Is Stump Grinding Worth the Cost?

Stump removal has always been part of tree clearing and removal. If your family has lived in Minnesota for a few generations, chances are your great-grandparents spent significant time hand-grinding tree stumps away to prepare their land for farming. Back then, stump grinding wasn’t a luxury, it was a necessity.

But you’re not farming your backyard (at least, not on the scale your great-grandparents did). Do you really need to grind the stump of the tree you had taken out last month or plan to remove this summer? Is stump removal worth the cost?

We like to think so. Here’s why.

Removing Stumps Keeps Your Urban Forest Healthy

It may seem like the natural thing to leave your stump in place and let nature take its course. But doing so leaves your urban forest vulnerable to the not-so-nice aspects of decay and decomposition. Termites are one of nature’s best decomposers, but they can wreak havoc on your healthy trees, not to mention your home. Same goes for the fungi that will crop up around and in a decaying stump.

Grinding and removing stumps prevents these pests and fungi from taking up residence in your yard and infesting your healthy plants, trees, and home.

Removing Stumps Prevents Zombie Trees

Chopping down and removing a tree often kills the specimen, but not always. Maple trees, elm trees, and willows grow quickly. Often, the stumps of these species can sprout suckers that, left unattended, can grow up to six feet in a single season. You may also find volunteers of these trees turning up in unexpected places in your yard as shoots spring up from the old tree’s root system.

Stump grinding eliminates the chances of zombie trees cropping up in your yard. Grinding the stump into the ground speeds up the decay process for the roots, returning nutrients to the soil without introducing pests into your urban forest.

Stump Grinding Expands Your Landscaping Options

There are only so many randomly placed half-whiskey barrels your landscape design can stand. While putting a planter on top of one tree stump can provide some structure to your landscape, having several starts to look random and out of place. Having stumps in your yard limits what you can plant in your space, too. Removing a tree often creates a new patch of sun and endless gardening possibilities. Getting the stump removed is the first step in creating your next garden bed.

If you’re considering the removal of a tree or two from your urban forest, contact Urban Tree & Landscape. Our professional arborists will safely and completely remove your tree and grind the stump so you can move forward with reshaping your landscape.

Prepare Your Trees for Spring Severe Weather

A large oak tree falls on and into a small house during a storm demolishing its roof

Did you know June is the stormiest summer month in Minnesota? More tornadoes occur in June than in any other time of year. You know to go the basement when the tornado siren blares, but storm preparedness begins well before severe weather is in the forecast. An important and oft-overlooked part of preparing for summer storms is inspecting your urban forest.

Wind poses the greatest threat to your trees during a summer storm. Strong gusts, straight-line winds, and wind shear from a tornado can break branches, split trunks, and tip over an entire tree. Healthy trees with strong root systems and balanced canopies can withstand most winds, but even these specimens can succumb to extreme gusts.

Urban Tree & Landscape recommends making the following tips part of your summer storm preparations.

Walk Your Property and Give Your Trees a Lookover

You’re not an arborist, but there are a few red flags you as a homeowner can look for so you know when to call in the professionals. The State of Georgia has published a good checklist for homeowners. Assess your trees for any damage, including broken branches and splits or cracks in trunks. Look for two or more major stems connecting to the main trunk at the same place, known as codominant branches. Notice whether the leaves of the canopy are uniformly green and healthy, or if there is a section of the canopy that is yellowed or dead.

Check out the base of the tree, too. Observe if the soil is soft and spongy. Look for mushrooms or other signs of fungi. Both are indications of an unhealthy root system.

If you find any damage, dead branches, or signs of disease or fungus, call Urban Tree & Landscape to schedule a consultation. Our certified arborists are experts in spotting damage and disease and will recommend appropriate tree care. Depending on your tree’s issues, we may recommend pruning, branch removal, or the removal of the entire tree.

Keep Your Urban Forest Healthy

Trees are some of the lower maintenance specimens in your landscape. But they still require routine care to keep them strong and healthy. Urban Tree & Landscape can recommend a schedule for fertilizing your trees as well as any required mulching or watering. June is the wettest month of the year, so it’s unlikely your trees will need much watering now. But by late summer and early fall, the weather dries out. Your trees may need a good drink every week.

When you’re preparing for spring storms, don’t forget to include your trees in your preparedness checklist. Urban Tree & Landscape can help you keep your urban forest healthy and strong through storm season. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Late Spring Tree Pruning Tips for the Twin Cities

Warmth and sunshine can’t seem to get a foothold in Minnesota this year. The silver lining in all the rain we’ve received is that our urban forests are looking greener than ever. If you’re wondering how you can keep your trees healthy and beautiful this summer, Urban Tree & Landscape has a few tips for you.

Know When to Prune

There are many reasons to prune a tree. Some trees require pruning to maintain a safe structure. Young ones need pruning to grow in a healthy and attractive manner. Unhealthy trees may require pruning to reduce or eliminate disease or damage.

If you are pruning an otherwise healthy tree to maintain its appearance and shape, we recommend pruning in late winter to spring, after the bitter cold of winter has passed but before the tree starts to bud out. If you are pruning a healthy, spring-flowering tree, however, wait until after the tree’s flowers fade to prune.

We advise not pruning healthy trees in the fall to avoid spreading disease-causing fungi throughout your urban forest.

Pruning a Sick or Damaged Tree Back to Health

If one or more of your trees looks diseased or suffered damage over the winter, arrange for Urban Tree & Landscape to diagnose the issues and correct the problems. To avoid the spread of disease, the best time to remove diseased and damaged limbs is in the late winter or early spring.

But if you notice disease and damage after the tree has leafed out, you still have options. Pruning a tree after its canopy has filled in is best left to professionals. Our expertise allows us to be strategic in what limbs we prune and when. Too much pruning when a tree has leaves can stunt its growth for the year. Fresh cuts can also attract insects and disease.

Our first step will be to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches and limbs that pose safety risks. We’ll do so strategically so the canopy of your tree remains structurally sound and attractive. If your tree is severely damaged or diseased, we may recommend removal. If that is the case, ask our arborists for suggestions on what to plant in its place.

Keep your urban forest healthy and beautiful this summer. Prune wisely, and call in the professionals if you’re considering major pruning work after June. Contact Urban Tree & Landscape today for a consultation.

Do You Have a Maintenance and Care Plan for Your Urban Forest?

It’s finally springtime in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While we may get a few more snow squalls, at Urban Tree & Landscape, our fingers are crossed that the frigid days are behind us. Maple trees are starting to produce sap for maple sugaring, and it’s possible to see the start of buds on the neighborhood trees.

With greener days ahead of us, it’s time to start thinking about your urban forest. Have the trees on your property survived the winter? Bitter cold, ice storms, and very dry air can all wreak havoc on your trees. From cracking branches and trunks to winterburn from dry air, your urban forest may need a little help this spring.

A maintenance and care plan for the trees on your property can help them recover from the winter and encourage healthy growth through the warmer months. Here are the four elements of a tree maintenance plan with Urban Tree & Landscape.

Full Evaluation of Your Trees

Any maintenance and care plan starts with a full evaluation of every tree on your property. We look for diseased and weak branches, unstable growth patterns, and whether the trees allow clearance for walkways, driveways, power lines, and your home’s roof. We’ll also note the various species and estimated ages of your trees to ensure each specimen has the opportunity to grow to its full potential.

Once we’ve completed our full evaluation, we’ll work with you to take care of any urgent pruning or tree removal needs. Then, we’ll put together a maintenance plan that will include pruning, disease control, and fertilization.

Tree Pruning for Urban and Suburban Trees

Most tree maintenance plans include annual or seasonal tree pruning, depending on the species of the trees in your urban forest. Urban Tree & Landscape may also recommend more frequent pruning to correct an unstable growth pattern or overgrown tree canopy, especially for young trees.

Pruning keeps your trees healthy as they grow. Pruning and trimming also helps keep your property safely free of broken branches and other hazards.

Tree Disease and Pest Control

Trees are living organisms that can become diseased or infested with pests. Both can threaten the life of an otherwise healthy tree. Many tree diseases are fungal or bacterial. Insects such as Emerald Ash Borer can also cause severe damage to ash trees.

We often uncover disease and pests during our full evaluations. Our maintenance plan for your urban forest will include steps to remedy any present disease or pests or preventative measures to make sure they don’t show up in the future.

Tree Fertilization

Trees in a natural forest setting thrive on the rich, organic soil their environment provides. Fallen leaves and downed trees are left to break down and enrich the soil. But urban and suburban trees compete for nutrients with lawns and gardens. Most homeowners are unwilling to leave leaves and other decaying plant matter to collect under the trees in their yards.

This is why our maintenance plans include periodic tree fertilization. Adding nutrients back into the soil under your tree will help it stay healthy for years to come.

Ready for spring? Urban Tree & Landscape is, too! Give us a call today to schedule your tree evaluation and get started on your tree maintenance plan.

4 Reasons to Love Urban Tree & Landscape

Urban Tree & Landscape loves helping Minneapolis property owners maintain the health of their urban forests. Part of our commitment to you and your family’s safety is keeping up with the best practices in tree pruning and tree removal. That’s why we are members of several professional organizations for arborists. Here are four more reasons to love working with Urban Tree & Landscape!

Tree Care Industry Association

As a member of the Tree Care Industry Association, Urban Tree & Landscape has access to safety training, tree care education, and other professional development that helps us provide a better experience for our customers. When you see the TCIA member logo on our website, it tells you that we’re committed to increasing professionalism, service, and safety in the tree services industry.

Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Urban Tree & Landscape is a proud member of the Minnesota chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. Through the APLD, we have access to programs that keep us up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in landscaping. We also have the opportunity to network with other landscape professionals, which helps us provide better service to our customers.

Project GreenHands

Project GreenHands is an international nonprofit organization that provides forestry education to children and the public. Donations to Project GreenHands funds this work as well as reforestation in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which was devastated by a tsunami in 2005. Since then, more than 30 million trees have been planted in Tamil Nadu. Urban Tree & Landscape is proud to support Project GreenHands and its mission.

International Society of Arboriculture

Urban Tree & Landscape is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture. ISA is a nonprofit that promotes the economic, social, and environmental value of trees and forests. The organization offers professional development for arborists, including safe tree trimming and removal practices and the latest developments in arboriculture science. Their website treesaregood.org offers property owners with lots of information about the benefits of maintaining and caring for an urban forest.

If you want to work with a reputable arborist that’s committed to safety, best practices, and promoting the benefits of a healthy urban forest, Urban Tree & Landscape would love to help you! Contact us today for your consultation or to request a quote.

Ice Dams in Minnesota

Ice dams are a common occurrence in Minnesota.  They form most frequently when we have frequent, heavy snow falls combined with temperature swings between 0 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ice dams can form very quickly.  One or two days of the right conditions is enough time for an ice damn to form, and water to start leaking  into the house.  Ice dams can be avoided by clearing the snow from the edge of the roof with a snow rake.  There are also electronic heaters that can be installed to melt ice dams before they grow and become a problem.  Most homes are not equipped with the heaters, and many people do not know about the potential dangers ice dams pose until they have water coming into their house as a result of one.

How ice dams form

For an ice dam to form we need to get a few inches of snow on the roof.  Poor insulation and/or warmer temperatures will cause the majority of the roof to become warmer than 32 degrees and start melting the snow and turning it into water.  This water will run down the roof and into the gutters.  However, the edge of the roof above the soffits is colder than 32 degrees.  The gutters are usually colder than 32 degrees too.  This is where the water becomes frozen, forming a dam along the edge of the roof and completely filling the gutters and downspouts with ice.

What to do if you have an ice dam?

If you see an ice dam forming on your house it is imperative that you deal with it quickly.  Monitor the interior of the building in the immediate vicinity of the ice dam.  If you have water coming in call an ice dam removal expert, water damage mitigation contractor, and your insurance company.  If there isn’t any water coming in have a professional remove the snow from the roof above the dam.  This will cut off the water supply to the ice dam, and it may melt away without any major problems.  If water starts to enter the house the ice dam needs to be removed as soon as possible to mitigate the damage to the structure.  Call an ice dam removal expert to remove the ice dam using low pressure steam.

How we remove ice dams

We remove ice dams from building s using low pressure steam.  This allows us to melt the ice dam off the building without damaging the roof.  We send a 2-3 person crew that will perform all aspects of the project.  We steam off the ice dam so that the water mitigation people can begin their work.  We remove snow from above the ice dam, if the snow is not removed from above the ice dam it will likely form again in a short period of time.   We make sure that the water generated during the steaming process is properly diverted to an area where it will not cause damage.

Warnings and disclaimers

Only trained professionals should perform these tasks!  Falling from a roof or ladder can be fatal!  Roofs are inherently dangerous.  Roofs covered in snow and ice are even more dangerous.  Only trained professionals with the proper training and safety equipment should perform these tasks.  Do not try to pry or break the ice dam, you will do major damage to the roof!

ICE DAM ONLINE EXAMPLES  

 

3 reasons to grind your tree stump after a tree is removed

Stump GrindingsIf you’ve ever had a tree removed in Golden Valley, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park or any other part of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, you are well aware that despite the tree being gone, the stump is still there.

And that stump is an eye sore.

Have you ever wondered why the stump isn’t removed at the same time as the tree? The simple reason is that stump removal typically involves different tools and is often performed by a different crew than the one who removed the tree.

Another question you might ask yourself is if you have to grind the stump rather than simply have it removed from the ground.

You could have it pulled out, but in these parts, grinding has replaced the practice of removing stumps. The reason is because grinding is easier, quicker and less stressful on the surrounding environment.

And, you should leave the grinding to the professionals like Urban Tree to ensure it’s done correctly and safely.

Grinding the stump also provides you with the following benefits:

  1. Unwanted tree growth – if stumps stick around, they can spawn new trees through its roots. Once those new trees sprout, they can become unruly and difficult to remove.
  2. Mulch – you can use the woodchips from the ground up stump for mulch around other trees and shrubs in your yard.
  3. Safety – tree stumps can be quite hazardous in your yard, especially to kids running around. Remove the stump and remove the hazard.

The professionals at Urban Tree use special equipment that grinds the stump in a non-invasive and efficient way. We don’t disrupt your landscape or nearby structures.

If you have a stump that you’d like to remove, please give us a call. We’ll get the job done quickly and safely.

 

 

 

 

Ice, Snow and Your Tree’s Health

Ice Damaged TreeWe usually talk about – and experience – snowstorms as opposed to ice storms in these parts, but that’s not to say we haven’t seen our fair share of ice storms in St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Eagan and the like. And as beautiful as an ice storm might look from the comfort of your home, the ice not only wreaks havoc on the roads, but potentially, also, on your trees.

Ice buildup on trees can increase the weight of a tree’s branches by 30 times. That’s a lot of weight, to be sure, which can cause a lot of damage.

Ice can cause branches to snap and break, or even cause a tree to topple over altogether, which can, in turn, damage your home, your deck or even injure someone in its path.

What to do if ice or snow builds up on your tree’s branches

If you see a lot snow or ice on the branches of your trees, the best thing to do, as long as the branches are not damaged, is to let them be. As the weather improves, the branches should return to their normal state naturally.

This is true even if the branches are completely drooped over and you have the urge to shake the snow off the tree. Believe it or not, it’s best to leave the tree be unless it’s covered in light, fluffy snow. While you might have the best intentions in mind, shaking any branches coated in ice or snow can cause damage or even breakage. What’s more, knocking the ice off of a tree can cause it to snap back suddenly, potentially damaging the tree’s circulation.

On the other hand, if you have trees with branches that broke or snapped due to snow and ice, you will want to trim those branches leaving a clean cut. If you simply leave it as a break, the tree will not heal naturally and will risk decay.

Of course, if the branches are up too high and out of reach for you to safely trim yourself, please call a professional so you can avoid injury. In fact, winter time is a perfectly safe time to prune trees.

And, to prevent damage before it’s a threat, call a professional tree service company like Urban Tree to prune your trees. We can provide you a free estimate and determine which trees should be pruned now as opposed to waiting.

So here’s to winter, some snow, minimal ice and healthy trees in St. Paul, Minneapolis and the entire metropolitan area.

Why and When to Trim Your Trees in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Tree RemovalYou knew it would happen. Summer turned to autumn, and soon autumn will turn to winter. With the impending cold season on the horizon, you probably have a list of chores to do around the house.

Is trimming your trees on the list?

If not, maybe it should be.

If you have trees in your yard with unruly, exceptionally long branches, and you find yourself regularly picking up sticks and twigs from those trees, something needs to be done.

Why?

Because trimming your tree’s branches is not only healthy for the tree, but also it makes it look much better and increases the safety around the tree.

First, let’s talk about the health of the tree. Removing any dead matter makes room for the tree to grow new, healthy branches and leaves. What’s more, trimming the tree enables it to develop a healthier root system instead of using its resources to combat disease and pests.

A healthy tree is always much better to look at than a sick one.

What’s more, if you have a tree with branches hanging over your home or into the power lines, you should trim those branches for safety reasons.

Many branches can snap and fall due to high winds, and with the winter’s approach, you don’t want to worry about the weight of snow or ice causing those branches to break. A falling branch can injure an unsuspected person or damage your house.

Plus, any tree debris on the ground from the tree can be a hazard to pedestrians, too.

When to trim your trees

It’s always a good idea to leave the tree trimming to the professionals like Urban Tree & Landscape. You can have it done any time of the year, although winter is a great time to trim your trees. With the ground frozen, crews can access your tree without damaging your yard. Plus, there is no need to put down plywood, which saves you money.

If you have a tree or trees in your yard that need trimming, please give us a call a 612-532-9996. We’d love to come out, take a look and give you a free estimate.

Want to Avoid Summer Storm Damage? Take Care of Your Trees Now, While the Weather’s Fine

July is a beautiful month in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Golden Valley. The sun’s out, it’s warm, and many of us spend the weekend at the cabin or out on the lake. Storms are far from your mind, and that’s exactly why you should take care of your trees now.

Summer severe weather is unpredictable. You could spend most of the day out on the boat, then rush to shore to avoid a sudden thunderstorm. Because summer storms give little warning, it makes sense to do a little work now to avoid major damage when a storm rolls through. Trimming your trees now, when the weather’s fine, can save thousands of dollars in storm damage later.

Potential Dangers Lurking in Your Backyard

If you’re the caretaker of an urban forest, then you know how nerve-wracking high winds can be. If you’re home during a storm, you probably spend most of the time looking out at your backyard, wondering how your trees can take such a brutal battering.

Trees are resilient plants. But even they have their limits. Decayed or hollow limbs, cracks in the trunk, and overgrown branches hanging precariously over your house are all potential storm damage risks. Trees that are structurally compromised by rot or a large crack are particularly susceptible to wind and storm damage. Large limbs that overhang structures are more likely to cause damage than those over your lawn.

Tree Trimming to Mitigate Storm Damage

Fortunately, you can avoid many of these risks by investing in tree trimming and pruning now, when a storm has yet to form on the horizon. Ask the experts at Urban Tree and Landscape to come out to your property and assess your urban forest. We’ll check your trees for signs of decay, trunk cracks, and overgrown canopies.

After sharing our findings with you, we’ll discuss a plan to trim, prune, and if required, remove trees that could cause damage to your property during a storm. Once you sign off on the work, we’ll schedule a time for our expert crew to complete the trimming, pruning, and removal. We’ll leave your property safer, cleaner, and even more beautiful than we found it.

Remember to stay sky-aware this summer. Though the weather’s nice now, a severe storm could be looming over the horizon. Keep your property and your family safe by trimming your trees now, before the next storm rolls through. Contact Urban Tree and Landscape for your consultation today.