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Tips to save money on tree services

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Tree work always has an element of physical risk to people and property, as well as financial danger.

Many of the reasons we love to have trees in our yards are also the reasons we are forced to take proper care of them. The bigger the trees, the more shade they provide for us to enjoy. If trees become diseased or too old to withstand the next hurricane force wind, they can become killers in our own yard. So what can we do to protect our home and our lives? Retain the services of a professional, highly respected, well equipped and properly insured tree service.

Question: How can a home owner acquire an acceptable quote from a tree company that knows all the tricks of the trade?

Answer: Do it the same way the professional property managers do. It is quick, simple and efficient for all parties. First, decide on how many bids you want. Usually two-three bids are plenty but some tree contractors won’t participate because they no longer have the advantage over you.

Send an email or call each of the companies you would like to have perform the work. Schedule a “Bid date and time to see what your job entails.” Make this date and time convenient for you. Ask them to be at your address, on a date at least 3 days away, and at a particular time for a walk through. Do not accepted bids from those who do not arrive at a reasonable time. This eliminates contractors straggling up to your door whenever it is convenient for them. Remember, you want to be the one holding all the cards.

On the day and time scheduled, walk the contractors around the property and show them what you want done. A word of caution here: Never make the mistake of telling the contractors how to do the work. It’s a waste of your time and an insult to real professionals.

If you have special instructions or cautions, for example; sprinkler systems, septic tank or septic field, an extremely valuable plant, crabby neighbors or the like, you would be wise to write it down so you don’t forget to mention these things to each contractor. The last thing you want is a very costly change order, or uninformed contractor.

If you live in a gated community and approval is required to perform tree removal or trimming, try to get the approval before the scheduled appointments with contractors. It takes time to receive the approval, or perhaps you receive a denial, and you don’t want to waste your time or the contractors’  time. If you don’t have approval in advance ask if the contractor can apply for it on your behalf.

Get your quote in writing for the services you are requesting to protect you and the contractor. The specific scope of work should be outlined, hazards mentioned, and costs clearly established. Without a clear scope of work you don’t know if you’re comparing apples and apples – or the same number of limbs from bid to bid. You can get a sparse trim or a thorough trim, but if the scope isn’t specific you may not get the trim you want.

If you receive a quote for an amount that is within your budget and you feel comfortable with a particular contractor, you can award the contract at any stage…you hold the cards!

Often the lowest price quote is the most tempting, but most often it is not going to make you happy (picture 6 tattooed men jumping out of a pick-up truck, yelling and cursing). Would you want to fly in an airplane that was built by the lowest bidder? Remember, you are holding all the cards! Reputable service providers offer a fair price but not always the lowest as they have overhead and business expenses to cover.

If you are not experienced in judging or assessing the health of trees and you want an expert consultant to help you write the job description before your chosen contractors are contacted, those services are generally available at a very reasonable price. Usually, in a community the size of Marion County, Florida you can contract the service for $125 to $300 depending on the size of the job. This valuable service requires a great deal of formal training and experience and is well worth the small price to protect yourself. It could easily save you a great deal of aggravation and money. So consider this a strong well-advised suggestion.

As always, we are here to help residents of Marion County, Florida with their tree questions and needs. If you have questions feel free to contact me at

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed these tips.

Tree-sa Wheeler

Mistletoe – not so sweet after all!

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I am sure you have heard that kissing under the mistletoe is a good thing to do around the holidays. The fact that mistletoe is harvested into a ball and placed in a particular spot where kissing can occur –  is a good thing. That means it is no longer in the tree where it does a lot of damage.

Yes, mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on healthy trees and can do severe damage if left untreated. On Budget Tree Service’s professionals are knowledgeable in removing mistletoe.

Winter is the best time of year to get rid of mistletoe from your trees. While your trees are bare, or nearly bare, you can easily recognize whether the green leafy plants have infested your trees. Mistletoe have green stems with thick leaves that are nearly oval in shape and can develop a ball form up to 2 feet in diameter. The female plants produce small sticky white berries from October to December, while the male plants produce only pollen.

These berries are attractive to birds. Once eaten and digested the seeds stick tightly to any branch on which they land, mostly in the tops of trees where birds prefer to perch. However, the seeds can land on the lower branches as well, creating lower infestations. Mistletoe spreads to trees in close proximity to other infested trees. The parasitic plant robs the tree of much needed water and nutrients and over time will at least stunt or eventually kill the host tree.

The biggest problem with mistletoe is after the seeds germinate, the plant grows through the bark and into the tree’s water-conducting tissue where it takes root and becomes attached to the tree. This root system, called “haustoria”, gradually grows up and down the branch growing slowly at first. After several years the mature plant blooms and produces seed and the cycle continues. The difficulty in removing and eliminating mistletoe is in the fact that removing the green leafy part of the plant still leaves the root system in the tree and new plants continually grow from the roots. The only way to effectively eliminate mistletoe is to remove the branch or part of the tree with the mistletoe. Other means are available to treat a tree trunk or other part of the tree that can not otherwise be removed and save the tree.

We recommend retaining the services of an Arborist to periodically evaluate the health of your trees. In Marion County, Florida, these services can range from $125 to $300 for a residential property. A great deal of formal training is required to acquire this skill and tree assessment knowledge. An Arborist may find other issues with your trees and can give advice on the care needed to maintain your trees’ optimum health. On Budget Tree Service is one of the few tree services in Marion County that have Arborists on staff.

Is Your Tree Loosing Limbs?

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Over the years we have dealt with many Laurel Oaks, also referred to as water oaks. These trees store water in their trunk and over time they rot and hollow from the inside out. Signs to be aware of are large branches falling to the ground. Small branches shed from trees frequently and are of no immediate concern, but when your tree looses larger limbs it is a sign that the health of the tree in in question. Assessments need to be made and removal is sometimes necessary.

So, give us a call when you notice your large oak trees loosing limbs larger than your arm. Look up in your tree at the base of any fork or large limb. If you see dark or black streaks, large or small cracks in the connections, give us a call for an assessment. We will give you our opinion whether the tree needs to be trimmed of dead wood or removed and replaced with a healty Tree.

Teresa “Trees-a” Wheeler