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27 Sep 2017
Fall Tree Care

Best Ways to Care for Your Trees During the Fall

Who says the gardening season is over once fall arrives?

Autumn is still actually a good time for planting trees. It’s also the season wherein plenty of nuts and fruits ripen. But if there’s one important thing that every tree owner should do when autumn arrives, that would be preparing their trees for the upcoming winter.

To ensure that your trees will survive the winter, it’s crucial that you prepare them ahead for what’s coming.

Are you all set? Here are the steps:

  1. Inspect Your Trees’ Leaves

Once you have noticed that the leaves of your trees are turning slowly to the color of the season, then that’s the perfect time to inspect them for uneven hues and defoliation. Both of them are actually signs of tree problems like nutrient deficiency, pests, and diseases.

The appearance of mushrooms during fall is not really a problem unless there are a lot of them appearing near the trunks. This could be a sign that the roots are decaying.

  1. Evaluate the Soil

Have you had the soil in the vicinity analyzed? If not yet, then consider doing it this season. Have your soil analyzed. That way, if there is a nutrient imbalance in your backyard, you can instantly apply the needed fertilizer before winter comes rolling in.

  1. Spray Anti-Desiccant on Leaves

Water loss is one of the major reasons why trees suffer during winter. With limited water to absorb, trees are left without resort but to use the water they’ve stored in their stems and leave.

One way of avoiding water loss is through spraying anti-desiccant on the leaves. This will provide leaves with a waxy layer that will keep in moisture.

  1. Mulch

Don’t wait for winter to come before you start mulching your trees. As early as today, mulch the surrounding of your trees to trap warmth and provide trees ample time to grow and absorb nutrients and water.

During the winter, the mulch will provide protection against the harsh weather and reduce water loss. It is absolutely important that you also mulch newly planted or young trees since they do not have enough defense mechanisms yet to weather the harsh season.

When it comes to mulching, distribution is critical. Recommended thickness of the mulch is one to two inches. Placing too large a mound is not advisable because it can provide a place for bacteria and fungi to flourish.

  1. Prune Your Trees

Pruning also plays an important role in tree care during fall. Basically, there are three different types of pruning that should be done during this season:

  • Pruning branches that died during summer
  • Doing structural pruning
  • Pruning to reduce the size of the tree

To properly prune your trees, make sure to talk to a professional arborist, especially if you are not familiar with pruning techniques and methods.

  1. Check for Pests

Even when the climate has turned cooler, pests can still wreak havoc on your trees. Mites, spider mites, stink bugs, and boxelder bugs can definitely damage your trees.

Applying a systemic insecticide is one of the best ways of getting rid of pests. You’d also be glad to know that this kind of method can actually protect your trees for up to 12 months.

  1. Protect Your Trees

And of course, let’s not forget to protect our trees that are susceptible to high winds, salt, and the southwest sun. By just wrapping the trunk of a tree with a trunk wrap, or even paper and polypropylene, it can go a long way of upping the chances that your plants will emerge from the winter as robust as ever.


Why is fall tree care important?

Because your trees are still recovering from the extreme heat during the summer season and yet in a few weeks, they’ll be encountering cold weather. If you want your trees to recover from the summer heat and survive the winter season, then providing them with every essential nutrient and protection is absolutely helpful.

More info: photo by Ben Regali

07 Apr 2017
Which Bugs Are Bad For Trees?

Which Bugs Are Dangerous to the Health of My Trees?

Destructive Tree Insects You Hope to Never Find in Your Property


Are you sick and tired of pesky critters damaging your trees and shrubberies, eating away at the foliage until the plant ends up looking like it has been ravaged by a storm?

Seriously, how do you get over the fact that you’ve spent a lot of effort, time, and money on having your ornamental trees and garden look vibrant and beautiful only for them to be destroyed by an insect infestation?

Just imagine . . .

An elegant thriving Japanese maple tree, with its red lacy leaves adding natural beauty and luster to your garden. But because of an infestation of bugs like Japanese beetles, scales, aphids, mealybugs, and borer insects, it’s slowly withering away like an old diseased tree in autumn.

What can you do to keep this from happening to your trees and shrubberies? Is there a way to control insect infestation in trees?

The best and most practical solution is to be proactive. Prevention is the key to controlling these pests. And the way to do that is to learn to identify bugs that are bad for trees and knowing how to get rid of them before they become a serious problem.


Bugs Bad for Trees You Should Watch Out For

There are myriad insects that thrive on various species of plant life. Most are virtually harmless; they merely use the plants for shelter or to hunt for prey.

However, there are those who feed on the plants and cause serious damage, either from the outside-in or vice versa. These are the destructive insects you should be aware of, so you can learn to spot them and get rid of the pests before it’s too late.

There are three basic types of destructive insects that thrive on trees and other plant life; the burrowing or borer insects, the chewing or defoliating insects, and the sucking insects.


Burrowing Insects

Borers are perhaps the most harmful to trees out of the bunch. These types of insects, also called tunneling insects, burrow deep inside stems, twigs, and even roots to lay their eggs. It’s the larvae from the eggs that cause the most damage to the tree, hindering the tree’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.

Some of these burrowing insects include:

  • Asian Longhorned Beetle
  • Elm Bark Beetle
  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Bronze Birch Borer
  • Dogwood Borer

The most effective method for keeping these types of insects away from your plants is through preventive measures. Always make sure that your trees are well-maintained, properly pruned, watered, and mulched. Pruning should only be done in the late fall or during winter so as not to attract insects to open cuts/wounds.


Defoliating Insects

If borer insects wreak havoc on trees from the inside-out, chewing or defoliating insects cause damage from the outside by eating away at the leaves, buds, and flowers. Some chewing insects, however, attack the fruit of fruit-bearing trees. The majority of these types of insects are comprised of caterpillars and beetles.

A few examples of these types of bugs include:

  • Japanese Beetle
  • Tent Caterpillar
  • Gypsy Moth
  • Spring and Fall Cankerworm
  • Cherry Fruit Worm
  • Leafminers
  • Bagworm

Once these defoliating insects are found in your trees, the best course of action is to use physical barriers to control insect movement. Certain insecticides may also be used with the approval of a Certified Arborist. But the best defense against chewing insects is proper care and maintenance.


Sucking Insects

As their name suggests, sucking insects inflict damage on plant life by sucking out fluids from the leaves and twigs like vampires. But instead of sucking and feeding on blood, they feed on plant juices, including the nutrients that the plant needs to thrive.

Most of these types of bugs seldom move or migrate. They typically stay in one location, living under a hard protective coating. Their byproduct is a sticky substance called honeydew, which contains unprocessed plant material and often promotes mold growth that can harm the tree foliage.

Sucking insects include:

  • Aphids
  • Spider Mites
  • Thrips
  • Leafhoppers
  • Scale Insects

The best recommendation for controlling the spread of sucking insects is to immediately kill them on contact to prevent reproduction. But of course, proper tree care and maintenance is always an effective approach.


More info:


Flickr photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

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: photo by Louis Blythe