Tag Archives: Los Angeles Landscape Maintenance

Tree Pruning – Part II

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Following up on last month’s post, Tree Pruning – Part I, here are some additional pointers:

When to Prune

prune3The dormant season, late fall or winter, is the best time to prune although dead branches can and should be removed at any time. Pruning during the dormant period minimizes sap loss and subsequent stress to the tree. It also minimizes the risk of fungus infection or insect infestation as both fungi and insects are likely to be in dormancy at the same time as the tree. Finally, in the case of deciduous trees, pruning when the leaves are off will give you a better idea of how your pruning will affect the shape of the tree.

How Much to Prune

When deciding how much to prune a tree, as little as possible is often the best rule of thumb. All prunes place stress on a tree and increase its vulnerability to disease and insects. On no account, prune more than 25% of the crown and ensure that living branches compose at least 2/3 of the height of the tree. Pruning more risks fatally damaging your tree. In some cases, storm damage, height reduction to avoid crowding utility lines or even raising the crown to meet municipal bylaws, your pruning choices are made for you. But even in these instances, prune as little as you can get away with.

Pruning Tools

Advice regarding tools is pretty straight-forward. Buy the best tools you can afford and keep them in good condition.

Recently, a number of new and innovative tools have come on the market that are extremely useful to a homeowner. 

TreeHelp Rope Saw Rope Saws
A new and safe way to cut high tree limbs – pull the ropes to prune while standing on the ground.
TreeHelp Pole Pruner Pole Pruner & Lopper
A versatile pole pruner that can be attached to any standard-thread extension pole.  Includes 14-inch pruning saw blade and 1-inch lopper.
TreeHelp Folding Pruner Folding Pruner
A versatile, folding pruning saw that can be attached to any universal extension pole for long reach.  Lightweight and robust.
Portable Buck Saws Portable Buck Saws
Extremely lightweight and collapsible. Perfect for the homeowner, gardener and camper.

After each tree you prune, remember to disinfect your pruning tools in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water followed by cleaning with soapy water and then drying. Tree diseases are easily spread by infected tools. Finally, if you’re not skilled in the use of tools like chain saws or if the pruning job is more than you’re capable of managing, hire an expert. Safety first.

Free PDF Guide

For an excellent free guide on tree pruning published by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the National Arbor Day Association, and the University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources: Click Here.

Source: www.tree-pruning.com

Landscape Maintenance – Is “Mow, Blow & Go” Really the Way To Go?

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Why would anyone spend a great deal of time and energy, not to mention thousands, or even tens-of-thousands of dollars creating a beautiful landscape and then cheap out on its maintenance?

FYI: plants don’t look after themselves, gardeners do.

landscape-maintenance-1 All of those stately homes of England, like Highclere Castle, the actual name of the estate in the PBS series, “Downton Abbey,” which I mentioned in February’s edition of my newsletter, “Eva’s Notes & News,” were or are maintained by a staffs of gardeners and horticulturists.

And while your home may be your castle, I understand that it doesn’t necessarily present the horticultural challenges equal to one of the stately homes. But maintaining a garden is more that just cutting the lawn, trimming the hedge and blowing away the debris (a/k/a “mow, blow & go”). So here are some things you might want to consider when contemplating the care and feeding of your garden.

How To Select The Right Landscape Maintenance Company?

Research & References

If you were selecting a contractor I’m sure you would do a little due diligence before you hired someone to rip out your bathroom or put on a new roof. The same diligence should apply in selecting a landscape maintenance company.

  • pic-landmanageInterview at least 3 potential companies
  • Ask you friends or neighbors, whose landscape you admire, who does their maintenance
  • Check them out on Yelp, Google+ or, if you’re a member, Amy’s List to see what’s been said about their work
  • Ask to speak to at least two current employers and ask about the following:
    • Are your plants health and long lasting?
    • Is there a specialist in the company who has knowledge of horticulture, including plant selection and maintenance, evaluation and treatment of plant problems (insects, diseases, weeds, nutritional deficits); proper chemical usage; mowing, pruning and edging methods; and other detailed maintenance requirements.
    • Do they have the all the requisite equipment to do the job, including mowers, edging equipment, spreaders, sprayers, and specialized hand tools that are needed to properly maintain planted beds and turf areas? Do they understand the capabilities of the equipment and will plan schedules to ensure optimum performance?
    • Are they easy to work with and come up with suggestions that will improve your garden?

Benefits of using a Landscape Maintenance Professional:

While hiring a knowledgeable landscape maintenance company with specially trained staff may be more expensive at first, the additional cost is a small price to pay compared to the cost of replacing turf and plants damaged by disease and insects. Additionally, a company with a certified arborist available can identify hazardous trees on the property that represent a potential liability.

The improved survival rate of plants is another benefit. If a contract is to be used to define the maintenance company’s responsibility, a clause may be included to obligate the company to warrant newly planted shrubs and trees. A company that enters into an agreement in which plants are guaranteed will make an effort to ensure their survival.

Additional Information:

Should you be interested in learning more about professional landscape maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our Landscape Maintenance Page on our website, www.garden-of-eva.com