All About Pollen


Many of us start sneezing and getting watery-eyed when it comes to spring. We all know the cause of these symptoms, and it is pollen. In spring, male trees have to pollinate the female trees, which is their form of reproduction. So while this may be a nuisance for us, we can see why this is important to have so life keeps going.

Around 375 million years ago, plants evolved to produce pollen to help spread their seed and population across landmass. This process helped plants and animals get to where they are today. Without an abundant amount of trees, we would have a less diverse and robust ecosystem of plants and animals. We should also keep in mind that these plants provide us with a much needed supply of oxygen.

Plants evolved to pollinate so they can disperse their seed through the air. Initially, plants would rely on flowing bodies of water and animals to move the male seed to the female. Depending on water supply and animal population in an ecosystem, oftentimes plants would remain in a small area because there would be nothing to take them any further. However, with pollen, plants gained a chance to disperse on a greater scale.

Plants began to take advantage and use winds to increase the travel distance of their seeds. If we look around our forests today, we can see how effective this evolutionary trait is. Plants produce a lot of pollen because it is usually hit or miss, so with more pollen comes a greater chance to successfully fertilize.

Coniferous plants, which include pines, cedars, and redwoods are the most wide spread pollen producers, which rely on winds to do most of the job for them. Deciduous plants, like birch, oak, and maple trees use animals to help pollinate their seed. These different trees contain different proteins in their pollen. These pollen proteins when exposed to us can trigger our immune systems to go into overdrive mode. Everyone has an individual sensitivity to pollen, so depending where you are, you may be more or less affected by this allergy.

Should You Prune Your Trees?

Pruning trees can be a controversial topic in the arboriculture world; when and when not to prune, which trees need pruning, how it should be done.  In general, we prune plants or trees to control their size, to produce a desirable shape, to increase vigor, and to increase flowering and fruiting.  However, experienced arborists and gardeners will tell you the best time to prune is whenever it is necessary – any time of the year!  The best rule of thumb is to not prune trees and shrubs during active growth.   The worst time to prune is when new leaves are first forming.  The best time to prune most trees and shrubs is during their dormant period, which is from December to February for most trees in Florida, just prior to bud formation in late winter.   

Dense Branches

There’s nothing wrong with a big, bushy tree. Or is there? When a storm or hurricane blows through town you want it to be able to blow through your tree branches as well. Leaving a tree unpruned could be dangerous to the tree and to your home if it catches too much wind. Consider pruning trees that you can’t see through the branches from the base of the tree, and you may save yourself some serious damage.

Dead Weight

Dead or dying branches should always be removed if they are over a house or driveway or an area that receives a lot of traffic, however, in some cases it is okay to leave dead limbs to fall on their own if they are in a natural area that does not receive much traffic. It is natural for trees to shed limbs, much like people shed hair, and in many cases it does not mean the tree is in decline. If a tree has more dead limbs than live ones, then it would be a great candidate for removal. If you are unsure if your tree has too many dead limbs, set an appointment with one of our arborists to assess your tree and help you decide if removing it or pruning it is best for its future.  

Wandering Branches

While your tree may be in a good spot, where it’s branches grow may be another story. When branches start approaching telephone poles and power lines, it’s time to prune. They may not pose an immediate threat, but it’s best to tackle the problem before it becomes a problem!  You also do not want tree limbs getting close to your house.  They can cause expensive damage to your roof or siding, when a simple pruning could have saved you hundreds of dollars.  

Some of these branches can be pruned by yourself fairly easily, but some branches require professionals to deal with them. If your trees seem to be getting a little out of control or potentially dangerous, contact Miller’s Tree Service for a free estimate and consultation. We’ll determine the best course of action and remove all potentially harmful branches.


Beautifying Your Yard

Miller’s Tree Service isn’t just about removing dangerous trees or fallen limbs. We understand that tree care is also an important job that can benefit many people! Ever notice how your yard looks a lot different than when you first moved into your house? Maybe it looked cleaner or less overgrown. We can help restore your yard to its former glory!

There’s a lot more to your yard than your lawn. Grass is the most noticeable thing when it comes to overgrowth, but what about branches, underbrush, and vines? In Tallahassee, a lot of property is surrounded by trees. Trees separating you from the neighbors behind you, on the sides, and maybe your house from the street. But what happens when you don’t regularly have someone like Miller’s help keep it in check? Trees and bushes grow, vines cover places they didn’t previously, and you start losing your yard to what used to be neatly carved nature!

Often times this can be the result of new trees. Acorns fall, sprout out of the grown, and pretty soon you’ve got a sizeable tree where there was once clean space. Because this happens close to other growth, it often goes unnoticed! Without the tools and time, you’re helpless to the encroaching wilderness. This is where Miller’s Tree Service can help. It’s a lot easier to remove a sapling than a tree with it’s roots grown firmly in the ground!

If you notice this happening to your yard, call Miller’s so we can work our magic. You’ll not only take back a part of your property once claimed by overgrowth, but it will look even better than it did when you first moved in. Remember, we’ll go out on a limb, for YOU!

The History of the Christmas Tree

Unlike flowers, it’s not very common to see a tree in someone’s house. Unless it’s December of course! Trees require a lot of resources and space which make them poor house plants, and unless it’s of the Christmas variety, a tree in your house is probably not a good thing. So what brought about this tradition and how has it evolved. For this special entry in the blog, we’ll be talking about the history of this famous fir.

So what is a Christmas tree? You may be surprised to know there are many different kinds, but they all fall under the category of “evergreen conifer”, including fir, pine, and spruce trees. Basically anything trimmable into that desireable triangular shape is used around the world as a Christmas tree! As plants are regional, where you live may decide what type of fir or spruce you’re getting.

How did the tradition originate? Like many holiday traditions the Christmas tree has pagan roots. Seen as a symbol for life, trees were worshipped by many ancient civilizations. Other than their symbolic comfort, we start to recognize where certain traditions related to the tree originate with Medieval “mystery plays”. One such play, performed on the name day of Adam and Eve on December 24th, the tree is identified as the “tree of paradise”. It is decorated with apples similar to that of the tree in the Garden of Eden. These ornamental apples were later replaced with shiny red balls we now typically see on trees. In the 16th century it is said that Martin Luther would light candles on these trees, which would later be replaced with Christmas lights. Because of this, Christmas trees were considered a Protestant custom, until it’s widespread popularity outside of Germany freed it of it’s denominational roots in other parts of the world.

This was largely due to influential figures and families adopting the tree’s use. When Queen Victoria married the German Prince Albert they brought the tradition to the wealthier middle class, interested in escaping the cold industrial revolution to a simpler time of familial bonding. This was introduced to Victoria as a child by her grandmother, German-born Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Her association with the tree and the presents as a little girl made it a permanent Christmas custom for the royal family. This resulted in the first advertisements for “Christmas Trees” as a product for sale. This drove demand for all classes to take part in decorating and placing presents under the tree.

The Christmas tree was just too good of an idea to fail. Combined with other traditions from around Europe, the Christmas holiday eventually became a melting pot of rituals centered around Christianity that most people in America celebrate regardless of whether they’re religious or not. Presents, stockings, Santa Claus, decorated trees, all culminating in a bright point for the cold winter. The tree’s comforting nature and seasonal spirit has cemented it in western culture, something adults and children both appreciate for similar reasons.

Why Hire A Certified Arborist?

Miller's Tree Service + ISA Certified Arborists


The right tool is needed for every job, and the right people should be the ones handling those tools. Miller’s Tree Service is proud to have 5 ISA Certified Arborists on the team, and the number of certifications is always growing.

An ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certification means the arborist you hired knows what they’re doing. The requirements call for at least three years of full-time tree care experience and have a formal education in horticulture, forestry, and landscape architecture. After passing the ISA exam, arborists are either required to continue their education or retake the exam every three years to maintain their certification.

It’s important we promote arboriculture in our community and educate tree workers to one day become ISA certified. Trees are an extremely important part of our ecosystem, which means knowledge about them is key. Beyond being able to remove a dead or dying tree, arborists assess every part of a tree to know how it should be cared for. Just because a tree isn’t falling over dead doesn’t mean it’s healthy; diseased trees can be invisible to the layman, but an educated arborist can tell if things are looking dire.

ISA Certified Arborists aren’t just know-it-alls though! That three year experience requirement means they are capable of any service needed to help or remove a tree. What equipment and tools to use, how many men and women a job would take, how the job should be approached; all of these observations are made by knowledgeable arborists, but Miller’s Tree Service arborists get their hands dirty too. Pruning, trimming, felling, a certified arborist can do it all.

The best tree service in Tallahassee also has some of the most hardworking and qualified arborists in the area. When your house is at risk, or you just want to beautify your property with excellent detail, Miller’s Tree Service should be your first choice. The knowledge, the work ethic, the ISA certified expertise, it’s all here.

Identifying Hazardous Trees

Our goal at Miller’s Tree Service is to make sure the trees around you are healthy, and to remove any potential dangerous trees that pose a threat to you and your property. Trees with structural defects that are at risk of falling and causing damage are called “high risk” or “hazardous” trees. While we can help you with removing a fallen tree, we’d much rather help before any damage is done. While some signs can only be evaluated by a professional arborist, here are a few ways you can identify if it’s time to call Miller’s Tree Service about removing a hazardous tree:

Dead as a Doornail
Generally you can tell if a tree isn’t doing so well. Dead twigs, dead branches, and small, off-color leaves is a good indicator that a tree is not healthy. Dead wood is brittle and will not bend in the wind. Even if the tree does not pose an immediate threat, think of the branches high above. What damage could they cause if they were to fall? If the wind were to blow a little too hard the tree may stand strong, but a large branch can also cause serious damage.

Cracked Up
A crack in a tree is one of the most clear signs that it’s failing. This is especially true if there are more than one crack close to each other. The deeper the crack extends into the tree, the more dangerous the defect is. A crack shouldn’t be ignored and immediate professional evaluation should be done.

Crumbling Down
The other side of a brittle branch is a soft cavity. Think of it like this: sometimes sticks snap in your hands, and sometimes they fall apart like saw dust. This crumbling effect can be seen in trees and cavities will form, greatly reducing its structural integrity. Growth of of fungus on the tree like mushrooms are a clear sign of decay.

Poor Form
The last layman’s sign of a hazardous tree is a pretty simple: does it look like it’s going to fall over? In other words, trees are meant to stand upright, with even branches and little to no lean. The obtuse it’s leans and bends are, the less structural integrity it has.

While these are good indicators, it’s possible a tree looks healthy from the outside, but has serious problems within. Some species hide their condition better than others. Only the experts at Miller’s Tree Service can tell you if the trees around your home are healthy. If you’re not sure, set up an appointment to have one of our arborists provide an evaluation.