Archive for the ‘Tips and Bits’ Category

Now it is the time to do some improvement in your front yard, backyard, butterfly garden, and overall tree and soil service.

Secondly, most of the Tree Service and Lawn Care contractors are under-employed currently, this time of the year. So most likely you will be able to negotiate the best deal ever. They’re job- and money-hungry. So call them for your free estimate, and get the best deal ever from them. Let them know that if they do not like your price, then you have about 15 of them waiting in line outside your doors. True!



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Build yourself a three-bin composter, portable or stationary. Load the composter with pine needles and pine cones for lowering pH, if you need your compost more acidic. Load the composter with oaktree debris, acorns, and ashes to improve the compost alcalinity, and raise the resulting pH.

There are tons of different ways to turn your wood debris, pinecones, sweet gum fruit, dead and fresh leaves, mulch, and twigs into perfect compost. Three-bin composter is much more effective than an underground pit pile because the pit composting involves anaerobic fermentation process which is a lot slower than the aerobic one that uses the air and oxidizing the compost much quicker and more efficient. Call me if you interested in how you or who can build that composter for you.

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The tree was damaged by a lightning strike

An average estimate on tree removal service would give these ball-park numbers:

One standard- size pine tree from $500 to 1000 dollars depending on the tree size and its location relative to the house walls and roof, also availability or potential problems such as power lines, gas lines, other utilities, transportation access et cet.

One average size hardwood tree such as an oak or a sweet gum estimate would be somewhat higher because the wood is harder to cut, the trunk is normally thicker, and there are more limbs and branches to trim before the tree will be hauled away, or disposed some other way, for example used as fire wood for your fireplace. The removal cost might be somewhere between $1000 and 2000 dollars, or more, also depending on the tree situation and location.

Stump grinding cost will depend on the stump diameter (width across the stump in inches) and will be appx 2 to 3 dollars per inch to grind.

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If a deseased, or dead, or otherwise sickly, neglected tree falls over your fence onto neighbor’s property then the neighbors insurer will pay somewhat up to $500 once I pay my deductible. So alright, if it’s my neighbors fault and I pay out of my pocket money to meet my deductible, then it’s not fair? Right? Oh well, if the fallen tree was neglected by my neighbor, and it damaged my property – garage, roof, driveway, my car, my flowers, my other trees, or my family members were injured – and the tree was alive, yes, I will pay my insurance deductible before my State Farm decides to go ahead and shell out some money to cover the rest of damages. And hey! Sky is NOT the limit here. It depends on my policy terms and stipulations – the coverage, the premiums paid, and the size of my deductible.

With all that said, I might want to take my negligent neighbor  to the Small Claims Court and try to sue him for my out-of-pocket expenses for the damages not paid by my insurer adjuster check. The lawsuit will probably ruin my friendly relations with the neighbors, but, at least, I will recoup some of my moneys. And I also will have to pay the tree service company for the neighbor’s tree removal out of the way.

The policy coverage ceiling for this tree removal and hauling job might be between $500 and $1000 bucks, but the tree removal guys will certainly charge me much more for their service, especially when it’s a life-threatening, dangerous, or emergency situation. Who pays the balance? Me. And then I will go ahead and file a lawsuit against my negligent neighbor for not taking a proper care of the uprooted tree and a huge tree-limb that cut through right through my fence or the garage roof.

Now, let’s say the tree was dead from the very beginning – an old dead pine tree, or an oak, or a sweet gum, dead for many years – and suddenly it crashes upon my or my neighbor property, you know, strong high wind, hail, snow, heavy rain, stormy weather – conditions just enough to uproot my deadwood. That’s right – now that the tree is 100% dead, my insurance company has to pay for damages done to my property, or to the neighbors property. Because it’s all my fault now. So I will pay the deductible, then I will receive a check from my insurer which most likely, especially in the case of State Farm policies for homeowners, will not gonna cover all the damages incurred. So I will have to pay cash for the deductible, and then some more. Including my neighbor’s property that I’ll have to pay for the repairs thereof. Well, not good – but it’s because I was negligent and did not maintain my trees properly and in good standing shape, or I failed to remove any dangerous especially dead tree well ahead of the disaster happened.

When a live tree falls down then it is considered a God’s Act. Meaning an Act of God is what you’re not responsible for. It’s God’s Works. You can’t stop the God’s Act, and you cannot prevent it from the happenning – it’s all in God’s hands. However, the insurance company will not pay for all the damages just because the God wanted so. The appraiser will explain you that your coverage is just this much, and your deductible is this much, and the total damage is this much, and that you’ll have to pay for the non-covered balance, and for your neighbor’s damages, too, if they proceed with the lawsuit, or take you to the Small Claims Court. Good luck, then. I think I better remove those hazardous or dead trees, or even trim and limb them now, before the disaster happens, or the lighting strikes my old faithful live oak.


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Tree service scammers frequently prey on the victims of sudden weather incidents (storms, tornados, hurricanes, ice storms, snow conditions, strong winds and heavy rains ) that weaken the tree roots and topple trees and limbs by charging triple rates for simple emergency tree removal. Make sure to get at least three cost estimates from reputable tree removal services, even if you’re faced with an emergency like a tree limb lying on your house rooftop, atop of your car, or across your driveway.

Make sure the tree service company is accredited with the Georgia Better Business Bureau. Only a handful of local tree services receive GA BBB accreditation.

Check reviews and ask for references. Go online to find out what kind of reputation the tree service has with the local community, and don’t be afraid to ask the company for references.

When considering different estimates, be just as wary of bids that seem too low as those that seem too high. If the tree service is giving you a very low price, it might be because they have little or no experience or do not have the proper insurances – liability, or workers comp. Or simply have no equipment other than a walmart bought chain-saw.

Never deal with drive-by, out-of-state companies. They might be plain crooks and after your money. Never pay up-front. Pay only when the treejob is done to your specifications and according to the estimate and treejob agreement. Make sure each tree service you are considering has enough liability and workers compensation insurance to cover any emergency or accident incurred on the tree-job. Otherwise, you could be liable for any injuries sustained by workers removing trees or limbs as well as any damage they cause to your and your neighbor’s property. Remember if the tree was dead to begin with then it’s always your fault, and the insurer will not cover your damages.

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Dekalb County GA Homeowner Guide for Tree Removal

Written notification should be submitted to the Georgia Dekalb County Arborist, via fax at (404)678-3949 or e-mail – planninganddevelopment@dekalbcountyga.gov
Attention to the Dekalb County Arborist

Make sure that before trees are removed from property you comply with the following Dekalb County requirements:

… Dead, diseased or hazardous trees may be removed at any time
… You may remove up to five healthy trees on your property per calendar year, provided that those trees are not specimen trees. A specimen tree is defined as a tree with a life expectancy of 15 years or more, relative sound trunk with no extensive decay or hollow, less than 20% trunk dieback, no major insect or pathological problem and meets the following size guidelines:

*** For Overstory (large) trees, ex.: oak, poplar and pine- diameter at breast height (4 ½ feet up from the ground) is greater than or equal to 30 inches (which equates to a circumference of 94.2 inches)

*** For Understory (small) trees, ex: Dogwood – diameter at breast height (4 ½ feet up from the ground) is greater than or equal to 10 inches (which equates to a circumference of 31.4 inches)

If the tree in question meets the criteria for a specimen tree it cannot be removed until it is assessed by a certified arborist. If you need to remove more than five trees, you must have all trees assessed by a certified arborist and forward tree assessments in writing to the Dekalb County Arborist. You can find arborists in the yellow pages or by going to the International Society of  Arboriculture web site at www.isaarbor.org.

If you have any further questions, feel free to call Planning and Development, Environmental Compliance Division at 404-371-2685

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Phloem is the layer just beneath the tree bark, and it’s very important in that the phloem transports sugars produced by leaves down the trunk to limbs, branches, and finally to the tree roots to feed them all. Pine beetle larvae feeding on the phloem sugars and actually eating the phloem layer deprive the tree of the energy-rich food, and because the tree suffers from a severe hunger, it eventually dies.

I can compare it with human intestines and stomach settled by multiple parasitae, worms and others – they eat the food you just paid for at a local MacDonalds, and you’re still hungry because the parasites stole your food. If you don’t take care of the problem you might eventually die from hunger. That’s exactly what’s happenning with pine trees infested by pine beetles.

And because of the hot weather there are about twice as many bugs as normally would be,  the trees lose their natural resistance and die a slow and painful death. I wish we all could feel their pain. All they can do to defend themselves is to envelop parasitic intruders with their resin (live juices) and preserve them so that for a 5,000 years from now casual observer may enjoy it as a curious artifact – a bug inside a amber gem. But the bugs win this battle and American pine trees keep dying. It’s sooo sad, folks, isn’t it?

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