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25 May 2017
soil care tree nutrition

Soil Care and Tree Nutrition – What You Need to Know

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

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

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

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

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

Fertilization Management

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

Checking the Soil pH Levels

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

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

Picking the Right Fertilizer for Your Trees

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

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

Different Kinds on How to Apply Fertilizer

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

Surface Application

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

Trunk and Foliar Application

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

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

Deep Placement

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

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

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

Another Fertilizing Method: Mulching

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

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

More info:

Tree Planting

Pixabay.com photo by PublicDomainPictures

 

10 May 2017
Don't Cut Down Tree Yet

I’m Not Dead! Don’t Cut Down That Tree (Yet)!

The Signs That Tell You It’s Time to Trim or Remove a Tree

Some people think that cutting down trees is a simple task. They believe that they know exactly when to do it and how to do it well. So the minute they notice that the tree has become quite difficult to manage, or when it looks like it has problems or is about to die, they hurriedly trim or cut it off. This is not the proper thing to do, though.

While a tree, especially one that’s quite tall and imposing, can sometimes pose as a hazard, you cannot simply cut it off immediately. There are some things to be considered before you decide to remove a tree. Actually, when you encounter problems like this, tree removal should be the last thing you think of. You see, trees that are old can still be used for a variety of purposes. For birds, for example, an old tree can serve as shelter. So instead of making hasty decisions, one must find time to look for answers to the question “should I cut down the tree?”

There are several questions you need to ask and signs you should consider to determine the best time for you to cut a tree.

Should I Cut Down the Tree? Signs You Need to Identify to Know the Answer

One of the best ways to find the signs that tell you it’s time to cut down a tree is to do a regular inspection of your trees. You need to take note of the overall condition of the plants. How do they look? What color are their leaves? Are any of the limbs broken? Answering these questions will help you find out the current condition of your trees.

Of course, you also need to look for signs, those that tell you that a tree is in trouble. In particular, it is important to take note of the following:

 

1. A Damaged Trunk.

If there are cracks and signs of decay everywhere, particularly on the main trunk area, chances are your tree may already be compromised and damaged. Mushrooms sprouting at the base of the tree confirm the presence of decay. If this is the case, your best action is to remove the tree. However, if the damaged area is small, there’s nothing to worry about as this can be corrected and the wounded area can be healed. In most situations, the damage is not permanent and can be reversed. So there’s no reason to trim or remove the tree.

 

2. Changes in the Color of the Leaves.

If the leaves are discolored, your tree is definitely not in the pink of health. It can be suffering from disease or it may already be dying. For situations like this, the ideal thing to do is have the tree removed with the help of a licensed and professional Arborist.

 

3. Changes in the Shape of the Tree.

Closely observe the tree. Are they any changes in its shape or form? If you notice that its shape is abnormally skewed (think of a tree with poor posture), the tree will have to be removed. Trees that are deformed are not structurally sound.

 

4. Bark Cracks and Tree Cankers.

Look at the bark of the tree and determine if there are cracks. If you see some, it means your tree is sick and may need the attention of an Arborist. In addition, the presence of tree cankers is also an indication that something is wrong with your tree. Not cutting down a tree like this will lead to more problems for you. A diseased tree will pose as a hazard; its compromised structure can eventually make it fall down easily.

 

5. Weak Branches.

A tree with weak branches is dangerous because it can cause physical danger. The branches can fall off without warning. Trees like this definitely need to be removed. This is also the reason why, most of the time, trees that are leaning too much can be a danger.

 

6. Other Signs You Need to Consider.

If there are physical structures near the tree (e.g. a house, a roof, or an electric post), it has to be cut off. Lastly, a tree that stands near a body of water has weak roots, so it should be removed.

Taking note of these signs will help you know when it is best to cut your tree.

 

More info:

https://americanarborists.net/services/tree-trimming/
https://americanarborists.net/services/tree-removal/

Pixabay.com photo by kaboompics

28 Apr 2017
Arbor Day History

Celebrate Trees! A Brief History of Arbor Day

Seven Historical Facts about Arbor Day that You Might Find Interesting

 

Want to learn about the history of Arbor Day and what makes it special?

The word arbor, or arbour, is Latin for tree. So the term Arbor Day actually means “tree day”. Arbor Day is a holiday popularly observed in the U.S. and Canada. It is a special day set aside to celebrate the beauty and the value of trees to our environment.

During Arbor Day, people are coaxed to plant trees, as well as care for them. In the U.S. and Canada, Arbor Day usually happens in the spring, although the date may vary between states and regions depending on the climate and the optimum time for planting trees.

But you know what else?

Contrary to popular belief, Arbor Day is actually celebrated in many different countries around the world, including Australia, China, Egypt, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and many other nations.

The following is a small collection of historical facts about Arbor Day history, some of which you might find quite interesting.

 

7 Historical Facts about Arbor Day – The Celebration of Trees

 

  1. The first Arbor Day festival occurred in 1594.

You may find this surprising, but the US did not pioneer Arbor Day. The first ever documented Arbor Day celebration actually took place in Mondoñedo in 1594, set up by its then mayor.

In 1805, the village of Villanueva de la Sierra celebrated the first modern Arbor Day festival; this time organized by a local cleric with the support of the town’s populace.

 

  1. Nebraska City, Nebraska held the first ever American Arbor Day in 1872.

It was a journalist from Detroit, Michigan who moved to Nebraska in 1854 that originated the first Arbor Day in the US. His name was Julius Sterling Morton. On the 10th of April 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in the Nebraska territory.

 

  1. The Nebraska territory was naturally a treeless prairie landscape.

During the pioneer days, there was a serious lack of trees along the northeast and the western territories. This was due to the massive deforestation effort instituted by the European colonists who came to America.

The hot shadeless summers, scarcity of building materials, and lack of windbreaks to keep tilled soil in place were just a few of the many problems faced by pioneers back then. It was Morton who saw a clear solution to the problem. Plant a tree, millions of them.

 

  1. Roosevelt, with Pennsylvania conservationist McCreight’s recommendation, helped disseminate the importance of trees and forestry all across America.

On the 15th of April 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt delivered an Arbor Day pronouncement about the importance of trees and forestry, and how it should be taught to all school children all over the United States.

The proclamation was prompted by Pennsylvania conservationist Major Israel McCreight, who recommended a national policy that educates the youth of America about conservation and the significance of trees and forestry.

 

  1. J. Sterling Morton and his wife were lovers of nature.

In 1854, upon moving into their new home in Nebraska, Morton and his wife quickly planted trees, shrubs, and other plant life on their property. As a journalist and an editor of Nebraska’s premier newspaper, Morton shared agricultural information with his avid readers, encouraging not just individuals, but civic groups as well, to plant trees.

By the time he organized the first ever Arbor Day celebration in America in 1872, J. Sterling Morton was already secretary of the Nebraska Territory, giving him an opportunity to spread the importance of trees to an even bigger audience.

 

  1. Birdsey Northrop was the one who globalized Arbor Day.

It was Birdsey Northrop from Connecticut who brought attention to Arbor Day in the International community during his visit to Japan in 1883. There, he delivered his village improvement speech, which stressed the importance of trees and promoted Arbor Day to the Japanese. He also delivered his Arbor Day message to Europe, Canada, and Australia.

 

  1. In December of 2004, the US Congress officially designated the Oak Tree as America’s national tree.

In 2004, the National Arbor Day Foundation initiated an online poll to choose a national tree. Not surprisingly, the oak tree won the vote by a landslide, prompting the US Congress to pass a legislation naming the Oak tree America’s national tree.

 

More info:

 

Stocksnap.io photo by Luca Bravo

22 Apr 2017
tree stump removal

Top 6 Reasons to Remove That Tree Stump in Your Yard

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

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

 

Stumps Mar Your Yard’s Look

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

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

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

 

Stumps Can Pose a Hazard to Kids

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

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

 

Stumps Make Gardening and Mowing Chores Harder

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

 

Stumps Can Contribute to New Tree Growth

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

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

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

 

Old Stumps Attract Insects

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

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

 

They Consume Yard Space

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

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

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

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

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Planting

Pixabay.com photo by tookapic

19 Apr 2017
How to tell if your tree is sick

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

Trees are similar to humans in more ways than one.

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

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

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

Examine Its Parts

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

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

The Tree’s Trunk and Bark

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

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

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

Roots

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

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

Branches and Twigs

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

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

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

What to Do When Your Tree Is Sick?

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

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

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

More info:

Tree Health Care

Seasonal Tree Care

Pixabay photo by lovexxpeace

16 Apr 2017
How much mulch and when to water

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

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

And guess what?

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

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

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

What Is Mulch?

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

 

Why Is It Necessary?

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

 

How to Mulch

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

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

 

How Much Mulch Is Enough?

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

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

 

Organic versus Synthetic Mulch

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

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

 

Watering Your Plants

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

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

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

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

More info:

Tree Health Care

Urban Forest Management

Pixabay Photo by Olichel

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

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

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

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

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

 

Staking and Girdling the Tree

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

But guess what?

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

The same is true when you girdle a tree.

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

 

Soil Compaction

Does this sound familiar to you?

Probably not.

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

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

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

 

Filling Tree Holes with Concrete

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

But is this really an effective remedy?

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

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

 

Not Pruning the Trees Properly

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

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

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

Still not convinced?

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

 

Improper Care

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

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

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

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Health Care

Pixabay.com photo by RyanMcGuire

10 Apr 2017
tree accident liability

Are Homeowners Responsible for Tree Care-Related Accidents on Their Property?

Ever wondered what would happen if a tree from your property falls and crashes on your neighbor’s car, or worse, their house? Would you be held liable?

Honestly speaking, the answer to this question is a complicated one. It greatly depends on several factors, which include state laws, the circumstances of the accident, and even the type of insurance that the homeowner possesses. Please note: The following should not be taken as legal advice. Always seek legal counsel from a professional as each situation is unique and laws vary depending on local laws. 

There are plenty of reasons that can cause a tree to fall—bad weather, construction, and old tree age.

Ultimately, however, homeowners are responsible for maintaining their house and yard and making sure that the whole property is hazard-free. This, of course, includes the trees planted there. This is the reason why proper tree maintenance and management is necessary.

 

Learn more about tree accident liability by examining these different scenarios:

Tree-Related Accidents during Extreme Weather

Severe weather disturbances like hurricanes and earthquakes have the capability of uprooting your trees. A powerful lightning strike can easily snap your tree and send it crashing into nearby houses and parked cars. Tornadoes can uproot your tree and send it crashing down. As disastrous as these examples may be, homeowners usually don’t suffer any liability in cases like this.

Since homeowners do not have the ability to predict events like these, they will not be held answerable for any damage caused by trees. The technical term for this is an “act of God.”

What about if a tree topples because a construction project you’re doing accidentally weakens its root network? This is a question tackled in the next section.

 

Tree-Related Accidents during Construction

Let’s say, you’ve hired a contractor to do some landscaping then your tree topples and crashes into your neighbor’s roof. Will you be held liable for the damages? The answer can go both ways.

Again, generally, you will be considered responsible for this accident even if you are not the one who cut the tree. If the contractor has proven that it was your instruction that caused the accident, then you will certainly be accountable for it.

If you have hired the service of a reputable contractor, and you are certain that it wasn’t your instruction that caused the accident, then you have nothing to worry since these companies also shoulder liabilities for these kinds of accidents. But if you’ve ended up hiring a dishonest and uninsured contractor, you’d be in big trouble because you will have to pay for the damages dealt from your own pocket.

You’ve probably heard this piece of advice a million times, but let me just repeat this: when seeking the help of a contractor, make sure to check first if they are insured so that you will not be held responsible for cases like tree accidents.

 

Tree-Related Accident Caused By a Dead Tree

As we have mentioned earlier, homeowners are expected all times to guarantee that their property is hazard-free. In other words, if an accident happens due to a tree that topples over, then the homeowner will certainly be held accountable for that.

Tree accidents like these can be avoided easily. If the homeowner has religiously inspected and maintained the trees in his yard, such incidents would not happen. Certainly, a diligent homeowner would notice dying trees and take care of the plants, preventing accidents from ever occurring.

In such case such as a dying tree that simply cannot be saved, availing of a tree removal service would be a very good idea; it would ensure that no case of falling timber would ever happen.

Conversely, if a claim adjuster can prove that the tree is already dead and yet you did not do anything to remove it, you’ll be faced with more consequences.

 

The Best Way of Avoiding Tree Accidents – Taking Care of Them!

It is no secret that keeping your trees healthy is one of the best ways that you can do to avoid tree accidents from occurring. Knowing the right time for a tree removal can also spare you from the legal hassles you would have to face if ever you end up inadvertently damaging the neighborhood because of negligence.

Inspect the plants yearly, provide their basic needs, and hire a tree care company if necessary.

Don’t drain your money by having to take care of damage claims every now and then. Be a responsible tree owner.

 

 

More info:

https://americanarborists.net/services/tree-health-care/

https://americanarborists.net/services/tree-planting/

Pixabay.com photo by FraukeFeind

07 Apr 2017
Which Bugs Are Bad For Trees?

Which Bugs Are Dangerous to the Health of My Trees?

Destructive Tree Insects You Hope to Never Find in Your Property

 

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

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

Just imagine . . .

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

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

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

 

Bugs Bad for Trees You Should Watch Out For

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

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

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

 

Burrowing Insects

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

Some of these burrowing insects include:

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

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

 

Defoliating Insects

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

A few examples of these types of bugs include:

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

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

 

Sucking Insects

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

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

Sucking insects include:

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

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

 

More info:

 

Flickr photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

04 Apr 2017
Problems with DIY Tree Care

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

That’s right.

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

 

Common DIY Tree Care Mistakes to Avoid

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

More info:

 

Stocksnap.io photo by Anders Jildén