Category Archives: Our Blog

Tree Trimming and Utility Lines – What You Need to Know

As a property owner, you have control over any tree trimming that takes place. Right?

Not necessarily. Your utility company has the right to trim trees on your northern Utah property – and they can do so without your permission. Actually, they don’t even have to let you know ahead of time.

Why is this? As it turns out, utility companies take on trimming for a very good reason – to help prevent widespread blackouts.

Professional gardener pruning a tree

Tree Trimming Can Prevent Power Outages

In August 2003, a utility line fault in Ohio led to a massive blackout. More than 50 million people throughout the northeast United States and Canada were left without electricity – and in many areas, power wasn’t restored until two days later.

While several factors contributed to the power outage, tree overgrowth was the catalyst. The fault began when tree branches came into contact with the utility lines.

Since then, tree trimming for clearance around power lines is mandated by law. Utility companies are required to manage vegetation growth as a means of preventing future blackouts.

Tree Trimming Near Utility Lines Requires Expert Care

If you have trees growing near power lines, let the utility company take care of the problem – don’t try to trim them yourself.

Tree trimming around utility lines is incredibly dangerous. Plan the job incorrectly, and a falling branch could knock out the electricity in your neighborhood. Worse, you could accidentally come into contact with a high-voltage wire.

If you don’t trust your utility company to trim properly, contact a local certified arborist with expertise in trimming for power line clearance.

Planning to Plant New Trees?

If you’re thinking about adding more trees to your property, taking care in choosing a planting site can help prevent the need for trimming by the utility company.

You don’t want to plant too close to the power lines, as utility companies are required to trim branches within a certain distance. Typically, this is about ten feet, but trimming is often done to a greater degree to account for future growth.

In addition, think carefully before deciding which type of tree to plant. To ensure clearance around power lines, species that grow to reach heights of over 25 feet need to be planted at least 25 feet away. Any that grow taller should be planted at an even further distance.

For expert advice on planting to avoid utility line interference, turn to a local certified arborist – like the professionals at Reliable Tree Care.

As a northern Utah industry leader for more than 20 years, Reliable Tree Care strives to provide effective and affordable arborist services to homeowners and businesses throughout the greater Salt Lake City area and along the Wasatch Front. Contact our Murray office and schedule a free, no-obligation comprehensive yard evaluation to discuss tree trimming and planting around utility lines with one of our expert certified arborists today.

Falling Trees and Property Damage – Who’s Responsible?

Paying to repair property damage from falling trees can be expensive. Which leads to the question – who has to cover that cost?

The answer isn’t clear-cut, as several factors come into play when determining who’s financially responsible for damage from a falling tree. However, it generally comes down to ownership and insurance coverage. Here’s what you need to know.

falling trees property damage

Who Owns the Tree?

To figure out who has to pay for property damage, you need to know who owns the tree.

Ownership is based upon where the trunk sits. If the trunk is on your property, you’re the owner. Trees with trunks that are situated on your neighbor’s property are theirs – even if the foliage hangs over your lawn. When the trunk is directly on the property line, you and your neighbor are co-owners.

Is the Owner Responsible for Property Damage?

If you own a tree that falls and damages to your neighbor’s property, but you aren’t at fault – the problem resulted from a heavy storm or other “act of God” – you aren’t liable for the costs of repair. To cover the expense, your neighbor will have to file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance provider or pay out of pocket to repair the damage.

However, if it can be proven that the property damage was caused by your negligence in tree care, you could be held financially responsible.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Always Cover Damage from Falling Trees?

Let’s say you put off removing a tree you knew was hazardous and you’re found to be liable for damage that occurred as a result of it falling. Can you rely on your homeowner’s insurance to foot the bill?

You’ll need to check the specifics of your policy. Some only cover claims that don’t involve any negligence or limit coverage to certain types of damage. Other policies pay for all property damage caused by falling trees, regardless of the cause.

Who Pays if a Falling Tree Damages a Car?

If you own both the fallen tree and the vehicle that gets damaged, your homeowner’s insurance probably won’t cover repairs. If your auto insurance includes comprehensive coverage, however, you only have to pay your deductible.

When your falling tree damages someone else’s car, your auto insurance policy may cover the repair cost if you have comprehensive coverage. However, that might not be the case if you’re found negligent.

If you aren’t liable for the vehicle damage, the car owner can turn to their own comprehensive coverage insurance. If they don’t have that type of coverage in their policy, however, the repair costs will be their responsibility.

Are any of your trees at risk of falling? A Utah certified arborist can check for structural stability and provide effective solutions – such as cabling and bracing or removal – to prevent tree hazards from creating costly property damage.

If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, Reliable Tree Care can ensure your property is free of hazardous trees. Our certified arborist team has over 20 years of experience managing and preventing tree problems, and our services come at an affordable price.

To prevent falling trees from causing property damage, call our Murray UT office to schedule a complimentary, comprehensive yard evaluation from Reliable Tree Care.

Do You Need a Permit for Tree Removal in Utah

Chances are, you probably won’t need a permit for tree removal. In most cases, you don’t need anyone’s permission if you want to take down one of the trees on your northern Utah property.

That said, there are some instances where the decision might not be in your hands. Some species are protected by state law, and the location of both your home and the tree could prevent you from proceeding with the removal.

permit tree removal

Permits are Necessary for Utah Heritage Species

The Utah Heritage Tree Act was enacted back in 1975 to preserve the state’s scenic beauty by protecting species that are rare or have historical significance as well as specimens that have exceptional size, form or age for their species.

A permit is required to remove a heritage tree, and several species are included in the state registry. For assistance identifying whether or not yours is a heritage species, check with a local certified arborist or the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands.

Check Local Regulations Regarding Removal

If the tree you want to remove isn’t a heritage species, but you live in a planned community or development, you might need permission from your homeowners’ association. HOAs have their own guidelines and may not favor removal unless absolutely necessary.

In addition, if you live in an incorporated city, check with local officials before going ahead with tree removal. Some cities have codes and regulations that could impinge upon your plans.

Don’t Remove a Tree Unless You Own It

Before removing a tree, make sure you own it – and that’s only the case if the entire trunk sits on your property. If any part of the trunk is situated on the property line, you’ll need to get your neighbor’s permission first.

Skip this step, and you could be held liable in court. Utah law states that anyone who cuts down a tree without permission may be compelled to pay the owner up to three times its value.

Think Twice Before Proceeding with Tree Removal

Just because you can go forward with tree removal doesn’t mean you should. Trees offer shade and protection from harsh winds, while also adding considerable value and beauty to your northern Utah property.

For a significantly damaged or hazardous tree, removal may be necessary. However, sometimes you can save one that seems to be unhealthy or at risk. So, before you make a decision, contact a local certified arborist to perform an in-person inspection.

If your property is the greater Salt Lake City area or anywhere along the Wasatch Front, call on the experienced professionals at Reliable Tree Care for expert advice. Our certified arborists can help you decide if removal is necessary. If so, our crew has the skills and equipment to get the job done safely and efficiently.

Reliable Tree Care offers free comprehensive yard evaluations to northern Utah homeowners and businesses. To discuss tree removal with one of our expert certified arborists, contact our Murray office today.

Does Peeling Tree Bark Mean You Need an Arborist?

Have you spotted peeling tree bark in your landscape recently? Seeking advice from a local arborist could be in your best interest.

Peeling tree bark isn’t always a cause for concern. But, in some cases, bark loss can point to a bigger problem – and when it comes to tree care, certified arborists are the experts. If one of your trees has peeling bark, an arborist can check it out and, if necessary, nurse it back to health.

Peeling Tree Bark Arborist

Peeling Bark is Normal for Some Species

Peeling can be a natural part of the growth process, as the old outer covering is shed to make way for new bark. This may occur very slowly – at such a slow pace that the bark falling away is hardly noticeable – or the shedding process may be quite dramatic.

Tree species that are often prone to peeling bark include:

  • Sycamore
  • Maple
  • Birch
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Ash

Signs that Peeling Tree Bark is a Problem

Bark loss isn’t always due to growth – peeling can also be caused by weather stress, insect infestations and certain fungal diseases.

When you can see healthy bark under the peeling layers, there probably isn’t a problem. If, however, you spy any of the following signs, your tree could use an arborist’s care:

  • Peeling after excessive summer heat
  • Bark cracking and peeling away after frost
  • Signs of stress like cankers, water spouts, oozing sap, wilting leaves, dying branches or early leaf drop

What to Do if You Notice Trees with Peeling Bark

If you see peeling, your first step is to consider the species – shedding large chunks of bark could be completely normal. In that case, you shouldn’t need to take any further action.

If peeling isn’t a normal phenomenon for the species, but you don’t see any other symptoms, weather stress is a likely culprit. To help a weather-stressed tree, you can try watering when the soil is dry and applying a layer of organic mulch.

A smarter approach, however, is to seek out the expertise of a local certified arborist. Peeling bark can affect the overall health and lifespan of a tree, and an arborist has the skill and training to treat the problem. Plus, if the issue is due to pest infestation or disease, an experienced arborist can recommend effective treatments or, if needed, provide tree removal service to keep the problem from affecting the other plants on your property.

Do any of your trees have peeling bark? If you suspect a problem – or you simply want a professional opinion – call on a local certified arborist. In the greater Salt Lake City area, the Reliable Tree Care team can offer expert advice and assistance.

Reliable Tree Care, a northern Utah industry leader for over 20 years, offers free comprehensive yard evaluations and arborist treatment estimates to homeowners and businesses. If your trees have peeling bark, contact our Murray office and schedule a complimentary, no-pressure property analysis from a highly-trained and experienced certified arborist today.

Fall Tree Pruning in Utah – Yes or No?

What are the rules for fall tree pruning? So, should you schedule this task (or undertake it yourself) in the coming weeks?

Many homeowners believe it’s a good idea to prune once the leaves drop, as leafless branches have all of their imperfections exposed, making it easy to see where to cut. However, certified arborists don’t always believe that fall tree pruning is advisable.

fall tree pruning Utah

Why Heavy Fall Pruning Is Not Recommended

Certified arborists advise taking a cautious approach to pruning in the fall.

Heavy pruning in multiple areas should wait and, depending on which species reside on your property, you may want to avoid using the pruners at all during the autumn months.

Heavy fall pruning can lead to future tree health problems. Branch wounds heal more slowly in the fall than they do at other times of year. And, during the fall, decay fungi can spread more easily and profusely.

When Light Fall Tree Pruning Can Be Beneficial

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to planting and nurturing trees, light tree pruning can be done during the fall or any other time of the year that it becomes necessary.

It’s important to note that light pruning involves only the removal of dead and severely damaged wood. This means that, during the fall months, you’re usually safe to cut off twigs, limbs and branches that are too far gone to recover once springtime returns.

Timing Your Tree Pruning

So, if not the fall, when should you prune your trees?

This depends largely on which species live on your property. As a general guideline, however, pruning after the coldest part of winter is an arborist-recommended approach for encouraging vigorous new growth in the spring.

Trees can also be pruned during the summer, after the finish of seasonal growth. Summertime pruning is done to direct growth or to slow the development of specific branches.

Certified arborists also prune frequently to enhance flowering. Spring bloomers are pruned once their flowers fade, usually around the middle of summer. For summer-flowering trees, pruning may be completed in either the wintertime or during the early spring months.

Do you have questions on tree pruning? A Utah certified arborist is your best resource for expert answers and advice. With more than two decades of experience, Reliable Tree Care is the go-to northern Utah industry leader.

The highly-skilled Reliable Tree Care crew can keep your trees growing healthy and strong all year long. If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, contact our Murray office today to discuss fall tree pruning with one of our expert certified arborists.

Tree Insect Control: Pests that Infest Ornamental Aspens

If you have ornamental aspens on your property, you may need a professional tree insect control service.

Aspens thrive in the forests of the Intermountain West, but they aren’t as well adapted to the environmental conditions of the Wasatch Front. When aspens are planted outside their preferred region, they’re more susceptible to insect infestations.

tree insect control aspens

Several pests can cause problems for ornamental aspen trees. But with professional tree insect control service, you can avoid four types of insects that commonly infest aspens.

Aspen Borers

A few different species of boring beetles like to infest ornamental aspen trees, tunneling into the trunks and weakening the wood.

The most effective method of insect control for aspen borers is to maintain vigorous tree health. Systemic insecticides can also be helpful, applied to soil within the dripline or injected into the trunk. Tree insect services may also include trunk sprays to prevent borer infestations.

Tent Caterpillars

Western tent caterpillars defoliate ornamental aspens by creating a webbed tent around groups of leaves as protection against predators.

While these pests don’t normally cause tree death, infestation is rather unsightly. Insect control of tent caterpillars may involve pruning webbed limbs as they appear or carefully burning the tents. If the leaves are completely covered, a microbial insecticide spray of the canopy may be used. For aspens that are too large for a canopy spray, a systemic insecticide can be injected into the trunk or applied to the roots.

Aspen Leaf Miners

Leaf miners munch on aspen leaves, and their feeding activity results in ugly blotches and winding patterns.

As most leaf miner infestations don’t have a significant impact on tree health, insect control isn’t always necessary. If treatment is a must — either due to the amount of damage or the look of the leaves — insecticide can be applied to the foliage.

Oyster Shell Scale Insects

Oyster shell scale infestations form unsightly crusting on ornamental aspen limbs and twigs. Often, these insects cause enough damage to kill branches or even entire trees.

Tree insect services treat oyster-shell-infected aspens by suffocating overwintering scale with a dormant oil in the spring before bud break. Systemic insecticides may also be considered, or oyster shell activity may be controlled with sticky bands and contact insecticides on infested branches.

Aspen Galls

Galls aren’t technically a type of insect. Rather, they’re swollen growths on twigs, leaves and leaf buds formed by several types of pests.

Pests dwelling within aspen galls aren’t susceptible to insecticides, but adults that emerge can be suppressed. Tree insect control services may use contact insecticides to kill off the adult pests, and limbs with heavy galling may be pruned.

Are you concerned about pests infesting your ornamental aspens? For professional tree insect control service in the greater Salt Lake City area and along the Wasatch Front, turn to the expert certified arborists at Reliable Tree Care.

As a leader in the northern Utah tree services industry for more than two decades, Reliable Tree Care has the skill, knowledge and expertise to offer effective, environmentally friendly solutions for managing pest infestations in ornamental aspens.

To schedule a free, no-hassle comprehensive yard analysis and tree insect control consultation, contact our Murray office today.

Fruit Tree Care: Controlling Suckers and Water Sprouts

Fruit tree care comes with many challenges, particularly for new gardeners. Without close attention, insects, diseases and environmental issues can all affect production.

The same goes for suckers and water sprouts. These vigorous new growth types take much-needed energy away from fruit trees, which can lead to a reduced yield.

Fruit Tree Care Controlling Suckers and Water Sprouts

What Are Tree Suckers and Water Sprouts?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, water sprouts and suckers are two types of undesirable tree growth. They often show up after overpruning or excessive watering, such as might occur with flood irrigation or a big storm, or when the tree experiences stress.

Suckers are shoots that originate at the root system, popping up near ground level. Water sprouts are quite similar in nature and appearance, but these growths appear above ground, stemming from the trunk or branches.

How Do You Remove Tree Suckers and Water Sprouts?

Certified arborists recommend removing suckers and sprouts as quickly as possible. These growths are considered invasive, as they can affect both fruit yield and overall tree health.

To remove a sucker, use pruners to cut the shoot at a 45-to-60-degree angle. Take care not to damage the trunk, but try to remove as much of the growth as you can. If necessary, move some of the underlying soil to make your cut at the base of the sucker.

The process of removing a water sprout is much the same. Simply use a sharp cutting tool to prune away the shoot close to the trunk or branch. For faster healing, try not to leave much of a stub behind.

Spring is the best time to remove suckers and sprouts, but unusual new growths can crop up at any time during the growing season. If you see any unwanted shoots, don’t hesitate to grab the pruners and cut them away.

Can You Prevent Fruit Tree Suckers and Water Sprouts?

Unwanted tree growth generally appears as a response to stress, such as disease, insect infestation, drought or overwatering. For the best chance at prevention, fruit tree care experts recommend eliminating as many sources of stress as possible.

Keep your trees in good health, making sure they’re properly watered and fertilized, and unwanted growths are less likely to become a problem. In addition, be sure to prune regularly — but don’t overprune, as that can stimulate the development of sprouts and suckers.

Regular tree health evaluations from an experienced certified arborist can help prevent problematic new growth. For expert advice in the greater Salt Lake City area, turn to the professionals at Reliable Tree Care. We have the expertise and skill to manage and prevent many tree health problems, including water sprouts and suckers. To schedule a free, no-hassle comprehensive yard evaluation and fruit tree care consultation, contact our Murray office today.

The Utah Arborist’s Guide to Tree Watering

A certified Utah arborist is an excellent resource for information on tree watering.

Keeping trees adequately watered is essential for their long-term health. Too much or too little water can result in stress and damage. For that reason, experienced arborists consider proper watering to be one of the most important aspects of tree care and maintenance.

For expert tree-watering advice based upon your specific climate and growing conditions, call on the experienced team at Reliable Tree Care.

The Utah Arborist’s Guide to Tree Watering

How to Tell When it’s Time to Water Your Trees

At first glance, it isn’t always easy to tell if your trees need water. For that reason, certified arborists recommend checking the soil.

To do so, dig about 6 to 8 inches down. If the soil feels moist, wait another day or two to water. If the earth seems dry, or if you have difficulty digging into the soil, water immediately.

How to Water Trees the Right Way

For effective watering, you need to reach the roots. To that end, certified arborists advise against frequent, light watering.

Instead, deeply water the soil within the dripline, reaching from the trunk to the ends of the branches. To help retain the moisture as long as possible, be sure to mulch. Arborists generally recommend applying a 2-to-4-inch layer of organic mulch, leaving a few inches of space around the trunk.

How to Recognize the Signs You’re Overwatering Your Trees

If the soil at the base of a tree is constantly damp, you’re probably overwatering. Other signs of overwatering include:

New growth that withers before it matures
Young leaves that turn light green or yellow
Leaves that look vibrant and healthy but are brittle and break easily
Algae or mushroom growth in the soil within the dripline

How to Recognize the Signs You’re Underwatering Your Trees

Dry soil is a clear indicator that you’re underwatering. Utah arborists also advise looking for other signs, including:

Leaves that are wilted, curled or brown at the edges
A sparse canopy with undersized or off-color leaves
Premature fall color
Early leaf drop

Are your trees getting too much or too little water? If you’re not sure, call on the professional arborist team at Reliable Tree Care.

With over 20 years of experience, the Reliable Tree Care crew has the knowledge and skill to keep your trees growing healthy and strong. If you live in northern Utah, contact our Murray office today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly qualified Utah arborists.

After Tree Removal, Can You Plant a New Tree in the Same Spot?

Tree removal can create a void in your landscape, detracting from the beauty and appeal of your property. Planting a new tree is a great way to solve that problem, but you must choose the location with care.

You can plant a new tree where an old one was removed, but should you? You may want to take this approach if the planting site has sentimental value or is crucial to the overall landscape design. Keep in mind, however, that using the same location will require some additional effort on your part.

For best results, consider consulting a Utah arborist for tree removal and replanting recommendations.

After Tree Removal, Can You Plant a New Tree in the Same Spot

Why a New Planting Site Is Better

While it is certainly possible to replant in the same spot after tree removal, doing so isn’t ideal. Certified arborists usually recommend choosing a new planting site for these reasons:

  • The soil may be stripped of nutrients essential to the growth of a sapling.

  • Sawdust from tree removal or stump grinding can change the balance of nutrients in the soil.

  • In the case of disease, the infectious agent may be present in the soil.

What to Consider if You Use the Old Planting Site

If you decide to replant in the same spot, you’ll need to choose your sapling carefully.

Choosing a sapling of the same species isn’t always wise if your old tree was diseased. In fact, if that’s the reason you needed tree removal, you’ll need to select a species that won’t be affected by that particular pathogen.

Consider a native species, one that’s well-suited to your area’s growing conditions. Or, as an alternative, you could plant a shrub or hedge. For recommendations, check with your local county extension office or an experienced certified arborist.

How to Get Your New Sapling Off to a Great Start

Before planting a new tree where one was removed, make sure get rid of all the roots and old plant material. If any is left behind, nitrogen in the soil may be diminished or depleted, and saplings need an adequate supply of nitrogen for healthy growth.

To replant in the same spot, dig a hole about twice the size of the sapling’s root base. Set the sapling in place, then fill the planting hole with good-quality garden soil. Add a layer of organic mulch, leaving a few inches of space around the trunk.

For best results, plant your sapling in the fall. Trees can be planted at other times of the year, but getting them in the ground during the autumn months helps the root system to become established before the warmer summer months.

Do you need tree removal, or do you have questions about replanting afterward? If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, the certified arborists at Reliable Tree Care can offer expert assistance and advice.

Reliable Tree Care, a northern Utah industry leader for over two decades, is known for providing exceptional workmanship and stellar service at an affordable price. Contact our Murray office today to schedule a free comprehensive yard analysis to discuss tree removal or planting a new tree.

How Much Does Tree Stump Removal Cost?

After removing a tree, many homeowners want tree stump removal. Old stumps aren’t just unsightly — they’re dangerous, can attract insects and harbor disease.

Due to the potential for property damage and the presence of underground utilities, removing a tree stump isn’t a do-it-yourself project. So how much will it cost to hire a professional tree services company?

No two projects are exactly alike, so costs vary. But for most customers, the cost is under $500, and often much less.

How Much Does Tree Stump Removal Cost

Average Costs for Stump Removal

According to, the trusted home improvement marketplace, $298 is the national average stump removal cost.

Most professional tree services companies charge between $2 and $5 per inch in diameter, measured at the stump’s widest point. Using that formula, most people end up paying somewhere in the range of $162 to $473 for removal, although the cost can be upwards of $900 — and that doesn’t include stump grinding.

Rates for Tree Stump Grinding

Professional grinding typically costs about $3 per diameter inch, and most projects are priced around $200. However, several factors, including tree type, accessibility, and root removal, can increase the cost.

Handy homeowners can rent a grinder and do the work themselves — if no utilities are nearby. But with average stump grinder rental prices at around $190, the savings aren’t likely to be significant. Plus, because of the challenges in dealing with local codes and permitting requirements, going the DIY route usually isn’t worth the effort.

Factors that Affect Tree Stump Removal Cost

In determining the price for stump removal, professional tree services companies take the following into account:

Size: The larger the stump, the more complex the root system — and the higher the price for removal.
Tree type: Stumps of dense hardwood trees like oak, elm, and birch can be more difficult — and thus, more costly — to remove.
Root removal: Sprawling root systems are harder to remove, and the additional work adds to the project cost.
Preparation: If the trunk needs to be cut down to ground level, there may be an additional charge. The same goes for stumps that need to be cleared of overgrowth before removal.
Cleanup: After grinding, removing the piles of sawdust left behind may add to the removal cost.

To find out how much it will cost to remove and grind your tree stump, schedule a consultation with a certified arborist in your area. For affordable tree services in the greater Salt Lake City area, reach out to Reliable Tree Care.

As a northern Utah industry leader for more than two decades, Reliable Tree Care has a reputation for top-notch workmanship, exceptional customer service and competitive pricing. Contact our Murray office and schedule a free, comprehensive yard analysis and tree stump removal estimate today.