Have you ever heard of the children’s book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? It’s a story about a tree that gives a boy everything it has, such as apples, wood and shade, to make him happy throughout his life.
Every tree is a giving tree, isn’t it? Trees are wind obstructors, fresh air makers, pollutant reducers, shade producers, and block us from the cold. Trees entertain kids for hours with tree houses and swings. Trees let us relax with a hammock and a good book. One of the best parts about trees is they only require a little maintenance and care in return.
But what happens when your tree looks a little down in the dumps? An undiagnosed sick tree could kill your other surrounding trees, leaving your yard treeless. It could also fall, which can harm you and your property. Therefore, it is crucial to keep an eye on your tree to be aware of any symptoms that point to it being unhealthy.
Symptoms of a Sick or Dying Tree
There are several common symptoms of sickness that you can watch out for to determine if your tree needs help. Then, it's all a matter of diagnosing and taking action! A few common warning signs are listed below:
All of these symptoms are warnings that your tree's health is threatened. The faster you identify these indications, the faster your tree can get back to normal.
So now that you're familiar with some of the common illnesses and symptoms, what about actually saving the tree? Prevention is key.
There are certain things you can do to boost your tree's health so it won’t get sick in the first place.
If prevention fails and your tree becomes sick, the best thing to do is to consult your local tree doctor, a.k.a., an arborist. They are certified experts that promote tree growth.
What an arborist can help you with:
If you’re a homeowner, you are invested in the care and maintenance of your home in and out, top to bottom. Neglecting your yard can have some serious consequences, but don’t think that you will be the only one that has the time, or the ability to take care of your home’s greenspace. In every city that has any trees at all, there are local tree care companies that can take the worry and the burden of tree care from you with kindness and professionalism.
Storms can range from mild, steady downpours that wash your car to hurricanes and tornados that send your car flying across the state. Storms can flood and damage lawns and shrubs, and ruin gardens and vines. High winds can burst through windows and send debris flying. If you have a tree in your yard when a severe storm hits, you may find that the force of the storm is strong enough to knock your tree down, which can damage your property. If that happens, calling an expert tree removal service is the best thing that you can do to ensure your safety, and get your home life back on track. The company will be able to quote you based on a couple of factors.
Maybe your tree was damaged, maybe you’re just tired of having to care for and maintain it, no matter how lovely it makes the rest of the block look. In either case, your local professional tree service will be there to assist you. The company will quote you based off of a few different factors, including the size of your tree and your property, and assist you with your needs.
Tree trimming, or pruning, is a vital part of properly caring for your tree. Neglecting to prune your tree’s leaves and branches can result in the spread of diseases, and in the death of healthy leaves and other branches. Some people may not understand the importance of tree trimming, and become overly concerned with the way that their tree looks, or with the way that their property could be affected with an unattractive tree. A simple explanation of the benefits of tree trimming is enough for most anyone to understand why tree trimming is not only a necessity, but a priority: think of all of the reason that you prune your bushes and hedges. You want them always to be lush and green, and dress the outside of your home. Tree trimming will do the same thing for a much larger and more visible plant. Enhancing your property means getting rid of problem branches.
Just as with any other plant, diseases happen. As stated before, it is important to trim your tree to prevent the disease from spreading, but it is also a necessary step to have your tree’s illness properly treated. When you’re looking for someone to treat your trees, make sure that they can prove that they are certified to deliver the treatments. The easiest way to ensure this is to contact your local tree service professionals, Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists and let us help you.
Deep root fertilization should be used to help rebuild your soil food web, not as a way of pumping nutrients into the soil.
Why do your trees and shrubs need deep root fertilization to begin with?
After all trees in the forest are just fine without it. They do not need additional nutrients to survive...
The forest has healthy soil. But where there has been development, you will usually find dirt, not healthy soil. Dirt is devoid of life.
Healthy soil is alive! It is full of microbes, beetles, worms, and many other organisms that make up the soil food web. A healthy soil food web helps plants by providing food, water, and protection against harmful pathogens, fungi, and so forth.
If you choose to use deep root fertilization for your trees and shrubs, select a product that rebuilds the soil food web.
Do not select a product based on its percentages of macro or micro nutrients. And definitely do not choose a product because it has lots of nitrogen!
There is no need to pump the soil full of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
These do not help the soil food web. You may have heard differently. But was it from somebody who wanted to sell you a product? Or somebody who cared about the best interests of your plants and soil ecology?
Pick a formulation that contains no phosphorus because research shows that it often just leaches through the soil and pollutes our water. And use very low nitrogen. Usually a plant cannot use this nitrogen anyway. It often just irritates vital members of the soil food web, like earthworms. If your product has a high salt index, forget it. That does more harm than good.
Choose a product that is full of essential micro-nutrients, beneficial microbes, humates, and organic matter.
These components will help rejuvenate your soil food web, which will provide your trees and shrubs with all the macro and micro nutrients they need to survive. It will also create the perfect soil pH for your plant. A functioning soil food web creates a series of symbiotic relationships with plants that provide all the resources that each member of the relationship needs.
Be discerning about what you put into your soil. Your plants will thank you.
For most people, summer is the perfect season to get away, get outside and have some fun. But have you thought about your trees? Making sure your trees are well cared for throughout the hot summer months will result in a happy, healthy landscape. Whether it’s pruning, pest inspection, watering or preventative storm damage, summer is the perfect time to follow these preventative tree care tips:
If you didn’t get around to mulching your trees this spring, it’s not too late. Adding mulch as a preventative measure will help cut down on weeds while stabilizing soil temperatures and conserving moisture. When adding mulch it’s important to add 3 – 4 inches around the base of a tree. However, it’s important not to heap to mulch around the trunk as this can promote disease and insect issues.
It’s important to make sure your trees get plenty of water throughout the hot summer months. For younger trees, our certified arborist recommends a deep-watering by running a garden hose over the root zone for approximately 30 seconds. Older, more mature trees, on the other hand, should be watered at least once a week or every other week. A good rule of thumb is to provide an older tree with around 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter.
Another preventative tree care step for summer is to make sure your trees have ample nutrition to support leaf and shoot growth while fending off pests and diseases. Keep in mind that trees growing in urban or suburban environments often have greater fertilization needs than trees growing in natural environments. Make sure to consult with a certified arborist or local nursery for important fertilizing guidelines that take into consideration your specific region, and tree species.
Pruning is an important preventative tree care measure that will ensure the health of your trees. However, it should never be handled as a DIY job. Improper pruning is a common mistake that often leaves trees permanently damaged, susceptible to disease, storm damage or even death. That’s why it’s important to hire a certified arborist who is trained in all aspects of arboriculture and preventative tree care techniques. They will take the time to assess the health and stability of a tree based on its type, size, location and overall appearance.
Preventative tree care includes inspecting your trees for pest infestations throughout the summer months. While most bugs are not harmful to trees, it’s important to control any potential pest problems. Harmful pests include: magnolia scale, bagworms, Japanese beetles, aphids, spider mites and the emerald ash borer. These pests and more can be easily identified with the help of certified arborist.
Storm Damage Prevention
Summer can bring with it heavy winds and unpredictable thunderstorms. To protect your home and property from falling tree limbs it’s important to consult with a certified arborist to assess the safety of your trees. Removing weak limbs along with cabling or bracing can help prevent against potential storm damage while keeping you and your property safe from summer storms.
Preventative Tree Care
It’s important to remember that the cost of preventative tree care will greatly outweigh the cost of property damage or removing a dead tree. That’s why it’s important to follow the above guidelines when it comes to caring for your trees during the hot summer months ahead. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a preventative tree care assessment, contact our certified arborist today at Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists. We will make sure to walk your property while listening to your concerns and suggestions before offering our recommendations.
Topping is an extreme form of pruning a tree. In topping, the tree’s height is drastically reduced either by cutting the main trunk at a certain height or by removing large limbs. The practice has many practical applications such as coppicing or pollarding, two practices used in the wood harvesting industry. However, topping a residential tree is rarely a necessary course of action.
Misconceptions about topping
The first thing you should know about topping is that we don’t generally recommend it at Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists. Topping is most often used as a last resort, once all other options have been exhausted. There are some common misconceptions about topping trees that lead some people to believe topping is a good course of action. The first is that it reduces the mess of leaves that the tree makes. This is true only for a limited time and at the risk of the tree’s life. The new shoots that grow from the topped tree often grow in faster and fuller than before, leaving you with even more leaves to deal with.
Another misconception is that it always reduces the risk of the tree falling over. This isn’t true, as topping can result in increased risk because of unbalanced weight. Further, a tree may not be at risk of falling over even if it appears to be at first. Only a certified arborist can determine for sure if there are undeniable signs of structural weakness that could lead to collapse. If you think your tree may need to be topped, always consult a certified arborist first. There may be a multitude of other options available that are much safer for the tree.
Topping is a dangerous last resort
Topping any tree can result in severe stress damage and can also lead to the death of the tree. For many reasons, topping can be extremely dangerous to the health of a tree. For starters, topping generally removes a very large portion of the tree’s leaves. A tree without the ability to sustain itself through photosynthesis will eventually starve to death. Topping also leaves a tree susceptible to sun scald, bark damage, and decay-causing organisms, which can eventually lead to the death of the tree. The new growth that comes as a result of topping is also highly susceptible to insects and pathogens, as is the stub that was left behind from the cut.
Remember; always consult a certified arborist before proceeding to top a tree. Topping is not only dangerous for the tree, but dangerous for the person doing the cutting and also for property around the tree. Whenever possible, it’s best to leave topping to a professional. Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists has certified arborists that can help you make the best decision with regard to the health of your trees.
Ahhhhhhh, summer is here and in Eastern CT, many areas are again dealing with bare trees due to gypsy moth caterpillars.
What happens when gypsy moth becomes established?
Once gypsy moths become permanently established, it may take several more years for moth populations to build before residents see any noticeable defoliation. The first outbreak may last three to 15 years depending on weather patterns, local site conditions, and the presence of natural enemies. Typically, the first outbreak is by far the most severe because there are abundant host trees and very few natural enemies present. The first outbreak is when most environmental, social, and economic impacts will occur as a result of repeated defoliation and associated tree mortality.
Competition for food, increasing disease, and natural enemies eventually cause gypsy moth populations to collapse. After the first outbreak, gypsy moth populations behave more like those of native insects, with cyclic outbreaks every eight to 12 years.
What happens to the trees?
Gypsy moths do not kill trees directly they defoliate them. Severe defoliation can add to other stresses such as weather extremes or human activities. This cumulative stress can leave trees vulnerable to disease or other pest infestation that can cause death. For example, stressed oak trees are susceptible to two-lined chestnut borer and the fungus that causes Armillaria root rot, both of which can lead to oak tree death. The trees most at risk of dying as a result of gypsy moth defoliation are those that are already under stress. Most trees die following a gypsy moth outbreak in:
To learn how you can beat the gypsy moth caterpillar invasion, contact Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists today!
Golden canker, is a common disease that affects pagoda dogwood. This disease will discolor and kill branches and can progress from branch tips into larger main branches and stems. Once the disease reaches the main stem, the stem will quickly die, but the root system will survive.
Cankers are present year-round but are easiest to see when trees are dormant. The bark on infected branches turns a bright yellow or tan in contrast with the normal, healthy purplish-green bark. Multiple small, orange, raised bumps develop on the surface of infected bark. The cankers are generally found at the tips of branches but can spread down the stem to affect more of the plant. Infected branches may not leaf out, as you are observing in your shrub. During summer, the disease can also progress and manifest with infected branches showing wilting leaves that eventually die and remain attached.
The best way to control this disease is to prune off infected branches by making a cut directly above a healthy bud or branch that is at least two buds — or 2 to 4 inches — below the yellow, discolored bark. Prune just above a bud or branch, being careful not to damage it in the process of pruning. Try to avoid pruning the branch back to the main stem if possible.
It is better to do this pruning when the trees are dormant, with temperatures somewhat consistently below freezing. This will help reduce the number of spores produced within the canopy during the growing season. But go ahead and prune out the infected branches now. You may be able to get a few more years out of the plant; decide whether to remove or save the dogwood based on how it looks after you have removed the dead branches.
It is important to sterilize your pruning tools between cuts to avoid spreading the disease. I like to use Lysol disinfectant in a spray can for this purpose. After removing, either burn the infected branches or otherwise remove them from your garden.
In addition to pruning out infected branches, it is a good idea to lightly fertilize and mulch your dogwood and provide supplemental water during any extended dry periods that occur during the growing season. Providing extra maintenance will improve the vigor of your plant.
Arbor Day is an April holiday that celebrates the planting and caring for trees. It is also a popular time for homeowners to add new trees to landscapes. Before doing this, however, homeowners should consider advice from expert arborists to ensure the trees’ longevity.
Too often, consumers waste hundreds of dollars on trees that will die because they were planted too deep. Proper planting is absolutely essential for the success of a transplanted tree. Even using quality plants and following up with good tree care practices, such as watering, pruning and fertilizing, will not save a poorly planted tree. The most common mistake is planting the root ball too deep.
Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialist has compiled the following planting guidelines:
• Measure the height and diameter of the root ball or root spread.
• Dig the hole just deep enough to allow the first structural root to be at level grade. The diameter of the hole should be two to three times the diameter of the root ball or root spread.
• Set the tree on undisturbed solid ground in the center of the hole. The tree should be planted so that the root flare, the base of the tree trunk where the roots begin to “flare-out,” will be visible above grade.
• Backfill with soil from the planting hole, using water to pack or settle the soil around the root ball. Do not tamp soil by stepping on it.
• Mulch the planting area with two to four inches of an organic, composted mulch such as wood chips. Do not mulch up to or against the trunk. Start the mulch 6 inches away from the tree trunk.
• Trees should be pruned after planting to remove broken, damaged, diseased or dead branches.
• Stake and/or protect the trunk of the tree if there is a real potential for wind damage or lawn-mower injury. Remove the guy wires (string, rope, wire or other ties used with supports) when the staking is no longer needed or the tree could be injured or even killed from girdling by the wire.
• Prune to develop a good branch structure once the tree has become established in its new home, usually one to three years after planting. Never remove more than 25 percent of total foliage in one year. (Depending on the tree and its condition, some arborists advocate capping pruning at an even lower percentage.)
• Fertilizing is not recommended at the time of planting.
Fruit trees are different from your average shade trees in that they need to be pruned every year to improve fruit quality. Pruning fruit trees is a necessary chore that improves sunlight penetration and increase air movement through the tree. Pruning also develops the structure of the tree so that it can support the crop load. The following steps are some basic pruning tips that will help you determine which wood to keep and which to remove.
The first step is to remove any diseased or damaged branches. Diseased limbs can be a source of disease for the upcoming season so it is important to remove and destroy these branches. For example, fire blight on apples and pears will form cankers. These cankers will ooze the fire blight causing bacteria in the spring, which is then spread to other trees. Damaged limbs are susceptible to disease and insect infestations that could further damage the tree.
The next step is to remove vigorous upright growth from the previous season. This growth is called water sprouts and, in peaches, can be as much as 6 feet in length. Water sprouts will not bear fruit and can lead to excessive shading on the interior of the tree. For peaches in particular, excessive shading can cause twigs and branches to die and result in less fruiting wood for next year.
One final step is to remove branches that are crossing directly over other branches or are growing towards the center of the tree. These branches will lead to shading problems that were previously mentioned. Also, fruit on crossing limbs will often rub on other limbs that can lead to blemishes and entry points for insects and diseases.
The commercial tree fruit growers will begin pruning their apple trees in December. They often leave their peach and nectarine trees to be pruned in late winter or early spring to avoid bud damage caused by freezing weather.
Once you have carried out these basic steps, you may want to remove more wood to open the tree up and improve tree structure. All of the pruned wood should be removed from the area since prunings may be a source of pest infestations in the upcoming season. If you are ready to hire a professional arborist to prune your fruit trees, contact Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists.
Thousand cankers disease is a fungal disease of walnuts that is carried from tree to tree by a small bark beetle called the walnut twig beetle. It has killed countless ornamental black walnut trees in the western U.S. and was found for the first time in the eastern U.S. in 2010.
The association of the walnut twig beetle with the fungus that causes thousand cankers disease is a recent discovery. While researchers have known of the beetle's existence for some time, the fungus was only recently discovered. It has since been identified as a new species, fittingly named Geosmithia morbida.
When an adult walnut twig beetle bores into the bark of a walnut tree to lay its eggs it also infects the tree with the pathogen that causes thousand cankers disease. At the sites of infection, small lesions, or cankers, form just under the outer bark. The beetles within the tree also emit pheromones, chemical signals that summon other walnut twig beetles to the tree.
For each beetle that bores into the bark, another small canker is formed, eventually covering the branches and trunk of the walnut. As more cankers are formed, they merge and limit the ability of the tree to transport and store nutrients, slowly resulting in tree death.
The best estimate is that a tree will die 2 to 3 years after the first symptoms occur. It is likely that at that point the tree has already been infested for several years. In the West, it may take a decade or more to kill a tree.
Once a tree begins to decline from thousand cankers disease it will not recover. Advances in research may change this, but for now there is no therapeutic cure.
At first, one may notice a thinning tree top, discolored or smaller than usual leaves, and/or individual branches dying. On close inspection, small holes where the beetles have entered and exited the bark may be seen and if a very thin layer of the bark is removed or scraped, small oval or round cankers may be seen. Cankers are dark brown and less than an inch across (about the size of a quarter).
Currently, the tree care community does not know how to protect or save trees from thousand cankers disease. Keeping trees as healthy as possible through good forest and ornamental tree management practices might delay infestation and/or disease development. The best thing to do is to quickly detect its presence in new areas and destroy affected tree materials. If you have several walnut trees, remove all dead and dying infected walnut trees from your property and dispose of the wood properly to reduce the chance of having other trees attacked. Properly dispose of material from affected trees by burning or burying branches and smaller diameter wood as soon as possible.
The primary focus right now is to prevent further spread of this disease, especially spread facilitated by humans. Transporting woody materials from dead or green affected trees to a new location can spread the insect and fungus to new areas. Don't move firewood or other unprocessed walnut wood products out of areas where thousand cankers disease has been detected or is suspected to be present. Use locally grown firewood or wood that has been heat treated and inspected.
If you think you walnut trees may be suffering from Thousand Cankers Disease, contact Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists today.
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