Category Archives: Our Blog

Leave Holiday Lighting to the Pros this Year

Driving around and looking at holiday lighting displays in your neighborhood can be a fun family tradition. But making your own home merry and bright? Not so much.

Holiday Lighting to the pros

You’re busy enough this time of year — why not give yourself a break and hire a professional lighting service to showcase your holiday cheer?

We can give you five good reasons to let the pros handle your outdoor lighting display.

1. Stay Safe on the Ground

Ladders and rooftops can be dangerous, particularly in the wintertime. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 41 percent of holiday decorating injuries are falls — and about half of these are from ladders.

Thousands of people will be injured working on outdoor holiday lights this year. Leave the climbing to a professional lighting service, and you won’t be in that number — you’ll be safe on the ground.

2. Avoid Holiday Lighting Hassles

Putting up outdoor holiday lights is a time-consuming — and often aggravating — project. You have to untangle the light strands and check for frayed cords and broken bulbs. And of course, you have to figure out exactly where and how to hang the lights, while at the same time hiding the cords.

If you let the pros handle your holiday lighting, these headaches disappear. You won’t have to even lift a finger.

3. Get a Custom Holiday Lighting Display

Everyone wants a festive outdoor holiday display that enhances their property and their home’s architecture. Unfortunately, achieving this goal isn’t always easy.

With a professional service, your holiday lights will be customized to perfectly highlight your home and property’s best features. The pros are trained in lighting design, so you’re certain to have one of the most spectacular homes on the block.

4. Enjoy Holiday Lighting Service All Season

Who hasn’t put up holiday lights, only to have a bulb — or worse, an entire strand — stop working after a day or two? Dealing with that is a headache no one needs. And even if you manage to get through the season without a bad bulb or strand, you still have to take the lighting down at some point.

Hire a professional lighting service, and you won’t have to worry about either of these hassles. During the season, the pros will come out to check your holiday lighting display on a regular basis. And when you’re ready, they’ll take everything down for storage.

5. Keep Your Trees Healthy

Did you know that not all shrubs and trees are suited for holiday lighting? Some varieties aren’t sturdy enough, and hanging lights on them could lead to damage.

A professional tree lighting and tree services company knows how to light your trees and shrubs safely — and, as an added bonus, they’ll let you know about any pre-existing damage, infestation or rot.

The professional team at Reliable Tree Care makes outdoor home and tree lighting merry and bright for northern Utah homeowners. Our dedicated and experienced installers can bring your holiday spirit to life — and our season-long service is surprisingly affordable.

If you want a gorgeous, memorable outdoor display without headaches and hassles, let Reliable Tree Care take on the task. For more information about our professional holiday lighting services or to schedule a consultation, contact our Murray office today.

Tree Services — When to Hire a Professional

Can you handle your own tree services? Or should you hire a tree care professional to take care of your trees?

With proper upkeep, trees can enhance your landscape and add value to your property. Though some jobs are best left to a certified arborist, not every tree care task requires expertise. Most homeowners can easily manage the three DIY tree services below.


No. 1: Weeding Trees

Weeds can impede how your trees grow and develop, as they strip much-needed moisture and nutrients from the soil.

Weeding trees is a simple job — just look for unwanted plants near the trunk and pull or dig them up. A post-emergent herbicide can also work to kill the weeds, but you may want to ask a professional before using one. Some products could harm your trees, particularly if they aren’t applied correctly.

No. 2: Mulching Trees

Mulch protects trees from temperature fluctuations, reduces moisture loss and helps prevent weeds from growing.

Mulching trees isn’t difficult, but it needs to be done properly. You’ll need to apply a layer about 2 to 4 inches thick around the base of each tree, extending out to the drip line and avoiding the trunk and root flare. Organic mulch is preferred; for specific recommendations, speak with a certified arborist.

No. 3: Basic Pruning

Pruning promotes strong growth, as removing loose, dead and diseased branches helps safeguard the future health of your trees.

Unfortunately, pruning is not always a good idea for DIY tree services. You can cut small, low-hanging branches that are obvious problems. However, removing limbs that are large, heavy or high up is too dangerous to do on your own. And because it can be difficult to determine which branches need to be removed, you may want to hire a certified arborist for seasonal pruning.

When Should You Hire a Tree Care Professional?

DIY tree services can help your trees, but sometimes they need more than just basic weeding, mulching and pruning.

If any of your trees show signs of foliage, bark or structural changes — such as leaf damage, discolored bark or dead branches — you may want to hire a tree care professional.

In addition, if maintenance becomes too difficult or you have concerns about completing a task properly, contact a certified arborist. Hiring a professional is also smart for tree services like seasonal pruning, soil care, tree removal and insect control — jobs in which expertise is a must.

A certified arborist is trained and equipped to provide proper care and maintenance, keeping your trees at their best all year long. You may prefer to save money with DIY tree services, but getting a helping hand from a professional now and then can be a wise decision.

The Reliable Tree Care team provides expert service at an affordable price to homeowners throughout northern Utah. To schedule a free comprehensive yard evaluation, or to talk to a tree care professional about our tree services, contact our Murray office today.

Utah Arborist Advice for Mulching Trees

Ask any certified Utah arborist — mulching is an essential tree care service.

Mulching trees boosts the visual appeal of your property. But more importantly, mulch protects trees from hot and cold temperatures, reduces moisture loss in soil and helps keep weeds in check.

Utah Arborist Advice for Mulching Trees

However, to provide these benefits and avoid potential problems, mulch must be applied correctly. Following tips from our certified arborists will help you get the job done right.

Prepare the Base of the Tree

When mulching trees, aim to surround them with a circle measuring up to 8 feet in diameter. You don’t always need to cover that large of an area, but certified arborists recommend that you extend the mulch at least out to the edge of the drip line, or the edge of the tree canopy.

Prepare your circle by removing the grass, along with any debris, sticks and weeds in the area. Rake the ground to make it as even as possible before mulching.

Add the Right Amount of Mulch

Next, use your rake to spread the mulch around evenly within your prepared circle.

How much mulch do our certified arborists recommend?

A 2-to-4-inch layer is usually best for mulching Utah trees. Any more than that, and you could block oxygen from getting to the tree roots or cause excess moisture to build up in the root zone — either of which can stress the trees and threaten their future health.

Keep Mulch Away from the Tree Trunk

When mulching trees, creating hills or volcanoes of mulch is an arborist no-no.

Don’t pile mulch up against a tree trunk, or you may end up with root rot. Instead, after applying an even layer, an arborist uses a rake to pull the mulch away from the trunk and root flare in a donut shape.

What Makes for a Good Tree Mulch?

Which type of mulch do our certified Utah arborists recommend? Organic mulches are generally considered best, as the material slowly decomposes and releases nutrients into the soil.

However, our arborists take other factors into consideration when choosing a mulch. Texture is one — a medium-textured material is preferred, as fine and course mulches don’t retain the right amount of soil moisture. Price and availability are also important to an arborist.

And for mulching trees, aesthetics matters. A beautiful mulch can boost the look of your landscape.

Would you like some expert help protecting the trees surrounding your home? The certified arborist team at Reliable Tree Care provides mulching, pruning, trimming and other professional tree care services to keep Utah trees growing healthy and strong.

To schedule a free comprehensive yard evaluation with a Reliable Tree Care certified arborist, or for answers to your questions about mulching trees, contact our Murray office today.

Tree Insect Control: Cracking Down on Cankerworms

Using a tree insect control service is the best way to keep your trees strong, healthy and beautiful.

Here in northern Utah, cankerworms are a particularly pervasive type of pests, as the insects can lay waste to tree leaves. A severe infestation can even lead to complete defoliation, leaving trees stressed and more susceptible to disease or other tree insect attacks. Without treatment, infested trees have a significantly increased risk of death.

Tree Insect Control Cracking Down on Cankerworms

But cankerworms won’t have any hope of damaging your trees if you have a professional insect control service on your side.

What Are Cankerworms?

Also known as inchworms, cankerworms can appear in both the fall and spring seasons.

Fall cankerworm moths emerge and lay eggs on bark and twigs in the fall after the first hard freeze. For northern Utah, that’s typically sometime in November. The eggs remain throughout the winter and hatch in the spring. Newly hatched cankerworms reach their full-grown length of about one inch in roughly four weeks, then drop to the ground to pupate in the soil.

Spring cankerworm moths come out during warm periods late in the winter, usually by the middle of March in northern Utah. The eggs of spring cankerworm moths hatch at about the same time in the spring as eggs laid by fall cankerworms.

How Do You Know if Your Trees Are Infested?

Checking your trees regularly for infestations is an essential part of tree insect control.

To determine if you have a fall cankerworm problem, examine your trees in the late winter, looking at the twigs and bark for egg clusters.

In the spring, you can try shaking tree branches over a solid-color cloth sheet. If you notice dislodged larvae on the surface, you may need help with tree insect management. Keep in mind that springtime detection of cankerworms can be difficult because the eggs are not as easily visible.

How Does a Tree Insect Control Service Manage Cankerworms?

For optimal insect control, cankerworms need to be treated within 10 days of their eggs hatching. And because all the limbs of affected trees need attention, specialty tree service equipment is often required.

In managing these invasive pests, a tree insect service may use a number of different treatments, including horticultural oils, insecticides and sticky trunk barriers. No single approach is right for every cankerworm infestation, so expertise is a must for successful insect treatment.

The professional insect control team at Reliable Tree Care has been serving the greater Salt Lake City area for over 20 years. We have the knowledge and experience to recommend effective, environmentally friendly strategies for managing all types of pest infestations.

To schedule a complimentary, no-obligation yard evaluation with the experts at Reliable Tree Care, or for answers to your questions about tree insect control for cankerworms and other destructive insects, contact our Murray office today.

Tree Insect Control: All About Bark Beetles

Tree insect control treatments can keep destructive pests from wreaking havoc on your trees and shrubs.

Bark beetles are among the most damaging insects in northern Utah. These pests are a significant cause of tree death, and the problem grows progressively worse each year. If you have any stressed or weakened trees, they could be at risk for infestation.


Fortunately, with the help of an expert tree insect control service, bark beetles won’t stand a chance.

What Are Bark Beetles?

Bark beetles are tiny, cylindrical insects that bore into and feed on a tree’s inner bark. One of these pests on its own can’t do much damage, but these bugs don’t stay alone for long. As they feed, they release chemicals that attract other beetles.

Several species of these pests — including the banded elm bark beetle, spruce beetle, fir engraver and shot-hole borer — are common in northern Utah. Most species are black, brown or dark red, and their larvae is typically off-white and grublike in appearance. However, since these insects are only about the size of a grain of rice, identifying them can be challenging.

How Do You Know if Your Trees Are Infested?

You may not be able to easily see these destructive pests, but signs of a potential infestation can be noticeable.

A fading tree crown may indicate a bark beetle problem. In most cases of infestation, the crown dies out from the top down, gradually reaching the lower portions of the tree.

Beetle exit holes are another sign of an infestation problem. Often, as the beetles exit a tree, they leave a shotgun-like pattern of holes behind.

How Does a Tree Insect Control Service Manage Bark Beetles?

Prevention is key to keeping these calamitous critters in check. Once trees are under assault, treatment becomes much more difficult.

An insect control service has several tricks to hold off bark beetle infestation. Areas of densely packed tree growth can be thinned to keep trees healthy enough to withstand an attack, for example. Susceptible trees can also be protected with a preventive insecticide treatment.

Experts in Utah tree insect infestation prevention can recommend the best approach to managing all types of destructive pests. The professionals at Reliable Tree Care, serving the greater Salt Lake City area for over 20 years, have the skills and experience to manage insects with minimal environmental impact.

For a free comprehensive yard evaluation with the Reliable Tree Care team, or to learn more about our tree insect control services for managing bark beetles and other intrusive insects, contact our Murray office today.

Tree Removal Is Sometimes Necessary

Tree removal should always be a last resort. Homeowners and certified arborists want to save trees whenever possible.

However, if trees develop significant problems, removal may be the only solution. When deciding whether to have one of your trees removed, ask the questions listed below.

Tree Removal Is Sometimes Necessary

How Healthy Is the Tree?

As a rule of thumb, certified arborists generally recommend removal when 50 percent or more of a tree has significant damage.

Trees that aren’t very healthy can survive, sometimes for many years. But their growth will be limited and may look abnormal. So if any of your trees aren’t in good shape, tree removal may be the best course of action.

Does the Tree Have Large, Dead Branches?

Large, damaged limbs can be dangerous, as dead branches can come crashing down and cause bodily injury or damage your property.

A few damaged branches don’t necessarily warrant tree removal, however. Getting rid of the dead limbs may restore the plant’s health and stability. However, if more than 25 percent of the branches are deteriorated or the damage is limited to one side, certified arborists often opt for removal.

Is the Trunk Damaged?

When the main trunk is severely damaged, removal is usually a must.

Large wounds, dead branch stubs and vertical cracks are signs of internal decay. If the damage amounts to more than 25 percent of the trunk circumference, removal is generally advised, as it is unlikely to heal properly over time.

Is the Tree Hollow?

Trees can live with hollow trunks for many years, but in many cases, certified arborists favor removal.

A hollow area can compromise the strength and integrity of a trunk, making the affected specimen dangerous. More often than not, when at least one-third of a trunk is hollowed out or rotten, certified arborists will recommend tree removal.

Is the Tree Leaning?

Trees that lean can be a hazard, as they may have weakened or broken roots. That means at any point, leaning trees could fall and injure someone or damage your property.

A very small, gradual lean may not point to the need for removal. But certified arborists say that any specimen that is more than 15 degrees away from being vertical typically needs to be removed.

If you suspect one of your trees needs to be removed, reach out to Reliable Tree Care. Our certified arborists can help you decide if removal is necessary. If so, our professional team has the skills and equipment to safely and efficiently handle the job. To schedule a free comprehensive yard evaluation or to learn more about our tree removal service, contact our Murray, Utah, office today.

Tree Trimming vs. Pruning: What’s the Difference?

Tree trimming and pruning are both crucial to the health and beauty of your trees. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, these services are not the same.

Tree Trimming vs. Pruning

What’s the difference between tree trimming and tree pruning?

What Is Tree Trimming?

The process of tree trimming is focused primarily on aesthetics. We do this task to maintain a tree’s desired shape and appearance.

Left alone, trees can become unwieldy, with branches growing in various directions. This uneven growth can leave your trees looking scraggly, unbalanced or misshapen. Overgrowth can also have an impact on the health of the tree and any adjoining plants. Extra branches can prevent them from getting the moisture, nutrients and light they need to thrive.

Trimming mostly involves thinning out overgrown branches, which helps create shapely growth.

What Is Tree Pruning?

Tree pruning also helps to enhance a tree’s shape and beauty, but the task is primarily focused on its future health.

Pruning helps protect against pests and diseases, and promotes strong growth. It primarily involves removing dead, diseased and loose branches that prevent the trees from flourishing. We also remove any growth that interferes with other parts of the plant, such as branches that cross over one another.

Arborists have the training and experience essential for proper tree pruning. It can be difficult or impossible for an untrained person to determine which branches should be removed to achieve healthier trees.

Correct pruning can boost flower production and optimize fruit yields. However, if this task is performed incorrectly, the plant’s growth may be stunted. In some cases, excess pruning can encourage pests and disease or even lead to the death of the plant.

How Often Should You Trim and Prune Trees?

How often you need to trim primarily depends upon appearance and personal preference. When trees are looking too large or awkward, they probably need a trim. Trimming is typically done only once or twice per year.

Pruning is done strategically, at specific times of the year, but the exact timing depends upon the plant species. Spring-flowering trees are usually pruned after the blooming cycle, toward the middle of summer. For summer-flowering and fruit trees, pruning is typically done during the winter or spring.

Would you like to know more about trimming and pruning? A professional arborist can easily handle these tasks for you. And by working with a certified arborist, you’ll be giving your trees the best possible care to ensure that they’ll continue to grow strong and beautiful.

The professionals at Reliable Tree Care, serving customers throughout northern Utah, have the skills and experience to keep your trees healthy all year long. To schedule a free comprehensive yard evaluation with one of our certified arborists, or to learn more about our tree trimming and pruning services, contact our Murray office today.

Why Should You Hire an Arborist for Tree Care?

When it comes to tree care, don’t hire a landscaper — hire a certified arborist.

Healthy, well-maintained trees can boost your curb appeal and add value to your property. Damaged and diseased trees do exactly the opposite. And often, landscapers may not have the requisite training and skills to properly care for your trees.

Hire an Arborist for Tree Care

Whether your trees need help or you simply want to keep them in good shape, an arborist is the right professional for the job.

What Is a Certified Arborist?

A certified arborist is a highly trained professional with extensive knowledge about the art and science behind properly planting, caring for and maintaining trees.

Becoming an arborist takes a great deal of study and dedication. At least three years of full-time experience working in the professional tree-care industry is required for certification from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). And then there’s the test — arborists must pass a comprehensive exam covering 10 areas of knowledge in arboriculture (the cultivation and management of trees and shrubs).

To maintain ISA certification, arborists are required to participate in ongoing training. Continued education also serves to keep arborists updated on the latest science and field techniques.

Why Should You Trust Tree Care to a Certified Arborist?

Hiring a certified arborist means you can rest easy knowing that your tree care professional has the right training and experience to restore or maintain the health of your trees.

Plus, arborists know how to care for trees in ways that are environmentally conscious and that preserve the safety and beauty of your property. Hiring a landscaper or working with a tree service that doesn’t have certified arborists puts your trees and your property at risk.

When Should You Hire a Certified Arborist?

Many homeowners first think to hire an arborist during an emergency situation. Here at Reliable Tree Care, we field a lot of calls from people with trees that have fallen or become unstable after stormy Utah weather.

Certified arborists are the go-to professionals for emergency tree service. But crunch time isn’t the only time to hire an arborist.

Preventive maintenance through routine tree care is the best way to keep your trees healthy, strong and beautiful. A certified arborist can control insects and disease and expertly prune, trim and fertilize trees. And if tree removal becomes necessary, an arborist can safely handle the task without compromising your property.

Planning to plant some new trees? Hire a certified arborist, and you’ll get expert advice on choosing the best varieties for your property and on planning their placement. Pre-planting consultation helps prevent future complications and growth problems.

If you live in northern Utah, trust Reliable Tree Care to provide professional pruning, trimming, fertilization, insect and disease control, and emergency tree service. The certified arborists on our team have the skills and experience to help your trees flourish. Contact our Murray office to schedule a free comprehensive tree evaluation with an arborist today.

Tree Removal Advice: 5 Reasons to Get Rid of Old Tree Stumps

Must you call a tree-removal service to get rid of that old stump in your yard, or can you just leave it there?

In most cases, arborists recommend stump removal. Why?

Get Rid of Old Tree Stumps

No. 1: Tree Stumps Are Hazardous

An old stump could be dangerous for your kids, as they could easily trip and fall when running and playing in the yard. Neighbors and visitors might also take a tumble, and if someone is injured, you could be held liable.

Stumps that are low to the ground can also be a lawn-care hazard. You or your landscape service could accidentally hit a stump and damage mowing equipment, requiring a trip to the repair shop.

No. 2: Tree Stumps Attract Insects

If you leave an old stump to rot, it can attract wood-boring insects. Beetles, carpenter ants, termites and many other pests love to take up residence in rotting stumps.

While you may not care about bugs in your yard, arborists caution that these destructive insects can pose a health concern for neighboring healthy trees and shrubs. Left unchecked, the pests could even spread to your home.

No. 3: Tree Stumps Can Harbor Disease

Arborists can frequently treat diseased trees, but they can’t cure all of them. Sometimes, tree removal is necessary.

When old stumps are left behind, diseases may also remain. Consequently, nearby trees, shrubs and ornamental plants could be affected — and what killed your trees could also end up killing your other vegetation.

No. 4: Tree Stumps Can Lead to New Growth

Stumps don’t always begin to decay right away. Often, they continue to generate growth. You might notice sprouts popping up, resulting in several new small trees. Left alone, these rogue trees can quickly turn awkward, unattractive and bushy.

These new shoots can be a headache to control, because they keep coming back. Your landscape may suffer, as all that regrowth takes nutrients away from your ornamental plants.

No. 5: Tree Stumps Are Unsightly

An old stump can be an eyesore. The sight of rotting wood just isn’t appealing.

With effort, some stumps can become landscape focal points. Handy homeowners can turn one into a planter or garden table, for example. But since many old stumps don’t make good craft project fodder, hiring a tree removal service is usually a must to maintain your home’s curb appeal.

Are you ready to remove your old stump? The certified arborists at Reliable Tree Care provide free comprehensive yard evaluations to homeowners throughout northern Utah. To schedule your professional stump and tree removal consultation, contact our Murray office today.

5 Tree Services to Consider this Fall

With professional tree services, your trees can remain healthy all winter and be ready to grow strong next spring.

Just like lawns and gardens, trees are vulnerable to weather changes. To prepare them for survival during the colder months, they need some care and attention. Winter will be here in Utah before you know it, so consider the five tree services below for fall.

Tree Services to Consider this Fall

No. 1: Tree Evaluation

If you’ve never gotten tree services, schedule a professional checkup.

A comprehensive evaluation will reveal the condition of your trees as well as any issues that may need to be addressed. Trees with problems will be able to get the care they require to survive through the winter.

No. 2: Fall Tree Soil Care

You may already know that your lawn benefits from fertilization in the fall, but did you know that trees may also need a dose?

Monitoring and maintaining soil quality is an important part of keeping trees healthy. To make sure your trees have the nutrients they need to get through the colder months, have your soil checked and add the necessary amount of a slow-release fertilizer.

No. 3: Fall Pruning and Trimming

Pruning and trimming in the fall can help protect your trees from the effects of harsh winter storms.

Plus, pruning away dead or damaged areas and trimming the trees to ensure proper growth is easier after the leaves have fallen. The branch structure is more visible, so it’s the perfect time to handle these tree care tasks.

No. 4: Seasonal Tree Protection

In Utah, fall tree services should include seasonal protection.

Depending upon your landscape and the condition of your trees, you may need to consider special nutrients or treatments to help fend off insects and disease. A professional tree care service can offer late-season foliage protection, overwintering insect control and targeted trunk nutrients to keep trees strong and healthy all winter.

No. 5: Fall Tree Planting

Spring is generally viewed as the time for planting. But in northern Utah, early fall is also an excellent time to think about adding a few new trees to your landscape.

Planting trees in the fall allows them to establish roots in the cooler soil, with much less of a chance of stress from high temperatures, sun scorch and drought. So when you consider fall tree services, don’t forget new plantings.

Do you need help preparing your trees for the upcoming season? Get professional tree services for all your soil care, pruning, protection and planting needs. And if you hire certified arborists, you can trust that you’ll have beautiful, healthy tree growth next spring.

The professional team at Reliable Tree Care has the skills, training and experience to properly care for your Utah trees all year long. To schedule a free comprehensive yard evaluation or to learn more about our tree services, contact our Murray office today.