Trees and Your Home
Real estate agents love trees. They boost property values, and they enhance the walkability of neighborhoods. Research has even shown that people drive more slowly on tree-lined streets, which makes neighborhoods safer and calmer.
As a volunteer tree steward with Tree San Diego, I advocate for tree installations all over San Diego County. Trees improve air quality, protect our watershed, support our wildlife, and beautify our neighborhoods. A well-positioned tree can cool your home during the summer, lowering your utility bills.
I encourage homeowners to plant more trees on their property. San Diego County has suffered a significant loss of trees in the past 30 years. The land was graded and developed, but not properly landscaped. Today, many neighborhoods in San Diego County have very few trees. (Remember, palms are not trees, and don’t provide the benefits of trees.)
Home Maintenance – Tree Trimming
My article about Fireproofing Your Property notes the importance of tree trimming and shrub pruning to protect your home from wildfire. Tree trimming can help a tree thrive, and help to create a nice shady canopy for your home.
For best results, and to avoid breaking the law, schedule your tree trimming during dormant season, fall and winter. Tree trimming during spring and early summer can damage trees and devastate nesting birds.
What is Dormant Season?
In San Diego County, dormant season usually falls between October and February. This is the ideal time to prune trees. Plan to schedule your annual tree trimming during these five months.
Why Should I Wait Until Dormant Season for Tree Trimming?
Here are some reasons to wait until tree trimming season to prune your trees, courtesy of Project Wildlife, a San Diego non-profit organization:
- It Keeps Trees Healthy. Trees are more vulnerable to diseases and pests when they are actively growing. There are fewer pests during the fall/winter months, and trees are naturally more resistant to diseases when they are dormant.
- It Keeps Nesting Birds Safe. While large raptor nests are visible, most birds’ nests are small and can be easily damaged by tree trimming. Most songbird nests are camouflaged. Even when a tree trimmer does not directly harm a nest, loud noises from tree trimming can disturb nests in nearby trees.
- It’s Illegal to Disturb a Nest. Birds and active nests are protected from harm or harassment by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Cutting down or disturbing an active nest is in violation of California Department of Fish & Game Code 3503, 3503.5. The California Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will issue citations and levy fines to individuals and companies that blatantly disregard the regulations.
What If I See Someone Breaking the Law?
If you see tree trimmers disturbing an active nest, TAKE A PICTURE of the nest, the destruction, and the company’s name. Report violations to the Law Enforcement Office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services at (619) 557-5063.
The Bottom Line
Following a responsible tree trimming schedule keeps trees healthy, and protects our bird populations. Wild birds are a valuable resource in California for natural pest control, and they’re part of what makes San Diego County a beautiful place to live.
Please share this tree trimming schedule with fellow tree owners. Contact me if you have any questions about tree maintenance.