3 Tips for Winter Tree Care

Alamo Tree Service

 

As winter weather approaches, many of us look at trees as being “dead” without any work needed. Since the trees around the Bay Area have lost much of their foliage, it may feel like a sign to leave them alone. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Proper winter tree care is what helps the tree grow and become stronger for its spring growth.

Here are a few key tips for winter tree care this time of year:

Saving Rain Water

Whether we have a rainy season or drought conditions, it’s very important to try to maximize the amount of water that is preserved in the tree’s surrounding soil. There are a couple techniques that we recommend for Bay Area trees. First, get fresh mulch. This can help keep the water contained, captured, and embedded in the soil. Even an inch of mulch helps retain moisture.  If you would like to also use the mulch for weed control, use about three inches of mulch.

Keeping the Bugs Away

While many pests stay away during this time of year, if you’ve had attacks from mites, scale, or aphids, then you should spray for them now. Use dormant oil to kill the eggs after the leaves drop. Another layer of protection is to spray for peach leaf curl or lime sulfur.

Winter Tree Care Pruning

Growth has to be monitored and may need controlled to prevent problems. It’s critical to cut back some trees in order to allow light to enter and hit the inner branches. Along with lightening heavily congested areas, you should also prune away diseased or dead areas of the tree so the nutrients will focus on the remaining portions of the tree. Sometimes you will also have to trim to maintain the balance of a tree, to prevent it from breaking.

By following the above winter tree care tips, you will find that you’ll have healthier, fuller trees in the spring and summer.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our Certified Arborists at Sexytrees.com

 

 

What’s The Right Way To Prune: Pollarding, Reducing or Topping?

Mistletoe Removal

 

If you have large trees in your yard, you might be concerned about their size and growth. Large trees look beautiful, but they can reach overhead lines, become unstable, and be dangerous in a storm. Typically, trees need to be pruned and maintained for their health and your safety. While there are many methods of pruning, here we look at three common methods.

Pollarding

This type of pruning is used to reduce the overall size of a tree to fit a defined area and offers a longer-term solution. It involves removing the upper branches or top of the tree in a way that creates denser foliage within a smaller canopy. At first, pollarding may not typically create a very attractive appearance, however, as new growth appears, foliage becomes denser and much more appealing. One advantage of this approach is that it maintains the tree in a juvenile state, which can help the tree to live longer. The tree also has less height, which makes it less susceptible to wind damage.

Reducing

Reducing typically involves cutting back limbs to their point of origin on the tree. Unlike pollarding, it does not create a long-term solution. The tree branches will grow back and will require reduction or other methods of pruning again in the future. Reducing mostly just shortens the length of branches and stems. Reducing may be needed to keep trees away from overhead lines. It can also help protect very large trees that are otherwise at risk of being blown over in bad storms or dropping branches in a dangerous way.

Topping

Tree topping involves removing large branches, whole tree tops, and even the top of the tree trunk. It may be done to reduce the tree from view or limit its shade. This approach can be deadly for some tree types because it removes the parts of the tree that are necessary for it to sustain itself. The new lack of shade on bark can lead to too much sun exposure and tree decay, while also removing the leaves that are the tree’s energy source. This approach is sometimes used to promote new growth, but it is a risky approach, as the tree is more susceptible to insects and fungi.

The Right Type Of Pruning

Pollarding, reducing, and topping are just three methods for tree pruning. Choosing the right technique depends on the type of tree and the demands of the space, which is where the assessment of a skilled arborist can help you make the right choice. Where possible, milder and less invasive methods of pruning, applied regularly to control growth and tree shape, usually create the best outcome for trees.

If you need pruning for the trees in your yard, it’s best to connect with a professional arborist or tree service. They can survey the area, assess the trees, and make recommendations for your best pruning options, then carry out the job correctly. This helps preserve the appearance and health of your trees, while protecting the safety of your yard and home.

What’s the Difference Between Wood Chips, Mulch and Fertilizer?

Stump Removal

 

Helping your garden grow and flourish involves nourishing and supporting the soil ecosystem and the plants that grow in it. Wood chips, mulch and fertilizer offer three different ways to nourish and protect your plants. But what are the differences between these 3 garden additives or are they the same?

Wood Chips

Wood chips are small chips made of any type of wood, from hard woods like redwood or cedar to soft woods like pine. They are sourced when trees are cut down or branches removed, and the actual wood is “chipped”or chopped into small pieces. Wood chips can also include chipped or shredded bark from the outer layer of trees. Wood chips can be used for a variety of purposes in landscaping and gardening. They may be used to mulch garden beds and soil, or to lay down garden paths. Some hardwood chips can be hard and take a long time to break down, and some softwood chips can break down and need replacement quickly.

Mulch

When wood chips are used to protect and nourish garden beds and soil, we call it mulch. However, while wood chips can be mulch, not all mulch is wood chips. Mulch is simply a protective layer of material that’s usually added as a top layer over soil around plants for moisture retention, temperature regulation and weed control. Mulch can be composed of a range of materials, including wood chips, bark, leaves, pebbles, straw or clippings. Some of these are designed to break down and add nutrients to the soil (organic matter) while others are simply for protection and water retention (stones and pebbles). Mulch is essential for most gardens, particularly those is very hot or very cold climates. Mulch can be added to your garden at any time to support plant growth and protection.

Fertilizer

Plants need certain chemical elements to grow and thrive, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These elements are frequently measured in packaged fertilizers. While these are also in most soil, fertilizer is designed to directly increase the level of nutrients to support plant growth in soils that may be deficient. Plants that need to grow fast and require a lot of energy, such as crop plants, tend to need fertilizer.

However, because fertilizers increase plant growth, they need to be used with care. Fertilizer may make trees in your yard grow too fast or too big. Over-fertilized plants can also die or be ‘burnt’ by excess fertilizer around them. If you think your soil may be deficient and require fertilization, it’s best to consult with a qualified arborist about the best way to nourish your soil and whether you should apply fertilizer or use mulch for a gentler effect.

Understanding the difference between wood chips, mulch and fertilizer is essential to creating a healthy garden. Talk to an experienced local arborist for more advice about how to choose the right addition to support and nourish your garden.

5 Essential Tips for Fall Tree Care

Walnut Creek Tree Service

 

Fall tree care is crucial to year round healthy trees. Yes, fall is a time to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and spend brisk days outdoors raking them into piles. But as fall turns to winter, your trees become vulnerable to the elements. Here are some essential steps you should take each fall to care for your trees and prepare them for the winter:

  1. Inspect and Prune Away Dead Wood

As you head into the winter months, any dead or dying branches could pose a risk to your property. Fall tree care is the perfect opportunity to make a good inspection of your trees, checking their health and stability.  It is much easier to inspect your trees once they have lost their leaves.

To inspect your trees, first stand back to assess stability and structure. Then, take a closer look for any concerns like diseased branches or boring insect activity. Prune away any branches that look unhealthy or loose. For bigger limbs, you may need to utilize a qualified arborist.

  1. Nourish and Insulate Your Trees

In fall you want to fertilize your trees to keep them healthy during winter months. This gives the trees nutrients to nourish them, which makes them stronger and less susceptible to winter damage. Laying mulch will also help protect trees during winter, because mulch insulates the roots against cold weather. Mulch also helps to retain moisture in the soil. You typically want to lay 2-4 inches of mulch in a 2 foot radius around a tree or plant.

  1. Treat Against Disease and Insects

Raking not only keeps your yard attractive, it also helps to prevent disease in your trees and plants. Fungi spores can hide out and develop in fallen leaves. If left on the ground, during spring rain, those spores awaken and infect your trees. As you prepare for winter, you’ll also want to guard your tree against boring insects that might be looking for a winter home by raking up dead leaves.

  1. Hydrate and Protect Trees from Dry Air

It may seem strange, when snow is on the ground, that trees could become dehydrated, but winter brings less rainfall and less moisture seeping into the ground (until the spring thaw). Additionally, trees in arid climates that don’t get much rain or snow in winter may still need some extra moisture.

Hydrate your trees by watering them during the fall to prepare them for the winter months. As you water your trees in the fall, remember on the deeper root system, not just the area near the trunk. You can also treat your tree with anti-desiccants, which help protect the leaves by locking in moisture.

  1. Consider Cabling Your Trees

You may notice in parks and public spaces, cables being used to stabilize trees. You can also have cables installed to support the physical structure of trees in your yard. This technique is for healthy trees that just need extra help to support their weight. This is especially useful fall tree care anticipating heavy winds and winter storms.

Tree specialists can help protect your trees against the effects of winter weather. Keeping healthy trees is a sound investment, because prevention and maintenance reduces other costs related to lost trees, property damage, and future tree replacement. Plus you can have peace of mind when professionals tend to your trees while you enjoy the beginning of the fall season.

What Should You Do With A Fallen Tree?

 

Trees can fall due to adverse weather, damage or underlying disease or pest infestation. A fallen tree needs to be dealt with and removed to prevent wood rotting, spreading of tree diseases and pests as well as the negative aesthetic and safety effects. So what is the right thing to do with a fallen tree?

Analyze The Causes And Responsibility

If a tree has fallen in or near your property, it’s important to ascertain the cause of the fallen tree, as well as who is responsible for its removal. Municipalities can offer aid in removal of trees that fall due to widespread cause or natural disasters. If a tree from the street or a park on public property falls in your yard, it will likely be the responsibility of local authorities to remove it.

However, if a tree rots or becomes diseased on your own property, it will be your responsibility to remove it or pay for it to be removed. If the cause of the fallen tree is disease or pest infestation, it’s advisable to remove the tree rapidly to prevent cross-infection with other trees.

fallen tree, tree removal, dead tree

Can You Use The Tree?

When a tree falls, the wood is often able to be recycled and used for some purpose, including firewood, mulch, landscaping or lumber. It’s important for you or an arborist to analyze the type of tree and wood as this can inform you as to its potential purpose. If the wood is damaged, it can still be used or sold as firewood or mulch (as long as it isn’t diseased). Quality wood can be turned into furniture or outdoor furniture, and valuable wood like mature walnut, cherry, redwood can be taken to a mill and cut into lumber.

Plan The Removal

Once you know what you want to do with your fallen tree, you can plan the removal. The type and size of tree and the hardness of wood will influence how difficult this is. Most tree removals require chainsaw work and other heavy machinery, so it’s important that the operator has the knowledge and experience to use these tools, and proper insurance and coverage is in place. Otherwise, call an arborist for professional removal.

Keep Safety In Mind

Because the process of analyzing, sawing and removing a fallen tree can be so difficult, bringing in a skilled arborist for the job is recommended. This ensures that the work done on your fallen tree is safe and insured, and you can get the best use out of the fallen tree’s wood. A professional arborist can guide you through the process of identifying the tree’s type and condition as well as inspect it for disease or pests. Then they can safely cut and remove your fallen tree, recycling the wood for its best purpose.

While a fallen tree in or around your property can be a nuisance or a hazard, finding the right way to deal with a fallen tree can turn it into a positive. For expert advice to help you make the right decision, contact your local arborist for professional tree removal.

5 Tips For Caring For Mature Trees

Berkeley Tree Pruning

 

Mature trees are an asset to your landscape. Fully developed trees have required years of nurturing growth and responsible Alamo tree care. This investment should not be taken lightly. When caring for mature trees, you want to protect this investment, and ensure that your mature trees continue to provide shade and beauty to your landscapes. Older trees require specific care and nurturing to continue to flourish and remain protected from disease and pests. Here we look at five tips to help you best care for and look after your mature trees.

Water Your Trees Correctly

Mature trees need an appropriate amount of water, just like young trees. Using the correct technique to water your mature trees is essential to ensure your trees get the right amount of water in the right way. In the absence of soaking rain, you should deeply water your mature trees at least once a month. It can be helpful to consult with an experienced arborist regarding the specific water needs for your unique tree type.

Prune Mature Trees Properly

Regular pruning is important for mature trees to remove dead or diseased branches, and to manage excess growth to reduce weight. Heavy branches can break and fall, causing damage to the tree or your property. However, incorrect pruning can severely damage your mature tree, eventually causing tree death. Tree topping is a particularly harmful practice that can eventually destroy your tree by removing it’s most important food producing branches. When pruning a mature tree, it’s best to call a Alamo tree care certified arborist to prune with the correct technique that is safest for both you and your tree.

Protect Tree Roots

Mature tree roots can continue growing to help support the tree. However, the large roots of mature trees can sometimes create issues for surrounding structures. If tree roots are disrupting your yard, it’s important to call a certified arborist for expert advice and management. Covering exposed tree roots with mulch is a useful way to protect both the roots and visitors to your garden, however it’s important not to apply mulch too close to the tree trunk.

Inspect Mature Trees For Pests And Diseases

Mature trees that have undergone some stress, been damaged, or incorrectly pruned can be left more prone to tree diseases and pest infestation. Inspect your trees periodically for signs of problems, such as weak branches, discolored leaves, or visible pests.

Nourish the Soil

Mature trees get all their nutrients from the surrounding soil so it’s important to keep the soil healthy as your trees develop and mature. Applying wood mulch can help to both protect the soil and supply nutrients and microbes that support healthy tree growth. Your local arborist can deliver a healthy supply of mulch direct to your yard to keep your mature trees thriving.

Offering shade, beauty, and structure to your yard, your mature trees are an investment that you will want to protect. Look after your mature trees with these five essential tips to best nurture their continued growth.

Contact Llamas Tree Service for any location in the bay area, including Albany, Danville, Berkeley, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Concord, San Pablo, San Leandro, Fairfield, Hercules, Kensington, Port Costa, Piedmont, Orinda, Lafayette, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, or Alamo tree care.

3 Causes for Dry and Brittle Trees

Berkeley Tree Removal

Dry trees can often drop branches and break leave tips easily, becoming a hazard during storms and strong winds. Most homeowners would prefer to have lush green trees in their yards to provide shade, however it’s not uncommon to find dry and brittle trees in your yard. But what are the main causes of dryness in trees? While sufficient water is an important factor it’s not the only cause contributing to dry and brittle trees.

Drought Stress

One of the most obvious and common causes for dry trees in California is drought stress. Drought stress can cause tree branches to become weak and fall easily, and also causes leaves to go brown and drop from the tree. Signs of drought stress also include slowed growth, a thinning canopy, and dying twigs high in the branches. The signs of drought stress are not necessarily obvious, and once the characteristic signs begin to show themselves it maybe too late to rescue the tree. Drought stress can eventually destroy your trees, leading to the need for tree removal.

Drought stress can be avoided by limiting pruning during drought times, avoiding using fertilizer, and applying organic mulch around the root system instead. When watering trees during dry or hot seasons, soak the roots less often rather than watering shallowly more often. If you need to prune trees call a qualified arborist to provide expert service to protect your trees and keep them healthy.

Over-Fertilization

Trees that grow rapidly are not as strong as those with slow, steady growth. Avoiding fast growing tree types can help to avoid dry and brittle trees, especially if your garden is going through difficult conditions such as a drought. Trees can also grow too fast if they’re supplied with too much fertilizer.

Fertilizer can ‘fast track’ growth without the tree being able to support the new growth with adequate nutrients or water. While fertilizer seems like a great way to ‘feed’ trees, it’s better to take a slower, more natural approach, and have an arborist apply mulch. Avoid fertilizing trees that are already dry or brittle, under drought stress or suffering from insect infestations or disease.

Pest Infestations and Diseases

Various pest infestations and tree diseases can cause trees to become weak, leaves and branch tips to become brown, and bark to go dry and fall off. The symptoms vary depending on the particular disease or infestation affecting the tree. If you notice your tree undergoing any unusual changes or you see visible signs of disease or pests on your tree, it’s important to call your local arborist as soon as possible. They can diagnose the specific condition affecting your tree and treat it in order to save the tree and prevent the condition spreading.

Dry and brittle trees could signify an underlying condition affecting your trees. If you notice dry and brittle trees, it’s important to act fast to prevent tree death or damage to your garden or property. Call a professional arborist as soon as possible to help get your trees back to full health.

The Hidden Dangers Lurking In Your Garden

Danville Tree Removal

A beautiful garden can enhance your home and property values, but it can also present some unexpected risks to your house and family.  Read on about some of the hidden dangers you may find lurking in your garden:

Dead Trees and Loose Branches

One garden danger can come from dead or dying trees.  A dead or dying tree presents a danger when it gets unstable, falls down, or drops branches, perhaps hitting and damaging your home.  You might be able to spot a dangerous tree by simply inspecting it closely.  Consider whether it is leaning, whether the leaves look healthy, and whether the branches are drooping.  If you notice any of these symptoms, your tree may be in bad shape.  You should consider having it cut down or removed before it falls.

Normal, healthy trees do drop branches and limbs from time-to-time.  However, these too can present some danger.  Those branches and limbs could damage property or hit a person, on their way to the ground.  They can also hit electrical lines.  Once on the ground, they could become trip hazards.  It is important to have your tree branches and limbs pruned or trimmed back skillfully by a professional arborist to prevent these hazards.

Tree Stumps and Roots

If you have a tree cut down, there may be a stump left behind.  These too can present a hazard as a person or animal may trip over an old stump.  Wood-boring insects such as beetles, termites, and ants may be attracted to an old, decaying tree stump.  This could give them a shortcut to your home.  Some tree stumps can also sprout new growth, which will be costly to remove.

When you consider your trees, you also need to think about the parts you cannot typically see.  Extensive tree roots can cause problems to plumbing, sidewalks, and property foundations.  When tree roots arch up above ground, they can become trip hazards.  They are also difficult to work around when maintaining your yard with equipment.  If you have tree stumps or troublesome roots, you may want to bring in a professional arborist to safely and thoroughly remove them.

Poisonous Plants

Another hidden danger that could exist in your landscape is poisonous plants.  Many of us are familiar with Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.  Some plants look nice, but they can be dangerous to pets that might eat them.  Examples include Hydrangea, Buttercups, and Mistletoe.  If you have a Red Maple tree, be aware that the leaves can be toxic to horses.  Certain mushrooms can also be dangerous to both pets and adults.  It is helpful to screen your yard or have a professional arborist screen for, and remove these plants.

Spiders, Insects, and Pests

Your garden may play host to some uninvited guests in the form of spiders and insects.  Some of these could pose dangers to your garden or home, such as Japanese Beetles.  Others can pose a danger to humans and animals, such as wasps or bees.  You may want to use pesticides to keep these pests away; however, those chemicals can also create risks to animals and small children.  If you see these pests around your garden, you may want to consult with professionals, who can help eliminate them.

Having a garden is an appealing and inviting feature for a home, but it does require some work to maintain and keep it safe.  Consulting with a professional tree service company is one step towards maintaining healthy trees and safe garden.

4 Signs Your Tree Needs Cabling And Bracing

Walnut Creek Tree Removal

The trees in your garden are living entities and need attention and care in order to flourish. In some cases, trees need first aid and even ‘surgery’ to help maintain their health and structure. Cabling and bracing is a technique that can be applied by a skilled arborist to help support your trees branches and trunks. This can extend a tree’s life if done correctly, allowing your trees to flourish for longer. Here we look at 4 signs that your tree needs expert attention from a qualified arborist with professional cabling and bracing.

  1. Leaning Trees

Trees that are dead or dying tend to lean, however a leaning tree doesn’t always signify a problem. Cabling and bracing can’t be used to save diseased or dying trees, but it can help to provide structure and support to trees that are weak, but healthy. Trees may normally have a slight lean to them. A skilled arborist can inspect your trees and assess whether they are leaning normally, or whether there are adverse underlying causes. A tree’s root system can grow to accommodate and calibrate a lean, but in some cases cabling and bracing may be needed to support the tree to prevent cracking and hazardous tree falls.

  1. Cracks in the Trunk or Branches

Cracks in the tree trunks and branches can be a sign that your tree is becoming unbalanced and overburdened. Cracking or splitting in the trunk of your tree can represent a particularly serious structural issue, and you should enlist the assistance of a professional arborist as soon as possible. In some cases, cabling and bracing can be applied to help strengthen and reinforce your tree when the problem is caught early to prevent cracks deepening and causing split trunks. Cracked branches may not be worth trying to recover, but it’s important to remove them to avoid potentially dangerous falling branches.

  1. Multiple Trunks

It’s not uncommon for trees to split at the trunk, with the two trunks diverging in a V shape. This can be called co-dominant stems or V-crotch trunks. As the tree grows, these multiple trunks can form a weak spot, as one trunk becomes larger than the other and threatens to topple the tree. Cabling and bracing can help to strengthen divergent trunks so they don’t split too far apart and cause breakage. However, in some cases one of the trunks may need to be removed by your arborist to preserve the tree.

  1. You’re Due For Adverse Weather

Storms, rain and strong winds can really put on a strain on your trees and worsen any structural issues you may already be experiencing. If you’re expecting adverse weather, have your trees inspected and fitted with cables and bracing if necessary to protect against the harsh conditions. Professional cabling and bracing from a skilled arborist can help to keep your trees and branches safe during harsh weather, adding extra strength and reinforcement while also allowing flexibility, to keep your branches intact.

Cabling and bracing can be a useful tool to protect and preserve your trees when implemented safely by a professional arborist. Talk to us about your tree’s needs and whether cabling and bracing is right for your trees.

Our tree experts service the following areas:  Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Lafayette, Orinda, Oakland, Albany, Alhambra Valley, Alamo, Berkeley, Danville, Diablo, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Sunol, Saranap, San Pablo, Reliez Valley, Piedmont, Port Costa, San Leandro, Vine Hill, Martinez, Benicia, Fairfield

Can Pruning A Tree Help To Slow Its Growth?

Alamo Tree Removal

Keeping trees and shrubs in good condition involves regular tree care and pruning to maintain their health, and to keep them under control. Tree pruning helps to conserve a tree’s energy, manage its size and change its shape. But can pruning a tree actually change a tree’s growth?

Benefits of Tree Pruning

Tree pruning can help to keep your trees neat and tidy and is an essential service that can be offered by a qualified arborist. Pruning can remove dead or diseased branches, thin canopies, change the shape of tree canopies and improve fruit crop. Having your trees trimmed regularly is essential for optimum tree health.

Pruning Effect on Canopy Growth

Pruning both immediately changes the characteristics of the canopy and impacts growth within the canopy. Because the leaves are the energy and food producing centers of a tree, pruning live tissues will always have an impact on growth. However, pruning dead tissues and branches simply clears them away, without impacting growth.

Skillful pruning by an experienced arborist can help to control the size and shape of your canopy. The more that outer growth and primary branches are pruned back, the more growth will be concentrated on smaller branches close to the tree. This can produce tight dense canopies. For optimal tree health, canopies that allow sunlight and air to filter through can be more beneficial. By pruning marginal branches and leaving active leader branches, your arborist can help you promote trees with healthy growth along the strongest branches, resulting in a large and dispersed canopy.

Pruning Effect on Root Growth

Any pruning of living tissue will affect root growth to some extent. Pruning back active branches diminishes a tree’s ability to produce food, so there will be less root growth. Care should be taken not to ‘top’ trees when pruning to reduce root growth, as this can eliminate any opportunity for the tree to produce food, resulting in tree death.

While pruning may help to slow root growth, it shouldn’t be counted on as a way to control root growth. If you require the trees in your garden to have non-invasive root systems, it’s better to choose tree and shrub varieties that have non-invasive roots naturally.

Pruning Effect on Fruit Growth

Pruning trees skillfully can actually help to produce larger fruit in a greater quantity. Pruning trees in late winter, removing small secondary branches, can help to focus resources and energy on the major branches that will bear fruit. Fruit can grow larger, and in greater amounts, when energy is being diverted directly into fruit production rather than generating new leaves or branches in spring or summer. However, pruning trees to promote fruit growth is a careful process that requires skill to execute correctly. Talk to your local arborist about pruning your fruit tree to yield a bumper crop.

Skillful pruning can change the way your tree grows in many ways, but unskillful pruning can damage or even kill your tree. Call a professional arborist for efficient, safe and beneficial pruning, for your trees best health and optimal growth.