The Worst Advice about Tree and Shrub Care - Tomlinson Bomberger

The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard about Tree and Shrub Care

As a professional company that is pretty much full service, we hear a lot of things from clients.  We hear about their life story at times; sometimes it’s a funny anecdote that happened during the course of their week.  Other times we hear the history behind the reason they’ve called us – their tree and shrub looks bad.  This is usually the most helpful.

In the histories of the properties we are called out to service, we often hear one particular phrase repeated.  It’s some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard about tree and shrub care.

“I was talking about it with my husband/wife/neighbor/parent [you get the idea], and they told me to wait and see what happens with it.”

Here are great reasons to contact a professional rather than “wait it out.”

1. Your trees and shrubs are an integral part of the ecosystem.


You would be amazed at how much rides on your ornamental landscape plants.  That oak doesn’t just provide shade for your lawn in the summer – it might be home to family of squirrels.  Certainly, the amount of acorn drop has been directly linked to wild rodent populations, like deer mice.  Now, you might not want them in your home.  But, in the landscape they help clean up those acorns and provide a food source for predators in the ecosystem as well, like fox, coyote, and the many species of raptors we have in the area.


Then there’s your flowering ornamental plants.  Trees and shrubs like dogwoods, azaleas, roses, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, magnolias, and redbuds, to name a few, provide for pollinators.  Making sure these trees and shrubs have care when they need them is vital to helping the pollinators accomplish their tasks and ensuring continued survival for both the pollinators themselves and the tree and shrub species in the wild.

Isolated Plants

Lastly, trees in a landscape are particularly vulnerable.  In a forest, trees grow close enough to one another to provide a certain level of temperature regulation on the forest floor.  They also afford one another protection from the wind.  They can even warn one another when there’s a pest feeding in the area (this is a well-documented phenomenon).  In a landscape, however, a solitary tree has none of these benefits.  It is part of our responsibility to care for them.  This analogy might seem like a bit of stretch, but it holds true – you wouldn’t ignore “warning signs” of health problems in your pet.  Why would you do it with your trees?

If you notice that something doesn’t seem to look right with your landscape plants, contact a knowledgeable professional right away.  They can assist you with both the diagnosis and treatment (if necessary) to keep your trees and shrubs healthy.  Having a professional with a respected reputation to examine and propose a course of action for your landscape can make all the difference.

2. Having the tree and shrub care examined can save you money.

Home Value

Okay, so now we get to the far more practical realities of addressing this issue.

Another well-documented fact about healthy trees and shrubs is that they add value to your property.  As we pointed out in our last blog about tree and shrub care, having a healthy, mature landscape can add percentage points of value to your home.  On average, a home with a colorful, mature landscape can add 5.5% to 12.7% to the value of the home.  This is compared with a home with little or no landscaping.  That means having a healthy, colorful landscape can turn your $150,000 home into a $165,000 home.  Not a bad return on investment.

Prevention is Cheaper

Additionally, having your landscape treated preventatively is usually less expensive than having it removed or replaced.  Let’s look at an example that’s been getting a lot of press over the last few years – ash trees.  There is a non-native, invasive pest called the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB for short) that is killing ash trees here in Central Pennsylvania (and in other States for that matter).

Having a large tree taken out may run you several thousands of dollars.  Schedules need to be considered if you, the homeowner, want to be home.  Often times it requires a call to a utility company to look for underground utilities that could be affected by heavy equipment as well.  It’s time-consuming, costly, and can be a headache.

However, having that same tree treated to prevent EAB from attacking your tree will cost a fraction of that price, and can often be done while you’re at work.  Additionally, depending on the size of the tree, that service might only need to be done every other year.


That presents you with a choice: in any given year, you could budget to potentially spend a few grand taking down a large tree and grinding out the stump.  If you want to replant in that same spot, grinding costs go up, not to mention the replacement tree itself.  Or, you can have that tree treated for a few hundred dollars every other year and preserve your tree, budget, and property’s value.


To us (and hopefully to you) the choice is clear: don’t “wait it out” when you notice a problem with your plants.  Call for a professional recommendation and preserve the valuable plants on your property, and your home’s overall value.


If you’d like to discuss tree and shrub care in more detail, feel free to Contact Us and set up your free consultation today.