FAQs

Q: Can I watch you remove or prune a tree?
A: Yes, but we ask that you stay clear of the work zone as there are many hazards that may not be apparent to you.

Q: Do you remove stumps?
A: Urban Tree Service can grind your stumps to approximately 6 to 8 inches below grade level.

Q: Will the stumps be removed the same day that the trees are cut down?
A: In most cases the stumps will be ground down several days after the tree has been removed and will be invoiced separately.

Q: If I sign up for tree work how far out is the work scheduled?
A: Typically we schedule out about two weeks. If it’s an emergency we will take the necessary actions to perform the work as soon as possible.

Q: What is cabling and why do you cable trees?
A: We cable trees to help support weak limbs or limb crotches. The cable is made of high strength flexible steel and is installed high in a tree to provide the most support possible. Cables do not “fix” weak limbs, but rather, they make them an acceptable risk.

Q: How long is the cable good for?
A: That depends on the nature of the defect that the cable is addressing, the size of the tree, and how fast the tree is growing. The cable should be visually inspected on an annual basis by your Arborist Representative.

Q: Can I keep the woodchips generated from my job?
A: Yes, but please be aware that due to the size of the trucks it may not be possible to dump the chips exactly where you want them.

Q. When is the best time to prune trees?
A. The old arborist saying goes, “the best time to prune is when the saw is sharp,” meaning that trees can be pruned at any time. This is still true for most trees, although there are some points to consider and some limited exceptions to the rule. However, regardless of the season, an arborist can perform the required care.

Q. Why should my trees be pruned?
A. Pruning trees, especially when younger, helps promote healthy trees with good branch architecture. Again, think of a tree in its native environment, the forest. There, the tree in stiff competition with other trees, is forced to grow upright toward light to fill what is usually a very limited space. Trees growing in landscape environments usually have much more space and less competition. They will develop large, low branches and spread out to form much broader trees than they would in their natural settings. This difference in branch structure should be offset with pruning to minimize development of hazardous limbs that are likely to fail.

Q. I have a newly planted tree. Should I prune it?
A. It is generally recommended that limited pruning be done at the time of planting. When a young tree is planted, dead, broken, and split branches should be removed. Once the tree has begun to establish (one year or more after planting) a central trunk or leader or well-spaced multiple trunks or leaders should be developed by removing competing stems and thinning vigorously growing branches that compete with the selected leader(s). Branches should be retained on the lower trunk to increase taper.

Q. Should I prune a young, established tree or is it better to just let it grow?
A. It is important to prune young trees in order to develop a strong scaffold branch structure. Pruning of young trees can avoid more expensive problems that could occur if the tree is allowed to grow with branch defects.

Q: How are you going to prune that tree located way in the back?
A: Our climbing crews use ropes and saddles specifically made for the tree care industry to climb those hard to reach trees.

Q. Should interior branches be removed when my tree is pruned?
Again the short answer is no. Most interior branches should be retained on a typical tree to preserve biological functions. The “gutting-out” of a tree by removing a large number of the inner branches is called lion’s tailing. The limbs of the tree look like a lion’s tail after pruning. The limbs will appear “long and slender” with a “puff” of foliage at the end.

Q. A neighbor said my tree care company should have used pruning paint to seal the cuts. Is this correct?
A. In the past, part of the standard recommendation was to apply a generous coating of a tree wound dressing to all fresh cuts. It was believed this would prevent decay-causing infection. However, research by the United States Forest Service Northeastern Forest Experiment Station proved that this practice works against nature’s design and the trees’ best interest. Research has proven that wound dressings do nothing to prevent decay, and some serve to encourage microorganisms.

Q: What’s that green stuff growing on the trunk of my tree?
A: Most likely it’s algae or lichen. Neither one causes any damage to your tree but it may be an indication that there is excessive shade in that area.

Q: Can you work near my power lines?
A: We are trained to work near power lines and the equipment that we use around power lines is non-conductive.

Q: What’s the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs?
A: Typically spring and fall are the best time to plant trees and shrubs.

Q: How can you tell if a sick tree can be saved?
A: The first step in determining if a sick tree can be saved is knowing what is causing that tree to be sick. Using our training and experience we can then determine the likelihood that the tree can be saved. We cannot guarantee that a tree can be saved but we can promise you that your tree will receive the most up-to-date care that is available.

Q. What are some of the benefits of maintaining my trees?
A. Trees in the urban/suburban landscape have traditionally been valued for their aesthetic qualities and shade they produce. Especially in settled areas, trees have many other important benefits. Trees enhance property values. Research shows that the value of your property could increase up to 25%, depending on the size, type, location and health of its landscape plantings. Mature trees are particularly valuable. Therefore, it makes sense to protect your tree investment with proper maintenance.

Landscape trees, which act as wind breaks and sunscreens, can help you save money and live more comfortably. With properly placed trees around your house, depending upon where you live, you can reduce winter heating bills up to 15%. A mature shade tree can block up to 90% of solar radiation, which could translate to a significant reduction in your home cooling cost. Trees reduce air pollution by producing oxygen through photosynthesis and are filtering airborne particles. They also reduce noise pollution by acting as sound barriers. Studies show that trees have beneficial psychological effects on humans by decreasing stress, inspiring minds and breaking emotional barriers. Around the workplace, they tend to lower absenteeism and improve productivity. Many hospitals and nursing homes have beautiful green trees around them, since evidence demonstrates that trees can speed recovery from illness and are good for your health.

Q. My neighbors have told me that installing mulch rings around trees is good. Is that true?
A. Yes, trees love mulch, if applied correctly. Mulches should be applied 2-4 inches in depth over relatively clean, weed-free soils. Keep mulch pulled back away from tree trunks and no more than 4 inches total depth.

Homeowners and professional arborists depend on mulch in landscapes for several reasons. Functionally, mulches discourage weeds from growing, conserve moisture during drought periods, reduce runoff and increase water-holding capacity of light, sandy soils. Mulches help maintain a uniform soil temperature and feed the soil ecosystem. A 2 to 4-inch layer of mulch can add to the aesthetic value of a garden while protecting the base of trees from being injured by equipment, such as lawn mowers. Mulch rings also decrease competition from lawn grass. Lawn grass, especially when lush, robs trees of valuable nutrients and moisture.

It is recommended not to use black plastic around trees because it interferes with the normal oxygen and water supply to the tree’s roots. There are, however, landscape fabrics available that will function similar to plastic, but allow for normal water and oxygen exchange if required.
Wood chips, bark mulches, and pine needles are the most commonly used mulches in most of the country. These organic mulches are best placed directly on the soil, without a fabric barrier in most cases.

Q: How much mulch should I put around my trees and shrubs?
A: Your mulch rings and beds should be as wide as you can visually tolerate. Do not pile mulch up onto the stems and trunks as this will hold moisture and cause many problems in the future. If you currently have mulch piled up on your plants it should be gently pulled away to the top of the roots.

Q. Can my tree really be damaged by a lawn mower?
A. Yes, trees often are wounded by careless use of yard equipment like lawn mowers, weed whips, and other trimming equipment. These injuries bruise and cut through important vascular tissue just inside the bark, which can lead to decay and ultimately death of the tree. A bed of mulch around the tree eliminates the need to trim or mow close to the tree’s base. Extreme care should be taken when digging up or tilling the soil under a tree. Such digging will wound many large and small roots, especially if it occurs close to the trunk.

Q. Should I have my tree topped?
A. The short answer is no. Topping, heading back and dehorning are all terms used to describe severe cutting back of a tree’s crown. It is a poor arboricultural practice and should not be used for healthy tree maintenance.