How To Landscape Around Trees Without Killing Them

Landscaping done improperly will certainly damage your beautiful trees and garden. Knowing how to landscape around the trees in your yard or garden without harming them will help you create a welcoming and healthy environment.

Careful landscaping around trees can result in stunning results for your outdoor living space

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on the best practices for landscaping around trees, and the improper practices that harm and kill them.

How Do You Landscape Around a Tree?

Landscaping the area around or under a tree – without damaging it – will require you to pay special attention to the following:

Surface Roots – Whether roots have surfaced from poor watering practices or as an inherent trait of the species, these roots must be protected from injury. Damaged surface roots serve as efficient vectors for tree diseases, weakening the tree’s defenses, allowing boring insects to then successfully attack/infest the tree. Protect these roots by:

Surface roots are a product of the tree species erosion and poor watering practices

  • Raising the soil level enough to cover the exposed roots (without covering the tree’s root flare).
  • Mulching the area with three to five inches of organic mulch.
  • Providing the tree with more frequent deep waterings (this encourages roots to grow deep).
  • Prohibiting foot, vehicle, or machinery traffic where these roots are exposed.
  • Hiring a professional tree service to perform root pruning.

Note: Root pruning poses a high risk to the tree’s health and should be considered only as a last resort.

Soil Compaction – Tree roots rely on soil porosity to fulfill their mission (collect and provide the tree with water, nutrients, and oxygen). In healthy soil, pores are large and frequent enough to capture water, oxygen, and nutrients that trees absorb through their roots. Soil compaction compresses the soil, dramatically reducing its porosity and delivery capability. Prevent soil compaction by:

  • Eliminating all foot, equipment, and vehicle traffic within the tree’s drip line (all of the ground surface beneath the crown).
  • Applying organic mulch or compost in the fall and spring months.
  • Planting turf or small plants that help the soil remain porous and prevent erosion.

From outer tree leaves down to the soil is the drip line and mulch area is from the trunk to drip line

Read more on reversing and preventing soil compaction at thetreecareguide.com/soil-compaction-solutions/

Volcano Mulching – Nearly every set of instructions for healthy tree growth tells you to mulch, mulch, mulch. While proper mulching is necessary for tree, plant, and soil health, volcano mulching is a fast way of compromising your landscape’s overall health.

A mulch volcano happens when mulch is piled high against a tree trunk (resembling a volcano). This act traps moisture around a tree’s root flare, creating a perfect environment for disease development, small wildlife habitation, and insect infestation. Prevent mulch volcanoes by:

  • Applying mulch (3 to 5-inches deep) to the entire area beneath a tree’s canopy, leaving a hole in the center like a giant donut.
  • Pulling mulch back approximately 6-inches from the trunk, allowing the root flare to breathe.
  • Occasionally removing debris or wind-blown mulch from the area around the trunk.

Find further information on the dangers of volcano mulching at thetreecareguide.com/volcano-mulching-can-kill-your-tree/

Digging Around A Tree – Regardless of your landscaping plans, try to avoid digging around a tree. Especially on the root plate (the area where roots are most highly concentrated). The root plate extends from the tree’s trunk to the extremity of the dripline, and the vast majority of its roots are found within the top 6 to 12-inches of soil.

Digging on or through the root plate can severely daamage roots needed for your tree to survive

When digging around a tree is necessary, hire an arborist to supervise or conduct the digging. An arborist can take immediate action to safeguard the tree when roots are damaged or severed.

Flower Beds Around Trees

A popular feature of landscaped yards is installing a flower bed or planting plants and shrubs around their trees. While attractive, be aware of the following bad practices:

Don’t Add Soil Over Turf – Some may believe that buried grass would decompose under the new soil. However, it is more likely that buried grass would compress into a thick layer of thatch, acting as a barrier between tree roots and the oxygen, water, and nutrients they seek.

Solution: Remove turfgrass and other vegetation before laying a planting layer of soil.

Avoid Raised Borders – A common feature that is a dangerous mistake is to build a raised brick or stone border around the base of your tree, fill it in with soil, and use it as a planting bed (Doing this will result in your tree’s death). This additional soil at the tree’s base will cause the root flare and bark to rot, leaving the tree vulnerable to disease and insect infestation.

Solution: Construct an inside border 12 to 18-inches away from the trunk, then build an outside border around it to create the raised flower bed.

Avoid Raising Soil Levels – The area at the base of a tree where the trunk transforms into roots is called the root flare and is normally found just above ground level. Covering the root flare in an attempt to raise the soil level will ultimately lead to root rot and the tree’s rapid decline.

Solution: Leave your tree’s soil level where it is and relocate/reconfigure this aspect of your project.

Rock Beds Around Trees

Rock beds around trees can have a clean and weed free look

Landscaping with rocks around trees can dramatically improve a yard’s appearance. Watering grass and landscaping uses nearly half of a home’s water consumption. Landscaping/mulching with rock substantially decreases the amount of water needed to support vigorous tree, shrub, plant, and grass growth. Spreading small rocks around trees serves as an inorganic mulch, preventing weed growth, regulating soil temperature, and retaining moisture.

Is it OK to Put Landscape Fabric Around Trees?

This answer depends on who you talk to:

Yes – Gardeners who use landscape fabric use it to stop rock mulch from sinking or disappearing into the soil, prevent soil erosion, and dramatically reduce weeds.

No – Those against landscape fabric claim that decomposition gradually clogs the fabric’s drainage pores, that it limits soil biodiversity, and reduces organic soil material.

Considering the pros and cons of landscape fabric, organic alternatives like wood chips or shredded bark would seem to accomplish much of what landscape fabric does while adding valuable nutrients to the soil as they decompose.

Build a Deck or Patio Around a Tree

What do you do with a mature sprawling tree or tall shade tree in your backyard? Build a deck or patio around it.

Some of the benefits of a deck or patio around a tree include:

  • Potential soil compaction is eliminated
  • Foot traffic on the soil beneath the tree is eliminated
  • Rainwater, falling leaves, and oxygen can still be absorbed by the soil
  • A well-built deck or patio can increase your home’s resale value

Note: The deck should be built with ample spacing (minimum of 2-feet) from the tree trunk, allowing for growth.

Tip: The idea of building a deck or patio around your tree is intended for mature, well-established trees. When built around younger trees, they can potentially outgrow the deck or patio, resulting in costly repairs or adaptations.

Landscaping Around Trees

In this article, you discovered how to landscape around a tree and which practices can lead to tree decline and death.

Knowing how to landscape around a tree will help you create a comfortable backyard living space or an attractive front yard display.

Improper mulching, digging, and landscaping practices can lead to the weakening and death of your tree.

Sources:
agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/faqs/how-much-mulch-should-i-use-around-a-tree/
extension.psu.edu/mulching-landscape-trees
nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/2016/08/12/consider-landscape-fabric-carefully/
extension.unl.edu/statewide/dakota/Horticulture/Raised%20Beds%20Around%20Trees.pdf

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/how-to-landscape-around-trees-without-killing-them/

How To Take Care of Trees

Prevent your trees from the catastrophic damage they face when not planted, pruned and cared for properly. When you know what is involved in taking care of trees, you can keep them thriving.

Taking care of a tree helps it thrive and reach its full potential

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on planting, watering, mulching, fertilizing, pruning, and inspecting your trees to keep them healthy.

Tree Planting

For most regions, fall is the best time to plant trees. Fall corresponds to the beginning of the dormant season (when tree metabolism and growth slow down). Planting in the fall reduces the chances of shock and allows the tree to self-establish before springtime (growing season). The following planting tips will help you get your tree off to a good start:

Planting a tree in the right place with good conditions

Location – Smaller trees up to 20ft tall (understory) should be planted from 6 to 10 feet away from each other or structures on your property. Medium-sized trees up to 35ft tall should be planted 10 to 15 feet away from each other and structures. Tall trees over 35ft tall (overstory) need 15 to 50 feet away from each other and structures.

Depth – At the base of your tree, you will notice an area that transforms from trunk to roots. The bulges where roots begin is called the root flare, and it is essential that it not be buried. When your tree is planted, the very top of the root flare should be visible.

Soil – The soil you plant your trees in should be a loamy soil with developed biodiversity, well-drained, and mixed with a high organic material ratio like compost.

Sun – Some trees do better in full sun than others. When planting a tree, be aware of the species requirements for sunlight and shade, then find a location that provides the best conditions for your tree.

Right Tree Right Place – The species you select for your property should be resistant to local insect or disease outbreaks and adapted to your USDA Hardiness Zone.

Tree Watering

Avoid overhead watering by using water bags

Tree watering is fundamental for the livelihood of a tree. Too much, and the roots may rot. Too little, and the tree may die from hydraulic failure. Consider the following when watering your trees:

Newly Planted Trees – For trees newly planted in well-drained soil, you’ll need to provide 2 gallons of water per inch of trunk measured across, 3ft above the root flare, every other day for the first 2 years.

Deep watering – Encourage deep root growth by providing a deep watering for your tree at least once per week. Deep waterings allow water to soak into the ground 12 to 18in or more.

Drought – In times of drought, you will need to increase the amount of water given to your tree. Young trees will look wilted, droopy, or dull in color when they are water-deprived. Avoid this type of stress, as it allows successful insect and disease attacks on your tree.

Avoid Overhead Watering – The majority of bacterial and fungal diseases that affect trees are spread by splashing water. Alternative watering methods like drip lines, watering bags, and buckets will help you keep tree diseases at bay.

Note: If your soil is too sandy (retains no water) or high in clay content (retains too much water), mix organic material into the soil and use a layer of it as mulch.

Read more about tree watering here.

Tree Mulching

From outer tree leaves down to the soil is the drip line and mulch area is from the trunk to drip line

Mulching your tree protects its roots from extreme temperature swings and helps the soil retain moisture. Consider the following:

  • Mulch your tree from the time you plant it.
  • Mulch trees year-round.
  • Use organic mulch that adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
  • A layer of mulch should be from 3 to 6-inches thick.
  • Mulch should radiate from the trunk, extending just beyond the dripline.
  • When mulch flattens or becomes matted, replace it or fluff it, mixing in new material.
  • Pull mulch 3-inches away from the tree trunk to avoid rot.
  • Avoid volcano mulching (mulch gets stacked against the trunk, resembling a volcano).

Note: Properly applied mulch will resemble a fluffy donut with a tree in the center.

Read about the dangers of volcano mulching.

Tree Fertilizing

Trees sometimes need fertilizer to compensate for poor soil nutrients

It may become necessary to feed your trees from time-to-time. However, before doing so, have your soil tested to measure nutrient and mineral content and the soil’s pH level. Send your soil sample to a university extension lab or professional laboratory. Soil test results reveal:

  • Soil pH (most trees prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.1 to 6.9)
  • Cation Exchange Capacity (measures the soil’s ability to retain elements and nutrients with positive charges or cations)
  • Base Saturation (this is the distribution of cations in the soil)

Fertilizers come in a multitude of combinations and types. Most popular are granular, slow-release fertilizers, which include the components your soil test identified as deficient for optimum tree growth.

Read more about testing and improving your soil.

Tip: If you are uncertain about which laboratory to send your soil sample(s), ask your local nursery which one(s) they use.

Tree Pruning

Pruning trees helps correct irregular growth and removes diseased limbs

Tree trimming and/or pruning are essential tasks to keep your tree shaped, well-structured, and thriving. Consider the following before taking a saw to your tree:

Why Are You Pruning – Always know the purpose before beginning a pruning project. Is it to remove diseased, infested, or dead limbs? Or one of the following:

  • Crown Raising
  • Crown Thinning
  • Crown Cleaning
  • Height Reduction

Tree pruning can be highly beneficial or severely detrimental if you cut too much away or make improper cuts. It is highly recommended to contract a professional tree service when pruning more mature, heavier trees.

When To Prune – Your tree’s dormant season is the best time for most pruning activities. Other optimal times may include:

  • When a limb or branch is diseased or infested
  • When your tree suffers extreme weather damage
  • When trees interfere with power lines

Tip: Except for emergencies, pruning activities should be avoided at the beginning of the fall season. This is the time when fungal spores and bacteria spread at peak levels.

Making Cuts – When making pruning cuts to remove a branch, a 3-cut method is recommended to avoid severe bark damage:

  • Cut 1 (undercut) is made 6-inches from the trunk under the branch, cut in 1/4 way through the branch. This will prevent the tree’s bark from stripping away when the branch falls.
  • Cut 2 is made 4 to 6-inches in front of the undercut. This is a top-down cut that severs the branch from the tree.
  • Cut 3 removes the rest of the branch up to the trunk. This cut is made flush with the branch collar; you should use extra caution to not wound the branch collar. It is used to compartmentalize the wound and protect the tree from insects and disease.

Read the following article to learn more about Tree Pruning Purpose, Techniques, and Safety.

Tree Inspections (Hazard Assessments)

Annual tree inspections help detect problems early

Schedule your professional tree service or arborist to visit your property each spring to perform a tree inspection or hazard assessment. These annual visits will help you identify developing problems before they can cause severe damage to your trees. Such problems may include:

  • Insect Infestations
  • Disease, Cankers, and Bark Damage
  • Intersecting Branch Growth
  • Leaning/Destabilization
  • Root Rot
  • Suckers/Water Sprouts
  • Climbing Vines
  • Winter Damage/Sunscald
  • Lightning Damage

Tip: Schedule an inspection immediately after severe weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, etc. these events can leave your tree(s) destabilized and dangerous to your property and well-being.

Tree Care

In this article, you discovered tree care information, including planting, mulching, fertilizing, pruning, and inspection tips and references to help you keep your trees thriving.

When you know how to properly take care of your trees, you can guide their growth through the best and worst conditions mother nature can throw at them.

Ignoring your trees’ basic necessities will leave them vulnerable to disease, infestation, and result in unhealthy growth, decline, and death.

Sources:
gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/pruning/pruning-and-maintaining-trees.html
extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/watering-newly-planted-trees-and-shrubs
extension.psu.edu/mulching-landscape-trees
csfs.colostate.edu/colorado-trees/selecting-planting-and-caring-for-trees/planting-tips/

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/how-to-take-care-of-trees/

Tree Damage Treatment and Prevention

Prevent your damaged tree from dying and causing catastrophic damages when it falls on your property. Knowing what to do when your tree is damaged, you can take action to help it recover and thrive.

Severely damaged trees often need to be removed before causing other issues

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on recognizing tree damage, when and how to treat it, how to decide when the tree is a keeper or a loss, and how to prevent your tree from suffering damages in the first place.

Tree Damage

Trees grow and mature, completely exposed to natural and manmade perils. The following are a few examples of tree damages:

Mechanical Damage – Mechanical tree damage occurs when lawn care or other equipment nicks, scrapes, cracks, or strips tree bark from the trunk, surface roots, or branches.

Treatment: This type of damage creates a vector(s) for infestation or disease. Promptly clean the wound (use a sharp knife to trim the wound). You can apply a tree dressing or allow the wound to seal itself.

Prevention: You can keep lawnmowers and other equipment from getting too close to the tree by erecting a small fence, planting a garden around the trunk, or mulching the area around the trunk out to the drip line of the tree.

Tip: Encourage surface roots to grow deep by deep watering the tree once per week. For mature trees with surface roots, raising the soil level to cover them will keep them out of harm’s way.

Projectile Damage – Whether it be an out of control vehicle or your front yard’s roaming gnome swept up in a storm, tree trunks and branches can be severely damaged by objects ramming into them.

Tree bark damage caused by machinery or storms

Treatment: Bark damage to a tree trunk can be treated by wrapping the bark in place or cleaning the wound, allowing it to seal and compartmentalize the damaged area. Damages to branches may require pruning them back behind the wounded area or all the way to the trunk.

Prevention: We can’t stop vehicles and other projectiles we do not control. However, unsecured items left in your yard can be carried by wind and stormwater: secure yard tools and decor in a shed, garage, or enclosed porch or patio.

Lightning Strikes – Lightning can obliterate a tree and sometimes cause it to explode. When lightning strikes a tree, its internal temperature rises, and pressure increases in a way that vaporizes most or all of the water contained within the tree, causing partial or total hydraulic failure.

Treatment: Tree recovery from a lightning strike (if it recovers at all) can be a prolonged process that should be accompanied by an arborist. Extensive pruning may be required if any of the tree is to be saved.

Prevention: If your area is prone to electrical storms and/or lightning strikes, install lightning rods to divert or direct lightning away from your trees. Seasonal pruning, including crown thinning, will help make your trees smaller targets.

For more information about tree lightning strikes, read thetreecareguide.com/saving-tree-struck-by-lightning/

Severe Weather Damage – When severe weather systems move through your area, they can bring heavy rains (saturating the soil) and sustained, damaging wind. Such weather can cause:

  • Windthrow (when a tree is blown down, uprooting it)
  • Windsnap (when a tree breaks into two parts)
  • Branch loss
  • Stripped foliage
  • Stripped bark (hurricane-force winds)
  • Soil erosion
  • Root plate destabilization (standing floodwater)

Windsnap caused by severe weather

Multiple storms can exacerbate these poor conditions, causing the failure of great quantities of trees.

Treatment: Damaged trees should be evaluated and treated by an arborist. If a tree has fallen, lost a majority of its crown, or sustained girdling bark loss/damage, have the tree removed.

Prevention: Reduce your tree’s resistance by practicing seasonal pruning, including crown thinning and crown raising. Consider hedges, sheds, shrubbery, and other fixed structures placed around the tree to act as a wind block or diversion. Promote vigorous growth, above and below ground by:

  • Watering
  • Fertilizing
  • Mulching
  • Pruning
  • Seasonal arborist inspections

Note: Trees planted and grown in their hardiness zone are more likely to thrive and strengthen as they mature. Such trees are less likely to suffer severe weather damage.

Find more information about trees toppling from severe weather at thetreecareguide.com/why-some-trees-topple-in-storms-while-others-dont/

Poor Pruning Practices – When trees are incorrectly pruned, they can develop rot from water and moisture collecting on and around bad cuts. When the branch collar is wounded, the tree’s natural compartmentalization process can fail, allowing successful disease and insect attacks.

Treatment: When your tree is left poorly pruned, perform corrective pruning where possible and monitor areas that have been damaged for signs of disease or rot.

Tree damage from poor pruning can be corrected by making correct cuts

Prevention: Correctly prune your tree or leave it to an experienced professional. Consider the following pruning tips:

  • Use sharp sanitized equipment
  • All cuts should be clean (no rough or jagged cuts)
  • Avoid tree paint to cover cuts (the tree will react to a proper cut by closing its wound off)
  • Larger branches form a “collar” (cut just outside the collar without damaging it or leaving a protruding stub)
  • If the limb or branch has not formed a collar, cut it back, close to the trunk
  • When shortening a smaller branch, locate a lateral bud or developed lateral branch, growing in an outward direction. Make a clean cut at a 45° angle with the base of the cut a quarter of an inch past the bud or branch.

Read more about pruning practices at thetreecareguide.com/tree-pruning-purpose-techniques-safety/

Infestation Damage – When insects, especially boring insects, successfully attack a tree, they can cause multiple wounds all over it. Boring insects, in particular, burrow beneath the bark creating larval galleries, interrupting the flow of water and nutrients from the crown and roots.

Tree damage by beetle and other insect infestations

When these insects emerge as adults, they will typically consume the host tree’s foliage before mating and laying eggs on the bark to re-infest the tree. This insect activity can quickly girdle and kill the tree.

Treatment: When insects like aphids and scale infest a tree, topical sprays like neem oil can be applied to stop an infestation. When boring insects have successfully attacked your tree, hire an arborist to evaluate and professionally treat your tree. Some boring insect infestations will require the removal of your tree to protect others in the landscape.

Prevention: You can prevent an insect infestation by liberally applying insect deterrents like neem oil, homemade insect repellants, store-bought insecticides, etc.

Read more about tree pests at thetreecareguide.com/pest-prevention-treatment-tips/

Disease Damage – Diseases can infect a tree via insect infestations, contaminated pruning equipment, wounds from storms, bad pruning cuts, and even splashing water. Diseases may appear on tree foliage as darkened spots, wilting, or chlorosis. Twigs, branches, and the trunk may develop cankers. And when disease infects tree roots, root rot can rapidly develop.

Tree damage from vascular disease causing wilting decline and death

Treatment: Diseases that attack tree foliage and bark surfaces can be effectively treated with topical fungicides like “liquid copper,” a bleach/water solution, a vinegar/water solution, commercial fungicides, and fungicidal soap.

Diseases that attack a tree’s vascular system may require extensive pruning, injections, and ultimately removal. When you suspect this type of disease, hire an arborist to evaluate the infection’s gravity and what can be done to save the tree.

Prevention: The following will help you keep your tree disease-free:

  • Sanitize all equipment before working on your tree
  • Avoid overhead or splashing water when irrigating your yard or tree
  • Promote vigorous growth
  • Properly prune your tree during its dormancy
  • Treat your tree to avoid insect infestations (they can carry disease to your tree)
  • Use a commercial or natural fungicide occasionally to prevent infection
  • Immediately treat other trees and shrubs when infected or infested

Can Your Tree Be Saved

When trying to determine what to do with a damaged tree, the following questions will help you make an informed decision on what to do:

  • Is your tree leaning? (if yes, get immediate help)
  • Did your tree lose its major limbs or leader?
  • Did your tree lose more than 50% of its crown?
  • Has the tree been girdled?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it is likely time to have your tree removed. Consider the following:

  • If your tree is young, it may recover with professional help
  • Cabling may secure your leaning tree long enough for it to reestablish

Always request an evaluation of any tree that you want removed. An arborist or professional tree service may have alternative treatments and techniques for saving a tree.

How to Prevent Tree Damage

In this article, you discovered essential information about tree damages, what treatments you can use to help them recover, tree damage prevention methods, and how to determine when your tree must go.

When your tree suffers damage, your swift action can help it recover from its injuries and continue growing vigorously.

Ignoring damages to your tree can lead to its sudden death and catastrophic personal or property damage when it unexpectedly falls.

Sources:
texashelp.tamu.edu/browse/by-type/naturally-occurring/severe-weather/trees/
mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-and-plant-advice/horticulture-care/trunk-wounds-and-decay
static.colostate.edu/client-files/csfs/pdfs/FINAL_Storm_Damage_Quick_Guide.pdf
extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/fnr/fnr-492-w.pdf

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/tree-damage-treatment-prevention/

Eugenia Topiary Care

Prevent the decline and death of your Eugenia topiary. Knowing how to grow and care for your topiary will keep them looking sharp and healthy.

Eugenia topiary requires frequent pruning and care to thrive

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on Eugenia topiary care, Eugenia species data, and common Eugenia topiary issues.

How to Care for Your Eugenia Topiary

This species grows best in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 12. However, when properly cared for, this species can thrive in colder regions. The following will help you properly care for your Eugenia topiary:

Light Requirements – Whether planted in the ground or potted, this species flourishes when exposed to full or partial sunlight in the morning or late afternoon. Avoid direct sunlight when the sun is at its peak to prevent scorching.

Note: When this tree is planted in the ground, its location should provide shelter from prevailing wind and mid-afternoon shade.

Water Requirements – Eugenia is tolerant of mild drought conditions once established. Regular watering during the first two or three growing seasons encourages it to develop strong, deep roots. During extreme drought, deep watering once or twice weekly will help keep it disease-free.

Eugenia topiaries are sensitive to salt buildup in the soil (primarily when potted). Your tree will signal this condition by shedding leaves. When this happens, immerse the pot in distilled water to dissolve any excess salt, then water only with distilled water.

Note: When potted, water the tree as needed to maintain moist soil. Place the pot in a deep bowl or tray filled with distilled water to keep its soil moist.

Tip: An easy way to detect dry soil for potted or planted Eugenia trees is to check the top inch of the soil for moisture. When it is dry 1/2 inch down or more, it’s time to irrigate. Don’t wait for your tree’s foliage to wilt or droop.

Soil Requirements – An outdoor-grown Eugenia topiary thrives in any type of well-drained garden soil. It does poorly in soil that stays wet for long periods. It is a good idea to keep these plants in acidic soil (5.5 – 6.5pH). When planting outside, till to a depth of 18 inches minimum. Make sure large rocks are removed when preparing the planting location.

Eugenia topiary soil requirements and conditions

To grow your Eugenia inside, use a potting soil that drains well. It is essential to choose a big pot with numerous drainage holes. Add a good amount of sand for maximum porosity.

Tip: If your soil content is high in clay, add sand at planting to improve drainage.

Further reading on soil composition and health can be found at thetreecareguide.com/tree-soil-how-soil-impacts-the-health-of-your-trees/

Repotting – For continued growth and development of a healthy root system, repot your Eugenia topiary in early spring every two to three years.

Tip: Add fertilizer to your soil when repotting your topiary to encourage root and foliage growth.

Colder Climates – While this species tolerates some cold weather, prolonged freezing temperatures (below 32°F) will cause irreparable damage or death. In such regions, these trees should be potted and moved indoors for the winter.

In regions where freezing weather is not a common occurrence, covering or wrapping your tree when a freeze is expected will help it survive. If your tree is potted, move it to a garage or indoors when needed.

Read more about winter tree protection at thetreecareguide.com/wrapping-trees-for-winter/

Pruning, Sculpting, and Shaping – A sculpted Eugenia topiary can be a sight to see. From balls to spirals, even animals can be shaped from this versatile tree. Keeping these shapes requires occasional pruning and trimming. Topiary can be fun and allows you to have a hands-on approach to the tree’s appearance.

Eugenia topiary can be shaped into geometric forms and animals

Tip: Avoid pruning and shaping activities in late summer and fall. This is the time fungal spores and diseases are at their peak of transmission. Resume these activities in late winter or early spring.

Watch this video to see more on the art of topiary and its unique demands.

Flowering – Eugenia topiaries will flower when temperature, water, and soil conditions are appropriate. When grown in warmer climates, Eugenia topiaries may flower up to four times per year.

Note: After flowering, this tree produces bright red fruit commonly known as Surinam cherries.

Surinam cherries from eugenia topiary

Eugenia (Syzygium paniculatum) Information

Eugenia (Syzygium paniculatum) is a small-leaved foliage plant/tree often sculpted into shapes and designs. Once trimmed as a topiary, frequent trimming will keep its evergreen foliage from filling back in. Consider the following:

Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle)
Tree Characteristics: The following are common traits found in the numerous Eugenia species:

Shape/Appearance: Erect with a low rounded canopy with dense evergreen foliage
Height at Maturity: Up to 40 feet (some species only reach 4 feet)
Crown Spread: Up to 20 feet (unless used as topiary)
Annual Growth: Up to 12 inches per year
Lifespan: 40 to 50 years
Flowers: Has showy green or white “perfect” flowers (each flower contains male and female parts)
Fruit: Bright red fruit (after flowering)
Wildlife Benefits: Attracts several species of birds and honeybees
Uses: Privacy screen, hedges, garden borders, and topiary

Note: The dried buds of Eugenia aromatica (Syzygium aromaticum) become the fragrant “herb” cloves.

Eugenia species produce cloves from dried buds

Eugenia Topiary Pests and Disease Information

When your Eugenia tree is in good health, it can resist disease and infestation quite well. However, repeated attacks, drought conditions, and other stressors may leave your tree susceptible to the following insects and diseases:

  • Aphids
  • Psyllid
  • Thrip
  • Scale

Treatment/Prevention – Spray your tree with neem oil occasionally to deter insects from infesting your tree. Read more about pest prevention and treatment at thetreecareguide.com/pest-prevention-treatment-tips/

  • Dieback (caused by the fungus, Neofusicoccum parvum)

Treatment/Prevention – When dieback occurs, the following will help you manage it:

  • Prune out and destroy all symptomatic branches
  • Sanitize all equipment used to prune, shape, or handle the tree (including gloves)
  • Avoid pruning activities in the fall (peak period for disease transmission)
  • Avoid overhead watering (splashing water)

Chemical treatments like myclobutanil, propiconazole, tebuconazole, or triadimefon are effective in preventing disease. Once a specimen is infected, healthy trees should be treated to avoid the disease’s spread.

Note: Disinfectants for equipment may include:

  1. 25% chlorine bleach with 3 parts water and 1 part bleach
  2. 25% pine oil cleaner with 3 parts water and 1 part pine oil
  3. 50% water with 50% rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl)

Tip: Have your entire property inspected annually by an ISA certified arborist to detect any potential issues and offer any professional recommendations.

Eugenia Topiary

In this article, you discovered how to care for your Eugenia trees, species information, and potential disease or insect infestation problems.

By properly caring for your Eugenia topiary, you can display your topiary skills for years on healthy, vibrant specimens.

Ignoring proper Eugenia care will lead to rapid decline and death, leaving your topiary looking shabby and sick.

Sources:
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp283
selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/syzygium-australe
ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/eugenia.html
hort.ifas.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/tree_fact_sheets/eugsppa.pdf

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/eugenia-topiary-care/

Wrapping Trees for Winter

Prevent tree damage and death during harsh winter months. Knowing how to prepare and protect your trees through the coldest months of the year will help them grow and thrive when spring arrives.

Winter evergreen tree wrapped for protection

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on wrapping trees for the winter and why it is essential to prepare and protect trees from hazards that come with cold weather.

Tree Wrap

When your trees are young, have thin bark, or are arborvitae, they require a bit of extra attention to make it through severe cold weather. When trying to decide how or if to wrap your tree, consider the following:

Deciduous Trees – During autumn months, deciduous trees not only lose their leaves, but their metabolism also slows down in preparation for dormancy. After planting, the trunk should be wrapped or protected from the root flare (at the bottom of the trunk) up to the first set of lower branches during the first five years.

Winter deciduous tree burlap trunk wrap

  • Tree wraps should be made from a breathable material (burlap, Kraft paper, etc.) that does not adhere to the tree. These wraps protect the bark from suffering sunscald.
  • Tree protectors are generally made from a more sturdy material (vinyl, PVC, plastic) that loosely fit around the trunk and protect the tree from sunscald and wildlife. Specifically, deer that use tree trunks to rub their antlers.

Sunscald, also called southwest injury, occurs during late winter and early spring when:

  1. Tree bark is exposed to cold or freezing temperatures
  2. The sun comes out and heats up the bark (this activates tree cells, breaking dormancy)
  3. The sun is then blocked or goes down, and the warmed bark rapidly drops in temperature

Exposure to such temperature fluctuations ends up damaging tree cells and can severely interrupt the phloem and xylem located beneath the bark. Sunscald will likely lead to:

  • Sunken, discolored areas of bark
  • The formation of cankers in affected areas
  • Bark cracking or splitting

Deciduous trees most susceptible to sunscald include young or newly planted trees, those trees suffering from drought conditions, and hardwoods with thin bark. At-risk species include:

  • Poplar
  • Aspen
  • Maple
  • Sycamore

Tip: For best results, avoid using material that adheres to tree bark or tightens/shrinks around the tree’s trunk.

Watch this video to see how to apply tree wrapping.

Evergreen Trees – Evergreens, like deciduous trees, can suffer crippling damage during winter months. If your evergreens have suffered from the following, they should be wrapped for the winter:

  • Newly planted or transplanted
  • Exposed to high or constant wind
  • Exposed to drought or exhibits signs of drought (yellowing, browning, or becoming brittle)
  • Has been affected by infestation or disease

Winter tree damage includes cankers sunscald and dieback

Wrapping your evergreen trees and shrubs can be accomplished in several ways. Here are two effective methods:

Method One – For this method, you will physically wrap the tree with burlap:

  • Loosely wrap the tree from its base to its tip
  • Use twine (around the tree) to tie the bottom, middle, and top of the tree

Be careful not to tightly “mummify” the tree. The wrap should be able to breathe, and the twine should be snug but not tight enough to damage the foliage or branches.

Watch this video to see how an evergreen can be wrapped.

Method Two – In this method, you are erecting a barrier around the tree and will need three stakes slightly taller than the tree:

  • Mark a triangle in the soil around the tree (large enough for the entire tree to fit inside)
  • One point of the triangle should be on the side of the tree that gets the most wind
  • Drive one stake in front of the tree (the side that gets the most wind)
  • Drive the other two stakes at the other points of the triangle
  • Stretch burlap around the tree, stapling it to the stakes as you go

The end result of this method should appear to be a triangular fence around your evergreen.

Read more about protecting evergreens during the winter months at thetreecareguide.com/winter-protection-evergreens-trees-plants/

When To Remove Tree Wrap

Tree guards and wraps should be removed in early spring. Watch your deciduous trees and shrubs, when they break dormancy and begin their growing season, guards and wraps should come off.

While these protective materials can preserve your tree in the colder months, it can provide a perfect, moist environment for insect infestations and trunk disease growth.

As the growing season begins, be sure to remove guards and wraps before applying pest control products, and keep them off until needed for the next winter.

Tip: If you plant landscape trees in spring, leave the trunks unwrapped until late fall to allow the bark to harden/thicken.

Winter Tree Protection

Using tree wraps and guards is an effective way to preserve your trees’ health in their youth. However, the greatest way you can aide your trees is by promoting their health and vigorous growth. You can do this by:

  • Ensuring your trees are well-watered throughout the year
  • Mulching the root plate to conserve moisture and regulate ground temperature
  • Seasonally and properly prune
  • Fertilize when necessary
  • Prevent or immediately treat infestations and signs of disease

Note: The combination of proper watering and mulching helps prevent winter heaving (repeated ground freezing and thawing, that pushes roots to the surface).

Winter tree root problems when the ground freezes and thaws causing heaving

Tip: Have all of your trees and landscape annually inspected by an arborist. Their trained eyes can help you avoid or correct issues that most people fail to detect until massive damage has already occurred.

For more information and tips on winter tree care, read thetreecareguide.com/preparing-trees-for-winter/

Protecting Trees in Winter

In this article, you discovered information about wrapping trees and using tree guards to protect them from the dangers accompanying winter months.

Taking measures to protect your trees during winter helps them remain healthy and vigorously grow in the spring.

Leaving your trees exposed to the elements can cause severe damage, weakening your trees’ health, leaving them susceptible to disease and deadly infestation.

Sources:
extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/protecting-trees-and-shrubs-winter
csfs.colostate.edu/2016/10/26/fall-tips-prepare-trees-winter/
ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2008/12/Its-a-Wrap/

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/wrapping-trees-for-winter/

Ideal Zone 9 Evergreen Trees

Avoid the embarrassment of planting an evergreen tree, only to have it die a year later. By knowing what evergreen trees to plant in hardiness zone 9, you can keep your yard looking lush and beautiful.

Evergreen tree species for usda hardiness zone 9

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on evergreen trees that thrive in hardiness zone 9, how to care for them, and some of the cities found in this zone.

Evergreen Trees for Hardiness Zone 9

Tree species have spent multiple millennia evolving and adapting to the conditions of the regions they grow in. The following trees are hardy for zones 9a and 9b:

Pitch Pine Tree (Pinus rigida) – This evergreen grows up to 80 feet, does well in a mixture of sun and shade, is fast-growing, fire-resistant, and can be used as a hedge or privacy tree.

Loblolly Pine Tree (Pinus taeda) – Also known as North Carolina Pine and Arkansas Pine. This pine grows up to 110 feet, does well in a mixture of sun and shade, is fast-growing, and can be used as a shade or privacy tree.

Shortleaf Pine Tree (Pinus echinata) – This pine with short needles is also known as Southern Yellow Pine and Shortstraw Pine. This species reaches an average height of 100 feet, does well in a mixture of sun and shade, is drought tolerant, very fast-growing, and can be used as a shade or privacy tree.

Spruce Pine Tree (Pinus glabra) – Also known as Cedar Pine and Walter Pine (this is the species more commonly used as Christmas trees). This species can reach heights of 90 to 100 feet but is usually seen at 30 to 50 feet. Spruce pines do well in a mixture of sun and shade, is drought tolerant, is slow-growing, and can be used as large scale hedges and privacy. Other pine trees that thrive in zone 9 include:

Evergreens for usda hardiness zone 9 spruce trees

  • Virginia Pine Tree (Pinus virginiana)
  • Japanese Black Pine Tree (Pinus thunbergii)
  • White Pine Tree (Pinus strobus)

Regal Privet Hedge (Ligustrum obtusifolium) – While categorized as a shrub, the privet hedge can grow independently or used in a row for privacy. Once mature, this shrub can be pruned into a formal hedge or topiary shapes. Privet hedges reach heights of 12 to 15 feet and do well in a mixture of sun and shade or full sun.

Evergreens for usda hardiness zone 9 privet shrubs

Deodar Cedar Trees (Cedrus deodara) – This sought out species matures with attractive gray-green foliage and graceful, arching branches. This drought-resistant cedar reaches heights of 40 to 70 feet at maturity and can attain a spread of 20 to 40 feet (in a loose pyramid form). This cedar does well in full sun and thrives in wide-open areas shielded from constant wind. More cedars that thrive in zone 9 include:

Evergreens for usda hardiness zone 9 cedar trees

  • Coastal White Cedar Tree (Chamaecyparis thyoides)
  • Top Point Cedar Tree (Chamaecyparis thyoides)
  • Dwarf Japanese Cedar Tree (Cryptomeria japonica)

Leyland Cypress Tree (Cupressus × leylandii) – This fast-growing evergreen tree is one of the most popular choices for hedges, windbreaks, privacy screens, and sometimes Christmas trees. This species reaches heights of 60 to 70 feet with a spread of 15 t0 25 feet at maturity. The tree does well in partial shade to full sun and can tolerate occasional drought.

Evergreens for usda hardiness zone 9 cypress trees

Lemon Cypress Tree (Cupressus macrocarpa) – Also known as goldcrest, this variety of Monterey cypress grows to about 16 feet tall. Its green-yellow needle-like foliage, conical growth, and fresh citrus smell make it highly desired for landscapes and yards. This species needs full sun and moist soil. Other cypress species that grow in zone 9 include:

  • Italian Cypress Tree (Cupressus sempervirens)
  • Bald Cypress Tree (Taxodium distichum)
  • Blue Pyramid Cypress Tree (Cupressus arizonica)
  • Murray Cypress Tree (Cupressocyparis leylandii Murray)

Eastern Juniper / Redcedar Tree (Juniperus virginiana) – This member of the Cypress family reaches heights of 40 to 50 feet tall and is long-lived, with the potential to surpass 900 years. The tree offers excellent shelter for birds and small animals during winter and provides excellent color in the landscape during fall and winter months. This species thrives in full sun and is extremely drought tolerant. Also, consider the following juniper varieties for zone 9:

Evergreens for usda hardiness zone 9 juniper trees

  • Hollywood Juniper Tree (Juniperus chinensis)
  • Spartan Juniper Tree (Juniperus ‘Spartan’)
  • Wichita Blue Juniper Tree (Juniperus scopulorum)

Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta) – When planted in large landscapes or wide-open areas, this tree can reach heights of 80 to 100 feet. This palm tree is somewhat drought tolerant and thrives in full sun to partial shade. The following palm tree varieties also thrive in zone 9:

Evergreens for usda hardiness zone 9 mexican fan palm trees

  • Sylvester Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)
  • Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
  • Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree (Rhapis Excelsa)

Note: All of the tree species mentioned above require well-drained, moist soil to grow and thrive. In some zone 9 regions, drought conditions are frequent, and watering schedules should be increased to include frequent deep waterings.

If you planted one of the above species and suspect an evergreen tree disease, or notice signs that are concerning, consult a local arborist for guidance.

Hardiness Zone 9

A hardiness zone is defined as a geographic area encompassing a range of climatic/temperature conditions relevant to that area’s plant growth and survival.

Hardiness zone 9 or ‘zone 9’ is divided into two classifications. Zone 9a has an annual extreme low temperature of 25°F and zone 9b which has an annual extreme low temperature of 30°F. Some of the cities found in zone 9 include:

  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Biloxi, MS
  • Corpus Christi, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Orlando, FL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Diego, CA
  • Tucson, AZ

Dry and arid, humid, and muggy, the variety of climates included in zone 9 is remarkable. However, classification for the hardiness zone map and a tree’s ability to thrive is determined by the annual extreme low temperature.

If you are not in a similar region, to find your locales hardiness zone, visit the USDA’s plant hardiness zone map at planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Default.aspx

Evergreens That Thrive in Zone 9

In this article, you discovered several of the evergreen tree species that thrive in hardiness zone 9, their needs for optimal growth, and how to find your city on the hardiness zone map.

By planting trees appropriate for your hardiness zone, you are giving them a better chance of growing and thriving on your property.

Avoid the embarrassment of planting trees that can’t tolerate your hardiness zone, they will likely die within one or two seasons of being planted.

Sources:
newswire.caes.uga.edu/story.html?storyid=4006&story=They%27re-inexpensive-and-they-grow-quickly.
projects.ncsu.edu/project/dendrology/index/plantae/vascular/seedplants/gymnosperms/conifers/pine/pinus/australes/pitch/rigida.html
hort.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/tree_fact_sheets/pinglaa.pdf
botgard.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/120/2019/03/StreetPlants_Washingtonia_robusta.pdf
plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/juniperus-virginiana/

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/zone-9-evergreen-trees/

Signs of A Dying Tree

Your dying tree could cause catastrophic, life-threatening damages if it falls on your property. By knowing how to identify the signs of a dying tree, you can take swift action to restore its health or minimize its threat.

Prevent trees from dying by recognizing the signs of disease and infestation

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on signs that indicate your tree is dying, and what you can do to help it.

Leaf Discoloration (Chlorosis)

One of the first signs that your tree is dying is the offseason loss of color, drying out, or premature leaf drop. The canopy of a healthy tree is full and vibrant, consider the following disorders or deformities when looking at your tree:

Leaf Deformities – When a tree is stressed by infestation or disease, it will likely produce smaller, deformed leaves.

Chlorosis – This condition is the loss of color in a tree’s foliage. It can be caused by multiple diseases or boring insect infestations. When chlorosis occurs, bright, green leaves will give way to yellowish-brown sickly-looking leaves.

Foliage Wilt – When a tree’s leaves wilt, it is an indication of hydraulic failure and/or drought.

Foliage Death – If leaves are quickly wilting and dying, but not falling off of your tree, this is a sign of a fast-acting pathogen within your tree.

Wilting and dead tree foliage can be a sign of disease

Early Leaf Drop – When leaves fall from your tree prematurely, especially if they are falling while still green, your tree may be experiencing hydraulic failure and impending death.

Note: The way trees are structured, infection or infestation can devastate a portion of the tree and leave the rest of it unaffected.

If any of these conditions are apparent in your tree’s foliage, contact a professional tree service to evaluate your tree, gather more information, and offer treatment suggestions.

Dead Branches

As a disease or infestation advance within a tree, not only will its foliage show signs of trouble, but entire branches can die. However, some tree species are self-pruning, and while they may appear to be dying or in trouble, they are simply shedding unneeded branches.

When multiple branches appear to be dying, those branches should be marked for removal during the next pruning season.

If those branches show signs of disease (cankers, mushroom conks, etc.) or insect infestation (sawdust or exit holes from boring insects), do not wait for the pruning season. These branches should be immediately pruned off of the tree.

Tip: Use your fingernail or a sharp knife to scrape a small area of bark from the branch. A live branch will display a green, moist cambium layer beneath the bark, while a dead branch will be brown and dry beneath the bark.

Note: Dying or dead branches can fall at any time. These branches should be removed from your tree to avoid catastrophic damages should they fall.

Bark Irregularities

Tree bark should seamlessly wrap around a tree’s trunk and limbs. If the following are present in the bark, your tree may be in rapid decline:

  • Cankers (open wounds oozing fluids)
  • Deep cracks (sign of the tree drying out)
  • Large swollen or bulging areas (sign of festering disease)
  • Sunken, discolored areas of bark (sign of sunscald)
  • Woodpecker damage (they search for beetles)
  • Exit holes from a beetle infestation
  • Sloughing bark (sign of hydraulic failure and dying cambium layer)
  • Ropes, chains, or vines tightly wrapped around the trunk (girdling it)

Vines growing on a tree can easily girdle it causing hydraulic failure and death

Tree bark problems can spread throughout a tree quickly and require accurate, professional diagnoses, and treatment.

For more information about how vines can ravage a tree’s health, read thetreecareguide.com/climbing-vines-tree-killers/

Tree Architecture

Healthy trees usually grow symmetrically with sturdy branch to trunk unions/joints. If your tree is lopsided or is leaning, this can be a sign of declining health or severe root damage.

Especially in cases where the tree is leaning, emergency tree removal may be the only option to protect your property and well-being.

Root damage is the likely culprit of problems with a tree’s architecture. Consider the following:

  • Surface roots are easily damaged by foot traffic or landscaping equipment
  • Compacted soil can suffocate and kill roots – read more at thetreecareguide.com/soil-compaction-solutions/
  • Disease or infestation can cause root rot
  • Poorly-drained soil can also cause root rot

If the problem with your tree is limited to lopsided growth, consult a trusted tree service about crown thinning and pruning to encourage growth in a specific direction. Read more about pruning purpose and techniques at thetreecareguide.com/tree-pruning-purpose-techniques-safety/

Insect Infestation and Disease

While trees have developed natural defensive mechanisms over millennia of evolution, opportunistic insects can successfully attack stressed trees or those already in decline. In many cases, severe damage occurs with repeated attacks over multiple growing seasons. Some of the most destructive insects to tree health include:

  • Aphids (damage to foliage and stems)
  • Scale (damage to foliage and stems)
  • Adelgids (consumes sap causing loss of foliage)
  • Caterpillars and Moths (heavy consumption of foliage)
  • Beetles (interrupt the flow of water and nutrients by consuming the cambium layer, rapidly killing the tree)
  • Borers (create chambers in the cambium layer and chew into heartwood, rapidly killing the tree)

The best way to prevent insect infestations is to promote the health of your trees and treat them with insecticides. When a boring insect or beetle outbreak is detected in your region, schedule more frequent inspections of your trees. Consult an ISA certified arborist about treating your trees during such an outbreak. Infested trees in decline and deemed unsalvageable should be quickly isolated and removed.

When it comes to fungal or bacterial infections, look for the following signs:

  • Cankers (discolored, damaged areas or depressed places on the bark)
  • Mushrooms growing around the base of the tree
  • Mushroom plumes or conks attached to the root flare or trunk
  • Carpenter ants nesting inside the trunk or branches (these opportunistic ants remove decayed pulp but do not chew at the heartwood)

Mushrooms or conks growing from a tree trunk are a sign of disease and rapid decline

These are signs of dangerous rot in the roots or trunk. With time, decay will extend further within the tree’s heartwood leading to the tree’s death and potential collapse. It is highly recommended that diseased trees be evaluated and treated by a professional tree service immediately.

Signs of a Tree in Decline

In this article, you discovered the many indicators of trees in decline and how to deal with them before they kill your tree.

By knowing how to identify tree problems early and who to call for help, the chances of saving your tree significantly increase.

Being uninformed about tree diseases, insects, and signs of decline could cost you when your tree collapses on your property, causing unfathomable damages.

Sources:
extension2.missouri.edu/g5200
extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C1100
tcia.org/TCIA/Blog_Items/2014/What_To_Do_When_Your_Tree_Is_Dying.aspx
pace.oregonstate.edu/courses/sites/default/files/resources/pdf/treeprobs.pdf
bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/04/10/how-assess-whether-tree-decaying/PMsTVFNYn9JvVUY8JuATLK/story.html

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/signs-of-a-dying-tree/

How Do Pine Trees Reproduce?

Your pine tree’s annual reproductive cycle can indicate its good health, or that you need to take action. Knowing how your pine tree reproduces can help you better care for it and give you valuable insight into its strong or declining health.

Pine trees reproduce when female cones open and release seeds

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on what pine trees do to reproduce and the startling information this process reveals.

How Do Trees Reproduce?

All forms of life share the drive to survive and reproduce. Trees are not exempt from this and have developed two main strategies to accomplish their reproduction:

Pine trees reproduce when fertile seeds are disbursed and sprout into saplings

Angiosperms – These are trees that produce flowers and rely heavily on pollinating insects and wildlife to carry their genetic material from one tree to another.

Gymnosperms – These are non-flowering trees or conifers (including pine trees). These trees produce pollen as well but have different means of achieving their reproductive goal. (These trees date back to prehistoric times)

Both types of trees reproduce through seeds but have very different strategies for how that seed is produced.

Pine Tree Reproduction

For a pine tree to successfully reproduce, 3 distinct steps must take place:

Step 1 – The first step in pine tree reproduction is pollination. For pollination to happen successfully, pollen must be transferred from male cones to female cones.

While pine trees grow both male and female cones, the intention is not to self pollinate. Female cones are produced high up in the crown of the pine tree, while male cones (catkins) are produced on the branches below.

Male pine cones do not look like the pine cones many are used to seeing but are long, thin, and soft structures located in clusters on the lower branches. Male cones are only present in the spring when producing pollen.

Pine trees reproduce when male cones release pollen from lower branches into the wind

Pollen is carried from the male cones of one tree to the female cones of another by wind currents. Thus, completing the first step of reproduction.

Read more about tree pollen at thetreecareguide.com/tree-pollen-allergy-season/

Step 2 – Once the female cones have been pollinated, they will produce fertile seeds within the closed cone. It takes about two years for this step to complete itself. As the cone becomes brown, it develops scales, opens up, and resembles the familiar pine cones we all know.

At the base of each scale on a female pine cone, a seed lies waiting to be carried off by the wind or wildlife. Thus, completing the second step of the tree’s reproduction.

Step 3 – Seed dispersal is the final step in a pine tree’s reproductive cycle, and even this step displays how brilliant nature is. As the female cones open up, several species of birds and squirrels come along to feed on the seeds, potentially dispersing them miles away from the parent tree.

Pine trees reproduce when female cones release seeds to be disbursed

Sometimes, the pine cones are knocked off or fall off the tree. The shape and flexibility of cones allow them to bounce and roll away from its origin while dispersing its seeds.

Then there are those cones that remain closed until exposed to extremely high temperatures, like those temperatures produced in a forest fire. These cones only release seeds under such conditions, likely corresponding to the death of the parent tree in a fire.

Tip: When planting a pine tree on your property, it is smart to plant more than one. By doing this, you can all but guarantee the successful annual pollination of your trees and dispersal of viable seeds.

Pine Tree Health

The healthier you maintain your pine trees, the better they will be at reproducing annually. Likewise, when a pine tree is under stress from drought, has suffered a successful insect infestation, or has been infected by a disease, it may do something peculiar.

When your pine tree is stressed, damaged, or dying, it may produce a stress crop. A stress crop would look like an explosion of pine cones maturing in the upper branches and falling from the tree.

Pine trees produce stress crops when the tree is threatened by disease or insect infestation

Producing a stress crop is one of the measures pine trees utilize to guarantee the continuation of their species. It also serves as an alarm bell for humans to take a closer look at the tree. Some infestations and diseases can be treated, while others may require the removal of the tree to protect other trees on or near your property.

If your pine tree is producing a stress crop or has developed signs of disease, call a professional tree service to inspect it and offer a course of action to either restore its health or remove it.

Read about how you can save a dying evergreen at thetreecareguide.com/how-to-save-dying-evergreen/

How A Pine Tree Reproduces

In this article, you discovered how pine trees reproduce and how that reproduction may indicate trouble for your tree.

By caring for your pine trees and knowing how they reproduce, you can detect signals that tell you when the tree is stressed, and when to call for help.

Ignoring your pine tree through its reproductive cycle may lead to its decline in health and eventual death.

Sources:
sciencing.com/do-pine-trees-reproduce-5173107.html
northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/do-stressed-trees-produce-more-seeds
fia.umd.edu/answer-what-causes-such-crazy-cone-and-flower-production/
apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/fungalbasidio/pdlessons/Pages/Armillaria.aspx
canr.msu.edu/news/fun_facts_about_pine_cones

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/how-do-pine-trees-reproduce/

Tree Pollen Allergy Season

Don’t let tree pollen allergies steal your joy this spring. Knowing how to cope with seasonal pollen allergies can help you breathe easy and give you a better perspective on seasonal changes.

Tree pollen season from spring through summer causing allergic rhinitis

thetreecareguide.com gathered information on pollen allergy seasons, symptoms, and allergy relief.

Tree Pollen Season

Springtime is a beautiful time. The flowers are beginning to bloom, the grass is turning vibrant shades of green, and trees are filling back in after their winter slumber. About those trees, they are also producing insane amounts of pollen.

Tree pollen production in spring

Allergy season for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis (pollen allergies or hay fever) begins when trees initiate pollen production. The more significant culprits for tree pollen dispersion are:

• Alder
• Ash
• Aspen
• Beech
• Birch
• Box Elder
• Cedar (November to January)
• Cottonwood
• Elm
• Hickory
• Mountain Elder
• Mulberry
• Maple
• Oak
• Olive
• Pecan
• Poplar
• Sycamore
• Willow

Some tree allergies can cause sensitivity to certain foods. Some proteins in vegetables, fruits, and nuts are similar enough to tree pollen to confuse your immune system. When eating these foods, you may develop an itchy or swollen mouth, face, or throat. This reaction is known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS). It is frequently triggered in people allergic to Alder and birch trees.

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction often prompted by a cross-reaction between tree pollen and nuts like almonds and peanuts. If itching or swelling occurs while eating nuts, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Watch this video to see the volume of pollen a single tree can produce.

Tree Pollen Allergy Symptoms

Pollen released by trees (February – July), grasses (May – June), weeds (July – October), and cedar (December – January) can cause people with pollen allergies to have the following symptoms:

• Sneezing
• Runny Nose
• Mucus Production
• Itchy Nose, Eyes, Ears, and Mouth
• Nasal Congestion
• Red and Watery Eyes
• Swelling Around the Eyes
• Coughing

Those who suffer from allergic asthma and are allergic to tree pollen may exhibit asthma symptoms which include:

• Coughing
• Difficulty Breathing
• Shortness of Breath
• Wheezing
• Chest Tightness

If you are experiencing asthma symptoms, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention.

Tree pollen allergy season symptoms and relief

Tree Pollen Allergy Relief

There are many options available for relieving pollen allergy symptoms. You can talk to your doctor or a board-certified allergist about your symptoms and treatment options. Medicines that may be prescribed are:

• Cromolyn sodium nose spray
• Leukotriene receptors
• Nasal corticosteroids
• Antihistamines
• Decongestants

Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications include:

• Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
• Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
• Dimetapp and Nasahist B (Brompheniramine)
• Allegra (Fexofenadine)
• Xyzal (Levocetirizine)
• Claritin and Alavert (Loratadine)
• Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine)
• Tavist (Clemastine)

Before taking any medication, consult with your primary care physician to evaluate your symptoms and recommend an appropriate medication, exposure reduction, or dietary change. Other options may include a long-term treatment regimen like immunotherapy to reduce the severity of your allergic reactions.

Tree Pollen Exposure

During the tree pollen season, that “yellow dust” seems to infiltrate and cover just about everything in sight. However, the following steps can be taken to reduce your exposure to it.

Testing – If you have not been tested for allergies, see a board-certified allergist to get tested for pollen allergies. Once you know which allergy you have, the more precise your treatment can be.

Research – Learn more about the trees in your region and when they produce the most pollen. For example, pine tree pollen peaks in the morning. If pine tree pollen triggers your allergies, reserve outdoor activities for later in the day.

Medication – Start taking allergy medication before the start of the pollen season.

Environment – Keep your windows and doors closed. Use HEPA filters or ones rated for pollen capture on the air intake of your central air unit.

Wearing Your Clothes – Change and wash the clothes you use outdoors.

Drying Your Clothes – Use a dryer to dry your clothes instead of hanging them outside.

Shower – Take a shower after outdoor activities. Pollen can easily hitch a ride on your skin and in your hair.

Driving – During your commute, keep your windows rolled up and activate the recycle feature on the car’s air system.

Move – Another way to avoid a long pollen season is to move to a region where pollen seasons are shorter, and trees are more sparse.

Another method of avoidance is through education. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) offers an interactive tool through their National Allergy Bureau (NAB) to see realtime pollen counts by city or region and further defines conditions, treatments, and education. You can access this resource at www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts?ipb=1

Pollen released in the air during allergy season from spring through summer

Allergy Season Relief

In this article, you discovered information about the tree pollen allergy season, allergy symptoms, allergy relief, and how to reduce your exposure to pollen.

By identifying your allergies and taking proactive measures to mitigate them, you are saving yourself from feeling miserable and unable to function normally.

When you ignore pollen season and neglect the steps to reduce your exposure, you may find yourself reliant on medications and the side-effects they bring with them.

Sources:
aafa.org/pollen-allergy/
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4829390/
medlineplus.gov/hayfever.html
aaaai.org/
climate.gov/news-features/climate-and/climate-allergies
zyrtec.com/allergy-guide/outdoor-allergies/pollen-allergy-type-by-season

For the original version of this article visit: http://www.thetreecareguide.com/tree-pollen-allergy-season/