Preparing Trees For Winter

When trees go dormant, there are several things you can do to help your tree get through the winter months. Keep in mind that ground freeze, daytime heat and nighttime freeze, snow and ice storms all potentially interact with your tree in a harmful way. Let’s discuss a few of the measures that will get your leafy friends through the coldest months.

Tree Care Maintenance Tips For the Winter Months

Pruning – Prune only when your tree has entered dormancy, when there is no risk for new growth. Late season growth is particularly susceptible, as it has not had the growth time to prepare for the winter months. Ice crystals can potentially form within and rupture the cell walls of new growth. Without proper and timely pruning, die off in the spring would be a likely occurrence.

Hydration – More severe in the early spring (warming sun with still frozen ground), Winter drought occurs when a tree shrub or plant loses more moisture than it can absorb. While we cannot control the weather, we can minimize its effects. Before reaching winter temperatures, laying a thick layer of organic mulch around the tree’s base will act as insulation for the roots. The mulch will also work to prevent runoff and moisture loss, all working to benefit the health and hydration of the tree.

Tip: Leave some clear space around the trunk of the tree to avoid or rather discourage mice from making it their winter home.

Tree Wrapping – Frost Cracking a.k.a. Southwest Injury (this refers to the side of the tree receiving the majority of winter sunlight) is a form of Cold Stress caused by extreme temperature variations from daytime heat to nighttime freeze. This type of stress affects the relation of the inner wood to the outer bark. Over the course of several years, this can lead to major issues for the tree, leaving it vulnerable to infestation, fungal growth and a laundry list of other issues. Tree wrapping is worth considering to get your tree safely to the other side of winter. Your tree care professional can easily evaluate which trees are at most risk, as well as which tree blankets are most effective.

Inspecting Tree Health – The overall health of your trees will ultimately depend upon the attention they are given throughout the year. Accompany your local tree service professional through a spring inspection to assess any damage or potential issues. This “Annual” inspection will give both insight and direction on what to do for the next winter season.

Sever Ice and Snow Buildup – After severe winter weather, it is common to see ice and snow built up on or clinging to the branches of your tree. It is of utmost importance that you DO NOT try to shake it off the tree. Chances are, the branches are frozen and brittle. Shaking them may cause severe damage to the tree or even cause the branches or limbs to fall – now posing a severe hazard. When the weather creates this type of scenario, call your tree professional to evaluate the situation and recommend a sound course of action.

Seek Professional Help As Needed

At times, our trees, the weather and the environment will present us with new and unusual scenarios. When in doubt as to which course to take, call upon your local certified arborist to guide you through it. Seemingly innocuous missteps can lead to dangerous and expensive results. Enjoy the winter season worry free by taking care of your trees – before they need it!

Visit our home page for more tree care articles.

from Tumblr

Why Some Trees Topple In Storms While Others Don’t

Whether being from wind, snow, ice, either individually or in combination, blowdown (otherwise known as ‘windthrow’ and ‘windsnap’ being the breakage of the trunk instead of uprooting) is a real threat from trees that you may believe to be safe. Having your local tree professional survey the trees on your property is always a good move. As always, preventative measures save time, effort and money in the long run.

Trees In Urban Landscapes Suffer Greatly With Storms

Trees that grow or are planted too close to buildings or developed areas will not grow as they should. With one-sided roots or over-trimming by utility companies, these trees lack the necessary symmetry to prevent blowdown. Another factor in the urban area is sunlight. Without even sunlight, canopies will not grow evenly – causing further symmetrical disruption and ultimately leading to tree failure.

So, it is easy to understand why a seemingly light storm may actually wreak havoc in an urban setting – especially in the surroundings of recently developed areas. If you work or reside in such an area, bring out your Local Arborist to conduct a survey of the surrounding trees. AGAIN, prevention is key.

Tip – In urban areas look for uneven growth, sudden color change in parts of the canopy or leaning. These are all indications that something is wrong.

Shallow Root Systems Are Common

The bulk of nearly every tree’s root system will be found very close to the soil surface. Oxygen, moisture and nutrients are found there in abundance, so naturally, roots thrive there (typically 6 to 12 inches below the surface).

Few trees will grow tap roots (deep anchor roots). Depending on the environment, trees attempt to adapt. In dry arid climates, tap roots may develop in order to access deep underground aquifers.

Now combine a shallow root system with soaked soil from storming conditions, add gusting winds and the recipe for failing trees is at hand. Not to mention that a falling tree causes stress to its neighboring trees, which in turn may cause them to fall as well.

Tip – When you are able to see roots reaching across the soil, which were not visible before, erosion may be at play. It’s time for action.

Other Issues Floods and Storms Can Cause

Fungal Attacks – If you spot mushrooms growing on or near the base of a tree, this is a serious event. Mushrooms require decaying material to thrive and may signal that the tree is beyond salvation. Be on the lookout for small canker-like sores on twigs and branches, mushroom-like spores developing on recently pruned areas and “wet spots” which may appear anywhere on the tree. These are also forms of fungal infestations that must be quickly addressed.

Tip – Knowing how to identify some of the more common fungi will help in the extended health of your trees.

Root Rot – Fungal infections will also invade a tree’s root system. Without digging them up, there are ways to detect rotting roots. If you see mushrooms growing in the grass above the roots or areas in the soil or under the tree that seem mushy or hollow (as if the ground is losing support), it may be a signal that the roots are dying from a fungal infection.

Change or Loss of Beneficial Microorganisms – While the average homeowner is not a micobiologist (the study of fungi) nor microbiologist, from time to time, your local tree expert should be called upon to evaluate the soil surrounding a tree’s root system.

Insect Infestation – Easily detectable on the trunk, branches and stems, tiny (perfectly round or oblong) holes will be present. Frass (sawdust-like material) pushed out of the hole by the insect is sometimes present near the holes.

Tip – After a period of either drought or continuous rainfall and water shed, it may be prudent to call your Local Tree Professional to survey your trees for these and other potential issues.

Your Local Arborist Can Help Prevent Blowdown

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a vast majority of incidents involving tree failure are implicitly due to a lack of preventative measures. Trees are living, adapting, growing members of the landscape and should be cared for. Contact your Local Arborist and take action while it is an option.

from Tumblr

Choosing and Preserving Your Christmas Tree

Now that we are well into autumn, the most spirited and celebrated holiday season is around the corner. Lights, roasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, and Christmas carols are the experiences and cheer we enjoy this time of year; however, the holiday cheer is not quite complete without colorful ornaments and the sappy aroma of a magnificent Christmas tree.

While some opt for a maintenance-free imitation tree, there’s nothing like the beauty and fragrant aroma of a real Christmas tree. Depending on your budget and desired experience, there are several options for choosing a tree. It must then be cared for properly to last the entire holiday season. In this article we will highlight tips to make your Christmas tree selection and preservation process simple and straightforward.

Choosing a Pre-Cut Christmas Tree

Before you set out to go pick out your tree, you want to consider where you are placing the tree and its clearance from walls, appliances or furniture. Once you know the dimensions, you want decide the type and time you’d like to spend finding your perfect tree.

Part of the magic of choosing a tree is the process in which we harvest our Christmas trees. Obviously there are convenient vendors set-up at locations around your neighborhood where you can easily drive up and choose a pre-cut tree of your liking. This option is a fast and convenient way to bring a live tree into your home.

You should consider that trees sold on retail lots usually come from out of state. These trees are often tied down haphazardly and are exposed to the elements and drying winds during their transport. Also, most trees imported from other states have been cut quite some time prior, causing detriment to their longevity. Ask the vendor when his trees were cut. You can also look for browning needles that fall easily, a clue that the tree was likely cut weeks earlier or transported improperly.

Since you want your tree to maintain its lush look and forest green needles, find a retailer that is selling freshly cut trees.

Scouting and Harvesting at a Tree Farm

Another available option is creating memories by heading to a local Christmas tree farm. The trees have been planted and grown specifically to become holiday trees, and the farms cater to this process. Many farms have snacks, hot drinks, and treats for a pleasant experience in the welcome center before heading out to harvest.

Find a christmas tree farm near you, then the scouting and tree selection process begins with riding in a wagon or tractor to the field where you begin your quest for the perfect Christmas tree. There are several species and rows of trees that range in size, width, and price. Talk to the farm attendants and learn as much as you can about the specific care for each type of tree what makes each species different and unique.

Once you select the ideal Christmas tree to adorn your home, the fun begins. The farm attendant provides tools and you get the opportunity to cut a live tree from the ground and bring it home. This process is more involved, but likely to create a story and unforgettable memory.

Preserving Your Tree Throughout the Holidays

Once your tree has been delivered or transported to your home, you must create a suitable environment to maintain its health and integrity. The following tips are on how to keep your tree fresh and vibrant throughout the holiday season.

After the tree arrives, if you do not plan to put the tree up right away, store it in an unheated garage or other location out of the elements (wind and freezing temperatures). Once the tree is placed in its tentative location, make a one-inch cut on the base stump and place the tree in a bucket of warm water.

When you decide to bring the tree indoors to its permanent location, you will want to make another fresh one inch cut and place the tree in its base. You want a sturdy stand that holds at least one gallon of water. Larger trees need more water, but a good rule of thumb is one quart of water per inch of tree trunk diameter. For example, a four-inch diameter trunk needs 1 gallon of water in the reservoir of the stand. If the base dries out, resin from the tree will form over the cut end and the tree will not be able to absorb water, causing it to dry out quickly. Be attentive in checking and maintaining the proper water level.

Another measure that prolongs the life of the tree is using miniature lights that produce less heat and reduce the drying effect on the tree. Unplugging the tree lights at night before heading to bed is another simple way to reduce unnecessary heat exposure. Follow these tips, because if properly cared for, many fresh cut trees will last at least five weeks before drying out.

Christmas Tree Disposal and Recycling

Generally, before the New Year, most take down and dispose of their Christmas tree. Some choose to let their tree stay around longer, but you want to take down the tree before it dries out; otherwise it will drop needles all over the house, causing undue necessary cleanup.

Before hopping into your car and heading to the local dump, it’s probably more convenient to find a local recycling program. Many communities will either pick up or accept drop-offs. This also helps the environment as your tree is recycled and turned into mulch or reusable chips. Visit the link for info on finding a recycling program

Tree Selection and Care Tips

Now you are fully prepared with knowledge and tips for your perfect, custom Christmas tree festivities! Choose between pre-cut or farm harvesting your Christmas tree, and follow the tips and recommendations to have a long-lasting, healthy, succulent tree throughout the holiday season.

from Tumblr

Tree Planting Season Is Near, Learn 4 Essential Planting Tips

Most often trees are planted to either provide beauty or to offer refuge and shade to an area. Considering the fact that trees are not cheap, you want to protect your investment and ensure the trees you invest your time into grow and become healthy mature trees.

Your tree selection, planting location, and the care provided during and after newly planted trees are in the soil are determining factors of whether your trees grow and flourish.

For Most Regions Fall is the Season to Plant New Trees

Ideally, trees are planted during the dormant season when weather conditions are cool. This schedule allows plants and trees to establish roots in their new location before spring rains and summer heat stimulates new growth.

A good time to accomplish said goal is in the fall after the leaves drop. In situations were this season passes, early spring would be your next best opportunity for your planting.

Many regions in the United States experience all four seasons, but take note that in tropical climates trees grow year round. Thus, given there isn’t a drought and water is readily available, any time works to plant a new tree.

Proper Tree Selection and Planting Location Is Critical

Available space is probably the consideration most overlooked or misunderstood when deciding what tree to plant and where to plant it. Before you plant, it is important to have a general understanding of its size and what the tree will look like as it nears maturity.

Small trees need to be placed anywhere from 6 feet to around 15 feet away from other trees or property structures. Larger trees naturally need more space, and should be allotted from 15 to 50 feet apart.

As mentioned, proper spacing depends on knowing a trees probable mature height, crown spread and root growth. The right placement will avoid collisions with power lines, buildings, and in the event of a storm mitigate your need for an emergency removal service or damage to your structure.

Plan for Exposure to the Sun and Shade the Tree Will Provide

Sun exposure and soil requirements of the species are additional factors you must consider when choosing the type of tree you will plant. Areas that have intense sun exposure will dry the soil leaving it lacking the moisture that some species require.

With proper research and an effective landscape design, you can produce a yard that will cool your home during the summer months, deflect the winter wind, and produce the aesthetics that will increase your property demand and resell value.

Caring for Newly Planted Trees

When the root system of a tree is dug up from it’s native environment, a common reaction is a state of reduced growth known as transplant shock. This is expected, but an arborist or tree planting expert takes steps during its planting to reduce this effect and ensure a speedy recovery. However, what’s done after the tree is in the ground will largely affect how it recovers from this planting stress.

Consider these points before aimlessly planting new trees, and the likelihood they grow into healthy mature trees will increase. Never hesitate to call a tree professional, and click here for more articles and to learn more tree planting tips.

from Tumblr

Flowering Trees for Your Yard or Garden

Keeping up a pristine garden can be hard work. We fight all year just to get the beautiful blossoms in spring and summer; but often overlook this simple fix. Ultimately, the easiest way to add color to your yard or garden is to make use of and plant more flowering trees.

Whether you prefer something soft purple or a vibrant red, there will be a tree for you. Additionally, you could find a color that matches the theme of your garden or even something completely opposite to act as a centerpiece. When it comes to flowering trees, you don’t have to be limited as most florist and tree shops carry a variety of species that work in different conditions.

Below, we have listed three common flowering plants that will flourish with very little intervention and have good resistance to pests.

Flowering Cherry Trees

If you want a plant that will flower early, this is the one for you. You will start to see color from early spring, and when you see the gorgeous colors breaking through, you know that winter has come to an end; it’s very much the opening ceremony of summer.

Flowering cherry trees can be planted as individuals or as part of a row that will blossom into pink and white clouds. As it grows relatively fast to a height of 20-30 feet, they make for a good choice when lining a driveway or sidewalk.

You will find these trees all over the country and they can be found in a variety of colors making them one of the most versatile on the market.

Crape Myrtle Trees

Even if you aren’t big on your flowers, you are sure to have heard this one as they are huge in the US. Not only are they incredibly easy to grow, they offer a palette of different colors to spruce up any yard. When searching for these plants, look for the newer variations as they will grow faster and resist disease better.

Furthermore, crape myrtles handle a lack of water well, can adapt to different types of soil, and as we said, are resistant to disease. With these three factors in tow, you will have your colorful landscape in no time.

Finally, they last longer than most other plants and you will find shades of colors that you wouldn’t have thought possible which makes each one unique.

Flowering Dogwood Trees

This is yet another popular option available in a multitude of colors and although they don’t flower all year round, they certainly make for interesting viewing. As the weather changes, the plant will too so be sure to keep an eye on changing colors and red berries.

Dogwood are good for smaller yards because they are small themselves so therefore fit into tiny spaces. If you have a few gaps to fill, this is the one you need. Unlike the crape myrtle, the dogwood does require a little attention if it is to brighten the garden. It needs to be handled carefully as well as being checked for pests or diseases.

So there we have it, three fantastic flowering trees for your yard or garden area. When you get these planted you will soon have a bright colorful landscape to be proud of!

from Tumblr

Steps for Sampling and Improving Your Soil

Soil is the lifeline for all plants. Jam-packed with nutrients, it plays a critical role in a plant’s healthy development. Each plant is suited for a particular soil type. Soil types vary depending on the location and climate zone in which you live. Gardening is an art. The soil is the gardener’s canvas on which a beautiful floral masterpiece can be created. Oftentimes, it is necessary to consult an expert to determine how to transform your soil into what it should be for your plants. Getting the right soil sample is, therefore, crucial.

6 Steps in Soil Sampling

The right soil sample provides you with a perfect basis for testing the soil’s pH and nutrient levels. You can purchase a soil test kit at any local gardening store. However, you could also take your soil sample to a local agricultural and environmental lab. The process of acquiring a soil sample is quite simple. 

Step One: Ensure that You Have the Right Tools 

There are some key tools that you will need for the soil sampling process. These tools include:

  1. A soil sample bag
  2. A shovel
  3. A plastic bucket or container
  4. A garden trowel
  5. String
  6. Popsicle sticks

Step Two: Identify the Right Sampling Location 

Divide your gardening space based on vegetation and soil characteristics. Each soil sample should represent a particular plant type or condition. Collect between 8 to 10 soil samples for each division and label them accordingly. Pay close attention to the drip line of trees and shrubs. The drip line refers to the area around the trees perimeter where it sheds water. If you are taking a soil sample from around a tree, ensure that the sample is taken at most 8 inches away from the drip line. Use the popsicle sticks and string to mark the sampling locations you’ve chosen. 

 Step Three: Pay Attention to the Sampling Depth 

After you have removed plants, mulch and fallen leaves from the sampling area, you need to determine how deep to dig the hole. The depth to which you dig the soil is important. Lawns have a sampling depth of 4 inches. All other gardening areas have a sampling depth of 6 inches. Place the shovelled dirt aside. 

Step Four: Take Out a Bit from the Side 

After you have dug a hole to the appropriate depth, use your trowel to scrape a half-inch vertical mound of dirt from the side of the hole. 

Step Five: Ensure the Soil is Clean 

Look at the dirt in the soil sample hole carefully. Remove roots, rocks, worms, and all other material that isn’t soil. Mix what is remaining. 

Step Six: Place the Soil Sample in the Sample Bag 

Fill the soil sample bag with an adequate amount of the soil sample. Air dry the soil sample overnight. You can then either send the soil sample to a professional lab or use a home soil testing kit to analyze the soil.

Understanding the Soil Test Results

Getting a soil sample and sending it to a lab is one thing. Understanding how to use the results of the analysis is another. Here are a few key areas to consider based on the test results of your soil sample.

Soil pH

Optimal nutrient levels for soil are reached within a pH range of 6.2 to 6.8. Some plants prefer slightly acidic soils within a pH range of 6.1 to 6.9. These plants include: tuff grass, flowers, ornamental shrubs, fruits, and vegetables. Some plants require a more acidic environment for optimum growth. These plants require soil to have a pH range between 4.9 and 5.5. Examples of these types of plants include: rhododendron, azalea, pieris, mountain laurel, some wildflowers, some conifers, and blueberries. It is, therefore, important for you to be aware of the optimal pH level required for the plants you wish to grow.

If your soil isn’t at the required pH, there are a few tricks you can use to get it to where it needs to be. Adding lime (CaCO3) raises soil pH. Adding elemental sulphur (S) or iron sulphate (Fe2SO3) lowers soil pH. Adding these elements, however, only provides a short term solution. The soil will revert to its natural pH over time. The lime test index measures the soil’s overall acidity. A low lime test index indicates that the soil will be highly resistant to a change in pH. Therefore, you would have to use much more lime to alter the soil’s pH. A lime index range of 6.8 to 7.0 is desirable.

Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)

Nutrient retention is crucial for healthy soil. CEC measures a soil’s ability to retain nutrients that have positive charges (cations). Some of these nutrients include hydrogen, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Soils with high CEC readings are packed with these nutrients, but require a greater proportion of fertilizer than other soil types. Soils with low CEC readings require frequent applications of small amounts of fertilizer. Clay soils have the highest CEC readings, while sandy soils have the lowest.

Base Saturation

Base saturation refers to the percentage distribution of the cations in the soil. Cations are absorbed more readily by plant roots when base saturation is high. Calcium and magnesium are the most prominent cations in slightly acidic or neutral soils.

These are the three readings that you need to pay close attention to from your soil sample analysis. Understanding each of the readings will let you know if it is possible to plant the plants you desire. They also help you determine the adjustments that you can make to your soil to create favourable conditions for your plants. Indulge your green thumb by taking a soil sample today. 


from Tumblr

Tips to Know Before Transplanting Your Tree

Landscaping adds value to your home. The more attractive your home is, the greater its resale value. The right landscaping also helps you build a sense of pride. There are instances, however, when the landscape you began your home with has to change. Transplanting trees, shrubs, and flowers therefore become an important consideration. Transplanting is […]

from The Tree Care Guide

from Tumblr