What is Shearing and How is it Different From Pruning?

Tree care professionals in Vancouver want to educate homeowners about the proper shearing, pruning and trimming of their trees and hedges. 

What is Shrub and Tree Shearing? 

Trees and shrubs add character to a landscape, but as most people know, they need regular maintenance to keep them looking great and growing healthily. Regular maintenance can include watering, fertilizing, and especially pruning, trimming, and shearing. 

Left alone, most plants will overgrow or grow in a pattern that isn’t helpful for the long-term. Additionally, most trees and shrubs in a landscape require some shaping to keep them aesthetically pleasing. It is for these reasons that processes like shearing and pruning are done. 

How is Shearing Different from Pruning and Trimming?

The terms “pruning,” “trimming,” and “shearing” are all terms that refer to the skillful removal of plant matter. However, the goal and method of each process is different. Shearing refers to the removal of the outermost layer of growth around the whole plant. No attention is paid to removing dead branches or overgrowth. The main goal of shearing is for improving the shape for aesthetic purposes. 

Trimming and pruning focus on removing dead plant matter, enhancing the natural growth habit of a specimen, and thinning out overgrowth so air and light can circulate within the tree or shrub. Often, pruning and shearing methods used in conjunction is the best practice for most trees and shrubs. Employing both methods will ensure that the leaves are growing more densely throughout the shrub, leading to a bushier appearance that is less susceptible to disease or infection. 

What Trees And Plants Benefit From Shearing?

Shearing most often refers to shrubbery and bushes. Shrubs and bushes are usually placed in a landscape because of their potential for shearing into pleasing shapes. Some varieties of small trees can also be trained and sheared into a habit that will make them behave more like shrubs, particularly evergreen varieties. 

Like trimming and pruning, shearing can be excessive. When shearing occurs, the outermost plant growth is repeatedly removed. Periodically, it is important to trim and prune specimens that are repeatedly sheared to keep them growing healthily. 

Why You Should Work With A Professional

Any time plant matter is removed from a tree or shrub there is a risk that damage could occur. While pruning, trimming and shearing are all done with the health of the plant in mind, when they are done improperly it can be detrimental to the plant by allowing bacteria, fungus, and insect infestations to take up residence inside the plant. 

Another common problem from shearing work done by non-professionals is the damage caused by overshearing. When shrubs are repeatedly sheared to the same level, the growth of the plant is concentrated in the outer layers of leaves. This constricts light penetration and air circulation to the inside of the plant. When the outer layer is repeatedly damaged by overshearing, the plant loses the majority of its healthy growth and can go into shock. 

Working with the Best

Working with professionals is important to ensuring that trimming practices are healthy to the plant instead of damaging. VI Tree Service in Vancouver has over 20 years of experience caring for local trees and shrubs. Their crews are experienced and professional and they are ready to handle anything from small projects to large landscaping. 

What Should I Do If My Tree Is Struck By Lightning?

While storms can be beautiful and exciting, they can also be scary and cause significant damage to both the home and the yard. Having a tree get struck by lightning can be a “shocking” experience, so it’s best not to get caught unprepared. Here is some important information that everyone should know so that they will know how to act if a tree is struck.

What Exactly Happens When a Tree Is Struck By Lightning?

The tree damage that happens when a tree is struck by lightning can vary greatly depending on the severity of the strike and where it hits the tree.

An important factor in how well or how poorly a tree does is how much moisture it has inside of it. When lightning strikes the tree, it very quickly heats up the water inside the tree’s cells. This water comes to a boil and creates steam, which is what causes the bark to peel, slide, or even be blown completely off the tree.

On the flip side, sometimes a tree does not show any signs of visible damage on the outside but is much more damaged on the inside. Unfortunately, this is often noticed too late, after the tree has already died. 

What You Can Do

You’re probably wondering, what exactly should I do if my tree is struck by lightning?

The first and most important thing to know is that the electricity created by a lightning strike stays in the ground around the tree for up to a few minutes after the strike. While it may be tempting to run right out and check for any obvious tree damage, that does run the risk of being injured or even killed. Always wait before approaching the tree or, better yet, contact an arborist for more advice before doing anything.

What ultimately happens to the tree is decided by how much damage it took from the strike. Some trees are too far gone and will need to be removed before they become a serious tree hazard. Others can be coaxed back to health by an arborist. It’s also important to note that, although many websites make claims that their homemade recipe can help save the bark or the tree, there is no truth to any of those claims. 

Why You Should Call a Professional

In addition to the potential safety hazards that having a tree get struck by lightning presents, there are other reasons that you should call an arborist right away.

A trained arborist can do a full tree risk assessment, not just of the tree that was struck, but also the other trees on the property. This will not only help decide if tree removal is warranted, but can also help prevent damage to your entire property.

Also, arborists are aware of other preventative measures that can be taken, like tree trimming, cabling, etc. Although we can’t control the weather and storms happen, consulting with a tree service company can help minimize any potential risks, especially if you live in a particularly stormy area.

About  VI Tree Service

VI Tree Service is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. They employ certified arborists and hold multiple other qualifications and certifications. Their staff performs tree risk assessments, tree removal/trimming, and emergency tree services.

Autumn Tree Care Made Easy

Arborists in Vancouver, BC Share Fall Tree Care Tips

Along with the many tasks homeowners must complete to get their homes ready for winter, they should not forget tree maintenance. Late fall is the ideal time to perform most tree care tasks, including pruning, fertilizing, and mulching. Going the extra mile to care for your trees in the fall will give them a great start for the next growing season. The reward for your hard work will be stronger, healthier, more robust trees in the spring.

Late autumn is the perfect time for tree transplanting, pruning, mulching, watering, and shielding your trees from damage. Follow this easy plan for late autumn tree care.

Plant Now

Early spring is when most homeowners look to plant trees and shrubs, but late fall is even better for tree transplanting. When a tree is planted in the fall, it has extra time to establish a healthy root system before being pummeled by heat and drought in the summer.

Caring for new trees is easier in the fall when cooler temperatures and more frequent rainfall aid the growth of roots. However, if there is not a lot of rainfall, homeowners should water their new trees to give them the best possible start. Here’s how often to water new trees:

  • In the first two weeks, water daily.
  • Three to twelve weeks after planting, water every two or three days.
  • After twelve weeks, water weekly.

Planting in the fall and watering trees regularly builds a strong root system that will help the tree survive future drought and disease.

Prune And Mulch

Tree pruning is another task that is best done in late fall. At this time, the tree has stopped growing and gone dormant. You can remove dead or damaged limbs, or just prune for shape, but be careful to never take off more than 30% of the tree’s live tissue. Over-pruning will leave a tree unable to produce the nutrients it needs from sunlight and may result in the loss of the entire tree.

In addition to pruning, spread organic composted mulch under your trees during the fall. A nice, thick layer of mulch over the tree’s entire root system will help to retain moisture throughout the winter. The mulch will also help to insulate the soil and reduce temperature extremes which could damage the roots.

Water And Protect

After mulching, be sure to water your trees all throughout the fall and winter. Winter droughts can be just as damaging as summer droughts, so give your trees a drink. A good rule of thumb is to continue to water your trees as long as it’s above 5 degrees Celsius and there is no snow covering.

You may need to water your trees one or two times a month during the winter. Even during the winter, trees require up to 4 litres of water for every 3 centimetres in diameter the trunk is. So, if a tree is approximately 12 centimetres across, it will need approximately 16 litres of water at every watering during dry spells. Routine tree watering helps keep the tree strong and resistant to disease.

In the fall, be sure to protect your trees from mechanical injuries. Consider how strong the winds get where you live, where the snow piles up after shovelling and snow blowing, and whether any exposed roots are in danger of being trampled. Protecting a tree from injury will help prevent disease.

Some trees may benefit from being wrapped in burlap or covered with a lean-to type shelter to protect them from the weight of snow. Tree trunks can be wrapped in plastic snow fencing or wire mesh to protect the bark and flesh from deer nibbles. And any exposed roots should be thoroughly covered with a deep layer of mulch to protect them from injury.

Consult The Professionals At VI Tree Service

For help with fall tree care, consult the professionals at VI Tree Service, who have been caring for the trees of Vancouver Island and the surrounding areas for over 30 years. They offer Certified Arborist consultations, tree planting, tree removal, trimming and pruning, stump grinding, tree emergency service, and more. VI Tree Service is licensed, insured, and certified by the International Society of Arboriculture and the BC Forest Safety Council.

Why It’s Important to Hire An Arborist to Take Care of Your Trees

VI Tree Service is the tree servicing company you want on the job because they have the certified skillset necessary to keep the trees in your yard safe and healthy. 

Arborists Keep Your Trees Safe and Healthy

Some people believe they can save themselves a few dollars here and there by trying to service the trees on their property themselves. However, this is highly discouraged as a tree can become dangerous rather quickly. That is why it is crucial that you decide to hire an arborist instead. The arborist will keep the tree safe from damaging your property or your neighbour’s, as well as keeping it safe from hurting anyone. If you try to service your trees on your own, you are likely going to spend twice as much because you don’t have the same experience level as the arborist. 

Continue reading to learn more about why you should hire an arborist when you need your tree services. 

Common Services Provided By Arborists

When you choose to go with an arborist, you no longer have to worry about how your tree will be treated. Arborists are trained to service your trees in a number of different ways. 

Below are some of the common services provided by arborists:

  • Tree planting
  • Tree removal
  • Stump removal/grinding
  • Tree trimming/pruning
  • Tree maintenance
  • Tree emergencies
  • Soil modification

An arborist will not only make sure that your tree is in safe and healthy condition, but he will also inform you of any potential weak areas on the tree as well. If you have any questions about possible tree planting, the arborist will provide you with sound advice on when and where you should plant the trees. Once all decisions are made, the arborist will then come out and plant the tree for you to ensure it’s done correctly. 

Common Signs You Need to Hire An Arborist

In order for you to call an arborist when you are in need of services, you have to know what the common signs are so you can call sooner rather than later. Those that wait to call an arborist put themselves, their home, and their neighbours at risk for injury or property damages. 

Some common signs you need an arborist are: 

  • You hear the tree in your yard creaking and making noises
  • The leaves are discoloured
  • There are mushrooms at the base of the tree
  • You want to remove a tree
  • You want to sell your home
  • The trees in your yard look top-heavy
  • The trees are growing into electrical wire or onto your roof

If you are experiencing one or more of these signs, you should call a professional immediately. A tree could turn into an emergency situation in no time at all. 

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional

The benefits of hiring a professional are seemingly endless. Below are some of the most important benefits of hiring an arborist to service the trees in your yard:

  • They are trained, experienced, and insured
  • They always come prepared with the right equipment 
  • Damages are minimized
  • The arborists will clean up after themselves when they are done

Not only that, but an arborist will keep your property value high and save you money in the long run on repairs and other costs of damage. The next time you need the trees in your yard serviced, don’t hesitate to call a professional and insured arborist in your area. 

VI Tree Service Keeps Your Trees Healthy

It can be hard to find an arborist in your area that you can trust enough to service the trees in your yard. However, if you live near the Vancouver area, look no further than the experts at VI Tree Service. They work hard to keep your home safe from tree emergencies no matter what. Call today to schedule your next appointment!

How Big Of A Problem Is Exposed Tree Roots?

Arborists in Vancouver share information about exposed tree roots in your landscape.

Trees add so much value to a landscape. But, they can make lawn care more difficult. Constantly picking up fallen limbs and raking up leaves before you mow adds extra steps to your landscaping process. It can be especially distressing when you are mowing and you take a chunk out of an exposed tree root.

Exposed tree roots can seem to happen out of the blue and when you notice them it’s usually because they have been damaged. Knowing how to prevent exposed tree roots and what to do about them can help you keep your trees and your lawn happy.

What Causes Tree Roots To Become Exposed?

Contrary to what you may think, most species of trees don’t make a habit of sending their roots up to the surface. Roots on the surface cannot access the nutrients that are needed to feed the tree. The tender roots are better suited to being underground where the layers of soil can protect them.

So what causes them to become exposed? Most often topsoil erosion is what exposes tree roots. The roots are safely underground until natural surface runoff “brings them to the surface.”

Are Exposed Roots Harmful To Trees?

For the tree, having roots exposed is not necessarily a bad thing. Nutrient availability for the roots will be less and some of the anchoring power or the roots may be compromised, but this is usually not enough to be serious. The main danger of exposed roots is the damage they are exposed to when sitting on or near the surface of the soil.

Roots are delicate structures with an outer skin. The outer skin protects them, much like your skin protects you. When the skin is damaged, or worse yet, when chucks are taken out of the root, the root becomes vulnerable to infection from mould, fungus and wood-eating insects. The damage and the ensuing infections cut off nutrients to the tree that were being transported through the root. 

How Should You Care For A Tree With Exposed Roots?

The best way to care for a tree with exposed roots is to work to prevent them. Any steps that can be taken to minimize surface run-off will help. Planting shade-tolerant grasses or perennials will ensure there is something there to anchor the topsoil. Often, homeowners will build slightly raised beds around larger trees for more landscaping and soil conservation. Depending on how your property drains water, it may be necessary to address this on a larger scale with gutters or french drains.

But, what if you already have a tree with exposed roots? The best thing you can do is protect the roots. Stop mowing over them is the first step. The next step is to provide some cover. The best cover is mulch. Mulching over exposed tree roots will keep them safe and work to provide moisture and nutrients to the tree as it grows.

About VI Tree Service    

VI Tree Service has been taking care of trees in the Vancouver area since 1990. Their arborists are experts at keeping trees healthy and landscapes safe. From proper tree care to safe tree removals, their teams have the tree care solutions to help you.

Learning How to Water Your Newly Planted Tree

When you need expert tree advice, look no further than the professionals at VI Tree Service. They are your Vancouver tree servicing company that is here to keep your trees healthy and safe.

A lot of the time when people think of trees, they don’t think of a newly planted tree. They think of the tall, full-grown tree that doesn’t need much care at all other than routine maintenance. However, there was someone at one point in time that took care of that tree so it could grow into the strong and healthy tall tree you think of in your mind. Caring for and watering a newly planted tree is trickier than you might think as well. There are certain guidelines one must follow to ensure the tree grows strong and healthy. Luckily, the experts at VI Tree Service have the knowledge and expertise to keep your newly planted trees alive and well, while also teaching you something in the process.

Continue reading to learn more about how to care for newly planted trees.

Newly Planted Tree Care

In a majority of cases, it takes three growing seasons for a tree to become established. Until that day occurs, how you care for your newly planted tree is vital to its survival. If you don’t take care of the tree it could grow with a lean or a crooked trunk, or it could die as a result.

When a newly planted tree is left to fend for itself, it becomes weakened, which makes it susceptible to pests and diseases. That is why tree care for newly planted trees is so important. Newly planted tree care consists of maintaining a proper balance between things like:

  • Amount of daily sunshine
  • Amount of water
  • Where you water
  • When you water
  • The soil
  • Mulching
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning

Granted, a new tree doesn’t need a lot of pruning or fertilizer at first. In the first year, the most important part of caring for your tree is understanding how to properly water it; more on this below.

Dealing With the Shock of a Transplant

The sad truth is that many newly planted trees fall prey to transplant shock. It is incredibly easy for a new tree to suffer from this. However, there are ways to prevent it like:

  • Only planting trees native to your region
  • Planting the tree at the proper depth
  • Watering it enough

That said, if your tree is suffering from transplant shock, there are things you can do to try and help the tree recover. Below are some tips to help you deal with transplant shock:

  • Soak the roots with water
    • You’ll want to hydrate the roots with at least one inch of water
    • Maintain moist soil. Don’t let it dry out.
  • Mulching
    • Sometimes mulching around the base of the tree can help protect against transplant shock
    • You want a two to four-inch layer of mulch around the tree’s base that extends out to the outermost leaves
    • Be careful not to pile it too high or too close to the trunk, as this will only worsen the problem.

How, When, and Where to Water

As mentioned above, the single most important aspect of caring for your newly planted tree is to develop a watering practice that is ideal for the tree. It is extremely easy to underwater a tree. Not only that, but you can lose the tree due to root rot if you don’t water in the correct place.

Below are some tips to help you understand how, when, and where to water your newly planted tree:

  • How?
    • When you water your tree, be sure to soak the roots really well
    • You always want breathable soil so the roots have some space to dry out a little
    • Never let them dry out completely
  • When?
    • When you start to notice the soil drying out, your tree wants to be watered again
  • Where?
    • Throughout the first few months, the roots are still in a root ball so you want to water right on top of the trunk to ensure the roots get soaked. After this point, you’ll want to extend your watering away from the trunk and instead water around the base and extend out toward the canopy of the tree.
    • The roots extend wide from the trunk so it’s crucial you continue to accommodate for that growth with your watering

Again, once the tree is established, it no longer needs this vigorous of a watering schedule. In fact, in most regions, the natural weather can take care of watering the tree from that point onward. Only in the hottest and driest parts of the world do trees sometimes need to be watered in their adult life.

The VI Tree Service Difference

VI Tree Service is the tree care company for you because they have over 50 years of experience. You can trust that they have seen it all and can handle any situation you throw at them. Keep the trees and shrubs in your yard safe, strong, and healthy throughout the course of their lives. Call today to schedule your next appointment!

Stump Removal And Stump Grinding: What’s The Difference?

Tree Service Professionals in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Share Stump Removal and Stump Grinding Information

Removing a tree stump looks easy at a glance, but in reality, it’s anything but. Tree stumps can be dangerous and can invite termites and other pests into your yard. You’ve got two options for effectively eliminating tree stumps: removal and grinding. Both options require special equipment and know-how. But, they’re both viable for certain situations. Read on to discover which option is right for you and what the costs are for each. 

How Is Stump Grinding Done?

Stump grinding is the most common and efficient way to get rid of an unsightly stump. It’s generally cheaper than stump removal because it’s less labor-intensive. A tree service will bring in a stump grinding machine and get to work, essentially turning your stump into sawdust. Depending on what you want and the surrounding topography, the tree service will grind the stump down past the soil level. Usually, the machine can grind it down from an inch to a foot below the ground.

Stump grinding leaves some of the stump and the root system intact, which means you don’t have a giant hole in your yard to fill in. You’ll probably want to fill in the small hole directly over the stump, but that’s easily done. You’ll also have the option to use the sawdust from the stump as mulch, although it’s likely to attract termites. You won’t be able to plant a new tree where the old one was, but the decaying stump may sprout.

The Stump Removal Process

Stump removal requires heavy-duty machinery to pull the entire root system out of the ground. This often leaves a giant hole that must be filled in afterward. Sometimes the heavy machinery arborists bring in for the job can tear up the surrounding yard. However, the nice thing about stump removal is the ability to plant a new tree where the old one was. 

Stump removal is the best option when you’re excavating land for new construction, or when you prefer planting a new tree precisely where the old one was. In almost all other situations, stump grinding is the preferred option. 

Expert Tree Removal Costs

Having a tree stump ground down is considerably less expensive than having it removed. You’ll be left with lots of sawdust, but you can use it as mulch or have it removed. Some tree service companies offer to remove the sawdust for free or a small fee. You won’t be able to plant a new tree where the old one was, but you can plan one nearby. The tree roots will decay over the years, as all trees do eventually. You may see some new spouts over the roots, but you can easily remove them if you want. 

As noted above, tree stump removal is usually more expensive than grinding. But, the upfront cost of removing a stump doesn’t include the cost of filling in the hole again or repairing your lawn from damage done by machinery. On occasion, chemicals are used to soften the soil around the roots. If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option, grinding is the way to go. No chemicals are used in the grinding process.

Removing a stump is a difficult task best left to the professionals. It can be dangerous and time-consuming unless you know what you’re doing. For fast and safe results, contact your local tree removal service.

About VI Tree Service

VI Tree Service has been serving Vancouver, BC, with pride since 1990. They’re environmentally friendly, professional, licensed, and insured. Their expert techs have over 50 years of combined experience to make any job a success. They also provide free estimations and guaranteed quality workmanship.  

Is it too late to trim my fruit trees? It’s the end of May and I’m way behind with my yard work.

Great question! Being such a topsy turvy year with an extended winter and our global corona virus situation, this has left MANY way behind and wondering about the same thing.

The reality is that fruit tree pruning can be done in winter, spring and early summer….so there’s still time! One tree that needs consideration is the cherry tree. Many have already started to bear fruit, so we suggest waiting until the fruit has been borne and trim then.

One of the great things about living on the Island is that we have a remarkable climate that provides us with awesome seasons…lots of sun and lots of rain. Aren’t we lucky?

Here’s our Canadian Plant Hardiness Zone Map:


  • Zone 0: below -45°C
  • Zone 1: -45°C
  • Zone 2: -45°C to -40°C
  • Zone 3: -40°C to -35°C
  • Zone 4: -35°C to -29°C
  • Zone 5: -29°C to -23°C
  • Zone 6: -23°C to -18°C
  • Zone 7: -18°C to -12°C
  • Zone 8: -12°C to -7°C
  • Zone 9: -7°C to -1°C

BC Regions

  • Lower Mainland: Zone 7/8
  • Vancouver Island: Zone 8
  • Sunshine Coast : Zone 7/8
  • Okanagan Valley : Zone 4/5
  • Prince George: Zone 3
  • Prince Rupert: Zone 6/7
  • Peace River area: Zone 2

Our fruit trees do need care and attention as they grow faster than other regions. So, consider having us out to do a FREE estimate on trimming your trees, especially those tall ones!

Call us to book your FREE estimate: 250-755-6799