Month: October 2019

What Should You Do With a “Leaning” Tree?

Leaning TreesDo you have a leaning tree in your yard? If so, what can you do about it? Well, it depends on the age of the tree. If it’s a younger tree, you might be able to straighten it up if you handle things properly.

Stake It

To straighten a leaning tree you should “stake it.” Stakes are essentially wooden or metal poles. You’ll need two or three of them. Place your hand on the tree’s trunk to find out where it ideally needs to be steadied. Your stakes should be the same height as where you place your hands on the tree to steady it– most likely about 5-feet tall. Typically, you’ll place two of your stakes opposite of each other. Put them about a foot and a half away from the trunk. If you think you need a third stake, put it on the open side of the tree. To attach stakes, it’s best to use a soft material such as canvas strapping or tree staking straps. Make sure to allow for slack because the tree will want to naturally sway. Some people make the mistake of using rope or wire to stake their trees, but this isn’t a good idea as these materials can damage tree trunks.

Tree Type Matters

What kind of trees tend to lean? If you’ve got newly purchased saplings, thin-stemmed trees, or young trees planted in a windy area, you’re probably going to want to stake them to help straighten them out. Staking is a temporary support. It allows the root system to become well-established over time, and once the roots are strong they should be able to support the tree alone.

Other Things to Note

Oftentimes people leave their stakes on a tree for many years, but that’s not necessary. Ideally, they belong on a tree for one growing season. When placing a stake in the ground, drive it into the ground so that the stake is upwind of the tree if possible.

What about older trees that lean? Can they be straightened? Not likely.

If you have any questions about leaning trees and/or want Big Foot Tree Service to assess your situation, please call 973-885-8000. Big Foot Tree Service of Wayne, NJ, handles all sorts of services, including stump/tree removal, tree trimming, and dealing with storm damage/clean up. You can also email [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.

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6 Mistakes to Avoid When Seeding Your Lawn

Seeding is an essential step to creating, as well as maintaining, a healthy lawn.

It promotes a fuller and more complete lawn while discouraging the growth of weeds and other invasive plants in the process.

If you’re planning to seed your lawn, though, you should avoid making these six mistakes.

#1) Neglecting to Test pH Level

Prior to seeding your lawn, you should test the soil’s pH level to determine its level of acidity.

Even if the soil looks healthy, it may be too acidic or alkaline for grass to grow. For most varieties of grass, you’ll need a balanced pH level of about 5.5 to 7.

#2) Using Too Much Seed

Overseeding is an all-too-common problem that can wreak havoc on lawns.

As the seeds sprout into grass, they’ll compete for the limited amount of nutrients, sunlight and water.

Check the seed rate to determine exactly how much seed you should use on your lawn.

#3) Using the Wrong Type of Seed

Another common mistake to avoid when seeding your lawn is using the wrong type of seed.

There are hundreds of varieties of lawn grass, and some of the varieties prefer different climates in which to grow. In Texas, popular varieties include Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermuda, Fescue, St. Augustine, Centipede Grass and Carpet Grass.

You can use other types in your lawn, but you need to ensure they are compatible with your climate.

#4) Seeding During Fall or Winter

Although there are exceptions, you should typically avoid seeding your lawn during the fall or winter months.

What’s wrong with seeding your lawn during the fall or winter months? Well, grass – like most plants – enters a dormant state during this time of year.

#5) Not Aerating the Soil

Don’t forget to aerate the soil before seeding your lawn.

Aerating creates small holes in the soil in which the seeds will enter. If you don’t aerate your lawn, the seeds will simply sit on top of the soil.

Over time, the superficial seeds will get blown away or eaten by animals, meaning they won’t translate into healthy new grass for your lawn.

By aerating your lawn, on the other hand, the seeds will dig deeper into the soil where they are naturally protected from the wind and animals.

#6) Relying Strictly on Rain

You can’t always rely on rain to hydrate your grass seeds.

If there’s no rain in the forecast, you’ll need to set up a sprinkler. Without water, the seeds won’t sprout into grass. With that said, you shouldn’t use too much water.

Generally speaking, about 10 minutes of watering should suffice for most types of grass seed.

The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.

If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or

Request a Quote / Schedule an Appointment

The post 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Seeding Your Lawn appeared first on Woodsman Tree Service.

Why Do I Need a Tree Hazard Assessment

Hazard assessment to prevent tree damage or failure during severe weather

Don’t let your trees threaten your property or life as they destabilize during severe weather. Regular tree assessments and preventative measures can help your trees survive severe storm conditions intact. gathered information on why trees need regular hazard assessments, what is examined during an evaluation, the types of damages trees suffer in different storms, and preventative measures you can take.

Tree Hazard Assessments – Emergency and Storm Safety

Tree hazard (or tree risk) assessments provide crucial information to the surveyor and the homeowner about the health and stability of the trees being surveyed. These assessments are used in determining:

• The overall health and stability of a tree
• Whether a tree will remain stable during severe weather events
• If the tree poses an infestation or disease threat to surrounding trees
• If the tree is a threat to surrounding structures or people
• A course of action including pruning or removal

The older your trees become, the more they require hazard assessments. As trees age, they become more massive, less flexible, and in many cases, more susceptible to disease and infestations.

Just as necessary is the assessment of the soil where the tree is rooted, soil erosion can become a significant problem for a tree’s stability. This erosion can cause the root plate to lift during the slightest of winds resulting in an emergency, and the toppling of an otherwise healthy tree.

Without these assessments, your trees can develop irreversible damages from diseases, infestations, girdling, compacted soil, and many other conditions (detected in an assessment) that weaken the tree. All it takes is one severe storm to bring down a weakened tree and cause catastrophic damages.

Follow the link for signs and symptoms of a troubled tree

Hazard assessment for diseased or dying trees

What is a Tree Hazard Assessment?

Tree hazard assessments happen when a tree professional or certified arborist physically survey the overall health and stability of a tree. A typical assessment looks for the following:

• Signs of disease
• Signs of infestation
• Abnormal growth habits
• Leaning
• Dead, missing, or damaged bark
• Cracks
• Lightning damage
• Balance and density of the crown
• Dead twigs or branches
• Mushroom conks
• Cankers

These examinations are comprehensive and include assessments of:

• Cut or damaged surface roots
• Lifting of the root plate
• Soil conditions and/or erosion
• Soil compaction
• Pavement over roots
• Topography
• Surrounding structures (targets)
• Typical weather for the location
• Wind exposure
• Vines and other potentially harmful plant species

When a tree professional or arborist performs a tree hazard assessment, he is looking for anything about the tree, its root plate, or environment that could be alarming. Read for some warning signs and things to look for that indicate a potential tree emergency, and call an arborist or professional tree service if you suspect something is wrong.

Disaster Tree Damage Caused by Storms

Tree hazard assessments take into account the weather patterns common to the tree’s location. Different elements of weather impact trees differently and may require specific actions to prevent irreversible damages to the tree. The following are some of the weather conditions that can cause a weakened tree to topple and preventative measures:

Tree hazard assessment to prevent property damage during storms

Wind – When wind speeds are high, they can impose tremendous force on a tree. During hurricanes or tornadoes, trees may be stripped of their leaves and branches. These winds are capable of twisting, breaking, and uprooting trees. Also, during major storms, debris may debark the tree requiring its removal after the storm.

Course of action: Promote the health of the tree by fertilizing, mulching, and pruning. Provide deep watering to promote deep root growth, and hire a professional tree service to thin out the crown, reducing the tree’s wind-resistance.

You can also create wind diversions by planting shrubs upwind from your trees or by installing fences along your property line.

Flooding – Erosion caused by flooding can be devastating to all plant life. Floods typically result in the complete saturation of the ground and can quickly destabilize the roots of the oldest and strongest of trees.

Course of action: Plant trees on elevated land and reconfigure your landscaping to facilitate water runoff from your property.

Promote the health of your trees by fertilizing, mulching, and pruning. When floods are caused by storm surge, it is the health of your tree and the depth of its roots that will help determine whether it topples or not.

Lightning – By their height, trees are a common target for lightning. Your tree’s bark may be blown off or scars left on the trunk when the electricity is conducted along the outside of the tree. When the electrical charge penetrates the tree trunk, the moisture within the trunk may be converted to vapor and cause the tree to explode.

The most susceptible trees to lightning strikes are poplars, pines, oaks, and elms.

Course of action: Install lightning rods on your property and to the top of your home to divert lightning from your trees.

Ice – Winter snow or ice storms may deposit ice on the foliage and branches of your tree. The weight of accumulated ice on a tree together with wind can break branches or cause the tree to fall.

Hazard assessment to prevent tree damage or collapse under snow and ice weight

Trees resistant to ice damage include oaks, beech, birch, and American hornbeam.

Course of action: As always, maintain the health of your tree throughout its growing season. In the fall, have your trees pruned, and crowns thinned to reduce the potential of ice accumulation.

In some cases, storms can unleash tremendous amounts of rain, wind, flooding, etc. that can bring down weakened and healthy trees alike. However, annual hazard assessments allow you to take actions that minimize damages to your trees and property when they fall.

Tree Health and Hazard Assessments

In this article, you discovered the importance of tree hazard assessments, what tree professionals look for during an assessment, what damages are caused by storms, and what you can do to help your trees through storms.

By scheduling annual tree hazard assessments, you create the possibility to catch and reverse potential threats to your tree’s health. These assessments also enable you to remove trees that can cause catastrophic damages when toppling in storms.

If you neglect to have hazard assessments performed, infestations, soil compaction, or disease may weaken your tree to the point where it falls during a weather event. Thus, endangering your property, home, and life.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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Help! One of My Trees Was Struck By Lightning

Has a tree in your landscape been struck by lightning?

Statistics show roughly 8 million lightning strikes occur each day. While most of them occur in rural areas, others occur in residential communities. When lightning strikes a tree, though, it can cause serious damage.

So, what should you do if a tree in your landscape has been struck by lightning?

Assess the Tree for Damage

First and foremost, you should assess the tree for damage.

Lightning, of course, is a powerful force of nature that can destroy otherwise hard objects, including trees.

The temperature of lightning is over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. With so much heat, it quickly converts any moisture within a tree into steam, resulting in an internal explosion.

Some trees will die immediately after being struck by lightning, while others may survive.

While keeping a safe distance – in case the tree falls – assess the tree for damage. Specifically, look to see where the lightning strike occurred and the extent to which it “split” open the tree.

If the lightning strike occurred at the base of the trunk, resulting in a large split through the middle, you’ll probably need to remove the tree. If the lightning strike occurred on one or two branches, on the other hand, you should be able to restore the tree.

Restoring a Tree Struck by Lightning

To restore a lightning-struck tree, you need to water it.

As previously mentioned, lightning strikes convert moisture within a tree into steam. The steam pressurizes inside the tree, which subsequently triggers an explosion.

If your tree only suffered minor damage from the lightning strike, you may be able to restore it – but you’ll need to give it plenty of water.

In addition to watering the lightning-struck tree, you should consider cutting down any damaged branches. As long as the trunk is left intact, removing the branches shouldn’t kill or otherwise seriously harm your tree.

Removing a Tree Struck by Lightning

If the lightning strike caused severe damage to the point where the tree is longer salvageable, you should remove it from your landscape.

Allowing dead or dying trees to go unnoticed creates a safety hazard for you and your family. As the tree begins to rot from the inside, it’s integrity will become compromised. Even it looks structurally sound, it may fall over.

By removing the lightning-struck tree, you can rest assured knowing that it won’t fall over. At the same time, you may be able to harvest the wood for firewood.

The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.

If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or

Request a Quote / Schedule an Appointment

The post Help! One of My Trees Was Struck By Lightning appeared first on Woodsman Tree Service.

Who is Responsible for Overhanging Tree Branches

Overhanging and interfering tree branches over your property line

Don’t accept liability for a tree or its overhanging branches without clarifying responsibility. Once you know how to determine responsibility for a tree and its overhanging branches, you can better reach fair solutions with your neighbors during a tree dispute. gathered the following information on determining who owns and is responsible for a tree’s overhanging branches, and what actions to take.

Trees and Your Property Line

Whether you find yourself on the giving or receiving end of an overhanging tree complaint, it is essential to know who owns the tree in question.

When you purchased your property, you were likely required to get a property survey. If many years have elapsed or there is difficulty determining where the property line is, have a new survey conducted with the surveyor physically marking the property line.

All trees growing on your property with their trunks inside your property line are your responsibility.

In the rare case that a tree is growing directly on the property line, ownership and responsibility of that tree are equally shared between you and your neighbor.

Overhanging Tree Branches

As a tree grows upward, it also grows outward. Over time, some of those branches can grow past your property line overhanging your neighbor’s yard or home. The responsibilities of each property owner are typically as follows:

Overhanging and interfering tree branches responsibility

Owner of the Tree – You are responsible for the overall care of the tree, including:

• Watering, mulching, and fertilizing
• Staking or anchoring if the tree becomes unstable or is leaning
• Trimming or pruning the canopy (up to your property line)
• Detecting and treating illnesses and insect infestations. Learn more about tree health problems and solutions at

If your tree succumbs to disease, infestation, or dies for any reason, the responsibility to remove the tree is yours. You could be held responsible for the damages it may cause if it should fall.

The Neighbor – Your neighbor is responsible for the following:

• The trimming or pruning of overhanging branches up to their property line*
• Cleaning fallen leaves, needles, twigs and other debris from the overhanging branches

Your neighbor should also make any concerns or complaints about potential hazards from the tree known to you.

If your neighbor documents this communication or files a complaint with the town, and you do nothing, you may be held liable for damages caused by any portion of the tree falling on your neighbor’s property.

*All trimming or pruning activities must be done in a way that promotes the health of the tree. If your neighbor’s actions result in the declining health or death of the tree, they may be held liable for the cost of the replacement of that tree.

Your Tree Falls on Your Neighbor’s Property

If your tree or a portion of the tree should fall on your neighbor’s property, the health of the tree when it fell is vital in determining responsibility.

Tree fallen over onto neighboring property

Healthy Tree – If the tree was healthy and well maintained with no signs of decay or infestation, the removal and any damages caused by the tree will be your neighbor’s responsibility.

The majority of homeowners insurance providers will cover such a claim.

Diseased or Dying Tree – If your tree had clear signs of disease, infestation, rot, or your neighbor filed a complaint about the hazard, you could be held liable for all damages caused by the falling tree.

Protect yourself and your neighbors by hiring a trusted tree service to perform annual inspections of your trees. These inspections allow them to detect any potential trouble and recommend a course of action.

Learn more about what to do when a neighbor’s tree falls on your house at

View Obstruction Ordinances

Throughout the United States, there are a few cities with “view ordinances.” These ordinances state the importance of the view to the value of the property.

If your tree reaches a height that obstructs a neighbor’s view (in a city with such ordinances), you may be ordered to reduce the height of the tree or remove it.

Before planting new trees on your property, it is worth the time and effort to research your city’s laws for these specific ordinances. Once you know the limitations imposed by these ordinances, you can select the appropriate species to plant.

Overhanging Tree Responsibility

In this article, you discovered how tree ownership is determined, what you are responsible for when trees overhang a neighbor’s property, and their responsibilities.

By properly caring for your trees and having them inspected annually, you can detect potential issues early and get them resolved before turning into a problem or dispute.

If you choose to neglect the health of your tree(s), you can be held liable for all damages caused by that tree falling on your neighbor’s property or house.

NOTE: Cities, municipalities, and towns have ordinances that may vary from the information presented in this article. It is always recommended that you search for your city’s tree ordinances to fully inform yourself.


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The Pros and Cons of ‘Topping’ an Oak Tree

Is an overgrown oak tree in your landscape causing you problems?

Maybe it’s blanketing your lawn with acorns – some oaks can drop 10,000 acorns per year – or perhaps its large branches are overhanging your front porch.

In cases such as these, many homeowners assume that topping the problematic oak tree is the best approach. While topping may work, it has both advantages and disadvantages.


Cleaner Lawn

Topping an oak tree will promote a cleaner lawn.

Not to be confused with pruning, topping involves the complete removal of the top of a tree.

By removing all the top branches, the oak tree won’t drop as many acorns or shed as many leaves. The branches will likely regrow, but it can take years or even decades for this to occur.

Improved Aesthetics

In addition to promoting a cleaner lawn, topping can improve the aesthetics of an oak tree.

When left unchecked, oak trees will grow a large and dense canopy that looks somewhat disheveled. If the oak tree is directly in front of your home, this may negatively impact your home’s curb appeal.

Topping, of course, will significantly reduce its canopy to improve your home’s curb appeal.


Increased Risk of Infection

On the other hand, topping can increase the risk of infection in an oak tree.

All trees are susceptible to viral, bacterial and fungal infections – and oaks are no exception. When topped, however, a tree’s risk of infection increases dramatically.

Difficult and Laborious

Topping is both difficult and laborious, which may deter some homeowners from using this method to deal with an overgrown oak tree.

Assuming the oak tree is mature, you won’t be able to top it using a pair of shears. Rather, you’ll need to use a chainsaw.

And because topping involves the removal of the top part of a tree, you’ll also need a ladder and safety harness.

Stress Sprouts

Furthermore, topping an oak tree can lead to the production of many small sprouts on and the trunk.

Known as stress sprouts, trees develop them when suffering from extreme stress. The sprouts will quickly grow in an effort to keep the tree alive.

This means you’ll have to spend even more time maintaining the oak tree.

As you can see, topping usually does more harm than good. If an overgrown oak tree is causing you problems, consider pruning it rather than topping it.

The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.

If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or

Request a Quote / Schedule an Appointment

The post The Pros and Cons of ‘Topping’ an Oak Tree appeared first on Woodsman Tree Service.

How to Prevent New Sod From Drying Out

Are you planning to lay sod in your landscape?

When compared to natural “seeded” grass, sod offers several benefits. It grows more evenly, protects the soil from erosion and has an attractive appearance. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for newly laid sod to dry out.

Whether you’re covering just a small area with sod or your entire landscape, you should follow a few tips to prevent it from drying out.

Water at Least 4 Inches Deep

The first few weeks are critical to sod’s overall health and longevity.

If it doesn’t get enough water, it will dry out and turn brown, eventually leading to death.

So, how much water does newly laid sod need exactly?

A good rule of thumb is to water your sod at least 4 inches deep during the first two weeks.

While watering your sod, lift up a corner in a discreet area to determine how deep the water has reached. If it’s still dry at the 4-inch mark, keep the sprinklers turned on.

Lower the pH

Lowering the pH level of your soil can protect newly laid from said drying out. Most types of sod prefer slightly acidic soil in which to grow.

Granted, soil can adapt itself in a range of conditions, but it typically prefers soil with a low pH level of about 6 to 7.

If your soil has a higher, more alkaline pH level, you should address it before attempting to lay sod.

Aerate Before Laying

Before laying sod, consider aerating the soil.

Aerating, of course, involves scoring the soil with many small holes. It’s usually performed when laying grass seed, as it holds the seeds in place while encouraging faster, healthier grass in the process.

But aerating your soil before laying new sod can also prove beneficial.

Sod is real grass, and like all grasses, it has a root structure that soaks up moisture from the surrounding soil.

By aerating your lawn before laying sod, the roots will extend deeper into the soil so that they are able to absorb more moisture.

Cover With a Light Layer of Straw

After laying sod, cover it with a thin layer of straw.

Straw acts as a mulch to minimize water evaporation. The straw will hold moisture, allowing your sod to absorb some of that moisture.

Just remember to use a small, thin layer of straw.

If you cover your sod with a thick layer of straw, it probably won’t get enough sunlight, which of course is equally, if not more problematic than severe dehydration.

The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.

If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or

Request a Quote / Schedule an Appointment

The post How to Prevent New Sod From Drying Out appeared first on Woodsman Tree Service.

4 Common Fungal Diseases Affecting Lawns

No lawn is immune to fungal disease. Assuming your lawn consists of natural grass, it may become the target of a disease-causing fungus.

By familiarizing yourself with the four following fungal diseases, you’ll be able to maintain a healthier lawn.

#1) Necrotic Ring Spot

Caused by the fungus Ophiosphaerella korrae, necrotic ring spot is an all-too-common fungal disease that affects turfgrasses. It receives its namesake from its characteristic ring-shaped pattern of brown and dead grass.

When a lawn is infected with the Ophiosphaerella korrae fungus, it will develop these ring-shaped patterns. And if left untreated, the fungal infection will quickly spread while destroying large sections of grass in the process.

#2) Red Thread Disease

Another common fungal disease affecting lawns is red thread disease. It’s caused by the fungus Laetisaria fuciformis, which creates the appearance of thin, reddish-colored lines in infected lawns.

Like necrotic ring spot, red thread disease primarily affects turfgrasses, some of which include annual bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, creeping bluegrass and bermudagrass.

When a lawn is infected with red thread disease, it will develop these discolored patches, most of which measure about 2 to 24 inches in diameter.

#3) Brown Patch Disease

Brown patch disease is a common fungal disease caused by the Rhizoctonia fungus. It’s similar to necrotic ring spot in that it manifests as ring-shaped patterns.

Brown patch disease often occurs as a result of overwatering and/or poor runoff. If your lawn is exposed to significant rainfall – and it’s not properly graded to ensure proper runoff – the wet conditions will serve as an ideal environment for the Rhizoctonia fungus.

#4) Pythium Disease

Also known as cottony blight or grease spot disease, pythium disease is yet another common fungal disease that affects turfgrasses. When compared to other fungal diseases, however, it’s arguably the most destructive.

Depending on the conditions, pythium disease can kill large sections of turfgrass in as little as a few days.

Pythium disease manifests as irregularly shaped patches measuring about 0.5 to 4 inches in diameter. If left untreated, the patches will spread while gradually joining together in the process.

As a homeowner, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the symptoms of fungal disease.

Whether your lawn is infected with necrotic ring spot, red thread disease, brown patch disease or pythium disease, the problem won’t go away on its own. You must take action to control and manage the infection to prevent it from spreading.

The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.

If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or

Request a Quote / Schedule an Appointment

The post 4 Common Fungal Diseases Affecting Lawns appeared first on Woodsman Tree Service.

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