Post date: May 27, 2016

It's no surprise that we've chosen Tieka as our first employee to spotlight, because, as many of you know, Tieka is the hub of the business. She's the first point of contact for anyone who calls into the company, making sure that all inquiries are handled quickly and efficiently. 

For Tree Sculpture, she handles the scheduling of bids and tree work and works closely with tree division manager, Dan Dachauer for every job. For Terra Landscape, she's the one to contact with inquiries about work being done or issues that arise e.g. maintenance work order requests, irrigation system repairs, or enhancement bid requests. From these client interactions, Tieka creates a work order, notifies the appropriate employee, and tracks the inquiry to completion. She feeds all information to our managers and supervisors so that any issues can be resolved quickly.

When asked about her favorite part of the job, Tieka quickly responded that it's working with people and solving problems. She loves the relationships that she has with customers and clients, many of whom have been working with Tree Sculpture Group since before she came on. 

During her 11 years with Tree Sculpture Group, Tieka said she has seen email and smart phones radically change the way her job is done. She used to use two-way radios to contact managers and supervisors in the field. But now, with managers and supervisors having smart phones, they're able to snap photos and email them on the spot to quickly identify and resolve issues. Tieka can then pass information along to clients and customers to streamline the decision making process and resolve issues quickly.

Tieka added that email is often the best way to communicate with us regarding projects or issues. Having trackable, written detail makes it easier for her and our staff to take care of things quickly.

5 things you may not know about Tieka:

  • Joined Tree Sculpture Group in April 2005
  • Grew up in Berkeley and lives in Oakland 
  • Married 42 years and with two grown daughters
  • Her dog Louie, a Havanese, just got a new brother, a rescue named Dexter, who is mostly Ridgeback and entirely adorable 
  • Successful jewelry designer and sells her micro macramé at shows and online at
Post date: May 27, 2016

This week the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) declared an end to our drought emergency. Based on reservoir levels, existing snow pack, and ongoing conservation efforts, the EBMUD Board of Directors voted to:

  • Ease the drought level to Stage 0, indicating normal water supplies. The drought stage had been designated at Stage 4 critical drought since April 2015. 
  • Lift the temporary drought surcharge from customer bills effective July 1, 2016.
  • Suspend the outdoor water use restrictions but fold some of these restrictions into our permanent rules, because EBMUD asks customers to continue using water responsibly rain or shine.

While these actions indicate positive news regarding our drought, it is important that we continue to make water conservation a way of life.

Check out the following link to see great interactive maps and tables about our reservoir and snowpack levels as well as a map showing where your water comes from depending on where you live in the Bay Area.

For drought and conservation updates from your water district, please visit one of the following links:

Contra Costa Water:


SF Water:

Zone 7 Water Agency:

Post date: May 27, 2016

Unless we are talking about a Coastal Live Oak in an unaltered native landscape, the answer YES.  

Multiple years of drought have caused dieback of the fine roots that extend past the drip lines of trees. These fine roots are responsible for the majority of water and nutrient uptake in trees.

Now that we have received winter rains; trees are beginning to regrow these roots. Properly irrigating these trees will provide the required soil moisture to continue this root-zone “rehabilitation.” It could take multiple years of average to above average rainfall for this recovery process to be complete. As we leave the rainy season, remember to continue to water your trees.

To learn more about how to protect your trees through the dry season, please visit:

Contact us today if you are concerned that your trees may need supplemental water through the upcoming dry season. 

Post date: May 27, 2016

We often field questions about trees losing a large number of leaves in the early springtime. More often than not, they are referring to either London Plane (Platanus) or Evergreen Pear (Pyrus kawakamii) trees. These species are both susceptible to common fungal diseases, which may cause partial defoliation in the early spring. These types of infections usually happen in the early spring due to high precipitation amounts and increased humidity.   


The leaf drop in Platanus trees is caused by anthracnose. Anthracnose is not a single disease, but rather a group of diseases that result in multiple types of damage to ornamental and agricultural crops. Anthracnose infections can result in leaf drop, twig/branch dieback, or even the development of cankers. To learn more, please visit: 

Leaf spot (Entomosporium)

Leaf spot is a fungal disease that infects a large number of ornamental and agricultural species in the Rose family. Leaf spot begins as tiny red spots that darken and enlarge over time. Eventually, infected plants will drop some or all of their leaves. To learn more, please visit: 

Both of these fungal diseases are inevitable in our area of the world. The best way to protect your trees from these diseases is through systemic treatments. To learn more about assessing the health of your trees, available treatments, and to schedule an appointment with our arborist, call us today at 510-562-4000.

Post date: February 26, 2016

On February 12th, Terra Landscape held a pruning training session within the Community of Harbor Bay Isle in Alameda. The primary objective of the training session was to educate our employees on proper hard pruning technique. 
What is hard pruning?
Hard pruning is a technique for drastically reducing the size of large shrubs. Hard pruning works best on fast growing shrubs e.g. Oleander, Loropetalum, and Photinia that are planted in smaller than ideal locations. Slower growing and short-lived species e.g. Lavender, Azalea, and Viburnum are less likely to respond favorably to hard pruning. It is generally advisable to use renewal pruning (a gradual pruning technique) or remove and replace those shrubs entirely. Hard pruning can also be used to re-establish the natural appearance of a shrub that has been hedged (or improperly pruned) for a long period of time. To the untrained eye, hard pruning appears to be extreme plant mutilation. The process of cutting a 15-20’ tall shrub to within 1-2’ of the ground seems drastic, but it is a very effective technique for re-establishing old shrubs.   

“Hard pruning is a great way to rejuvenate old overgrown shrubs. Hard pruning allows us to start over again and re-establish the plant’s natural form and growth habit. It is the preferred alternative to hedging or shearing for size control.” -Scott, Area Manager

How to perform hard pruning
Hard pruning begins with evaluating the planting space to determine how much size reduction will take place. For most shrubs, consider cutting the plant back to 2’ or lower. Next we examine the structure to identify the primary branches that are to remain once the pruning is complete. Remove all crossing or rubbing branches, any weak or diseased branches, and any branches that do not fit the form of the shrub. Now we evaluate the remaining branches to determine which branches will remain. The goal is to have an even spacing of branches that emerge radially from the center of the plant once the pruning is complete. Prune out any crowded branches to achieve a balanced shape and make sure each branch terminates with an outward facing bud site. You are now finished hard pruning.
When to perform hard pruning
Hard pruning is best performed in the late winter or early spring; shortly before the plant sends out new growth for the year. A plant hard pruned at this time will quickly activate bud sites and send out new shoots. The downside to hard pruning at this point of the year is that shrubs that flower during the early spring will have very few flowers. As an alternative, those shrubs can be hard pruned immediately after flowering. This allows for full flowering effect, but the shrub will be slower to fill in (leaving longer time looking at a nearly bare plant). A well-timed fertilizer application will encourage thick and healthy re-growth.
Hard pruning allows us to keep large shrubs in check without pruning them multiple times a year. Hard pruning also results in cleaner cuts and reduces plant injury, when compared with hedge trimmers. Ultimately, hard pruning is a healthier and more natural approach to landscape management. Though this type of pruning requires more skill, we are happy to continue educating our employees in sustainable landscape practices.