Tree Work

Dig it, Dung it, Prune it

Our goal at S6 Trees is to keep trees around; we accomplish this by focusing our efforts on increasing tree vitality in order to help the tree become sustainable and have a long life. We believe the best way to reach this goal is for property owners to get their trees on a program which provides a combination of root work (dig it); fertilization (dung it); and tree trimming/pruning (prune it). Even though our slogan “Dig it, Dung it, Prune it,” may seem very basic, we have found it to be essential for a tree’s success in any urban environment. As you follow the program, your trees will thrive, thus increasing your property value and be around for you to enjoy for a long time.

Tree Work Details

We have a minimum $250/per job- due to the cost of Travel and Time.

If we are asked to perform a Tree Inventory on your property, you will then be able to take that and use it in conjunction with the price charts shown below or our other tree work pages. While on your property, we will give our recommendations for services needing performed but ultimately this method allows each customer the opportunity to decide what best fits in their budget and or schedule.

Estimates (Tree Inventory) & Travel Fees

$2/Mile from our Location- You will receive on site a tree inventory (Estimate)

If the work is scheduled, this travel fee will be included with the cost of doing the job. (Within 20 miles of our location)

If you’re just looking for a price without any investment; we encourage you to follow the steps in the section entitled “Estimating Process.” If you follow this method and wish to schedule work, we will need a few pictures of the trees and measurements to be sure we are on the same page prior to scheduling.

Tree Work Suggestions

We suggest our customers use a rotation between the different services provided in order to give the greatest long term benefits for your trees. If there is a need for something more specific, we will let you know while we are performing a tree inventory. If there are issues we notice that requires services we do not provide, we will try our best to make recommendations of ISA Certified Arborists in our local area that can help. We always recommend using ISA Certified Arborists for the best results of any tree work when dealing with your trees success.  We have been trained in the latest practices to use and ways to promote your trees to succeed in an urban environment.

Tree Work Description

Dead Mitigation– Our work description of dead mitigation is simply focused on removing dead branches that have accumulated over time. Each tree Species has some kind of natural die back (dead branches) over time- many times simply due to light and water availability. Trees that show severe signs of die back are often very stressed due to some other causes like root problems, or nutrition deficiencies. This will help clean up the canopy, allowing for better light availability to live limbs and improve on overall airflow of the canopy. In the case of Pines, Spruces (Evergreens) this is a preventative measure for fire. If there is a buildup of dead branches in a spruce tree for example, and there happened to be a fire nearby, the tree is more likely to catch and burn causing a greater damage to the tree and possible failure for the buildings or targets around its proximity.

 Crown Thinning The work description of crown thinning is categorized more for deciduous trees (trees which drop their leaves in the fall) rather than evergreens. There are a few reasons why we recommend using this service. 1) If a tree is too full (Congested) so there is little to no light penetration throughout the canopy, it starves light from your backyard, garden spot, grass, etc. Thinning is seen as a better practice rather than simply removing the tree all together. 2) On hot days if the trees canopy is too congested with limited air circulation penetrating through the tree’s canopy, this creates a breeding ground for bugs and bacteria to thrive. For a tree to thrive proper circulation is needed throughout the canopy to cut down on bacterial and bug growth. 3) If the tree is very large or there is a worry about uprooting; this will allow for the tree to distribute the load of wind or snow better than if left alone.

Crown Reduction- This can be applied to either deciduous or evergreen trees but more commonly used on deciduous trees. This is the proper and approved method by ISA (International Society of Arboriculture); rather than “Topping,” a tree which is NOT an approved method for trees but is often practiced but amateurs.

If a Tree is too tall for its location or if a tree is declining from the top down (often a sign of stress from the roots or water & nutrient availability) rather than removing the tree all together unless structurally compromised, we use reduction cuts to lower the height of the canopy. I’ve personally seen trees that were a couple hundred years old and which proper reduction cuts were practiced allowing it to continue to be around and offer its benefits for the home owner.

Structural PruningThis work is more commonly performed while the tree is still young; and is performed for both deciduous and evergreen trees. The focus of this work is to determine the structure it needs to support loads (Snow, Wind, etc). By performing proper pruning methods a young tree can grow to its fullest ability and be able to withstand the different loads it will see. We look for red flags in the tree to determine how best to help it, some examples we look for are signs of decay or disease; included bark, poor branching structure, central leads. These problems if not resolved early can lead to issues in the future that require services like cabling & bracing.

Cabling- There are a few different methods and materials of cabling used in the arboriculture world. We have found success in using cabling that is made up of a synthetic blend. This allows us to choose between a static or dynamic cabling system. Depending on what is recommended by an ISA Certified Arborist; one of these methods is applied. For basics, if a tree has included bark and can be reduced on one section of the canopy to help balance the tree yet it has some included bark (or a tighter branch union) dynamic cabling would be applied to allow for canopy movement while preventing failure at the branch union. Often cabling is complemented with one or two other services mentioned above for optimal success. When cabling is applied, it needs to be inspected after the first year and replaced after 12 years.

Bracing- Like cabling, bracing is often complemented with other services we provide for optimal success. Bracing is something most ISA Certified Arborists don’t really enjoy performing but they do it simply because they know that without it, a tree won’t be able to succeed. This service requires the worker to drill a hole through the trunk of the tree in which a rod is than placed in the hole allowing for the worker to tighten from both sides of the tree in order to keep it together, or for offering proper support on branches or branch unions.  This practice is often complemented with structural pruning and cabling. The example we used in the cabling description is one that can be applied to bracing. If the included bark (Tight branch union) was already opening up to be exposed to the elements and the more the tree grew in both directions would completely tear the tree in half. Bracing could be placed through the union if there was enough proper holding wood present to work with and the tree was overall healthy except for these structural defects. This along with the cabling would keep the tree from coming apart. When bracing is completed it needs to be inspected after the first year and periodically after that.

Root Collar Excavation- This service is performed with the use of an airspade gun, which is hooked up to a high pressure air hose. The Root Collar or Flare is found at the base of a tree, where the trunk meets the ground. By using this specialized tool to perform this work, it allows for a better method of removing soil without disrupting the roots. While performing root collar excavation, the goal is to uncover around the base of the tree exposing the root flare which will allow for an ISA Certified Arborist to begin evaluation of the roots health and integrity and what may need to be done to correct it in order to promote better nutrient and water availability to the trees canopy. Often stem girdling roots are exposed while performing this service which girdling will cause severe stress to the tree if not corrected.

Root Aeration- In a grid like manner (3ft x 3ft apart) around the drip line of the tree; holes are punched into the soil using our airspade. Much like aeration for a lawn, root aeration for tree roots go much deeper (Up to 3ft deep) These holes allow the roots of the tree to have better oxygen distribution allowing for the trees roots to grow out wider and deeper. In this method, the holes are simply left open- if the soil is poor, or other nutrients are required. Using the vertical mulching service is a great complement.

Radial Mulching- This service can be performed in connection with root collar excavation which while uncovering the trees root flare, you can continue to air trench out from the trees trunk. The worker then applies mulch or compost to the opened trenches allowing for surface roots to obtain needed nutrients and once again allowing for one to amend where the tree sits rather than try and replace all the dirt.

Vertical Mulching- This service is used in correlation with root aeration, when a property has poor soil composition. Often it is not practical or financially feasible to replace all the soil around a tree, so the most economical method allows one to amend the soil where it is. This is done by adding mulch and or compost into the holes after root aeration has been performed. This keeps the holes open for a longer time and gets the nutrients right to the roots.

Compost- Our compost and mulch come from local sources here in Billings MT, where most of the compost comes with a great blend of gypsum in it. Gypsum will allow for the help of breaking down clay which is very prevalent in this area.

Fertilizer- We use a slow release fertilizer that is specific to your tree and shrubs needs. Applied every other year, this is a great way to get the much needed nutrients to the roots of your trees and shrubs. We use a pressurized deep root gun that puts the fertilizer into the ground around the drip line of the tree. If there appears to be signs of specific nutrient deficiencies in the plants we will recommend a soil analysis report to be completed on the property and will work alongside other experts and determine the best route to go in order to gain optimal plant health.



Joshua Smith

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