After a great deal of work, we are proud to announce that Colin has earned his “Certified Treecare Safety Professional” (CTSP) accreditation from the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). This is no small feat. As a matter of fact, there are only two tree services in the RDU/Triangle area that have this accreditation!
So you are probably wondering two things. First, how hard is it to become CTSP accredited? Second, what does this mean for you? So glad you asked!
To answer the first question, this certification requires experience, extensive training, and passing safety-related exams. In addition, CTSPs are required to fulfill 30 continuing education credits, which includes things like ongoing safety training, teaching safety-related classes, writing articles published in industry magazines, and so. But enough about this! What does hiring a CTSP accredited tree service mean for you?
The whole purpose of TCIA’s CTSP program is to decrease work-related injuries and fatalities in the tree care and tree removal industry. After all, this industry is one of the most dangerous in the U.S., ranked on par with the likes of logging and snow crab fishing. According to TCIA’s, “Accident Survey Results: 2008-09 Operations” an accredited member will experience 100% fewer accidents than the non-accredited non-members.
Having a CTSP on staff means that we at Leaf & Limb are committed to the highest level of safe working practices in all areas of our tree service operations. It means that we are devoted to following the latest technological advances and safety regulations affecting the field of safety in our industry. When you employ our services, or the services of any other CTSP certified tree service, you can rest assured knowing that you will have a safe, professional operation managed by highly skilled experts.
Once again, congratulations to Colin for all his hard work! His CTSP accreditation is invaluable to Leaf & Limb Tree Service and brings an extra level of safety awareness necessary to ensure that every tree care and tree removal project is completed with all essential precautions.
Hello friends! We do apologize to all our readers for not having published any new blog posts since July, but it has been a very busy summer and early autumn here at Leaf & Limb Tree Service. Ok, ok, nobody likes excuses. We promise to do better in the future :) But not to worry! We have series of new blog posts we are getting ready to release regarding tree care for Bradford Pear trees. Having been the darling child of the landscaping industry for the past 30 years, there is a good chance you have a Bradford Pear tree planted on your property, at your office, or somewhere nearby. It seems that whenever a thunderstorm or ice storm rolls through the area, Bradford Pears are the first to go. That is not a coincidence. Bradford Pear trees have problems with structural integrity and are prone to splitting. But more on this topic later. Stay tuned to this blog for the release of our in-depth articles.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the new pages we have published on our website. We spent a lot of time writing pages specific to all the major cities here in the Raleigh metropolitan area. As always, let us know if we can be of service to you.
- Tree Removal & Tree Cutting:
- Raleigh Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Cary Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Durham Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Apex Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Chapel Hill Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Wake Forest Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Garner Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Clayton Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Holly Springs Tree Removal & Tree Cutting Service
- Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning:
- Raleigh Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Cary Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Durham Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Apex Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Chapel Hill Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Wake Forest Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Garner Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Clayton Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Holly Springs Tree Trimming & Tree Pruning Service
- Stump Grinding & Stump Removal:
- Raleigh Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Cary Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Durham Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Apex Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Chapel Hill Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Wake Forest Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Garner Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Clayton Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Holly Springs Stump Removal & Stump Grinding Service
- Emergency Tree Removal in Raleigh:
- Raleigh Emergency Tree Removal Service
Be sure and check back soon for our new articles about tree care for Bradford Pears!
We recently completed a job for a client located in Cary, North Carolina. As you will see from this video, she had a gum tree located in a narrow section of space between her house and her neighbor’s house. In addition, a fence and a deck on the remaining sides further limited the available room. Thus access was far too tight for traditional tree felling methods. Even climbing the tree and piecing it down in small sections was not an option. Instead, we brought in a crane and removed the tree by hoisting large sections over the house. Watch as our climber, crane operator, and crew work to skillfully to remove this tree in three segments. It is fascinating!
Unfortunately for you, and unfortunately for those of us trying to run legitimate tree service companies, our industry is full of con artists, fly-by-night crooks, and companies that produce less than desirable results. According to a recent news release from the Better Business Bureau, “the tree service industry was the sixth most complained about industry at your BBB last year” (you can read the full press release here.) So what can you do to protect yourself when hiring a tree service? How do you choose the right company? What are the necessary steps to avoiding tree service scams? We would like to offer you a few of our insights based on our years of experience. These should help point you in the right direction:
1. Insurance: Make sure each tree service you are considering has appropriate liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. All certificates of insurance should be sent from the tree service’s insurance agency directly to you. Otherwise, it could be a fraudulent certificate. If a company has an accident, and does not have the proper insurance, then you are liable. You will have to pay for repairs to your property and any injuries that may have occurred as a result of the accident.
2. Better Business Bureau: Ensure that the company in question is accredited with the Better Business Bureau. Only a handful of tree services receive BBB accreditation and those that do are generally reputable. Also, find out what kind of rating the company has. The tree service should be in good standing with BBB.
3. Reputation: Do some research to find out what kind of reputation the tree service has with its local community. The right tree service should have positive online reviews in a variety of places. Check to see whether the company in question is a member of any reputable trade association, such as the Tree Care Industry Association or International Society of Arboriculture. How long has the company been in business? Do they have any complaints on local forums, discussion groups, etc? Ask the company for references, if you need the extra assurance. Especially for expensive projects, doing a bit of research is always worth the time.
4. Too Cheap?: If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. During these tough economic times we are all looking for bargains. But if a tree service is giving you a very low price, it may be because they a) have no experience, b) do not have the proper insurances and certifications, or c) they only intend to complete part of the project.
5. Too Expensive?: Similarly, if a price seems too high, say no thanks. Do not let a smooth-talking salesman convince you that $9000 is a reasonable price for removing an easily accessible oak tree in your front yard.
6. Multiple Estimates: You may be asking yourself, “how will I know if a price is too high or too low?” We recommend that you get estimates from at least three different companies. From the three estimates you should get some sense of what price is normal. If possible, we recommend that you meet with each representative in person. This will give you a chance to judge the company’s expertise and professionalism. It will also enable you to ask questions, learn about more about what is involved, and so on.
7. Compare Apples to Apples: When you consider different estimates you should compare what is actually being offered. If one tree service is offering extra services or some extra benefit then you should take this into account. For example, perhaps one tree service plans on felling the tree whereas another tree service will remove it in small sections? Felling a tree is easier and requires less time, but it will cause more damage to your property. Piecing a tree down in small sections will cause minimal damage to your yard, but it requires more time and effort and thus it will generally be the more expensive option. This is also a good point at which to compare the service, professionalism, knowledge, presentation, etc of each different company. Remember that price is not everything – you should listen to your instincts about which company is most trustworthy.
8. Avoid Door-to-Door Contractors: Do not ever do business with door-to-door contractors, particularly for large projects such as tree removal. The BBB and a number of district attorneys offices across the country regularly warn against this. Door to door contractors are often con artists that travel from town to town, preying on homeowners, particularly seniors. If you simply make it a policy not to do business with them, you will not have to worry about being caught in a scam. Besides, deciding to complete tree work on the spur of the moment is not a good idea – there are too many variables that must be carefully considered first.
9. Use Caution After a Disaster: Natural disasters (or whatever sort of disaster it may be) usually bring the con artists out in droves. Unfortunately, this may be the one instance where hiring a door-to-door contractor is necessary. If, for example, you have a tree lying on your house and there is no electricity, you may have to hire a tree service that passes by. But even in this situation, make sure you are being charged a reasonable price. There are many examples of companies charging exorbitant rates for simple tree removal projects after a hurricane, ice storm, etc. You should also ensure that the company has the necessary insurances and certifications.
10. Pay When Satisfied: Once you have picked a tree service you feel comfortable with, the most important rule to follow is never NEVER pay for a tree removal or tree trimming project of any kind until you are 100% satisfied with the work. There are countless instances of homeowners paying for a tree service project up front, only to never hear from the company again. The tree service industry is not like the building industry – we never under any circumstance need to be paid in advance for our work. One popular trick among disreputable tree services is to begin a project, collect money (for any number of reasons – “I have to pay my staff”, “we need money for fuel”, “we need payment to finish the job”, etc), and then never return. This is especially true with stump removal. In this scenario the company has completely removed the tree and then asks for payment, promising to return later to remove the stump. Upon receiving payment, the company never returns. Remember: do not pay a dime until your job is completely finished and you are happy with the service.
So long as you make contact with several companies, do your homework, make sure your company of choice is properly insured, and exert common sense, you are sure to choose the right tree service. Add to that never paying for a job until it is properly completed, and it is almost certain that you will avoid any sort of tree service scam altogether.
I was watching BBC’s new documentary “Life” last night and the particular episode was all about plants. BBC featured some incredible plants, but the one that really caught my attention (being the tree guy that I am) was the Dracaena Cinnabari, or, the Dragon’s Blood Tree. This odd looking tree grows in the mountaintops of the Socotra Archipelago, which is a group of four remote islands located in the Indian Ocean south of the Arabian Peninsula. It is named as such because of its unique red sap. This red sap forms a resin that was a prized commodity in ancient times. Romans and other old civilizations used it as medicine and as a red dye. Dragon’s Blood resin has enjoyed continued popularity throughout history for various purposes, and even today it is still used as a varnish.
You will notice that the Dragon’s Blood Tree has a truly bizarre shape, reminiscent of a giant mushroom or an upturned umbrella. This odd shape is not an accident. It is crucial to the tree’s survival. Socotra is a hot, desert island with an especially tough dry season and very little rainfall. In order to survive here, plants must develop clever methods for obtaining water. As the occasional morning mist sweeps across the mountains, water droplets accumulate on the Dragon Blood Tree’s long waxy leaves. The tree’s shape allows it to transport the water from the leaves down the branches and trunk to the roots. It is important that the droplets run down the tree because the sun will evaporate any that fall on the hot ground below. But if water does happen to fall, the tree provides enough shadow with its dense canopy that some of it is able to seep into the soil before being evaporated. This tree’s ability to survive in such a harsh setting is amazing, don’t you think?
So there you have it! The Dragon Blood Tree is one of many fascinating trees on Planet Earth. Stay tuned, as I’m sure we’ll mention many other incredible trees here on the blog… Monkey Puzzle Tree anyone?
Every year trees cause incredible damage to people and property. In the most tragic of situations, trees even cause death. This occurred here in Raleigh last week when a tree fell into a house and killed a woman. What makes this incident particularly sad is that it could have been prevented. Authorities believe the tree fell due to decay at the base of the tree. Apparently a large portion of the tree broke off during previous years, leaving an exposed gap at the bottom of the trunk, which led to rot. When a storm blew through the area, the base gave way and the tree collapsed. Had the deterioration been identified earlier, and had the tree been removed under controlled circumstances, this tragedy could have been prevented.
In order to prevent tree-related damage, it is essential that you identify potential problems early, before they turn into actual problems. As a homeowner or as somebody who oversees property where trees are present, it is very important that you regularly assess the health of your trees. As much as we all love and appreciate trees, they can be dangerous. Here are a few issues to watch out for:
- Are there dead trees on your property? For dead trees, it is a matter of “when” they will fall, not “if.” Dead trees are especially dangerous if located near a home, office complex, or area where people are often present.
- Are there trees with dead branches? Dead branches will eventually fall, and when they do, they have the potential to punch holes in roofs, dent cars, break sheds, or hurt people.
- Are there any branches hanging in trees? In our industry, we have a special term for hanging branches: “widowmakers” You get the idea.
- Are there trees with holes or rot at the base? If so, there is a good chance that the base of the tree is weak, which means it has the potential to fall and cause damage at any time.
- Are mushrooms, cracks, splits, or any other indicators of a dead or dying tree present along the base of the trunk? If so, this is a tree that should be removed.
- Do you have a tree where branches regularly fall? Not only are the falling branches themselves a hazard, but this could be an indicator of a larger problem.
- Do you have trees that lean strongly in one direction? In conjunction with the lean, are there roots lifting out of the ground on the back side of the tree? If so, this tree should be carefully assessed, particularly if it is leaning towards a house, office, garage, sidewalk, etc.
- Are there large branches with open, old, or rotting wounds? A branch like this has a high likelihood of falling.
These are just a few of the many potential problems to look for as you assess your trees. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, or if you simply do not have the time, call your local tree service and ask them to give your property an evaluation. Here at Leaf & Limb Tree Service we offer such evaluations at no charge. Contact us today and we’ll set up a time to meet with you. Remember, the key to preventing tree damage is to identify potential issues early, before they develop into serious problems.
Over the last couple of weeks we decided to start a YouTube channel (which you can visit by clicking here: Leaf & Limb Tree Service’s YouTube Channel). There are a number of reasons for this decision. First, we think videos are a fun way to showcase some of the tasks and projects we do on a regular basis. Second, videos are a great medium for presenting useful tips and “how-to” demonstrations. Last, our YouTube channel will add an extra spark to this blog, since we can embed the videos here and discuss them in greater depth than we are able to do on YouTube. Besides, let’s face it – everybody loves watching videos!
To kick off our YouTube channel, we posted two videos that we filmed and edited last week. The first video was filmed at a job site where the client had a well-manicured garden complete with fish pools in her back yard. She wanted to remove a tall pine tree located inside the garden, but there was no space to throw the tree. As such, we had to climb the tree and carefully piece it down.
The video itself was created using a time-lapse feature on a regular point-and-shoot camera (a Canon SD1100). Basically, we attached the camera to a tripod and set the time-lapse feature such that it took one picture every 2 seconds. Next we imported all the pictures into our video software (we use iPhoto, in case you are wondering) and merged them into a continuous video.
The site for the second video was a situation similar to the first. But instead of a garden, this pine tree was located near a pool, a wrought iron fence, and some smaller ornamental trees. Once again, access was an issue. Whenever access is an issue we generally have to climb the tree, or in extreme situations, remove the tree using a heavy-duty crane.
In terms of filming, we took a different approach. This time we docked our high definition camcorder (a Panasonic HDC-HS250) to a tripod and filmed a similar process: our climber removing a pine tree. But instead of using a time lapse feature, we simply filmed the whole project with one continuous shot. Once we had imported the film into iPhoto, we sped the entire process up, giving the video the fast motion effect. As you will see, a few guys on the crew decided to add a few of their own creative “flourishes” during the filming process. Perhaps these make the film seem a bit less professional, but they make it more fun to watch.
Let us know what you think about the videos! Also, be sure and let us know what you think about our new YouTube channel.