Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tree Service: Japanese Maple Trees, Planting & Maintenance

Who doesn't love a beautiful, colorful Japanese Maple Tree? So many of our customers love them, we thought we'd pass along the very basics of planting and maintenance of these little gems.

Care of Japanese Maples can produce beautiful results!

LOCATION: Japanese Maple Trees are very susceptible to full sun. They prefer a nice shady spot, although early morning sun is also suitable.

SEASONALITY: Spring is a vulnerable time for Japanese Maples. New growth is always at the mercy of a late Spring frost. If your tree is small enough, cover it to protect the new growth from frost. Never transplant your Japanese Maple Tree in Spring. Fall is a peak season, displayed by beautiful crimson leaves. The perfect time to transplant the tree, if necessary. Remove dead leaves that cling to branches before heavy frost. To avoid snapped branches in Winter, do not let branches freeze to the ground. If there is a layer of ice on the tree, use extreme caution when brushing snow off the tree top (recommended). The ice means the branches themselves are frozen and vulnerable to breakage. Do not try to remove the ice from the branches!

PLANTING: Mulch about 3" of shredded bark (hard wood) will insulate the trees and prevent water from evaporating. Keep mulch a few inches away from the trunk to allow for air circulation. Japanese Maples are best planted in fall, about 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes. This allows the roots a chance to establish themselves. Sufficient water in this early stage is crucial! (see "WATERING" for guidance)

AVOID:  Planting Japanese Maple Trees near a hot springs area, as this can invite fungal damage, like Botrytis, Pseudomonas and Fusarium. Avoid using fertilizer on these trees, especially salt-based. And, of course, avoid over- and under-watering. As mentioned above, avoid afternoon full sun. 

WATERING: Water extremely well twice per week. Newly planted or container-grown Japanese Maples will need more water, so watering around 4 times per week is needed when the tree is in a more delicate state.

FERTILIZER: Generally, Japanese Maple Trees do not need fertilizer. If you think it may be sick, feed it kelp meal or something similarly rich in trace elements.

MAINTENANCE: Good air circulation, soil drainage and sanitation practices will help prevent many issues with your Japanese Maple Tree.

PRUNING: Late Summer, early Fall is a Japanese Maple's favorite time for pruning. Start at the base of the tree and work from the inside out, cleaning out small twigs growing along the trunk and major branches, dead wood, and crossed/rubbing branches. Stand back and take stock (or should we say "stalk"? :) of your tree's shape. Look at what you may do to improve its form, if anything. IMPORTANT: Before making each cut, study where the branch goes and visualize the tree without it. Cut just above a live bud or just in front of the collar (small ridge where one branch attaches to another).

LEAF TIP BURN: Don't panic! Usually burnt tips are caused from over- or under-watering, an under-developed root system (newly planted) or too much fertilizer (especially salt-based!). Shade and healthy watering practices help. Some results you may have to live with for the rest of the season.

DROPPED LEAVES: By dropping its leaves, the tree is protecting itself and telling you it is not getting enough water. Maples have a secondary set of leaves just for such occasion. So you get a second chance!

If you need our help with a Japanese Maple, or any other type of tree, feel free to call us at (707) 449-8653 or visit 

Signature Tree Service is owned by Curtis Fosnaugh, one of Northern California's most reputable Certified Arborists & Certified Tree Risk Assessors. Curtis takes pride in his workmanship from customer care to highest safety standards to immaculate clean-up upon each completed job. Signature Tree Service is proud to hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. As a member of the California Arborists Association, The Tree Care Industry Association and the International Society of Arboriculture, Signature Tree Service is committed to the health of trees and their environment.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Signature Tree minimizes liability.
Hiring a quality contractor of any type is almost equal parts faith, luck and reputation. Signature Tree Service tries extremely hard to stand heads above our competitors. We are, above everything else, committed to customer satisfaction. Sound cliche? Maybe. But cliche or not, Curtis (and his fast growing team) doesn't really have time to care about cliches...he's too busy being concerned with more important things, like quality workmanship and employee safety.

How do you know that the tree service company you hire won't have an accident on the job? Since accidents are virtually unpredictable, the best you can do is reduce that chance as much as possible and, if the unfortunate does happen, minimize your liability. We hope these 5 questions will help you do just that.

5 Questions To Ask Any Tree Service Company Before Hiring Them

1. Will you be sending a certified, professional arborist?
A professional arborist has the highest level of training, experience and knowledge available. They tend to do it right the first time. 

2. Are you locally owned and operated?
National companies may be reputable but hiring a locally owned and operated business keeps more of your dollars in our local economies.

3. Are all your employees on payroll? 
The liability is ultimately that of the property owner. It is important that you know who is working on your property, especially in such a dangerous situation

4. Can you show proof of that payroll?
If they can't provide proof, enough said.

5. Will you provide proof of Workman's Comp. for every employee on my property?  One word = liability. Do NOT let anyone be climbing ladders, trees, or anything else on your property without seeing proof of Workman's Comp coverage. Any professional tree service company should be proud to show you this!  

 In our industry, "better safe than sorry" is a mantra. When you consider the consequences of an accident on your suits, asset loss, time loss, etc., it's easy to see why. The more you have, the more you have to lose. 

Signature Tree Service can always provide a "yes" to the questions above, minimizing our client's liability and maximizing their satisfaction. If you need our help, feel free to call us at (707) 449-8653 or visit