Tree Preparation for Storms and Hazardous Weather

Tree fall through home during severe weather

Major late winter storms have wreaked havoc on the Northeast, while bringing more rain to the Southeast. From coastal storm surge and flooding to record setting snowfall and downed trees that have caused power outages, catastrophic property damage and loss of life.

With trees, preparation and preventative measures are key to their survival of severe weather. However, even the most well prepared landscape can suffer tree damage or loss in a major weather event.

Before the next storm strikes, the Todd’s Marietta Tree Services team outlined measures to help prevent your trees from causing catastrophic property damage (or worse) during major storms.

Tree Health, Inspection, and Diagnosis

Tree health and disease prevention begins with proper seasonal maintenance, watering, and pruning. Inspecting your trees needs to be a part of the seasonal routine. Through regular inspections, you will be able to detect problems before they have a chance to develop and compromise your tree’s health.

Whether it be dieback, holes from burrowing insects, mushrooms growing on the trunk or suckers randomly popping up, when you spot trouble, immediate action should be taken to halt the issue. Immediate action is necessary to preserve the health and integrity of your tree(s).

In situations where you are uncertain of what to look for or which actions to take, call in a professional tree service to inspect, evaluate, and explain the different courses of action that can be taken to resolve the issue(s).

Trees Too Close to Power Lines

We’ve all been through it. The rain starts, the wind blows, the storm strengthens, and the power goes out. Generally, the power goes out during a storm when a tree falls and severs a power line connection or disrupts a transformer.

If a tree is growing close enough to power lines that it is in constant contact, touches them when the wind blows, or is an overstory tree that is threatening to fall, here are some suggestions for the handling of that tree.

Tree on Your Property – If the tree is on your property and is interfering with power lines, be very cautious. Trees can become energized when in contact with power lines and cause severe injury or electrocution.

Pruning or cutting back the tree on your own is highly discouraged. Call in a reputable tree service to evaluate the situation and recommend a safe course of action.

In the event that action must be taken, in some cases the power company will be called out to cut the power supply until the tree pruning, cutting, or removal has been completed.

Your Neighbor’s Trees – If you see a neighbor’s tree that is or could interfere with power lines, notify and communicate with them on the issue. Educate your neighbor about the risks and danger that the tree(s) poses, and encourage them to contact the power company.

You are not required to get approval, so if the neighbor does not take immediate action, or the property is abandoned, contact the power company and inform them of the threatening tree(s).

Both you and the power company have an interest in preventing a tree from falling on the lines, so do not hesitate, as a broken line means an inconvenience and loss of power for your neighborhood.

Trees In an HOA Community – If you live in a community with a Home Owner’s Association, they may already have a contract with a local tree service. When you spot an interfering tree within the community, inform the HOA of the location. They will then serve notice to the property owner or take action themselves.

Public Trees – If you spot a tree that is interfering with power lines along the street or on public property, notify the power company of the location. They will dispatch a crew to resolve the issue through their right-of-way and vegetation management division.

Georgia Power’s right-of-way and vegetation management can be reached here, or by phone toll free at 1-888-660-5890 (dial option 1 for dangerous conditions)

Trees Too Close to Your House

When trees overhang a portion of your roof or have grown big enough to cause significant property damage, the following will help prevent a catastrophic tree emergency event during severe weather.

Routine Pruning and Care – The closer a tree is to your home, the more attention it should get. Make sure it is properly pruned according to the right time for its species. Inspect the tree often for signs of trouble and take action when you see something wrong.

Landscaping and Land Disturbance – If you have landscaping that requires heavy machinery, it is important to protect the roots of the tree from compacted soil.

TIP: Heavy machinery and equipment should not be allowed on the land surrounding a tree – from the trunk to the outer edge of the canopy.

Also, be aware that removing concrete slabs like those in walkways or driveways may result in your tree falling. As the roots grow beneath, the structure becomes a part of the tree’s support system. Always seek the advice of an experienced and reputable tree service when planning to cut trees, plant or redo your landscape.

Trees and the Weather

While trees are very capable of adapting to their location and responsive to the climate they grow in, severe weather will often challenge the strength and health of your trees.

Palm trees in strong wind and severe weather

Inclement weather and intense storms are primarily dangerous due to lightning, high-speed winds, and their ability to topple trees into power lines and on to structures.

It is up to property owners to ensure continuous vigilance and tree care to prevent catastrophic emergency tree events that result in severe property damage, power outages, or loss of life.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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Cobb and Marietta GA Tree Removal Permit Process

City of Marietta and Cobb county Ga tree removal permit process

For property owners in the City of Marietta or Cobb County Ga, the following tree removal permit information will help you better understand the city and county requirements you must meet for a tree removal permit.

City of Marietta Georgia Tree Permit

The information above is an excerpt from

PRIVATE PROPERTY – (single family dwelling) within Marietta City limits, notification of tree removal or a tree removal permits IS NOT required for the removal of trees on that property. However, here are a few things to be mindful of:

Troubled, diseased, dead or dying trees must be addressed. Failing to address these trees is considered negligence and in the event they fall, the property owner may be held fully responsible for all resulting and subsequent damage and repairs.

Should a tree (on City property) fall onto private property. The City of Marietta will only remove the section of the tree up to the property line. The remaining portion of the tree is the responsibility of the property owner, unless the tree had been previously reported as a hazard to the City’s Streets Department.

Should a tree (on private property) fall onto City property. The property owner is responsible for the portion of the tree up to the property line. The Streets Department (for public right of way) or the City’s Parks and Open Space Manager (for parks and City owned land) should be immediately notified of the fallen tree and its location.

Should a tree (on private property) fall onto adjacent private property. Each property owner is responsible for the portion of the tree on his/her property.

COMMERCIAL & MULTI-FAMILY – Within the City of Marietta, notification of tree removal and acquiring a tree removal permits IS required for commercial property, multi-family dwelling, and/or apartment building properties.

All non-emergency tree removals on commercial property and multi-family dwelling properties require authorization from the Department of Development Services.

If you wish to improve your landscape, or have a dead or dying tree needing removal, you must complete and submit a Tree Removal Permit Application form.

City staff will verify the condition of your tree and issue a decision no later than 10 days from receipt of all required documents.

Issuance of the Removal Permit

Major land work requires the completion of a Land Disturbance Activity Application. Tree removal permits are not issued until the plans have been reviewed and approved by the Department of Development Services. Find contact info for the relevant offices are listed below:

Rusty Roth
Department of Development Services
Planning & Zoning

Phone: 770-794-5670

The Cobb County Tree Removal Permit Process

The following is an excerpt from

Tree removal permit Marietta Ga Cobb county

The Cobb County Community Development Agency has and enforces its tree protection ordinance. Land disturbance activities such as residential subdivisions, commercial development, and fill/site grading (other than “minor landscaping”) require a land use site-plan review

The Community Development Agency will then evaluate the scope of a project, and advise whether a land disturbance permit is required.

*Some cases may not require a permit, but we suggest contacting the Cobb Development Agency (770) 528-2147 when unsure, or to ensure you are acting lawfully.

Site Plan Review for Your Permit – Permits are issued once site-plans have been submitted, reviewed, and approved by Cobb County.

Site Plan Review
(770) 528-2147

Your Marietta Tree Removal Service

Our Marietta tree removal service can guide you through the permitting process. We also provide emergency tree removal in the event and aftermath of a severe weather event.

In the event of a tree emergency, no permit is required, so give us a call. Our emergency tree removal team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to all homeowners and businesses in Marietta, Georgia and throughout Cobb County.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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A Tree is Growing Too Close to My House – Trim or Remove It

Large trees growing in landscape too close to house

Whether the roots are growing protruding the foundation, or the canopy is large enough to graze the house, that tree has grown too close to your home.

Depending on the species and maturity of the tree in question, there are a few distinctions and options to explore before considering tree removal as a definitive solution.

Tree Roots Grow Far from the Trunk

Understanding how tree roots grow is important to protect your home and foundation. The reach of the tree roots is usually determined by the size of the trunk. For each inch at DBH (Diameter at Breast Height – diameter measured 4.5 feet above ground), the roots extend up to a foot and a half away from the trunk. With that calculation, a six inch trunk at DBH means the roots can extend up to nine feet away from the trunk in any direction.

Tree Roots Seek Water

The life of any tree depends on its root’s ability to find a water source. The ferocity at which tree roots accomplish this depends as much on the species as it does the availability of water. A great example is an aspen tree. It’s roots are extremely invasive, and will grow out and under structures very quickly, buckling concrete and foundation walls in the process.

Trimming Tree Roots

Not so fast. Before you go slicing into a tree’s roots, call on a tree service to evaluate the situation and provide the best solution. Otherwise, cutting into large roots will leave the tree susceptible to infestation and disease, while cutting the smaller ones only delays their inevitable nature of growing back.

Invasive tree roots buckle driveway

Also note that if the roots have grown beneath your driveway or home’s foundation, that itself has become part of the tree’s structural integrity. Cutting and removing those roots may allow the tree in a future storm to topple into your home.

Trimming and Pruning Your Tree Canopy

Properly pruning and trimming your tree will help to avoid damages caused by limbs repeatedly striking or falling onto your home. Knowing your species mature size – how large your tree will become – will help you determine other steps to take – if necessary.

When determining how far away from the home to plant a tree, take the following into consideration:

For Small Trees – Trees reaching 30 feet tall or less should be planted at least 10 feet from the home and other structures.

For Medium-Sized Trees – A medium-sized tree is one that reaches a maximum height of 70 feet. These trees should never be planted closer than 15 feet to a fixed structure or home.

For Large Trees – Trees that surpass 70 feet in height should be planted at a minimum of 20 feet from a home or property.

Canopy Size Matters Too – Knowing the tree’s average canopy size at full maturity of the tree is another way to determine a safe planting distance from a home. If the canopy has an average diameter of 20 feet, it should be planted at least 10 feet (half of the canopy size) from the home to allow the tree to reach its full spread.

Tree and Tree Root Removal

Innocent missteps when attempting to cut roots or over prune a tree may lead to the decline of your tree’s health and ultimate death. This scenario often results in the tree toppling during a storm, and potentially causing severe structural damage or fatalities.

Large tree toppled onto home after root failure

INSURANCE TIP: If your tree was damaged, diseased, dying, or dead, and you knew but did nothing about it, when that tree falls and damages your property, don’t look to your insurer for help. Your neglect or disregard violates your policy, thus the tree damage is not covered, and the claim may likely be denied.

Do yourself and your tree the favor of seeking the advice of a tree service that is trained to identify tree problems and offer tree care, trimming, or removal solutions.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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Choosing and Lighting a Christmas Tree

Choosing the perfect Christmas tree from a lot

We go through the same thing each holiday season; we hang lights on our trees, have a little twirl around the tree to wrap the lights around it, and end up with crossed strands that are almost impossible to remove in the new season.

There is a better way, but before delving deeper into lighting though, we should discuss how to choose the best tree. A brittle and dried up tree won’t be able to support all of those wires, so focus on finding a fresh tree. Here’s how to select and light your tree properly.

Choosing Your Tree

According to Todd, the key factor when buying pre-cut trees is freshness. If you’re going to cut down your own tree or have someone else cut one for you then you’re guaranteed to get a fresh one.

  1. The needles of the tree must be resilient. Hold one of the branches about six inches in from the tip, between your forefinger and thumb and pull your hand in so the branch passes between your fingers. The needles shouldn’t snap off the tree, instead staying where they are.
  2. Needles should also be flexible and not brittle.
  3. Take the base of the tree and lightly bump it into the ground to ensure needles are firmly attached. Check for any needles falling off. A tree is fresh if only a couple of needles come off after being bumped.
  4. The tree should have the right green color and have a nice fragrance to it.
  5. Fresh trees have more moisture and are therefore more fragrant with firmer needles, provided they are kept in stands with a good water capacity.
  6. The limbs of the tree must be sturdy enough to hold all your decorations and lights.

Hanging Lights on a Freshly Cut Christmas Tree

It’s a good idea to use three 100-light sets of Christmas lights for every foot of height the tree has. It takes some patience to light a Christmas tree properly. Here are some steps to make it easier.

Preparing to hang lights on a fresh cut Christmas tree

  1. Don’t wrap lights around the tree. Rather, divide the tree up into three triangular sections around the cone of the tree, from top to bottom.
  2. Get your first string of lights and secure the bulb at the end of the string next to the trunk. Weave the lights across the triangle without crossing the cord. Plug in your next set of lights when the string ends and start weaving again until you get to the bottom, with no more than 300 conventional lights connected. Repeat the process or the other triangles.
  3. Take a step back and look at the tree. Rearrange the lights to cover up any dark holes on the tree. Work backwards to remove lights without getting them tangled.

NOTE: You can double how many lights you can use by switching to LED Christmas lights.

Light Your Tree Properly For a Safe and Enjoyable Holiday!

Ensure that your tree stays fresh by keeping the reservoir of the base topped up with water. It might be time to let the tree go when it starts showing signs it’s drying out. A dried out tree is dangerous because it can cause house fires, which can cost much more than just holiday cheer. Stay safe and have a holly jolly Christmas with your good friends at Todd’s Tree Services.

Decorated and lit Christmas tree and room

For more tree care tips, visit the blog

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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Tips for Protecting Your Evergreen Trees and Shrubs this Winter

Evergreen plant in garden freezing temperatures

Winter is coming and it’s time that you took some steps to protect the biggest investments you’ve made in your garden. The ornamental shrubs, evergreens, and shade trees will need a little extra help to survive the harsh winter.

The cold temperatures and winds of winter can cause bleaching in evergreen trees. The roots, bark, and branches are also susceptible to additional damage that could injure or even kill them.

There is hope though, so don’t give up just yet! Read through our guide on keeping your garden going during the harshest winter weather.

Protect and Hydrate Tree Roots

Everything begins with the roots. During the fall, all the way to the first freeze, you can take two important steps to keep roots hydrated and protected. Keep in mind that the temperature of the soil will drop at a slower pace than air temperature, and tree roots will start to die if soil temperature reaches less than 10 degrees fahrenheit.

Evergreen shrub in winter covered with freezing snow

Watering in the Fall – Evergreens, woody plants, and freshly planted trees must be watered regularly during fall – particularly during dry fall seasons. If there is a deep freeze that causes the ground to freeze then roots are not able to draw moisture from the soil, making them dependent on the resources gathered during fall.

NOTE: The primary reason evergreens are damaged by winter is dehydration. Evergreens keep their foliage during the winter and continue transpiring. Without enough water to support themselves, their foliage can become burned or browned.

Thick Mulching – As we mentioned before, tree roots are damaged and killed by soil temperatures below 10F. As counterintuitive as it sounds, soil is better at holding heat when wet rather than dry. To keep roots growing during the fall and prevent damage in the winter, place 3 to 6 inches of organic mulch or wood chips around the trees and plants in your garden.

NOTE: If you live somewhere where temperatures stay below freezing for a long period of time, then use 6 to 8 inches of mulch for your trees, shrubs, and plants.

Is it Necessary to Wrap Trees?

It is not necessary to wrap trees if using evergreens based on the USDA Hardiness Zone map for your area and the trees have been given enough time to establish roots.

You do need to wrap trees for winter if they are newly planted or likely to suffer from dehydration or winter burn.

NOTE: As mentioned before, evergreens will get dehydrated because they continue to transpire throughout the winter. This means that evergreens are likely to suffer from winter-burn if they are not provided with enough water in the fall and haven’t stored enough to see them through the season.

A Little Common Sense And Preparation Helps Save Trees, Evergreens, and Shrubs

Knowing where you lie on the hardiness zone map and planting based on that location is the first step towards successful landscaping. Practice common sense through the year by pruning, trimming, protecting, and watering your trees and shrubs properly and your evergreens should stay alive and prosper for years to come. For tips on helping your deciduous trees, read this article

Each winter brings with it new challenges and each plant responds differently to them. While trees, shrubs, and plants have an incredible ability to overcome, they sometimes need you to intervene and support them to ensure they are not severely damaged.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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Deciduous Trees, Dormancy, and Winter Months

Dormant deciduous tree with no leaves

When trees shed their leaves for dormancy, there are various ways to prepare your tree for the winter season. Some factors like excess temperature, ground soil freeze, and ice showers may have a negative impact on your tree’s health. In this article Todd will discuss the main methods you can use to prepare your trees for the coming cold months.

What is a Deciduous Tree

The term ‘deciduous tree’ refers to a tree that sheds all of its leaves seasonally during the fall months and then enters a cycle of dormancy and finally growing new leaves in early spring. The leaves start to go through color changes and by December, they fall to the ground.

There is a noteworthy parameter to this phenomenon-the shed leaves create a type of barrier around the tree’s roots preventing them from getting cold/frozen. The natural decomposition of the leaves also enriches the soil and tree with health-boosting nutrients.

Note: Mowing the leaves can support this entire function as well as prevent leaves from matting and leading to problems later on.

What is Dormancy and its Role in Tree’s Health

Dormancy highly resembles animal hibernation in numerous aspects. During the winter time, animals slow their bodily systems to preserve their energy through deep sleep. Likewise, trees temporarily stop generating food during the winter season to save their energy deposits.

Deciduous trees, in particular, generate a substance named ‘Abscisic Acid’ which sends signals to the leaves to shed.

This substance (ABA) has the role of temporarily shutting off a tree’s development in both coniferous and deciduous tree types. Stopped growth is an extra benefit of dormancy which decreases even more the energy usage of trees. When the tree enters such a state, its metabolic function also slows, only using stored nourishment deposits and employs only principal processes.

Check Your Trees Prior to the Winter Season

In case you wish to keep health issues and insect infestations of your trees and shrubs under control, it would be wise to consult a tree expert. A tree professional can find out if there is something wrong with your tree and its respective treatment.

Getting your trees checked before dormancy starts will enable a prompt diagnosis of invasive insects or fungi. If you leave these issues untreated, the infestation caused during the dormancy stage will be detrimental to your tree’s health and lifespan.

Mulching Helps Conserve Water

When a tree loses more moisture than it takes in, this is called winter drought. We cannot control the weather, but we are able minimize it affects our trees.

Before winter temperatures set in, placing organic mulch around the tree’s base will provide a sort of insulation for the root system. The mulch works to prevent runoff and helps retain moisture. This benefits the tree’s health, hydration, and transition into and out of dormancy.

How to Treat Ice and Snow Accumulation

During a harsh winter season, Ice and snow may accumulate over your tree’s branches. It’s highly recommended that you DO NOT attempt to shake it off of the tree.

Dormant deciduous tree covered in ice and snow

That is because the branches will be frozen, brittle, and prone to breaking. If you attempt to shake the snow and ice off, you may seriously harm the tree and even cause the tree branches to break off.

So when harsh weather conditions like this occur, it’s better to consult an expert so they can check the tree’s health status and come up with a course of action.

For more tips on dealing with snow on trees, click here.

Trees Know When It’s Time To Come Back to Life

As soon as the season shifts and warmer temperatures set in, trees will start coming back to their old selves. If you helped the tree the season before, your tree will enjoy another year of health and great looks.

Let nature do its thing. After you do some trimming and make sure your tree is out of harms way, allow the tree’s natural functions to take over – it knows what it’s doing.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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Hurricane Planting Tips and Trees For Your Marietta Landscape

Trees damaged and fallen in road after storm
With hurricane season slowly winding down, most property owners may be considering removing large trees in a bid to avoid damages to their homes or businesses in the future.

Some mature tree benefits you can enjoy include a higher property value, energy savings that comes with shading, cleaner and fresher air, and the aesthetic benefits. Below, Todd’s tree professionals outline several ways of establishing and maintaining more trees that are resistant to hurricanes and urban forest settings.

Preparing Your Trees for Bad Weather

The first step in preparation for a bad weather is to first remove any diseased or weak tree. In addition to moving your vehicle or removing any large-diseased trees that are within close proximity of your car or home.

Next, trim and prune trees so that they can have a lower center of gravity and an overall lighter mass. To increase wind resistance, sculpt the tree. However, follow best practices because techniques like topping or removing large branches make trees vulnerable to decay and eventual death.

Ensure you fertilize your trees on a yearly basis and check to see that all the root zones are buried under rich and healthy soil. Also, remember to keep watering them during the dry season so as to maintain their turgor and water retention ability.

It is pertinent that you remove any dead or diseased trees, as they have a tendency to cause devastating damages during bad weather conditions. There are some obvious symptoms when a tree is in bad health, read for some of the telltale signs.

Planting Strategies Can Save Trees

To deflect wind upwards, plant trees in clusters and add enough shrub mass, a group of trees can be referred to as a tree of five or more growing simultaneously, each within ten feet of the other, but does not include trees growing in a line. Trees that grow in groups have a better chance of survival and risk lesser damage than trees that stand alone in the event of a hurricane.

Trees and shrubs strategically planted together in yard
Seek to plant new trees as a grove, with numerous species grouped together. In addition, several different trees will help maintain the local diversity. Look to plant more shrubs close by if you have already existing single trees and mulching the entire area to form a landscape bed.

This in turn shields the root zone and diverts pressure into the area of the tree that offers more flexibility.

Tree Specimens Able to Withstand Strong Winds

The most resistant trees to wind damage are the Sand live oaks. Other trees with the least wind resistance include water oak, laurel oak, Chinese elm and sand pine.

Other alternatives include the crape myrtle, sabal palm, Southern magnolia, bald cypress and live oak – these trees in the event of a hurricane are less likely to blow over or lose limbs.

Although you want a beautiful yard, check that the common trees seen in Marietta Georgia,, also have good wind and storm resistance.

A Healthy Landscape Requires Smart Choices and Actions

Proper planting and constant care for your tree are just as vital as the tree selection process. Make wiser decisions when planning your landscape – planting new trees and shrubs in addition to continuous care for your trees will help you evade expensive damages in the future.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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