Fall: Groom Your Trees Before the Wind and Rain.

Tree maintenance is often overlooked because most of us do not know how to care for trees. However, trees can catch fire from electrical lines, or they might fall and damage your home.

Photographer: Nate Donovan

Redwood and oak trees are majestic, but a homeowner needs to maintain the branches and shape before the fall and winter seasons. During these months, high winds can blow down branches, which can substantially damage your property or your neighbors’. During the summer, fierce lighting storms and fire pose threats. The solution is to make sure your trees are balanced and healthy. So how do you go about this?

Remove sick or dying trees

If the tree is dying or severely damaged, you can, with a letter from an arborist, obtain a permit to cut it down. Don’t procrastinate, because a weakened tree can fall unexpectedly. Below is a picture of a live oak tree that toppled over next door to our jobsite in Palo Alto. The rainy season of 2016 to 2017 was a very wet and windy time. Since this tree was already compromised by termite damage, it fell. Solution: Check the bark for termites, rotting, or fungal growth. Call an arborist for advice.

Photographer: Michael Mok

Bark damage

Over-watering and excess moisture will cause rot and fungal growth. This may lead to termites coming to break down the wood. Neither fungal growth nor termites necessarily means the tree is dead or needs to be removed. Trees are very resilient. If you are concerned, hire an arborist to examine the tree.

Photographer: Michael Mok

The damage on this loquat tree was caused by overwatering. Too much moisture leads to fungal growth. Remember, trees absorb water through the root system. Solution: Make sure to water trees at the roots rather than spraying on the bark.

City Trees: free pruning

Electrical lines passing between tree branches pose a fire hazard. If your tree is located on a utility easement, you can usually get free branch-trimming by the utility company or the city. Solution: Check your property survey. Call your utility company or city’s public works department to see if they will prune it for free.

Even branch distribution:

Look at the branches. Sometimes trees will grow unevenly due to different amounts of sunlight and varying soil conditions. Hire an arborist to trim, thin, and even out the shape of your tree. Neglecting this may cause the tree to become imbalanced and fall. Solution: Call an arborist and inquire about shaping and rebalancing.

Photographer: Michael Mok
Photographer: Michael Mok

Tree Roots Cracking your Home’s Foundation or Hardscape: This is not a straight forward issue which involves multiple step process which involves getting permits form your city. We can help you plan this project with the city and hire the appropriate engineers and submit the appropriate drawings to get the permit. The best way to prevent this from happening is to cut trees down and avoid having trees growth near the foundation of your home.

Photographer: Michael Mok

Foundation cracked by a redwood tree near a gas line. In this case, the gas line needs to be removed before we remove the tree trunk and fix the foundation. Currently, it will take PG&E about one to two months to abandon the gas line and another eight to nine months before they will come out to replace it.  

Photographer: Michael Mok

Recommended Arborists:

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