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Little Known or Interesting Factoids About Trees and Tree Physiology

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                     Jim Rediker - Nurseryman -  Arborist  - TDA Certified
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How to Hire a Tree Service  

Well-cared for trees are attractive and add considerable value to your property. Tree Service Professionals provide a variety of services to help maintain your valuable investments. In How to Hire a Tree Service Professional, we summarize the important issues to consider when hiring a Tree Service Professional. Often times, seniors citizens are scammed by "Fly By Nighters" or "Door Knockers" and are too embarrassed, ashamed or afraid to report this type of incident or scam.

Below are suggestions to consider as you make your hiring decision:

• The Tree Service should have a local address and telephone number, and how long in business. Are estimates free and is work guaranteed?

• Ask of referrals of the contractor’s most current jobs. Take a look at the completed work and if possible talk to the former client.

• Determine if the tree professional or arborist is a member of any professional associations, such as the International Society of Arboriculture.

• Tree service professionals will rarely recommend topping a tree. Tree topping is only necessary in extreme circumstances, such as physical damage.

• Another action to beware of is removal of a living tree. A good arborist only recommends this action as a last resort.

• Always get written estimates for cost of tree removal, trimming, stump removal or whatever the tree work.

• Obtain two or three bids on the job and base your decision on the merits and qualifications of the Professional Tree Service -- not just because of the price.

FAQ’s for Tree Services

To help you better understand the tree service industry, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions. When you speak with a tree service professional or arborist you will know the industries jargon and will be able to ask specific questions concerning your trees.

What is the best time of the year to have my trees trimmed?  Here in the Texas Hill Country, for Live Oaks, the absolute best time is from mid-June to early October; in winter, December to mid-February in the cooler weather; but never from mid-March to mid-June. Professional Tree Services will always take precautions throughout the year to paint wounds and to sterilize equipment to protect your trees the year around.

What is the best time of year to identify tree health problems? Spring and summer give the best opportunity to identify heath problems. However, you should continue to observe your valuable trees throughout the year. Prompt detection and treatment can be critical.

What is a tree estimate? You generally call arborists to investigate tree problems and get recommendations, such as the removal of dead branches, loss of foliage, or insect problems. Some estimates are free; however, most professionals charge a fee for estimates based on the distance traveled to the job site and the time to examine the tree’s problems.

What is a tree consultation? If you want to know where to build your house, add on a patio, or need to know how to save as many trees as possible, then you need to hire a tree consultant. Consultants can save you money by preserving trees rather that removing and having to replace others later. Professionals generally charge for a consultation fee.

What is a tree inspection? The request is common among homeowners who know their tree has a problem, but need a Professional to recommend a solution. An Arborist, who is carefully trained, makes a visual inspection around the tree area, probes the ground for root conditions or up into the tree for broken limbs or signs of weakness.

What is a tree appraisal? An assessment of damage and property loss due to storms or
whatever reason a tree has been injured or what kind of care is required to keep a tree in good vigor. Some insurance providers consider this loss as casualty
loss. An Arborist can calculate the value of your tree loss for insurance purposes.

Disease & Insect Problems

Insects and diseases can threaten a tree’s health and vigor. It is important for you to identify the existence of a problem and then contact a professional arborist who will recommend a treatment or action to hopefully save a tree.

• Diseases - There are two broad categories of diseases -- those caused by infectious agents and noninfectious agents. Infectious agents include fungi, viruses and bacteria. Non-infectious diseases can be caused by nutrient deficiencies, environmental stress, such as temperature, drought, excessive rain, pollutants and vandalism. All these problems can cause a variety of symptoms and it is essential for a tree professional to distinguish between the two in order to prescribe proper treatment.

Insects - It is important to remember that most insects are beneficial rather than destructive. However, some insects like caterpillars, beetles, aphids and wood borers can cause serious injury and damage. Tree Professionals will prescribe treatment without harming the trees or environment.

• Stress - Plant health can be affected by environmental conditions such as drought, moisture, light, temperature and nutrient deficiencies. Too much or too little or any of these environmental conditions can cause serious stress problems and an arborist can identify and prescribe proper treatment.


Gives you an average cost for estimates and specialty work on your trees. As far as the actual service, work is usually priced as a single price per tree, daily or hourly rate plus materials.  The total price can vary according to:

• The size and location of tree or trees -- big or small, near or over a building

• The type and condition of the trees -- Oak, Hack Berry, Box Elder, etc.

• The diameter of the tree or trees for the prescribed treatment and medication

• Materials and equipment used -- trucks, chippers, aerial lifts, stump cutters and chain  saws

• The difficulty of the job, insurance risk and the number of workers needed to provide the tree service. Job location, equipment, gasoline and materials all will be factored into the cost of the project.

Tree Services and Glossary

These are grouped together for reason to avoid redundancy.  Tree services gives you a detailed list of the tree services available and a brief description of what the service entails.

The Glossary details some of the confusing vocabulary associated with the tree industry.

• Arborist - Specialist in the care of individual trees. They are knowledgeable about the needs of trees, and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. NB.  A Certified Arborist has to receive proper training and accreditation from the International Society of Arborculture inorder to become  "A CERTIFIED ARBORIST".

• Cabling - Cabling adds support to branched with weak attachments. A younger tree may need wire cables for support and stability.

• Crown Reduction - Crown reduction is removal of the trees highest branches to clear them from service wires or to reduce the overall height of the tree controlled.

• Crown Thinning - This service involves removal of the trees inner branches to allow more light through and to reduce the amount of weight that a tree has to support.

• Elevating Limbs - Is the removal of lower limbs and branches to raise the overhead clearance, either over a building or the ground area,

• Dead Wooding - This is the removal of dead or damaged branches to reduce limbs falling on buildings, vehicles and the public.

• Diagnosis - This tree service is a inspection and assessment of pest problems or disease of the tree. Tree inspection should be completed as a preventive measure once a year. During the inspection, the professional will examine the tree vigor. A diagnosis can be performed by a visual inspection , around the ground and up into the tree for weak or broken branches, and a root collar exam .

• Grinding - A method of removing a dead, damaged , or decaying stump below the ground surface level.

• Fertilizing - Fertilizing trees regularly will keep them well supplied with basic nutritional needs. This will allow your trees to grow stronger and more vigorous. Plus, your trees will be better equipped to defend against disease and insects.

• Lot Clearing - This process clears a lot completely of unwanted trees, under growth, shrubs. This can be done either with tree removal equipment or with a dozer.

• Mulching - Mulch is spread around the base of the tree to provide the tree with stable root environment that is cooler and contains more moisture than surrounding soil. Mulching prevents damage from lawn equipment that can damage the tree’s base.

• Prevention - Preventative maintenance is used to keep your trees in good health.

• Planting - Some tree professionals make recommendations of what type of trees are appropriate for your location and what is best suited for your landscape and needs.

• Pruning - The pruning process removes old dead wood from the healthy remaining portion of the tree. Pruning effectively promotes tree growth along its natural lines, while encouraging fuller and bushier foliage. Pruning consist of removal of rubbing limbs weak or dead limbs, diseased or insect-infested limbs, improves shaping and proper growth training.

• Removal - Trees are usually removed to avoid property damage or to eliminate danger to the public.

• Root Collar Exam - The root collar exam involves an action where the arborists gently pulling the dirt away to look at the root condition.

• Shaping - Tree shaping involves improving the shape or silhouette of the tree.

Spraying - Tree spraying is used to control ball moss, foliar fertilizing and feeding, and control for certain diseases and insects. Sprays are formulated in order to improve vigor and to ward damaging insects without harming the tree.

Sterlizing - It is important to sterilize pruning equipment, using Lysol or 409 disinfectant sprays which contain Consan, a triple action microbial disinfectant or a 10% Clorox  solution, and failing all else use WD40.  Also spray inexpensive spray paint to seal the wound only on Live oak Trees.   

• Storm Repairs - High winds and heavy rains can destroy some of the branches on your tree. Tree professionals remove heavy debris to avoid further damage or disease.

• Tree Topping - Is cutting off the entire top of the tree. This is often discouraged for the health of the tree.

• Tree Vigor - Tree vigor is the sign of a healthy, growing tree. tree vigor is evident in new leaves or buds, leaf size and twig growth.

Trimming - Trimming is periodic reshaping of a tree’s branches or foliage. Trimming is not usually as extensive as pruning.

Some Good Advice

• Read your contract carefully and remember you have seven days to legally cancel.  If you are not sure, don't sign -- and call someone else.  Don’t hesitate to discuss the contract with a son, daughter,  friend or neighbor.

• Ask for references of recent jobs preformed in the area.  Name of client, address, telephone number and if possible talk to the former client.  

• Make sure you know who you are dealing with.
"Door Knockers" -- always turn them away.

• Shop around and compare prices, services and integrity.

• Never - Never make any advance payment.
Your money is gone -- you can’t afford financial waste.

• Legal action -- forget it. Your money is gone, just like the scam artist.

• Pay only when job is completed and all is satisfactory.

• Don’t hesitate to call your tree service back to make things right and to your full satisfaction. If they are reputable they will come back and make things right.

• If you feel you have been scammed by a "Door Knocker", make a phone call.

Kerr County Sheriff 1-830-896-1216
Kerrville Police Department 1-830-257-8181
T.R.I.A.D. - Robert Beltrone 1-830-895-3107
Senior Choices - Margie Jetton 1-830-895-4477
Kerrville Chamber of Commerce 1-830-896-1155
Better Business Bureau Inc., Austin , TX.  1-512-445-4748,  or

The BAD and the UGLY    Up-Date Oct 15-2006 

It has recently been brought to my attention, regarding two tree services, here in the Kerrville area, their activities and methods of operation, leave a lot to be desired……….

I consider them as Shysters, Scam Artist and just down right totally un-ethical. They use incorrect information to convince prospective tree customers to do very un-necessary work and if it is not done, they explain that, your trees are in serious jeopardy. The danger could cause mortality to your trees or that trimming should help promote and stimulate growth and make your trees healthy.

One operator has the practice of quoting you, first a super high price and then lowering his price if you don’t bite immediately. And, at the same time with every convincing argument that, the worked is most urgent for the health of your trees, but always at the detriment of your pocket book. His crew is very un-experienced in Arboriculture and with very little knowledge as to why they are on the job in the first place. They usually work unsupervised and with little or no direction. Watching this crew reminds of watching sketches of Larry Curly and Mo. Yes, “The Stooges“.

( See article;
( See article; )

The other operator is a self claimed expert, a Certified Arborist with no affiliation or accreditation from the International Society of Arboriculture, who governs, trains and certifies, a Certified Arborist. You can only use the Title “Certified Arborist” if you have completed ISA training and accreditation. His business cards are a photo copy or computer printout showing only a cell phone number. He is against bonified University Research on any subject. As far as I can determine. He is not licensed to perform application of chemicals or fertilizers. Since he is not legally licensed, his expertise of knowledge is very limited. He claims his own formulations for his various applications which are a serious off label use of the product. His pricing is less that desirable and I can not vouch for his veracity.

( See article;
( See article; )
( See article; )

You may contact me for further clarification regarding these two operators. And will gladly recommend reputable tree services.     My cell 830--459-8216

I have been in the tree business in the Kerrville area for almost 30 years , I am not a Certified Arborist. However, I research all tree problems to ensure that customers get correct and proper information, not what someone thinks you would like to hear.

Take your time …. Enjoy my web site ….. It is designed as a center for information regarding the Texas Hill Country on any tree topic, and if it is not there, ….. I will research and find the information for you.

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Contact: cell: 830.257.8871
                     Jim Rediker - Nurseryman -  Arborist  - TDA Certified

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