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Professional Service Staff

Professional Organization

Our office staff is prepared to receive your inquiries and schedule competent Certified Arborists to inspect your property and provide service options for the best care of your trees.

Sotelo’s Tree Care, Inc. is licensed and insured, including State Contractors License, local business licenses, and liability and workers compensation insurance.

Honest and Efficient Crews

Our crews are well-trained, skilled in what we do, honest, and committed to caring for your trees. We respect you and your property and appreciate the opportunity to provide outstanding tree care services. We have yet to find a job we cannot perform, and look forward to adding you to our list of loyal and satisfied clients.

Competent Staff

The arborists that visit your property are ISA Certified Arborists. The lead climbers are WCISA Certified Treeworkers. Our crews are efficient and capable of climbing to all parts of trees, and working at the outer canopy to shorten long branches and retain interior growth. Our crews are skilled to perform work in accordance with the national tree industry standards, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Tree Management Standards.

Managing Risk

Most things in life involve some risk. Living with and near trees has inherent risks. Branches can break, roots can heave, and wood can decay, all creating the potential for tree part or whole tree failure which can cause injury or property damage. The only way to eliminate risk related to trees is to remove all trees. That is not a desirable solution in our Sacramento region climate. The next best thing to no risk is to practice managed risk.

We inspect your trees for health, structure, and failure potential. Most inspections are visual and can be performed on the existing site and tree. We review the site and circumstances and provide care options to reduce the risk associated with your trees, which can vary from improving health, to pruning, to removal.

In some instances soil, plant growth, or improvements need to be removed to view the necessary tree parts to assess structure and wood quality. In these situations, either you can perform the access and we can inspect, or we can perform the access and inspection as you prefer.

Selecting Trees to Plant

Sotelo’s promotes selecting the Right Tree for the Right Place for the Right Purpose. Step 1 – why are we planting the tree? What do we want the tree to do – shade, stormwater interception, screen, frame, leaf or fall color, flowers, fruit, or aesthetics? Once we answer that question, we already have an idea of some of the trees that will serve that purpose. Next we look at the place – how much room is available both above and below ground to accommodate tree growth. In new designs, we may be able to adjust the space to meet the needs of the trees we want to plant. In existing sites, the amount of space may be fixed or very costly to adjust. We have to match the tree with the available space, or it will not be a sustainable planting. Lastly, we select the best trees for that space to do what we want in the space we have.

Tree Inventory

A more detailed site inspection provides an inventory of all the trees on the site, or the population of trees on a site desired by the tree owner. The inventory data covers as wide a range as the clients prefer.

The basic range of attributes include:

  • Individual tree number
  • Location either written description or approximate placement on a map
  • Tree species and common name
  • Trunk diameter
  • Tree vigor (health)
  • Tree structure
  • Significant diseases
  • Comments describing significant observations
  • Mitigation options to reduce risk, improve health, or improve structure

More extensive information range:

  • Height
  • Crown radius
  • Risk assessment
  • Long term maintenance
  • GPS coordinates
  • Plant health care
  • Construction management
  • Other site, utility, and infrastructure information
  • Community status or site importance
  • Photographs
  • Any other details or site data important to the tree owner

Industry Tree Care Standards

While anyone with a chain saw or loppers can prune a tree, not everyone can prune a tree correctly. There are tree care industry standards, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Tree Management Standards. There are nine current parts to the standards with two more under development. Sotelo’s Tree Care, Inc. is committed to keeping abreast of the most current and latest industry standards and performing our tree care practices in accordance with the standards.

The standards are used to develop the work specifications, so each job is defined with a clear outcome. The first step in using the standards to develop work specifications is to create an objective with the client, so the anticipated outcome guides the work process.

Why Follow the Standards

How we care for our trees can help improve their structure, promote better growth, or not. There are three types of common poor pruning practices and the impacts of those actions on our trees;
1) Severe leaf removal which can be a form of topping,
2) Removal of too many branches on the interior of the tree which can be a form of “lions-tailing.”,
3) Regular over-reduction for view and security.

  1. Severe leaf removal and topping while seemingly sensible to think it improves risk because it removes all the branches and foliage from a tree, actually causes a more severe future risk, and usually higher future maintenance expenses. Severe removal of foliage causes the tree to try and quickly replace the similar number of leaves to those removed. These small, multiple, and quickly growing sprouts develop at many places along the trunk and branches, usually more heavily near the cut ends. The intense growth pulls on the trees’ energy reserves, and creates many weakly attached close together branches, which are more prone to failure as they get bigger.The new growth needs to be thinned during at least two subsequent intervals, the first in 2 to 4 years and the next 3 to 5 years later. The likely decay that may attack the cut branch ends needs to be monitored. The worst case scenario is weakly attached branches growing on decayed branch ends, which present the most likely points for future tree failure. The first pruning to thin regrowth should retain 2-5 of the best sprouts well-spaced apart so as they grow, they do not touch each other as they get larger. The second pruning to thin regrowth should retain 1 or 2 sprouts that will serve as the best terminal branch. This thinning should occur on each cut branch end.If the choice is to routinely “pollard” the trees, after the initial severe cut that creates the frame for future shoot growth, each shoot is removed every year, or two, or three, before they get too large and start forming woody bark. The subsequent pruning should be done with hand pruners or loppers, and the crown size of the tree will be the reduced branch framework plus the retained sprout growth for the pollarding pruning cycle. Excellent examples of pollarded trees can be seen in public parks and plazas like Golden Gate Park and UC Berkeley.
  2. Severe removal of interior branches directs all the future growth from the branch tips. All the weight is focused on the tips outward, and the leverage and weight often become too great for the branch strength. Additionally, since the leaves feed the tree, the leaves present along a branch feed the branch growth at their point of attachment downward. If there are limited leaves feeding the long branch, the branch taper will be limited. Long narrow branches are less able to support the leverage of the weight on the branch ends and the branch will be more prone to failure. Trees that grow in open areas are different from trees growing in natural areas usually with side shading and competition from other trees. Open area grown tree branches continue to grow outward.The optimum maintenance practice to improve structure on open grown trees is to shorten long branches, retain the branches growing in the inner tree, remove weak branch attachments so the remaining branch growth is sturdy, and retain a smaller crown with less leverage and reduced branch failures. This retains as many leaves as possible, builds a more sustainable structure, and balances the tree growth and response to pruning in a manner that reduces sprouting and future weak attachments.
  3. Tree crowns naturally grow upward, with some shading and some branch loss on lower branches. Some trees have larger and taller leaf crowns, and some trees have different crown shapes as a matter of genetics. The first step is to select the tree that grows within the available space, and fits the desired purpose. Too often, from the view perspective, people try to control the height of the trees by shortening and rounding over the crown. This tries to constrict the tree against its natural growth characteristics. It also requires intense maintenance efforts to do this. The retention of the crown in a low space actually retains the crown in the line of sight for most situations. Compare the view to a large tree crown raised over the line of sight.Additionally, tree planting in parking lots is initially designed to provide shade for the lot users. The reduction of leaf crown reduces the shade in some cases to only one or two spaces. Encouraging the tree to grow above the line of sight as quickly as possible will both improve the long term visibility and create more shade for more parking spaces. Similarly, many views can be framed with trees instead of cutting to achieve an unobstructed view. Framing a view can provide the benefits trees offer with desirable view corridors. Once trees achieve the height above the sight line, the future maintenance is to manage leverage and risk for those activities under the trees.