GFC provides technical assistance to communities and individuals throughout Georgia to help manage and conserve community trees and forests. GFC does not conduct individual site visits. However, we are able to electronically answer technical questions about management, tree planting and care, insect and disease issues, and tree conservation.

Sometimes, a simple question can be answered with a little background information. We invite you to review our various resources for a lot of helpful tips and best practices for homeowners. If you still have more detailed questions, we encourage you to fill out a the form below to get advice directly from an arborist.

Helpful Resources

General Information

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Community Tree Planting and Establishment GuidelinesThis Document is intended to aid homeowners and local government staff in planting and directing the establishment and maintenance of community trees. PDF
Green Buffers for Screening and Noise ReductionThis document discusses basic landscape tools and guidelines for optimizing sound reduction and visual screening. PDF
Homeowner’s Role in Maintaining the Urban ForestDownload this guide to get tips on maintaining trees, selecting an arborist and a homeowner tree survey checklist.PDF
How to Hire a Tree ServiceHelpful suggestions for finding a tree service and avoiding many of the pitfalls involvedPDF
How to Take Pictures of Your TreeWhen requested to send photographic images of your tree to an arborist for review, it is important to remember the following photography "Do's" and "Don'ts." PDF
Is My Tree Safe?All trees will fail at some point in their life, and all trees have some level of risk associated with them. Determining the likelihood of tree failure requires a significant level of experience and knowledge about how trees grow, how they fail, and what characteristics make a tree “risky.” PDF
Making Your Home More Energy Efficient By Planting TreesLearn the best ways to save money and energy through tree planting - a time tested method for reducing energy use. PDF
Tree Risk ManagementTrees provide a host of benefits, but we have a responsibility to assess and minimize risks associated with the forest canopy.PDF
What is my tree worth?Homeowners often believe that trees in their landscape have economic value for use as lumber or other wood products. The main impediment to selling your landscape trees is the cost of their removal. PDF
What is my yard tree worth?Homeowners often wonder about the value of their trees when removals appear necessary or when a tree has suffered damage at the hands of a contractor, neighbor, or storm.PDF
Where are my trees’ roots?Many people think removing a few of the tree’s encroaching roots will cause little long term harm and that large trees can easily recover from minor root loss, but that
is seldom the case.

Insects & Diseases

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Ambrosia Beetles in Urban TreesAmbrosia beetles are non-native (in Georgia) major wood-boring pests that usually attack hardwoods and ornamental trees during times of drought, storm damage and construction damage.PDF
Bot Canker in Ornamental TreesBot canker is a serious pathogen of landscape and ornamental trees. This fungus is opportunistic and generally requires a weakened or damaged host. PDF
Carpenter Ants and TreesCarpenter ants are common in log houses and other wooden structures. These insects are primarily a nuisance, and are not likely to cause serious damage quickly.PDF
Diseases of Leyland Cypress in the LandscapeLeyland cypress has become one of the most widely used plants in commercial and residential landscapes, and it is relatively pest-free. However, because of its relatively shallow root system, and because they are often planted too close together and in poorly drained soils, Leyland cypress is prone to root rot and several damaging canker diseases, especially during periods of prolonged drought.PDF
Eastern Tent Caterpillar, Forest Tent Caterpillar and Fall WebwormHelpful information about identifying and controlling tent caterpillars and webworms.PDF
Fungal Conks on TreesFungal Conks, or mushrooms growing from the trunk or base of a tree, are an indication that a rotinducing pathogen has taken up residence. Some of these fungi are significantly less harmful than others, but all warrant further investigation. PDF
Gall Producing InsectsGalls are abnormal vegetative growths on trees that result from the feeding and egg laying activities of various insects and mites. Generally, galls are not life threatening to trees, but there are recommended steps to control the growth.PDF
Gummosis in TreesGummosis is a common infection found on various fruit and nut trees. In the landscape, gummosis is most often recognized as a glob of translucent, amber colored sap on the side of the stem or lower trunk of trunk of a tree. PDF
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) Control OptionsHWA is a very destructive pest of eastern and Carolina hemlock trees. Once the adelgid is found in your area, it is time to think about control options.PDF
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) in Georgia Fact SheetHWA is a serious pest of hemlock trees in Georgia. The aphid-like insect feeds on eastern and Carolina hemlock trees, eventually resulting in tree mortality. The very existence of the eastern and Carolina hemlock species is greatly threatened by HWA. PDF
Hypoxolon Canker in Urban TreesFound in the outer bark areas of living and healthy trees, Hypoxylon are normally of little consequence. However, the fungi can severely injure or kill trees that have been weakened by factors such as drought, root disease, mechanical injury, logging or construction activities. TPDF
Pine Bark Beetles in Urban AreasHelpful information about managing pine bark beetle infestations in an urban environment.PDF
Pine Beetle – The Urban ProblemAwareness of the location of pine beetle infestations near them and research based information relative to the management options available is the best defense a homeowner can have. PDF
Slime FluxHelpful information about "weeping water" from the trunk of a tree – usually a sign of a bacterial disease called Slime Flux or Bacterial Wetwood. PDF
What’s Not To LichenHelpful information about various forms of lichen.PDF

Structural Issues or Damaged Trees

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Cavities in TreesCavities are created when physical wounding of the trunk occurs whether by human, weather or wildlife action. These wounds are then expanded by wood decaying fungi, bacteria or wildlife and can occur anywhere on the tree, but are most critical when they occur in the trunk or in major stems and branches.PDF
Falling Trees and the Integrity of Tree Root SystemsGenerally, trees with structurally sound root systems do not fall, except during very high wind events. When trying to determine which trees have root systems that are prone to failure, answers hinge upon a number of factors.PDF
Girdling Roots in TreesHealthy roots are the foundation for a long, beautiful relationship with your trees. A girdling root problem starts very early in a tree's development and can cut short a plant's life. PDF
Leaning Trees – What’s up with that?Unfortunately, neither Mother Nature nor the character of a tree can reduce the very real risks associated with leaning. It’s not that trees that lean are inherently bad; it’s just that gravity creates problems. PDF
Lightning Struck TreesFor trees, the impact of a lightning strike may be light, leaving no obvious damage, or it may be severe, with catastrophic results. PDF
Salvaging the Bradford PearThese trees were genetically selected for their perfect “lollypop” shaped crown, but it is that shape that is responsible for a shortened life span. The limited life of these trees is a function of structural failure, not “natural causes.” PDF
Tree Roots – Driveways and SidewalksWhen planting trees near our homes, we have to be aware of the serious and expensive consequences of tree roots growing under driveways and sidewalks.PDF
What To Do About Surface Roots in Your LandscapeRoots on the surface of the soil can cause all kinds of problems, but not necessarily for the tree. PDF

Tree Care

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Assessing Soil Water Resource SpaceTrees require high quality resources in the correct proportions to perform best. Water, and the soil volume which holds water, are critical to great tree growth. PDF
How to Plant Trees – A Homeowner’s Guide"How do I plant a tree?" This is a common question, and tree planting and establishment guidelines have changed considerably over the past 20 years. Learning how to plant a tree and following proper practices when planting trees can lead to long term benefits from well established plants. PDF
How to Water Your TreesSummer heat often prompts us to wonder how our trees can survive when too little rain falls to keep the grass alive. There are important tips to follow for proper watering and maintenance. PDF
Pecan Trees for the Home or Backyard OrchardPecan trees are commonly found surrounding both urban and rural dwellings throughout Georgia. They can enhance the environment and provide additional income from the sale of nuts. Pecans are recommended for home planting in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, but are not recommended for the north Georgia mountains.PDF
Trees and DroughtDrought is a main contributing factor to shade tree decline. Extended drought can influence the health of shade trees by the loss of absorbing roots.PDF

Tips for Selecting Certified Arborists

Professional arborists should have a minimum of three years experience in some aspect of tree care and have passed an exam developed by an international panel of experts. The exam extensively covers every aspect of tree care and the individuals must have an acceptable level of knowledge in all areas of arboriculture. Once you have identified an arborist you may want to hire, gauge selections based on the following checklist:

Look for professional association memberships with organizations like the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), and the National Arborist Association (NAA). While membership in any of these organizations is good, only ISA has a certification program, so look for the ISA certified arborist logo.

Proof of Insurance
Ask for proof of workers compensation and personal and property damage insurance. Verify that each policy is current by calling insurance carriers. This helps protect homeowners from being responsible for injuries or property damages that result from the work.

Determine if they know about local, state, and/or federal laws that require them to get permits before work is performed.

Customer References
Call each reference and visit their sites to see finished work.

Get written estimates, even if it costs to have an estimate completed. Ensure that estimates include credentials, written scope of work to be performed, and all costs. Compare quotes on the basis of services to be performed and costs for each service. (If a certified arborist only performs consultations, ask for recommendations for certified arborists who actually perform tree maintenance or removal and compare quotes with others.)

Demand that work only start once a contract is signed by both parties. Read contracts carefully before signing. Verify that contracts detail when work will be started and completed, which party is responsible for clean-up, the total price, and the arborist’s hourly rate for additional work approved by the customer.

Find a Certified Arborist

We are here to help.

Our certified arborists offer timely, unbiased advice — free of charge. We’ll send your request to a certified arborist on our Sustainable Community Forestry Program staff. They’ll return their recommendations and provide a link to a fact sheet with more information. If you still have questions, you’re invited to continue corresponding with our arborist. We may also advise you to contact a certified arborist for-hire from the GFC database of professionals.

Have a question?

To Ask the Arborist your question, complete the online form below and we will get back to you with an answer from a certified arborist. Read tips on how to take photos of your tree issue.

NOTE: GFC email serves cannot accept email with attachments larger than 5 MB. If your email exceeds these limits, it will not be received or processed.

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