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04 Jul 2017

Frontline Defense against Wildfire: How Your Trees Can Protect You and Your Property

Useful Tips for Creating Defensible Space to Protect Your Property against Wildfire

 

Wildfires are devastating. In the state of California alone, they destroy more than a thousand man-made structures every year. If you do a Google search, you might be surprised at how common wildfires are, not just in California but in other states as well.

So how do you protect your home and property from wildfires? What can you do to help mitigate the spread of a potential wildfire in your area? Oh, and did you know that planting trees and creating a tree firewall can help prevent wildfires from destroying your property?

But preventing the spread or the occurrence of wildfires takes more than just planting trees. There’s more to it than that. For example, when trees are not planted the right way, positioned properly, or maintained regularly, they can easily become a catalyst for wildfires rather than act as protective barriers.

 

The Role of Trees and Landscape in Creating Good Defensible Space against Wildfire

It’s no secret that planting trees and shrubberies in your yard can add beauty and value to your property, as well as help control soil erosion. The downside, however, is your property essentially becomes a fire hazard.=

But wait. Don’t start removing plant life in your property just yet!

Trees, shrubberies, and other plant life will only become fire hazards if they are not planted in the right place and if they don’t undergo regular maintenance. Best practices when it comes to planting and maintenance should always be observed, especially if you live in an area prone to wildfires.

Here are a few practical tips to help you create a more effective defensible space around your property to protect it against wildfires:

  • Remove brush and shrubberies around buildings and structures. Preferably, there should be at least 30 feet of space between buildings and shrubberies. Limit brush height to no more than 18 inches within 70 feet of structures. 
  • Avoid planting chaparral-type plants in and around your property, especially if your area is prone to wildfires. Plants like chamise, yucca, sage, pine, red shank, protea, common buckwheat, honeysuckle, and other chaparral-type plants are highly flammable and will burn like oil once they catch fire. 
  • Keep your yard and the fire-safe zone around your home clean at all times. You see those dead leaves under your trees and shrubs? Make sure that they are removed regularly. Dead leaves are highly flammable and can easily catch fire. If you need to change your landscape, make sure to inquire about the rules and regulations in your area. 
  • Choose plant species carefully when planting new shrubs and trees in your property. If wildfire is a serious concern in your area, opt for fire-retardant, non-invasive plants. Consult a local plant expert to see which plants are best suited for your area. 
  • Employ proper irrigation techniques. One of the key factors that help mitigate the spread of wildfire is soil condition. If the soil in your property is healthy and irrigated properly, with the right irrigation methods, the defensive space you’ve created around your property will be more effective.

Now, what about the trees? What should you do with your trees?

 

Creating an Effective Tree Firewall around Your Property to Maximize Defensible Space

Trees provide amazing view, they offer shade on a hot afternoon sun, and they enhance the beauty of any landscape. The downside is trees can catch fire, which can quickly go out of control. So how do you transform a fire hazard into an effective barrier against wildfire?

  • Choose an appropriate tree species to plant in your property. Not all types of trees are fire hazards, although there are highly flammable ones that can burn like oil. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, make sure to select trees that have fire-retardant properties so they can serve as a barrier between your home and potential wildfires. 
  • Make sure the trees in your property are properly arranged and spaced adequately. Fire can spread more easily from tree to tree, shrub to shrub, if the plants are positioned too close together. To make keep potential fires from spreading, increase the spacing between your trees and other plant life. 
  • Keep your trees regularly maintained. Regular pruning and removing of dead branches and limbs are important. Not just for the health of the tree, but for fire prevention as well.  You should also remove branches that are too close to the ground to eliminate fuel ladders, thus keeping ground fire from reaching the crown of the tree. 
  • Consult a certified arborist in your area to help manage your landscape and develop an effective defensive fire-safe zone around your property.

 

More info:

Pixabay.com photo by skeeze

28 Jun 2017

Footballs, Frisbees, and Drones – How to Safely Retrieve Things Stuck in Your Tree

Safety Tips for Climbing Trees

 

Anyone who grew up in small towns or in the suburbs has probably experienced climbing trees as a pastime. As a kid, we all enjoy climbing trees, especially during the summer. As kids who believed we were Tarzan, we’ve all had our share of falls and broken bones.

But a kid’s naiveté aside, there is an inherent danger in climbing trees without supervision or safety precautions. As children, we all get a kick at climbing trees without even considering the potential dangers that come with it. And as adults, it is our responsibility to know the risks and apply proper precautions whenever we are faced with a situation where we have to climb a tree.

So, whether you’re a tree climbing enthusiast or just someone who’s just trying to remove from tree something that’s stuck there, here are a few safety tips you need to consider before you start looking at that tree like Sir Edmund Hillary stared at Mount Everest:

 

Safety Tips to Consider before You Start Climbing That Tree

 

  1. Always do a visual inspection of the tree before climbing it.

Don’t think for a second that just because you have had experience climbing trees, you can just safely navigate any tree on the fly without checking it first. Even tree professionals who climb trees for a living know the importance of tree inspection before doing any actual climbing.

Check the tree for broken limbs, signs of infestation, weaknesses, and diseases. If a tree is suffering from any type of disease, or if insects have nested on it or in it, then it’s probably unsafe and unstable for climbing.

 

  1. Never climb a tree in inclement weather.

Climbing trees during bad weather conditions is especially dangerous, because of the effects weather has on trees. If there’s rain or snow, trees can become slippery and unsafe, greatly increasing the chances of accidental falls.

And if you’re dealing with a thunderstorm, well that’s a whole other level of danger. Trees often get hit by lightning strikes. The last thing you want is to be up on a tree in the middle of a thunderstorm. Wind speeds upwards of 15 miles per hour will likely cause the tree to sway. Unless you’re that friendly neighborhood superhero, don’t be up on a tree when strong winds are blowing.

 

  1. Don’t climb trees that are located near power lines.

Live power lines are very dangerous and shouldn’t be trifled with. Before you climb a tree, make sure that there are no power lines nearby. If your rope, any equipment, or any part of your body touches a live power line, electrocution is a very real possibility. If the electricity won’t end you, the fall might.

 

  1. Use safety equipment if you have to climb a tree.

If you absolutely must climb a tree to retrieve whatever it is that’s stuck in there, at least wear appropriate safety gear. Helmet, leather lineman’s gloves, safety goggles, climbing rope—all of these are important safety gear that you should always remember to wear when climbing trees for whatever reason.

 

  1. Stay away from nesting animals or nests that you might encounter.

This should always be included in your initial inspection of the tree before you start climbing. If you see visible nests, especially of insects like bees or wasps, or even birds’ nests or some other critters’, you should call it a day and just call the professionals.

Bees, wasps, possums, squirrels, different kinds of birds—all of these creatures could be living up in your tree, so be very careful when you climb. Oftentimes, it’s not the creature itself that will harm you; it’s the subsequent fall after you get startled. And if you are allergic to bee stings, you should definitely just leave the climbing to the professionals.

 

  1. Don’t wear leg spikes when climbing a tree.

Leg spikes can make climbing easier, but if you care for your tree, you should avoid it. Leg spikes are not ideal because they cause tree wounds. Those wounds make the tree vulnerable to attacks from bacteria, viruses, fungus, and insects. So if you care at all for the health and well being of your tree, please don’t stab it repeatedly by using leg spikes.

 

  1. Leave the climbing to professionals as much as possible.

If you’re in no shape to climb, if you have no experience or do not have the right equipment to safely navigate the tree, you should just contact a professional. Yes, it might cost you a few bucks, but it’s nowhere near the cost of an unfortunate accident that could’ve been avoided in the first place.

 

More info:

 

Pixabay.com photo by Niloblu

09 Jun 2017
tree lightning strike

What to Do If Your Tree Is Struck by Lightning?

Lightning can undoubtedly be considered as one of the greatest threats to massive trees.

As a matter of fact, every year, thousands of trees get struck by lightning. Moreover, it has long been proven that taking shelter under a tall tree in a thunderstorm is one of the most ill-advised things to do.

Being usually the tallest object around a given area makes a tree a natural lightning rod during tempestuous weather. There have even been recorded instances of trees getting blasted by lightning in sunny weather! And with more than 100 lightning strikes happening around the world every second, there’s a fairly good chance that your tree might get hit one of these days.

During spring and summer seasons, lightning strikes become more prevalent, and while not all trees attract lightning (short ones come to mind), it is critical that you learn how to assess lightning damage just in case your plant does get hit.

 

Assessing Tree Damage

When lightning blasts a tree, the impact can be felt instantaneously. The moment it hits, it turns the tree’s water into gas, causing the plant’s outer layers to explode outwards. This effect is catastrophic; 50% of trees hit by a bolt die immediately while others suffer extensive damage, making them vulnerable to diseases.

Among the most common tree species that get hit by lightning are oak, gum, maple, poplar, and pine trees.

 

Degree of Damage

When a tree gets hit by lightning, there are three possible outcomes: The tree escapes damage; it suffers damage but survives with nothing but a scar; it dies.

The Tree Survives

Most of the trees’ water content is stored just under the bark. With water being a superb electrical conductor, the lightning strike will penetrate the outer layers of the tree obliterate them. Lightning blasts will typically scar a tree.

The Tree Escapes Damage

There are times when heavy rain has soaked the tree’s exterior.  When this happens, there’s a chance that the lightning will just cascade around the tree and leave it relatively unscathed.

The Tree Dies

Dying trees—especially ones with an already compromised structure—will typically have one or more areas that are being ravaged by disease. Since these have most of their water content concentrated deeper in their trunk, any lightning strike can fully penetrate the plant’s center and utterly destroy the tree. This can cause a powerful explosion that will send large and small branches flying (including splinters and huge chunks of wood), and even split the trunk into two.

 

What to Do after Lightning Strikes Your Tree

Before you inspect the tree, know that there may still be a residual electric charge around the immediate area of the blast site; do not approach the tree immediately. Let a few minutes pass then take a look at the plant and assess the damage it received from the lightning strike.

The first step that you should do in treating a damaged tree is by supplying it generous amounts of water. Make sure to provide fertilizer as well to help stimulate new growth. Damaged trees that survive until the spring season are most likely to recover from a lightning strike.

Know though, that while scarred barks and broken branches can be considered as minor issues, you have to check from time to time and see that the damage hasn’t spread—trees that have damaged layers become more vulnerable to certain pests and diseases.

Another way that you can do to save a hit tree is by pruning the broken branches, including any torn wood. A word of caution however: Do not do extensive pruning until a year has passed after the lightning strike.

For trees that have suffered extensive, irreparable damage, you need to remove them from your area especially if they are near healthy trees. Leaving them there can sometimes cause numerous arboreal threats to infect your healthy trees. Consult an expert tree removal team to help you get rid of the damaged tree.

 

Tree Protection against Lightning Strikes

In order to prevent lightning from harming your trees, you may consider installing a lightning protection system that uses copper cables attached to the tree’s uppermost branches and grounded a few meters away from the tree.

Once the lightning strikes, the electricity will be diverted to the cable assembly, leaving your tree unscathed.

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Health Care

Pixabay.com photo by AgencjaAIAC

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