The Actual Cost of Bad Tree Care
When it comes to selecting tree care services, many people lean toward the cheapest option thinking they got themselves a “good deal”. Although this may appear logical at first glance, in reality, you usually get what you pay for. Low-cost suppliers and providers more often than not provide poor quality services that end up costing you much more in the long run due to damaged trees and other unforeseen expenses. Thus always make sure to consider both price AND service quality if you want your money’s worth!
In this article, we uncover how substandard tree care can be detrimental to your trees’ health, as well as put you at risk and cost you money.
Choosing the lowest-cost tree service provider might sound like a reasonable solution, but think again. If you’ve ever heard someone say “it’s just a tree”, or that it costs too much to do pruning, don’t be fooled – trees in nature require regular maintenance and proper care for them to thrive. Don’t settle for cheap services when it comes to something as important as taking care of your beloved trees!
Oftentimes, the investment factor of tree care is overlooked. However, trees are a long-term asset that will only keep growing in terms of value as time passes. In addition to increasing your property’s worth, well maintained trees can also reduce heating bills and provide protection from storms. Moreover, they help purify the air you breathe and even lower stress levels! Considering all these benefits, obtaining quality tree care services is certainly an excellent investment decision.
Inadequate care of trees is a common issue and can include the following practices:
Although it is unfortunate, some misguided tree care practices remain popular today despite the fact that experts have debunked them long ago. We often receive calls from clients who are looking for us to repair damage caused by these outdated techniques—here’s a list of some common issues we’re asked to address.
It is not unusual to come across trees victim to the notorious technique of topping. However, no arborist with a solid reputation would ever top a tree due its deleterious effects towards the tree’s health and eventual fatality. Unfortunately, though, there still exist many unqualified “tree guys” who are willing to perform this hazardous service for unsuspecting customers.
Tree pruning is much more than simply sawing away lifeless branches – it’s about maintaining and nurturing the tree for a healthier future. At its core, you would be removing limbs that are damaged, decaying or structurally weak to reduce any potential harm posed by falling objects. But even beyond these basic methods lies deeper tactics of improving your trees overall structure while keeping their long-term health in mind.
Adhering to the American National Standards Institute standard for tree pruning, otherwise known as ANSI A300, is essential for ensuring that trees remain healthy and secure. This standard not only encourages but also mandates certain tools, techniques of cutting and methods of pruning in some cases. Professional tree care teams observe such standards – those who do not are easily recognizable by the results they produce.
Poor pruning can drastically damage your plants, including lion tailing, stub cuts, flush cuts and heading back large branches. It is also critical to be aware of the potential for torn bark, taking off too much or pruning at an inappropriate time. To make matters worse if you paint over the cut it could prove disastrous! There are many other mistakes that can occur when carrying out any type of gardening activity – so be sure to do your research before attempting anything yourself!
Unsightly trees arising from poor pruning aren’t only unpleasant to look at, but it can also risk the health and life of your tree. Generally speaking, these are some of the typical consequences you might experience from a bad trimming job:
- Pruning can cause significant injury to trees, leaving them vulnerable to various diseases and insects. The larger the wound is, particularly when pruned during growing season, the greater the danger of illness or pests taking over.
- When trees are stressed, they respond by producing watersprouts and suckers. These thin, upright stems don’t fare well in windy weather since they’re weakly connected to the tree; furthermore, their clump-like growth is unsightly and won’t match the healthy appearance of surrounding branches. If these sprouts aren’t trimmed out every year, it will not only cause your tree to become overgrown but also risky – resulting in much more money spent on proper pruning than if you had done so earlier.
- Once a branch is pruned, there’s no turning back. Over-pruning or careless pruning of the wrong branches can adversely affect the shape and stability of your tree – even posing safety risks due to an imbalance in weight distribution. To ensure that your tree remains healthy and aesthetically pleasing while minimizing any potential hazards, it’s important to practice careful and effective pruning techniques.
If not pruned correctly, sections of the tree will be left to suffer and expire, leaving behind a multitude of stubs and lifeless branches in its wake.
Trying To Paint Over Pruning Cuts
When we encounter trees with white paint or tar-like material covering pruning cuts, it is typically done so solely for the company’s gain. In actuality, this practice can be detrimental to the tree because these materials create a moist environment where bacteria and fungi thrive and deteriorate the underlying wood. We’ve seen countless cases in which tree paint has been peeled away only to find completely rotted areas beneath them.
The one exception would be if branches are trimmed while they’re still growing in regions that have oak wilt as this disease hasn’t reached us yet – therefore, an even better solution is just not trimming oaks until they become dormant.
Filling Hollow Trees
Tree cavities have been filled with cement by people for years and even today, this practice is still in use. Though it was a common tree care method during the past decades, arborists no longer utilize cavity filling as part of their profession.
According to recent studies, cavity filling may not be as beneficial as we once thought. In fact, it’s been proven that the use of cement fillings within a hollow tree or any other type of cavity can potentially do more harm than good. The solid material is unable to move and adjust with the flexing movement its host tree does, which in turn causes ongoing internal damages from constant friction between them. This can create an inviting environment for wood decay fungi to attack nearby healthy tissue – exactly what this kind of matter was intended to prevent in the first place!
Rather than protecting the tree, cavity filling results in a costly and weakened tree to be cut down. Filling cavities for aesthetic purposes does nothing to improve its health or provide extra support. If your tree needs additional structural stability, it is best advised that you consult with an arborist who can recommend cabling, bracing, propping, guying or even removal of the tree – instead of opting for cavity filling which ultimately leads to more damage.
Piling Mulch Around Trees
For decades, agriculturalists, scientists, and arborists have been cautioning against the hazardous consequences of “mulch volcanoes”. Accumulating mulch too high around the trunk of a tree can be life-threatening to its vitality in many cases.
The gathered mulch around tree trunks and root flares creates a moist, humid environment that is the perfect breeding ground for fungal pathogens. These will start to rot the vulnerable base of your trees in no time. All too soon, you may find yourself needing an expensive tree removal job due to years of neglected maintenance!
In spite of the vast knowledge available to tree care professionals, we keep seeing piles of vibrant red mulch arranged in a dangerous circle around trees. This practice is detrimental and can cause decay-inducing damage! Do not be fooled into believing that an alarming mound of mulch placed around your trees is right; just because it’s done by one’s neighbor or their landscaper does not make this form of tree care sound.
Using Climbing Spikes When Pruning Trees
To make the tree-climbing experience easier, especially for those who are relatively inexperienced climbers, a climber should equip themselves with sharp steel spikes that are securely affixed to their leg via leather straps and padded supports. However, it is highly recommended that they only use climbing spikes when scaling trees slated for removal.
Traumatizing trees with climbing spikes can cause irreparable damage. Every puncture from a spike destroys tree tissue and, though isolated wounds may heal eventually, repeated pruning will lead to an entire area of the trunk dying back without any hope for recovery. It’s essential to be aware of this before considering using spikes on living trees because the consequences could be irreversible.
Expert arborists understand the risks of spikes, and only use them as a last resort for tree removal or when there’s no other option. Instead, they rely on specialized gear such as harnesses and ropes to safely climb trees – which is more beneficial for the future health of the tree overall. With their knowledge and experience, professional tree care companies can ensure successful ascents every time.
Warning Signs of Inadequate Tree Care Practices
Cheap Tree Removal
The outcome of a lowball quote for tree removal is vastly inferior to that of a reasonable estimate.
Although no one likes to pay for tree removal, attempting a DIY or cheaper option can be incredibly dangerous. You could not only risk your property and safety but also the lives of those around you; after witnessing such disastrous consequences ourselves, we realize that it is simply not worth taking this kind of danger on yourself. Instead, choose an experienced professional who will get the job done right.
When you receive a tree removal estimate, there is much more at play than what meets the eye. The crew members undergo continuous training and education to hone their skills and prioritize safety protocols. Moreover, they have years of on-the-job experience with different species of trees in varied contexts that make them highly qualified for any task. Additionally, expensive equipment such as cranes or bucket trucks are well maintained and used only when necessary; moreover, insurance premiums protect both workers’ health as well as clients property since tree cutting is an incredibly hazardous job – all these fees add up! Last but not least don’t forget about licensing fees or business registration costs which should always be taken into account.
It goes without saying that a job done properly makes all the difference, otherwise you could find yourself in an unfortunate situation with a tree ending up on your house (we can attest to this reality since our team has had real-life experiences of lifting trees off homes after DIY or incorrect removal).
Not Using Safety Equipment
In these contemporary times, everyone has become familiar with the term personal protective equipment (PPE). However, it is also an essential phrase for those working in the tree industry.
To ensure the utmost safety of those tending to trees, it is critical that all wear appropriate protective gear. A hard hat and eye or face shields are obligatory basics, while ear plugs should be utilized when working with loud machinery and chaps must be worn while operating a chainsaw. By taking these easy steps, you can safeguard yourself from potential risks associated with tree work.
Beyond the financial ramifications of an incident that causes serious harm to someone on your land, there can be emotional repercussions as well. The last thing you want is for a tragedy such as losing a limb or worse to happen right before your eyes. Preventing accidents and safeguarding people from potential dangers should always be top priority.
Get Better Tree Care
Even though it may seem like a cost-effective decision to practice poor tree care in the short term, these methods will damage your trees and eventually prove more costly than if you sought professional help right away. If you want for them to stay healthy, safe and attractive for years to come, make sure that only an experienced arborist does the job properly – this might demand a higher expenditure initially but is definitely worth every penny!
To read more about tree services, check out our tree services blog!