Sherman Oaks Tree Service and Landscape Maintenance

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Los Angeles Trees by Water Drought

All Trees in Los Angeles have been affected by the drought in some way.
There has just not been enough natural rain in the last five years. Also, people have shut the water off sometimes entirely off! Others have altered their trees drip line by compacting decompose granite, shocking the trees with artificial turf or replacing grass with concrete.
You might notice days your tree canopy dying back. Many trees in Los Angeles are now dangerous, with large dead limbs falling randomly. We can save most of the trees if the problem is caught in early stages. Trees must be pruned, shaped, thinned, and well hydrated. The removal of the dead wood reduces insects, infestation like termites and bark beetles.

Tree care

The following tree care tips from Sherman Oaks Tree Service will help ensure your trees health.

1. Weed
Pull any weeds that grow near the trunk of your tree.

2. Check the stake
Check the tree stake to make sure it is not rubbing or damaging the tree.

3. Mulch
Keep a 3 to 4-inch layer of mulch on the soil around your tree. Do not place any mulch up against the trunk of your tree.

4. Water
– Trees want a good long drink but not every day. A newly planted tree will need A LOT more water than one that was planted six years ago. New trees need about fifteen to twenty gallons of water once or twice a week their first month in the ground and often all the way through their first summer.
– To determine whether or not a tree needs water, dig down at least four inches and check for moisture. Remember, the surface will dry out much faster. If the soil below ground is still very wet, water less often. Since every soil’s composition and drainage can be different (even on the same property), you really need to check the soil before pouring the water.
– Mature trees will need some watering this winter, too, even if they’re California natives. But water them less frequently, perhaps just once a month. Keep in mind that you’re only trying to replace the rain water that would have fallen in an average year. Here in Los Angeles, that’s about twelve inches. For mature trees, you should be watering about nine inches from the trunk out to the edge of the farthest branches (the drip line). This is where the majority of the feeder roots are.

Summer Pruning

Summer is the season to prune oak trees, hillside clean up and fire regulation. (Brush Clearance)

Make your home defensible. The drought has taken many trees that may be dead and dangerous.  Dry wood and the dry brush makes big trouble for firefighters.

Here are some guidelines for brush clearance.

  • Maintain all weeds and grasses at a maximum height of 3 inches.
  • Maintain the lower 1/3rd of trees and shrubs by removing all leafy foliage, twigs, and branches up to a maximum of 6 feet from the ground.
  • Maintain 5 feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions of overhanging trees and shrubs (any overhanging foliage must be at least 5 feet above the roof).
  • Remove any portion of a tree or shrub within 10-foot radius of a chimney outlet.
  • Maintain the roofs of all structures free of leaves, needles, twigs and other combustible matter.
  • Remove all dead/dry undergrowth and material within trees and shrubs to include all dead or dry palm fronds/branches.
  • Vegetation/branches extending past the curb and over the street shall be trimmed back to the curb line and a minimum of 14ft vertically from the roadway surface to the lowest overhanging branch to provide clearance for emergency vehicles.

Trees should be trimmed away from structures, roof and gutters cleaned.  Excessive buildup of leaves and needles are a fire danger and can keep water away from saturating down to the soil when trees need every drop they can get.

Water your trees with a slow drip hose overnight in several different places around the drip line of the tree.  This will reduce limbs from cracking.  Hydrate your tree for health and vitality. Do not forget palm trees need water too.

Los Angeles tree service is unique, there are many tree species in the L.A area, but all need water to survive.  Your Tree service needs vary from season to season.  In Los Angeles, all good tree service starts with a license, insurance and well train staff with many years’ experience.  To assist you, Good trees advice comes from many years of experience.

Hill side clean up

Every spring the fire department’s vigilance concerning the hazardous vegetation in the Los Angeles area is heightened; notices are sent to homeowners warning them of their requirement to comply with fire code regulations, to reduce fuel load reduction, and to expect inspections to begin around the first of May or June, depending upon the city.

We clear hillsides of hazardous vegetation and have done so for many years. We are familiar with many of the fire departments and inspectors personally and keep up to date on the changes in the fire department’s, California Fair Plan, and private insurance company’s’ requirements in each area, especially in the areas designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones.
Clean Up
General clean-up occurs at all sites. In addition, at all our worksites we do excellent clean up with blowers, rakes, and chipper trucks.
Wood Chips
Sometimes a customer will ask for the chips for mulching and we can accommodate that also.
Call us for a free estimate at 818-986-3426

Eight Good Reasons Not to Top Your Trees:

1. Starvation: Good pruning practices rarely remove more than 1⁄4 to 1/3 of the tree’s crown, which in turn does not seriously interfere with the tree’s leafy crown to manufacture food. Topping removes so much of the crown that it upsets an older tree’s well-developed crown-to-root ratio and temporarily cuts off its food-making ability.

2. Shock: A tree’s crown is like an umbrella that shields much of the tree from the direct rays of the sun. By suddenly removing this protection, the remaining bark tissue is so exposed that scalding may result. There may also be a dramatic effect on neighboring trees and shrubs. If these thrive in shade and the shade is removed, poor health or death may result.

3. Insect and Disease: The large stubs of a topped tree have a difficult time forming callus tissue. The terminal location of these cuts, as well as their large diameter, prevent the tree’s chemically based natural defense system from doing its job. The stubs are highly vulnerable to insect invasion and the spores of decaying fungi. If decay is already present in the limbs, opening the limb will speed the spread of the disease.

4. Weak Limbs: At best, the wood of a new limb that sprouts after a larger limb has had its top cut off is more weakly attached than a limb that develops normally. If rot exists or develops at the severed end of the limb, the weight of the sprout makes a bad situation even worse.

5. Rapid New Growth: The goal of topping is usually to control the height and spread of a tree. Actually, it has just the opposite effect. The resulting sprouts (often called water sprouts) are far more numerous than normal new growth and they elongate so rapidly that the tree returns to its original height in a very short time – and with a far more dense and dangerous re-growth pattern.

6. Tree Death: Some species of trees are less tolerant to topping than others. Beeches, for example, do not sprout readily after severe pruning and the reduced foliage many times leads to the death of the tree. This type of response is also very typical of many conifers, leading to death from insect attacks. Mulberry trees on the other hand are specimens, which can withstand heavy topping. Some mulberries are topped annually by their owners. However, many tree varieties cannot recover from severe topping practices.

7. Ugliness: A topped tree is a disfigured tree. Even with its regrowth it never regains the grace and character of its species. The landscape and the community are robbed of a valuable asset.

8. Cost: To a worker with a saw, topping a tree is much easier than applying the skill and judgment needed for a good pruning. Therefore, topping may cost less in the short run. However, the true costs of topping are hidden. These include: reduced property value, the expense of removal and replacement if the tree dies, the loss of other trees and shrubs if they succumb to changed light conditions, the risk of liability from weakened branches, and increased future maintenance. For many, the real cost may come in the future payouts associated with court actions associated with life and property damage due to improper pruning practice not accepted within the scope of proper


Topping Trees

Topping is the removal of main tree branches to stubs in either a straight across hedge type fashion or a complete de-limbing of the tree leaving only the main trunk of the tree. Topping or heading is generally intended to reduce the size of the tree. Some of the reasons trees are topped include the theory that the trees will grow better, growth of foliage into utility lines, interference with solar collectors or blocking a scenic view.

You can always tell after a tree has been topped. The tree looks like an ugly stub, a hat rack some would say, and just a remnant of a once lovely tree.

The over pruning is then followed by a rapid growth of tree limb sprouts, if the tree re-sprouts at all. This will eventually lead to a tree that is bushier and just as tall as when it was topped. However, unlike the original tree prior to topping, the new growth of the topped tree is dangerous because the new branches are not attached as strongly to the tree as were the original limbs and branches. You will end up with a tree more susceptible to disease and insect problems. It is important to understand that every tree variety has within its genes, growth instructions, a fixed plan for tree height and crown spread. All trees will attempt to grow to their mature form pattern. When trees are topped, they will attempt to regain their natural form pattern of height and crown spread.

Flowering Trees and Shrubs

When you can’t wait to get started in the spring garden, a good task to undertake is pruning. Most trees and shrubs benefit from annual pruning. It keep them in shape, gets rid of dead and diseased wood and encourages new growth. But not all trees and shrubs should be pruned early, especially some of the flowering ones.

Early spring bloomers set their flower buds the fall before. Pruning them early in the spring would mean losing some blossoms and is one of the most common answers to “Why don’t my plants bloom?. Most of the time this is not what you want. However there are exceptions. It’s often easier to prune when you can see the shape of the plant, before the branches are masked by leaves. Trees and shrubs that are in need of a good shaping could sacrifice a few blooms to be invigorated by a spring pruning.

There are no hard and fast rules, but here is a of list of commonly grown spring flowering trees and shrubs and the best time to prune them.

wind & trees

Wind in trees does more than rustle leaves. The gentle breezes, prevailing winds, and cyclonic occurrences that arise from daily and seasonal changes in solar heating all affect the growth, form, and very survival of trees. Arborists need to be aware of the impact of wind on trees because it affects the quality of nursery stock and subsequent growth of trees planted in the landscape. Wind is an important factor that should be considered when selecting the right tree for a planting site.


If you did most of your planting and pruning in fall, December is an easy month in the garden. Puttering at its best.

But be cautious when tiptoeing through wet soil after a rain. You don’t want to compact the soil and squeeze out oxygen.

Also keep your eyes peeled for frost. Move tender tropicals and succulents under a patio or eaves for protection. When temperatures are dropping and skies are clear, you may want to throw a sheet over pricey tropical plants that can’t be moved.

If it hasn’t rained, pay attention to drought, especially in the dry areas under house eaves and large trees. Cold is one condition a plant must endure, but cold combined with drought can prove too much for some plants.

Sharpen your shovels and pruners, tune up power tools, feed the birds and keep their water source topped-up and fresh.

Gather greens and bring them indoors. Conifers, herbs, variegated shrubs and ornamental grasses combined make pretty holiday arrangements.



•Bare-root fruit trees, ornamental trees, roses

•Camellias and azaleas

•Cool-season annuals and winter vegetables

•Spring-blooming bulbs

•California native plants


Many flowering plants and most vegetables are annual plants, living only a year at most, but usually just one season. Annuals to plant in our mild winter weather are ageratum, alyssum, calendulas, lobelia, nasturtiums, pansies, poppies, verbena and wildflowers.

In the vegetable garden, plant lettuce, mustard, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, peas, onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and strawberries.

Get ready for the Winds..

One of the most important times during the year to trim back your trees is the fall season, and outlined below are just a few reasons why this maintenance is critical:

  • Keeping your trees pruned can help to prevent disease and improve the overall appearance of the tree. It can also help to encourage healthy growth of the tree.
  • Trimming back limbs and dead branches can help increase the amount of natural light that the tree gets, therefore increasing the tree’s livelihood.