Tree care is complex and often dangerous work. Only ISA Certified Arborists undergo the extensive training and examinations required to develop a unique plan of care for every type of tree – and carry it out safely. Dawsons’ arborists are constantly learning the latest in tree care through membership to organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture and Tree Care Industry Association. Backed by all this know-how and assisted by a highly trained crew, working with an arborist means removal of your tree is the last resort. When it is absolutely necessary, however, an arborist will ensure removal is carried out safely and with as little aesthetic impact to the surrounding property as possible.

You know the trees on your property better than anyone. We often hear customers say things like, “I know it sounds crazy… but my tree just doesn’t look like it used to.” That’s not crazy at all! If your gut tells you something is up, we would be happy to come out and take a look. It may be something as simple as the tree needing to be pruned. Or you could be doing yourself a huge favor by catching a harmful disease or infestation early.

It is not uncommon for homeowners to fear a tree has grown too large and therefore poses a hazard to their property. This fear led to the practice of topping: the indiscriminate cutting of a tree’s top branches. In the process, 50-100% of the tree’s leaf-bearing crown (a tree’s food source) is removed, causing the tree to temporarily starve. The exposed wood left by cuts will begin to decay, making the tree more susceptible to disease and insect infestations. With all of this going on, the tree “overreacts” by entering into survival mode and triggers rapid growth of shoots below each cut. These shoots can grow as quickly as 20 feet in one year! Shoots are highly prone to breaking off, increasing the likelihood of property damage. 

In short, a topped tree is a stressed-out tree. Presenting a much greater risk to homeowners than a large but healthy tree. Unfortunately, once a tree has been topped the damage is irreversible and the tree will eventually need to be removed. Our Certified Arborists understand how harmful topping is and view it as an unacceptable practice.

Since its emergence in the 1930s, Dutch Elm Disease has devastated the population of American Elm trees. The disease is caused by a fungus and spread by Elm Bark Beetles. The adult beetles are attracted to stressed, dying, or dead elmwood in which they will tunnel and lay their eggs. When the young beetles emerge in the spring, they set out to find new trees, carrying the fungus with them. This is why Dawsons always aims to prune American Elms in winter months when the trees are dormant.

The most observable symptom of Dutch Elm Disease is unseasonable wilting, yellowing, and browning of an American Elm Tree’s leaves. If you suspect your tree is infected call a certified arborist right away. We can provide testing and treatment plans. There are also preventative measures that can be put in place, including fungicide injection, eradication pruning, and insecticide treatment. If an Elm tree is infected past the point of treatment, only a certified arborist and their trained crew should be trusted to safely remove the tree and prevent further spreading. 

The Emerald Ash Borer is a fairly recent, yet highly destructive introduction to the Chicagoland area. First discovered in Kane County in 2006, these ½” by ⅛” metallic green beetles are known to bore deep into Ash Trees, creating intricate tunnels or “galleries” which cut off the flow of nutrients and water through the tree. EAB spread so quickly throughout Kane, Cook, DuPage, and LaSalle counties due to artificial movement of infested wood (i.e. firewood and landscape materials).

One of the most distinctive signs of an EAB infestation is crown dieback, or dying/dead branches from the top of the tree downward. You can also look for small green sprouts along the base of the trunk, split bark, and “D” shaped holes. If you suspect an infestation call an ISA certified arborist to come out and make an assessment. Depending on the level of infestation, trees can sometimes be cured with a long-term insecticide treatment plan. Otherwise, a certified arborist and their crew will create a plan to remove the tree as safely and efficiently as possible. 

Short answer: No. Unless you are looking to remove old, harmful roots, our heavy-duty stump grinders will only remove the stump’s central core at about  8-12” deep. For the safety of your family, we use the woodchips created in the process to backfill the hole.

In DuPage County, there is no better time than February-March to trim trees. Trees reach the height of dormancy during these months, minimizing the risk of disease and insect infestation that can follow tree trimming (if performed during warmer months). The wintertime also presents a great opportunity to observe potential issues (i.e. rubbing branches) and allow an arborist to take action before Spring hits.

The important thing is to keep it dry.  Store it off the ground, using a firewood rack if possible.  Put the rack in a somewhat sheltered place.  It is ok to cover the top of the rack, but leave the sides open for air circulation.


Air dried firewood is naturally seasoned (or dried) outdoors over a period of 6-8 months.  It is exposed to natural weather changes, insects and moisture.  It is less expensive than kiln dried wood, however it is not always available because air dried seasoning is a natural process that takes time.

Kiln dried firewood is baked (or dried) in a kiln for 36 hours.  This process reduces moisture content to below 20%, creating perfectly seasoned firewood.  Kiln drying prevents mold or mildew from forming and removes any harboring insects.  Once baked, this wood is stored inside and kept dry and ready to burn.  Kiln dried wood is more expensive than air dried wood, but it lights faster and burns cleaner, creating less smoke and releasing less creosote.

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