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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Saving Trees From Clinging Vines

Dying tree strangled by vines
Clinging or in simpler words unwanted vines can be challenging to deal with once they latch on to your garden landscape and trees.

Since vines grow and develop very fast, it won’t take long before they can lead to serious issues and even grow further despite your aim to deal with them.

Vines can rapidly creep into new spots; they develop inside tree canopies, sweep on to the edge of the buildings, and squeeze the life out of lower level plants and shrubs by strangling them and hindering them from being exposed to sunlight.

At Todd’s we cut and remove trees that have been damaged or killed from vines. Learn the best ways to deal and remove the deadly tree killing vines.

Vines Strangle, Smother And Kill Trees

Vines can easily creep their way with ease to the body of the trees. Then they smother and struggle them and once they reach a tree’s canopy, they prevent sunlight from showing in the leaves of the tree. As we know, sunlight is a form of energy for the plant and the vines against the tree compete for getting necessary nutrients and liquids.

An extra problem that emerges, is that when left uncontrolled and unhindered, ivy vines can fully conceal a tree’s trunk and its branches. As it smothers around and grows in length, it leads to trees and their branches falling without much resistance.

Troubled tree covered by clinging vines
Rich ivy layers prevent the tree’s bark exposure to clean air and microorganisms. Vines are damaging for the trees and should be dealt with. To learn more about the structural damages caused by vines, visit

Severing Vines from Their Roots

You can severe the vines to their core around the root of the trunk with sharp garden clippers. If the tree is densely smothered in vines grown to more than inch, you will have to cut through the vine with extra caution and carefully remove it from the bark. The aim here is to severe all vines from their nutrient sources drawn from the soil so they will die off.

After you cut the vines from the root body, you’ll have to wait to see progress. It’s best to leave the rest of the ivy on the tree to dry off. Ivy creeps around a tree using a sticky substance combined with micro root hairs that adhere densely to the crevices of the bark.

There is a high risk of heavily ruining the tree if you decide to forcefully pull the ivy off its body. If you want you can take hedge shears to trim the ivy leaves. The leaves though will progressively shrivel and leave the tree exposed to more sunlight.

Tip: It’s best to wear garden gloves and a protective uniform to prevent any irritations whilst trimming the vines. Some vine species may cause major skin irritation and more serious issues.

Getting Rid of Vines and Their Roots

Get rid of all the vines by pulling the roots out of the soil within a 2 foot circle around the tree. This will prevent any future damage to the tree. It is ideal to do it once the soil is a bit moist after rain or watering.

A leaf or wood chip mulch 2 inches thick and three feet around the tree is recommended to maintain adequate moisture and block lawn mowers from reaching directly to the roots. Also make sure the mulch is at 3 inches distance from the trunk of tree to allow proper air circulation for the bark and leave any vines that try to grow back exposed.

Dying Vines Left on Your Tree

While many will quickly trim off the ivy off the tree once it’s dead, its complex creeping mechanism will still be active. So the best thing to do is to let the ivy dry out and fall off naturally, as to maintain the bark’s integrity.

Once a competitor (such as an invasive vine) has been eliminated, trees are fairly fast to recover. It is important to keep a watchful eye on the tree though, as damages may be more extensive and hidden by the vine’s foliage. Hence the importance of acting quickly when a vine makes your tree its host.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

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

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The Right Time for Tree Cutting, Pruning, and Emergency Tree Removal

tree pruning and cutting marietta georgia
Our team at Todd’s is called to perform tree pruning on a regular basis. Pruning is when specific stems and branches are removed from a tree for the sake of the tree as a whole. Pruning is also used to thin the canopy of the tree and allow more sunlight and air to reach the tree; keeping it healthy and free from disease. Cutting is typically done to larger branches. Cutting is used to get rid of dead, damaged, and diseased branches to prevent organisms and insects from damaging the tree. Keep on reading to learn more about the benefits of pruning, cutting and emergency tree removal.

The Right Time for Pruning and Trimming Trees

Winter Pruning – Pruning a tree while it is dormant in winter is the most common pruning practice. It ensures that the tree grows plenty during the spring, making winter pruning the best choice if you want this effect for your own trees. It’s best to wait until the harshest and coldest parts of winter have passed to begin. Some tree species – such as birches and maple – can “bleed”. This is when sap flows from the tree. It’s not a harmful process at all and will stop when the tree begins to leaf out. So don’t worry about it.

Summer Pruning – Summer pruning is a good practice to direct growth by pruning the branches you don’t want to keep; a process known as dwarfing. This is when you inhibit the development of a particular tree or branch and it is best done following seasonal growth. The reason pruning slows down tree growth is that you are reducing how many leaves the tree has, which reduces how much food the tree can produce and send to roots to stimulate growth. Another reason for summer pruning is to correct the growth of the tree. It’s easier to see a defective limb and limbs that are weighed down by leaves during the summer. This makes it much easier to correct the issue.

When to Avoid Pruning – As fungi primarily spread pores during the fall, and trees recover slower in the fall, you should avoid pruning during the fall and just leave you shears and other tools in the shed. You can always prune during the winter or summer.

Take a look at our tree pruning and trimming service in action:

Cutting Branches and Limbs From Healthy Trees

There are several reasons that you will need to cut tree limbs; perhaps they are diseased or have died off; or they cross and rub against other tree limbs; or perhaps they are competing too aggressively with other branches and must be removed for the sake of the tree as a whole.

Another good reason to remove tree limbs is to raise or open up the canopy. This opens up the canopy to allow more sunlight and vertical clearance for trees. The best time to remove tree branches and limbs is during the winter. Diseases stay dormant during the winter and aren’t likely to infect and damage the tree through pruned limbs. If you cut open your tree during the winter then you’re just asking all the diseases and pests to damage your tree.

One thing to remember is that some trees will “bleed” after being cut, which is when sap leaks out of the wound. This can look a little unsightly – if not serious – but it’s completely harmless and not a sign of damage. Trees prone to heavy bleeding are beech, birch, maple, elm, and yellowwood.

You may feel that it would be good to dress fresh wounds using tree paints and wound dressings, which are designed for this occasion. My experience tells me that you rarely need to actually use these things. They can even impair the natural healing process of your trees and make them heal slowly. Trees are remarkably adaptable. They continue to grow no matter what adverse conditions you put them in or through. That’s why we would always advocate giving your tree a clean cut and letting the natural healing process take place.

Emergency Tree Removal in Marietta Ga

It’s tough to choose the right time to remove a tree that begins to develop problems. If there’s no risk to the people or structures around a dying tree, then it could likely be left to die by itself. Some animals – like small birds – make these dying and dead trees their homes, using them as nests and feeding grounds. So even a dead tree can serve a useful purpose.

If you really want to keep your tree and don’t mind spending money to do so, then you can attempt to extend the life of the tree by removing dead portions of the tree and giving it plenty of water. It can become expensive to do this and could concern your neighbors, especially if they feel the tree might fall and damage their property. At that point they will likely insist that you get rid of the tree. Inspect the tree yourself or hire an arborist to assess it for you and tell you if it needs to go. If the tree is too much of a hazard then you can hire emergency tree removal services to ensure the tree is removed safely without damaging your property.

Our emergency tree removal service is available after a disaster or severe weather condition:

Visit the following page for more info on emergency tree services

Pruning, Cutting, and Removing Trees

Pruning tree limbs can improve the appearance of the landscape around the tree, as long as it’s done properly. Pruning at an inappropriate time or taking shortcuts while pruning is just inviting future trouble. You will need to cut off damaged or diseased tree limbs, but they could be preserved if you take care of them quickly. However, emergency tree removal may be the only choice for avoiding damage when a tree becomes ravaged by disease or damaged by storms.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

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

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3 Tree Threat Prevention Tips

Tree support stakes used to strengthen the trunk and prevent wind damage
There are factors to which trees, both young and old, are vulnerable to. These factors range from environmental, animal, and even landscape and lawn care equipment. From contractors that are capable of damaging roots with their heavy machinery, to strong winds which blow off young trees, the list is almost endless.

To help prevent damage, Todd’s gathered a short list of potential threats. These tips would be useful in protecting your trees from being injured or damaged.

Guarding Trees from Wind Damage

Use support stakes – Durable metal or wood will act as your anchor and frame. You need to tie the tree to the frames using a soft fabric. Consider the amount of tension, as you should give a little room for the young tree to sway in the direction of the wind, but not much space that could allow the tree to break. The swaying will help in developing a good root system for the tree.

Use a protective covering for your trees – These covers will protect the tree from the invasion of pests, wind damage, and other factors. This protective covering should only be used only in the case of a serious wind looming. Otherwise, under normal weather conditions, you want the tree to absorb as much sunlight as it can. If you need to use a covering, place the cover from the top of the tree and use a tape to hold it in place at the trunk.

Protection from Deer Attacks

The young and tender bark of new trees appeal to deer. They feed off the lower limbs and are drawn to the rich taste. Deer also paw the soil around the tree and thus can damage the tree’s newly forming root system. However, worse of all, the males forcibly attack and damage the tree by rubbing their antlers against the bark.

two deer near a tree with bark damage

Protective barrier – A barrier like a fence should be built around the tree at a height of about 8-10 feet to prevent the animal from attacking the tree. The cages or fences must be adjustable to expansion as the tree grows, so as to give space for more growth and still prevent the tree from being attacked. Use chicken wire as the material for the construction.

Sprays will ward off deer – You can prevent deer attacks by using sprays that irritate their sense of smell. They are irritated by soap bars and hair, which you can put on ropes and hang on the limbs of the tree. You can create a homemade repellent, comprised of 94% water and 6% hot sauce. This solution upset their sense of taste and thwart further damage to your trees.

When possible, combine the two, as using the barrier and spray in conjunction produces a better result than either of the solutions being used separately.

Preventing Machinery Damage

Before any construction or lawn care maintenance is carried out, you should communicate the importance of preserving the integrity of your landscape and all plants. Some service providers are focused on cutting your yard and being done as quickly as possible. This can present an issue, given they are not careful around your trees and shrubs.

Consult with the contractor on the best measures to prevent your tree from being damaged. These situations should be considered before any work is done;

Heavy machinery – this can destroy your root system. With the equipment passing over the soil and roots, its weight can crush or compact the soil, resulting in less room for the roots to spread.

Heavy machinery operator – they may damage the root by injuring the bark of the tree, which may lead to decay of the tree. If this happens, look out for these warning signs

Barriers or Fencing – a barrier should be erected around the tree covering even the outreaching branch, and preventing vehicular damage to the tree.

Damage Prevention for a Thriving Landscape

Whether it be wind, deer, or heavy machinery, your trees – young and mature – are at risk. Taking these minimal steps to protect them is an incredible investment in the future and beauty of your landscape.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

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


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