spring planning: tree health and maintenance

We live partially in the woods. We have woods around us and behind us. I love the trees and we have a responsibility towards them.

A lot of people just either let their woods go, or then they do things like they clean up the forest for so much that they end up changing the natural dynamic.

Since we moved to this property we have been taking care of the trees because they had never really been pruned or shaped. We also take care of the tree health, which means taking care of things like treating for spotted lantern fly and other pests – we have a few ash trees, for example. We treat some trees with arborist grade fungicides.

We are judicious with the chemicals, but they are necessary at times. I feel a lot of people out there do not realize how valuable an asset to your property trees actually are. And if properly maintained, they literally add value. But too many people are reactive versus proactive with regard to taking care of trees.

Taking care of trees is an expense. But I think it’s a necessary one. Getting in a regular pruning and shaping regimen and helps protect your trees and your home from storm damage. Now Mother Nature is going to be Mother Nature and sometimes the unexpected happens, but if you give the trees a little extra love it helps.

So this week my arborist Gareth came out to trudge through the snow with me socially distanced (in a mask) to lay out our game plan. For those of you in Chester County, PA and into Delaware, I use Treemendous Tree Care. They weren’t the arborist we started with on this property, he moved out of the area and I went on the hunt for a new arborist. It took a while, and then I realized this nice lady in my gardening group had a husband who I had heard was a fabulous arborist. And that is how I became a customer.

Now I am not going to lie, I am an exacting client at times especially when it comes to my garden. I definitely am an EGR (extra grace required) and all of the crew who work for Gareth at Treemendous get that. They don’t damage my plants, they don’t leave a mess, they know their plants—- and not just trees. These guys are all very knowledgeable and good at their craft. It’s like an art form to prune trees properly.

And like the rest of you I hate having to pay for tree work. But I have learned the hard way over the years that preventative maintenance is a lot more economical in the end versus emergency tree removal because I didn’t maintain something and it fell.

And I also think it is very important to have a good working relationship with the arborist you choose wherever you are. I don’t get the wifey little woman treatment from mine. There was one we used at another house we lived in years ago who had a crew foreman who I thought was quite possibly one of the most ignorant chauvinistic people I have ever met. I clamped my mouth shut and never hired them again. I also never hired them again because they terrified me with the way they just dropped a rather large tree that had to come down.

I don’t take down trees unless I have to. And pruning is carefully planned out. That is why you hire a licensed and educated arborist. You don’t just want your trees hacked at. And you want people that appreciate all the work you’ve put into your garden.

One reason why I like to make my spring plan in the winter is that we can walk around and see the structure of the trees after the growing season. It makes it easier to see where the deadwood is in the trees. Especially when you have trees that are up to a couple hundred feet tall.

Another reason I like to make my spring plan in the winter is a lot of arborists will offer you a discount if you plan ahead. Treemendous had sent around an email regarding plant health offering a discount if I locked in our plant health schedule ahead of time. I have also seen other local licensed arborists in the area offering discounts on winter pruning.

So now I have my game plan and my estimate. And I’m not going to talk money with all of you because every estimate depends on the property on which you live. I can tell you that my arborists aren’t the least expensive and they aren’t the most expensive, they are in the middle. And they have also come in under the initial bid a couple of times working on our property -and I have never had them go over an initial job bid.

I have to tell you that the trees looking good makes me really happy. And when the trees look better my garden looks better. and when you have a really good licensed arborist they can also recommend trees for you if you want to add trees to your property. They can also plant those trees for you.

A good arborist makes a great garden partner.

Happy gardening!

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