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Damage - How do Lawn Services stay in their "league" ?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by mdvaden, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. Olylawnboy

    Olylawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    from Oly Wa
    Posts: 312

    Sorry AL I guess I didn't know what you meant, I have to trim them here to make them have the ball effect when they bloom.
    That's funny AZ! Lawnboys against flowers :)
  2. Clear-Cut

    Clear-Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 481

    wow...that person should never touch a chainsaw again...from the looks of it he put other ppl (including himself) in more danger than the tree (referring to the cuts in the bark)
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    One of the things I take pride in is my guys ability to keep the places looking consistently good. This is achieved by constantly selectively pruning everything. Keeping the plants compact but not hedged, this way they flower more profusely and they are more healthy and the the plants always look the same. My biggest concern is my guys developing carpel tunnel syndrome from all the hand pruning.
  4. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    I'll take a stab at clarifying...

    "ignorant lawn care" pruning

    There's some lawn care providers that don't really feel the need for college or certain forms of training, and may try to self-educate themselves (a book?).

    Some might feel they learned what they need, but haven't. And then they try to prune by appearance, feeling that they are doing fine. But they are unaware (ignorant) that they didn't get enough training or experience. And many of them may mean well, too.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    Don't worry, I'm not going to comment on your choice of words again, somebody else already did comment. Allow an opinion from a grass cutting, self educated(I read the book for myself instead of having it read to me),grounds maintenance individual. you asked how should one know they're qualified. Good question. I would say knowing the name and characteristics of the specific plant to be pruned, the technique by which to prune it, the behavior of the wood as it's being cut, and the benefit of it's placement in the landscape or in other words why was it put there. Yes I am forced to shear weeping Jap maples into umbrellas and azaleas into meatballs. You also asked when does one know their limits. I don't have a bucket truck. I have an extension ladder, rope, and saws. I know I can't take down trees next to the house, within reason. The highest I'll go is when there are branches encroaching into the house. Certain trees have a branch structure, such as swamp maple that start to high up and blouse down. I can't do these. I have a sense of when I'm going to fall to my death. As far as tree companies pruning.......not many can in my area. They do primarily take downs. Not too many lawn services venture into tree removal either.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    Just to finish a thought about tree companies. I've seen some do horrific things to trees, mostly to satisfy customers, but some because the employees didn't know better. From an empoyer point of view, I understand this and try not to be overly critical. But, there can at least be proper management of those employees. Here's a personal example of my skills and educated critique of those skills. A customer had a Red Oak that was obviously qualifying as "Heritage". A large branch had developed about 15-20' off the ground. MASSIVE weight was being placed on the crotch. If nothing was done it would snap at the crotch, so I limbed the branch as much as possible at the ends and along the length.This branch was a tree in itself. So, while I'm doing this, a township employee calls the Shade Tree Commission. He comes out and has no real problems with my work, but he does say that one of my cuts in too shallow. It was along the branch and was at least 10" in diameter. I cut past the flair and on a proper angle. He wanted at least 4" more of stump. I know that if I had done that the wound would not heal properly. More likely dead wood would fester into the heart wood. It's going to take at least 8 seasons for this cut to heal and will require observation until that time.
  7. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Have to agree with Turflord, I have seen supposed professional tree companies do some awful things to trees, ie:topping.
  8. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    Yes, and that's another aspect - but different. I should say, different in Oregon, but different because of how potential remedies are handled. Aside from remedies, it's about the same basic matter.

    In this state, any tree service is required to get a license, bond and insurance, and it's just a rare handful of illegal tree service that can hide away without the license. But the bond and insurance provides an avenue for customers to recover for some losses and damage.

    On the other hand, lawn services are not required to have a license, bond an insurance here, so it's a bit different if they work outside the capabilities.

    That's why 4" cuts was set as the dividing line in this area.

    A 4" cut can remove 1/2 of a $1000 street tree, or much more value from a specimen ornamental like Japanese maple or Japanese Umbrella pine.

    So where 4" may seem odd to some people, a boundary had to be set somewhere.

    In light of the unqualified tree services you mentioned, how would you say that helps a lawn service determine their own limits?

    Could that be because if they see a few tree services top trees, it seems to leave a bit of leniency for landscape or lawn companies to follow suit?

    Or would you say that the tree services that top trees, provide an inspiration to lawn services to avoid that practice?

    I'm not referring to big tree work here either. The images I attached show cuts that were made by someone standing on the ground - no ladder involved. But it still removed a large percentage of a 30' tall tree.

    In this area, many lawn services have insurance that allows pruning cut to occur from 10' to 15' and under.
  9. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    MD, like I said before, I know my limits. I would say that yes, it does leave a bit of leniency for lawn and landscape companies to follow suit as they would think that what these guys are doing is OK. Both tree and lawn companies are required to be licensed and insured here, unfortunately it is very poorly enforced.
  10. Olylawnboy

    Olylawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    from Oly Wa
    Posts: 312

    MD, cool, I hoped you didn't mean lawn care people in general were ignorant :)
    I was wondering if you would share your ideas as to what the qualifications and limitations you think there should be for lco's. I think your opinion on this would be a good guide for folks here. Many here now are young and learning.
    One qualification that I think is important for tree work is to be old enough to see the results of work that has been done. I mean no offense to young certified arborists but in reality your working off of theory and "book learnin" :)
    And don't get me wrong here, I've read my share of books! :)
    To me "experience" comes from observing and taking care of things over time.
    Just my opinion though. Thoughts are invited here :)

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