Trees: The King of the landscape

Trees are arguably the most important asset in the landscape. They can provide cooling shade, wind protection, soil retention, wildlife habitat, beauty, and can reduce net carbon emissions. Learn how to properly care for them with these resources:


Trees in Drought

Just because we are in a drought, or you have ripped out your lawn, does not mean you should stop watering your trees! It does not take much to keep them alive. Read how to take care of trees during a drought.


Pruning of Trees

Whacking back a tree is so wrong! Other than agricultural trees, if a tree is properly pruned, you should barely be able to tell it has been pruned, except for the light color of the freshly cut wood (and those cuts should not be painted!).  Here are a few pruning resources:

This is NOT how to prune a tree.

This is NOT how to prune a tree.


Hiring a Tree Trimmer

Before you hire someone to prune your trees, there are things you need to know that can save your trees, and save you from potential and costly liability. If you hire an unlicensed, untrained tree trimmer, you can be liable for any damage caused by the trimmer such as a branch hitting your neighbors house, a branch failing at a later date because the trimmer destroyed the integrity of the tree, etc. 

If you find you need to prune while being above ground (on a ladder), or you think large branches need to be removed, please hire a professional arborist. Pruning trees is dangerous work. Seek the following in a tree trimmer:

  • In California, tree trimmers should have a C-61 (Limited Specialty)/D-49 (Tree Trimming) state contractors license. License status can be checked at the California State Licensing Board.
  • Hire a professional arborist who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture as a Certified Arborist® or Certified Tree Worker®. These certified individuals have experience and have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care.
  • Check for proof of insurance. The tree trimming industry has some of the highest insurance rates because of the potential liability of life and property. Don't expect to pay little and be protected.
  • Ask for a list of references.
  • You will know a tree trimmer is NOT a professional if they:
    • Top trees. Topping is harmful to trees and is not an accepted practice (although this seems to be almost epidemic).
    • Use climbing spikes. These are very damaging to trees and should only be used on tree removals.