How Does Mistletoe Harm Your Trees

Mistletoe Removal

Do you have mistletoe on your property? If you have mystyldene, all-heal, bird lime, golden bough, or devil’s fuge, then yes. You have mistletoe.

It’s leaves are part of a fun Christmas tradition that encourages you to a kiss while standing under it. But it’s actually very harmful to your trees. Although the evergreen plant is quite beautiful with the fragrant flowers it produces in winter, this poisonous berry does more harm than good.

Mistletoe is native to Nevada, California, Arizona, Baja California, as well as Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico. Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic pest that grows on branches of deciduous trees, which his why you’ll want to have it removed by a professional.

How Does Mistletoe Harm Trees?

Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that sends out its root-like structure into tree branches. This small evergreen shrub then steals necessary water and nutrients from its tree host. The mistletoe then continues to grow larger as it continues to damage the tree.

Although mistletoe spreads slowly, when not stopped it can be harmful to trees. When a tree is infested with the plant, it can become stunted, less vigorous and even be killed if additional stressed from other environmental factors are present. Things like root damage, drought, insect infestation, extreme temperatures, disease and mistletoe infestation can all kill an otherwise healthy tree.

If you see that mistletoe is growing on your trees, you can prune out the infested branches. But just cutting it with the branch won’t kill mistletoe; it’ll only slow down its growth. You can’t get rid of mistletoe unless you remove all the infected limbs of the tree. Special care must been taken to avoid over pruning, which is why you want to hire a professional arborist to walk this fine line for you. 

A professional arborist prune in a way that balances your need to eliminate mistletoe with your trees need to retain branches. At the same time they can also aid the tree in it’s recovery. Removing other stressors from your trees can help ensure their recovery and resistance to future infections.

Landscaping Trees: Choosing the Best Plants for Your Yard

Stump Removal

Written by Angie Bersin 

Landscaping provides the opportunity to accentuate the beauty of your home, while also delivering several other benefits. Choosing the right tree typically involves thinking about the reasons behind your decision to include trees in your backyard design. It’s also important to consider the environmental aspects of your outdoor area while complimenting the existing size, color, and shape of your home.

Craftsman home with landscaping trees and shrubs

Choosing the Right Landscaping Trees

A lot of factors go into the process of choosing the perfect tree for your yard. Not only must you consider the reason behind your purchase but you must also research the type of environment your landscaping trees are going to require for healthy growth. Evergreen shrubs and trees maintain their lush green foliage throughout the year, delivering a constant touch of color to your landscaping design. Deciduous shrubs and trees lose their foliage seasonally, creating a less colorful backyard design throughout the cooler months.

Determining Your Tree’s Purpose

Healthy landscaping trees have intrinsic value that goes well beyond simply looking nice. Depending on the type of tree you plant, you may be able to:

  • Enhance the beauty of your yard
  • Filter out pollutants
  • Reduce noise
  • Shield your home from wind
  • Shade your home from the sun
  • Create shady outdoor areas
  • Block unpleasant views
  • Increase the market value of your property
  • Reduce glare from surrounding structures
  • Minimize precipitation runoff

Selecting a Tree Size and Shape

Choosing a tree with the optimal shape and size for its desired location enhances the value it offers. For example, short trees with low-lying branches are ideal for areas with overhead power lines, while taller landscaping trees create excellent privacy dividers. The width of a landscaping tree’s branches determines how much shade it can provide, but also limits its placement in your outdoor design, particularly if you have a small or narrow yard.

In general, mature landscaping trees with long lifespans provide greater value over younger trees with less potential. Trees offering longer lifespans tend to grow more slowly, while varieties with shorter lifespans grow quickly. If your landscaping needs are time-sensitive, choosing fast growers is the best option. You simply need to realize that the trees may need replacing at some point in the distant future.

In addition to keeping in mind how quickly you need the tree to grow, you may want to consider its size at maturity before choosing its role in your landscape design.

  • Shorter landscaping trees are going to accentuate the beauty of your home without overshadowing its size.
  • Taller landscaping trees often add more value to the property by enhancing privacy without infringing on the home’s access to sunshine.

Choosing the Best Planting Site for Your Tree

It’s important to look into the soil and sun requirements of any trees you intend to plant. For example, the Western hackberry may be suitable for dryer climates such as Albuquerque. Site conditions are critical for the health and growth of your trees, enhancing both beauty and longevity, while also minimizing maintenance needs. A local arborist can assist you in selecting a spot to plant your tree where it is going to thrive.

You should consider each of these aspects during your selection of a tree:

  • Hardiness zone
  • Soil conditions
  • Drainage conditions
  • Sun exposure
  • Wind exposure
  • Space restrictions – below and above surface level
  • The possibility of pest infestation

Understanding Ideal Characteristics in a Tree

Even if you aren’t an arborist, you can still buy excellent landscaping trees to meet your intended goals. Look for the following characteristics when purchasing your tree to enhance the likelihood of successful growth:

  • Strong trunk
  • Firmly attached branches originating from separate points on the tree
  • A balanced spacing of branches
  • Lack of intertwined growth
  • Strong root system encased in an appropriately sized container or root ball
  • Absence of disease and/or damage

Considering Qualities Offered by Landscaping Trees

Choosing the right tree for your yard involves more than simply finding a healthy tree that looks as though it can provide the service you want. Some landscaping trees may prove to be more work than they are worth. For example, some trees drop nuts, seeds, fruit, blossoms, and twigs that you have to contend with to keep your yard neatly landscaped. It’s important to keep this in mind before you actually bring a tree home. Here are some examples to consider:

  • Ornamental trees deliver messy clean-up along with lots of colors.
  • Shade trees often outgrow their original placement.
  • Conifers provide steady growth along with year-round greenery.
Home with front yard design and landscaping trees

Embracing Feng Shui Tips for Trees

Incorporating the beliefs of feng shui into landscaping efforts is a popular trend, particularly with individuals who appreciate the ability to influence the flow of energy around them. You can easily do so as long as you put some thought into your tree placement before planting.

  • Trees placed behind your home offer strong support, allowing you to manage essential aspects of your life.
  • Several trees should be planted along both sides of the house to maintain a harmonious atmosphere within the home.
  • Block negative energy by planting a row of trees in front of its source.
  • Avoid planting in the yard’s center to sidestep financial stressors.
  • Never allow trees to touch the house to avoid negative (yin) energy.
  • Remove dead growth immediately to minimize the risk of drawing energy from the home.

Many feng shui experts recommend planting tree species based on specific sides of the yard to maximize benefits. Depending on your desired tree’s purpose, you may want to also consider feng shui energy when selecting your tree placement.

Here are a few examples of suggested direction for different energy benefits:

Type of TreeSuggested Side of the YardFeng Shui Benefit
Pine TreesEasternLongevity for members of the home
Lime and Orange TreesSoutheasternFinancial wealth and success
Peach TreesWesternGrowth in personal relationships
Apple and Pomegranate TreesSouthwesternLove and happiness

It is important to consider your purchase of a tree carefully, particularly because many varieties of landscaping trees can outlive the people who plant them. Your decision is likely to bring permanent consequences, including long-term maintenance costs and/or unpleasant results if you choose unwisely. On the other hand, selecting the right tree for your yard can provide years of happiness with positive results.


This article originally published at: https://www.redfin.com/blog/landscaping-trees

You can contact the author, Angie Bersin at angie.bersin@redfin.com

Can You Really Tell The Age of a Tree By Counting Rings?

Walnut Creek Tree Service
Tree rings to count the age of a tree

Trees are fascinating creatures, and learning about their ways can keep you entertained for a lifetime. Their symbiotic relationships with their surroundings are fascinating, as is photosynthesis and their reproductive systems.

One other fascinating thing about trees is that you can reliably tell how old they are down to the year by observing their bodies. With humans and most other animals and plants, this is impossible. But because of the annual cycles that trees grow in, and the solid structure of their trunks and branches, we can read the records of their lives.

Yes, you can tell how old a tree is by reading the rings when the trunk is cut in a cross-section. Actually, you’re able to tell how old THAT PART of the tree is. In a large branch you can also count how long it’s been there in this way. Skilled arborists can even gain other information from looking at tree rings. And arborist can gather fairly accurate info about whether there were droughts, disease or damage in the tree’s history.

What Makes This Possible?

The wood of a tree grows fast in spring, and is lighter because it consists of larger (more moist) cells, so the pigment distribution is less dense. In summer, it’s dryer and growth is slower; the wood forms smaller cells and looks darker. Fall and winter there is no growth worth noting. So when the tree is cut, the layers appear as alternating rings of light and dark wood. Each light/dark set is one year of growth, so either count dark or light rings, but not both.

The main drawback of using this amazing natural record-keeping system is that you have to cut down your tree. It is possible to bore a sample without killing the tree, but not without hurting it. So for highest accuracy, you really have to wait until the tree is removed or at least cut down to get it’s age.

What if The Tree is Still Standing?

There is a way you can take measurements and use some math to estimate tree age. It’s outlined here by the state of Michigan Athens-Clarke County Community Tree Program: Estimating Tree Age. Doing this tree age estimation can be just as fun and counting rings, and you get to keep your tree! This uses some math that is high school or college level, so get help if you need it!

Another interesting way to figure out the age of a tree is to look up historical photos of the property the tree is on. Or if it’s near a building, find out when the property was built and if the trees were put in at the same time. This tracing the history of the are usually can give you a ballpark idea, but not exact year of planting.

 

 

 

 

Tree Pruning Tips in Time for Spring

Alamo Tree Service

In preparation for the spring growing season, there are a few things you can do to help your trees stay healthy and strong for years to come. These aren’t large tasks, in the scheme of things. As you know, trees don’t ask much of you in general. With a few days of attention a year, you can have hearty, lush trees for years or decades.

Start Before Spring Growth Begins

While your deciduous trees are still bare, visually check them for signs of disease or damage that might be masked by full leaf cover later. This is also the best time to prune, while pruning is least likely to spread pests or diseases that are inactive in winter. Target dead, unhealthy, or dangerous branches for pruning, and follow safe tree pruning tips.

If you have any doubts about proper tree pruning, educate yourself on tree pruning. Hire a professional if you aren’t sure you can do it in a way that’s safe for the tree, and safe for all people and property involved.

Readying for Blooms

Before your trees bloom, they’ll need to be in good health to get through the energy expenditure of blooming! Ensure they’re prepared by using a long-lasting fertilizer at the very start of Spring. There are multiple fertilizing and nutrient-delivering options available, talk to your local arborist if you’re not sure what option is best for your tree and goals.

Spring in Full Swing

When spring has fully arrived, it’s time to renew mulch under your trees, making sure you’re using an appropriate mulch for your landscape and applying it properly. This’ll prevent weeds and grass from leaching nutrients away from your trees, and preserve moisture for your tree’s roots.

If you need help with pruning, fertilizing, or other tree care, call Sexy Trees (925) 233-6877

The Ideal Time to Remove a Tree

Berkeley Tree Removal

The best time to remove a tree is in their dormant season, which generally includes February and March. This is the time when tree service companies are least busy, so it can be convenient and save you money too. You can remove a tree at any time of the year in an emergency, of course. When planning ahead, the dormant season and your arborist’s least busy season is the best strategic choice.

What Else Should I Consider Before Scheduling to Remove a Tree?

Many people assume that tree removal, when the future health of your tree is of no importance, is a job that anyone can do, so the cheapest bid is the best choice. There are many reasons this isn’t true. The best choice for tree removal is always the company with the best trained staff and the highest standards of cleanliness. Here’s why:

Have Your Tree Removed by the Best Trained Staff

Knowledge and skill level actually does matter when removing trees. Not because of the future of your ex-tree, but because of the future of your property. An experienced crew overseen by a Diamond Certified Arborist is ideal to ensure your underground cables, sewage, drainage, and other important features of your property below ground are safe. In experienced crews also pose a threat to above-ground property that can be hurt by falling tree parts or careless use of equipment.

Why a Cleanly Arborist Matters

A high-quality tree care team will regularly sanitize equipment to prevent transfer of dangerous infections. These can came from other people’s sick trees to your property. They also limit the spread of invasive species to your property through seeds, fruit or cuttings on their vehicles or equipment. Because tree care companies regularly interact with so many healthy and unhealthy trees, you need to know that the company you work with takes steps to stop the transfer or harmful diseases and invasive plants.

When you know your tree has to go, or need a second opinion on whether you should remove a tree, call Sexy Trees at (925) 233-6877

The Magic of Mulch

Danville Tree Removal

You’ve probably heard that mulch is important to your landscape. Have you ever thought about why that is? Apparently lots of people have thought about it, and so much that the phrase “the magic of mulch” has gained popular use. Don’t believe me? Google it.

Why did “the magic of mulch” become a thing, instead of “the utility of mulch” or ”the practicality of mulch”? Probably because what mulch does is pretty whimsical and impressive, really. But before we go into that, what do people use as mulch?

 

Basic Mulch Types

 

When you’re looking for mulch, you’ll find that you have three basic category types: organic, mineral, or synthetic. Organic mulch can be shredded hardwood, bark based, coconut coir, wood chips, corn husks, leaf litter, and other natural plant materials. Mineral mulch includes pea gravel, crushed brick, volcanic rocks, marble chips, and shale. Synthetic mulch can be shredded rubber, black plastic sheeting, and landscape fabric. Sometimes synthetic mulches are layered under organic or mineral mulches.

 

Mulch and the Microbiome

Mineral and synthetic mulches do something good for the miniscule life in your soil: they keep it cool and moist. But organic mulches offer more than that: they contribute new nutrients and living microbes to the rich and bustling microscopic life in the soil. Within soil there are fungus, bacteria, nematodes, algae, earthworms, ants, centipedes, millipedes, beetles, snails, and slugs, all sharing a balanced ecosystem. Organic mulch supports and contributes to that. If your soil were not vibrant with life, your trees, shrubs, and grass wouldn’t be either.

 

Mulch and Water

All types of mulch reduce evaporation of water from the soil. Water is crucial to your healthy garden and trees. Not only do the plants themselves need water, but so do soil-dwelling microbes and tiny animals like ants and worms. This water retention becomes especially important during hot or dry spells or in hot or dry climates. There is no danger that using mulch will keep your soil too wet, mulch brings water management benefits and no drawbacks.

 

Mulch and temperature

Part of the magic of mulch is that it keeps soil and roots warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. It has an insulating property that brings the soil below it closer to middle ground temperatures by reflecting away heat and retaining the warmer ground temperatures when cold hits. Almost all areas experience either hot summers or cold winters, if not both. This makes mulch’s insulatory magic useful everywhere.

 

Mulch and Your Trees

Mulching your trees is pretty easy, and yields great benefit for the tree. What you don’t want is to under-mulch or over-mulch. No sparse see-through layers and no grand mulch volcanoes with your tree trunk erupting out.

Keys to mulching your tree well:

  • Remove grass and weeds within the “drip line”, area under the thickest parts of the tree canopy
  • If there’s old mulch, rake it to make sure it’s not compacted
  • Add about 3 inches depth of fresh mulch covering the “drip line”
  • Make sure the flare of the trunk (where it widens above meeting the ground) is fully above the mulch-line. No mulch should be against the trunk or within the first few inches.

If you have questions or need suggestions about mulch, contact Sexy Trees.

 

Watering Christmas Tree Displays: Tips from an Arborist

Walnut Creek Tree Removal

If you’ve brought a living Christmas tree into your home, you’ll need to take proper care of it. Otherwise you may have to witness it’s death and decay right in your home! Luckily, keeping a cut tree alive indoors is not extremely complicated. At the same time, there’s some bad information out there about what your tree needs, so let’s clear a few things up:

 

Cutting Your Tree

When the tree’s going to be stored more than a couple days, put the trunk in water and store it in a cool, shaded and protected area like an unheated shed or garage.

If the tree was harvested within the last 12 hours, it’s not necessary to recut the trunk before putting it in water. After longer than 12 hours, the trunk needs recut for maximum water uptake.

Cutting off a disk of wood about ¼” thick from the base of the trunk is all you need. Make the cut perpendicular to the trunk. Not at an angle or in a v-shape. Those fancy cuts make it far harder to steady the tree in the stand and reduce the amount of trunk submerged in the water.

Don’t drill a hole in the trunk to try to help it hydrate, this only hurts the tree.

 

Using Tree Stands

A tree stand needs to provide at least 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. For most Christmas trees, the treestand should hold at least 1 gallon of water.

Make sure your tree stand is big enough, not that your tree trunk is small enough. Don’t whittle down the sides of the trunk to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should be retained.

Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water is above the bottom of the trunk. Many stands will still be holding water even when the base of the tree is no longer submerged.

 

Hydration and Watering Christmas Tree Care

A cut tree will absorb a surprising amount of water, particularly during the first week, so replenish the water daily.

Displayed trees suffer when they’re near sources of heat like fireplaces, heaters, heating vents, and direct sunlight. Lowering the room’s temperature will slow the drying process, reducing the amount of water the tree needs.

Cold, cool, lukewarm or even very warm water are all fine and won’t affect the tree’s ability to hydrate.

Check your tree daily for dryness. It’s easy to run your fingers across the needles to see if they’re dry or brittle. If they break or fall off easily, the tree is dangerously dry and should be taken outdoors away from the house.

A well-cared-for tree will reliably remain fresh at least three to four weeks before becoming too dry.

 

Don’t Get Too Creative

Anti-transpirants for Christmas trees won’t help you much at all, even though they may technically reduce some evaporation, it’s not enough to make your tree last longer indoors.

Adding water-holding gel products to the stand reduces the amount of water available to the tree, making it a pretty bad idea.

Don’t use additives in the water. No floral preservatives, commercial tree preservatives, molasses, sugar, bleach, soft drinks, aspirin, honey, or anything else. Clean water is what trees want to drink, and how you’ll get the best results.

Flame retardant products can give flame retardance while reducing your tree’s ability to stay hydrated, losing the advantage they gained.

 

Is It Time To Get That Stump Removed?

Alamo Tree Removal

Tree stumps bring with them no benefits and plenty of risks. For many reasons, you should consider getting the tree stump removed from your yard.

When To Remove A Stump

Tree stumps can be physically removed at any time. Having an arborist remove the stump when felling the tree is the most convenient way to remove a stump. But they can still be removed at any time, if you’ve missed that opportunity. So why do it now?

5 Reasons Getting Your Tree Stump Removed is Important

Tree Stumps Are Hazardous

Stumps left on your property are far below eye level, and often blend into the landscape quite well. They can be a danger to children, neighbors, or visitors as a tripping hazard. They’ll also cost you money if you or your mowing service accidentally hits the stump when mowing your lawn, requiring a trip to the repair shop. Tree stumps create a liability on your property.

Curb Appeal

Whatever else tree stumps are, they’re certainly not pretty. They look the opposite of alive and healthy, which is how you want your landscape to look. Removing your stump means getting rid of an eyesore- your property will look better, and your neighbors will thank you.

Fresh Tree Stumps Cause Unsightly Re-Growth

When some species of trees are cut down close to or just above grade, they continue to generate sucker growth from the stump. If this happens you could spend time and money cutting down the suckers or spraying them with herbicides.

These suckers also take precious nutrients from the soil, and other parts of your landscape may suffer. If left to grow, these re-growing trees turn into ugly bushes. They won’t look like their former, proper form. These suckers are also poorly connected to their rotating trunk and can even become a safety hazard later if left be.

Stumps Attract Bugs

An old stump sitting in your backyard is like a readymade home for all sorts of insects. And they often attract white ants or termites, which could mean risking the safety of your home. The most worrying of these is probably termites. They’re drawn to exposed wood and will set up a colony in your stump. From there, it’s an easy trip to your house, and you do not want that. Even if your old stump doesn’t attract termites, it could attract other lawn pests, so you’re better off bidding it goodbye.

Space

In a garden bed, a tree stump takes up valuable planting space. The stump can take up space preventing you from planting new trees, enlarging your vegetable or flower garden, building a play area for your kids, setting up a picnic table, or adding a pool. If you have a project planned, the stump may obstruct driveways you need access to or slow construction. Tree stump removal will allow you to make the best use of your space.

Certainly, if you need stump removal, contact Sexy Trees today. Hiring a professional is more affordable than you may realize and will be money well spent.

Are You Harming Your Soil Ecosystem?

Danville Tree Pruning

The trees on your property are dependent on your soil to be a healthy, safe place for them to grow or just stay alive. If your soil suffers, the trees suffer. If your soil thrives, the trees thrive. You need to be sure you aren’t harming your soil, which would threaten your trees.

However, to do that, you need to know about some of the most common practices which lead to soil damage.

Using Biocides

One of the most common ways people harm soil is by using biocides, which destroy life inside the soil. Healthy soil is full of microorganisms that promote tree growth and nutrition. Unfortunately, when plants are sprayed with pesticides to kill insects, they also end up being absorbed by the soil, which becomes damaged as a consequence. Biocides include everything from pesticides, weed killers, and fungicides, etc.

Moreover, even if the biocides don’t have an immediate measurable effect on your trees or soil, the can remain for decades and damage life in the longer run as they build up.

Removing Vegetation

Another common practice that leads to the damage of soil is through the removal of vegetation. While some people remove ground covering plants to create some landscaping goals, you also need to understand that complete removal leads to the soil being exposed. It also loses the connectivity created by root systems. This, as a result, makes it vulnerable to forces of erosion like wind and rain.

When the soil is exposed to these threats, healthy topsoil is lost, which is a primary layer for plants to grow because it has the most organic matter. Moreover, when the soil is bare, it receives more sunlight, and this causes moisture to evaporate. Finally, it becomes compacted as it dries, which make it harder for the soil to absorb rain.

If you don’t want to destroy the soil, you need to understand the soil’s needs. You need to know the soil needs to be covered, and plants provide this shelter. 

Allowing Soil to Dry Out

When soil is allowed to dry, the rich environment or microorganism that call it home suffer. Organic matter thrives in soil, from living fungi, to earthworms and healthy bacteria, and they all need water to survive.

Remember that your trees can’t make these decisions for you, but it matter to them when you make choices soil management. Swear off biocides, grow ground covering plants, and keep your soil from drying, and your trees will thank you. Silently, by living a long healthy life. 

Cambistat: A Tree Care Solution

Concord Tree Pruning

As a property owner, you want to keep your trees healthy. In hard California droughts trees are susceptible to falling ill, and even dying. So it’s imperative that you protect your trees against stressors, and keep them healthy for their longevity.

This is where Cambistat can come in. Below, we’ll discuss some of the incredible health benefits Cambistat can give your trees and the protection they can give them in the harshest of times.

 

 

Why Cambistat?

Cambistat is a powerful tool to fortify your trees against some of the harsh Californian summers. With these nutrient treatments on your side, it’s easy to ensure that your trees will be healthy throughout any climate. There are a wide array of ways that in keeps your trees in tip top shape.

Here are our top 3:

 

1. Drought Tolerance

According to drought.gov, California is experiencing one of its longest droughts in state history. Having started in 2011 and extending up to present day, California has sustained 357 weeks of drought, at one point affecting 58.41% of Californian land. With over half of the state affected, chances are that your trees fall into one of these drought affected areas.

When it comes to Californian summers, nothing is better that Cambistat at preparing your trees to do well in drought. We know that being able to protect your trees from water shortage is a high priority. Thankfully, Cambistat is able to help protect against drought, by equipping your trees for record breaking dry spells.

 

2. Improved Root Systems

A strong, capable root system is key for any healthy tree. Without a stable support network to draw nutrients and water from the soil, any tree, even in the best of conditions, is doomed. When Cambistat is applied to your trees, there is a significant growth and production of fibrous roots.

Furthermore, Cambistat can be applied in any Californian weather (assuming there isn’t a torrential flood or that the state freezes over). Because Cambistat is so active, retreatment is only needed every three years, and will be able to keep your trees growing strong.

 

3. Growth Control

A final useful purpose of Cambistat is growth control. While every green thumb loves to see some vegetation, the unfortunate reality is that trees and their limbs often get in the way of urban growth.

Cambistat is able to help you and your trees by providing growth control. As your trees mature, with grooming, the treatment can help maintain a reasonable size for your tree, and ensure that the “leggy-ness” of your tree doesn’t get out of hand. This means your tree wouldn’t collide with sightlines, encroach over roads, or be a danger to power lines in a bad storm. Using Cambistat can ensure that both you and your neighbors are satisfied with your tree.

Cambistat is a logical and easy solution for any Californian land owner looking to ensure their trees stay healthy. Schedule an application, and watch your trees thrive.