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Your Tree Removal Experts


At Stonaker Tree Service we are here to help you with jobs big and small.  From residential and commercial tree pruning and maintence to large scale excavation projects - we can safely protect and enhance your property.  

By John Stonaker, Dec 19 2017 02:19PM

While frosty weather can turn your yard into a winter wonderland, the beautiful scene can cause long-lasting damage to your landscape. Here are a few tips for cleaning your yard to minimize damage to your trees, shrubs, landscaping, and home after a winter storm.

Be Careful!

First and foremost – be careful. If you have large branches or trees entwined with power lines, DO NOT attempt to remove them yourself. Always assume that power lines are live. Contact the local utility company for assistance and consult a residential tree service for help as well.

Also, if there are large branches dangling from a tree or a tree is leaning precariously – contact a tree specialist. A tree service company can safely remove hazardous branches and trees before they damage your home or property.

Knock it Off

Knock heavy snow off of branches and shrubs. This is especially important if temperatures are predicted to drop – as heavy snow can turn into even heavier ice. Weight-laden branches are likely to snap – not only causing damage to your trees, but to anything below. Also, heavy snow on shrubs can harm their shape and health.

But Let Ice Melt

If the precipitation falls as ice, or if snow has already turned to ice – you might do more harm than good by trying to chip away at the ice. Let the air and sun do their job and hopefully, the ice will melt quickly.

Assess Trees and Shrubs

Remove loose or loosely attached branches and limbs. Damage can increase susceptibility to disease and insects, so clean up ragged breaks with straight cuts back to a healthy branch. But, be careful not to over-prune.

Pick Up Sticks

Not quite as fun as the childhood game, this version of “pick up sticks” will have you picking up all those little branches and limbs strewn about the yard. Set them aside to use as kindling or firewood in the future.

By John Stonaker, Dec 19 2017 12:57AM

One of the most welcoming sights on a cold winter night is to see your home and garden glowing with twinkling holiday lights. There are also few more daunting tasks than getting all of those lights up without damaging your landscape or hurting yourself. Our staff has been out and about helping customers with lighting in Mercer County, NJ and we have noticed several issues with holiday lighting that should be corrected quickly.

Here are a few tips to make the process safe and smooth for you, your trees, and your home.


Survey your landscape. Do you want to light every last bush and branch? Or would one spectacularly-lit tree be a stunning and adequate focal point?

Once you figure out the look you are trying to achieve, make sure you have enough lights for the project. Running to the store to buy more lights in the middle of the project is as common as it is frustrating.


Inspect your light strands and make sure they are applicable for outdoor use by checking the UL listing tag on each light strand. Using indoor lights for outdoor use puts you at risk for early burnout, at best, and a fire hazard, at worst.

Look for frayed or exposed wires and discard light strands that have them.

Plug all the light strands in first and make sure they work.

Look for instructions about how many light strands can be linked together. It’s tempting to keep that chain going, but not necessarily advisable.


If you are going to wrap tree trunks and branches, remember that your trees are living organisms. Wrap the lights tightly enough so they won’t blow off in a stiff wind, but not so tight that you strangle the tree. (Be sure and remove lights by spring at the latest. Leaving them up all year can impede tree growth.)

If you are using a ladder, make sure it is on a level surface. And use the buddy system – have someone help you by holding the ladder and passing things up to you.

Don’t overload extension cords or outlets. If you are going to be putting up a display that can be seen from outer space – consult with an electrician for advice first.


Outdoor holiday lights are one of the joys of the season and one way that you can keep enjoying your landscape and trees even on the shortest (and coldest!) days of the year.

By John Stonaker, Nov 6 2017 05:39PM

Harsh winter weather can create havoc for your landscape. But taking steps to protect your flower beds, trees and shrubs from the extreme weather can help you avoid some of the destruction, disease, and damage that winter’s cold temps, gusty winds, and icy weather promises. Here are a few tips to winter-proof your landscape.

Tree Care for Winter

Water your trees in the fall. Especially if the weather has been very dry, water heavily before the ground freezes. Evergreens, which do not go fully dormant in winter, need particular attention, so be sure and water them down to the roots. Evergreens are also at risk for damaging winter winds. Installing a wind-break or wrapping an evergreen shrub in burlap can be helpful.

Be sure and add a layer of mulch to moderate temperature, encourage root growth, and reduce the chance of injury. This is especially critical for new trees and shrubs. Young trees are also at risk from cold stress, so consider wrapping the bark of young trees for protection.

Look around your house and note any large branches that overhang the house or power lines. Winter stress, snow and ice can cause these branches to break. Be sure and have these vulnerable branches cut back before winter.

Winterize your Flowerbeds

While your petunias may have had a glorious summer, it’s time for them to go. Out of season plants can harbor disease and insects during winter, so be sure and remove them from your flower beds. Water and cut perennials back. Remove sticks and debris from flowerbeds and consider adding a fresh layer of mulch to condition the soil and protect the roots of any shrubs or other plants remaining in the beds for winter.

Protect your Roses

Don’t cut back your roses, even the dead wood, during the fall. Cutting back will stimulate new growth that will not survive the harsh winter climate. Add mulch to cover and protect the rose’s root system. If you have shrub roses, consider a burlap cover to shelter the plant during the winter.


It’s easy to overlook your containers, but if you want to maintain their longevity, it’s best to shelter them from extreme winter temperatures.

Taking a little bit of time to take care of your landscape before the weather gets frosty will save you money and time by keeping your plants, beds, and trees healthy and viable so they can thrive again in the spring.

By John Stonaker, Oct 20 2017 12:14AM

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. So, when you want to sell your home, curb appeal is critical. The exterior of your home is the first thing that potential buyers will see, whether they’re viewing an online listing of your home, driving by your property, or walking to your front door. From a landscape perspective, here are some tips to make sure the view from your curb is appealing.

Consider Trees a Good Investment

Homes with trees planted between the street and front walk sold for $7130 more than homes without trees, according to a 2010 study in the “Journal of Landscape and Urban Planning”. If you don’t have any trees, consider planting some. Dwarf conifers and Japanese maple trees are particularly prized for their curb appeal. If you already have trees, make sure they are healthy. Regular maintenance will keep your trees in good shape and good health.

Remove Hazardous Branches or Trees

Overhanging trees and low-slung branches are not only an eyesore, they can be dangerous. Make sure there is plenty of space for potential homebuyers to walk up to your front door without ducking tree branches. Remove trees that are dead or decaying. To sell your house quickly, you’ll want it to appear vital, bright and well-maintained in every way.

Trim and Prune

Trees should enhance, not overpower, your home. Make sure they are trimmed to ensure a balanced yard. Plants and shrubs should be at least 8 inches to 1 foot away from your home to give the landscape an open appearance. Overgrown shrubs should be trimmed away from windows to improve curb appeal and increase the flow of natural light inside the home. While curb appeal attracts potential buyers, open, bright and sunny rooms can seal the deal. Don’t let overgrowth in your yard darken the spaces inside.

Spruce it Up

Add a little polish to the landscape with fresh mulch and crisp edging. Plant flowers in your beds and fill containers and window boxes with foliage and color.

With appealing, healthy, neat trees to provide natural beauty and privacy, pruned shrubs for depth and balance, and a pop of color in your flower beds, you’ll be ready to attract potential buyers and sell your house quickly.

By John Stonaker, Jun 19 2017 06:33PM

Trees are living beings just like we are. Just as there seems to be no limit to the number of diseases and ailments we can suffer, the same is true of trees. Like people, some types of trees of more susceptible to some types of problems than others. Here’s a short list of some of the challenges your trees may be facing.

Leaf Spots and Sycamore Anthracnose

Leaf spots are a common fungal problem. Normally it’s not a serious problem because the tree should have enough healthy leaf surface for photosynthesis. Most leaf spots are just a cosmetic problem and don’t require treatment. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that normally only affects the leaves. An exception is sycamore trees where it can result in twig dieback. If it happens early in the year it can cause severe defoliation but trees normally releaf without serious damage.


This is a serious disease that affects apple, crabapple and pear trees as well as other plants in the rose family. If uncontrolled the disease can quickly kill a tree. If found early and if pruning can be timed properly it may save an infected tree.


Scorch occurs when roots can’t supply water faster than it’s being lost by the leaves. The result is browning around leaf edges. Trees that prefer light shade are most susceptible. To prevent this try to keep plants well watered during periods of drought.

Root Rot

Root rots can kill a tree suddenly or cause its slow decline. It’s hard to verify because the disease impacts the roots below ground. Anything stressing a tree could make it more susceptible to a root rot. This may be avoided if the tree is healthy overall. There is no cure for root rot.

Environmental Stresses

Many property owners choose trees because they like how they look in places that they think will be attractive. These trees may not be a good fit for local conditions and in soils that drain poorly or that may dry out. This can cause the tree to poorly root, develop poorly and it ends up being more susceptible to insects and diseases. Prior to planting a tree make sure it’s adapted to your location and conditions. Water it adequately during dry spells. This may give the tree a better chance to survive in less than ideal conditions.


Wilt diseases can kill a tree in weeks or over several years depending on a number of factors. It can be confused with insufficient watering which is corrected easily with more water while trees with a wilt disease normally don’t recover.

If you have questions about your trees, whether they may be diseased and if so, what can be done, contact us so we can talk about their condition and how we can help.

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