Protect Yourself from Costly Winter Damage; The Best Time to Prune is Now

New Rochelle, N.Y. (PRWEB) December 15, 2011

Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Co. offers tips to prepare your landscape for winter while saving time and money.

Winter is a season full of holiday cheer, festive gatherings and, in our part of the country, beautiful snow-covered landscapes. When it comes to outdoor maintenance, the image of a snow shovel most likely comes to mind before pruning equipment. Winter, however, is the perfect time to care for your trees. Preparing your landscape for the snow to come is especially prudent in light of the devastation caused by this year?s early snow storms. Thankfully, more and more people are realizing the importance of winter pruning ? while saving time and money along the way.

During the winter, deciduous trees are bare. With their entire branch structure visible, it becomes much easier to identify weak branch connections, cracks in limbs, inferior crossing limbs and dead wood. Pruning to remove these branches in winter can avoid serious future damage while improving the health and strength of your trees. The cold climate also means there are far fewer insects or disease pathogens around to affect the newly trimmed areas.

Identify Problems Early

Oftentimes, a tree?s survival may depend on the care you give it before the storm strikes. The high winds, heavy ice and snow of winter can cause a great deal of strain. Having your trees inspected before the worst weather hits can give you insight into potential problem areas and allow you an opportunity to prevent costly and potentially dangerous property damage.

Branches that hang in close proximity to your house, roof, driveway or nearby power lines should be cleaned up. Dead and decaying branches, particularly those at the top or ends of a tree?s canopy, are also potential hazards. Soil that?s newly raised or lifted around the trunk can be a sign of an unsound root system ? one that may give way in severe weather. Another sign of shifting is if canopies of trees are overlapping each other, which wouldn?t happen naturally. Oozing sap, stains or sawdust-like residue could mean disease or insects. Cracks, hollow or rotted areas should also be addressed; mushroom conks growing on or near the base of the tree are another warning sign.

Cleaning Up After the Storm

After a severe storm passes, trees should be evaluated for overall health from the bottom up. Although the ground may be clear, limbs damaged by ice or snow can still split and break high in the treetops. Inspecting the canopies of storm damaged trees is crucial to prevent branches from snapping and crashing down in the future ? especially during high winds.

Broken branches often leave behind stubs that are magnets for decay. Since trees do not regenerate wood, when a breakage occurs, the damage is permanent. An experienced arborist can prevent or stop the spread of decay, however, by pruning any stubs promptly with precise, clean cuts. Improper pruning can cause more harm and allow decay to spread to the trunk.

Restoration pruning, which involves pruning trees that have been damaged by storms, can also play a critical role in the long-term health and visual appeal of your landscape. Trees damaged by winter storms often respond to breakages by producing many new sprouts. This new growth isn?t structurally viable and must be carefully and selectively thinned to form the main architecture of the tree. Although restoration pruning may take several years as the new growth sets in, it is important to promote proper healing and reduce or prevent future rot and decay issues.

Save Time and Money

A frozen ground surface affords arborists the opportunity to use specialized heavy equipment such as a bucket truck and chipper that might otherwise cause damage to your lawn or garden. This equipment makes the trees more accessible and cleanup easier, which means a less expensive bill. In addition, greater flexibility in scheduling and seasonal discounts may be available since work is generally slower during the wintertime months.

Trust a Certified Arborist

A well-maintained landscape can increase your property value by up to 20 percent. Hiring a professional to care for your trees will not only protect your assets, though. Doing so may also help avert serious storm-related damage and injuries. Never attempt dangerous work on your own. Aside from preventing more long-term damage, an arborist with the proper knowledge and equipment can ensure the job is done safely and correctly.

When selecting an arborist, look for one who is certified by a professional organization such as the ISA or one licensed by your state. Request to see proof of insurance ? hiring someone uninsured could leave you liable for his or her mistakes. Take the time to do a little background research by checking out the company or individual?s website. Ask for references and gather several estimates to compare. Before simply settling on the lowest bid, consider which individual or firm offers the experience, credentials and breadth of services you need to best safeguard your investment. Also, there is a benefit to choosing an arborist and sticking with that individual over time since they will build a knowledge base regarding the particular trees on your property.

Ken Almstead, chief executive officer of Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Co., is an active ISA certified arborist with more than 23 years of experience. He is a Northeast Organic Farming Association Certified Organic Land Care Professional, holds a certificate from the Sustainable Studies Institute and currently serves as the Horticultural Chairman of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

About Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Co.

Distinguished by its full line of traditional and organic services, Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Co. is a family owned and operated business founded by Richard E. Almstead in 1964. Today sons Ken and Michael Almstead oversee many of the daily operations, caring for residential, commercial, municipal, and school properties throughout the greater New York-metropolitan region. Almstead offers a full range of services to properly care for trees, shrubs and lawns, emphasizing scouting and diagnostics to help prevent problems. Offices are located in Hawthorne and New Rochelle, N.Y., Stamford, Conn., and North Halendon, N.J. For more information or to request a free consultation, visit Almstead at or call toll-free at 1-800-427-1900. You can also connect on Facebook or LinkedIn for the latest news, photos and promotions.

Press Contact

Diana Costello

Co-Communications, Inc.




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Protect Your Home from Hurricanes

Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) September 7, 2006

With power returning to the Southeast after a blackout caused by Ernesto and Tropical Storm Florence picking up speed in the Atlantic, coastal residents are once again thinking about protecting their homes from wind and water.

Homeowners often scramble to board up windows and lay sandbags just hours before a storm hits. However, there are more elaborate and permanent measures, which offer better protection for home and property.

“Consider retrofitting your home against hurricane damage,” says Diana Fink, who has 35 years of experience in the insurance adjusting industry. “This can be an expensive project, but you can do it in stages and insurance companies may offer discounts to help offset the costs.”

Retrofitting means making permanent changes to an existing building, to protect it from hazards like flooding and wind.

“It’s important to strengthen your home so wind and debris don’t tear large openings in it,” says Diana Fink, who founded Central Insurance School almost 20 years ago.

Fink recommends protecting and reinforcing four critical areas of the home: roof, windows, doors and garage doors. These areas are vital because wind can suck a roof off during a storm. Broken items such as windows, doors, or garage doors can contribute greatly to the likelihood that this will happen.

Current codes require new homes to tie roofs tightly to walls. However, existing homes may not have been built with the same knowledge.

“The best time to start securing, or retrofitting, your home is when you’re making other renovations and repairs before hurricane season even begins,” says Fink.

In some cases, grants may be available to help homeowners pay for retrofitting. For example, the State of Florida set aside 242.5 million dollars, to provide homeowners with free home inspections and matching grants for specific improvements on qualified homes.

The monies provide up to $ 5,000 in matching grants to homeowners who need to upgrade roofs, decks, hurricane shutters and other items.

Still, the cheapest and easiest way to make a home hurricane resistant is to invest in extra hurricane straps and bracing while the home is being built.

Remember, when a hurricane watch is issued it may already be too late to take certain precautions.

To locate a public adjuster for a home-inspection, please contact Central Insurance School by phone at 800-571-2003 or online at


Hurricane Season is Here — Protect Your Home in a FLASH from Hurricane Damage

Tallahassee, FL (PRWEB) June 01, 2011

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. offers new DIY tips and resources for making homes more hurricane resistant; launches Home Depot gift card sweepstakes through its 2011 Great Hurricane Blowout.

June 1 marks the first day of the 2011 hurricane season, a time that homeowners across the “hurricane belt” should be busy preparing their homes in order to best protect their families and their properties from impending hurricanes.

That’s why the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc.

Metal Roof Shingles Help Protect Homes During a Hurricane

Pompano Beach, FL (PRWEB) July 1, 2006

The 2006 hurricane season has arrived. Arriving with it are fears that many homeowners have regarding their roofs. Advocates of metal shingle roofing systems have long contended that wind-resistance is among a metal roof’s most valuable features – a contention that was demonstrated last year after Hurricane Katrina roared onto the Gulf Coast.

David Rossano’s family had been evacuated from New Orleans just before Katrina came ashore. Just a year before, Rossano had a metal roof installed onto his home. “We had resigned ourselves to the fact that our home and possessions would probably be gone,” Rossano recalls. “The storm was just too powerful,” he added. When the storm had passed and they were able to navigate through the debris, the Rossano family drove through their neighborhood and saw the destruction. But when they got to the front of their home, they were surprised to find their home intact. “We looked for major roof damage—didn’t see any. We looked for minor roof damage—didn’t see any. I looked for a dent or a ding or a missing cap, anything. Didn’t see a single problem. It looked brand new. We started laughing and joking about being so worried for no reason,” he said

In a major windstorm, maintaining the integrity of the roof system is essential to a building’s ability to survive. Once the roof begins to fail, the air pressure within the building can increase dramatically, causing windows, doors and walls to fail as well.

“Obviously, every roof system has its limits, but homes and businesses with new metal shingles are among the most successful in resisting the uplift forces of hurricane-force winds,” explained Tony Chiovare, president of Custom-Bilt Metals, a long-time leader in the metal roofing industry.

Today’s metal shingles achieve their superior wind resistance thanks to their interlocking panel design, Chiovare explained. In such systems, the metal roofing panels lock together securely on all four sides. One example is the Vail Titan Select Shingle system, which Custom-Bilt manufactures and markets under a license agreement with Vail Metals Systems.

“Metal shingles such as the Vail Titan Select have been tested and shown to resist hurricane-force winds,” Chiovare said.

Chiovare notes that metal roofing systems have evolved dramatically in recent years, allowing homeowners and businesses to choose a lightweight, wind- and fire-resistant metal roof without having to sacrifice aesthetic considerations. For example, the Vail shingle system is available in a true copper finish that weathers beautifully, as well as a Kynar 500 finish in a wide variety of colors, all of which resist fading due to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, as well as corrosion due to harsh marine conditions or airborne pollutants.

In addition to wind resistance, metal roofing systems also offer a variety of other benefits, Chiovare noted. Most metal roofing systems are Class A fire resistant, as well as lightweight and energy efficient. With adequate insulation, metal roofing offers very high “R-values.” The newest metal roofs can even help lower homeowners’ energy costs by reducing the load on the home’s air conditioner, thanks to new ULTRA-Cool™ coatings that help reflect solar energy away from the roof rather than absorbing it.

Custom-Bilt Metals has been a leading supplier in the painted metal industry since 1974, and currently stocks more than 2,000 different items in its 15 national branch locations.

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