Is Your Tree Sunburnt? 3 Warning Signs and How to Prevent Sunscald

Is Your Tree Sunburnt? 3 Warning Signs and How to Prevent Sunscald

Have you ever noticed patches of discolored or cracked bark on your favorite tree? This could be a sign of sunscald, a surprisingly common condition caused by intense sunlight. Just like our own skin, trees can get sunburned!

Healthy trees are vital parts of our landscapes. They provide cooling shade, improve air quality, and add beauty to our surroundings. But when sunscald weakens a tree, it becomes more susceptible to pests, diseases, and even death.

The good news is that sunscald is preventable with a little knowledge and effort. In this blog post, we’ll explore the warning signs of sunscald, the factors that put trees at risk, and most importantly, how to protect your trees from this damaging condition.

Warning Signs of Sunscald

Sunscald might not be immediately obvious, but there are some telltale signs sunscaldto watch out for. Let’s look at the visual clues:

    1. Discolored bark: Sunscald disrupts the bark’s natural color, often causing it to turn brown or reddish-brown.
    2. Sunken or cracked bark: The affected area may become sunken, creating a depression in the bark. In more severe cases, vertical cracks may appear on the damaged surface.
  • Bleeding”: In the spring, there may also be ‘bleeding’ from the scalded area.  As time progresses, bark will begin to slough off.

Now, let’s consider the location of the damage:

  • South or southwest side: Since these sides receive the most intense sunlight throughout the day, they’re the most susceptible to sunscald.
  • Lower trunk and exposed branches: Sunscald typically affects the lower portion of the trunk, where it’s directly exposed to the sun. Exposed branches, especially those with recent pruning wounds, are also at higher risk.

Factors that Increase Sunscald Risk

Not all trees are created equal when it comes to sun tolerance. Several factors can significantly increase a tree’s risk of developing sunscald. Let’s explore these factors:

Recent changes in sun exposure:

  • Newly planted trees in full sun: Young trees with delicate bark are especially vulnerable if suddenly exposed to full sun after being grown in a nursery with shade.
  • Sudden removal of surrounding trees/shrubs: Mature trees that have enjoyed the shade of nearby trees can experience sunscald if those trees are abruptly removed.
  • Pruning that exposes previously shaded bark: Heavy pruning can remove branches that provided shade for the lower trunk, making it more susceptible to sun damage.

Stress factors: Trees under stress are less able to defend themselves against sunscald. Here are some common stressors:

  • Drought: When a tree doesn’t have enough water, it’s less equipped to cope with the additional stress of intense sunlight.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: A lack of essential nutrients can weaken a tree, making it more vulnerable to sun damage.
  • Pest or disease problems: An ongoing battle with pests or diseases can weaken a tree and increase its susceptibility to sunscald.

How to Prevent Sunscald

The good news is that sunscald is largely preventable with some thoughtful planning and care. Here are some key strategies to keep your trees safe from sun damage:

Planting Considerations

  • Sun-loving vs. shade-loving: Start by selecting trees that are well-suited to your sun conditions. Shade-loving trees planted in full sun are much more likely to suffer from sunscald.
  • Planting location: Whenever possible, plant new trees in locations that receive some afternoon shade. This can significantly reduce their exposure to the harshest sunlight.

Proper Watering

  • Adequate hydration: Ensure your trees receive adequate water, especially during hot and dry periods. A well-hydrated tree is better equipped to handle the stress of intense sunlight.
  • Mulch for moisture: Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the tree helps retain moisture in the soil and regulate soil temperature, providing an additional layer of protection.

Sun Protection:

  • Temporary paint protection: For newly planted trees in high-risk situations, consider applying a thin coat of white latex paint diluted with water to the trunk. This temporary whitewash reflects sunlight and provides some protection during the critical establishment period.
  • Let the leaves do the shading: Avoid excessive pruning on young trees. The leaves naturally provide shade for the developing bark, reducing the risk of sunscald.

Additional Tips and Considerations

Sunscald is most likely to occur on young trees during their first few years of establishment. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Monitor young trees: Regularly inspect your newly planted trees for signs of sunscald, especially during the first few years. Early detection allows you to take corrective measures to minimize damage.
  • Address underlying stress: A healthy tree is better able to withstand sun exposure. If you notice signs of stress like drought, nutrient deficiencies, or pest/disease problems, address them promptly to improve the overall health of your tree.

In some cases, sunscald damage may be severe, especially in mature trees. For situations like these, it’s best to seek professional help:

  • Consult an arborist: If you’re dealing with severe sunscald damage or have concerns about sunscald on mature trees, consult with a certified arborist. They can assess the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of treatment.

Keep Your Trees Healthy and Beautiful!

Healthy trees are a vital part of our environment, and protecting them from sunscald is an important step in ensuring their long-term health. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can significantly reduce the risk of sun damage to your trees.

Want to learn more or get help with your specific trees?

Our certified arborists at Sexy Trees are passionate about tree care and can provide expert advice on sunscald prevention and treatment. We offer a variety of services to keep your trees healthy and beautiful, year-round. Contact Sexy Trees today for a free consultation!

What Causes Peach Leaf Curl + How to Treat It

peach leaf curl

Have you noticed your once-vibrant peach or nectarine tree sporting curled, warty, and reddish leaves? This unpleasant phenomenon is likely peach leaf curl, a fungal disease that plagues many backyards and orchards. While it may not spell doom for your tree, it can significantly weaken it and reduce fruit production.

For both home gardeners and commercial orchard owners, understanding and addressing peach leaf curl is crucial. By recognizing the signs and taking preventative measures, you can ensure your peach trees stay healthy and continue to produce delicious fruit.

What is Peach Leaf Curl?

Peach leaf curl is a fungal disease that primarily targets peach and nectarine trees, although it can also affect apricot and almond trees to a lesser extent. Caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans, this disease weakens trees and significantly reduces fruit production if left unchecked.

Recognizing the Signs:

The telltale signs of peach leaf curl are quite noticeable. Infected leaves will become:

  • Curled: Leaves will lose their flat shape and twist or curl inwards, often taking on a distorted, puckered appearance.
  • Discolored: Initially, infected leaves may turn a pale green, but they often progress to a reddish or purplish hue.
  • Thickened: As the disease advances, affected leaves will become thicker and feel leathery to the touch.

In severe cases, the fungus can also cause:

  • Stunted growth: New shoots may become stunted and distorted, appearing yellow-green in color.
  • Fruit damage: Developing fruit might develop rough patches and premature drop from the tree.

Why Does Peach Leaf Curl Happen?

The spores of Taphrina deformans are the real culprits behind the infection. Microscopic and airborne, they lie dormant throughout the winter within the bark and bud scales of your peach tree.

When spring arrives and the weather conditions become favorable, these spores erupt and readily infect the tender new leaves as they unfurl. Once a leaf is infected, the fungus takes hold and starts to multiply, causing the characteristic curling, discoloration, and distortion.

Stopping Peach Leaf Curl Before it Starts

There’s good news! By taking preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of peach leaf curl taking hold in your backyard or orchard.

Here are some key strategies:

Choosing Wisely: Resistant Peach Varieties

The first line of defense is selecting peach tree varieties known for their resistance to peach leaf curl. Consult your local arborists for recommendations on varieties that thrive in your climate and offer built-in resistance to this disease.

Location, Location, Location: Planting for Airflow and Sunshine

Proper planting and site selection go a long way in preventing fungal diseases like peach leaf curl. Opt for a location with good air circulation and at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This helps to dry leaves quickly, reducing the ideal environment for fungal spores to thrive.

Seasonal Care: Pruning, Watering, and Nutrition

Maintaining good overall tree health through proper seasonal care practices can also help your peach tree resist infection.

Here are some tips:

  1. Pruning: Prune your peach tree in late winter or early spring before bud break. This allows for better air circulation within the canopy and removes potential hiding spots for the fungus. Be sure to remove any visibly infected twigs or branches during this time.
  2. Watering: Avoid overhead watering, which can spread fungal spores. Instead, focus on deep watering at the base of the tree.
  3. Nutrition: Ensure your peach tree receives proper nutrient balance. Excessive nitrogen can make it more susceptible to disease, so focus on a balanced fertilizer with adequate potassium and phosphorus.

Taking Action Against Peach Leaf Curl

Even with preventative measures, sometimes infection occurs. Here’s what you can do to fight back:

Fungicide Treatments

Several fungicides are effective against peach leaf curl. However, it’s crucial to apply them at the right time and follow application instructions carefully.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Types: Look for fungicides containing copper or chlorothalonil labeled for use on peach trees.
  • Timing: Apply fungicide sprays either in late fall after leaves have dropped or in early spring just before buds begin to swell. Aim for a dormant or delayed dormant spray for best results.
  • Methods: Follow the specific application instructions on the fungicide label. Thoroughly spray the entire tree, ensuring good coverage on branches, twigs, and buds.

Organic Options: Natural and Low-Impact Solutions

For those seeking organic solutions, several options can help manage peach leaf curl:

  • Lime Sulfur Sprays: This traditional fungicide can be effective when applied in late fall or early spring. However, it requires careful handling and application due to its strong odor and potential for phytotoxicity (plant damage).
  • Copper-Based Sprays: Similar to commercial fungicides, copper-based sprays can offer some protection against peach leaf curl. However, they may require more frequent application compared to chemical fungicides.

Physical Removal and Sanitation:

If you see signs of infection, promptly remove and dispose of affected leaves. This helps to reduce the number of spores that can spread the disease further. Do not compost infected leaves, as the fungus can survive. Instead, bag them and dispose of them with your regular trash.

By combining preventative measures with appropriate treatment options, you can effectively manage peach leaf curl and ensure a healthy, productive peach and nectarine harvest.

Fostering a Healthy Orchard

Remember, a healthy orchard is a less susceptible orchard. Promote overall tree health by providing the right growing conditions, proper nutrition, and good watering practices. This includes maintaining good air circulation, avoiding excessive nitrogen fertilization, and ensuring adequate drainage to prevent waterlogged soil.

Additionally, consider incorporating beneficial insects and natural predators into your orchard ecosystem. These can help control pest populations that can weaken your peach trees and make them more susceptible to fungal diseases like peach leaf curl.

By following these long-term management strategies, you can create a sustainable and healthy environment for your peach and nectarine trees, minimize the risk of peach leaf curl, and ensure a bountiful harvest for years to come.

Keeping Your Peach Trees Thriving

Peach leaf curl can be a frustrating foe for peach and nectarine growers, but fear not! By understanding the disease, implementing preventative measures, and taking swift action if infection occurs, you can effectively manage this problem and keep your trees healthy.

This guide has equipped you with the knowledge to:

  • Identify the signs and symptoms of peach leaf curl.
  • Employ preventative strategies like choosing resistant varieties and promoting good air circulation.
  • Implement treatment options, including fungicides and organic solutions.
  • Develop a long-term management plan that emphasizes year-round care and early detection.

Remember, a proactive and consistent approach is key to keeping peach leaf curl at bay. By prioritizing the health of your trees, you can create a flourishing orchard environment that rewards you with bountiful harvests for years to come.

Need a Helping Hand? Ask Sexy Trees! 

For expert advice or assistance with managing peach leaf curl or any other tree care concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Sexy Trees, your local Bay Area arborists! Our team of certified professionals is dedicated to helping your trees reach their full potential.

Let us help you cultivate thriving trees and savor the delicious rewards of your efforts.

 

How Overgrown Trees Can Impact Your Home Insurance Policy

overgrown trees

There’s a gentle giant in your backyard. It’s grown over the years, standing tall and proud. But what happens when this natural monument starts to compromise the shield of your home insurance policy? This isn’t just a hypothetical scenario; it’s a pressing concern for many homeowners.

This blog explores an often-overlooked aspect of homeownership: how overgrown trees can surprisingly twist the roots of your home insurance policy. Join us as we navigate the tangled branches of insurance policies and tree maintenance.

Understanding the Risks of Overgrown Trees

Physical Damages to Property

  1. Roof and Structural Damage

Overgrown trees pose a significant risk to the structural integrity of your home. Large branches hanging over the roof can break and fall due to weather conditions like strong winds or heavy snow, leading to costly roof repairs. In severe cases, the weight of overhanging limbs can cause chronic stress on your roof, leading to long-term structural damage.

  1. Foundation Issues from Roots

Tree roots, while out of sight, should not be out of mind. As they grow, roots can extend far beneath the soil, potentially invading your home’s foundation. This invasion can lead to cracks, leaks, and even severe structural damage, particularly in older homes. The cost of repairing foundation damage can be astronomical, not to mention the potential decrease in your property’s value.

Liability Risks

  1. Damage to Neighboring Properties

Overgrown trees don’t respect property lines. Branches that extend over neighboring properties can fall and cause damage, for which you may be held liable. This liability extends to structures like sheds, fences, and even vehicles, potentially leading to expensive legal and repair bills.

  1. Injuries Caused by Falling Branches

Perhaps even more serious than property damage is the risk of injury. Falling branches can cause serious injuries to anyone beneath them, potentially leading to lawsuits. Homeowners can be held responsible for injuries caused by their trees, which can lead to increased insurance premiums and legal costs.

Environmental Concerns

  1. Impact on Local Wildlife

Overgrown trees can negatively impact local ecosystems. Dense canopies may hinder the growth of ground vegetation crucial for certain wildlife. Moreover, poorly maintained trees can become unstable, posing a threat to nesting birds and arboreal creatures.

  1. Overgrowth and Disease

Unchecked tree growth often leads to overcrowding, which can weaken trees and make them more susceptible to diseases and pests. Diseased trees not only pose a risk to other plants but can also become more prone to falling, thereby compounding the risks to your property and surroundings.

How Insurance Companies View Overgrown Trees

Increased Risk and Liability

Insurance companies assess risk based on potential threats to your property. Overgrown trees are viewed as liabilities due to their potential to cause damage. Insurers consider factors like the proximity of large trees to your home, the health of the trees, and the likelihood of falling branches or root damage. The greater the perceived risk, the more cautious the insurer becomes in providing coverage.

Potential for Higher Premiums

Higher risk typically translates into higher premiums. If an insurance company determines that overgrown trees increase the risk of damage to your property, they may raise your premiums to offset this risk. In some cases, insurers might require tree maintenance as a condition for maintaining standard rates, emphasizing the direct relationship between tree upkeep and insurance costs.

Cases Where Damages May Not Be Covered

There are scenarios where insurance companies might not cover damages caused by overgrown trees. If an insurer deems that the homeowner has been negligent in maintaining the trees, any damages caused by these trees might be excluded from coverage. This is often the case when homeowners ignore warnings or fail to address known safety hazards posed by their trees.

The Financial Implications

Cost of Tree Maintenance vs. Repair Costs

Investing in regular tree maintenance can be significantly more cost-effective than dealing with the aftermath of neglect. The cost of trimming and maintaining trees pales in comparison to repairing structural damages to your home, legal fees from liability issues, or increased insurance premiums. Proactive tree care is a wise financial decision to avoid hefty future expenses.

Impact on Property Value

Well-maintained trees can enhance your property’s aesthetic appeal and increase its value. Conversely, overgrown, unkempt trees can deter potential buyers and decrease the property’s market value. Prospective buyers or property appraisers often view poorly maintained trees as a sign of neglected property upkeep, which could negatively affect the overall valuation of your property.

Long-term Financial Benefits of Regular Maintenance

Regular tree maintenance has long-term financial benefits. It not only prevents costly damages and keeps insurance premiums in check but also contributes to sustaining your property’s value. Healthy, well-kept trees are assets to your property, whereas neglected trees are liabilities. In the long run, the investment in regular tree care ensures the financial health and safety of your property.

Navigating Insurance Policies

Understanding Your Coverage

Know Your Policy Inside Out: It’s crucial to understand what your home insurance policy covers regarding tree-related damages. Policies vary widely, and the devil is often in the details. Look for specifics about tree damage, such as conditions under which a claim is valid and exclusions that might apply.

Tips for Communicating with Your Insurer

Effective Communication is Key

  1. Be Inquisitive: Don’t hesitate to ask questions. If certain aspects of your policy are unclear, seek clarification.
  2. Update Regularly: Inform your insurer of any significant changes in your property, especially concerning tree growth or removal.
  3. Stay Proactive: Discuss potential risks with your insurer and seek their advice on mitigating them.

Documenting Maintenance for Insurance Purposes

Keep a Visual Log:

  1. Before and After Photos: Regularly take photos of your trees before and after maintenance. This visual evidence can be invaluable.
  2. Keep Receipts: Maintain records of all tree maintenance work, including dates and the nature of the services provided.
  3. Professional Assessments: Periodic reports from certified arborists or tree care professionals can be strong documentation for insurance purposes.

The Role of Tree Maintenance Services

Benefits of Professional Tree Care

Why Go Pro?

  1. Expertise: Professionals have the knowledge to identify potential problems early.
  2. Equipment: They have the right tools for safe and effective tree care.
  3. Efficiency: Professional services can complete the job quickly and safely, reducing the risk of DIY accidents.

How to Choose the Right Service Provider

Selecting Your Tree Care Partner:

  1. Certifications Matter: Look for services with certified arborists on their team.
  2. Check Reviews: Research their reputation. Online reviews and testimonials can provide insights into their reliability and quality of work.
  3. Insurance is Essential: Ensure they have adequate insurance coverage. This protects you in case of accidents during the job.
  4. Compare Quotes: Don’t just settle for the first option. Get multiple quotes and compare services.
  5. Ask for References: A reputable company should be able to provide references from previous clients.

By navigating your insurance policy with a keen eye and investing in regular tree maintenance, you’re not just protecting your home; you’re cultivating a safer, more secure environment for your family.

Ready to turn over a new leaf in your property care? Don’t let the complexities of tree maintenance overshadow the joy of your home. Reach out to Sexy Trees, where expertise meets passion in the art of tree care. With our team of certified professionals, your trees will be more than just an aesthetic delight—they will be a testament to your commitment to safety and responsibility. Contact Sexy Trees today, and step into a world where beauty and safety grow together in harmony. 

Preparing for Another El Niño Year

Preparing for Another El Niño Year

As the crisp air of fall settles and the leaves turn to yellows, reds, and oranges, the arrival of winter looms large on the horizon. This particular winter, however, promises a dramatic departure from the norm due to the resurgence of the El Niño phenomenon. With the first signs of its influence already apparent, preparing for an El Niño winter, particularly focusing on tree care, becomes essential for fostering resilient landscapes.

Understanding El Niño’s Impact

El Niño, part of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, is characterized by prolonged warmer ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, influencing weather patterns worldwide. This year’s El Niño, having begun in June, is anticipated to be robust, extending its stay into the early months of spring.

Anticipated Weather Patterns

Historically, El Niño brings about a dichotomy in weather trends across the United States. The jet stream’s southward shift results in cooler, wetter conditions in the South, while the North experiences milder, drier climates. These variations could mean increased precipitation in drought-stricken southern states like Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, offering much-needed relief.

Region-Specific Trends

El Niño’s influence isn’t uniform. California, the Southwest, and the Northeast exhibit less predictable patterns. The strength of El Niño determines the frequency of storms in the Southwest, potentially leading to contrasting scenarios. Similarly, the Northeast, while generally milder, remains susceptible to powerful coastal storms.

Historical Perspective

Looking back, recent El Niño years such as 2018-2019 and 2015-2016 have delivered notable weather events, ranging from record-setting precipitation to large-scale snowstorms. The upcoming winter, paralleling the 2009-2010 El Niño in forecasted strength, raises the specter of increased cold and precipitation, particularly along the East Coast.

Tree Care Amidst Variability

Given this unpredictable weather tableau, how does one ensure the well-being of trees? Adapting tree care practices to the anticipated challenges of an El Niño winter is crucial.

Addressing Drought Conditions

For regions anticipating drought relief, the increased precipitation is a double-edged sword. While beneficial, excessive moisture can lead to root rot and fungal infections. Implementing proper drainage and regularly monitoring the trees’ health becomes essential.

Bracing for Storms

In areas bracing for storms and increased precipitation, securing trees against strong winds and heavy snow is vital. Regular pruning, securing young trees, and applying anti-desiccant sprays to evergreens help mitigate damage.

Coping with Milder Conditions

Conversely, trees in regions expecting milder conditions require adaptation to reduced water availability. Adjusting irrigation systems, applying mulch, and prioritizing water for younger trees are strategies to navigate these challenges.

Beyond Immediate Measures

While addressing immediate weather challenges is paramount, considering long-term tree health is equally important. Planting diverse species, investing in professional tree assessments, and developing tailored tree care plans are steps towards fostering resilient landscapes.

Learning from the Past

Reflecting on previous El Niño winters offers valuable insights. The varied impacts, from record-setting wet conditions to unprecedented snowstorms, underscore the importance of preparedness. By studying past events, adapting tree care practices becomes a more informed, proactive endeavor.

As we stand on the cusp of another El Niño year, anticipating its diverse impacts, the importance of tailored tree care cannot be overstated. The unpredictability inherent in El Niño underscores the necessity of preparedness and adaptability in nurturing our trees.

Taking a leaf from history’s book, learning from past El Niño years, and implementing informed tree care practices are our best defense against the challenges ahead. Whether you’re anticipating storms, drought relief, or milder conditions, adapting your tree care routine is essential for fostering resilient, thriving landscapes.

For expert assistance in preparing your trees for El Niño, consider reaching out to Sexy Trees. Our dedicated team specializes in providing tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of your trees, ensuring they remain robust and healthy, come rain or shine. Take action now and secure the wellbeing of your trees for the seasons ahead.

Fighting Back: Effective Control Methods for Elm Leaf Beetles

elm leaf beetles

In the battle against nature’s pests, the mighty elm leaf beetle may seem a formidable opponent. From their distinctive yellow bodies to their voracious appetites, these pests pose a significant threat to the health of your beloved elm trees. But don’t fret just yet. Even when faced with a tough adversary, there’s always a way to fight back. And that’s what we are here to explore—how to effectively control and protect your trees from the infamous elm leaf beetle.

The Siege of the Elm Leaf Beetle 🐞

Let’s paint a picture. It’s a glorious spring day, and you notice your elm tree’s leaves are riddled with small, round holes and yellowing prematurely. To the untrained eye, it might seem as if fall has come too soon. But you know better. These are classic signs of an elm leaf beetle invasion.

Born from clusters of orange or yellow eggs laid on the underside of leaves, the beetle larvae feed voraciously on leaf tissue, leaving a skeletonized pattern. In large numbers, their feeding can cause severe defoliation and, over time, weaken the tree, leaving it vulnerable to diseases and other pests.

Don’t let your trees succumb to this onslaught!

Know Your Foe: Identifying the Elm Leaf Beetle and Differentiating It from Similar Pests in California 🔍

Accurate pest identification is paramount in the battle against infestations. Here, we’ll focus on distinguishing the elm leaf beetle from similar pests found in California. This identification is vital for applying effective control methods. Let’s start with the basics.

Identifying the Elm Leaf Beetle 

The adult elm leaf beetle is approximately 1/4 inch long, possessing a narrow, somewhat oval body. The beetles are typically olive-green to yellow, sporting a black stripe along each side of their wing covers.

Their larvae, which are more destructive than the adults, present a stark contrast. Approximately 1/2 inch long, they range in color from yellow to black, and feature two black stripes along each side of their bodies.

Now, let’s see how to distinguish them from other beetles commonly found in the Golden State.

The Western Sculptured Pine Borer: Metallic Marauder 

The Western Sculptured Pine Borer might be confused with the elm leaf beetle due to its similar size. However, this borer is metallic brown and has a fluted, sculptured appearance on its wing covers. Unlike the elm leaf beetle, this pest targets pine trees, specifically the bark and wood.

The Fuller Rose Beetle: An Unassuming Pests 

The Fuller Rose Beetle could be another beetle mistaken for the elm leaf beetle, particularly in its larval stage. However, the adult Fuller Rose Beetle is a grey-brown weevil and does its damage primarily at night. They are known to chew the edges of leaves of a variety of plants, not just roses.

The Spotted Cucumber Beetle: A Garden’s Nightmare 

The Spotted Cucumber Beetle is another pest that could be confused with the elm leaf beetle. Adults are yellowish-green with black spots, and they are known to affect a wide variety of plants, including cucumbers and other squashes, corn, and roses.

Recognizing the elm leaf beetle among these similar pests is crucial for implementing the most effective control methods. If you’re unsure of the specific pest your trees are facing, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a pest control expert. They can accurately identify the problem and suggest the most appropriate treatment to safeguard your trees.

Defensive Tactics: Non-Chemical Controls 

Many might be tempted to reach for the strongest, quickest-acting chemical pesticide. But there’s more than one way to fight this battle. Let’s consider non-chemical controls first.

1. Predator Allies 🦉

Nature often provides its own checks and balances. Predators such as birds and parasitic wasps can help to control the elm leaf beetle population. Encouraging these natural predators to reside in your garden or property could be a long-term, sustainable solution.

2. Tree Banding 🌳

Tree banding involves placing a sticky band around the tree’s trunk to prevent adult beetles from climbing to lay eggs. It’s simple, cost-effective, and safe for the environment.

3. Regular Pruning ✂️

Pruning dead branches and removing dead leaves in autumn can minimize the number of sites available for the beetle to overwinter, disrupting their lifecycle.

Fighting Fire with Fire: Chemical Controls 

If non-chemical controls aren’t enough, don’t lose hope. Chemical control options can serve as an effective last line of defense against severe infestations.

  1. Insecticidal Soaps and Oils 🧼

Insecticidal soaps and oils are less harmful to the environment and can effectively control elm leaf beetles, especially in their larval stage.

  1. Systemic Insecticides 💉

In cases of severe infestations, you can drench the soil with systemic insecticides for the tree to absorb. These are taken up by the tree and transported throughout the plant tissues, providing protection from the inside out.

Before applying any chemicals, it’s always essential to consult with a professional to ensure you’re making the most informed and safe decisions for your trees and the surrounding environment.

Stand Your Ground: Elm Leaf Beetle Resistance

Here’s a compelling piece of data: Studies have shown that certain elm tree varieties demonstrate resistance to the elm leaf beetle. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, Chinese elm, ‘Drake’ elm, and ‘Pioneer’ elm exhibited lower rates of beetle infestation.

While this method might be a more long-term plan, selecting elm leaf beetle-resistant tree varieties could provide an enduring solution for future generations of elm trees in your landscape.

Victory is Possible: Recap 

The elm leaf beetle might seem like a formidable adversary, but don’t forget—you’re not defenseless in this battle. With a combination of defensive tactics such as predator allies, tree banding, and regular pruning, along with judicious use of chemical controls, victory is possible. And for the long haul, planting elm leaf beetle-resistant varieties can help fortify your landscape for the future.

Always remember, your first line of defense is vigilance. Regularly inspect your trees for signs of infestation. In doing so, you will be better equipped to respond swiftly and decisively, giving your trees the best chance of staying healthy and robust.

It’s Time to Arm Your Elms 🛡️🌳

Your elm trees are under siege, and they need your help. Are you ready to take up arms against the elm leaf beetle? At Sexy Trees, we’re passionate about equipping you with the knowledge, tools, and services needed to protect and preserve your precious greenery. From professional advice on pest control to expert pruning services, we’ve got you covered.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t just stand by as the elm leaf beetle wreaks havoc on your trees. Be the hero your garden needs. Contact us today and let’s give those beetles a battle they’ll never forget!

Your trees are sexy; let’s keep them that way!

How to Deal With Foamy Bark Cankers

foamy bark cankers

Foamy bark cankers are a common problem that affects various tree species, including maple, oak, and dogwood. These cankers are caused by a fungal infection that leads to the formation of foam on the bark of the affected trees. If left untreated, foamy bark cankers can significantly damage the tree, leading to stunted growth, dieback, and even death.

However, with the right approach, dealing with foamy bark cankers effectively and saving your trees is possible. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of foamy bark cankers, as well as provide tips and strategies for managing and preventing this issue from occurring. Whether you’re a homeowner or a professional arborist, the information provided in this article can help you keep your trees healthy and thriving.

How to Identify Various Canker Types

Identifying the type of canker affecting your trees is crucial in developing an effective treatment plan. Different kinds of cankers have unique characteristics that can help you distinguish between them. Here are some common canker types to look out for:

Sunken Cankers

One of the most common types of cankers is the sunken canker. This canker appears as a depression on the tree’s bark and is caused by a fungal infection. Over time, it can lead to dead wood and wood rot.

Blister Cankers

Another type of canker is the blister canker, which appears as a raised, blister-like lesion on the bark. Bacteria cause this type of canker and can lead to the formation of sunken cankers over time.

Target Cankers

A third type of canker is the target canker, which appears as a series of concentric circles on the tree’s bark. Fungal infection also causes this type of canker and can significantly damage the tree’s vascular system.

Foamy Bark Canker

A foamy bark canker is a fungal infection that affects the bark of various tree species, including maple, oak, and dogwood. The condition leads to foam production on the bark, which can be a telltale sign of this type of canker. The foam is caused by the activity of the fungus, which produces gas as it consumes the bark tissue. Foamy bark cankers can cause significant damage to the tree if left untreated, leading to stunted growth, dieback, and even death. It’s essential to promptly identify and address foamy bark cankers to prevent the spread of the fungus and preserve the health of the affected tree.

How and Why Do Foamy Bark Cankers Form? 

The fungus responsible for foamy bark cankers belongs to the genus Geosmithia, and it commonly enters the tree through wounds or cracks in the bark. Once inside the tree, the fungus begins to consume the bark tissue, producing gas as a byproduct of its metabolism. The gas production leads to the formation of foam on the bark, a distinctive symptom of this type of canker.

Foamy bark cankers can form on various tree species, but they are most commonly found on maple, oak, and dogwood trees. The fungus is particularly active during warm and humid weather conditions, which can promote the growth and spread of the infection.

The presence of foamy bark cankers can weaken the tree’s immune system, making it more susceptible to other diseases and pests. As the infection spreads, it can lead to the formation of cankers, dead wood, and wood rot, which can ultimately cause the tree’s decline or death. Therefore, it’s essential to identify and address foamy bark cankers as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tree.

What to Do If You Identify a Foamy Canker on Your Tree

If you spot a foamy canker on your tree, it’s essential to take prompt action to address the issue and prevent further damage. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Prune the Affected Area

The first step is to prune the affected area of the tree to remove the infected bark and wood. It’s crucial to make the cut at least 4-6 inches below the visible signs of the infection to ensure that you remove all the infected tissue.

2. Sanitize Your Tools

After pruning, it’s important to sanitize your tools to prevent the spread of the fungus to other parts of the tree or other trees in the area. You can use a solution of 10% bleach or 70% alcohol to sanitize your tools.

3. Apply Fungicide

After pruning and sanitizing your tools, you can apply a fungicide to the affected area of the tree. Fungicides containing copper are effective in treating foamy bark cankers. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the fungicide.

4. Monitor the Tree

Monitor the tree for any signs of further infection or decline. If you notice any new symptoms, such as cankers, dead wood, or stunted growth, you may need to take further action to address the issue.

5. Consult a Professional

If you’re not comfortable addressing the issue yourself, it’s best to consult with a professional arborist. They can accurately diagnose the problem and provide you with a treatment plan that is tailored to your tree’s specific needs. Remember, early detection and intervention are key to preventing the spread of foamy bark cankers and preserving the health of your trees.

Preventing Cankers

Preventing cankers is an essential part of maintaining the health of your trees. Here are some steps you can take to prevent cankers from forming:

1. Proper Tree Maintenance

Proper tree maintenance is crucial in preventing cankers. Regular pruning can help remove dead or diseased wood and promote healthy growth. Be sure to prune during the dormant season to reduce stress on the tree.

2. Avoid Wounding the Tree

Avoid wounding the tree as much as possible. Cankers often form on trees that have been injured or wounded. Be careful when mowing or using other equipment near the tree to avoid damaging the bark.

3. Practice Good Hygiene

Good hygiene can help prevent the spread of fungal infections that can lead to cankers. Be sure to sanitize your tools between uses to prevent cross-contamination.

4. Manage Stressors

Managing stressors, such as drought or nutrient deficiencies, can help keep your tree healthy and less susceptible to cankers. Proper watering and fertilization can go a long way in preventing stress.

5. Apply Fungicides

Applying fungicides preventively can also help prevent the formation of cankers. Fungicides containing copper are effective in preventing fungal infections. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying fungicides.

By following these preventive measures, you can help reduce the risk of canker formation and maintain the health and vitality of your trees.

Don’t let cankers and other tree issues cause irreversible damage to your beautiful trees. Contact Sexy Trees today for a consultation, and let us help you keep your trees healthy and thriving. With our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, you can trust that you’re getting the best possible service. 

If you’re a Bay Area resident looking for expert tree care services, then Sexy Trees is the company for you! Our team of certified arborists has the knowledge and experience to help you with all your tree care needs. Whether you need pruning, tree removal, or help with a canker infestation, we’ve got you covered.

Meet Sherri

Sherri

Meet Sherri, the newest arborist at Sexy Trees. With eight years of experience as an arborist technician apprentice, Journeyman and certified arborist for the City and County of San Francisco, Sherri brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her new role. Working for the city, she was the only female in her program and operated under the guidance of her instructor, Alex, who happens to be one of our very own ISA Certified Arborists. Sherri became an arborist technician for the first program to be state-certified. As part of her new role, she climbed trees to prune them and emphasized tree diagnosis. 

Sherri

Sherri’s interest in arboriculture stems from her background in emergency medical services. During her arboriculture studies, she became fascinated by the similarities between the vascular systems of trees and humans. Trees have complex circulatory systems that transport nutrients, water, and other vital substances throughout their structure. They also have specialized cells that perform functions similar to those of human blood cells. This connection between trees and the human body piqued Sherri’s interest – she recognized the importance of understanding how trees function in order to properly care for them and ensure their health and longevity. As she learned more about arboriculture, she became increasingly interested in the science of diagnosis and the art of pruning.

Sherri’s background in emergency services also prepared her well for the fast-paced and sometimes hazardous work of arboriculture. She deeply emphasizes the importance of safety and the need to be prepared for unexpected events. Her experience taught her to be calm and focused in high-pressure situations and to take a systematic approach to problem-solving.

Sherri’s goal is to gain board-certified Master arborist status through the ISA, and she is always seeking new ways to expand her education. As a lead arborist with Sexy Trees, Sherri meets with clients and asks questions regarding their trees, from aesthetic pruning to health issues. She determines which issues are urgent or emergent, such as split limbs, and creates a plan of action. Sherri also specializes in tree risk assessments and thrives in the “emergency side” of the field, enjoying the science, adrenaline, and desire to be there for her clients.

Sexy Trees is a family-oriented company, and Sherri felt welcomed with open arms when she joined the team. She loves working here and the ever-changing titles that she holds. With her passion for trees and desire to learn, Sherri takes on every task with the same level of respect and attention. She is also passionate about continued education and knowledge, ensuring that she is always up-to-date with the latest research in arboriculture. She takes pride in being able to find answers to any questions that she may not have the answer to.

Sherri is a mother of three wonderful sons, one of whom is a certified gardener. She is a second-generation San Francisco native who spent summers climbing trees with her dad in Nevada City. As a kid, her dad called her the “goat” after her love of climbing.

Sherri currently resides in Novato with her Husband. When she first moved to Novato, there was a suffering magnolia tree in front of her house that hadn’t been adequately cared for. As she studied arboriculture in school, she started to learn more about tree care, including dehydration, pruning times, and root care. She applied her knowledge to the magnolia tree, and five years later, the tree is gorgeous and thriving. Seeing the results of her work firsthand only reinforces her passion for the field and her desire to help others care for their trees.

Sherri is a knowledgeable arborist who is dedicated to her craft. Her passion for trees and desire to learn continually make her an asset to the Sexy Trees family.

Nesting Season is Almost Here!

Nesting Season

Get Ready for Nesting Season

Be on the lookout and enjoy the show while the birds begin to build their nest! Bird nesting season usually occurs in spring (around March 20 – June 20). Many birds are gathering materials, starting construction, and even starting to care for their young.

Some birds weave together grass and twigs to form a basket. Others might use binding materials, such as mud or even their own saliva to build or help support the nest. Nest construction can take 3-4 days up to 2 weeks. Egg laying is Usually 1-2 days after nest construction.

It might surprise you to learn that they are not snuggled into cozy nests. The only time of the year when birds sleep in nests is when they are incubating eggs or keeping their young warm. During the rest of the year, birds select a roosting spot. Often they use the same roost night after night.

In general, the best thing you can do for a bird nesting near a human dwelling is to try to minimize the disturbance—stay at a respectful distance, minimize foot traffic, door openings/closings, and postpone projects or construction slated for the area. Never attempt to remove or relocate a nest if there are birds or eggs present. It is best to wait until after nesting season for any removal or relocation. Eggs in a nest without signs of the parents don’t necessarily mean the nest has been abandoned.

As always, if you need anything from us, please let us know! You can call us at (925) 690-3620 or Contact Us.

Enjoy this video of some bird friends making a nest:

Be Prepared For Aphids!

Aphids

What are Aphids?

Aphids are small sap-sucking insects and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea that feed on green leafy plants. An aphid colony can destroy a garden, and unfortunately, they tend to attract colonies of ants.

Most aphids that cause problems early in the season will hatch from eggs in spring. Initially they stay on the plants where they hatched, but later in spring and summer you may see them moving to other plants.

That means in early spring, before bud break (usually in April/early May), is a great time to treat plants with our soil injection method containing a systemic insecticide. This application will provide season-long control of aphids and other insects that can damage your plants.

If you had problems with aphids last year, call us or contact us to get on the treatment schedule before overwintering aphids hatch.

Reduce Tree Risk: How to Recognize & Prevent Tree Hazards

reduce tree risk

Trees are a lovely part of nature that we all enjoy in our yards and on tree-lined streets. But beautiful as they are, trees can be dangerous. Trees or branches can fall and cause injuries or damage to property. Recognizing these types of tree hazards before they happen is sometimes apparent – dead branches, leaning trunks, rotted wood, or fungi are easy to see with the naked eye. Other signs may not be so obvious, and a silently hazardous tree is much more dangerous than one that is clearly a hazard.

This blog post will discuss how to reduce tree risk by recognizing and preventing tree hazards.

Reducing Tree Risk: The Basics

Reducing tree risk is as easy as some basic knowledge and, sometimes, the help of a qualified arborist.

Regular inspections from an arborist will identify potential hazards and provide recommendations for remediation. In addition, basic knowledge about trees can help you prevent many dangers in the first place. For example, proper pruning techniques can help a tree stay healthy and robust, while incorrect pruning can damage a tree and make it more susceptible to disease or structural problems.

By following these tips, you can help keep your trees healthy and reduce the risk of hazards on your property.

Identifying Potential Hazards

Does your tree:

  • Have dead or hanging branches?
  • Appear to be leaning?
  • Show signs of rot, such as mushrooms growing at the base of the trunk?
  • Have cracks or splits in the trunk?
  • Display broken or damaged roots?
  • Have heavy or major branches that are growing horizontally?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your tree might be in danger of falling and causing damage or injury. These are all signs that you should have your tree inspected by a qualified arborist.

Reduce Tree Risk

Reduce Tree Risk by Preventing Hazards

  1. Dead or Hanging Branches. Dead or hanging branches are a common hazard and can be easily prevented with regular pruning. If pruning yourself, always use the proper techniques to avoid damaging the tree.
  2. Leaning. Trees naturally lean a little bit, but if your tree is leaning more than 15 degrees, it may be in danger of falling. This is often caused by an uneven root system or damage to the roots. If you suspect your tree is leaning too much, have it inspected by an arborist.
  3. Rot. Rot is caused by fungi that breaks down organic matter, and it can make your tree structurally weak. If you see mushrooms growing at the base of your tree or any other signs of rot, have an arborist inspect it as soon as possible.
  4. Cracks or Splits. Cracks and splits in the trunk are usually caused by damage to the roots or heavy branches. These can make your tree more likely to fall, so it’s vital to have them inspected and repaired by an arborist.
  5. Broken or Damaged Roots. Root damage can cause several problems, including leaning, cracking, and splits. If you suspect your tree has damaged roots, have an arborist inspect it.

Precautions for Storms and High Winds

Storms can cause trees or branches to fall, even if the tree is healthy.

To prevent storm damage, it’s essential to:

  • Prune dead or hanging branches before the storm season.
  • Remove any damaged or diseased trees before they have a chance to fall.
  • Reduce the number of branches in the canopy to reduce wind resistance.
  • Anchor large trees with guy wires to prevent them from toppling over.
  • Stake young trees or those that are prone to storm damage.

If a storm is approaching, it’s also essential to:

  • Remove any loose items from your yard that could be blown into your trees and damage them.
  • Move your car to a safe location away from trees.
  • Stay inside during the storm and avoid areas where trees could fall.

Check Out Our Related Resource: How to Properly Dispose of a Fallen Tree

Is Your Tree Hazardous? Consult with an Arborist to Find Out

An arborist is like a tree doctor – they are experts in the care and maintenance of trees. If you suspect your tree is hazardous, the best course of action is to consult with an arborist. They will be able to inspect your tree and provide recommendations for reducing the risk of hazards.  Typical consultation can cost from $100 to $250 depending on the Arborist. 

Talk to us at Sexy Trees if you suspect your Bay Area tree might be at risk of becoming a hazard.