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14 Oct 2017
tree maintenance

Tree Maintenance – Why Should Anyone Worry About It?

Discovering the Benefits of Proper Tree Care and Maintenance

Want to know a secret? Trees develop well and will look better with proper care and maintenance. Compared to trees that you find in the wild, trees that are well-maintained and properly cared for appear fuller and more vibrant. That alone should be reason enough for property owners to start caring about tree maintenance and seasonal tree care.

What is it about tree care and maintenance that’s so important?

Any property owner knows that landscaping is a crucial factor when it comes to maximizing property value. And nothing makes any landscape more beautiful and elegant than the presence of trees.

Trees are no doubt majestic objects of nature that clean the air we breathe and provide an ecosystem for small animals and birds. But they are also living ornaments that can make any place look more pristine and phenomenal. Maintaining and caring for them will help keep them stronger, more fruitful, and vibrant.

The Benefits of Proper Tree Maintenance and Care

The benefits that can be had from proper preventive care and maintenance for trees play a huge role in its importance and why property owners should never overlook the process when it comes to the trees in their properties.

Pruning, trimming, cutting dead branches—all of these are part of a maintenance process that is vital to the health and well-being of trees. The following are some of the basic benefits of proper tree care and maintenance:

1. It helps keep the trees in your property healthy and vibrant.

Removing dead branches, pruning, and trimming are all crucial to maintaining the overall health of a tree. The process also helps ensure a dynamic and cohesive landscape. A full and vibrant tree is always a welcome sight in any property, be it commercial or residential.

Pruning, in particular, helps remove branches that are either dying or are already dead, and helps stimulate new growth. The most crucial aspect to this process, however, is implementing proper pruning techniques in order to get the best possible results.

2. It helps eliminate or minimize potential safety hazards.

Trees that aren’t regularly maintained can quickly turn into safety hazards, especially when they are located in an area near structures or pedestrians. For instance, a tree that is situated near a footpath where a lot of pedestrians pass by has to be regularly pruned to keep dead branches from falling on passersby.

Trees that are near power lines, have branches that cover street signs, or are near any structures should be looked after carefully. If removing the tree is not possible, then having it regularly trimmed or pruned is the most logical solution.

3. It helps improve property value.

Everyone in the real estate business knows that an aesthetically pleasing property landscape, with lots of beautifully maintained trees, can add to the value of the property quite substantially. Adding value to your home doesn’t just involve renovating or redecorating the interior. You also have to mind the overall condition of your landscaping, which will dramatically improve once you have your trees regularly maintained.

4. It helps fruit-bearing trees produce top quality crop.

If you so happen to have a fruit-bearing tree in your property, with proper and regular maintenance, you can actually improve the quality and quantity of the fruits that the tree will produce. There are proper techniques and methods that should be practiced when maintaining fruit-bearing trees. You should consult a certified arborist to figure out the best way to maintain and care for your fruit-bearing plants.

5. It helps newly planted trees to become healthier and more robust as they grow.

Newly planted trees need a lot of care as they develop. Through proper tree care and maintenance techniques, a newly planted tree will be easier to train as far as shape is concerned, and will grow to be stronger and more vibrant. Keeping a tree strong and healthy is very important, especially in places where temperature extremes are often experienced.

6. It helps rehabilitate damaged trees.

Trees can get damaged in extremely hot summers, as well as during extra cold winters. This is where seasonal tree care and maintenance proves its importance. The process can help rehabilitate and repair damaged trees due to extreme weather temperatures. Storm-damaged trees can also benefit from proper maintenance practices and techniques.

More info:

Tree Health Care

Seasonal Tree Care

Pixabay.com photo by Skitterphoto

 

15 Aug 2017

Drought Stress and Tree Health – What You Need to Know

The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Drought on Trees and How to Combat Them

 

With the effects of climate change becoming more evident and undeniable, one of the most popular discussions among arborists and gardeners is drought and trees, specifically how to alleviate the stresses experienced by trees and shrubs brought on by drought.

This is such a crucial topic because the lack of water won’t only cause certain plants and trees to slowly wilt and die, but it can severely affect plant development and growth as well.

Plants, especially trees, can experience short-term and long-term effects from drought. Short-term stresses can go away once rain starts pouring in regularly again. However, the long-term stresses can linger on even after the rain returns.

So what are these stresses, these detrimental effects on trees that are brought about by drought? What can you do, as a tree owner, to help your trees survive the drought and recover?

 

Drought and Trees: The Short- and Long-Term Effects

As your trees continue to starve from lack of moisture, symptoms will start to appear. Some are quite obvious, while others not so much.

 

Wilting of Leaves

Wilting is the first and the most obvious sign of tree health problem brought about by drought, although not exclusively. Wilting may also be caused by other detrimental factors. But this is the first sign that you will most likely notice on your trees and shrubberies during a drought.

 

Premature Shedding of Leaves

The fall season is typically the time when trees start to shed their leaves and they prepare to go into hibernation for the winter. During a drought, however, trees and other plant life can go into premature shedding; their leaves will slowly wither and die, due to the lack of water and ground moisture.

There’s just isn’t enough water to sustain the tree, so it starts to shed its leaves as a form of defense.

 

Dramatic Reduction of Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is crucial to a tree’s growth and development. It’s the machinery that enables trees to absorb sunlight and synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. If the tree’s ability to photosynthesize is compromised, it could have serious, long-term, and even fatal effects on the tree’s ability to recover and survive.

Imagine if something were to happen to your digestive system, if it’s compromised in some way. How will you be able to process the food you’re taking in? How will you be able to absorb the nutrients that your body needs in order to properly function?

 

Pest and Insect Infestation

With the lack of water and a compromised ability to photosynthesize, trees will become weak and susceptible to pest attack. They won’t be able to adjust or defend against the onslaught of insects that are trying to survive the drought as well. And this will only weaken the tree even more, causing long-term damage that may be difficult to recover from.

So those are just a few of the potential effects that trees may experience during a drought. The question now is how do you mitigate or lessen the effects of drought on your trees? What can you do to protect them and give them the best chance to recover?

 

Tree Care Tips during a Drought

 

  1. Water your trees, but water appropriately.

During a drought, you’re going to need to water your trees and shrubs regularly. But you need to be mindful of the amount of water, the frequency of which you water the trees, and the type of tree you’re watering. Remember that not all trees require the same amount of water or the same frequency. Some species require less, while others may need more.

 

  1. Check your trees for signs of stress.

It’s important to inspect your trees for any sign of stress or symptoms, especially those mentioned on the first part of this article, so you can take the appropriate action to mitigate those symptoms. Keep in mind that there are symptoms that take longer to appear, while there are those that materialize almost immediately.

 

  1. Skip the fertilizer and focus on mulching instead.

During a drought, a tree’s root system is susceptible to damage from the salts and other strong chemicals from fertilizers due to lack of water. So instead of adding fertilizer, you should do some mulching instead, in order to preserve soil moisture and protect the root system from further damage.

 

  1. Consult a certified arborist.

Your best asset in helping your trees recover from a drought is having a certified arborist guiding you on what to do along the way. Arborists know about trees better than anyone. So if you see signs of drought stress on your trees, contact your local arborist as soon as possible.

 

More info:

 

Pixabay.com photo by chillervirus

 

25 May 2017
soil care tree nutrition

Soil Care and Tree Nutrition – What You Need to Know

How much do you know about soil care, tree nutrition, and even tree care?

If the answer is “not much,” you’d be forgiven—most people think that trees don’t need anything besides water and a lot of sunshine. But that is actually not true.  Trees need a lot of things in order for them to grow robustly.  With that said, it is extremely vital that you consider the factors that can ensure that your trees stay strong and healthy.

Just like us, trees also require nutrients for them to thrive and grow. And when there is a dearth of one or several of these, the trees will not reach their full aesthetic potential and become more susceptible to the depredations of diseases and pests. In fact, nutrient deficiency in the soil is one of the many reasons why fertilizers are essential.

However, fertilizing trees is not as easy as it seems to be. You have to consider the pH level of soil, the fertilizer application method, and of course, the type of fertilizer to be used.

Today, we’ll share with you everything that you need to know about tree nutrition and soil care. Here’s everything that you should know:

Fertilization Management

The main objective of tree fertilization is eliminating nutrient deficiency. If a tree gets all the nutrients it needs, its health and appearance (and even production of fruits) improves. But, before you add any kind of fertilizer, you have to see first that it is the right one for your plant. Tree owners are advised to only apply nutrients that their trees lack. Applying any kind of fertilizer without say, measuring first the pH level of soil can harm your trees in more ways than one.

Checking the Soil pH Levels

By measuring the soil’s pH levels, you will know how acidic or basic it is. Once you find out the pH level of your soil, knowing the kind of fertilizer that suits your trees become easier.

While there are a lot of soil pH kits that can enable you to conduct pH tests immediately, you can also consider hiring a professional to do a soil analysis.

Picking the Right Fertilizer for Your Trees

Generally, these are the qualities that tree owners should look when choosing the ideal fertilizer:

  • It shouldn’t have a high ratio of phosphorous and potassium. (Trees do not really go well with 10-10-10 fertilizers).
  • The salt index of the fertilizer should be less than 50 since salt is not great for a tree’s health.
  • Slow-release fertilizers are better in that they ensure the tree doesn’t get saturated with a volume that might overwhelm it.

Different Kinds on How to Apply Fertilizer

Once you are done selecting the ideal fertilizer for your trees, it’s now time to focus on the different fertilizer application methods. If it is possible, you should apply the fertilizer to the soil before planting your trees, but as they grow, they will still need a continuous supply to help supplement whatever nutrients they siphon from the earth. Here are some of the most common methods of applying fertilizers:

Surface Application

This method is ideal if there is no flora growing over the tree roots (i.e., thick patches of grass, etc). Usually, fertilizer spreaders are used to evenly seed the soil with dry fertilizer or liquid fertilizer.

Trunk and Foliar Application

Another common fertilizer placement involves the foliage and trunks of the tree. You can either spray the fertilizer on the tree’s foliage or inject it directly into the tree trunk. However, this method should only be done when soil application does not seem to give you the results that you want.

This application is considered as an advanced method; it would be best if you hire a professional arborist.

Deep Placement

Also called as sub-surface placement, this method involves drilling holes and pouring the fertilizing into these holes. This fertilizer placement ensures that fertilizer does not get washed away along with the topsoil in case you’re living in a region with mercurial weather conditions.

A caveat: Since the fertilizer is placed closely to the roots, there’s a great chance that it can damage the roots.

Choosing the right fertilizer placement is also vital as it can help the tree grow stronger. If you are still hesitant with what kind of fertilizer application is best for your trees, asking an expert arborist is always a good option.

Another Fertilizing Method: Mulching

Besides fertilizer, another great way of ensuring that your trees grow robustly is by mulching the area around it. Mulching has plenty of benefits for trees; it suppresses the growth of the weeds, it improves soil nutrition, and holds moisture.

Again, seeking help or opinion of a professional arborist is always the best preference if you want to ensure that your trees are getting optimal nutrient levels.

More info:

Tree Planting

Pixabay.com photo by PublicDomainPictures

 

22 Apr 2017
tree stump removal

Top 6 Reasons to Remove That Tree Stump in Your Yard

Tree stumps. They may look harmless at first glance, but it is really important that you have them removed from your yard right away; they can prove to be a safety hazard as much as a dead tree that can topple anytime without warning.

If you’re still undecided whether you should have a tree stump removal, we’ve rounded up six reasons why you should contact a removal specialist now:

 

Stumps Mar Your Yard’s Look

Yes, aesthetically speaking, tree stumps on your yard are a total eyesore. They make your yard look unkempt.

If you want your yard look presentable, then you should not leave the stumps there. But mind you, if you find the idea of pulling out the stump, root network and all a hassle, there are actually plenty of things you do can with it. You can make it as your DIY project and turn it into a bench, a planter, or even—if the stump is large and high enough—a table!

Know however, that left unattended, tree stumps can lower your property value. Skeptical? If you really think about it, this certainly makes sense. Would you rather buy a house with ugly tree stumps or a house with a clean and orderly yard?

 

Stumps Can Pose a Hazard to Kids

If you want to transform your home into a kid-friendly zone, then leaving old tree stumps in the yard it is certainly a no-no. For households that have young kids, these stumps can be dangerous to them especially if they love running around the yard.

Additionally, small tree stumps can break your lawn equipment if ever you accidentally hit one of them while maintaining the lawn. A tree stump can also become your liability if someone visits your home and trips over it. Not just that, if the tree stump is near your driveway, someone driving at night might hit it.

 

Stumps Make Gardening and Mowing Chores Harder

Aside from the fact that tree stumps can damage your mower, it also makes the whole task harder. Having tree stumps around the yard can be a total nuisance when you do weeding and mowing for obvious reasons.

 

Stumps Can Contribute to New Tree Growth

Usually, there are instances wherein a tree stump causes new tree growth. You may notice that small trees start growing around it sooner or later, and of course, this will make your yard look even less appealing.

Besides ruining your landscape, it can also cost you a lot since it would be tougher to remove plants that have already established their roots. These new shoots are more likely to come back again, and you will need costly plant chemicals to kill them completely.

These new sprouts take nutrients from plants nearby, so if you are wondering why your zinnias are not blooming well, maybe that’s because other plants are absorbing all the nutrients.

 

Old Stumps Attract Insects

Leaving old stumps behind will not just make your yard an eyesore, it will also attract insects. Since a decaying tree takes quite a long time to completely decompose, the stump will attract a bevy of insects to live in it. And although you may at first be indifferent to the growing number of insects combing your yard, eventually, they will make your way inside your house. Termites are also extremely nasty since they can compromise the structure of your residence.

Instead of waiting for heavier consequences to happen and paying a huge fee for insect extermination experts, you can simply have the stump be removed as early as today.

 

They Consume Yard Space

Have you always wanted to put a picnic table in your yard? Or perhaps you are planning to put a garden there?

There’s definitely no problem with whatever you want to do you with your yard, but if there are plenty of tree stumps there, you will have problems getting your plans to come into fruition.

If you have a small yard and you want to transform it into a charming spot for your family to relax and bond, then a tree stump in your yard is a big no.

Contact a removal expert (we can help you with that!) and say goodbye to these old tree stumps that are totally ruining your yard!

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Planting

Pixabay.com photo by tookapic

19 Apr 2017
How to tell if your tree is sick

How to Recognize If Your Tree Is Sick (And What to Do about It)

Trees are similar to humans in more ways than one.

They need food and nutrients (in the form of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and the nutrients they absorb from the soil) to let them grow and become strong and robust. They also get sick and experience being invaded by pathogens. However, unlike humans, it’s actually much harder to spot when a tree is sick and dying.

Unless you are an Arborist or a tree expert, it is hard to spot the telltale signs that a tree is rotting and dying. However, it is still crucial that you need to know these symptoms. With this knowledge you can then gauge whether or not you need an Arborist if your tree does show lackluster health.

Here’s how you can gauge a tree’s condition.

Examine Its Parts

How will know if a tree is sick? By examining its parts, of course!

To appraise a tree’s health, you have to periodically check its branches, trunk, foliage, and roots (needless to say, only the parts that show aboveground) meticulously and look for any hint or sign that might give away signs of a deteriorating condition. Among the most vital tree parts that you should check are the following:

The Tree’s Trunk and Bark

Have you checked the tree’s bark lately? If the bark shows signs of damage, then that could be a sure sign that the tree is decaying or rotting. Vertical cracks are one indicator of deteriorating health.

Usually, when trees age, the outer layer of their bark falls off and is replaced with a new layer. However, if the tree’s health is declining, it won’t be able to regenerate the stripped layer.

You also have to check for signs of fungal growth. Large clusters of these are another indication that the tree is suffering from internal rot. Trees showing signs of decay and instability should be removed from the area as early as possible—entire trees toppling over into a neighbor’s property are stories that aren’t uncommon so that’s one thing you’ve to keep in mind too.

Roots

You will certainly have a hard time determining if a tree’s roots are damaged since they are hidden underground. Due to that, they’re the least vulnerable parts of the tree in the sense that they can’t be buffeted by winds or get gnawed on by fauna. However, if you have conducted recent construction projects near your trees, there is a great chance that their roots were affected during the operation.

In our previous article, we have listed soil compaction as one of the most common reasons that can cause trees to die. You need to ensure this hasn’t happened. Moreover, one sign you need to look out for are small branches sprouting from the base trunk of the tree; this signifies the plant is suffering from a massive amount of stress.

Branches and Twigs

Branches and twigs are also two things that can show you how well or how poorly a tree is doing.

A telltale sign your tree has a problem is a dearth of leaves when it is supposed to be covered with them. Moreover, dead branches can indicate that your tree is suffering from a serious root and trunk problem.

Make sure to inspect its twigs from time to time as well. You can check a tree’s condition by removing a small twig from a branch, breaking it open, and checking the color inside. If the color is bright green, then you have nothing to worry about. However, a dull green could mean that your tree is already showing signs of aging. Black or brown, needless to say, signifies the branch where you took the twig from is devoid of life.

What to Do When Your Tree Is Sick?

Once you have confirmed that your tree is deteriorating, the first thing that you should do is identify what is causing it to be sick. Again, it would be hard to determine the problem unless you are an expert. It is highly recommended that you consider the help of an Arborist. With an Arborist’s training and knowledge, diagnosing the root of the problem and finding a remedy for it becomes easier.

One of the first things that an Arborist will likely advise that you do is to check how much water your tree is receiving. Your tree may be suffering because it is receiving too much or too little water. A recent soil compaction or excavation around the area can prove to be a problem for your plant.

Additionally, you should also make sure that you are properly mulching and pruning the tree in order for it to recover and improve its health. Don’t forget to infuse the surrounding soil around your tree a good amount of fertilizer as well.

More info:

Tree Health Care

Seasonal Tree Care

Pixabay photo by lovexxpeace

16 Apr 2017
How much mulch and when to water

How Much Mulch and When to Water: Best Ways to Fertilize Trees

Of course, we all want our trees to be healthy and strong.  They don’t just provide us a shade to keep us cool during the summer season. They also help filter the air we breathe.

And guess what?

Having trees in our property can even increase its value. Isn’t that great?

Now, if you really want to ensure your trees’ health, it is important that you also try to learn about how to properly take care of them. And besides pruning and providing them with enough water, you also have to mulch and give them a good amount of fertilizer regularly.

Let’s talk about tree mulch and fertilization, and find out how mulching is necessary to guarantee that your trees will always be in top-notch condition. But first, let’s learn about the basics.

What Is Mulch?

Mulching is actually one of the easiest ways that you can do to help keep your trees healthy. Mulch refers to the protective layer of material that you spread on top of the soil where your trees are planted. There are several materials that you can use in mulching; these include straw, bark chips, and grass clippings.

 

Why Is It Necessary?

Mulching a tree has plenty of benefits—it protects the soil against erosion, prevents weed growth, maintains soil temperature, and also reduces soil compaction from heavy rains. Moreover, applying mulch around trees can also help reduce your reliance on synthetic fertilizers. (More of that later.)

 

How to Mulch

Here are the general guidelines that you should follow when mulching:

  • Remove all the weeds near the tree before spreading mulch around the surrounding area. It is a good idea if you do the weeding earlier before the grass makes a foothold and becomes harder to remove.
  • You can remove clumps of grass within a 3- to 10-foot radius around the area of the tree. The size of the mulch greatly depends on the size of the tree. Basically, you should mulch the entire root zone of the tree.
  • When mulching small trees, create an earth basin so that it would be easier to keep the mulch away from the trunk.

 

How Much Mulch Is Enough?

While mulching is really beneficial, you have you to ensure that you properly distribute the mulch around the tree’s immediate area. Always remember that the mulch should not be too thick near the tree’s base. If you spread too thick a layer of mulch around the trunk, you run the risk of impacting the amount of water that can seep to the tree’s roots. Ideally, applying a 2″ to 3″ mulch layer is enough to help make your trees grow properly.

If you are using organic mulch such as chipped or shredded bark, straw, or composted manure, be reminded that once they decompose they need to be replaced as soon as possible.

 

Organic versus Synthetic Mulch

Technically speaking, there are two types of mulch: organic and synthetic. Bark mulches, compost and composted manure, shredded leaves, and grass clippings are the most common types of organic mulches. As for synthetic mulches, stones, landscape fabric, and black plastic are the most common. The main difference between organic and synthetic mulch is that the former decomposes and needs to be replaced from time to time, while the latter doesn’t decompose and require regular replacement.

However, since organic mulch decomposes, they add fertility to the soil and improve its organic content. With organic mulch, relying on synthetic fertilizer is reduced. You also get to help improve the environment!

 

Watering Your Plants

Just because you have properly mulched your trees doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be watered anymore. Providing them with water is a necessity, especially among young and growing trees.

As a general rule, young trees that have just been planted in less than two years should be watered regularly especially during summer, since their roots haven’t yet been established to withstand heat and drought. Just ensure that the soil around the tree area is moist.

Once your trees grow and their roots become established, they will be able to withstand more exacting conditions and strive to grow without regular watering.

However, know that as a tree owner, you need to ensure that the trees get enough water from the rain and the soil moisture. As much as possible, avoid compacting their root zone.

More info:

Tree Health Care

Urban Forest Management

Pixabay Photo by Olichel

13 Apr 2017
how-to-not-kill-your-tree

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time… How to (Accidentally) Kill a Tree

Don’t you just find it alarming and depressing when trees inside your property inexplicably start to die?

How can huge and towering trees simply die without any apparent reason? Well, there are actually a bevy of reasons why trees wither and die. But are you aware that there’s a chance that homeowners can inadvertently cause their trees to die?

In this article, we want to share with you five ways that you can accidentally kill a tree. Here they are:

 

Staking and Girdling the Tree

A lot of people use stakes and rope to support their tree’s growth.

But guess what?

Trees only need support for a short period of time. When you stake a tree too long, it can damage the bark and cause abnormal trunk growth. Moreover, it can also make the tree become top heavy.

The same is true when you girdle a tree.

Surprisingly enough, plenty of people also think that they are doing the tree a favor by wrapping its bottom part with plastic. They believe that this is enough to protect the tree against the sharp edges of some gardening tools like lawn mower blades. Unfortunately, doing this will sometimes suffocate the tree and/or encourage the growth of harmful microbes.

 

Soil Compaction

Does this sound familiar to you?

Probably not.

The same with staking and girdling trees, only tree experts know that soil compaction can eventually kill your plant.

In case you have forgotten, plants do not just gain much-needed sustenance through their leaves, they also rely on their roots.

Unfortunately, when the soil gets compacted, water can’t be effectively absorbed by the roots. Usually, when homeowners plan to build improvements in their yard, they forget to consider the effect that it will have on their trees. Most are oblivious to the fact that sometimes, compaction can cause the soil to be so densely packed that the earth can’t effectively absorb rain and nutrients from the topsoil. In other words, your trees will be cut off from all the necessary resources that they need to grow healthy and strong.

 

Filling Tree Holes with Concrete

Back in the days, tree cavities and hollows were filled with concrete in order to strengthen the tree trunk.

But is this really an effective remedy?

Unfortunately, it has already been proven to cause more injury to the tree instead of helping it heal faster. The concrete inside the tree will prevent water and air from being absorbed. Additionally, there’s a chance that the stiff concrete column inside the tree hollow will trap in microbes causing rot to spread through the rest of the plant from the inside.

As always, tree cavities are best healed without your intervention. Let the tree heal itself, or avail of the services of a tree health specialist.

 

Not Pruning the Trees Properly

Before we go any further, let me just ask this to you: Do you know when is the right time to prune your trees?

Probably not, unless you are an Arborist or you are interested in learning everything about tree care.

There are some tree species that should only be pruned during autumn, while there are other species that will die if they are not pruned during springtime. The point is, you have to know the right time when to safely prune your tree. Trees that aren’t correctly pruned become vulnerable to parasites and diseases. As a matter of fact, improper pruning is the top cause of death among trees.

Still not convinced?

One of the worst forms of improper pruning is known as topping. This type of pruning refers to haphazardly cutting to completely get rid of the tree’s crown. This will not just cause physical trauma and cut off your tree’s nutrient source, your tree will also have to divert all its regenerative capabilities to replace all the lost branches and leaves.

 

Improper Care

And of course, not properly taking care of your trees can  make them vulnerable to parasites and diseases. See to it always that you are providing your trees with the proper amount of water and fertilizer. Spray regularly with pesticide as well.

A caveat: When it comes to using pesticides and herbicides make sure that you have sought the opinion of tree experts before using them.

If you love having trees in your home, then the least thing that you can do for these majestic natural air cleaners is to take care of them properly and consider their space and nutrient needs in every improvement project that you do with your property.

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Health Care

Pixabay.com photo by RyanMcGuire

04 Apr 2017
Problems with DIY Tree Care

3 of the Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying DIY Tree Care

Are Your Tree Care and Maintenance Practices Doing More Harm Than Good?

 

The time has come once again for homeowners to do some maintenance work on their lawns, gardens, and most importantly, their trees.

The previous winter season has undoubtedly delivered quite a beating to your trees and shrubberies, especially if you live in an area prone to heavy snow and strong cold winds. Most homeowners are in DIY tree care mode by now, eagerly inspecting the damage sustained by the trees and trying to figure out the best solution to rehabilitate them and restore their lushness and beauty.

 

But how much do you really know about tree care and maintenance?

 

If you’re on this page, reading this post, then it’s safe to assume that your knowledge about the subject is fairly limited and you want to learn more about it, right?

Practicing do-it-yourself tree care and maintenance is never a bad idea. In fact, it is highly recommended by many experts. It’s good to spend some time taking care of your trees. Unfortunately, a lot of people are employing the wrong tree care practices.

Instead of providing the tree with the proper care it deserves so that it can recover from its injuries and restore its health, they’re actually doing more harm to it by using the wrong tree care techniques and methods. And this doesn’t just apply to homeowners; a number of tree professionals also make a few mistakes when it comes to tree care and maintenance.

That’s right.

It’s not just homeowners and amateur tree care enthusiasts that often make mistakes when caring for their trees; even tree pros sometimes commit the same mistakes as well. So what are these tree care mistakes that you should avoid? Keep on reading.

 

Common DIY Tree Care Mistakes to Avoid

1. Pruning and trimming at the wrong time of year.

You may not be aware of this, but there’s actually an appropriate time to prune your trees. Some people think that it’s okay to trim or prune a tree any time, since they can pretty much grow back the cut branches.

Wrong, in most cases. You can always remove dead, broken and diseased limbs. In fact it will keep your tree more healthy.  Trees can use excess energy in repair rather than new growth, removing these issues will send that energy to more useful areas.

For most of the year, trees constantly grow and develop except during the winter months. During winter, trees go through a dormant stage where they lose the majority of their foliage. It is during this time that pruning is often performed, especially on mature trees.

When a tree is dormant, it is not actively growing. And since most of its leaves are gone, it’s easier to see all the branches and figure out which ones to cut. When done the right way, pruning can be healthy for trees. It also helps ensure strong growth of new branches and foliage as soon as spring arrives.

 

2. Using a pruning technique known as “topping”.

Topping is a form of pruning that removes the entire top of a tree, hence the term. It is highly discouraged by Certified Arborists and reputable tree professionals, and even outlawed in some states.

Topping may result in the subsequent death of a tree. Since it not only disfigures the plant, it also leaves it susceptible to infestation and decay. This poor pruning method may cause irreversible damage and premature death to your tree, so please don’t do it.

And if you see a neighbor or a friend topping his/her tree, politely stop them and explain why it’s not a good idea to denude a tree completely of its foliage.

 

3. Stub cuts and flush cuts (improper pruning method).

Tree branches have collars, in case you’re not aware of it. This collar is located on the base of a branch where it meets the trunk or the lead branch of a tree. Now, when it comes to pruning, there is a correct method and a wrong one.

When you’re pruning, you need to cut all the way to the branch collar. Not doing so is what is known as a stub cut. Stub cuts won’t heal properly and will leave the wound susceptible to decay and infestation.

The opposite of a stub cut is known as a flush cut. This is when you cut a branch or a limb too far beyond the collar. This method is even worse than a stub cut, because it leaves the tree essentially unable to heal and protect its wound.

 

More info:

 

Stocksnap.io photo by Anders Jildén

16 Mar 2017
Bugs and Trees - what you need to know

Bugs and Trees – What You Need to Know

Does this sound familiar?

You do all you can to take good care of the trees in your property. You conduct comprehensive research on the various DIY techniques to make the trees look good and vibrant, and you even hire a tree service to do the pruning and seasonal maintenance. Then, you find out that your tree is suffering from a disease caused by insect infestation.

 

We’ve all been there.

 

If you love trees, and have invested quite a lot in planting and maintaining them just to add beauty and value to your property, bugs in trees is a scenario you never want to hear from your tree guy. Insect infestation on trees is something that you never want to take lightly. If left untreated, certain species of insects can potentially kill a tree in a frighteningly short amount of time.

Here are a few of the insects that live on, in, and around trees that you should watch out for if you’re concerned about tree health and want to protect your investment from some of the most devastating species around.

 

The Different Types of Tree Insects and How to Prevent Them from Spreading

Although there are countless species of insects out there, most of them are actually harmless to trees. There are, however, a few that can wreak havoc on the development and structural integrity of your beloved trees.

These damage-causing bugs are classified into three main types: the boring/tunneling insects, chewing insects, and sucking insects.

 

Boring or Tunneling Insects

These types of bugs are considered to be among the most harmful to trees. If left untreated, boring insects can cause irreparable damage to a tree, even death. Borer insects cause damage by boring into limbs, stems, and the root system of a tree.

These insects dig tunnels inside a tree for various reasons. Some do it for feeding purposes, while others burrow into the tree for reproduction purposes, to lay their eggs. When hatched, the larvae may burrow deeper into the tree, causing damage to its water-conducting tissues.

If the infestation gets serious enough, the leaves of the tree will suffer from nutritional and moisture starvation, resulting in irreparable damage and death to the tree.

Types of Boring Insects:

  • Asian Longhorned Beetle
  • Dogwood Borer
  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Bronze Birch Borers
  • Elm Bark Beetles
  • Giant Palm Weevil

 

You should know that any burrowing or boring insect can cause serious harm to a tree, because they disrupt the physiology of the plant.

The key to keeping borer insects away from your tree is through preventive maintenance. This includes regular proper pruning, mulching, fertilization, and watering. Although some borer insects can be killed off by using insecticides, there are some, like the Emerald Ash Borer, that are much harder to combat once the infestation gets serious enough.

 

Chewing or Defoliating Insects

These types of insects generally attack the foliage of a tree, feeding on its leaves. There are chewing insects, however, that attack the fruit of a fruit-bearing tree. Caterpillars and beetles are the most common types of chewing insects.

For what it’s worth, most trees can be treated and bounce back from an infestation of these defoliating bugs. However, repeat infestation is not uncommon and could severely weaken the tree over time as it continues to starve the plant of chemical energy.

Types of Chewing Insects:

  • Bagworm
  • Eastern Tent Caterpillar
  • Fall Webworm
  • Gypsy Moth
  • Japanese Beetle
  • Mimosa Webworm
  • Apple Maggot
  • Cherry Fruit Worm
  • Leafminers
  • Spring and Fall Cankerworm

 

Well-maintained and healthy trees have less chances of getting an infestation of defoliating insects, so clearly the best way to keep them off your tree is through an effective prevention maintenance plan.

 

Sucking Insects

These types of insects can cause damage to a tree by sucking out nutrient-rich plant juices from leaves and twigs, essentially robbing the tree of the liquid it needs to stay healthy and survive. The presence of honeydew, which contains unprocessed plant material, is a telltale sign of a sucking insect infestation.

 

Types of Sucking Insects:

  • Aphids
  • Leafhoppers
  • Euonymus Scale and other Scale Insects
  • Spider Mites
  • Thrips

 

Just like any other insect infestation, the best way to avoid sucking insects is through prevention. Consult a local tree expert or a Certified Arborist to figure out the best preventive maintenance plan or the best course of action, if infestation is already apparent.

 

More info:

 

Stocksnap.io photo by Louis Blythe

07 Mar 2017
Why-Is-Pruning-Your-Tree-Important

Why Is Pruning Your Tree Important?

A Closer Look into the Significance of Tree Pruning

 

Do you want to know why some of the trees in your neighborhood look so vibrant and beautiful? Have you ever found yourself wishing that the trees in your property can achieve that magnificent look?

Trees are among the most magnificent living objects found in nature. They can make any landscape look serene and brimming with life. But as beautiful and majestic as they are, they require a bit of care to maintain their appearance. And one of the maintenance processes that a tree requires is pruning.

 

What is pruning?

Pruning is a tree care and maintenance procedure that involves cutting and removing specific parts of a tree, such as dead or diseased branches, buds, and even roots. When done correctly, pruning has many different benefits, which will be discussed later on. What you need to know, however, is that pruning doesn’t just benefit the tree but the people around it as well.

 

Key Reasons for Pruning a Tree

There are plenty of reasons to prune a tree. Most tree professionals and Arborists often get asked, “Why is tree pruning important in the tree care and maintenance business?” These main reasons should address that particular question quite effectively.

 

1. Pruning for health reasons.

Caring for the health of a tree is important, obviously. Through the pruning process, dead and/or diseased branches can be removed safely, allowing the tree to develop stronger and healthier ones.

There are plenty of reasons why tree branches die or suffer from diseases, but the three most common are lack of sunlight exposure, insect infestation, and storm damage. Exposure to extreme fluctuations in temperature is also a common reason, especially in areas that experience heavy snow storms during winter or extreme heat during the summer.

 

2. Pruning for structural reasons.

Trees need structural integrity, especially the young and still developing ones. Proper pruning can help a young, newly planted tree develop a sturdier structure, stronger limbs, as well as a lush and beautiful form.

 

3. Pruning for safety reasons.

Trees that are planted in residential properties often sit close to man-made structures such as a house, garage, tool shed, as well as foot paths, driveways, and walkways. In some cases, homeowners even use tree limbs to hang a swing for the kids.

Picture this: what if one of the bigger limbs or branches of the tree is weakened by disease or is actually dead? That is a potential hazard that should be dealt with right away. It’s not advisable to tie a rope on a tree limb to use as a swing, but a lot of homeowners still do it.

Moreover, trees sometimes grow so tall or so wide that they can become a fire hazard when they come in contact with power lines. And if a tree limb is hanging over your home, or other structures, a heavy storm could cause it to break and crash into whatever is underneath it.

 

With these three reasons alone, you can see just how important tree pruning is and why it should never be put off.

 

Still not convinced?

 

Okay, here are some of the benefits that you can expect from a proper tree pruning by a certified professional:

 

The Benefits of Proper Tree Pruning

  • It can improve traffic and pedestrian flow. Trees that are located near sidewalks, foot paths, driveways, and bike trails require pruning to remove any runaway branches that may hinder the flow of traffic.
  • It helps ensure a clear view of road signs. Sometimes trees can grow very wide limbs and branches that they can cover street signs, making it difficult for motorists to read or even notice.
  • It helps reduce the occurrence of leaf disease. Proper pruning promotes better airflow through the tree’s canopy, allowing the leaves room to breathe and get rid of excess moisture.
  • It effectively addresses some of the safety risks caused by weakened or damaged limbs. Falling limbs and branches are serious hazards, especially when the tree is located near structures or paths with heavy foot traffic.
  • It reduces the presence of excess shade, which can impede the growth of other plant life around the tree, such as grass and/or shrubbery. It also helps make sure that the lower branches of the tree get enough sunlight and moisture.

 

More info:

Stocksnap.io photo by Steinar La Engeland