Next time you’re out checking on your commercial property landscaping, look up.
How are your trees? Might be time to check in.
"Most of the time customers focus on their landscaping with their eyes down — plants, grass, mulch,” says Joey Schneider, regional manager at Level Green Landscaping. “They’re not looking up at the largest landscaping investment they have, which is trees.”
Your trees need maintenance, too. Do you have a budget plan for commercial tree service?
Schneider walks us through it.
Commercial Tree Service: Plan for Your Trees’ Needs
“When we ask new customers about their tree budget, some say, ‘What do you mean?’” Schneider says. “They really haven’t thought about it. Trees are often out of sight, out of mind.
“People think you plant a tree, and that’s it — it just grows for 100 years,” Schneider says. “Well, that’s fine if the tree is in a forest. But in landscaping, pruning a tree throughout its lifetime will maintain its nice shape and health and makes your property look even better.”
Many properties in Maryland, Virginia, and DC have trees that are 10, 20, 40, even 60 years old, Schneider says, towering 30 or 40 feet tall.
That means dead or dying branches that can tumble, causing significant damage. Routine commercial tree pruning takes those dangerous branches out before they fall.
Most landscape maintenance contracts don’t include routine care for trees taller than 12 feet, Schneider says.
“That’s what we can reach from the ground with pole pruners or a pole saw,” he says. If crews have to climb a ladder or use a bucket truck, that requires a different level of insurance coverage. A commercial tree service specializes in that. Level Green partners with trusted area tree companies to provide tree work for customers.
But what if you have 50 or 100 trees on your commercial property? Pruning them all can get costly. So Level Green account managers work with customers to create a manageable commercial tree pruning plan and budget, Schneider says.
First Up: The Assessment
What’s going on out there with your five, 10, or 100 trees? Schneider says there are three maintenance categories:
1. Immediate Needs
Are there any emergencies that need immediate attention? That includes large dead branches close to buildings, sidewalks, or parking lots that could topple at any time. Or commercial tree removal for dead trees that can’t be saved. Those crucial needs are addressed right away.
2. Problems That Can Wait
“If there’s dead wood in a tree out in a field, that’s not as serious as if it’s by a sidewalk,” he says.
3. Routine Maintenance
All trees need occasional pruning. And many benefit from raising their canopies — pruning lower branches or thinning branches to let more sunlight through.
Sometimes that’s not just to help the tree, but to impact what’s underneath it.
“A property manager might tell us, ‘This property used to look great 20 years ago, but now the turf looks terrible,’” Schneider says. “Well, the trees were new then. Now they’re bigger and they’re shading the grass. You need to open up the tree canopies so sunlight can come through.” Commercial tree pruning can make a huge difference.
Budgeting for Commercial Tree Service
“You need a separate component of your budget to manage trees, just like you would for your roof or your lawn,” Schneider says. “We help customers make a plan.
“Maybe they have 100 trees that are 15 years old,” he says. “Over the next five years we’ll do 20 trees a year. That makes the cost much more manageable than waiting five years and pruning 100 trees at once.”
Spend Now, Save Later
“If you maintain your trees over time, that should reduce your costs in the long run,” Schneider says. “You won’t be taking out as many trees in an emergency situation.”
If a large tree falls on your property and you need emergency commercial tree removal on a weekend, that’s really expensive, Schneider says.
“If it falls on a car, that becomes an insurance and liability issue.”
Many municipalities require a certain number of trees on properties, Schneider says.
“If you lose one, you have to replace it,” he says. “It’s more expensive to replace a tree than to maintain it to be healthy.”
In DC it can take several months to get approval to remove a dead tree, he says.
“Meanwhile, you have a dead tree in front of your property. Most property managers would rather have a live tree out front.
“Healthy trees make an aesthetic difference and that drives property values,” Schneider says. “ You don’t want several half-dead oaks on your property.”
Extra Help for Urban Trees
City trees have extra needs, Schneider says.
“It’s a hostile environment,” he says. “There's heat, there’s little water. Some trees are planted in a 5 by 5 box.
“Some properties just replace their trees every five or 10 years but with a little extra help they can stay healthy,” Schneider says. “Deep root fertilization can help them grow in a difficult environment.”
Deep root tree fertilization injects nutrients directly deep into the soil, rather than spreading fertilizer over the top.
By injecting the fertilizer with high pressure, the nutrients can reach the deepest tree roots fast, feeding your tree from the roots up.
The tree gets an immediate nutrition boost. Then, over time, the nutrients make their way to the rest of the tree, making it healthier and more vibrant.
Commercial Tree Pruning: Don’t Ignore It
“If you have a tree problem and you ignore it, it’s not going away,” Schneider says. “It’ll just be a bigger, more expensive problem later.”
A better plan: take care of them along the way.
Schneider tells of Level Green client the University of Maryland, that has a nationally recognized arboretum on the tree-filled property.
“There are three or four people on their staff whose job is just to maintain the trees,” he says. “All those beautiful old trees you see are not an accident.”
Plan Your Commercial Tree Service with Level Green
It’s easy to take trees for granted. You look up, and there they are, offering shade, flowering in the spring, making your property look great.
Make sure they’re always there, with a solid plan and budget for commercial tree service.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you.