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 Guidelines

This Document is intended to aid homeowners and local government staff in planting and directing the establishment and maintenance of community trees.

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Green Buffers for Screening and Noise Reduction

This document discusses basic landscape tools and guidelines for optimizing sound reduction and visual screening.

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Homeowner’s Role in Maintaining the Urban Forest

Download this guide to get tips on maintaining trees, selecting an arborist and a homeowner tree survey checklist.

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How to Hire a Tree Service

Helpful suggestions for finding a tree service and avoiding many of the pitfalls involved

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How to Take Pictures of Your Tree

When 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.”

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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.”

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Making Your Home More Energy Efficient By Planting Trees

Learn the best ways to save money and energy through tree planting – a time tested method for reducing energy use.

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SCFP Area Map – May 2020

SCFP Area Map by County

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Tree Risk Management

Trees provide a host of benefits, but we have a responsibility to assess and minimize risks associated with the forest canopy.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Insects & Diseases

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Ambrosia Beetles in Urban Trees

Ambrosia 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.

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Bot Canker in Ornamental Trees

Bot canker is a serious pathogen of landscape and ornamental trees. This fungus is opportunistic and generally requires a weakened or damaged host.

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Carpenter Ants and Trees

Carpenter 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.

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Diseases of Leyland Cypress in the Landscape

Leyland 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.

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Eastern Tent Caterpillar, Forest Tent Caterpillar and Fall Webworm

Helpful information about identifying and controlling tent caterpillars and webworms.

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Fungal Conks on Trees

Fungal 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.

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Gall Producing Insects

Galls 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.

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Gummosis in Trees

Gummosis 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.

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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) in Georgia Fact Sheet

HWA 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.

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Hypoxolon Canker in Urban Trees

Found 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. T

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Pine Bark Beetles in Urban Areas

Helpful information about managing pine bark beetle infestations in an urban environment.

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Pine Beetle – The Urban Problem

Awareness 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.

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SCFP Area Map – May 2020

SCFP Area Map by County

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Slime Flux

Helpful information about “weeping water” from the trunk of a tree – usually a sign of a bacterial disease called Slime Flux or Bacterial Wetwood.

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What’s Not To Lichen

Helpful information about various forms of lichen.

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Structural Issues or Damaged Trees

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Cavities in Trees

Cavities 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.

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Falling Trees and the Integrity of Tree Root Systems

Generally, 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.

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Girdling Roots in Trees

Healthy 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.

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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.

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Lightning Struck Trees

For trees, the impact of a lightning strike may be light, leaving no obvious damage, or it may be severe, with catastrophic results.

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Salvaging the Bradford Pear

These 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.”

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SCFP Area Map – May 2020

SCFP Area Map by County

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Tree Roots – Driveways and Sidewalks

When planting trees near our homes, we have to be aware of the serious and expensive consequences of tree roots growing under driveways and sidewalks.

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What To Do About Surface Roots in Your Landscape

Roots on the surface of the soil can cause all kinds of problems, but not necessarily for the tree.

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Tree Care

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Assessing Soil Water Resource Space

Trees 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.

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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.

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How to Water Your Trees

Summer 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.

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Pecan Trees for the Home or Backyard Orchard

Pecan 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.

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SCFP Area Map – May 2020

SCFP Area Map by County

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Trees and Drought

Drought is a main contributing factor to shade tree decline. Extended drought can influence the health of shade trees by the loss of absorbing roots.

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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:

Certification
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.

Permits
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.

Quotes
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.)

Contracts
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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