Category Archives: Our Blog

Determining the Right Time for Tree Removal, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over several of the broader tree diseases and conditions that may require an eventual tree removal on your property. There are several such conditions, and determining their severity and how they impact your species specifically is the name of the game when understanding whether the tree can be treated or whether tree removal might be necessary.

At Reliable Tree Care, our arborists are proud to assist numerous clients in this area, from assessing issues and providing disease control services where possible to taking care of tree removal when it’s required, plus everything in between. In today’s blog, we’ll look at a few issues of placement or physical issues that may lead to removal needs, plus how you can assess the concerns and make the right choice.

determining right time tree removal

Ground Roots

If you have begun to notice roots from a given tree that are growing along the top of the soil, this is generally a sign that the root system is struggling to find purchase within the soil. There could be a few reasons for this, including soil makeup concerns.

Regardless of the reason behind it, trees in this position are at risk of physical damage from humans, animals and other surface elements. When exposed to winter weather, roots may undergo significant strain. In certain cases, enough roots in this form will signal that the tree simply cannot build an adequate root system and must be removed.

Sewers and Septic Tanks

One of the single most significant and expensive plumbing issues that can happen to homeowners relates to trees: The invasion of tree roots into main sewer lines or septic runoff areas. Tree roots are always on a natural search for water and nutrients, which may lead them to these plumbing areas in some circumstances – leading to massive repair needs and often tree removal concerns. Ensuring trees have both proper water and appropriate distance from main water lines is important for their long-term health.

Roof Concerns

If trees have grown to the point where their branches overhang a roof or other areas of the home, there could be risks present for both the tree and the structure. Roof shingles and moisture protection areas could be at risk of physical damage, especially during high winds or storms, as could siding or other structural areas.

In addition, branches that are in contact with the home will be tough to trim and prune. This can compromise the health of the tree, allowing it to grow out of control and create even further hazards in a damaging cycle.

Power Lines

Down similar lines, it’s vital to trim and otherwise prune tree branches that are anywhere close to power lines. Branches that are even in the vicinity may become entwined during wind or storms, leading to major electrocution risks or other hazards. Such trees will need to be removed for the safety of nearby building occupants in many cases.

For more on signs it might be time to remove trees, or to learn about any of our tree disease care or pruning services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Determining the Right Time for Tree Removal, Part 1

Trees are wonderful and highly beneficial property elements, and those many of us build a bond and connection with over time, but even the longest-lasting trees reach the end of their road at some point in time. In fact, in many cases, the best tree owners are able to spot the signs that their trees are reaching the end of their lifespan, allowing them to provide the proper care to both the tree itself and surrounding property areas.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re here to help with everything from proper care of diseased trees to tree removal when needed. We can also help explain the risks of delaying dead tree removal when the time comes. How do you know, though, when the time is coming to remove a tree? This two-part blog will go over several important factors here, including certain situations that may or may not indicate tree concerns, plus those where removal is an absolute necessity.

determining right time tree removal

Dead Trees Vs. Dormant Trees

For starters, it’s important to understand the full range of actual tree conditions out there. Namely, while certain trees may appear to be dead or dying, they might actually just be dormant – and knowing the difference is important.

In many situations, trees go dormant during the fall or late summer as they prepare for winter. In others, damage or sickness may appear in only sections of a given tree, while the rest of the tree remains fine. In both these and related situations, it might not be necessary to remove the tree. Our arborists can assess the tree and make a determination.

Stressed Trees

“Stress” is another broad category that a tree can come under, and it may or may not lead to removal needs. It’s marked by the appearance of small “shoots” near the base of the tree, little branches that look out of place in this area. They often show up because trees are struggling with some part of the environment or soil system, and an arborist can assess their specific causes plus whether they signal a need for removal.

Branch Damage

In many cases, branches that are damaged can be removed for the good of the tree while the tree itself remains. This is often done purposely during the pruning process, in fact.

In other situations, though, too much branch damage may necessitate a full removal of the tree. If too many branches are damaged, the tree may not be able to harvest enough sunlight to keep itself alive, and letting it die naturally can be dangerous to the surrounding environment.

Fungal Infection

Fungal infections in trees may give off a few different visible signs, from strange wounds without a known cause to brackets that begin to form from the trunk, roots or even branches of the tree. Once again, not all fungal infections necessitate removal, though some do – and a trained arborist will know best.

For more on conditions that may or may not lead to tree removal, or to learn about any of our tree pruning, removal or disease care services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Managing Tree Root Contact With Sidewalks and Walkways

At Reliable Tree Care, our top priority is the health and safety of your trees. From basic tree shaping and trimming services up to checking for disease and preventing insects, we’re here to keep your trees beautiful and healthy for decades into the future.

One common property area where basic tree care can become a bit more complex is when trees are located near a property walkway, most commonly a sidewalk. Let’s go over why this can sometimes be a small concern, what can be done when tree roots begin interacting with concrete or other walkway materials, and how our arborists can help here.

tree root contact sidewalks walkways

Roots and Sidewalks

Roots are a vital part of any tree, and as the tree ages, their root systems will spread out. This spread isn’t random – it’s based on finding areas where the roots can comfortably supply nutrients and moisture without interruption.

When roots expand into areas nearby walkways, however, this process can be bothered. The outcome here will often be negative for both the tree and the walkway; roots will not grow properly and the tree’s health may suffer, plus root areas will often grow directly into seams or expansion joints in sidewalks, damaging them significantly.

“Just cut the roots, then,” you might be thinking, but it isn’t that simple. First off, roots can simply grow back again right into that same section and cause even more damage, often within just a couple years. Secondly, cutting roots this way during tree growth risks further damage.

Tree Stability is Paramount

When assessing the options for managing this kind of interaction, which we’ll go over momentarily, the top priority for arborists is the stability of the tree. Roots aren’t only present for nutrients – lateral roots are also vital for resisting wind and keeping the tree stable. If they’re cut, you risk the tree being uprooted far m ore easily.

Essentially, cutting roots closer than five feet from the tree will only be used as a final option if all others have been exhausted. This is due to both tree health and potential liability concerns.

Available Options

There are a couple good options your arborist might suggest when it comes to dealing with tree roots that are reaching walkways:

  • Sidewalk shaving: If possible within local regulations, shaving down the sidewalk is the safest method here for trees. This can be done with asphalt in some cases, or with other formats, and can be repeated several times if needed to even out the sidewalk.
  • Slabjacking: Slabjacking is a recently-popularized technique that utilizes injections into concrete that raise the slabs to a certain level. While it’s commonly used for concrete leveling to avoid removing large slabs of concrete, it may also be used to correct a slab when roots are nearby and make the space safer for both.

For more on how to handle tree roots that are pressing up against walkways, or to learn about any of our tree trimming or removal services, speak to the pros at Reliable Tree Care today.

All You Need to Know About Watering Trees, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the basics of watering trees on your property. We discussed both younger and mature trees and how their watering and root systems differ, plus some other general tips.

At Reliable Tree Care, our pros are always here to assist with watering concerns and questions among our wide range of tree services, which also include trimming, disease control and several other areas. In today’s part two, we’ll go over some of the practical elements of watering trees – when and how to do it, avoiding too much or too little water, and a few specific factors for watering in the fall.

need to know watering trees

Basic Watering and Time of Day Considerations

Generally speaking, we recommend using either a proper soaker hose or an installed drip system to water the trees on your property. These allow water to slowly be released into the soil, sinking into the ground and reaching the full root system of the tree.

When should you be doing this during the day? The answer might depend to some degree on which tree species you have on your property, but in general the best period for this is in the evening time, a couple hours before dusk sets in. This is a period where the ground and soil are still relatively warm from the full day, but the sun is no longer beating down at its highest levels and will not risk evaporation of much of the water meant for your tree’s roots.

Avoiding Overwatering or Underwatering

So how do you know if you’re providing your tree with the proper amounts of water? We went over some basic amount guidelines in part one here, but as we noted in that section, this really depends on a few factors that will vary from property to property. Our pros are here to offer some expertise, though – here are some signs that a tree is overwatered:

  • Area surrounding the tree is constantly wet or moist
  • Leaves or branches may begin to turn yellow when this is not the desired color
  • Root rot or fungus may begin to appear at the base

On the flip side, here are some red flags that your tree might not be receiving enough water:

  • Leaves have begun to wilt or curl in strange shapes
  • The edges of leaves begin to turn brown
  • Leaves are generally smaller, and may drop earlier in the fall than usual

Fall Factors

Speaking of fall, some people wonder whether watering should be done the same way during this period of the year. If you’re dealing with newly planted trees, the answer is yes – you should water them in the same manner as you would during any part of the year. For mature trees, however, you may slow your watering near the beginning of fall – but plan a deep watering at least once before the ground freezes over to prepare them for winter.

For more on watering your trees, or to learn about any of our tree trimming or other arborist services, speak to the pros at Reliable Tree Care today.

All You Need to Know About Watering Trees, Part 1

At the heart of caring for not only trees but all vegetative life is the use of water. Just like humans, trees and other areas of nature need water to survive, and knowing how much to give various tree types – and how to go about giving it – is very important for involved tree owners.

At Reliable Tree Care, our tree care services range from basics like watering and fertilization up to disease control, trimming and even full tree removal when needed. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over a bunch of basic information on watering trees – general amounts to know, how to deal with trees of varying ages, and when proper watering times might fall during both individual days and season of the year.

need to know watering trees

General Daily Basics

It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines – every tree is different, particularly when dealing with various species, and how much water yours need will depend on their age, where they’re located, what time of year it is, and possibly several other factors.

That said, it’s good to know a basic range for all trees. Generally, we recommend about an inch of water per day for the soil surrounding your tree, or enough to moisten the soil at least 10 inches deep below the surface. One simple test here is the screwdriver test: Push a long screwdriver into the ground, and see how difficult it is to press it down. If the screwdriver won’t easily penetrate at least six inches of soil, your tree might need additional water that day.

Watering Younger Trees

One of the big areas to differentiate between with watering is whether the tree is nearer to the beginning or end of its lifespan. Those that are in their early years require a bit more attention when it comes to watering.

This is for a few reasons, but primarily because the root systems of younger trees are not fully developed yet. Their roots are mostly in a ball for the first few months at least, and it’s vital to keep this area full of water so the roots grow and continue to expand. As this happens, you’ll have to increase your watering area and water at least twice a week for the first couple years.

Watering Mature Trees

Trees that have fully established their root system, on the other hand, fall into more of a routine when it comes to watering. Roots will now be spread out deeply within the soil and watering will mean soaking the entire area underneath the tree at least a couple times per week during growing seasons (perhaps a bit less if there’s been recent rain, or more if it’s a particularly dry period).

In part two of this blog, we’ll go over some practical areas of watering trees and the timing required here. For more on this or any of our tree trimming or removal services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Why Cold Months Make Sense for Tree Branch Removal

Due to cooling temperatures, snow and other weather elements, many homeowners pay a lot less attention to their trees and other gardening elements during the winter. Most trees are dormant during the winter, they assume, and this is a period where they don’t really need much love.

At Reliable Tree Care, however, we’re here to tell you about one particular area that might actually be better off done during the winter: Tree pruning, or the removal of various branches for the improvement of tree health and appearance. We’re happy to help with pruning needs at any time of year – here are some of the basics on why pruning for certain reasons might be better done during cold weather.

cold months tree branch removal

Pruning, Dormancy and Seasons

As we noted above, most trees enter dormancy during the winter months. This means that pruning does not stimulate new growth. And while this may sound like a negative in terms of pruning at this point, the opposite is actually the case in some situations – particularly those related to basic tree maintenance.

When trees are cut during pruning, they’re wounded and need time to heal properly. This is tougher during the spring and summer months, which are the heaviest times for disease and destructive pests to rear their heads. And in the fall period, pruning will stimulate new growth – this is fine, but then this growth will immediately be killed when the temperatures drop. In addition, spring pruning can impede blooming or fruiting if it’s done at the wrong time.

Why Winter Can Be Preferable

Winter pruning, on the other hand, can encourage the right kind of new growth – and at the right time. There’s less foliage present during winter, for one, which makes it much easier to assess the condition of branches and limbs that have been damaged and might need removal. It’s also easier to access certain tough areas, plus simpler to identify long-term structural issues. And if you time it properly, new growth will be encouraged just as spring hits and temperatures rise.

Limiting Disease Risk

Another risk of pruning in autumn, at least for maintenance purposes, is the risk of spreading disease. Wounds don’t heal as quickly for trees during the fall, but disease-carrying spores are in high season and trees can become infected. They’re also more susceptible to insects and parasitic activity.

Maintenance Pruning

There are some cases where pruning simply can’t be avoided regardless of the season – when tree branches are dead, dying or diseased past a certain point, for instance. But when we’re talking about maintenance pruning, the kind meant to shape a tree or boost some area of growth, this should not be done in spring or summer if you can avoid it. Once trees are actively growing, you should hold off on cuts that might interfere with everything from growth to dormancy patterns. Knowing when not to prune trees is just as important as knowing when to prune them in some cases.

For more on why the cool months might be preferable for certain kinds of pruning, or to learn about any of our tree trimming or removal services, speak to the pros at Reliable Tree Care today.

Risks of Delaying Dead Tree Removal

While their timelines are generally longer than almost any other living organisms on the earth, trees will eventually die. This can happen for a number of reasons, from pests and disease to basic aging concerns.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re here to provide valuable tree removal services if a tree on your property has died or will soon do so. And while you may think these services are only for the purpose of aesthetics and removing unsightly dead trees, there are actually numerous practical and safety-related reasons why removing dead trees is very important. Let’s go over some of the basics here, including why trees die, the signs of dead trees on your property, and some of the risks of avoiding removal.

risks delaying dead tree removal

When Trees Die

When trees die due to aging reasons or those not specifically caused by pests or early disease, they typically do so by becoming dry and brittle. This is due to a lack of moisture and nutrients they’re able to receive, often because their root systems are no longer capable of ingesting these properly.

While living trees are able to absorb and transport moisture and its accompanying nutrients to all necessary areas, dead or dying ones aren’t as able to hydrate themselves. They’ll become more likely to break, particularly in thinner areas.

Signs of Dead Trees

Some of the noticeable signs of dead trees on your property include the following:

  • Bark that’s peeling away or falling off
  • Broken or damaged limbs
  • Discolored or clearly dead leaves
  • Large cracks or crevices in the trunk of the tree
  • Significant infestations of wood-boring insects

Falling Risks

While there are also concerns with regard to the way dead trees impact their surrounding areas and other plants nearby, the primary risk for the physical property itself, and the people living on it, is falling. One of the first signs of a dying tree is branches that begin to crack and break off, due in part to less weight and structural balance holding them in place and also as a result of wind or other elements. These can put animals, humans and even other plants at risk.

And it’s not only branches that can fall – dead trees can fall in their entirety if they aren’t removed promptly. This can lead to everything from minor damage to a total loss of your home if the tree is large enough and in the wrong position.

Professional Removal

If you’ve noticed some of the signs above that signal a dead tree on your property, we highly discourage attempting to remove it yourself unless you have professional training in this field. Rather, call our experts to avoid any risks of injury or damaging your property.

For more on how we can help with tree removal, or for information on any of our tree trimming and care services, contact the pros at Reliable Tree Care today.

Avoiding Personal or Tree Risks During Winter

When it comes to the care and protection of trees during the winter, some homeowners naturally stress. The Utah winter brings significant snow, ice and cold concerns, and we all naturally want our trees protected from these.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re here to let you in on a little secret about trees that we’ve learned from years of tree shaping, trimming and other tree services: They’re stronger and more capable of protecting themselves here than you might think. And while we’re not telling you to completely avoid winter tree care – certain pruning and removal areas can still be very important – there are areas where you might actually be risking your safety for no good reason. Let’s go over a couple of these, plus why you should always count on a certified arborist for winter tree care services.

avoiding tree risks winter

Snow Removal

Trust us, we understand how stressful it can be to watch snow build up on your tree branches. Branches may droop down and appear highly vulnerable, particularly after a heavy snowfall like those we’ve experienced several times this winter.

There’s a natural temptation to go out and shake tree branches to remove some of this snow, but we don’t recommend this. You’re actually likely to cause more damage than you prevent here. Trees have millions of years of experience surviving through storms without human intervention of any kind, and they’re much more resilient than many people think. Even if you notice the occasional limb that’s suffered damage or has fallen, this is part of the natural cycle.

Ice Buildup and Risks

Another concern is ice, which may build up on limbs and lead to similar effects as snow. And while it’s important to make sure too many branches of the tree don’t break, you can run into significant risks if you attempt to remove this ice.

For one, you should absolutely never attempt to climb a tree with ice or snow present for any reason. You can check from ground level and note damaged limbs, but you should never try to get up there. And just like with snow removal, you could actually cause more damage than you prevent if you attempt to regularly rid your trees of ice.

Professional Arborist Assistance

Now, all of the above isn’t meant to suggest that snow or ice buildups on trees are meaningless. If you’re concerned about their degree or damage they’ve caused on your trees, however, you should be contacting our experienced arborists to inspect them for you. We can tell you whether the damage they’ve sustained is ordinary or something unusual that requires action, plus we can help remove branches that might be putting the rest of the tree at risk.

For more on winter tree care, or to learn about any of our tree services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

The Practical Value of Evergreen Trees

Within the world of botany and plant life, the term “evergreen” refers to any plant that keeps its leaves throughout the entire year. This is in contrast to deciduous plants, which lose their foliage during one season of the year, commonly winter.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re proud to offer year-round services for all trees, including evergreens. We can help you with everything from tree fertilization to tree disease control, ensuring your low-maintenance evergreens continue to offer the year-long beauty and practicality you’re looking for. This latter category is one that’s often not fully appreciated by people who haven’t had evergreen trees before – let’s look at three specific practical benefits that come with evergreen trees.
practical value evergreen trees

Reducing Wind

In many cases, both in private residences and in public areas, evergreen trees are planted in long rows or lines. This is for a few reasons, but one of the most practical is the way these trees can protect a given area from wind. There are several foliage elements that do not do well with wind, even if they’re mostly okay during other major parts of winter, and evergreens are great for protecting these.

On top of this, though, evergreens are also perfect for protecting the home from drafts. They block wind during the winter and then double as shade providers during summer, both of which can lead to far better energy efficiency in your home and a lower utility bill each month.

Blocking Snow

Another major winter element that evergreens help with is blocking snow from anything from patios and driveways to roads and sidewalks. In fact, the term “living snow fence” has been around since the early 1900s, when trees like evergreens were planted to protect major highways and railroad lines from snow that would blow onto them.

In most cases, these kinds of living fences block more snow, are more visually attractive, and most importantly are less expensive than installing actual fence materials. It provides an additional habitat for wildlife while improving the way your property looks and feels.

Privacy Formats

Lines of evergreens aren’t only valuable for protecting your physical property – they’re great for protecting your privacy as well. Once again, they’re a much cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing option than fences here; true privacy fences are some of the most expensive on the market, but you can accomplish the same thing for a fraction of the cost with some evergreens.

And furthermore, fences are limited by local height and size guidelines. Evergreens are not, and can grow as high as you’re able to allow them. This is especially valuable for privacy if you live in a hilly area with other properties at various elevations.

For more on the practical value of evergreen trees, or to learn about any of our tree services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Learning About Trees and Sun Exposure

Even if your knowledge of trees and their health is pretty limited, chances are you know about the two primary things they need to survive: Water and sunlight. Like most kinds of plant life and vegetation, trees have these basic needs that must be met.

At Reliable Tree Care, we supplement our high-quality tree trimming and disease control services with numerous areas of expertise given to our clients, including on trees and sun. Different tree types vary pretty widely in terms of the sun or shade they require, and we can help you navigate all the important ins and outs here. Let’s go over some basics to know in this area.
learning trees sun exposure

Trees and Sunlight

As you may remember from your high school science class, trees interact with sunlight using a process called photosynthesis. This is a process where the tree synthesizes food from carbon dioxide and water, producing important nutrients.

This isn’t just a matter of providing as much sun as possible for every tree, however. There’s absolutely such thing as trees having too much food, and many tree types can receive too much sun if you aren’t careful about planting. The amount of sun a tree gets will affect everything from foliage and flowering to its fruiting characteristics, meaning it’s important to plan out your planting areas well in advance (more on this below).

Full Sun, Partial Sun and Full Shade

When planting new trees, it’s important to note the three primary sunlight stages: Full sun, partial sun and full shade.

  • Full sun: Not necessarily all day – at least six hours of sun in a given day will constitute full sun. Many full sun trees get cool light in the morning, then become shaded in the afternoon to protect roots from the heaviest heat. These trees will require good mulch that keeps the moisture inside roots despite heat.
  • Partial sun or shade: Partial sun means the tree will thrive in three to six hours of sun, while partial shade means a spot that will get more shade than sun during the day period. A good area for partial shade is generally the east side of a building where it will be blocked from the sun until later in the day.
  • Full shade: Full shade refers to a tree that receives virtually no sun exposure.

Planting Smart

There are several other important factors that will play a role as well, but the sun should be near the top of your list when you consider placement for new trees. Know about the type of tree you’re looking to plant and what sort of sun exposure it thrives in, plus spend time planning for how nearby trees or other plants may impact things here. Map out your plan in a detailed format, something our pros are happy to help with.

For more on trees and sun exposure, or to learn about any of our tree services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.