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Daily Archives: October 28, 2021


Rain and wind in San Diego!  It’s that time of the year when the residents of San Diego either get excited about finally getting a change in the weather or they find it distressing that their “perfect” sunny weather is getting disrupted.  San Diego’s storm season typically occurs during the cooler months of December through March.  While our storms are mild and cannot compare to the blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tumultuous lightning storms that take place throughout much of the country, our winter weather is still capable of causing its share of damage.

Unfortunately when the rain and winds push through San Diego, it is common to see trees topple on top of homes and other structures and our city roads.   It doesn’t even take much for trees to start falling around our county.  Depending on the tree and its circumstances, sometimes a slight gust will give it just the right push to expose its weakness.  While some arborists disagree over whether some species are more prone to failure than others, the fact is that any tree has the potential to fall without any prior indication — even seemingly healthy trees.

The leading reason for tree failure lies in the combination of the tree’s weight and root structure.  The denser the canopy of the tree and/or the larger and heavier the trunk, then the more weight the roots are required to support.  The roots play a vital role in anchoring a tree, and when they are compromised by variables such as urban development, fungus, disease, and age, then a massive 70-ft tree per se will end up being more sensitive to the power of the wind.


If you are an unfortunate property owner with an unexpected fallen tree, the first step you should make is to ensure that everyone in the house or building is safe and take immediate medical action if any injuries were incurred.  If the breakage poses any harm, such as broken glass or broken electrical wiring, then everyone should keep their distance or evacuate until the damage is inspected by trained professionals.

Once necessary medical attention is taken, then the next step is to either contact your insurance company or LC Tree Service to have a professional come assess the situation.  We are available for emergency tree removals at all hours of the day or night.  We even welcome you to contact other tree service companies, just to ensure that your property is taken care of as soon as possible and that you receive the best quote and service in such a dire situation.


It is important to call a reputable company that has experience in emergency situations and in dealing with insurance companies.  Hiring a licensed and insured tree company is a necessity, since emergency tree removals tend to be more hazardous than typical tree removals.  Let’s face it — most tree projects don’t require safely cutting and discarding the trunk of a massive tree that has crashed through a roof and is currently hanging out in someone’s living room.  Different protocols need to be undertaken, which experienced tree companies know and can execute as safely as possible.

In an emergency tree situation, never choose a tree service company that requires an upfront payment.  These types of tree removals can be extremely difficult.  And shamefully, it is not unheard of for a tree contractor to give up and walk away from a job.  You shouldn’t be required to pay for the job until it is completed.  That way you can trust that even when the job gets tough, your tree trimmers will press on and do what it takes to get the job done.

Emergency tree removals tend to be more expensive than other tree projects.  This is due to multiple reasons.  Emergencies require quick and immediate action, so scheduled jobs need to be moved around in order to accommodate a more pressing job.  Occasionally, tree emergency calls come in the middle of the night, and depending the the urgency of the situation, we may come out to assess the scene immediately.  Then if the removal needs prompt action, our removal crew will reassemble during the night hours, if necessary, to start the job.  Otherwise, jobs that have high-alert status will be performed at the very start of the day.  Another factor that leads to higher pricing involves the more hazardous nature of the project.  The higher the risk, the higher the cost.  Certain scenarios also require the use of heavy machinery, such as cranes, which adds the to the final quote of the job.


People tend to act quickly during emergency tree situations.  Most tend to hire the first tree trimmer that they make contact with, while some gather multiple bids and go with the lowest bidder.  However, the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid.  It is helpful to do some background research on the tree company and ask questions.  While it doesn’t pertain to all, some tree service companies are able to charge lower rates because of the lack of proper insurance and worker’s compensation.  Others may the lack emergency tree experience, therefore resulting in an underbid.  In this scenario, they may either raise the quote in the middle of the project or just take a loss on the job (hashtag learning lesson).

Instead, we encourage you to go with the company that you trust the most to perform the job properly and professionally — one that is licensed, insured, experienced, and recommended by others.  Sometimes that may be the lowest bidder.  But sometimes — hopefully not — it may be the highest.   While our emergency tree removals are higher priced, LC Tree Service likes to stay on the competitive, yet reasonable, edge with our rates.



Contacting your insurance company is one the first steps you should make.  Most recommend that you contact them first, but in many of our emergency jobs, our customers chose to contact a tree company first.  We would imagine that removing an unwelcome tree guest out of their home would be first on someone’s mind before the need for placing an insurance claim.  Either way, whether you choose to call a tree service company first or your insurance company, it needs to be done immediately.  It is important to know what your insurance will cover and what their policy is regarding vendor payments.  You will need to know whether your insurance covers both the removal of the tree from structures and the ground or if it only covers removal from structures.  Then depending on your policy, payment will either be handled 1)directly from the consumer to vendor, 2)from the insurance company to consumer to vendor, or 3)directly to the vendor from the insurance company.


If your tree falls on your neighbor’s property, or vice-versa — your neighbor’s tree falls on your property, the same steps should be taken.  Both parties’ insurance companies need to be contacted and a tree service company needs to be contacted either by you or your neighbor.  Each homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage caused to their client’s property.  Then the neighbor’s insurance company (if your tree fell on their property) will later file a subrogation claim with your insurance company to recoup the cost caused by your tree failure.


It is important to keep your tree trimmed on a regular basis (every 1-2 years contingent on the species).  Unmaintained trees with a dense canopy have more surface area for wind push.  However, certain species, like the Ficus benjamina, usually possess dense canopies — but by nature, they also grow some of the sturdiest roots in San Diego.  Therefore in most cases, you would be okay having a dense ficus in your backyard, as long as it has sufficient growing room for its roots.  Other trees, like the eucaplytus, should be monitored regularly when they’re at a mature height and kept well-trimmed, as their roots are more shallow than other species.

If you have a large leaning tree, especially one that is situated on a slope, it is more important to monitor it and maintain a light canopy.  Having a leaning trunk with a heavy top only imposes more stress on the roots to keep it upright.  Some leaning trees fare just fine, however others with a weaker root system eventually fall under the pressure.  So if you have a tree that is leaning towards your home or building, or your neighbor’s property, then to stay on the safe side, it would even be wise to have it removed.

While it is easy to monitor how top-heavy a tree is, analyzing the roots is a bit trickier.  Thankfully, there are signs that you can look out for.

  • If mushrooms are visible at the base of the trunk or anywhere underneath the tree’s canopy, then this is a sign that fungal growth is rotting away the tree’s roots.
  • If your tree is diseased or old and nearing the end of its life cycle, then the entire framework is weakening, including its root system.
  • Make sure that your large mature tree has plenty of room for root growth.  If it is close to any development (i.e. roads, homes, buildings, pavement) then chances are that its anchoring system is compromised, therefore increasing its chances of failure.
LC Tree Service



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From the desert to the beaches, the mountains to the valleys, San Diego is a diverse city filled with a vast assortment of trees.  With our sunny, mild climate, practically any tree can grow here with the proper care.  In fact, most of the trees that you see aren’t even native to this region.  All those palms — foreigners!  Those eucalyptus trees that seem to be along every freeway and in every neighborhood — foreigners!  Yes, only a few trees can actually call themselves true San Diego “locals.”

Some foreign trees making great additions to our San Diego terrain, but others are deemed invasive species that are detrimental to the native ecosystem or just plain annoying to people.  What exactly is an invasive tree?  Invasive plants are defined as “any indigenous or exotic plant species having a detrimental effect on the growth of commercial tree species, giving rise to particular management problems or growing where it is not wanted.” (Le Roux, 1981)  So basically, it’s a foreign plant (which trees are considered to be plants) that people, as well as the natural indigenous ecosystem, have issues with.

Quite a few trees in San Diego are classified as invasive species, but some aren’t as bad as others.  Many people wouldn’t even think about them being invasive, like the Canary Island date palm.  This is a high-class invasive plant that is commonly added to landscape and can cost thousands of dollars.  But some invasive trees aren’t as dignified as the date palm.  In fact, there are areas of the world where they are strictly prohibited and required to be controlled or destroyed.  So in our city, what unfortunate tree tops LC Tree Service’s list of San Diego’s Most Annoying Tree?


Ailanthus altissima

The tree-of-heaven!  It has the most divine name, but don’t be fooled — it’s no angel.  Originating from Asia, the tree-of-heaven is also known as Ailanthus altissima, or ailanthus for short.  In urban areas where it be found growing in sidewalk cracks or along buildings, it has been dubbed the ghetto palm.  Some may even call it the more appropriate name — the tree-from-hell.  This is a tree that is notorious for evoking anger in any property owner who has even the most minute concern for their landscape.   It’s a tree whose name you search on the internet, only to find an exhaustive list of negative articles that go on and on about how bad this tree is.

Why would one tree receive so much hate?  The tree-of-heaven is practically a weed in tree form!  Like a weed, you don’t need to plant them, they just pop up.  And they keep popping up and taking over — unless proper protocol is taken.  This tree species truly embraces the characteristics of an invasive plant.  It spreads easily, grows quickly, pushes out the already existing plants, and is one of the hardest trees in San Diego to control.  If left to unmanaged, it can quickly end up creating a widespread thicket that trumps over all other vegetation, thanks to its vigorous reproductive nature and toxic nature that inhibits the growth of other plants in its surroundings — sort of like the neighborhood tree bully.

At first glance, a mature tree-of-heaven, when manicured, can actually present itself as a good-looking tree that exhibits a tropical feel.  It looks very similar to the mimosa silk trees that are as common in Hawaii as eucalyptus trees are in San Diego.  It’s easy to envision the tree-of-heaven nestled among a handful of palms and some giant white bird of paradise plants at a beach resort.  However, that would never happen because 1) we have never met anyone who intentionally planted a tree-of-heaven on their property and 2) no high-end resort or property would ever want this tree as part of their ornate landscape.  To find a tree-of-heaven that has actually been trimmed is EXTREMELY rare.  Most just end up growing wild and messy.  As a tree service company, we typically find the tree-of-heaven growing in industrial or commercial properties where meticulous landscaping isn’t exactly high on the priority list.  It is also common to see them on residential properties where an unfortunate homeowner thought they were bestowed with a free tree that sprouted up out of nowhere.  So they let them grow, only to continue seeing more and more little trees spring up within a couple of years.

Tree-of-heaven cluster growing in a commercial property


The tree-of-heaven grows tall with a widespread, draping canopy of dark green leaves and pale brownish-pink clusters of what looks like flowers, but are winged seeds.  It is similar in appearance to a few common ornamental trees in San Diego that also have the same pinnately compound leaf structure, such as the black walnut tree and Tipuana tipu.  But there is an easy way to discern if it indeed is the tree-of-heaven.  This is a tree that loves family!  It is typically found in family clusters or colonies where there is a full-sized mother tree with her little baby trees in close proximity — and in systematic line, nonetheless.  Sometimes a young tree-of-heaven can be found discreetly nestled among other trees and plants, and sure enough, if you look around, a mature tree can be found just a few houses down the street.

Mature trees can reach heights of 60 to 80 feet and are identifiable by their long pinnately compound leaves that can grow up to 4 feet long.  These leaves have a central stem and two rows of 2- to 7-inch dark green pointed leaflets.  The leaflets are fairly large with smooth edges, and when crushed, they give off a faint smell that some describe as 1) a mixture of citrus and skunk, 2) burnt rancid peanuts, or even 3) cat urine.  If you spot one of these trees and are feeling adventurous, you can give its foliage a sniff, and see what you think.  Citrus-y skunk?  Burnt peanuts?  Or cat urine?

The bark of the tree-of-heaven is light brown to pale grey when mature, and has grey branches that are smooth with raised dots which later mature into fissures.  In the warmer months, yellowish-green flower clusters appear.  But these flowers aren’t your typical blooms that you would want to add to a pleasant-smelling bouquet.  They— just like the leaves — smell horrible!


The tree-of-heaven possesses a prolific nature and a tenacious survival attitude.  It has the potential to cast out over 300,000 seeds annually that are brilliantly designed to fly.  Each seed is conveniently tucked inside a winged seed pod called a samara that can easily travel long distances with the wind.  But even with the millions of tree-of-heaven seeds that get dispersed throughout San Diego each year, they aren’t even necessary for propagation.  Established trees also covertly shoot out lateral roots (roots that grow horizontally), which push out new sprouts down the line.  That’s why you will typically find tree-of-heaven clusters growing in a straight line.  If left unmanaged, these new sprouts rapidly grow into full-size trees with absolutely no human care.  And even if the mother tree is cut down, these youngsters can still survive and thrive — even in the middle of a San Diego drought.

Adding to its aggressive reproductive nature, the tree-of-heaven also has the capability of dominating an area by inhibiting the growth of other plants.  Present on all parts of the tree, but strongest on the bark and roots, is a toxic allelopathic chemical, called ailanthone, which poisons other neighboring plants or any new seed looking to join the neighborhood.  In some studies, ailanthone extracted from the tree-of-heaven was even able to kill 100% of certain plant seedlings.  I guess you could describe this species as an introverted passive-aggressive.


While the tree-of-heaven may be surrounded by a plethora of negative attention, its resilience and refusal to go down without a fight is worth applauding.  The tree-of-heaven has an amazing capability of survival.  Unlike most trees you see around San Diego, if you mess with this tree, it fights back.  No, it doesn’t slap you with its branches, but if you cut it or injure it…it knows!  And in a survival response, it shoots out dozens of lateral roots underground to help “pass down the family genes.”

If you noticed that you have one of these “bad boys” creeping into your property, what do you do?  Have no fear.  There are methods to controlling them…which is just a nicer way of saying…annihilating them.   Do not attempt to remove it yourself.  The only exception would be if it is a brand new sprout that is the first of its kind in the area.  If other tree-of-heavens are close by, pulling out a baby sprout would be pointless, because underneath is already an intricate root system that will simply replace what you took out.

The problem with attempting to remove a tree-of-heaven like a “normal” tree lies in the roots.  You can take out the mother tree along with the stump, but in a few months, you’ll just see her little saplings lurking through the ground.  Pull them out, and then a few months later, what do you know?  More mini clones popping out from the ground!  For the property owner, it’s a frustrating ordeal.

In order to successfully remove a tree-of-heaven, herbicide must be used to first kill the tree.  However, this should be performed by a professional tree service company since a strong herbicide has to be used in order to effectively kill the tree.  If other plant species are present, then extra precaution must be taken in order to avoid poisoning neighboring plants.  Once the tree has deceased, the removal process can continue as normal.

LC Tree Service


Contact LC Tree Service today to set up a free on-site consultation.  Serving all of San Diego County.

The post SAN DIEGO’S MOST ANNOYING TREE first appeared on San Diego Tree Trimmers – LC Tree Service.


Tree removals vary widely in their size and difficulty.  Because no two tree removal jobs are the same, providing a reliable quote without examining the tree and property in person is almost impossible.  Too many factors influence the scope of the project, such as canopy density, trunk girth, and carrying distance to the chipper and truck.

While some homeowners may attempt a simple tree trimming, amateur tree removals can quickly go awry when the direction of the fall of limbs or the trunk is miscalculated.  Unfortunately these errors can result in property damage or in bodily harm or death, in the most tragic cases.  Only small tree removals can be deemed safe to be performed by an amateur, but even those small jobs can easily end up being an all-day Saturday project.

Tree removals jobs are time-consuming and dangerous to both people and properties.  However, with proper equipment, our trained and skilled tree crew can remove trees of all sizes as safely as possible.  No seasoned tree company can ever boast in never damaging property when performing a tree removal job — because the nature of the job is downright dangerous, more so with larger removals.  It involves heavy limbs and trunks suddenly breaking away from their support source, and sometimes crashing to the ground.  This is why it is important to hire a professional and licensed tree company with a good reputation and the proper machinery, in order to help alleviate any potential dangers.


  • Canopy density
  • Trunk girth
  • Tree or palm species
  • Proximity of the tree to dump truck and chipper’s location
  • Ease or difficulty of the terrain
  • Number of trees
  • Proximity to structures, fencing, or sensitive landscaping
  • Proximity to hazards, such as electrical lines
  • Emergency work that requires immediate action, especially during the company’s off-hours


Provided are price ranges depending on the tree’s height, however, the range is wide due to the preceding factors that influence the final cost.

  • 30 ft or less = $100 – $500 per tree
  • 30 ft – 60 ft = $200 – $1,500
  • Over 60 ft = $1,500 or more per tree


To give a clearer understanding of what your tree removal can cost, here are some examples of removal jobs that are commonly incurred in Southern California.  As with all jobs, the cost can be lower or higher depending on the different factors that determine the ease or difficulty in performing the removal.

  • 50 ft Mexican fan palm with little or no dead palm frond skirt = approximately $800
  • 50 ft Mexican fan palm with a 15 ft frond skirt = approximately $1,500
  • 60 ft Eucalyptus with a base diameter of 24 inches = approximately $1,400
  • 50 ft Canary Island pine = approximately $1,200
  • 15 ft citrus tree = approximately $400
San Diego Tree Service Company

San Diego Tree Trimmer

San Diego Tree Trimmer


Tree removal jobs involve the removal of everything from the base of the trunk and upwards.  On some jobs, the stump and roots are left to save on cost, but in most cases, they are removed to completely finish the project and prevent regrowth.  For this reason, we always recommend having the  stump removed along with the rest of the tree removal, but tree removals can be costly, so we understand when a client chooses to delay the stump removal for a later date.

As with any tree project, the cost for stump grinding varies greatly from as low as $50 for a simple, small stump to over $1,000 for larger stumps which are located on difficult terrain, such as a steep, hard-to-access slope.


Unfortunately, some trees can be very unpredictable.  Even the most non-threatening tree can suddenly fall — sometimes resulting in a devastating aftermath.  Due the sudden and urgent nature of emergency tree removals, the cost for these jobs tend to be higher than your average tree removal job.  Changes need to quickly be made to our company schedule, crews need to be redirected or even regrouped in the middle of the night, and our tree specialists get to work as soon as possible to clear out the fallen trunks and limbs.

The following factors influence the final cost of an emergency tree removal.

  • Urgency of the job
  • Size of the fallen tree and material
  • Odd working hours, such in the middle of the night or holiday
  • Difficulty and sensitivity of tree location, such as fallen trees on power lines or through homes

San Diego Tree Removal


Contact LC Tree Service today for your free consultation!

The post COST OF TREE REMOVAL SERVICES first appeared on San Diego Tree Trimmers – LC Tree Service.
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