How to Choose the Best Expert for the Job

Many homeowners don’t know the difference between a landscaper and an tree service. You may think their services are interchangeable, but when something goes awry, you want the right person for the job. So which specialist is equipped to handle your landscape woes?

When to Call a Tree Service

tree service professionalTree services are pros when it comes to handling mature trees. That means anything from pruning to tree removal to stump grinding is in their wheelhouse. Why is it important to call a pro? Removing limbs or trunks from mature trees is dangerous work. If undertaken by someone uncertified, there’s a good chance that something—or someone—might get damaged in the process. Tree service experts have special tools and the required experience to resolve the problem safely and precisely, so you get the best results without worrying about damages.

When to Call a Landscaper

Landscapers take care of design and maintenance for lawns, flowerbeds, irrigation systems, and small, ornamental trees. If you need general maintenance like light pruning, weeding, or trimming the grass, they’re your guys. Their artists’ eye makes them your go-to pros when you want to dress your yard to impress . . . even if you’re just impressing yourself!

When to Put Down the Phone

Do you have a green thumb? Good for you! With a little time and effort, you can take care of basic pruning and shaping, mowing, weeding, and planting flowers. Just don’t overextend yourself (or your helpers). If there’s a risk of injury, always call an expert.

If you’re still not sure whether to call a landscaper or a tree service, we have good news: you don’t have to choose! At Mr. Tree and Lawn Service, we’re licensed, insured, and experienced in handling your toughest landscaping problems, from planting the tiniest flowers to removing the tallest trees. If your landscape needs a little love, it’s time to call Mr. Tree.

The Garden Helper Safety Manual

Homeowners spend a lot of time outdoors trimming hedges, pulling weeds, and mowing the lawn. More often than not, their four-legged friends are just a few steps behind. Gardening with dogs is a great way to let your pets explore the great outdoors. But how can you stop them from sniffing out trouble?

How to Keep Your Pet Safe during Yard Work

  1. dog lying on grassPick up the yard. Before beginning your outdoor projects, you’ll want to hide away chew toys, bones, and anything else that a distracted pup might drop in your path while you’re trimming the lawn or whacking weeds. You should also walk around the yard and remove any sticks, rocks, or other debris from your path. If items get caught in your lawnmower or other landscaping equipment, they could easily become a dangerous projectile.
  2. Unplug everything. You don’t want a playful pup to accidentally switch on a chainsaw. Always unplug any landscaping equipment you’re not using, even if you’re just setting it down for a few minutes. If you plan to take a break, store it in the shed or garage to protect your pets.
  3. Consider your chemicals. Your dog isn’t only at risk while you’re working on a landscaping project. Certain mulches, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides may be harmful to pets if ingested, even if they’re weeks old. Always choose natural options and skip the cocoa mulch to keep your fur babies safe.

Are you looking for pet-friendly lawn maintenance in Gainesville? Contact Mr. Tree and Lawn Service.

5 Most Common Lawn Diseases in Florida

red mushroomsLawn disease is a problem folks in Florida don’t have to worry about as much as our neighbors to the north. But sometimes heat, humidity, and poor irrigation combine to create brown, sickly spots in your yard. What are the most common culprits of lawn disease in Gainesville?

Common Lawn Diseases in Florida

  1. Brown patch fungus. Landscapes with St. Augustine or Zoysia grass are particularly susceptible to brown patch fungus, which develops when high levels of heat combine with significant moisture. Look for it in the summer and fall, when heat, humidity, and rainfall are at their highest. To treat brown patch fungus, use targeted fungicides and refrain from adding nitrogen fertilizers to the soil.
  2. Dollar spot fungus. At first no larger than a silver dollar, dollar spot fungus spreads quickly, killing the grass all the way to the root. Other signs of dollar spot fungus include grass blades with pale marks of infection and cobwebs on the grass with the morning dew. Once dollar spot fungus takes root, the only solution is to remove infected grass and plug the area with new sod.
  3. Gray leaf spot. When gray leaf spot takes hold, the grass blades develop brown spots that may have velvety patches. It’s caused by overwatering and, once spread, causes grass to become thin and patchy.
  4. Rust fungus. Does your lawn look like it’s been left out to rust? That orangey powder is a fungus that leaves your landscape vulnerable to other lawn diseases. Overwatering is a primary cause of rust fungus; it’s particularly vicious in shaded areas where water doesn’t evaporate as quickly.
  5. Fairy rings. This natural phenomenon might give itself away with a cluster of mushrooms in a perfect circle, but just as often they’re simply a round patch of vivid green grass. Fairy rings are said to be bad luck if you step inside, but they’re bad for your lawn regardless. Fairy ring fungus spreads along the roots, leaching nitrogen from grass. Aerate the lawn and water regularly to keep the roots healthy.

Regular landscape maintenance is the best way to prevent lawn disease. Professional lawn care solve irrigation issues, maintain your yard, and solve any problems causing your grass to wither and die. Contact Mr. Tree and Lawn Service to schedule your Gainesville landscape maintenance today.

Storm Series #2: Post-Storm Clean Up

Preventative tree care can go a long way to minimizing storm damage. But even the best prevention can’t completely negate the risk of tree damage in your yard. Was your landscape torn up by a sudden storm? Make sure you know the right steps to safely cleaning up your yard after a storm.

Always Put Safety First

It’s important to protect yourself as well as your property. Always take appropriate safety measures when cleaning up storm damage.

  • work gloves and ear protectionBe on the alert. Stay away from utility lines and keep an eye out for dangers, both in a tree’s canopy and at its base.
  • Don’t trust your eyes. Broken limbs may still be lodged in the canopy, but can fall unexpectedly.
  • Look for trees in contact with power lines. A tree that touches a power line (as well as the ground at the base of the tree) can become energized, creating a major danger.
  • Dress appropriately! If you’re skilled, attired correctly, and own the proper equipment, it’s usually okay to handle storm clean up yourself. If you’re untrained or wearing flip-flops and a t-shirt, you’re only putting yourself at risk.
  • Always follow the guidelines in your instruction manual for any power equipment you’re using.

Evaluate Tree Damage

Are your trees at risk for causing more damage? To determine whether a tree can be saved, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the tree healthy (apart from fixable storm damage)?
  • Are most major limbs and/or the leader branch still intact?
  • Is at least 50% of the tree’s crown intact?
  • Are there remaining branches that can form a new branch structure?

If so, there’s a good chance the tree can be saved. If you’re not sure whether or not your tree has a chance, consult a professional.

Learn to Repair Minor Damage

  • Remove any broken branches or stubs still attached to the tree.
  • Remove any jagged limbs still attached to the trunk. Wounds are an easy entry-point for decay and disease.
  • Prune back smaller branches to the point where they join with larger branches.
  • Remember that over pruning can cause more damage to the tree. Remove dangerous limbs, and leave aesthetic pruning for the dormant season.

Know What You Can Handle

There’s a clear delineation between what a homeowner can handle, and which tasks require a professional touch. Any tree damage that’s not on the ground should be handled by a professional. Attempting to fix leaning, cracked, or otherwise damaged trees yourself can pose a threat to your life. Tree removal specialists have the experience and equipment to safely remove damaged trees and branches. Call a pro when:

  • Large limbs are broken or hanging overhead, requiring chainsaw work to safely remove.
  • A tree is uprooted or fallen. It may seem like a simple matter of hacking away at the branches, but there are unseen pressure points, which can cause a violent, catapult-like reaction.
  • Downed trees or branches lay close to power lines or water lines, report it to your utility company immediately. Do not attempt to remove the tree on your own.
  • You encounter a task you’re not trained for or feel uncomfortable attempting by yourself.

When in doubt, call the pros. If you have storm damage you’re not equipped to clean up, call Mr. Tree and Lawn Service for reliable, affordable tree removal in Gainesville.

Storm Series #1: How to Prevent Storm Damage

Watching the colors shift on the weather radar can feel as inevitable as watching a splintered tree limb crash towards your car. But just because a storm is coming doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Protect your yard, your property, and your home by preparing trees for storms to minimize damage.

What Causes Storm Damage?

The most common culprit of storm damage is trees. Storms can uproot trees and damage trunks or branches, which crash to the earth with no regard for what (or who) is in their way. The most common types of storm damage include:

  • tree fallen on carBlow-over: Heavy wind and rain can cause trees to lean or topple
  • Branch failure: When a storm damages the structural integrity of a tree limb, it can break, falling to the ground or becoming trapped in the canopy
  • Crown twist: Gale force winds can cause the canopy of an asymmetrical tree to warp, twisting or breaking exposed branches
  • Root failure: When roots are not anchored deeply enough in the soil, torrential rain can strip away their foundation, leading to an increased risk of blow-over

Look for Potential Tree Hazards

Storms can cause all kinds of damage, splintering, toppling, or structurally damaging the trees on your property. This can lead to thousands of dollars worth of property damage if a tree falls into the yard, house, or nearby power lines. But by paying close attention to the health of your trees, you can minimize the detritus of summer’s next storm. Walk around your property regularly, looking for potential tree hazards that a storm could turn into some serious damage.

  • Cracks in tree trunks or major branches
  • Branches leaning over the roof or near power lines
  • Hollow and decaying trees
  • Trees with a visible lean
  • Anything in close proximity to utility lines or major structures
  • Shelf-like fungus or mushrooms

Many of these hazards are signs of heart rot in trees, while others may be remnants of past storm damage or signs that the tree is buckling under its own weight. Ignoring tree damage—even damage that seems minimal to the naked eye—can cause trouble down the road. Take proper preventative measures to protect your property from tree damage.

Preventative Steps to Limit Storm Damage

For smaller problems like removing damaged limbs, homeowners can often tackle tree troubles on their own. For larger problems that affect entire trees, contact a qualified tree removal specialist to ensure the tree is removed safely and efficiently. You can prevent possible storm damage by:

  • Removing dead, diseased, or damaged limbs
  • Pruning branches that are growing close to the house, power lines, or street
  • Checking gutters and removing debris to prevent water damage
  • Calling Mr. Tree and Lawn Service to inspect trees with large cavities and determine whether they need to be removed
  • Contacting a professional to remove trees that grow in close proximity to the home, utility lines, or walkways and driveways

Mr. Tree offers 24-hour emergency tree removal services in Gainesville. Don’t relinquish the safety of your property to the whims of upcoming storms. Be proactive and minimize property damage.

Topping Trees (and Other Pruning Mistakes)

A beautiful tree can transform a landscape. So can an ugly one. How can you avoid ruining your landscape with an unattractive tree? Make sure to avoid these common tree trimming mistakes.

5 Trimming Mistakes That Ruin Trees

  1. Topping. Have you ever driven past a row of crape myrtles with ugly, stumpy tops? This hack-and-slash pruning technique is called topping (also known as crape murder). It leaves trees weak, unattractive, and with a long road to recovery.
  2. Over pruning. It may be tempting to chop every branch that looks out of place, but over pruning leaves trees susceptible to disease and decay. If you find yourself tempted to trim half of the branches away, it may be better to remove the tree entirely.
  3. Abusing the canopy. Raising the crown of a tree can let sunlight filter to the grass, remove dangerous branches, and improve curb appeal. But when you raise it too high or prune only the interior of the canopy, you leave the tree looking strange, stunted, and vulnerable.
  4. cherry blossomsPoor technique. Many homeowners are tempted to cut branches flush to the tree trunk. This practice removes the branch collar, which helps the trunk heal the wound. Cutting a branch too close to the trunk leaves it vulnerable to pests and disease that enter at the site of the cut.
  5. Bad timing. Every tree has its season. While it’s advisable to prune dangerous or storm-damaged branches when the problem occurs, stick to seasonal pruning and shaping at the right time of year for each species.

Don’t stress about trimming your trees. Leave it to the pros. Call Mr. Tree and Lawn Service to trim, shape, or remove trees from your Gainesville property.

Raising the Crown

No, we’re not talking about the drama series depicting Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne. Call us common, but we’re talking about basic best practices of tree trimming. Raising the canopy of a tree can improve its health and function in your yard. But as Winston Churchill discovered with the Queen, raising the crown is no easy task. Do it right, and you’ll have a flourishing landscape for decades to come. But any mistake could have disastrous effect. Mr. Tree shares how to raise a crown the right way.

How to Raise a Canopy

Raising the crown of a tree is a common tree trimming practice with big benefits. When done right it:

  • Keeps the canopy away from power lines and traffic
  • Prevents branches from hanging over homes and buildings
  • Creates a more attractive view, both from the house and from the curb
  • Lets more light filter through
  • Opens space beneath the canopy for kids to play

So what’s the problem? Pruning too much, pruning too fast, or pruning the wrong branches can cause discoloration of the wood, trunk rot, or unexpected growth. That’s why lifting a tree canopy requires skill and forethought. So how can you ensure it’s done right?

Tips for Raising a (Tree) Crown

  1. floral crownThink ahead. The foundation of a healthy tree is its trunk. When you remove all of its branches, you put it at risk for sunscald and other diseases. Instead, prune away lower branches slowly over the course of several years.
  2. Respect the heavy hitters. Large lower branches have supported and shaded your tree while it grew. If you remove these limbs entirely, your trunk can easily decay. Thin these branches instead of removing them.
  3. Protect the future. Young trees have a lot of life ahead, but they’re more vulnerable than established trees. Never trim more than 25% of a young tree.

Need help from the pros? Call Mr. Tree and Lawn Service for tree trimming services in Gainesville.

How to Make a Kid-Friendly Summer Landscape

In a few short weeks, summer vacation officially arrives. In a few weeks + one day, your yard will be overrun with laughing, shouting, running kids. Is your yard ready for summer break? Transform your backyard into a family paradise with these tips from Mr. Tree and Lawn Service.

How to Make a Kid-Friendly Backyard

You don’t have to sacrifice curb appeal to create a backyard space for the kids. A few simple changes will make the lawn a summer oasis for both kids and adults.

  • boy crawling in flowersPlant trees. Not only will planting trees help lower energy costs by shading the house, they’ll provide a cool place to play for the kids.
  • Build a sandbox. Do you have toddlers or young children? A sandbox will provide hours of play, and they’re inexpensive to build. Make your kids’ play area more visually appealing by bordering it with perennials and small shrubs. When the kids outgrow the sandbox, you can transform it into a raised vegetable garden or flowerbed.
  • Choose wisely. Rose bushes may be beautiful, but thorns aren’t kid-friendly, especially if you have curious toddlers. Leave the prickly bushes for a few years down the line. Plant sweet smelling flowers and plants kids can interact with like lamb’s ear.
  • Lay the groundwork. Remove any flowerbeds or obstructions that may cause kids to take a tumble. Give them a clear place to walk by laying a stone pathway from the back door to the sandbox or playground.

Need help renovating and maintaining the landscape? Call Mr. Tree and Lawn Service in Gainesville.

Give Your Lawn a Spring Makeover

Is your lawn fresh enough for spring? Mr. Tree and Lawn Service can help! By the time we’re through with your yard, it will be trimmed, pressed, and ready to impress.

Spring Clean Up Services in Gainesville

Mr. TreeIf you think clutter piles up in your closets, it has nothing on nature. Yards collect mess like bees collect pollen. And if you haven’t had a chance to spring clean your yard yet, you have winter debris to worry about too. The solution is simple: call Mr. Tree. We’ll take care of yard cleanup from roots to canopy, so you’re left with a no mess, no stress yard that’s sure to impress the neighbors. Want great curb appeal for spring? We customize our services for the needs of each individual landscape. Mr. Tree’s Gainesville lawn clean-up includes:

  • Cleaning away fallen leaves, branches and twigs, and winter lawn debris
  • Mowing and edging the lawn
  • Edging, cleaning, and refreshing spring flowerbeds
  • Installing mulch around porches, playgrounds, and plants
  • Redefining the borders of the landscape
  • Weed control services
  • Pruning trees and shrubs, trimming hedges, and removing debris
  • Aerating the lawn and reseeding as necessary

Does your yard require more involved services like removing dangerous trees, grinding tree stumps, and removing storm-damaged tree limbs? Mr. Tree has over 10 years of experience in commercial and residential tree services in Gainesville. We can take care of problem trees while we beautify the rest of your lawn. Call today and ask about our introductory pricing for new customers.

Win $50 for Spring Lawn Care!

We’re not the only ones who are excited about spring. April is Lawn and Garden Month, a yearly reminder to plant your annuals, trim your hedges, and readjust your mower height for a healthy spring lawn. And Mr. Tree and Lawn Service is here to help! We’re giving you a chance to win a $50 credit towards any landscaping service. Now that’s something to get excited about!

Lawn and Garden Month Giveaway

lawn and garden month contestDo you need to trim the trees, clip the hedges, or edge the lawn? Spring is a busy time. Let us take care of yard work for you! Our Lawn and Garden Month contest gives customers old and new a chance to win $50 toward spring lawn care services. Here’s how it works:

  1. Comment on our April giveaway announcement on Facebook. Share your best picture of your family, your pets, or both enjoying the yard. Show us why you want that $50 credit!
  2. Relax! We’ll announce our randomly selected winner on May 1st, 2017 at 12pm. Once the winner has been chosen, we’ll get in touch via Facebook and you can claim your credit.

What lawn care services do we specialize in? We have over 20 years of experience in residential lawn care in Gainesville. That includes:

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Edging the yard
  • Weed control
  • Seasonal pruning of trees and woody shrubs
  • Bush trimming and shaping
  • Mulch installation
  • Yard clean-ups after a storm
  • Leaf maintenance
  • Removing debris from the landscape

Ready to win? Head over to our Facebook page and submit your pic!