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Category Archives: Landscaping Tips

Tree Service Overview: Q&A with Justin Greer

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Justin Greer is an 18-year veteran of the tree service industry and Director of Operations at Western Tree Removal Specialists, a Diamond Certified company. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

Justin Greer has been servicing trees for Sonoma County residents since he was a teenager, and today, he’s the director of operations at Western Tree Removal Specialists. We took a few minutes to speak with Justin about his field of expertise and gain some helpful knowledge.

Q: Do trees really need to be serviced? Can’t we just let them be?
A: There are a couple reasons why trees need to be serviced, both of which are tied to changed environmental factors. Before humans came on the scene, trees grew in fierce competition for resources, which kept growth in check. Picture a forest where not a drop of light gets through the broad canopy and the trees grow so close together that they’re practically holding each other up.

Flash forward to today, where the circumstances are reversed: Trees are often situated alone or in small groups, and they’re able to get all the water and sunlight they need—not to mention the synthesized nutrients we feed them via fertilizers, which are basically plant steroids. Altogether, this causes trees to grow much faster and larger than they had under previous circumstances. Continue reading “Tree Service Overview: Q&A with Justin Greer” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Crucial Aspects of Landscape Maintenance

Indoor home maintenance is crucial, but it’s also important to maintain your exterior property. Photo: Dana Lund Landscaping (2015)

Indoor home maintenance is crucial, but it’s also important to maintain your exterior property. Photo: Dana Lund Landscaping (2015)

While it’s smart to be proactive about indoor home maintenance, keeping up with your exterior property is equally important. We asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in on aspects of landscaping where maintenance matters most.

Seasonal garden preparation: Michael Moore of Masterpiece Gardens & Design, Inc.

To keep your garden looking its best all year long, swap out the previous season’s plants for current varietals. Photo: Masterpiece Gardens & Design, Inc. (2015)

To keep your garden looking its best all year long, swap out the previous season’s plants for current varietals. Photo: Masterpiece Gardens & Design, Inc. (2015)

A crucial part of garden maintenance is swapping out annual plant varieties in conjunction with the changing seasons, which can be done in a few simple steps. First, remove the outgoing annuals and prepare the bed for incoming plants by adding fertilizer and new soil to provide fresh nutrients. Next, install your plants. Remember to arrange them with the tallest in back and shortest in front to optimize sunlight exposure. When planting fall annuals, it’s also a good time to pre-plant spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocus, as they take several months to germinate. Once all the plants are situated, give the entire bed a light soaking. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Crucial Aspects of Landscape Maintenance” »

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Turn, Turn, Turn: Commencing the Winter Wind-Down in Your Bay Area Garden

Most Bay Area residents enjoy the year-round temperate climate, but it’s gardening enthusiasts who reap some of the greatest benefits. In addition to having an exceptionally broad horticultural palette from which to draw, local gardeners have the advantage of an extended timeline in which to grow and harvest. Even when midwinter temperatures eventually put the freeze on the bulk of gardening activities, there are numerous ways for gardeners to stay productive. Here are some helpful tips for maintaining your garden during the winter season:

Despite the cold temperatures, there are several ways for gardeners to stay productive throughout the winter. Photo: Hansen Landscape Contractor (2014)

Despite the cold temperatures, there are several ways for gardeners to stay productive throughout the winter. Photo: Hansen Landscape Contractor (2014)

Keep harvesting winter-friendly crops. While most crops go into dormancy once the cold weather settles in, there are several that continue to produce. This includes root vegetables like carrots, radishes, beets and onions; cole crops like broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts; and leafy greens like lettuces, spinach and chard. Continue reading “Turn, Turn, Turn: Commencing the Winter Wind-Down in Your Bay Area Garden” »

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An “Earth-Shaking” Reminder about Preventative Maintenance

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For those of us who put off preventative maintenance, an extraordinary occurrence can serve as a sobering reminder. Photo: Best Tree Service (2014)

Like most people, I have a tendency to assume the minutiae of details surrounding my life will continue to function smoothly, whether or not I acknowledge them. However, once in a while, an uncommon occurrence rouses me from my usual state of complacency. A recent instance followed the Napa Valley earthquake of August 24, 2014.

As a resident of Santa Rosa, I was on the outskirts of the quake’s radius and only mildly felt its effects. The next day, however, as I walked onto my back deck, I was immediately struck with an eerie sensation. “Do we always get shade at this time of day?” I thought, as I looked up at the towering California Redwood that stood in my backyard and saw the tip of its crown eclipsing the midday sun. Had the tree moved during the earthquake? Had it sustained damage? Had its structural integrity been compromised? Mulling these questions over, I couldn’t decide if something was indeed different or if my misgivings were merely the product of paranoia brought on by the quake. Continue reading “An “Earth-Shaking” Reminder about Preventative Maintenance” »

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Water Conservation Tips for Your Home and Landscape

Water conservation is always a priority in California, but it’s even more important during times of drought, which is why now is a great time for Bay Area residents to focus on minimizing their usage and waste. Here are some helpful tips from three Diamond Certified Expert Contributors on how to maximize water conservation in your home and on your property.

By utilizing modern water-saving products and methods, you can significantly reduce water usage both inside and outside of your home. Photo: Rivas Landscape Group (2014)

By utilizing modern water-saving products and methods, you can significantly reduce water usage both inside and outside of your home. Photo: Rivas Landscape Group (2014)

1. Go low-flow. According to Jamie Rogers, president of Rogers Remodel Inc., one of the simplest ways to conserve water in your home is to replace faucet aerators, shower heads and toilets with low-flow models. Continue reading “Water Conservation Tips for Your Home and Landscape” »

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Oak Tree Maintenance: The Basics

All trees require ongoing maintenance, but oak trees respond best to a minimalist approach. Photo: Horticultural Services, LTD (2014)

All trees require ongoing maintenance, but oak trees respond best to a minimalist approach. Photo: Horticultural Services, LTD (2014)

With unique and majestic forms that add character to the Northern California landscape, it’s no surprise that Bay Area residents love their oak trees. However, due to rising concerns about the health of indigenous oaks—particularly the recent epidemic of sudden oak death—many property owners have gone on the defensive and become more proactive about preventative maintenance. While this is certainly a positive trend, some people fail to realize that oak trees tend to require minimal maintenance, which means overdoing it can do more harm than good. Continue reading “Oak Tree Maintenance: The Basics” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Identifying Home Improvement Scams

Watch this video to learn about the warning signs of a home improvement scam.

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Spring Garden Maintenance

Everyone knows about “spring cleaning,” but not many people know that the term applies to gardens as well as houses. By taking a few preparatory measures, you can ensure your garden and its systems will be healthy and functioning properly all season long.

Take simple steps to prepare your garden for the spring. Photo: Masterpiece Gardens & Design, Inc. (2014)

Take simple steps to prepare your garden for the spring. Photo: Masterpiece Gardens & Design, Inc. (2014)

The first thing to do is inspect your irrigation systems. By the end of winter, your sprinkler and drip systems will have been inactive for several months, during which time debris may have accumulated in the apertures. Continue reading “Spring Garden Maintenance” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Tree Trimming

Do you know the protocol for trimming a tree that’s on your neighbor’s property but reaches into your yard? Watch this video for some helpful information.

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Assessing the Health of Trees Around Your Home

You might not realize it, but your home may be a target if it’s bordered by tall trees. Every year, falling trees account for millions of dollars of damages to homes in the United States. For this reason, if you’re unsure about the condition of a tree near your home, it’s a good idea to have its health evaluated. While a DIY examination is no substitute for the expertise of a licensed arborist, there are various signs and symptoms you can look for to assess the health of a tree.

To better ensure home safety, it’s important to assess the health of nearby trees. Photo: Ponderosa Tree Service (2013)

To better ensure home safety, it’s important to assess the health of nearby trees. Photo: Ponderosa Tree Service (2013)

First, look for visible indications of the tree’s overall health. Signs of good health include full growth; vibrant leaves; and strong, contiguous trunk bark. In contrast, signs such as sparse or stunted growth; discolored, withered or spotted leaves; and fragmented or peeling bark may be outward manifestations of ill health. Continue reading “Assessing the Health of Trees Around Your Home” »

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