Tree Care- What is an effective way to eliminate sucker growth?

Posted by Rachael Monico on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 06:00 AM


Tree sucker growthSucker (basal shoot):
  • A fast growing shoot or stem that grows underground from a plant that causes the tree to weaken by draining water and nutrients 


Why do they occur?

  • Suckering is a tree's self-defense mechanism in response to stress to the following:
    • Drought
    • Over fertilization
    • Excessive watering 
  • Due to an exposed graft union (the area where 2 plants have grown together for hardiness benefits)


Tree sucker growth


Prune shoots after they are identified as they grow rapidly and become large quickly 

  • Remove small suckers by hand using a twisting motion. The lack of clean cut makes it more difficult for new suckers to grow
  •  Larger shoots may require hand pruners, loppers or even a hand saw.  Be careful not to damage the bark. When making a cut, get as close to the ground or even underground if possible. Open wounds exposed to sunlight can trigger more sprouting
  • For shoots that are sprouting feet away from the base of the tree, mow over slowly or use a sharp spade to dig out the tree root that is causing the issue. Be careful not to damage nearby healthy roots
  •  Mechanical ways of shoot removal are the safest and most effective methods. If you prefer chemical controls, contact a licensed arborist for a recommendation



Tree sucker growth


Most trees are susceptible to suckering if they are exposed to stress but you will find certain trees are prone to suckering such as Crabapple, Linden, Maple, Lilac, and any fruit trees that are grown on a graft union. Although suckering is inevitable for some trees, there are steps you can take to help minimize suckers, prevent them all together, and improve your tree care.

  •  Check the root ball of the tree when you are purchasing it to be sure the tree is planted at the proper depth.
  •  Make sure new trees do not have sucker growth already
  •  Water and fertilizer at recommended levels.
  •  Keep two inches or more of mulch around the tree to help stop sprouts from coming up through the ground.

  Contact A Licensed Arborist

Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Tree Care, Ask The Arborist, landscape, pruning

Will Jack Frost be Nipping at Your Nose? It is Holiday Lighting Time!

Posted by Andrea Monico on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 @ 09:49 AM

Just the thought of winter is enough to send shivers down your spine. Brrrrr!  Will you be on your roof hanging Christmas lights in the cold weather?  Grab a cup of hot chocolate, a blanket, and stay inside.  Let CM's A Cut Above take care of the holiday lights chore for you.

Whether you are considering outlining your home, decorating your trees or including an animated array, CM's is your holiday lighting contractor.  We offer state-of-the art designs, installation, removal, and storage for residential and commercial properties with energy efficient LED lights in a variety of colors and styles for any decorating plan.  CM's installs both linkables and traditional C9 strands.  Some popular linkable choices include icicles, starbursts, snowflakes, stockings and holly, but many more are available.  Remember that linkables are not just for the roof!  They can also be installed on stakes in the yard just like the starbursts, trees, gifts, trains, toy soldiers, and other displays.

Christmas LightingA CM's representative will assist you in selecting the lights you would like for your display.  The purchase of your Christmas lights is included in the contract price for the first year we install them.  In future years, you will only pay for installation, removal and storage. Repairs and any additional Christmas lights you add in the future will be billed as applicable.

Will you be left out in the cold this fall?  Skip the ladder, tangled lights, and the cold this year.  We have our premier installation teams ready to turn your home into the envy of the neighborhood this holiday season!  Contact CM's to set up your design and installation sessions.

Request A Quote Today!

Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Christmas Lights, Holiday Lighting

4 Key Steps to Planning a Successful Landscape Project

Posted by Andrea Monico on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 @ 11:25 AM

omaha paver patio"I want to add landscaping to my house, but I don’t know where to start!"  This is a common statement we hear when clients call us to start a landscape project.  Deciding on how to landscape your yard can be a very challenging process, and understandably so!  Creating an entire outdoor living space is a unique process for every project.  We hope you find the following guideline helpful to form ideas and make the most out of your consultation visit.



Step 1:  Prioritze the Features You Would Like 

  • water feature

    Will your landscape occur in the front or back yard, include features such as a patio, water feature, or landscape lighting, address an issue such as drainage, or a combination of everything?

  • If you are unsure of what you are interested in, look through books, magazines, or make your own sketch to come up with ideas for your project.  It may help you determine the desired size of your landscape, the features to include, how you would like to use the space, as well as your general likes and dislikes.  Be sure to share what you have found during your consultation visit

Step 2: Prepare a Budget  

  • outdoor patio Landscapes encompass a wide array of features and are customized for every project.  We will work with you to propose a plan that will fit your budget.

  •  If the project is a bit more than you are planning to spend this year, revisit the priorities of your project and discuss the possibility of completing the project in phases, such as: This year install the new patio and expand the driveway, next year install the retaining wall and plants.

  • Inquire about available financing.  Visit CM’s website to see our current financing options, which currently includes several no interest paid options with regular payments through the Wells Fargo Outdoor Solutions Card.

  •  Be prepared to provide a down payment for 1/3 of the total project upon agreeing to the proposal.

Step 3: Explore Options 

  • landscape lighting

    There are many factors that need to be considered that may affect a project.  The CM’s Team will help you determine the appropriate plants and structures to install for your property when considering such factors as sun and shade exposure, grading, and water flow.

  • Sprinkler systems do not have to prevent landscape projects from taking place.  Heads, lines, valve boxes—they can all be moved!  Drip irrigation zones can also be added to systems to help provide proper irrigation for new plant materials.

  •  Consider new features such as, landscape lighting.  It will not only accentuate features of your project, but it also adds safety and can extend the use of the area into the night.

Step 4: Consider Timing 

  • MIXA7625comp

    Try to find time to have all decision makers present at the consultation so everyone has the same expectations for the project.

  • Call at least one month before you would like the project to be completed.  This will allow time for the initial consultation, designs and revisions, and estimates to be prepared.
  •  If you would like an early spring or summer install, don’t be afraid to call in the winter to get the process started.  Our designers and sales managers are available year-round.

  • Consider late summer or early fall installations to allow for greater flexibility in scheduling.

Schedule A Consultation

Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Best Practices, landscape, Omaha turf care, Lawn Care, contractor, decision

7 Ways to Water Wisely - Sprinkler Systems Omaha

Posted by Andrea Monico on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 @ 06:30 AM

SIM Logo Color


According the Irrigation Association (IA), “Smart Irrigation Month is an IA initiative to increase awareness of the value of water use...and grow demand for water-saving products, practices and services.”  In the “Water Wisely” article below, the IA shares some simple tips to improve water efficiency for your turf.


Today’s irrigation systems include sophisticated controllers that allow you to easily adjust watering schedules to fit different needs.


Get in the zone. Schedule each individual zone in your irrigation system to account for type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure, and soil in that section. Different zones will almost always need different watering schedules.


Consider soil type. Type of soil determines how quickly water can be absorbed without runoff. Watering more than soil can absorb causes runoff and waste.


Don’t send water down the drain. Set sprinklers to water plants, not your driveway, sidewalk, patio or buildings.


Water only when needed. Saturate root zones and let the soil dry. Watering too much and too frequently results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease and fungus.


Water at the best time. Watering during the heat of the day may cause losses of up to 30 percent due to evaporation. Prevent water loss by watering when the sun is low or down, winds are calm and temperatures are cool - typically early morning.


Water more often for shorter periods. For example, if you have 4 zones and you typically water for 15 minutes each zone with a start time at 5 AM, you might change your system start times to 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM and have each zone only run 5 minutes.  In both scenarios, the system runs for a total of 60 minutes that day, however, using shorter intervals lets soil absorb more water.


Adapt watering to the season. Familiarize yourself with the settings on your irrigation controller and adjust the watering schedule regularly based on seasonal weather conditions. Or invest in a smart controller so your system can make these changes automatically.


Contact CM's A Cut Above today for an evaluation of your sprinkler system!


Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Best Practices, irrigation, sprinkler, Water flow

Omaha Lawn Care - Final Fertilizer Application

Posted by Chuck Monico on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 @ 08:01 AM

Year-end is a time for waxing philosophical, being thankful, assessing the ups and downs of the year and so forth.  We were spared the devastating heat of the past two seasons, something for which we can all be grateful.  Customers who experienced severe damage during those seasons had  the opportunity to re-establish a healthy stand of turf.  More customers are opting for aeration twice a year.  Still others are recognizing the benefits of more frequent overseeding.

lawn care omahaWe have increasingly better information about all things turf because of the work conducted by UNL’s Department of Agronomy, the Department of Entomology and the statewide system of Extension Offices.  As lawn care professionals, we could not ask for a more supportive group of people with whom to work as we continue to look for ways to improve our profession and the service we offer you.

Our last round of fertilizer began October 24.  It’s not too cold, we have even applied it in the snow.  We do plan to finish by Thanksgiving. We sometimes get pushback on this last application.  We can only tell you that it is a valuable tool in getting your lawn off to a good start next spring.  The bulk of the nitrogen for the year goes down in the fall.  You do not want to skimp now.






Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Best Practices, Turf Care, fertilizing and weed control, Omaha turf care, Lawn Care

Omaha Tree Care - Why do leaves change color in the fall?

Posted by Rachael Monico on Tue, Nov 05, 2013 @ 08:30 AM

CM's Ask the Arborist

Why do leaves change color in the fall? Why is fall color better in some years than others?

Green leaves actually contain colorful pigments all season, but during the growing season those colors are masked by an abundance of green chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll is used in photosynthesis, the process in which the tree uses sunlight to produce food.  The shorter fall days signal to the trees that winter is coming and it will soon be time to shed its leaves.  At this time the tree stops producing Chlorophyll and the colorful pigments that have been there all along are finally revealed.


October Glory Maple

The brilliance of fall color is affected mostly by the sunlight; however, temperature fluctuation and soil moisture also play a role.  A series of warm sunny days, followed by cold, but not freezing night time temperatures will produce the best fall color.  If the trees experience a fall with a lot of cloud cover and moderate temperatures, the color will be dull.  In addition, a wet spring followed by a moderate to dry summer and fall will produce the best fall color.  During late summer and early fall, if a tree is under a slight amount of stress due to dry soil conditions, it will have more brilliant color.

If you are interested in finding out more about the science behind tree color in the fall, visit the following link from the UNL extension office. 

Topics: CMs A Cut Above, gardening, Tree Care, Ask The Arborist

Hanging Christmas Lights- A Cautionary Tale

Posted by Christine Nelson on Mon, Nov 04, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

Christmas lighting cold

Twas an eve in November when all through the house,
Mother was stirring, concerned about her spouse.
The ladder was leaned against the house with care,
While Dad was on the roof with a chill in the air.

The children were testing the lights colored red,
While Mother was wondering if she had something to dread.
Hoping Dad didn’t fall, Mom folded her hands in her lap,
While Dad shivered and shuffled, adjusting his cap.

When outside the window we saw something splatter,
It was the holiday lights, landing with a shatter.
Outside Mom sprinted, a quick little dash,
Not hesitating a moment to toss the lights in the trash.

Holiday cheer It was then that Mom took over the show,
 Calling CM’s A Cut Above, who usually mows.
 It did not take long for CM’s to appear,
 To lay out a plan for which Mom gave a cheer!

 With CM’s everything happened smoothly and quick,
 Mom knew in no time, this would turn out pretty slick!
 The design was every bit as cool as they claim,
 The lights, so pretty, put up by these names:

There’s Scott and there’s Matt and Paul is there too.
There’s Ryan and Josh to just name a few.
From your initial call to the final install,
They’ll be there to meet you, come one and come all!

Those lights, how they twinkle! How this made Mom and Dad merry!
icicle led christmas lightsTo think how this normally is so frightful and scary!
These beautiful lights put up by a pro,
Will then be removed by CM’s to stow.

Gone are the years, when on the roof we would crawl
From here ‘til forever it is CM’s we will call.
How happy we are with lights gorgeously bright!
Happy holidays to all, and to all a good-night!

Based on "Twas the Night Before Christmas,"published anonymously by the New York Sentinel in 1823.
Contact CM's for a quote don't wait! Call in November before it's too late!

Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Christmas Lights, Holiday Lighting, LED Lights

Ask the Arborist - Caring for Trees During the Winter Months

Posted by Rachael Monico on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 @ 07:45 AM

Omaha Tree Care




There are some steps you can take to prepare your tree to deal with the harsh winter conditions that we experience here in Nebraska.

Water: Watering through the fall months is always a good idea, but it is particularly important if we have experienced drought conditions during the summer months. The tree’s root system is still active and will take up Maple, Red Sunset fall 5water well into winter, so making sure water is available is vital to the health of the tree. It is also a good idea to water several times over the winter months, as long as the soil and air temperatures are above freezing.  Visit our blog for more information about watering trees in the winter and checking soil temperatures in your area.

Fertilize: The tree’s root system is still very active during the winter and will be using and storing nutrients that it takes up from the soil.  A fall deep root fertilizer application benefits the tree by making sure it has the necessary nutrients to get through the winter and to be ready to put on new growth in the spring.

Pin Oak

Tree Wrap: Extreme temperatures or hungry bunnies and squirrels can cause permanent damage to the tree’s trunk during the winter months.  Extreme fluctuations between day and night time temperatures can cause frost cracks on the trunk of the tree. If we have temperatures below freezing at night followed by a sunny, mild day, the bark can split when the sun heats up the south and/or west side of the tree.  This can cause the bark to expand too quickly. The wound caused by frost cracks can make the tree susceptible to disease or insect infestation.

Bunnies and squirrels like to snack on tree bark during the winter when food is sparse. They particularly like younger trees and trees with softer bark like Crabapple trees. 

Clump River BirchUsing tree wrap can protect the tree from harmful temperature fluctuations and animal damage.

Mulch: Mulch will act as a blanket for the tree’s root system. It will protect the root system from extreme cold temperatures. It will also help to keep moisture in the soil.  Typically, 2-3” will do the trick.  However, do not add mulch right up against the trunk as it is important to keep good airflow around the base of the tree to avoid rotting.


Our arborists are available year-round, so please continue to submit your questions to Ask the Arborist!


Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Best Practices, Tree Care, Ask The Arborist

Give CM's a Jingle - Christmas Lighting Season is Here!

Posted by Christine Nelson on Mon, Oct 14, 2013 @ 11:48 AM

(to the tune of Jingle Bells by James Lord Pierpoint, 1857)

tangled Christmas LightsDashing to the roof
In the wind I start to sway
Hoping not to goof
Trying to do it all my way.
The Christmas Lights don't work
No matter how I try.
I can't stop seeing that big wide smirk
As she's on the ground and dry.

Jingle Bells
Oh, "Call CM's - A Cut Above now!"
Is the advice I didn't heed.
Oh, how easy it would have been
To get rid of this disastrous deed!
Oh, "Call CM's - A Cut Above now!"
That is what my wife did say.
Oh, if I had listened, I would have been
Inside and warm to stay.

LED Snowflake linkables with Train.croppedA design will be the start
To the fanciful install.
How it warms the heart
To only make one call.
As you sit back and relax.
The lights will shine so bright.
More time to make delicious snacks
And enjoy your lovely night! 

Wreaths and Icicles  Oh, "Call CM's - A Cut Above now!"
  The lights will be put up by a pro!
  Oh, how easy it will be now
  And the lights we'll even stow!
  Oh, "Call CM's - A Cut Above now!"
  It's the gift you'll give yourselves.
  Oh, just think of CM's as your
  Holiday lights elves! 


snowmanOh, "Call CM's - A Cut Above now!"
A choice you won't forget!
Oh, how easy it will be now
Your home will be a hit!
Oh, "Call CM's - A Cut Above now!"
It's one less thing to do.
Oh, what fun it is to say,
"Happy Holidays to you!" 

Request A Quote Today!

Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Christmas Lights, Holiday Lighting

Tree Care Omaha - What Kind of Tree Should I Plant in My Yard?

Posted by Andrea Monico on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 @ 08:05 AM

Omaha Tree Care


There are a few important issues to consider when choosing a tree to plant.

What will be the mature size of the tree? 
All too often we see a tree that looked great close to the house when it was first planted but over the years grew too large for the site and had to have major limbs removed or even needed to be cut down.   If you

Japanese Lilacare looking to plant a tree near the foundation of your house, choose a tree with an appropriate smaller mature size. You could also choose a tree with an upright, columnar growth habit, such as a columnar white pine.

Are there any obstructions above the tree? 
While you are considering size, don’t forget to look up!  If there are power lines above your planting site, you will need to either choose a different planting site, or choose a tree that will not interfere with the power lines when it reaches its mature height.


Evergreen tree

What is the condition of the planting site?
Site conditions include the amount of sunlight that the tree will be exposed to, the moisture level of the soil, and if the site is protected from or exposed to extreme Midwest elements. For example, a Japanese maple tree will do much better in a protected shady location as opposed to a site that is exposed to harsh winter winds and hot summer sun.



What purpose will the tree serve?
Are you looking for a large tree to provide your house with afternoon shade or are you looking for a small tree to add ornamental value to your landscape? Many trees will offer more than one benefit. A large evergreen tree, for example, can provide a windbreak that protects a house from strong winter winds while providing shelter and nesting sites to birds like chickadees, cardinals, and finches.

Oak treeMany homeowners are looking for a fast growing shade tree so that they can enjoy the energy saving benefits as quickly as possible. It is important to keep in mind that fast growing trees tend to have softer wood than the slower growing trees and will not be as long lived as the hardwood trees. So, if you are looking for a tree that will provide shade for many years to come, you may be better off with a hard wood tree such as an oak as opposed to a soft wood tree like a birch.

Fall is a great time for planting trees! If you are interested in seeing how a tree will look when it has matured, the OPPD Arboretum has many examples of trees that do well in Nebraska.  If you would like more information about selecting the right tree for your property, please contact us!




Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Best Practices, gardening, Tree Care, Ask The Arborist, landscape

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