Evaluating Your Trees

I recommend tree removal where there is (or will be) a poor match between the tree and the site it is growing on. What is a poor match? First, consider your land, all the structures on it, and what you desire from your land. Do you want a wooded lot? A large lawn? A vegetable garden? Are the trees you have part of enhancing or protecting those structures and implementing your vision for your land or will they interfere with it? If they interfere, you have a poor match. Do something now to take advantage of Just Small Trees, LLC services, not in 5 or 10 years when the problems are much more expensive to fix.

Remember, well-matched trees increase your enjoyment of your property and your property’s value,  while poorly-matched trees do the opposite.


First Glance at Your Trees

Take a walk around your home and property. For trees near your house, look at each tree individually and consider the potential problems below. If you have a large number of trees elsewhere on your property, you can look at them in groups to save time.


Poor Site Problems

  • Poorly Located (Damaging): The tree threatens or will threaten structures such as a foundation, patio, or deck due to root flare and trunk growth.
  • Poorly Located (Annoying): The tree produces messy fruit, flowers, or leaves that are problem in the current location. Examples are gumballs from sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) in a lawn or fruit from red mulberry (Morus rubra) staining a deck.
  • Site Use Interference: The tree shades or will shade a lawn, garden, or other plants. Roots of such a tree will also reduce water available to other plants.
  • Construction: The tree’s roots have been destroyed due to soil grading or extensive digging.

Poor Tree Problems

  • Diseased or Damaged: The tree is diseased or damaged now and not worth saving or can’t be saved.
  • Ugly: Some trees you just don’t like. Remove them now, get relief, and save money in the long run.
  • Poor Adaptability: I often cut down black cherry (Prunus serotina) trees from the Wake County area. Why? Despite being a good tree in the NC mountains, this tree grows poorly in the local heat and humidity. Add in eastern tent caterpillars during the summer and you end up with a tree having bad foliage, bad form, and numerous health issues.
  • Potential Breakage: Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana) has ugly, poor branch structure that is prone to ripping the trunk when branches break due to wind or ice. Why wait? Cut it down and replace it with something better.

Removal vs Pruning

If you have a good tree species but the site match is just so-so, pruning is a good option. The most important thing with pruning is to start early in the tree’s life. It is impossible to turn a large, healthy, mature tree into a small, healthy, mature tree. Attempt to do so and you will get a tree that will decline and die over the next several years.

Pruning a good tree is worthwhile. For example, my parents have a large willow oak (Quercus phellos) about 20 feet from their house. At close to 70 feet tall and with a trunk diameter of 3 feet it requires pruning every several years to get branches off the house and roof. Regular pruning, starting years ago, is the only reason this beautiful specimen has been able to safely coexist with their house.

Overall, I don’t recommend pruning to make a tree stay smaller unless you are prepared to invest in yearly pruning of the tree for the entire life of the tree. An example would be an apple tree grown for fruit, a more extreme example a bonsai tree. If you don’t want to prune so often, remove the tree when it’s small and put something better in it’s place.

Tree Planting Service

Need a tree for your yard? Looking for a tree selected and planted with care? I can help you.

Total price = Tree price + Installation price

I install customer provided trees and plants for the installation price only, though I provide no warranty on customer provided trees and plants.

Tree Pricing

Trees I provide are selected from area nurseries. I personally approve the trees after observing the roots, root flare, trunk, branch spacing, and overall health of the tree. Tree pricing depends on the tree variety and size. Please contact me to get a quote for a specific variety.

Please note: Once I’ve ordered your tree, there is up to a 25% cancellation fee (based on the tree price only) for cancellations. Once I’ve received your tree, there is no cancellation on the tree and it will be delivered to your property.

Installation Pricing

Container Size Installation Price, Basic Installation Price with Sod Removal
<1 gal $5.00 $10.00
1 gal $10.00 $15.00
3 gal $20.00 $30.00
5 gal $30.00 $40.00
7 gal $30.00 $40.00
10 gal $45.00 $60.00
15 gal $60.00 $75.00
20 gal $75.00 $100.00
25 gal $100.00 $130.00

Installation Service includes

  • 811 called. Note: 811 only marks utilities. I cannot take responsibility for any underground systems unless they are marked. This includes (but isn’t limited to): irrigation, landscape lighting, security, septic, and water from the main to the home.
  • Clear ground where plants will go. Sod removal is extra.
  • Remove loose bark and sand as texture of plant’s roots permits.
  • Prune out damaged, encircling, and girdling roots.
  • Locate root flare to determine planting depth. Plant root flare 1-2 inches above ground to account for settling.
  • Dig a proper size hole, typically two to three times the container size and at depth determined by root flare. If the tree is going into or next to the spot of a removed tree, please see below under Installation Service Extras.
  • Backfill with location soil and 50/50 native topsoil/compost blend.
  • Cover with 2-3 inches of triple-shred hardwood bark mulch. Leave open space immediately around trunk.
  • Prune out damaged, dead, or very poorly located branches. In most cases, pruning should be limited until the next year to improve tree recovery.
  • After-care watering instructions.

Installation Service Extras

Tree for Tree – Replacing a tree in the same spot as a removed tree. This may require additional grinding, extensive digging, removal of old tree grindings, and replacement soil. Priced on a per job basis.
Clearing – Sod removal and disposal or extensive clearing of ground for plants beyond what is needed for planting itself.
Mulching – Mulching placed beyond what is needed for the planting itself.
Staking – Staking is not usually needed, but is available.
Fertilizing – Slow release fertilizer tablets installed per product directions, not recommended in most cases.
Soil Testing – Mass planting or high value trees may benefit from site soil testing.
Design Fee – Installation prices are based on customer generally knowing what plants and where. More extensive consulting and design work is available.


Plant Warranty

1 year covering plant and labor to re-install. Limited to one replacement of equal or lesser value. Please contact me as soon as possible if you believe a plant is not doing well or you have questions about care.

Warranty Applies To – Plants purchased by Just Small Trees, LLC. Customer supplied plants are not warrantied. The full plant warranty is offered on a job-by-job basis, on container-grown plants only, and may not be available for plants installed in difficult locations, on difficult to transplant species, or on plants that typically do poorly in central-NC conditions.

A partial (labor-only) warranty is offered on ball-and-burlap plants.

Warranty Covers – Plants that decline or die despite reasonable care. Trees that are blown over in high winds will be put upright within the warranty time frame at no charge.

Warranty Does Not Cover – Damage from acts of God or extreme weather conditions, theft, 3rd party damage, improper watering, improper pruning, neglect, abuse, or animal damage.

Log Bucking in Raleigh

A customer had me out to remove a dead pine tree, broken & hung-up, that was in danger of collapsing onto his home. That worked completed, he had me back out a week later to buck up all of the fallen wood on his property.

Log bucking is simply cutting wood into shorter lengths that can later be split for firewood or used in outdoor fire pits. Generally the lengths are from 12 to 16 inches, depending. I don’t do splitting. I do stack, but the customer didn’t want that in this case.

Thanks to the more powerful equipment I use and the tools I have for handling timber I was able to cut up everything on his lot in 2.5 hours. In all I bucked Oak ranging from 6 to 12 inches in diameter, Pine from 4 to 16 inches, and large Tulip Poplar up to 22 inches that had fallen in a storm. When you have many fallen trees and a small chainsaw, it can save you many, many hours to use the log bucking service I offer.

Bucked Pine and Oak
Bucked Pine and Oak 2

Pruning Service

I offer pruning for small trees, fruit trees, ornamental trees, and shrubs such as Roses, Privets, and Figs. You can find more details on my Services page. My goal is to prune to arboricultural standards while meeting your requirements as closely as possible. So I prune for the health of the tree, with proper cuts, and at the proper times. This means I don’t top Crapemyrtles or prune Azaleas in the fall.

Here is a ‘Red Delicious’ Apple Tree (Malus domestica) I pruned in March 2015. This was right before bud break with pictures just two weeks later as the buds began to break.

front-pre
Apple, pre-pruning from the front
side-pre
Apple, pre-pruning
side-post
Apple, post-pruning
side-post-spring
Apple, post-pruning, bud break

This tree is at least 35 years old and in fairly good condition with only one major defect in the trunk and strong leaf out each year. The tree hadn’t been pruned in a few years, so there was a lot of extra growth.

Why not prune more? The general rule of thumb is no more than 1/4 of the canopy in a year (1/3 for shrubs). Also, the tree is older and is in fairly good, but not great condition. Pruning doesn’t make a tree grow larger, but young trees can take a lot pruning because they don’t have a lot of mass to maintain. Very mature trees often have a precarious energy balance where pruning just a small portion of the canopy causes the tree to go into decline.

The tree produced few, if any, blooms in 2015. It was a heavy pruning and I knocked a lot of the buds off working in the tree to gain access for all the cuts. Had the pruning been done in January, perhaps the buds would have been in a firmer state. The tree produced great leaves, though, and in 2016 had a good crop of fruit.

Unfortunately, it’s the last of the three apple trees originally planted in the location and pollination is more difficult now. Here is an article on Apple Tree pollination.

For more information on pruning, see the Trees Are Good website.

Shrub Removal Service

Have a house built in the last 20 years? You’ll find that the builders in almost every case installed shrubs far too close to your foundation. Now you’ve got 10 foot Hollies growing against your siding blocking airflow, 15 foot Viburnums you keep hacking back because you can’t access your hose, Loropetalum growing over your foot path, or Euonymous that just look bad.

It’s time to make your landscape match your wonderful house by planting shrubs you actually want to look at, varieties that grow to the size you want, and by planting them 3 to 8 feet off of your foundation.

First, you’ve got to get rid of the old, nasty ones. You can hire someone to cut them down to the base, but you’ll still have stumps left. These stumps will grow back unless you apply herbicide and then they’ll still take years to decay.

Instead, hire Just Small Trees to remove your shrubs AND their stumps. I bring the usual qualifications (insured, certified, & licensed) plus I add four traits that allow me to offer you excellent pricing on shrub removal:

  1. I’m strong.
  2. I have excellent tools.
  3. I know how builders plant shrubs.
  4. I know how shrubs grow in response to number 3.

It may take you two hours, a broken shovel, and some mild swearing to remove one 8 foot Privet. I can get it out in 30 minutes and then dispose of it so you don’t have a big pile of yard waste sitting around; stumps of which decay slowly and don’t burn well.

Shrub Removal Pricing:

  • My regular prices apply to Aucuba, Buddleja (Butterfly Bush), Buxus (Boxwood), Callicarpa (Beautyberry), Camelia, Euonymous, Ficus (Fig), Forsythia, Ilex (Holly), Juniperus (Juniper), Lagerstroemia (Crapemyrtle), Ligustrum (Privet), Pittosporum, Rhododendron (Azalea), Rosemarinus (Rosemary), Syringa (Lilac), Ternstroemia (False Cleyera), Vaccinium (Blueberry), and Viburnum.
  • I have lower prices on Berberis (Barberry), Hydrangea, Loropetalum, and Nandina (Heavenly Bamboo) because of their shallow roots.
  • I have higher prices on Ilex cornuta (Chinese Holly), Phyllostachys (Bamboo), Pyracantha, and Rosa (Rose) because of their dense thorns or difficult stumps.
  • Prices for older shrubs are higher than younger ones of similar size because the stumps will be bigger, even if the shrubs have been pruned to the same height every year.