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Advice from Our Tree Care Professionals in Halifax

MAn in tree with a chain saw

Welcome to the advice and FAQ page of Green Heritage Tree Services Ltd! As tree-lovers, we are more than happy to help you with all your tree-related questions. Have a question not answered on this page? Feel free to give us a call at any time!

Tree Planting Tips

Planting a tree is considered a lifetime investment. Green Heritage Tree Services Ltd can help ensure your new tree is planted with care. Many people like to plant trees for aesthetic reasons, to mark a special occasion, or to celebrate the memory of a loved one. The type of tree and location you select will determine the health and growth of your investment. Proper care in planting and maintaining your tree are also essential to its longevity. The ideal time to plant a tree is in the fall after leaf drop or early spring before budbreak. If your tree is properly cared for in a nursery or garden center it can be planted throughout the growing season. Also remember to never plant a tree close to your driveway, sidewalk or roadside in order to minimize the risk of damage from a snowplow or de-icing salt.

Please feel free to visit the Trees Are Good for additional tree care information and tips on planting.

Native Deciduous Trees of Nova Scotia

• American Elm
• Larch (Tamarack, Hackmatack)
• Red Maple
• Red Oak
• Striped Maple
• Sugar Maple
• Trembling Aspen
• White Ash
• White Birch (Paper Birch)
• Yellow Birch

Native Evergreens of Nova Scotia

• Balsam Fir
• Eastern Hemlock
• White Cedar
• White Pine
• White Spruce
• Tree Preservation



Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we will highlight some of the questions we receive most often from customers.

Click on the question below to see the answer…

1. Why should I take care of my trees?
2. Why should I prune my trees?
3. My tree has become too large for my property. Can I have the top of the tree cut to reduce its hazardous size?
4. What best practice is recommended to reduce the size of my hazardous tree?
5. My tree has grown into the power lines. Who should I contact?
6. What should I do about tree damage on my property and how can I prevent it?
7. Do you charge by the tree?
8. I found another quote from someone with a chainsaw who will do my tree work for half the price or free for the wood. Why should I hire a professional?
9. Why does my tree job need to be postponed during certain extreme weather conditions?
10. Why choose a certified arborist and how do I verify they are certified?
11. What is stump grinding or stump cutting?
12. Why should I consider removing a tree stump?
13. We'd like to hire a professional for tree planting services. What can I expect in costs?
14. What do you recommend for do-it-yourself tree planting and tree mulching techniques?

Q: Why should I take care of my trees?

A: Trees in the urban/suburban landscape have traditionally been valued for their aesthetic qualities and shade they produce. Especially in settled areas, trees have many other important benefits. Trees enhance property values. Research shows that the value of your property could increase up to 25%, depending on the size, type, location and health of its landscape plantings. Mature trees are particularly valuable. Therefore, it makes sense to protect your tree investment with proper maintenance. Landscape trees, which act as wind breaks and sunscreens, can help you save money and live more comfortably. With properly placed trees around your house, depending upon where you live, you can reduce winter heating bills up to 15%.

A mature shade tree can block up to 90% of solar radiation, which could translate to a significant reduction in your home cooling cost. Trees reduce air pollution by producing oxygen through photosynthesis and are filtering airborne particles. They also reduce noise pollution by acting as sound barriers. Studies show that trees have beneficial psychological effects on humans by decreasing stress, inspiring minds and breaking emotional barriers. Around the workplace, they tend to lower absenteeism and improve productivity. Many hospitals and nursing homes have beautiful green trees around them, since evidence demonstrates that trees can speed recovery from illness and are good for your health.

Q: Why should I prune my trees?

A: Pruning trees, especially when younger, helps promote healthy trees with good branch architecture. Again, think of a tree in its native environment, the forest. There, the tree in stiff competition with other trees is forced to grow upright toward light to fill what is usually a very limited space. Trees growing in landscape environments usually have much more space and less competition. They will develop large low branches and spread out to form much broader trees than they would in their natural settings. This difference in branch structure should be offset with pruning to minimize development of hazardous limbs that are likely to fail.

Q: My tree has become too large for my property. Can I have the top of the tree cut to reduce its hazardous size?

A: Tree topping is unfortunately a very common practice despite the educational information available to Tree Workers and Arborists. We do not recommend it because when the top of the tree is cut back into a stub, it is actually more hazardous in the long term. The tree is exposed to stress, insect infestations, disease, sunburn and decay which can cause the tree to be seriously weakened and it may die. It is also unsightly and will not save you money in the long run. If the tree survives, it will require pruning to be reduced again or storm damage will have to be cleaned up. If the tree dies, it will have to be removed. Topped trees can cause a reduction in property value and are also a potential liability from branch failure.

Q. What best practice is recommended to reduce the size of my hazardous tree?

A: Sometimes a tree must be reduced in height or spread for utility lines; however, if possible, it is recommended that branches should be pruned back to their point of origin (at least one-third the diameter of the limb being removed). This will help keep your tree healthy and strong. Sometimes it is best to remove the tree and replace it with a species that is better suited in size and growth. The final decision is yours. These are our recommendations.

Q: My tree has grown into the power lines. Who should I contact?

A: Tree work around support lines, service and communication wires should only be performed by a qualified and skilled tree service company. Tree work around primary utility wires should only be performed by your local utility company. These lines are of high voltage, please keep your distance.

Q: What should I do about tree damage on my property and how can I prevent it?

A: In the case that a tree or limb has caused damage to your home or vehicle, know your insurance coverage, take pictures, and get a quote from an ISA Certified Arborist. As a precaution, have a free hazardous tree assessment completed from us if you think your tree could be potentially dangerous. It may need structure pruning. Carefully inspect storm damaged trees and surrounding areas from a distance. Safely rope off or restrict access to the fallen tree or limb until it can be removed.

Q: Do you charge by the tree?

A: No we do not charge by the tree. Every tree is located in a unique place, and therefore offers unique challenges. For example, a tree that is located over a deck or a pool must be rigged down, which would be much more time consuming than a tree of equal size that has nothing around it that could be damaged by limbs that are cut off.

Q: I found another quote for half the price or free for the wood. Why should I hire a professional?

A: Be aware! Chances are they are lacking education, safety techniques, insurance, and tree skills which means they are putting you, your property, and themselves at risk. This is a very dangerous situation. For example, if they cause damage to your property or house, you will be paying the large bill. We pride ourselves on our professional, affordable, quality tree work and would never take advantage of our customers by over charging them. We are a registered corporation with full insurance. We are educated with years of experience in the proper use of pruning, removals, climbing gear, chainsaws, etc.

Q. Why does my tree job need to be postponed during certain extreme weather conditions?

A: We provide all season tree services and we have the equipment to do so, however during the middle of a blizzard, hurricane, or even extremely hot or cold temperatures, we must put health and safety first. The job required will define if it needs to be postponed. We are pleased to discuss with you if you have further questions should this be the case. Please note that these decisions are also for the safety of our property owners as well.

Q. Why should I choose a certified arborist, and how do I verify they are certified?

A: A certified arborist credential is obtained through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). An ISA credential holder requires a strong commitment to arboriculture knowledge, training in industry safety standards and practices, and follows a professional code of ethics. You can verify an ISA-certified arborist at http://www.isa-arbor.com/certification. If the person you hire is not an ISA-certified arborist and has little or no insurance you are putting your property, family and the worker at risk. You could end up paying the price of major home repairs, medical bills or law suits for bodily injury. We carry proof of insurance and certification documents on-site at all times.

Q: What is stump grinding?

A: When you hire an arborist to remove your tree to ground level, the stump is left at ground level. Stump grinding is an additional service we provide requiring specific equipment. Our industrial stump grinder is operated by a professional to carefully and efficiently remove the stump, 6 to 12 inches below the surface level, with rotating cutting disks that chip away at the wood into small chips.

Q: Why should I consider removing a tree stump?

A: Leaving the stump behind is a cost effective solution, however, here are six disadvantages of leaving the stump:

  1. There is more difficulty replanting in the same area, and the nutrients will not be as rich
  2. Old roots can get in the way of new growth
  3. The old roots may try to spring up with new growth out of the ground, becoming an unwelcome addition to your yard (this is common with maple trees)
  4. Rotten stumps may also compact over time, and can cause unwanted sink holes
  5. Mowing the lawn is inconvenient, more time consuming and may also be damaging to your lawn mower if blades make contact with the stump or surface roots
  6. Stumps are unpleasant to look at in a manicured lawn

Q: We'd like to hire a professional for tree planting services. What can I expect in costs?

A: Many people like to plant a tree in honor of a special someone or a life event. If the tree does not make it, this can be depressing. We can help take on this project for you. Onsite planning is a must with an ISA Certified Arborist. Afterwards, the formal quote can take time to acquire the full information you need on your tree investment. In advance, we appreciate your patience. This is due to the many considerations of cost including the tree and location, such as the location of the property and if the location of the tree being planted is easily accessible by vehicle. Any trees that are larger in size than the example below or are located in hard to reach places require additional equipment, thus more costs.

As an EXAMPLE ONLY, NOT a set price and HST is extra: one Chrisom King Norway Maple tree (recommend for our area) in mature size is around 12-15 feet tall and 50-60 millimeters in diameter, and selling at most local tree nurseries for around $300 plus their delivery costs, with encased transport around $130 (based in Fall River, and this could be more depending on your location). Trees can be an expensive investment for your property value. If you are taking the time to spend money on a mature tree, hiring a professional arborist means you are investing in your purchase to ensure it is done properly and that it will last a lifetime or longer. The cost of hiring a professional arborist for their time and expertise with a groundsperson for prep, planting and staking (such as digging a hole twice the size of the root ball, filling in, and preparing the area with compost, mulch, and staking materials) you can expect around $1,150.00, or easily more. The total estimate price based on this example is $1,580.00 plus HST.

If this price range is more than you expected, you can always go with a much smaller tree. We encourage you to follow our arborist advice on tree planting and do it yourself or with the whole family. It is fun. You will create lasting memories and we know you will enjoy your tree planting efforts.

Q: What do you recommend for do-it-yourself tree planting and tree mulching techniques?

A: Follow our arborist techniques and avoid common mistakes. Placement is key. Do your research on species, soil recommendations, and mature height, width and root size. Make sure the tree is healthy to start. Consider its surrounding environment. For example, if you plant too close to the road or driveway, snow removal and road salts could damage or kill your tree. As a general rule of thumb, for every inch of tree diameter there should be 10- 12 inches of root ball. Anything less and the tree will suffer transplant shock and take much longer to establish. To prevent roots from circling around and eventually girdling the tree causing tree weakness or death, loosen the root mass with your hands. If it is tightly compact, then cut through the side of the root ball at four spots and an X at the bottom.

Dig a hole that is twice as big as the root ball for new root growth. Dig it wide and shallow and avoid planting too deeply. Use the same soil you dug out to plant the tree. Ensure that a slight tapering at the base is still showing or rot and insect problems may occur. Trees should be watered when planting to get rid of air pockets and again the next day. Water three days later and again three days after that. During summer’s dry spells, trees should be watered once every seven to ten days if planted in clay soils and once a week if planted in sandy soils.

Use proper mulching techniques to protect roots from extreme weather conditions, eliminate weed and grass competition and preserve soil moisture. Think “doughnut,” not “volcano.” Make sure there is room around the base for light and oxygen to avoid excess moisture build up and insect problems, and to direct water toward the roots, rather than away from them. Keep the mulch 1 inch thick. Outward, toward the edge of the root ball, the mulch can be up to 4 inches deep.

Always stake trees that are tall and leggy or if they are in high wind areas. Keep in mind that trees are staked to anchor the root ball, not to eliminate movement of the stem or canopy. The goal is to prevent the root ball from rocking and breaking newly developed root hairs. Monitor and scout your trees and landscapes to identify potential issues before they become a problem, and also take time to enjoy your landscaping efforts you’ve worked very hard to achieve.

Native Deciduous Trees of Nova Scotia

American Elm

Larch (Tamarack, Hackmatack)

Red Maple

Red Oak

Striped Maple

Sugar Maple

Trembling Aspen

White Ash

White Birch (Paper Birch)

Yellow Birch

Native Evergreens of Nova Scotia

Balsam Fir

Eastern Hemlock

White Cedar

White Pine

White Spruce