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Three Reasons Homeowners Should Leave Tree Work to the Professionals

(​Shared article from the Tree Care Industry Association)

For the “do-it-yourself” homeowner, outsourcing tree work may seem like an unnecessary expense. But in reality, the costs of tackling tree care on your own can run high — damaged property, hospital bills, and a ruined landscape aren't cheap.
“Most homeowners simply don't have the tools, knowledge or experience necessary to safely attempt their own tree work,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). “We hear many unfortunate stories each year of homeowners getting severely injured or killed while attempting this dangerous, and often misunderstood, work on their own.”


Here are three reasons homeowners should leave tree work to the professionals:

#1 Lack of Knowledge and Training

Safe tree work requires extensive knowledge of tree physics and biology, which can take years of experience and study to acquire.
For example, felling a tree in a controlled manner is not as simple as cutting through the trunk with a chain saw. It requires establishing a drop zone, making precise cuts, and sometimes guiding the tree safely to the ground with ropes as leverage. When homeowners attempt this, many are injured or killed when the tree falls in an unexpected direction.


Up-ended root plates or root balls are also unpredictable. Severing the trunk of a fallen tree from an up-ended root plate releases tension, which may be strong enough to pull the stump and root ball back into the hole, trapping anything or anyone nearby underneath it.


Other hazards may be invisible to the untrained eye; rotten trunks and limbs, pest and fungal infestations, and other diseases and defects can only be identified and treated by an experienced tree care practitioner.

#2 Poor Situational Awareness

Even homeowners who know their way around trees may still fall victim to nearby hazards.
Electrical wires are a common situational hazard in tree work; many trees grow near power lines and have their branches, leaves and limbs entangled in live wires. Each year, a number of amateur tree workers are seriously injured or killed when they come into contact with an energized line, directly or indirectly, through tools or tree limbs. Navigating this danger is tricky, even for professionals, and should never be attempted by homeowners under any circumstance.


Attempting do-it-yourself tree work is bad enough, but some homeowners go one step further and try to finish the job alone, which further impairs situational awareness. If you do try to do any of the work yourself, always make sure there is at least one other person working with you. Even trained professionals work in teams!

#3 Improper Use of Tools

Homeowners who use incorrect, faulty or complicated tools may hurt themselves and others while attempting tree work.


Chain saws, for example, are incredibly dangerous and easy to misuse. A common mistake is to use a dull chain saw, which forces the operator to use excess pressure, causing them to lose control. Many homeowners also make the mistake of using the chain saw to cut branches on the ground. This can result in chain saw kickback, and painful injuries, when the bar tip hits the dirt or other foliage.
Misused ladders are another common source of injury. Using a ladder that is too short, set on unstable ground, or supported by a faulty limb can easily result in the homeowner falling – often fatally – from the tree. Ladders are often knocked out from under the homeowner by the same limb that was just cut.


Tree work may also require tools the average homeowner does not own. Stump grinders, wood chippers, and aerial lifts are just a few examples of complex, and often necessary machines that only a trained arborist can handle.


Healthy trees, lawn and property are something that constantly require attention and education. Check back often as we will regularly update tips, news, and resources for your benefit.


Emerald Ash Borer Problem is a Problem

​The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) was first discovered in the U.S. in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. It was also found in Windsor, Ontario the same year.


This Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.) including green, white, black and blue ash. Thus, all native ash trees are susceptible.


Adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inch long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen.


They may be present from late May through early September but are most common in June and July. Signs of infection include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and browning of leaves.


6 Steps to Spring Tree Care

​(Reprinted from BayerAdvanced.com)

Established trees may seem self-sufficient, but arborists agree: Healthy trees don’t just happen. Trees are low-maintenance, not no-maintenance. Tending to seasonal chores helps keep trees healthy and protects your landscape investment. 

Get your trees off to a growing start by following six simple steps for spring tree care:

1. Clean Up:

Kick off the new growing season with a quick spring cleaning – for trees.


  • ​Remove any remaining decorative holiday lights. Don’t allow lights to stay wrapped around tree trunks or branches. If you forget about them, you risk girdling growth.
  • When temperatures warm, remove any protective winter wraps you placed around trunks.
  • Rake and gather debris that collected beneath trees over winter, such as small twigs, leaves or fallen fruits. This is especially important with trees susceptible to fungal diseases, which can overwinter on debris. Examples include pines affected by diplodia tip blight or crab apples affected by apple scab.


2. Mulch:
A layer of mulch helps soil retain moisture and suppresses weeds. It’s most crucial when caring for younger trees, ones that have been in the ground up to 10 years, but it’s OK to mulch older trees, too.

  • Aim for a 3-inch-thick layer around trees but not against the trunk. Mulch piled against the trunk holds moisture and heat, which helps give diseases such as canker an easy point of access.


3. Water:
Wait until soil thaws to tackle watering chores. If you water while the soil is still frozen, you’ll just create runoff.

  • Deeply water trees located in areas where de-icing materials were used over winter. Irrigating moves salt-laden materials through soil and away from tree roots.
  • Even though the weather is cool, don’t allow trees to dry out. You may have to water several times if weather warms or if you have sandy soil.
  • Check your sprinkler system. Inspect emitters and lines for leaks or clogs. Look for puddling around trees; adjust sprinkler heads accordingly. Sprinklers shouldn’t spray water onto foliage of trees susceptible to fungal diseases. If dogwood, for instance, has continually wet leaves, it’s more likely to develop anthracnose or powdery mildew.


4. Prune:
The ideal time to prune most trees is during winter dormancy. 

  • You can, however, remove any dead, damaged or broken branches in spring. If you’re unsure whether a branch is dead, wait until the tree leafs out. Dead branches are easy to spot once leaves unfurl.


​​5. Inspect:
Before leaves appear, inspect tree trunks and branches, looking for signs of disease or damage. Not sure what to look for?
Ask us. 

  • Look for rabbit or vole damage near the base of trunks. If damage is present, erect a fine-mesh screen to prevent further damage, and monitor the tree’s health over time.
  • If you do spot something that makes you feel uncertain about the safety of a tree, contact a local certified arborist to receive expert tree care advice.


6. Pests & Diseases:
Questions?
Give us a call and we will be glad to help you learn which pests and diseases pose the most serious threat to your trees – and how to best treat them. New problems develop yearly, and older foes are often defeated.

Most trees die within 2 to 4 years of becoming infested. The emerald ash borer is responsible for the destruction of hundreds of millions of ash trees in the U.S. since its discovery in Michigan.


​For more information, please visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info/ or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCCs_9BqTSo .

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