Month: March 2018

Did Your Trees Survive the Winter? Look for These Signs

Winters in Michigan are something of a legend. While some parts of the country shut down over a few inches of the white stuff and temperatures in the 20s, we soldier on through an unrelenting storm and bitter cold. Sometimes, it’s too much for even the trees. It’s important to look for the signs that you have a dead or dying tree on your hands.

If you have a tree that you fear didn’t make it through the winter, here are a few things you should do before pulling out the chainsaw:


Is Your Tree Really Dead? 

As spring rolls around and everything springs back to life, the fact one tree hasn’t leafed out is certainly concerning. Just because it’s not responding to the season doesn’t necessarily mean your tree is a goner.

Look for signs in the bark if your tree if dead or dying.

You need to determine as quickly as possible if your tree is dead. After all, a dead tree could fall suddenly, especially in a windstorm, and must be removed immediately. If the tree isn’t dead, it might be suffering from a disease, and if you act quickly you could save it.

  • First, walk around the tree and inspect it carefully. Obviously, if even just a few branches have leaves on them, the tree is alive, even if it’s not in good health. Look closely for buds, which mean new growth is about to sprout.
  • Branches that hold onto leaves throughout the winter, instead of dropping them, that’s usually a sign the branch is dead. Several dead branches on one side of the tree might indicate a severe trunk or root problem.
  • Try bending some of the smaller branches on the tree. If they snap, those branches are dead. Multiple dead branches could indicate you have a dead or dying tree.
  • Examine the trunk for cracking in the bark. If new bark has replaced the old stuff that fell off, the tree is likely just fine. However, smooth wood instead of bark on different areas of the trunk is usually not a good sign.
  • Finally, there’s the tree scratch test. Scrape off the bark on one part of the trunk until you expose the wood underneath. It should be green if the tree is alive. If it’s not, the wood will be brown.

Saving a Dying Tree

If you have a tree you believe is still alive but doesn’t seem to be doing well, there might be hope in saving it. A professional arborist can assess the health of the tree and determine exactly what can be done to bring it back to full health.

In the case that the tree can’t be saved, the arborist can assist with removing the tree and preparing the ground for a new one. They can even recommend what tree to plant. As a professional tree service, we can help.

For assistance with anything tree-related, contact the professional team at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC today.

How to Make That Ugly Tree Stump Less of an Eyesore!

Unfortunately, trees don’t live forever. Whether you have a tree that needs to be cut down, was blown over in a storm, or know someone who’s trying to offload stumps, the wood doesn’t need to go to waste. Even if you don’t have the need for quality firewood, there are plenty of great ways to put this valuable resource to use.

Stump in the Ground

Getting a tree stump out of the ground is a grueling task. Rather than take that on, you can turn the stump into a decorative part of your yard.

Brighten up your yard by turning a stump into a flower pot.

Consider any of the following ideas:

  • Turn it into a planter by hollowing out the center of the stump. Vibrant flowers, herbs, etc. growing out of a dead stump looks simply amazing and injects color where you otherwise wouldn’t have it. Of course, you could always just put a potted plant on top of it, which requires less work.
  • Create a fairy house by decorating the stump like it’s a small house. Fairy gardens are all the rage lately, so if you want to get in on this trend, a tree stump can provide the perfect centerpiece. You can get incredibly creative with how you convert the stump into a house, so let your imagination run wild.
  • Paint it however you like. A stump is made of wood, so it will take paint, even if you have to apply a few coats. It provides an interesting accent in your yard, and you can even paint a chess or checkerboard on top for playing games outdoors.

Cut Lengths of Stump

If you’ve removed a tree stump, or have cut the majority down, you don’t need to toss what remains. You can come up with some truly creative uses for the wood.

Decorate your home with parts of the tree stump.

  • Cut it several times, forming wood discs you can place around the yard like stepping stones or pavers. It adds a unique feel to the space, and if you apply a lacquer, the wood will handle the weather better.
  • Turn it into a table. There are many ways to go about this, but obviously the top and bottom of the stump must be level. Some people tile the top, others attach a pane of glass, or they attach a regular tabletop.
  • Make table décor. Cutting the stump into thin discs of wood allows you to use them as trivets to place hot dishes on the table, or you can use them as charger plates. It’s a creative way to make your house look more rustic.

Sometimes you can save a tree, or you need help selecting and planting a new one.

Contact us at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC for professional help.

Is Your Tree Service Company Licensed, Bonded, & Insured?

The last thing you need when hiring a tree service company is to experience problems. Hiring a professional to take care of an issue isn’t supposed to complicate things. But, if you’re not careful, that could be exactly what happens.


The state of Michigan does not require a license for any tree service companies. That means you can’t pull up that information on the state’s website.

Tree care can be risky business, make sure your tree service company is insured!

However, you can check with the local county clerk of the city for licensing information. Many cities and counties do require it, and any company you hire should have a current license, if necessary. Any business that lacks licensing should be avoided for obvious reasons.


Just like when you hire any contractor, a tree service should be bonded. With a surety bond, you have extra assurance that the company will fulfill its obligations. Everyone’s heard that horror story from a contractor who left a job half-done.

The best thing to do is follow the Better Business Bureau recommendation and ask if a business is bonded. Then ask for the bond number, as well as the company used for the surety bonding services. With that info, you can verify that the tree service is indeed bonded correctly before you hand over any money or the work begins.


Just like the surety bond, any tree service you hire should also carry insurance. Rather than just take the company’s word for it, ask for the insurance information. Contact the insurance company and verify that coverage is in place.

Without proper insurance, if the tree service were to damage your property, including your trees, house, car, etc. and isn’t insured, you might not have much recourse for remedying the situation. You could make a claim on your homeowner’s insurance, but that could affect your situation negatively, and honestly, you shouldn’t have to cover a contractor’s mistake.

For a reputable tree service company, contact us at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care and we will gladly come to your house.

How to Choose The Right Certified Tree Service Company

When you need work done on your car, you find a certified mechanic. When you need a surgical operation, you find a licensed doctor. Why should you not find a qualified and certified tree service company as well?

You trust any tree service with an asset that’s difficult to replace. After all, the trees on your property could be considered old, and replacing them if something were to go wrong could be costly, if not impossible.

Finding the right company is critical to your trees health.

Fortunately, there’s a way to help ensure the tree service company you hire isn’t a bunch of amateurs.

ISA Arborists

The International Society of Arboriculture exists for two reasons:

  • To promote the profession of arboriculture
  • To spread awareness about the benefits of trees everywhere

For you as a homeowner, ISA Arborists can help you choose a tree service company that’s truly qualified to do work around your yard. After all, you’re not an expert in arboriculture, but you certainly want to hire someone who is.

Not just any tree service company can obtain an ISA certification. For a company to earn this honor, it must demonstrate expert knowledge and skills about arboriculture. Certified companies also demonstrate a strong amount of dedication to their profession, as well as the communities they serve. That means you can hire a certified tree service, knowing they will care for your trees properly.


To earn certification, a tree service company can’t just be starting out in the field. It takes years of correct experience to have the knowledge and skills necessary to earn the certification. That means when the tree service shows up, it’s seen whatever problems you are experiencing before and knows exactly what to do about them.

Techniques You and your trees will be happy with the right care!

There’s a right and a wrong way to care for trees, just like there’s a right and a wrong way to perform open heart surgery. ISA certification means a tree service company knows the latest techniques and how to perform them correctly.
Incorrect techniques could result in serious damage or other problems for your trees. Don’t take the chance.

Looking Up Certification

ISA has an easy-to-use website called Along the top of the main page is a link called “Find an Arborist.” Click on that, and you have two choices:

  • Find an Arborist helps you find a tree service in any given area.
  • Verify a Credential allows you to confirm if a tree service is certified through ISA.

You’ll need the first and last name of the individual arborist and not the company name to verify a certification.

Contact PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care for qualified, professional help with all your tree needs.

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