Diamond Certified Blog

Tag Archives: Arborist

Diamond Certified Experts: Tree Care 101

From pruning and irrigation to addressing risk factors, tree care involves several crucial aspects. Photo: World Tree Service, Inc. (2017)

Despite being the largest of all plants, trees are surprisingly easy to overlook. Maybe it’s because their serene, stationary disposition causes them to blend in with their surroundings; maybe we just don’t look up often enough. Either way, like any plant, trees require water, nutrition and ongoing maintenance, so it’s important to take care of the ones on your property. To learn about some tree care basics, we’re joined by six Diamond Certified Expert Contributors in the tree service and landscaping fields.

Tree irrigation and nutrition
The first step in caring for a tree is simple: water it. However, as Chris Chapman of Horticultural Services, LTD explains, tree irrigation is something property owners often get wrong. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Tree Care 101” »

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Tree Service Overview: Q&A with Justin Greer


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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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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Tree Care vs. General Landscaping: What’s the Difference?

Trees take decades, sometimes centuries, to grow to maturity, and they must be cared for with more expertise than shrubbery and ground covers. A qualified arborist needs an in-depth knowledge of trees that a general landscaper usually doesn’t possess. Tree work also poses different safety and liability concerns, so arborists must carry more insurance and be better trained in how to safely work with and among trees.

Unlike landscape professionals, arborists are specially trained to safely work in and around trees. Photo: Ponderosa Tree Service (2011)

Accreditation and certification are the most important things to look for in a tree care company. Are its arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture? Are they accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association? You should also ask how long the company has been in business. Although it’s a rigorous test to become a certified arborist, some recent graduates don’t have the same amount of practical knowledge that comes from years of onsite experience.

Insurance and safety are especially important when it comes to tree care—unlike most standard landscaping work, missteps can result in serious property damage or severe injuries. Make sure you ask the company how much liability insurance it carries and what it covers. The accreditation process includes safety, so an accredited tree care company should have a good safety record. If you have doubts or concerns, run a workers’ compensation report to see what the safety record is for yourself.

Another question to consider: What does the arborist do with the wood chips and biomass that are generated from tree care? Does the firm simply cart it to a landfill, or is it used to create bio-fuel and Green electricity?

To find a Diamond Certified tree service company in your area, click on one of the links below.

Alameda County: www.diamondcertified.org/alameda-tree-service

Contra Costa County: www.diamondcertified.org/contra-costa-tree-service

Marin County: www.diamondcertified.org/marin-tree-service

San Francisco: www.diamondcertified.org/san-francisco-tree-service

San Mateo County: www.diamondcertified.org/san-mateo-tree-service

Santa Clara County: www.diamondcertified.org/santa-clara-tree-service

Solano County: www.diamondcertified.org/solano-tree-service

Sonoma County: www.diamondcertified.org/sonoma-tree-service

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Tips on Trees from a Diamond Certified Expert

My neighbor in Sonoma has some beautiful trees, but a few of the limbs and branches are blocking the view. I started wondering whether I was within my rights to trim some of those branches, given that they’re dangling over the fence and onto my property. Who better to ask than Darren Edwards, owner of Advance Tree Service, a Diamond Certified company?  According to Mr. Edwards,  “You may have someone trim your tree without your neighbor’s permission. You’re allowed to go back to the property line. You can’t go over the property line. But so long as it doesn’t damage the tree’s health or integrity.” It’s also a good idea to discuss any limb trimming with your neighbor first, just to keep up good relations.
As a side note, we also had a neighbor’s tree limbs growing onto our power lines.  One call to PG&E and they came right out to remove the ones that might be a safety hazard.

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