Column Follow-up: Good tree trimmers, rain barrels and stopping the butchering of our trees

Column Follow-up: Good tree trimmers, rain barrels and stopping the butchering of our trees

My last column “Progress and Challenges in Redlands’ Natural World” was published in our local paper today. Toni Momberger, its progressive editor, has left and consequently so have her columnists until the new editor establishes his/her writers. My column’s messages apply to more than the inland area of Southern California where I live.  I’ve also had some follow-up questions and additional information to share.Finding Good Tree Trimmers

Here in Southern California we have an epidemic of terrible tree trimming, with trees of all ages getting topped – see this article for more info on topping. Here’s one example at 1325 E. Citrus in Redlands by J Ruiz Landscaping out of Inglewood. Shame on them.


Appropriate Palm Trimming – The tips of the fronds dip down to horizontal – fronds below can be trimmed.


An over-trimmed palm. This weakens (and thins) the stem supporting the fronds, and is especially hard on tall stemmed Mexican fan palms.

I’m asking anyone to let me know good tree trimming – – and I’ll add to the list below. This would be done according to national standards such as the ANSI A300 pruning standards, which dictate that foliage is not reduced by more than 25% (less for mature trees like California oaks). Palms are not ‘rooster-tailed’ but trimmed so the lowest branches are horizontal. Here’s a photo of good and poor palm trimming.

Here’s a list so far:

  1. Paul Chaney, ISA Certified Aroborist, First Certified Arbor Care (San Bernardino)
    909-380-1232 cell/txt      or 909-380-1131 Office
  2. West Coast Arborist Inc. 909.783.6544  (they have other offices in SoCA and Phoenix)

Also,  I’m compiling a list of bad tree trimming contractors. A few cities like Pasadena have regulations for fining tree trimmers but most cities do not. Here in Redlands, if you catch one in action that is harming a tree, Tim Sullivan in the Quality of Life Department said to call him – 909-798-7655 x304 and he will check if the company is licensed and will send someone from code enforcement. In other cities I recommend talking to your city department that handles trimming of city trees as a start.

Our 65 gallon Cascata rain barrel now costs about $150 on sale online. We had initial issues but are happy with its look and how a hose on the bottom and hooked to the spigot can drain during heavy rains

Rain barrels for tree watering

In Southern California — unlike Northern California — we still are below average in rain. As a result of the now 5th year of drought and rising temperatures, our trees are suffering. In addition to supplemental irrigation, during our rainy season (which is still happening – yay!) we use rain barrels attached to hoses to divert water to trees in our landscape. So far, we’ve saved about 10,000 gallons of rainwater.
Home Depot is now offering 50 gallon Castilla rain barrels for only $79.97.  Our rain barrels are from the same company. They’re attractive but we had some quality issues, including plastic spigots, which the Home Depot ones would have. I would replace with a brass spigot. But it’s a great price.

About Linda Richards

My goal is to educate about the science of nature in layperson speak, through my writing, science and education background. I grew up in the Chicago area, loved living in Minneapolis before gravitating to the West, which is now home.

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