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Tools of the Trade: Essential Tree Service Gear

When it comes to working with trees, the gear isn’t as straightforward as some people might think. The average property owner knows about ladders, gloves, pruning shears, saws, and that’s about it. They have no idea the kinds of interesting tools arborists like the ones that work for PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC use regularly.

Following are some of the fascinating equipment available:

Chainsaw Chaps Chainsaw chaps are like a coat of armor for an arborist.

Most people who use a chainsaw throw on a pair of gloves and hopefully a little light eye protection. Arborists work with chainsaws regularly, so we know the potential hazards of these powerful tools, considering they can throw all kinds of debris. The chaps go over a chainsaw operator’s pants, like a layer of armor. They’re usually a bright color like orange or yellow, boosting safety further.

Throw Lines 

To get a rope into the upper portions of a tree before climbing it, arborists use this specialized line. Most are lightweight and thin, plus are made of polyethylene for excellent durability. Throw lines also don’t stretch much, making them perfect for pulling through branches without many issues.

Line Launcher 

Speaking of throw lines, arborists don’t usually throw them into trees. Instead, they use a line launcher. Some use springs or rubber bands, while others are air-powered for shooting a throw line into the upper reaches of a tree. These devices look kind of like an extended garden hose attachment and are a lot of fun to see in action.

Inspection Drill  

Determining the health of a tree’s wood can be difficult, but an inspection drill helps an arborist do so accurately. The device, which looks like a metal rail a few feet long, and it measures the resistance exerted as the drill penetrates the wood’s core. Some print the info on wax strips, while others have a digital display.

Tree Root Barrier 

If you’ve ever seen what tree roots do to sidewalks, driveways, home foundations, and more, you can appreciate the magic of a tree root barrier. These barriers act as stops for tree roots, redirecting them from hardscaping, but without harming the tree roots. Some contain an herbicide to keep roots from growing in a specific direction.

Integrated Communication System 

Being able to communicate with other arborists at the job site clearly is essential, but sometimes you’re too far apart to yell. These systems integrate with safety helmets and include a least one earpiece plus a microphone, so even when your hands are busy, you can still speak.

 

For professional tree services, contact PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC.

Landscaping Ideas To Beautify Your Commercial Property

The landscaping at your commercial property communicates so much about your business, like it or not. Ugly, poorly-maintained landscaping doesn’t tell a good story, while immaculate landscaping does the exact opposite.

Amazing landscaping can also boost employee morale. The investment will quickly pay off.

If you really want to stand out in a crowded marketplace, get creative with the landscaping. The plants arranged around the exterior of your business don’t have to be boring. In fact, a creative landscape can encourage people to see what you have inside.  

 

Theme Theme and symmetry will improve the look of your landscaping.

Every great landscaping design starts with a theme. You need one before beginning, otherwise, the result will lose potency.

Some things to consider:

  • How can landscaping accentuate the building’s architecture?
  • What is the theme of your business? How does that translate to landscaping?
  • What are competitors doing and what can you do differently or better?

Topiaries

Who doesn’t love a topiary? These perennial plants can be trimmed into quite a few shapes, creating just the right feel for the exterior of your property. Go with shapes that complement the architecture or add a little bit of visual interest if everything else is plain.

If it makes sense for your business, shape some topiaries to mimic what you do. For example, a toy store could have a topiary cut to look like a giant teddy bear or a toy soldier. It will make people stop and notice, then wonder what you have to offer.

 

Logo in Flowers

You need to promote your brand, and what better way to do that than with something everyone loves: flowers! If your property has a large flower bed in front, consider planting different colors of the same type of flowers in an arrangement that displays your logo. During the warmer times of the year, this is a much more interesting element than any traditional sign. As potential customers top to enjoy the flowers, they’ll be enticed to learn more about your business and what it does.

 

Vertical Garden Vertical gardens work for smaller or shared offices.

If you don’t have much room for plant life, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate any. Vertical gardens can be installed on a porch, balcony, exterior wall, patio, or even an interior wall that gets enough natural light.

Consider any of the following:

  • Suspend pots with rope, even putting multiple pots on each length of rope.
  • Use vertical garden containers and frame them with rugged wood on a wall.
  • Add brackets to a wall, fence etc. that perfectly fit potted plants.
  • Suspend potted plants from hooks in ceilings or several on a strong rod.
  • Cut holes in planks to hold pots, then suspend multiple planks with rope.

There are many ways to create a vertical garden, so you just need to find the right one for your commercial space.

 

Safety and Ease of Access

No matter what landscaping ideas you decide to use, they overall must serve the ideals of safety and ease of access.

The last thing any business needs is someone being injured by landscaping that’s inherently dangerous. Yes, accidents happen, but your landscaping shouldn’t be the cause.

Landscaping shouldn’t make getting to the front door of a business difficult, even a little bit. You want a business to be friendly and welcoming to customers, not giving them an excuse to go elsewhere.

 

Contact PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC for help with all your landscaping needs.

5 Beautiful Flowering Trees that Thrive in Michigan

Everyone wants beautiful landscaping, but most have no idea how to go about it. While you can go to a nursery and pick out plants that look nice, you’re essentially shooting in the dark. Do you know what it takes to care for those plants? Will they survive the harsh weather in Michigan?

Amazing landscaping begins with clever planning. Flowering trees are an excellent way to beautify your outdoor spaces, but you need to go with the right kinds. PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC has put together this guide to help you choose trees that will not only survive the brutality of the weather in Michigan but will thrive, staying healthy and strong for years.

Hophornbeam

These medium-sized trees grow naturally in Michigan, so you know they’re able to survive the harsh winters and boiling heat of summer. They grow to about 40 feet in height. The male catkins flower in the middle of spring, turning a yellow-brown. In about the middle of the summer, the catkins turn green and resemble hops clusters.

 

These trees aren’t easy to establish in your soil. But, once they’re acclimated to your outdoor space, you can count on them lasting for a long time.

Serviceberry

A beautiful serviceberry tree! A common sight throughout Michigan!

This naturally-growing tree is a somewhat common sight in Michigan, demonstrating it will thrive through all four seasons. They typically grow to be about 25 feet in height, with an overall rounded and attractive look. The leaves are oval and can be up to three inches wide, providing great shade in the summer.

 

Late each spring, you’ll be treated to the buds bursting into five-petaled white flowers that feature bright pink anthers. This will make you look forward even more to the end of winter and the beginning of the growing season. The small fruit starts off green, then transforms to red and finally deep purple.

Kentucky Coffeetree

This tree grows naturally in Michigan, but it needs an area with full sun, plus moist, well-drained, and rich soil. Once established, it’s quite drought-resistant. Full-grown, this is a large tree, reaching upwards of 80 feet in height. The compound leaves are also large, measuring upwards of two feet wide and three feet long, making this an excellent shade tree.

 

In late spring, this tree really puts on a show. Greenish-white flowers form in pyramidal clusters you can’t miss, even from far away. Flowers on female trees produce a scent like roses.

Alternate Leaved Dogwood

An alternative dog wood tree would make an awesome addition to your backyard!

People usually don’t even consider this small native tree for their landscaping. It typically grows to about 15 or 20 feet tall, allowing you to place this tree where others might not normally fit. This species likes to grow in partial shade, but it will still do well in an area with full sun.

 

The branches grow out horizontally, with the leaves clustered toward the ends. Tiny four-petaled white flowers that are arranged in flat-topped bunches look amazing during May or June when they’re in full bloom. Small fruits turn blue when they mature, adding to the visual appeal of this tree.

Native Plants

You’ll notice all these trees are native to Michigan. They require less care because such trees are well-adapted to the climate. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need watering, pruning, fertilization, and other maintenance to thrive.

 

To keep these trees in excellent health and looking amazing, contact us at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC.

Did Your Trees Survive the Winter? Look for These Signs

Winters in Michigan are something of 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.

If you have a tree you fear didn’t make it through the winter, there 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 wind storm, 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 the tree is either dead or dying.
  • 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 Trees

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 Company is 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.

Licensing

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!

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.

Bonded

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.

Insured

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 Qualified 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 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.

Experience

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 TreesAreGood.org. 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.

Want to Plant a Fruit Tree? Try These in Michigan!

There’s nothing quite like growing fresh fruit in your own yard. It can liven up any meal, plus you’re not constantly needing to run to the store. If you’re so inclined, you can even can or freeze fruits for use all year long, making for a great resource.

Many people in Michigan wonder what fruit trees will do well with the frigid temperatures and other unique conditions here. After all, something like an orange or lemon tree isn’t exactly well-suited for Michigan yards.

Allow our expertise at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care guide you in making an informed decision. Fruit trees can be planted fairly easily.

Viable Fruit Trees

While citrus trees aren’t a good choice, quite a few different fruit trees will do well in Michigan’s climate. There’s a wide variety of each type, so ensure what you buy is compatible with the USDA climate zone for your area of the state.

Among the options are:

  • Apple
  • Mulberry
  • Cherry
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Apricot
  • Fig

Of course, you should choose fruit trees that produce what you like to eat. After all, a tree can bear an abundance of fruit, so you need something that you can stand eating a lot.

Soil Testing

Fruit trees can be a reliable source of food throughout the year.

Long before you plant a fruit tree in your yard, test the soil to see what nutrients are lacking. Soil test kits are available from many sources, or we can test it for you.

You might struggle to really make sense of the results of your soil test. Knowing what nutrients different fruit trees need is a fine science, one most people don’t understand. Again, our expertise can guide you in identifying what’s lacking. We can help you select the right fertilizers to add to the soil, fully preparing it for planting before you get a tree.

Planting and Care

You need to choose a good site for your tree. Consider the following:

  • At least 8 hours of direct sunlight is necessary.
  • Clean water must be accessible at the site.
  • Water must not pool around the tree, so ensure proper drainage during rainstorms.
  • Protection against animal damage, such as fencing and netting, often is needed.

In Michigan, the ideal time to plant a fruit tree is usually late April or in May. The soil needs to be defrosted enough you can work it properly. If it’s not ready yet and you have a tree, you can temporarily place it in a pot, or heel it into the ground. You should try to get the tree into the ground properly within two weeks, so keep checking the soil.

A fruit tree can beautify your yard and provide fresh produce for your table.

 

Contact PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care to get professional care, ensuring your trees are properly planted and thrive for the long term.

Choosing The Perfect Hammock For Your Backyard!

If you want a relaxing, refreshing way to bask in the beauty of your yard, few things rival a hammock. To be suspended in the air with just material under you keeps things cool on a hot summer day. The rocking motion makes you relax, too.

Despite what some people might think, not all hammocks are made equal. If you really start to look at the variety out there, you likely are confused. Choosing a hammock that meets your needs all around will help ensure you’re happy in the long run, instead of wishing you bought something else.

Types of Hammocks

One of the first things you need to consider is the material and weave of your hammock. This is where most people get confused, but understanding the basic types isn’t difficult, once they’re broken down.

Rope Hammocks: made of stitched rope that stretches from one spreader bar to another. This is the type most people think of. It’s both supportive and flexible. Choose a nylon rope to keep the hammock free of mold and mildew. Rope hammocks are the most typical type of hammock.

Quilted Hammocks: These are great for providing warmth because a filler sits between two fabric layers. That makes these hammocks softer, and you won’t get caught in any rope.

Mayan Hammocks: These feature a thin, woven thread that stretches to accommodate any body shape and size. They’re also quite breathable. Again, choose a nylon thread to combat humidity.

Brazilian Hammocks: Woven out of thick cotton threads, these are good for staying warm in the spring and summer. Without spreader bars, you’re surrounded by the hammock, almost like a cocoon.

Nicaraguan Hammocks: Also, double-weave, they’re stitched tightly so the hammock doesn’t sag much. Still, there’s enough gap in the weave to allow air to flow through freely.

What type of hammock you choose depends on when and where you’ll use it, as well as your personal preferences.

Using Hammocks in Trees

Some hammocks are designed for use in trees. Thanks to all kinds of hanging products, you can suspend a hammock between trees that are spaced over 15 feet apart. A space of fewer than 10 feet normally means you don’t have enough room for most hammocks.

Of course, you’ll need trees that are sturdy enough to support your weight.

 

Possible Tree Damage Hammocks can cause damage to your trees in the long run.

Using a hammock in trees can cause some serious, irreversible damage. Consider the following before you anchor your hammock to some backyard trees:

  • Ropes will over time cut into a tree’s bark, making it at risk of infection or insect infestation.
  • Ropes also can cut off water and nutrients, eventually causing the tree to die.
  • A hammock can cause trees to bow or break slowly, even if they appear to hold your weight without issues.
  • Hooks open a hole in your trees, also increasing the risk of infection or infestation.

You can get tree saver straps, which reduce some of these risks, but they may not entirely eliminate them.

Alternatives to Trees

If you don’t want to risk damaging your trees, you have two alternatives for hanging your hammock:

Stands: most hammock suppliers will sell a stand that’s compatible with any hammock you choose. You can move these stands to anywhere in your yard, which is nice if you want to always be in the shade.

Posts: Like fence posts, you need to dig into the ground and cement these into place. They’re a sturdy and permanent solution.

If you have concerns about hanging a hammock from trees or have noticed damage to your trees from a hammock, contact us at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care.

Oak Wilt: What is it? & What Does It Do To Your Trees?

Many people have heard of oak wilt, yet they don’t really know what it is. Understanding that oak wilt is a negative thing for trees to contract isn’t difficult, but it helps if you have a firm grasp on this condition, the signs that it’s taking hold of your tree, and know how to manage it.

 

Oak Wilt Explained

As you can probably guess from the name, oak wilt is a condition that affects oak trees. It’s most severe for red oak species, although it can affect white oak species, but usually not as profoundly.

Insects are the most common way, Oak Wilt spreads throughout the tree.

The condition is a fungal infection of a tree. If left unchecked, it can ultimately lead to the death of a tree, which can be quite expensive to replace. Not only that, your trees provide valuable shade, beautification for your yard, and even add to the value of your property.

You should be watching for any of the following symptoms, which can indicate your tree has contracted oak wilt:

  • Discolored leaves on one or more branches
  • Wilting leaves
  • Heavy defoliation (leaves falling off the branches)
  • Darkened sap
  • One or more dead/dying branches
  • Fungal mats developing under the bark

That final symptom usually only manifests once the infection is pretty far along.

 

How it Spreads

Insects, especially sap beetles, are the main way oak wilt spreads from tree to tree. Fungal spores attach to the beetles, so when they land on other trees and burrow into the bark, the fungus can infect a new host. For that reason, you can help prevent the spread of oak wilt by treating areas where you’ve pruned the tree, or the bark has been damaged by accidents, weather, etc. Also, avoid, pruning your trees when the weather is warm, particularly in the late spring and early summer. Oak Wilt can move quickly throughout the tree.

Even if your oak is free of insects, because you’ve been managing any damage properly, it can still contract oak wilt. Root grafts, or when roots from neighboring trees attach to each other under the ground, can also be a source of the infection. The fungus will travel into the roots of a host, and from there can be introduced to other trees through the graft.

 

Curing Oak Wilt

This condition can move quickly, so you must act swiftly to avoid the death of your tree. Red oak can die within several months after becoming infected, making vigilance key.

You can spray for insects, taking away the most common means of the fungus spreading. Breaking any root grafts will help as well. Soil fumigation can help with breaking tree root connections if you’re unsuccessful with mechanical attempts.

Once a tree is infected, you might be able to prune out the affected area and stop the spread of the fungus. If the tree is a total loss, you must be careful about when and how you remove it, or you might spread the fungus spores.

The best way to prevent oak wilt and manage any trees showing symptoms is by getting professional help.

Contact PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC to make an appointment.

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