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Trees

Cottonwood trees at the edge of a pond
We ♥ Trees!

Trees are a key asset in our landscapes. The benefits of trees to improve the quality of our lives are well understood, but knowledge of tree care is less common.

Our daily life experience as animals doesn't lead to a useful, intuitive sense on how trees grow or what they need to thrive.

Learn More about Trees

A healthy tree that is appropriate for its location should be a source of enjoyment, not work. Many trees that are considered by humans to be a problem are only an issue because of choices made by people.

Many trees planted in our local landscapes are not well-suited for our climate, and examples of poor tree care are too common. Please keep in mind that you should confirm tree information before following your neighbors' examples.

This site has information for local gardeners on:

  • General tree care
  • Desirable species to plant
  • Trees to avoid
  • Some key pest/disease issues of concern
  • Dying Arizona cypress trees

If you have additional questions about trees please contact the Master Gardeners at immg@ucanr.edu.

Tree Walks

Local Master Gardener volunteer Alison Collin has been hosting annual tree walks in neighborhood in Bishop. These usually take place in October. (Join our email list to be notified.)

If you cannot make one of our guided tree tours, she has made 2 self-guided tree walks available. These cover two neighborhoods in Bishop.

Manor Market Neighborhood Tree Walk

This self-guided walk includes a map and guide and highlights some of the best specimens of the different trees growing in the Manor Market area of West Bishop.

Home Street Neighborhood Tree Walk

This guide highlights tree specimens in the Home Street neighborhood of downtown Bishop.

Tree Disputes

Sometimes trees are the cause of disputes among neighbors. Roots, leaves, views, and branches are all known to start ugly feuds.

California tree law, like everything else in our state, is complicated. In times past trees were governed largely by English Common Law, but that is no longer the case.

Generally the best course of action regarding tree disputes is to try to keep trees on your property healthy, and if concerns arise with your neighbors, try to work out a mutually agreeable solution together with them. When that's not possible you will need to consult an attorney before acting unilaterally.

Utility companies in California generally have a right to trim tree parts which will affect their services, even if that trimming will lower your property value. They are not allowed to mutilate a tree. Most utilities or their contractors have a mechanism in place to dispute a proposed action. That process usually begins by speaking to a supervisor managing the project. This may eventually also require the services of an attorney.

Please note that Master Gardeners cannot give legal advice, and are not able to testify as expert witnesses.

The UC Hastings School of Law has a comprehensive round up of California's tree dispute laws, but if you're considering legal action, you really should consult with an attorney to determine your best actions.

The Definitive Guide to Tree Disputes in California

"Will you come look at my tree?"

An ash tree with yellow leaves in a park
We hear this question a lot! 

When something goes wrong with a tree, people want immediate answers. And more importantly, they want a cure. Since trees are so common, it is easy to get bogged down looking at trees.

While we would love to see every tree, we are a small group of volunteers, and it seems everyone wants their tree looked at. We're not saying "no" outright, but our resources are very limited. It is unusual for us to look at trees. Thanks for your understanding.

Remember that trees are very different than animals. By the time a problem is recognized, it is usually too late to take corrective measures. No one can bring a truly dying tree back to life. While we have gone to look at residential trees before, in most cases the trip was made only to pronounce a specimen dead or beyond hope.

Your best chance to correct tree issues is to identify problems early. Figure out what the problem is first before taking action. Some actions can make problems worse, for example tree topping can lead to new issues or induce a death spiral.

Sometimes, a tree is just old and tired. Trees have a finite lifespan and yours may be at the end of its life.  This is the fate of most large trees we get calls about. A lifetime of issues finally takes its toll. We call this tree decline.

Fortunately, in our area 90% of tree questions are common, and we have probably seen them before. This site addresses most of the usual issues we encounter. Please consult the information here first. The links in the section above will get you started. If you do not find an adequate answer at this site, please contact us for more information. Our email is immg@ucanr.edu.

When you contact us with tree questions, the more information you can provide us, the better our diagnostic abilities.

Useful Information to Provide

  • Type of tree
  • Location of tree (so we know about the soil and conditions)
  • Symptoms you are seeing, including where on the tree you see them; be specific
  • When it started or when do you see it
  • How/when the tree is watered
  • What is growing around the tree
  • How old or how big is the tree
  • Anything you have had done to the tree
  • Pictures are helpful (close up of symptom, overall tree, location, etc.)