The 2011 tree of the year was chosen by the Society Of Municipal Arborist (SMA). The goldenraintree was selected because of ability to be adaptable in harsh climates and very pleasing to the eye with its strong ornamental traits. The goldenraintree or Koelreuteria paniculata and is commonly called by Goldenraintree, Goldenrain tree, Panicled Goldenraintree, Pride of India, Varnish-Tree, Or China tree. It was named for Joseph Gottlieb Koelruter an 18th century botanist. According to rumored legend it was brought over by Thomas Jefferson, after obtaining seeds from a friend in France. At Monticello seeds are available from its descendant.

The Goldenraintree is often grown throughout the world as an ornamental tree in temperate conditions. Its beauty differs with the many varieties but mainly flowers, leaves, and seed pods that change colors as the growing season ends.Because of its fast growth it is a welcome beauty to parks and home owners. Bringing welcome shade and beauty to its environment. Its flowers can be very showy with large clusters or terminal panicles 12 to 15 inches long,  yellow with a red center and four petals. Blooming is in July and the falling of petals in the blowing wind resemble ‘golden rain’

On a negative note the tree can prove to become evasive and can easily escape cultivation and become naturalized in minimally managed areas. it can have the ability to crowd out native plants. Tree can suffer from twig kill in severe winters and suffer damage in stormy  weather being a bit weak wooded.

Please help me get my cat out of this tree!  Have you ever run across this problem?  What do cat owners do about it?  What is the best way for a tree service to handle the situation?

The fire department used to handle calls regarding cats stuck  in trees, but due to the substantial costs associated with driving a truck out to the cat owners residence and using so many resources they are not able to help with these issues anymore.  If you call a fire department directly, they may be inclined to tell you to call a local tree service for help.
The problem with this situation is tree services are businesses and while they are often sympathetic with a cat owners situation, it also costs them substantial time and money to do so.  Most climbers  say they do not do any type of cat rescue because when they tell the cat owner they need to charge to come out there, the cat owner gets upset.  They end up either having to go out and loose money hoping for good referrals from the cat rescue or they risk the cat owner spreading bad word of mouth because they wanted to charge money.

It seems to be a difficult situation for cat owners to get resolved.  The end responsibility does need to lie in the hands of the cat owner and if you want to let Fluffy or Snowball play outside, you should probably be prepared to treat this just as any other vet bill you may encounter from a mischievous cat.

Oil Spills Effect on Trees

Author: Blake Linnekin

The oil spill is being called the largest enviornmental disaster in history.  The economic impacts are more than substantial, as well as impacts to wildlife.  As a certified arborist, I wanted to talk about some of the issues that trees are going to face.

As the oil washes onto shore, it will seep into the soil.  This can have long term effects on trees.  The change in soil will be soaked up into the root systems of the trees.  This can stunt the growth of the trees and depending on what else is going on with the tree, possibly kill it.  Most trees do not die from just one reason.  There are generally many contributing factors to why a tree dies.  The change in soil around the coastal areas will likely be a contributing factor to the death of many trees for years to come.  

Florida is most concerned about its already protected mangrove trees.  Key West, in particular, has already gained some compensation from BP to keep the mangroves protected.  They are not yet satisfied with the compensation, but it has been a start as there are countless claims against BP they are having to sort through.  They also have begun this cleanup on their own and residents state they are not at all satisfied with how BP has handled the disaster.

The leak is still going on, and the oil is still going to come to shore and likely cause future damage.  If you live in a community where you believe your trees could be affected, act now.  A small change may not seem like a lot, but the effects can take years to see in your trees.  Be preventative as much as possible because when the trees do die from the changes years from now, it will be too late.

Largest Trees on Earth

Author: Blake Linnekin

I became very interested the other day after watching National Geographics television show Explorer: Climbing Redwood Giants.  The show convinced me that getting to the Redwood forrests is definitely on my list of things I would like to get done before I die.  Steven Sillett has spent a large portion of his life dedicated to learning everything there is to know about these gigantic trees.  Ninety-five percent of anceint redwoods have been cut down from logging and protests throughout most of the 1990’s caused significant change in the industry. 

Jim Able is an arborist consultant in the logging industry and practices what is now commonplace for redwoods in California by doing selective logging.  Selective logging has become the ultimate benefit in order to preserve nature and get the most lumber also.  By logging only certain trees in the forrest, other trees are able to get more light and grow faster and healthier.  The ecosystem is unaffected and tree services are able to get the lumber they need.  The inventory of redwoods has started to increase for the first time in centuries due to selective logging. 

Logging redwood trees was a bigger business than gold during the 1800’s as early tree services were able to get an abundant amount of lumber from the trees.  It has remained a big business to the point that the California and Federal government paid $480 million to a logging company in the 1990’s to keep the redwood forrest, mainly Headwaters Grove, preserved. 

These magnificent trees are the tallest organisms on Earth towering to over 350 feet high.  Although it is said that before the last ice age redwood dominated the western hemisphere, they now are found only along the California coastline.  Some of the redwoods still there today have been around for several hundred years, and with the new practices being done by logging companies, these valuable resources appear to be here to stay.

Tree Permits

Author: Blake Linnekin

All around the country, tree permitting is becoming a much more common practice that arborists and consumers need to be aware of.  There is no specific formula for whether or not a tree will need a permit and it can leave homeowners and even sometimes the experts confused.  Many homeowners may not even be aware a permit would be needed for the work they want done on their property.  Some homeowners do not feel they need to obide by the permitting for the property they own.  In these cases, fines can be, and generally are imposed.  The fines can be directed at either the homeowner or the tree service.

Regardless of the cost of removing the tree, the fines can be much larger.  In southern Florida, trimming mangroves without a permit is subject to $10,000 fines for the homeowners.  Contractors have been fined as much as $60,000 per acre for damaging the local species around the Miami-Dade area.  In Milwaukee, a homeowner was issued a $20,000 fine for cutting trees after his plans for a new house he was building were approved.  San Jose has proposed fines of $2000 per year the tree is old meaning a 40 year old tree would be an $80,000 fine.

In many cases the fines are there for good reason and are protecting some valuable trees that cannot be replaced.  Cutting down a 150 year old oak tree is not going to be replaced in any of our lifetimes.  The problem that many places have is that it is difficult to enforce many of the fines they have in place.  Some tree services promote doing the work under the table to help the homeowner avoid paying for permitting.  There are also many governments around that don’t have strict guidelines in force.  Dangerous and hazardous are very subjective terms.  What one person sees as a dangerous tree needing to be removed, another person could see as perfectly safe.  This can also lead to entirely new problems.  In Atlanta, a certified arborist was fired for not being a “team player.”  After further investigation, a little more politics may have been involved.  Questions arose when a permit previously denied was overturned after a few calls were made by someone who worked in a similar division of that government agency.  A homeowner that had a request for tree removal denied by a certified arborist on staff who cited the tree was perfectly healthy, was overturned by the head of the arborist division after the calls were made.  Instances like this make it more difficult for quality tree services to preform tree work legitimately for customers.

The bottom line is everyone needs to be responsible when they are cutting trees for knowing permitting issues.  A certified arborist tends to be more informed about local permits in many circumstances.  Homeowners look to the tree service as the industry professional and that tree service needs to take that respect seriously.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Author: Blake Linnekin

Seems like a simple statement, something that most of us were probably told by our parents many years ago.  The problem is many forget about it along the way or just stop caring to believe it or act it out.  Many tree service professionals run there business by it; however, some by the complete opposite.  Some companies may be caught in between.  Companies trying to go out and do the right thing, but end up “stretching the truth” in order to get by.  What I have always found is that you really are better off going by that old saying our parents all taught us.  There are two areas I have really seen in this area that companies get caught up in.  The first is overselling to get a job and the second is related to the size of the company.

Don’t overpromise and underdeliver.  Everyone wants to have the best salesperson working for them or be the best salesperson.  Close the most jobs, have a high job price, be the best company.  Know that you can’t have every job you go to.  Some you will get and some will go to a competitor.  There is not yet, nor will there be one monopoloy tree service.  What customers want to know more than anything is that they are not going to get ripped off.  After all, who wants to think they have been taken advantage of.  Salespeople need to tell the customer what is really going to happen.  If the job requires equipment going through the yard, tell the customer what it is going to do to the yard.  If you know laying plywood down isn’t going to cut it, tell your customer.  We all are aware that dropping pieces of that 30″ diameter oak is going to leave more than a little divit in the grass.  Let your customer decide to pay extra for everything to be hand carried out or tell them what it will really do to the yard.  Setting your customers expectations are what they really want.  Most customers would rather know up front what they are getting than find out after the job is complete that you saved them some money they would have been ok spending had they been told the truth in the first place. 

Larger companies have the advantage of already having gone through the struggles and having the bankroleto make sure everything is done by the book.  That doesn’t mean that there is no room for smaller companies too.  Smaller companies still have a great marketplace and can coexist with the big companies.  Be honest with your customers and tell them what you are capable of.  Don’t try to be something that you are not. 

Contractors want respect from their clients but remember respect should be earned, not given.  Our whole industry needs to be honest with our customers so we can make this industry better.

I’m Blake, and I have been given the privilege of working as VP here at   As a Certified Arborist myself  the job of talking to and working with the Top Professional Arborist in the Country is very rewarding.  The vision we had for to improve and enhance our industry’s Professional image with the customers is really starting to take shape.  We are dedicated to helping the Industries Top Professionals communicate their professionalism and knowledge, about the care of trees to potential clients.  We want tree care customer to have a good feeling about Tree Care and the Professionals who provide the service. has been growing rapidly and doing much to help Arborist everywhere with the business end of being an Arborist.  As a service business  it all about people working with people and communication.    In every industry there are those contractors who want to make a fast dollar or are disorganization and don’t provide the best service possible.  This can really detract from our  industries image with clients.  There are many Professionals who operate very professionaly and offer customers a second opinion if needed.  This makes a very powerful statement about our industry and promotes the Professional nature of Tree Care.  Tree Care by nature has many very serious and complicated management issues to deal with such as safety.  It is often difficult for clients to understand the cost and value associated with hiring better companies that struggle to balance price, speed and quality.  We are working hard at to help you communicate the challenges you face in providing quality value and safety.  Customers are willing to pay more for quality and safe crew operations when it is communicated and demonstrated to them that we are operating as Professionals.  As Arborist it is our responsibility to demonstrate and communicate our Professionalism  to the customers everywhere. These customers are spending hard earned money to have Trees Cared for year after year and deserve quality and honesty.   I am a Certified Arborist and want the best for “our” Industry.  Our goal at is to provide everyone, both consumers and contractors alike, the best possible experience they can have.

It has been a busy period  and many contractors are becoming aware that the industry is changing.  Most consumers are trying to find the best value from a reputable company.  Whatever your needs, will do its best for you.

You can expect to start to hear from me on a regular basis.  Give me your feedback.  Let me know what you think and what you would like to hear more about.  If you are a potential customer looking for tree tips or a Pro this is the place to find it all out!

I look forward to getting to know everyone our contractors on a personal level and providing everyone with some useful information they can take home with them.