Monday, November 22, 2010

Tree Trimming Christmas Gift

With the economy the way it is some gifts might need to be on the practical side this year for other people maybe a little more extravagant. The next few weeks I will try to give you some gift ideas for the Lowcountry Gardener.

Look up! Tree trimming is a gift that can keep on giving. Are there any lower branches that are shaded out, dead and need to be removed? Tree trimming can help prevent larger problems from happening in the future. A dead limb falls and nails you, your child, your car or... Gravity does not take a vacation.

Tree limbs that are rubbing on your house can cause several issues. Tree limbs can affect the way water runs off of your roof by damaging gutters and shingles leading to water damage and rotten wood. Tree limbs can also rub off paint that can lead to rotten wood, water damage, and painting. Termites and mold love moist areas in attics that tree damage have contributed to.

Rats, mice, squirrels, ants, termites, raccoons, opossums and other unmentionables use tree limbs to access your house. Proper pruning will take away this bridge to you house. Depending on how long these uninvited guest stay in your house, they can do major dollars’ worth of damage. The expense of removing these varmints will make tree trimming seem like a deal. Some of these rascals, however, if prepared right, would complement the Thanksgiving Turkey nicely!

Trees need good air movement and light penetration in their canopy for the general health of the tree and to lower disease opportunities (dark and moist leads to fungus). Proper pruning to remove rubbing branches, weak crotch angles and dead limbs is necessary in the urban landscape. I often hear, “no one prunes the trees in the woods.” In the forest if a limb falls, it does not have a target like it does around your house.

Pruning for views or to block certain views are another reason to trim your trees. Many Lowcountry Gardeners are blessed with spectacular views. Marshes, rivers, oceans, creeks, pastures and golf courses just to name a few. If you do not trim your trees, your view will disappear. The view usually disappears slowly, then when you have your trees trimmed, ‘wow, there is that view I have been missing!’

Aesthetics are another reason to prune your tree. Many of you get a haircut regularly for this reason (if you know me, you know that I do not have to get a haircut). A properly pruned tree really adds to the landscape and makes a big difference. I have been lucky over the years to see many shaggy trees pruned into wonderful specimens. It is amazing to see the work (art) of a good arborist.

Always hire an arborist with a good reputation. Be sure they have the references, licenses, and insurance. Try to look at some of their work and be sure the work is done properly according to arboriculture standards. A bad tree trimming, like a bad haircut, can ruin a tree for years.

Happy Thanksgiving!