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Fri, Sept. 20

Think of Tree Care as an Investment
Ask the Contractor

I hired what I thought was a licensed landscaper to perform tree work for me. After some work on a few trees I felt my "little voice" talking to me and I am embarrassed to say, the "landscaper" was not licensed. I now have a mess with several trees, some look healthy and others look like they are taking their last breath. I have been told that we should hire an arborist to inspect the trees and give us care and maintenance measures. Is it too late and what can an arborist do for us? Keith, Cottonwood

An arborist, by definition, is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. In other words, arborists are certified tree doctors and we are extremely fortunate to have some of the best of the best right here in Yavapai County; Richard Roy of The Joshua Tree and Landscape Company and Greg Flippen, owner of Yavapai Exterminating. Both of these gentlemen have achieved their knowledge through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation's leading experts on tree care. Certified Arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification and adhere to a Code of Ethics. Therefore, they are more likely to be up to date on the latest techniques in arboriculture.

Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.

Becoming an ISA Certified Arborist is a voluntary process through which individuals can measure their knowledge and competence required to provide proper tree care. ISA Certification is not government-sponsored or government-endorsed; it is administered by the International Society of Arboriculture as a way for tree care professionals to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and the industry.

Certification is not a measure of standards of practice. Certification can attest to the tree knowledge of an individual but cannot guarantee or ensure quality performance.

Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns as well cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property where on the other hand poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Services that arborists can provide to maintain tree health are:

Pruning: An arborist can determine the type of pruning necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance and safety of trees. Pruning techniques include removing limbs that interfere with utility lines or structures, obstruct streets, are dead, weak or decayed, are diseased or insect-infested, damaged by storms, and increasing light penetration and reducing wind resistance within the canopy.

Tree Removal: Although tree removal is a last resort, there are circumstances when it is necessary and an arborist can help decide whether a tree should be removed. Tree removal is determined if a tree is dead or drying, considered an unacceptable risk, causing an obstruction that is impossible to correct through pruning, crowding and causing harm to other more desirable trees and located in an area where new construction requires removal.

Planting: An arborist can recommend what species are appropriate for a particular location. The wrong tree in the wrong location will lead to further problems as a result of limited growing space, insects, diseases or poor growth. It is important to remember "the right tree for the right space." Tree function, form and size, site conditions, soil conditions, drainage, space constraints, human and pet activity, pest problems are all things that should be considered when planting a tree - not just plopping the tree into the ground and/or selecting a tree just because it has nice foliage.

Tree Health: An arborist will offer tree health care and/or preventative maintenance to keep trees in good health while reducing inset, disease or site problems. Fertilization and soil recommendations are offered for improved tree health, soil aeration to improve root growth and applications to manage certain insect and disease problems are services offered by an arborist.

Soil Conditions: In dense urban areas and new subdivisions, soil is often disturbed, shallow, compacted and subject to drought. Most trees will suffer in these conditions without additional care. An arborist can take soil samples from your yard and test for texture, fertility, salinity and pH and from the results of these tests; you can determine which trees are suited for your property.

It is important to know that every treatment applied to the lawn (fertilizer and herbicide, for example) can impact the appearance and vitality of a tree. Conversely, treatments applied to a tree, such as pruning and fertilizing, can influence the appearance and vitality of the underlying turf grass. The care of each plant in a landscape can affect the health of every plant in that landscape.

Symptoms, such as discolored leaves, dead branches, or early leaf drop, can prompt a call to a local arborist. Sometimes the cause of concern is a minor problem that is easily explained and corrected. Other times, the problem is more complex, with several underlying causes and a remedy that requires treatments extending over several years.

Insects and diseases can threaten tree health. As soon as you notice any abnormality in your tree's appearance, you should begin a careful examination of the problem. By identifying the specific symptoms of damage and understanding their causes, you may be able to diagnose the problem and select an appropriate treatment.

Think of tree care as an investment. A healthy tree increases in value with age and pays big dividends by increasing property values, beautifying our surroundings, purifying our air, and saving energy by providing cooling shade from summer's heat and protection from winter's wind.

Regular preventative maintenance, designed to promote tree health and structural integrity, ensures a tree's value will continue to grow and prevents the development of more costly problems in the future. An effective maintenance program, including regular inspections and necessary follow-up care - pruning, mulching, fertilizing, and additional soil management - can identify problems and correct them before they become damaging or fatal.

Whether or not you already have existing trees on your property or you are considering planting trees an arborist can assist you with tree selection. Taking into consideration the factors above, you can ensure the trees in your yard and the new ones you plant will grow and function as desired. In order to help your trees reach their full potential, give our local arborists a call. Richard can be reached at (928) 567-4064 and Greg can be reached at (928) 772-4855. Both of these guys love talking about trees and are the best tree huggers we could have.

If you have a question about a home improvement project or need a specific contractor or want to know about hiring licensed contractors, Call Sandy, Executive Director at Yavapai County Contractors Association - 928-778-0040. Don't Start Without YCCA!

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