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4 Ways to Identify Tree Fungi in West Hartford, CT

One of the biggest enemies that your trees will face is fungi. It is a problem that impacts so many trees, but we don’t realize it because we only notice the problems that come afterward – diseases, infestations, and infections. We don’t pay attention to tree fungi because the symptoms and signs are so difficult to spot. We’ve seen them our entire lives and don’t really know that we are seeing isn’t appropriate.

Instead of letting these issues go, we need to learn how to spot them and treat them – or at least find out who you can turn to when you find out that you have tree fungi.

Identifying tree fungi problems isn’t difficult, but it does require you to learn some of the things you absolutely need to look for in your trees. Here are the main ones to look for in West Hartford and all of Connecticut:

4. Softs Spots on Tree

  • Keep Your Touch Gentle
  • Check for Damp Spots on Your Trees
  • Keep Moisture Monitors

Moisture is in all of our yards, it is impossible to avoid. Every time it rains, when the humidity goes up, and when you water your plants, you are going to increase the moisture your trees feel. As the moisture rises, so does the ability for fungi to grow. Your trees will eventually succumb to that large amount of fungi.

Once or twice a year, feel your trees. Run your hands over the bark and try to find the soft spots so that you can check them for some of the other signs on this list.

Even more, it is important to note any of this because, as Esurance points out, “Large wood conchs, shelf fungus, or sprouting mushrooms indicate that a part of a tree is either dead or death is imminent. And that makes fungus an assuring (or not-so-assuring?) clue that your tree is hazardous.”

3. Wounds Staying Open

  • Never Cause a Wound You Don’t Need To
  • Use Best Pruning Methods
  • Pay Attention to New Wounds

Making a cut in a tree, having a branch fall off, or even squirrels running around your trees can cause wounds on your tree. Trees get wounds just about as easily as we do. And, like humans, these wounds can sometimes be pretty bad. They can also get infected with fungi. It takes longer for the trees to heal than it does the humans. The trees use nutrients to heal – and that is what the fungi targets.

Tree fungi attach to the wounds and use the plentiful nutrients to get stronger and stronger. As they get strong, the tree weakens and the fungi can then take over more.

According to the University of Kentucky, “Wood decay begins when microscopic fungal strands (mycelia) or spores are carried by wind, insects, pruning equipment, or other means to a wound. Depending on the host plant, fungal
species, and point of entry, decay is classified as a root rot, butt rot (decay at tree base), or trunk and branch rot.”

2. Spots on Leaves and Branches

  • The Darker the Growth, the Worse
  • Any Color Spots Are Bad
  • Take Photos for Professionals

For most of us, we know that spots or holes in leaves aren’t the best. However, we don’t realize just how bad they can be. We picked off the 3D spots, rubbed off the fuzzy ones, and ignored them overall. These spots go ignored and are forgotten when things get even worse. These spots are a sign that there is something wrong with the tree, and you should not ignore them.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, “In rare cases of severe infection and where the size and value of plants make it practicable, applications of fungicides may be helpful. Sprays will not cure infected leaves. Therefore, once the damage is noticed, spraying may have limited value. Spraying generally needs to be started as buds break in the spring and repeated at 10–14 day intervals. Recommendations will vary by disease and fungicide used. Have the disease identified before purchasing a control product.” Many of these fungicides are not available on the market to people without special licenses and permits.

1. Mushrooms

  • All Mushrooms Should Be Investigated
  • Mushrooms Can Grow on the Root Line
  • Shelf Mushrooms Quite Common

Mushrooms are a common sight in many of our yards – they are always around, especially in the late fall months. They seem to pop up overnight and then go away again. However, if you see your trees covered in mushrooms or along the umbrella lines of the tree, you could have a huge problem on your hands. These fungi have taken over your tree and will feed on the water and nutrients that the tree is supposed to get.

According to Home Guides, “The inner destruction is hidden from view by the tree’s bark, and damage can become extensive before you realize anything is wrong. Whenever mushrooms or mushroom-like structures appear around or on your tree, fungal infection is the likely cause.”

Whether you have just a few mushrooms or there are large clusters on your tree, you need to reach out for professional help. No matter how bad the infestation is, you need to see how far along the infestation is.

If your trees aren’t performing the way she should be or you are concerned that some of these warning signs are on your tree, your first call should be to Apache Tree Service. Our team has the ability and means to tackle the biggest problems that you may have, working to save your trees from not only fungi, but from other diseases as well. We take the health of your trees and the rest of your yard extremely seriously. We will help you with any problems that you may face, and can help you to avoid recurrence of tree fungi.

Give us a call today at (860) 200-7077. The sooner we start fighting tree fungi, the better your odds will be.

Header Photo Courtesy of Eelko Berkenpies on Flickr!

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Best Time to Prune 5 Common Trees in Western Connecticut

Figuring out the right time to trim or prune your trees in Western Connecticut can be difficult. You can look over what that “books” say, but chances are that they use a more temperate climate when determining where and when to trim. In Connecticut, our climate dictates a slightly different schedule.

Just like your pets and family members, trees have times that they want to cooperate and times that they definitely don’t want to work with you. You’ll have to learn how to read your tree’s moods to see what they want and when they want it – whether now is the time to make that cut or you should wait until another time of the year.

In general, there is a pattern to all of it. Here’s a look at the time to prune some of the most common trees in Connecticut:

5. Autumn Blaze Maple: Fall and Spring

  • Required Pruning
  • Prune Twice a Year
  • Heavy Handed Pruning Welcomed

The Autumn Blaze Maple is one of the most labor intensives trees when it comes to pruning. You want to prune these trees twice, once during the fall months and once in the spring.

In the fall, you will prune to remove dead and weak limbs that can cause you problems during the winter. This will eliminate the risk of downed power lines or felled branches from winds or heavy ice and snow.

During the spring months, you want to open up the crown of the tree so that sunlight can reach some of the interior branches. This is also the time to rid the lower trunk of any new growth. If you like a wider open tree, this is the time to prune anything to make the crown wider.

According to the University of Minnesota, removing any crossing branches can help prevent the spread of disease.

 

4. Black Locust: Early Summer

  • Early Pruning to Establish Trunk
  • Avoid Sappy Pruning
  • Disinfect Tools Before and During Pruning

Safety is the most important thing to worry about when pruning the Black Locust Tree – things will be flying at your eyes, so make sure you protect them. Still, it is essential that this tree is pruned a few times throughout its life.

One word of caution from HGTV: if you start cutting and see a lot of sap, stop and wait.

To start, prune when the tree is young so that you can help it establish a single trunk. As your tree grows, this becomes increasingly important to help it grow stronger and taller. Establishing a single trunk will ensure that it withstands anything winters and summer storms have to throw at it. Later, you’ll want to prune anything that takes away from the nutrients of the trees, including suckers, growths, and sprouts.

This makes for a great composting tree, so you can use the debris in your compost pile, but be careful about thorns.

3. Northern Red Oak: Varies

  • Prune Only Dead or Diseased Branches
  • Allow to Grow Freely If Possible
  • Use Professional Wound Sealant

The purpose of planting a Northern Red Oak tree is to have a tree that will be tall and provide you with a lot of shade – so keep that in mind when you prune it. Generally, you can remove any branches that are rubbing up against each other or branches that grow vertically, but you want to limit your pruning to those items only.

Be careful when making cuts because any bruises or wounds can result in pests or diseases infiltrating the interior of the tree, which can be unhealthy. Always use a seal to any cuts that you make for this reason as well, according to the Gardening Guides.

Never prune older trees in the spring or the summer because you will invite oak wilt into the tree, which can be deadly.

2. Smoke Bush: Depends

  • Choose Between “Smoke” or Flowers
  • Prune According to Signs on the Shrub
  • Prune Yearly

Pruning a smoke bush depends on what you really want it to look like – a tree or a shrub. You have to prune less often if you have a shrub, but you do have to prune to train your smoke bush into the tree shape. Eventually, it will start to grow fewer and fewer sprouts on the bottom half of the trunk.

There are two times to prune a smoke bush, and they depend on whether you want the smokey look or the flowers. Prune in the early to mid summer if you want to see the smoky, feathery show. Be careful not to go too late, or you will cut off next year’s growth.

If you want to see the flowers and foliage, prune in the late winter. Be careful not to go too late or you will end up with no flowers this year – but you’ll get amazing ones next year, according to Fine Gardening.

1. Rowan: Late Autumn, Early Winter

  • Prune for Ornamental Value
  • Start Low
  • Use Professional Tools

If you are looking to prune your Rowan tree, you might be in for a bit of a struggle. Most people want to show off the trunk, so aim for the summer to raise the crown, though you won’t have to do that all that often.

Start low when pruning your tree, removing any low branches first. Do this in small cuts because you don’t want to jar the branches too much or tear away any of the bark. Shorten the stumps as much as you can, but ensure that the branch collar stays. Always treat with wound sealant, according to Gardeners’ World Magazine.

If you are looking to do more drastic pruning, wait until October to February. Thin out any dead wood during this time and remove anything that looks weak. Once again,  treat the cuts with a sealant to prevent disease.

As you can see, determining when and where to cut these trees can be difficult. However, for professionals who have done this for a long time, it isn’t all that hard at all. Our team at Apache Tree Service has years of experience working with tree pruning and trimming. Our team is well prepared with experience with some of the best tools the industry offers.

If you are looking for a foolproof way to get your trees pruned, give Apache Tree Service a call at (860) 200-7077.

Header photo courtesy of Doug Kerr on Flickr!
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5 Common Tree Diseases in Western Connecticut

Your trees are a big part of your yard, which means you have to watch out for them. Many people don’t think about it, but there are a lot of areas that can be impacted by a tree if it gets a disease. From the span of the roots to as far as the wind can carry something, a tree that is diseased can and will wreak havoc on your yard. But how can you know if your trees are sick?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do other than observing your trees. Take the time to learn what they look like, what they feel like, and in the case of fruit trees, what they taste like. If you do this, you will be able to notice some of the signs and symptoms of something that is going wrong. When you are looking, check for the symptoms of these common Western Connecticut tree diseases:

5. Oak WiltDying oak tree.

  • Wilting and discoloration of leaves
  • Sap overproduction and discoloration
  • Thinning toward the crown of the tree

Oak Wilt is a disease that primarily hits oak trees, but can impact all different trees as well. It is a fungus that gets easily transmitted by insects.  These insects feed on the leafy parts of the tree, infecting it in sections and then moving onto other trees.

Per a study at Cornell, this disease tends to impact areas where there is a lot of pollution, but it has been found in many different types of climates. It may have more to do with pruning techniques than physical locations. If you believe your trees are infected with Oak Wilt, it is best to contact a professional. This disease spreads very quickly and won’t make your neighbors appreciate you very much.

4. Thousand Cankers DiseaseLeaves during Thousand Canker Disease.

  • Walnut Twig Beetles living on the tree’s surface
  • Quickly drooping, yellow leaves
  • Tunnels or holes apparent on the trunk of the tree

Western Connecticut hasn’t seen the worst of Thousand Cankers Disease, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to be on the watch for it. If you have a black walnut tree in your yard, this is something you need to pay attention to in particular, though it can impact different kinds of trees. Thousand Cankers Disease is transmitted on the Walnut Twig Beetle who is known to feed on bark. As they feed, the bark dies off and nutrients are stopped from getting to the tree. Eventually, the tree dies or a weather event will hit it in an already weakened state.

This is a serious disease, so make sure to be on the lookout for the beetle. If you see it, you have to call professionals who are trained to remove it – the local government may even step in to see if we need to go under quarantine.

The best thing that you can do, according to Colorado State, is know what your tree looks like and to check for any issues that might pop up along the way.

3. Sudden Oak Death

  • Large sections of leaves dying off at the same point
  • Leaves dying off from the tip (turns brown)
  • General look of dryness on the bark of the tree

Sudden Oak Death is just as serious as it sounds – it is enough to put a chill into the hearts and minds of tree lovers. This disease has killed millions of trees in California alone, and it has started to make its way into Western Connecticut and all down the east coast. There are over 100 types of trees, shrubs, plants, vines, and anything else green that can be impacted by this disease.

According to the USDA Forest Pest Service Alert, this is one of the worst diseases your tree can get. This is partly because it is extremely contagious and easily transfers from tree to tree. It is also because it can attack seemingly healthy trees in multiple ways, finding the weakest point and taking over in that way.

If you think you have this disease in your yard, even if you aren’t sure, contact a professional as soon as possible to try to prevent the spread of it.

2. Bacterial Leaf Scorch

  • Large sections of a tree dying at one time
  • Thinning near the crown of the tree
  • Leaves losing color or turning lighter over time

Another disease that is spread by insects and animals, Bacterial Leaf Scorch does exactly what it sounds like: makes your trees and leaves look like they have been lit on fire. Most of the time, the insect of choice is a xylem-feeding insect that colonizes on different trees. Once you get a bunch of them, it can be difficult to eliminate them completely.

According to The American Phytopathological Society, this disease works by attacking the system that carries nutrients and water throughout the tree. It cuts that off slowly, killing the tree as it goes. This means there is a chance that people can get to the disease early enough that everything can be cleared up, but you have to be vigilant.

1. Plum PoxBruised plums from Plum Pox.

  • Subtle color changes on the leaves of the tree
  • Yellow veins appear on the leaves
  • Symptoms develop in the last fall or early spring

If you have a stone fruit tree, Plum Pox should be a big concern of yours. It is called Plum Pox, but it doesn’t only impact plums, it can hit any stone fruit tree. It is more obvious on plum and peach trees, but it is actually more deadly to apricots. It is difficult to find at first because the tree may actually look like it is going to perform better than it has.

The symptoms of Plum Pox appear sporadically and can even stay dormant for a few years, according to a study at Cornell. It is mostly a problem for producers of plums, peaches, and apricots and can cost $600 million each year in damages for growers nationwide.

If any of the signs above look like they are familiar to you, it is incredibly important that you contact a tree care professional like those at Apache Tree Service. Our team is filled with professionals that have been trained to work with many different kinds of trees and the diseases they face – whether they are common or not.

Don’t delay, give us a call at (860) 200-7077 today.

Header photo courtesy of versageek on Flickr!

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5 Best Trees to Plant in Western Connecticut

In Connecticut, we are known for having absolutely gorgeous trees. People come from all over the world to see our trees change colors in the fall, to taste our fruit, and even to see the greenery in the summer months. We don’t often realize it, but we are extremely lucky to be able to stand amidst some of nature’s most beautiful creations.

However, Western Connecticut isn’t cut out for every single type of tree. For example, you probably won’t have much success with a palm tree or an avocado tree here. Still, there are some trees that were absolutely made to thrive here – whether it is because they have some of that autumnal spirit or because they shine in the wintry months.

If you have to plant a new tree in your yard or you are looking for new landscaping options, consider one of these beautiful trees:

5. Autumn Blaze Maple

The full color Autumn Blaze Maple.

Credit: Letteran

  • Requires water during hotter summers
  • Plant in full sun to partial shade
  • Can be planted in urban areas

The name already tells you why the Autumn Blaze Maple is a fantastic tree for your yard – during the fall, the orange-red leaves create a beautiful scene in your yard, whether you have one or a whole grove of trees. A hybrid of the red and silver maples, it has a unique look that few other trees compare to, according to Monrovia.

It is also a fast growing tree, growing 3 to 5 feet per year, eventually reaching 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide. The top of the tree rounds off, especially if you have taken care of the pruning. Overall, this tree is very low maintenance as well. It is resistant to all diseases and insects and has minimal debris after the leaves drop.

4. Black Locust

The flowers on the black locust tree. Pollinator

Credit: Pollinator

  • Rarely requires watering unless in a drought
  • Prefers to be planted in full or partial sun
  • Extremely easy to grow and doesn’t require much work

One of the most prolific trees in American history, the Black Locust tree is another option that is absolutely gorgeous throughout all of the seasons, including the fall months. It is also a tree that looks beautiful in the spring and summer, with incredibly sweet-scented flowers that you can, if you want, actually eat as well. When the flowers start to fall, they create a blanket on the ground that will smell sweet for weeks and carry in the wind.

While the tree isn’t healthy if you have cattle, it is known for attracting rabbits to your yard because they like to chew on the bark. According to the USDA, the wood is extremely useful as well and is often a premium choice for fences.

3. Northern Red Oak

A fully grown Northern Red Oak.

Credit: Velela

  • Requires watering in warmer months
  • Prefers full sun, but doesn’t require it
  • Brings plenty of wildlife into your yard

One of the most versatile trees that you can plant, a Northern Red Oak is a fantastic shade tree in particular. It has a moderately fast growth rate of about two feet per year. They grow extremely hardy and will last for decades if taken care of correctly. If you want a tree that is already established, a Northern Red Oak can be transplanted.

For those who love nature, the crunchy acorns provide a tasty feast for blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, raccoons and whitetail deer.

According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, “The northern red oak has been called “one of the handsomest, cleanest, and stateliest trees in North America” by naturalist Joseph S. Illick, and it is widely considered a national treasure.”

2. Smoke Bush

A blooming Smoke Bush.

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

  • Typically only requires watering in drought
  • Requires full sun for the richest color
  • Keeps color all summer long

For a smaller option, the Smoke Bush or Smoke Tree can either grow as a shrub or get pruned into a tree. You can choose, and some people like to mix it up and use both options. As the plant grows, the long stalks get fuzzy pink hairs that look like pinkish-tan smoke.

The color lasts all summer long until the “smoke” eventually falls off and you will see it floating throughout the air.

This is definitely a tree to get professionally trimmed, because pruning it can kill it or make it less impressive than it could be. According to the National Gardening Association, most people tend to use the Smoke Bush as a screen of trees, but you can get creative.

1. Rowan

Rowan tree filled with berries.

Credit: Eeno11

  • Typically doesn’t require water, but the berries are better if watered
  • Requires full sun
  • Fruit can be used in cooking

Rowan trees aren’t used all that often, but they should be. Native to the Northeast United States, these striking trees do best in yards where they can get full sun.

They sprout amber berries that ripen in the late summer and can be used to make jellies. It is a process, but there is a cult following of the food. Some cultures use them for healing and many will tell you that the Rowan berry is the best cure for a sore throat. According to Trees for Life, the Rowan tree has protective qualities throughout many religions and cultures.

It may be slightly difficult to find this tree, but ask around for native nurseries, as they always seem to have a few for those in the know.

When it comes to planting trees in Western Connecticut, there really are so many options that you will be able to have your choice of trees. However, there are some trees that aren’t as common, but as still beautiful, that will allow you to show off your style and stand out from the crowd. There is no way that you will get away with not having any maintenance, especially during the autumn months.

If you have any questions about planting trees or taking care of them so that they can shine for a long time, give Apache Tree Service a call at (860) 200-7077. We will help you with any trees – common or a little out of the ordinary.

Header photo courtesy of Tatters ❀ on Flickr!
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Best Western Connecticut Tax Preparers

So much in our lives has progressed, so why do we still spend hours fretting over our tax returns? We stare at receipts and we try to Google whatever we can so that we can get the most back, but we never really get there. We send in our tax returns with the hope that we didn’t do something wrong and the IRS won’t be knocking on our doors.

Tax season doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of worrying and stressing yourself out of your money and your math skills, you should seek out the help of a professional. This will ensure that you get the most money possible back and it will eliminate a lot of your stress and confusion.

Don’t know where to start? We recommend these Western Connecticut firms:

1. Bacon & Gendreau

Bacon and Gendreau

Credit: Bacon & Gendreau

With two options for superior tax prep, Bacon & Gendreau is one of the best income tax preparation teams in Western Connecticut. You can’t go wrong with choosing either of these fine professionals.

Steve Bacon has been working on tax returns for 38 years – at least professionally. He founded Stephen Bacon & Associates in 1996 and passed the Special Enrollment exam and became an Enrolled Agent in 1997. Now he continues to learn and grow in his field as a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) and the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA).

David Gendreau has over 25 years of experience in the accounting and financial industry. He has a BS accounting from Central Connecticut State University and later became an auditor with the State of Connecticut, allowing him to have an inside look that few other financial advisors and tax preparers get. He started with tax prep for certain individuals right after graduating college, and eventually followed that path in his career.

2. Burzenski & Company, PC

Image may contain: 24 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

Credit: Burzenski &  Company

Burzenski & Company, PC, was founded in 1983, and since then, they have created a long line of happy customers that return year after year. This legacy more than proves that they do their job extremely well – generations come to Burzenski & Company after they have seen their own parents get their taxes done there. Even better, they have a wide range of clients across the country that they keep happy.

If you have state taxes due for another state or you need some help with your Connecticut taxes but you aren’t in Connecticut. This team is more than willing to work with you to establish a system to get everything taken care of.

After all, according to their website, their “proactive approach to client service and knack for seeing the big picture is based upon professionalism, credibility, passion, confidence and the commitment to treat clients with respect and timely service.”

3. Bergamo Tax and Accounting Services

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor

Credit: Bergamo Tax and Accounting Services

The team at Bergamo Tax and Accounting Services value themselves on the responsiveness of their professionals, which is imperative if you have sensitive needs for your taxes. It is also a fantastic team if you have a tax return that promises to be a little more difficult than the traditional tax return would be. There are very few things that they cannot do. Their services include in all matters of accounting and taxation, business formation, financial services and investment, real estate and business sales.

It is also one of the most respected firms in Western Connecticut. This is because many of these professionals are on committees and involved in professional associations.

As their website says, “If you are looking for a blend of personal service and expertise, you have come to the right place.”

4. Wojtowicz, LLC

Credit: Wojtowicz

Tax planning is a crucial part of any company or for individuals who are planning on having a major life change in the next few years. The team at Wojtowicz, LLC can help you with whatever kind of tax planning that you need.

They “make it a priority to enhance our mastery of the current tax law, complex tax code, and new tax regulations by attending frequent tax seminars.”

This is a team that is prepared to give you some of their best strategies and tips so that the next few years can be better, and the future will be even better than that. These are strategies that the common person won’t know and couldn’t possibly know unless they go to a professional.

5. Barlow CPA

Credit: Barlow

For individual tax preparation, one of the best companies in West Hartford is Barlow CPA. This team will work extremely hard for you so that you can get the most in your return. Even more importantly, they will explain each step of the procedure to you so that you can understand what is going on with your money.

No matter what concerns you have, you can reach out to Barlow CPA.

Barlow CPA also works with small businesses on all matters of their finances. According to their website, “We’ll prepare your bookkeeping for the year, prepare a full Schedule C, as well as your personal income tax return. Then we’ll help you set up an easy system that allows you to keep your books in tip-top shape next year.”

What more could you ask for?

6. Gabriel Tax & Accounting Services

If you have any tax problems, Gabriel Tax & Accounting Service is the company to call. If you’ve received a phone call or a letter from the IRS, it can be extremely stressful. That’s why you need to call in a team who knows what they are doing. This is a team that is efficient, effective, and most importantly, they are discreet. You don’t have to face these problems alone.

If you want to get started, you can check out the resources on their website.

Even though your problem could be several years old, you don’t have the time to spare. Don’t delay – with each passing day, your problem gets worse.

7. DiBella LLC

The team at DiBella LLC is a New Britain tax preparation company that works with local families, individuals, and small businesses to help them prepare their taxes in an efficient manner. Their accounting firm has a great reputation for providing some of the highest quality tax prep and for working with you to adjust your forms so that you get the highest return possible.

According to their website, their “primary goal as a trusted advisor is to be available and to provide insightful advice to enable our clients to make informed financial decisions.”

They hold up this end of the bargain and then some so that you can get in and out quickly – and you don’t have to worry about letters from the IRS.

Give them a call today to set up an appointment before time runs out.

Put Your Tax Return to Good Use with Apache Tree Service

Work can be extremely stressful and for many people, their outdoor space is the place they go to relax and enjoy themselves. However, it is often a place that can provide you with a lot of stress. Trees that aren’t healthy anymore, trees that make more work for you, debris from storms that you have to clean up, stumps that get in the way and more – being a homeowner could be more stressful than tax season.

With spring right around the corner, consider getting our team to help you make your yard a completely safe space again. We can handle any size jobs, from a single tree to a whole crowd of them. Give us a call today and we can give you a free estimate for whatever you need.

Header photo courtesy of Philip Taylor on Flickr!