Tree FAQs

Q: How do you feel about rubber mulch? Ronnie

A: Good Question, Ronnie. Rubber can never truly be "mulch" based on the most broadly interpreted definition of mulch. In terms of keeping down weeds and uniformity in looks, rubber mulch is the king. It's not bad around playsets either. But for true mulch, you want something that is organic in origin. Hardwood mulch, Pine Bark mulch, these are the types of mulch your trees crave. Hope that answers your question!

Q: I have ivy growing heavily on my huge, 100 year old trees. How can I get rid of it or will it hurt the trees? Mary

A: Hi Mary, There are many different types of ivy that grow well in our area. They can be grouped into two categories: Strangling Ivies, and Creeping Ivies. Strangling ivies are the ones we don't like to see growing up a tree because they will choke the life out of the tree. Creeping Ivies (English Ivy being the most prominent) don't necessarily hurt the tree, but they can become a weight issue for the tree during ice or wind storms. When in doubt, give us a call and we'll send one of our Certified Arborists to check it out! -Team Heartwood

Q: What should I look for to see if the drought may have harmed my trees. An arborist on TV said if the leaves start turning brown that is a sign. What else should I look for and is there anything you can do if I see a problem? (submitted by Janice Beaver)

A: This current drought has been really tough on all of the city's trees. This Spring, as trees leaf out (or don't), we will see just how many trees didn't make it through the winter. Things to keep an eye out for include: loose bark anywhere on the tree, cracks or seams appearing in the stem of the tree, large limbs falling out of the tree, or evidence of root-rotting fungal fruiting bodies near the trunk. When in doubt, ask a Certified Arborist!

Q: What's the difference between an Arborist and a Certified Arborist?

A: Good Question. Anyone who performs tree work without killing themselves can be considered an "arborist". It requires knowledge of how to get a job done, but not necessarily in the best way possible for your trees. ISA Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through at least three years of experience and have passed a comprehensive examination. They are also required to continue their education in order to maintain their certification, ensuring their knowledge is updated on the latest arboriculture techniques. ISA Arborist Certification is a non-governmental voluntary process that operates without mandate of law. It is an internal self-regulating device administered by the International Society of Arboriculture, and therefore, cannot guarantee or assure the quality of performance. Certification provides a measurable assessment of an individual's knowledge and competence required to provide proper tree care.* * from the ISA website "trees are good".

Q: I've heard it is bad to wear spikes when pruning a tree, why is that?

A: Imagine taking a 3 inch nail and "spiking" it up your legs and across your torso and then into your forehead. The bad news comes when you find out that the same nail you are using to spike yourself with has been used on dozens of people before you, people that are sick and some people that are dead and all gross. Do not let a tree guy tell you it doesn't harm trees to spike them. The only acceptable time to wear spikes in a tree is when the tree is being removed.

Q: What should I be looking for when hiring a tree service?

A: Right off the bat, you should be looking for clues that you are dealing with a legitimate service. By law, all tree services must carry workers compensation insurance for every one of its employees as well as adequate liability insurance to cover any damages to your property. Workers Compensation is the type of insurance a company purchases to insulate their clients from the possibility of a lawsuit if an employee is injured or killed on the client's property. Often, when a tree service does not carry this type of insurance, they will say they are bonded and licensed, which is an entirely different thing.

Q: How much does it cost to remove a tree?

A: Usually between $380.00 and $12,000.00, in some cases, much more. The factors that go into the cost of removing a tree include location, size, condition, and the proximity of objects that could be damaged. All you need to do is meet one of our Certified Arborists on your property.

Q: I have a very pretty tree in my yard but I am concerned about an odor coming from it. A few of my friends have mentioned how bad it smells, and it's becoming an embarrassment to my family. Why does my tree stink?

A: This sounds like a potentially serious problem, but there is a chance that you have a female Ginkgo Biloba or maybe it is a Bradford Pear blooming in the spring. If it has a yeasty aroma, you're probably dealing with a bacterial infection called Slime Flux.

Q: What does Heartwood do with all of the wood chips it creates on a daily basis?

A: We hope people who want chips know that we give wood chips away FOR FREE to anyone who calls us and gets on our list. If you live in Charlotte, we can probably get a load (12-14 cubic yards) of wood chips to your house in a matter of weeks. If we are unable to find a home for these free chips, then we try to find a place where someone can benefit from them. Some of the chips we dump are eventually used for a low grade fuel source by another company.

Q: What are some things that a homeowner can do to help their trees?

A: Mulch! Mulch, mulch, mulch. This enables the soil to maintain a cooler temperature in the summer months and retain moisture. A mulch layer about 2 inches thick should be sufficient. Do not mound it up on the tree. Think of a tree in a natural setting, undisturbed. In this setting, there is a layer above the immediate soil grade called humus. This layer is rich in organics and microbial activity. This is where soil starts. When grass is planted under trees, it robs the tree of moisture and seldom are nutrients replenished to the soil. Another alternative is soaker hoses. Turning on a soaker hose enables moisture to penetrate the soil down to a deeper level where the tree roots are, beyond where the turf roots exist. When used in conjunction, this is a great system that reduces water waste and gets the moisture down to a level where the tree can use it.

Q: What is that thing "that chews things up and spits them out" called?

A: It's called a chipper. We've heard people call them a growler, shredder, mulcher, and even a wood particulate separator. We just call it a chipper. (And, no, it won't chip a tire. We only put wood in it.)

Q: I've heard that Heartwood is the best tree care company in Charlotte. Is this true?

A: Yes! We are proud to say that it is true. We are the best.


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