Can vines hurt my trees?

Vines are weeds that compete for light, air and nutrition. This means vines will compete with your tree for these same resources. So yes, most large vines in one way or another will hurt your trees. Some vines will canopy your trees and block the sunlight out. This will cause your trees to die.  Some vines will weigh down your branches, which can cause them to break off. Then there are other types of vines that grow thicker and spread, which can create micro-climates underneath that will rot the trees. 
Any vines climbing your trees should be cut at the base and ripped out by the roots, if possible.  Before cutting the vines, make sure you know what poison ivy and poison oak look like or you could be miserable for weeks.

Should I top my tree?

Tree topping is also known as hat-racking, heading, rounding over, tipping, and buck horning.  No, you should not top your tree. Topping trees damages them. Depending on the tree, some species of trees are a little more likely to recover from the effects of topping than others.  There are other methods of pruning that can accomplish the same goal without killing your trees.  Spiral and canopy thinning can decrease wind resistance by allowing wind to more effectively pass through the tree without causing branches to break.  Thinning also allows for more light and air penetration, which is important for the health of the tree.

Why should I trim my trees?

There are many reasons to trim your trees.

  1.  You want the wind to be able to blow through the tree without blowing the tree over or breaking the limbs of the tree.
  2. You want the sun to be able to penetrate and reach lower branches, as well as circulate more freely.
  3. Some large trees, like oak trees with large limbs, need to be thinned to reduce the risk of breaking during acorn season due to the shear weight of thousands of acorns.
  4. Others simple reasons range from your lawn man loving you if he is not bumping his head on the limbs and just for good general cosmetics.

Should I trim my palms or leave it natural?

Yes, you should always trim your palm.  An untrimmed palm is the nastiest tree in your yard.  If you don’t keep your palm lightly trimmed and well conditioned, you will always have a host of problems.  Roaches and palmetto bugs love living in palms.  Rats and squirrels love to nest in dirty palms as well.  If palm trees have not been cleaned and maintained regularly, even opossums can be found hiding in them. Watch out! Palms can also attract bats!  Cosmetically, a clean palm looks like Disney world instead of Sleepy Hollow.

What problems can limbs over my house cause?

As the wind blows, the offending branch will rub across the shingles and wear them down. The roof damage caused by this friction can be expensive and extensive.  Limbs hanging over the roof can also fill your gutters with leaves and cause mildew spots from the sunlight not being able to get through. This is bad because mildew will cause the wood under the shingles to rot prematurely.  I don’t have time to tell you all the problems, but I will tell you the main issues. Consider this: A limb touching your roof is not only a hazard, it is a ladder for rats, opossums and squirrels. Once rats, opossums, squirrels, and raccoons get on your roof, they can push up and get through the over hangs into your attic. Once inside your attic, they can destroy insulation with feces and urine. Rats and squirrels are notorious for chewing on wire and causing house fires. So if your house is not in foreclosure, keep them trees trimmed! Trimming trees will also reduce property damage – even though some shade can help reduce your electric bill, so too much can become very costly.

Will Spanish moss kill my trees?

Very seldom will Spanish moss by itself kill trees.  It’s not like a flea on a dog that sucks its nutrition from its host – Spanish moss is an air born plant.  It absorbs nutrition from the air and water from rainfall.  Although it does reduce the growth rate of trees by blocking sunlight from reaching your tree’s leaves, it is not what is probably killing your tree.  What Spanish moss does do to a tree is increase wind resistance, which can damages a tree during high wind storms. It has also been known to be used as a filling for voodoo dolls. I highly recommend that unless your making voodoo dolls that you have it removed from your trees, as your trees will be a lot healthier.

A limb is touching my electrical wire, what should I do?

Electric lines from the power pole to the house in most areas is the home owners responsibility.  Usually the power company just worries about the high voltage lines going down your street.  The only time the power company seems to be concerned with the lines from the pole to your house is after its already on the ground.  Anytime a power line is touching a tree, you should get it trimmed off the line. This is because if the wind blows the tree limb, the limb can rub the coating off the line and cause your house to short out, start a fire, or destroy anything plugged into an outlet.  Any trees over or around the power line should be properly trimmed and pruned.

Where should I plant my tree?

This would be easier if I told you where not to plant your tree.  Don’t plant your tree too close to your sidewalk because roots can lift the sidewalk. Also, as the tree gets bigger you will be doing weekly maintenance just so your neighbors can walk past. 
Do not plant a tree too close to your driveway. Root systems can damage your driveway and debris from your planted tree will be fall in your driveway and on your car. 

Do not plant your tree too close to your house. You do not want branches rubbing on your roof, filling gutters, or having the root system damage your foundation. 

Do not plant your tree over or too close to septic tanks or drain fields.  This could end up costing you $5,000 or more.  Do not plant your tree too close to other trees.. Remember, these trees will get bigger and you don’t want two trees growing into each other. 

Never plant a tree too close to your irrigation lines. Just remember, that cute little $20 dollar tree you plant today might end up costing $1,000 or more to remove in 20 years.  I know most of us don’t think that far ahead, but when you are receiving your social security payments $1,000 is a lot of money.

I have several trees growing every which way, what should I do?

Sounds to me like you have too many trees competing for sunlight.  Trees are going to fight for sunlight. I’ve seen trees almost grow sideways trying to reach out for sunlight.  What I would do is thin out the trees depending on their size. I would look at the cluster of trees and pick out the healthiest one. Then I would cut between a 5 foot to 20 foot radius around the tree, depending on the tree sizes.  Trees will grow much better if they are not overcrowded.  Trees are fighting for nutrients and sunlight, and it is better to have 1 big healthy tree than 20 little weak and scraggly trees.  Most counties require you to have at least 3 shade trees on a small property.  Everyone should have plenty of trees growing in their yard, but spacing is everything.

Why should I have 2 trees in my yard 10 ft apart?

To give your tree trimmers boss a place to hang his hammock!

What is mistletoe?

Mistletoe is a parasite that relies on its host for water and mineral nutrition. This basically means mistletoe will suck the life out of your tree. If you cut the mistletoe out of the tree, it will just come back. In the tree business, we call a tree with mistletoe a dead tree standing because eventually it will kill the tree.  There are two reasons you should remove a tree with mistletoe. The first reason is to prevent the spread from tree to tree by squirrels and birds who will spread the mistletoe from one tree to another.  Another reason is mistletoe will weaken your tree branches causing them to break and fall, which could cause property damage.

Some companies say free estimates and some say free tree inspection. Why?

What is the difference between a free estimate and a tree inspection? A free estimate is when you tell your tree cutter what you want done and your tree cutter tells you how much it is going to cost. A free tree inspection is when a tree company comes by and actually inspects your tree for bugs, damage, mistletoe, and so on. A good tree inspector will dig around the bottom of your tree and make sure carpenter ants aren’t hollowing out your tree. Inspectors that know what they are doing and are doing a thorough job will also look for cracks and stresses, holes, and hollowed out trees. Large limbs that should be thinned out, fungus amongst branches that can be damaged by 45 mph wind, and hanging broken limbs called “Widowmakers” are also important red flag items that a good inspector will notice. If any of these are present, the inspector should inform you and give an estimate on what needs to be done to protect your property. At this point, it is ultimately up to you to make a decision.

My neighbor’s tree overhangs my property. What should I do?

Legally, if it is over your property, you can cut it back to your property line. However, then you have to pay for it. If you have a good neighbor, they might split the cost with you. If they are a really good neighor, they will pay to cut the trees back to where the trees are not bothering you.

My neighbor has a dead tree that could hurt my property if it falls. What can I do?

The first thing to do is to inform them the tree is dead. This dead tree is a threat to your property. Depending on the neighbor, this will go smoothly and your neighbor will take care of it. If they choose not to do so, you can call code enforcement, and they will come out and assess the risk. Code enforcement will usually give your neighbor a notice to remove the tree. If your neighbor does not remove the tree, the tree will be removed, and a lien will be put on their property until the bill is paid.

How much does it cost to remove a tree?

The price can vary from $50 to $4,500. Why? There are many factors that must be evaluated. Some things that must be considered are the size of the tree and any obstacles like power lines and fences. Is the tree in the front yard or the back yard? How close is it to the garage or the house? Are there things like rose bushes that can be damaged in the process of clearing the tree? How far must debris be hauled away? Can the loading trucks be backed up to the tree? Is there a septic tank in the way? Is the tree alive or dead? Do you need a bucket truck, crane, or can the tree be climbed? Is a permit required?

There are so many things to take into consideration. If a tree company gives a quote over the phone, do not use them. It just shows you that they do not have a clue.

What tree company should I hire?

Jon Davis Tree Service 352-799-3494

If they are not available in your area, you should get three estimates. Any company coming to give you an estimate should have on hand insurance papers, proof of bond, and a license. If they tell you it’s in their other truck or they will bring it when they do the job, cross them off your list. We all carry our paperwork with us. After showing them what you want done, ask them what they recommend you do for the safety of your property. Ask them what else they do besides trees. If they go into a host of other things like mowing yards, pulling weeds, mulching, or painting driveways, cross them off your list. Real tree men just do trees and maybe hedges. Another good idea, when you’re talking to your tree guy is to walk up and lean on his truck while talking to him. If there is a beer can in the back of the truck, cross them off your list. He might be a better drinking buddy than tree man. It’s not necessarily the best price you should be after. If you feel something eerie about your estimator, go with your gut feeling and cross them off your list. Don’t pay attention to discounts. Most companies are no different than any other business. If they entice you with a ten percent discount, they raised your price 10 percent before the quote. if a 10 percent discount was a real reality for that job, they would have cut the employees’ salary by 10 percent on that job. Don’t feel uncomfortable asking them questions.

How much of a deposit should I give my tree man?


Never pay a tree company until the job is totally complete. If he asks for money up front, he is trying to lock you in. He is either overbooked and can’t be there for a month or he might not even come back. One way to ensure a good cleanup is to not pay him until you’ve inspected his work. This includes inspecting sprinklers for damage and making sure all debris has been removed. Before payment, do not let him tell you his sprinkler guy will be over to fix your sprinklers. You might never see his sprinkler guy.

What can I look for to keep from being scammed.

Most of the tree scammers are door knockers. This is someone coming to your door asking if you need tree service . Don’t get me wrong, there are respectable tree guys that will door knock. Please remember, all legitimate tree companies will have signs on their trucks with phone number, license numbers, and their name. Don’t use any tree company asking for a deposit up front on a job under $10,000. Do not give them any upfront money if they say, “Well I got half the job done let me get half of the money.” Tell them they will get the money when the job is complete. Recently here in Hernando County Florida, there was a tree guy from Tennessee going to garage sales and getting chainsaws that didn’t run. He would scrub them up and clean them up to make them look new. He would go to a customer’s house, start working, and then ask the customer if he could leave three saws in their garage while he went and got a new chain for the his other saw. He would ask for his money up front since he was leaving a thousand dollars with you and only doing a $300 job. No one would leave a thousand dollars in chainsaws behind and stiff you, right? Wrong. What happened is he would never come back to do the jobs, and the customer bought 3 broken chain saws for $300. That’s just one of a whole host of scams I’ve seen. So just remember this, the only way to ensure the job will be done completely is to not pay until you inspect the job.

What can I do to make my tree mans job easier

  1. Prior to having your work done, remove anything under or around the work area you don’t want damaged.
  2. The worst thing you can do is try to tell him how to do his job. Remember, even though you’ve had five or six trees removed before, this man does it every day for a living. There are several techniques for working on trees even though your last man may have done it a different way.
  3. Its always nice to have ice cold water on hand for your tree guys.
  4. Please do not feed them. They won’t turn into gremlins, but it will make them tired. It doesn’t matter if you watch them or not, but if you get too close to them or their equipment it slows down productivity. This is frowned upon.
  5. Please keep dogs, cats, and other animals inside. Also, please keep kids in the house. It’s for their protection and to keep things from slowing down as they have to stop to make sure no one gets hurt.
  6. One of the worst things you can do is to wait for the climber to get all way down to the ground before asking him can you remove that one limb at the top of the tree.
  7. Don’t be an adder. This is someone that keeps adding extra work on that wasn’t part of the original quote without adding any additional money. A limb here or a limb there isn’t bad, but when you start walking around saying, “Can you get this one more? Can you get this one?” Then half an hour later, you are still asking for one more limb. All of these requests can turn into a whole new job.
  8. Make sure you inspect everything prior to paying. Tree companies don’t want to send a crew back out to get one more limb. It’s not cost effective.
  9. Only call three companies for estimates. The worst thing you can do is call all 16 tree companies in town to trim one palm tree. Remember, this is hard work. The focus needs to be on what they’re doing.
  10. Never tell them come sit down and to take a break. They know when to take a break.

When should I sign a contract with the tree service?

Remember, you should always get three estimates. If the first guy comes out and is trying to pressure you to sign a contract, don’t sign it. Wait for your other two estimates. Usually, if they’re trying to pressure you to sign a contract now, the price is too high. Before signing a contract, read it carefully. My contract just states that you will pay for work after its done. In contrast, I have seen contracts from other tree companies saying that they are not responsible for sprinklers, breaking underground piping, ripping out wires during stump grinding, busting curbs with trucks, or cracking driveways. If it says all this, don’t sign the contract. These kind of contracts only protect the tree company and not the homeowner. Anything broken by the tree company should be repaired by the tree company.

Why do I need a professional to trim my trees?

Because a professional is just that. He has been trained to ensure your trees have been delicately handled and your trees livelihood has not been compromised. Someone who is inexperienced may not only injure your tree, but him or herself. A professional is dedicated 100% to your tree’s safety. Professionals have the correct licenses, insurance, and are bonded. Unprofessional tree cutters guess, where a professional will use his knowledge.