What’s the Best Tree to Build a Treehouse?

Concord Tree Pruning

Building a treehouse is a fun and challenging project for the whole family, but it also requires some careful planning. Otherwise, you can run into safety risks, as well as damage the health of your tree. If you’re ready to build a treehouse, this article will help you make the most important decision— selecting the best tree.

Species of Tree

When considering your options to build a treehouse, remember you need a tree with deep roots and dense wood to hold your structure in place and withstand strong winds. Some species are simply more prone to having weak forks and brittle branches. In general, look to deciduous trees like apple, oak, or maple. It’s easy to recognize deciduous trees because, unlike evergreens, they shed their leaves in the colder months.

Ready to Build a Treehouse? Safety Comes First

While it depends on the design and its location in the tree, a trunk diameter of 12 inches or greater is the suggested starting point. Of course, another possibility when building a treehouse is to support the load between two (or even three) trees, instead of one. This would allow for smaller minimum diameters, especially if you select a tough species.

To determine diameter use a pliable fabric measuring tape, or even a piece of string. First, measure the circumference where you intend to build supports, then divide this figure by pi (3.14) to find the diameter. Remember, the size of the tree will ultimately limit the size of your treehouse.

If I Build a Treehouse, Won’t it Damage the Tree?

Eventually, a tree will compensate for the extra weight on its frame, but in the first few years, it’s most vulnerable during windy storms. Make sure you choose sturdy but lightweight materials that will hold up against the elements. Nails and screws just aren’t strong enough to be used for major supports and can cause health problems for the tree. Additionally, cables and ropes slice through bark. The trouble with these exposed punctures is that they provide an entry point for infections. For fixing supports it’s best to use a single large bolt that’s fitted properly into a drilled hole, but this isn’t a guide on the actual practice of building a treehouse, so it’s important for you to do your own research.

Getting a Professional Inspection

One common mistake homeowners make when building a treehouse is they forget the tree is alive and needs room to grow. To ensure you don’t overlook anything, and your treehouse lasts for years to come, it’s best to have the tree inspected by an arborist before you begin to build. Our trained professionals can help you assess your trees for any hidden signs of weakness that might put your treehouse at risk. We love a good DIY project. Please contact us at (925) 233-6877.

Tree Removal: What Happens to a Tree After You Remove It?

Lafayette Tree Pruning

Cutting down a loved tree is a hard decision, but sometimes an essential one. When a tree becomes a trouble or a safety hazard, whether due to its falling fruit, fragile wood, or disease, the best choice may be to cut it down. After a tree removal job, you may be speculating what happens to the tree’s roots after the tree is cut down. What about the stump?

Always consult a proficiently trained arborist to inspect your trees for damage and to help you decide the best solution for your landscape.

 

What happens to a tree’s roots after it’s cut down?

Once a tree is cut down, the trunk is broken off into mulch and hauled away or cut into smaller logs or blocks for extra purposes, but the roots stay in the ground. Without leaves, the cut tree cannot make food for the growth of its roots. However, the roots might have sufficient nutrients left to allow the development of sprouts from the roots or the leftover stump. If a sprout grows enough leaves, it can eventually grow back into a tree. If a tree doesn’t create root sprouts, then it’s doubtful it’ll re-grow. Instead, the roots will ultimately decompose.

Once your tree is cut down, you are left with the tree base. Now you have to make one more important decision—let it settle or get it removed.

 

Does a tree stump and its roots need to be removed?

It’s up to you whether to remove a tree stump from your yard or not. There are many reasons why it could benefit your landscape and property.  Here are three things to think about when you make this decision:

 

1. Tree stumps can be hazardous

Stumps sticking out of the ground can spree children running around in your backyard, causing injury. Furthermore, yard work becomes harder, as you have to maintain the area around the stump, and avoid tree stumps and root areas while mowing your grass. If you don’t, you run the danger of ruining your lawnmower by running them over.

 

2. Tree stumps can ruin your aesthetic

Tree stumps scattered around a well-manicured lawn stand out like sore thumbs, ruining the aesthetic of your scenery. The aesthetic of your land, in turn, has a result on its real-estate value. A large number of tree stumps could force your property value down. Besides that, tree stumps take up a lot of valuable space in your yard. This space could be re-purposed into an outdoor porch or a space to entertain guests and hold family picnics.

 

3. Tree stumps can give access to pests and insects

Tree stumps are breathing systems that can be host to several pests and insects. During the long decomposition procedure stumps go through, they encourage insects like ants, termites, and beetles. These pests can increase to other plants in your lawn, or even your house, if not restricted properly.

 

If you have questions about tree removal in your yard, contact Sexy Trees, certified arborist.

Why Hire a Professional Tree Service?

Lafayette Tree Service

When is it time to hire a professional tree service? For most of us, trees are a necessary part of our landscapes, and it’s essential for your property that you take care of them and keep them well. Tree removal is a proactive way to protect your house when storms come through and keep the wreckage a little more controlled. And when you need storm clean up, you should call in the pros to ensure that the work is done with complete awareness to detail.

 

Full-Service

What precisely does a tree service company do? Beyond just trees, they offer stump removal or grinding, tree trimming, firewood services, limb trimming, pruning and maintenance of trees and bushes. They can also recommend you on how to keep pests and diseases away from valuable landscaping. Some companies will also offer fertilization, soil ventilation, tree planting, removal of dust, tree cabling and bracing, and evaluations.

 

Tree Trimming Adds Beauty and Value to Your Landscape

Tree care is a brilliant way to tighten and improve the look of your landscape. An arborist service adds pleasant aesthetics, as well as improves your curb appeal. If you’re trying to sell your house, you’ll discover that your property makes an impression within the first few seconds, and you want that to be a positive one. If you plan on living in your house somewhat permanently, then guests and neighbors will love the gorgeous look of your trees, and you’ll appreciate being in your outside space even more. The professionals will also offer roof cleaning services to improve the look so that you don’t have to worry about leaves and branches cluttering your space when the work is done.

 

Time Saving

When you hire experts to do the job, you are hiring people who know what they are doing. They make a complex task look easy and do the work within half the time of what you might perform. This will save you a lot of time, and money, as they may complete the whole project in one day. Tree services take time and effort, and unless you have the gear, time, and means to get it done professionally, it is not worth the effort to do it yourself. Leave this to the experts.

 

It’s More Affordable than You Realize

When you understand it’s time to trim a tree, many people end up spending a considerable amount of money getting new equipment. However, when you bring in the pros, you’ll discover that it’s more reasonable than you realize and the best companies will work within your budget. Further than trimming trees, you’ll have access to base grinding services. A full-service company will offer everything from stump elimination to cleaning your roof to planned trimming techniques. Once you hire a professional tree service, you’ll wonder why you didn’t begin sooner!

 

Sexy Trees offers a wide range of services, including tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, tree removal, and much more. To learn more, please contact us at (925) 233-6877.

Adding New Trees

Tree Care Pleasant Hill

Can you imagine a community without trees?  There is a reason why cities invest so much in parks.  The effect that trees have is unbelievable.  So what are the benefits of adding new trees even when your city has some?

Breathability

Trees provide the air we breath while filtering many of the toxins in the air.  A single tree can provide the air for at least a dozen individuals.  At the same time, the trees will get rid of carbon dioxide and pollution in the air.  This is all done through the tree’s process of photosynthesis.

Cool

In the heat of the day, don’t you always wish to be under the shade of a tree.  More trees mean greater shade and cool sections around town to thwart the summer heat.  Similarly, this helps keep your home cooler so you save on energy costs.  In addition, the shade also reduces the need for water in your yard.  As a result, you can save on the amount of water for your landscaping when you have more shaded areas.

Water Runoff

A great way to prevent flooding and erosion of your yard is to add trees to your landscaping.  They act as a barrier and canopy to rain water.  Thus, the water runoff is prevented and/or slowed down.  At the same time, the impact on the runoff also slows down the rate of pollution in our water supplies.

Tree Care and Maintenance

As you are growing them, it’s important to take proper care and maintenance of them.  You should understand the soil and water needs for each type of tree.  Also, identify the best location to plant them to maximize the impact they have around your home and neighborhood.  We strongly recommend that you contact the certified arborist at Sexy Trees if you have questions or need help with your tree planting needs.

Identifying Tree Hazards

Tree Service Walnut Creek

Going to a park or a natural park brings serenity and peace.  The trees in these areas provide an area of comfort and relaxation.  However, these trees can also pose a danger.  A fallen branch or even an incubator for pests could pose problems for you or your surrounding area.  So how does one go about identifying tree hazards?  Here are some ways to recognize them:

Separation

When you are looking at trees, it’s important to identify points where there maybe cracks or splits.  If these cracks or splits go into the branch or seem to be covering the entire part of a limb, then this would be a method for identifying tree hazards.  Should the separation be going down the middle of a trunk, this is a critical scenario that needs your attention.  A certified arborist would be the right person to help you identifying the tree hazards.

Dying

Over time, parts of a tree may start dying.  To protect from hazards, knowing areas that maybe failing and removing them promptly will help protect you and your surroundings.  If you do not address them, then they could cause a limb to fall or break off.

Disease

Trees that get diseased can be a huge problem.  Some diseases cannot be cured but others are solvable.  A common sign of disease is the loss of bark without any bark growing in its place.  Another indication of disease is the existence of fungus.  If parts of a tree have a mushroom, this could be indications that the tree is sick.  Should you see these signals, contact a certified arborist.

Leaning

When a tree starts leaning in a dramatic fashion, this is another sign of problems.  It showcases that the tree maybe structurally failing  This is another situation where a certified arborist should be called in to evaluate the situation.

If you have questions or need to speak with a Certified arborist, contact Sexy Trees.

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 Tree Suggested Side of the Yard Feng Shui Benefit
Pine Trees Eastern Longevity for members of the home
Lime and Orange Trees Southeastern Financial wealth and success
Peach Trees Western Growth in personal relationships
Apple and Pomegranate Trees Southwestern Love 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.

 

 

 

 

Protecting Trees During Construction

Berkeley Tree Pruning

When building new structures, existing trees are often the main features in your landscape design, and need to be carefully preserved. But how do we go about protecting trees during construction?

Unfortunately, many times pre-existing trees have difficulty surviving construction. This can lead to unsafe or hazardous conditions and expensive post construction removal costs. With planning, communication and cooperation, existing healthy trees can be preserved with minimal effort and expense. Trees need their roots protected during the construction process.

 

Plan With an Arborist

Always have a professional arborist involved in the planning (and maybe execution) of the project. Small changes in the placement or design of buildings, driveways or utilities can make a difference in protecting trees during construction. Alternative construction methods are generally easier than growing a new 20 year old tree. If utilities can’t be routed away from trees, tunneling or hand dug trenches are worth considering, to place the utilities directly below the trunk, where they do the least damage.

 

Inventory Your Trees

Map the location, species, size, and health of each tree on the development site. This can help you decide which trees to keep, which to remove and which to put limited effort into keeping. Your arborist can tell you which trees probably shouldn’t be selected for preserving. These should be removed prior to construction. Be sure to prune trees that need additional clearance to make room for future structures and construction equipment.

 

Tree Protection Zones

You’ll want to erect sturdy fencing around each tree that is to be preserved before construction starts. For each inch of trunk diameter, the fence should be about one foot from the trunk. So a ten inch diameter trunk gets fencing 10 feet from it. A three inch layer of mulch should be applied to the area within the TPZ. This provides your tree with both above and below ground protection.

Mount Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) signs to the fences and ask all construction personnel to keep fencing intact. No trenching, digging or soil disturbance of any kind should happen in the TPZ. No building materials, waste materials, excess soil, paints or supplies should be within the TPZ. The area should be considered off-limits.

 

Before Construction Starts

A healthy tree is more likely to survive the construction process than one that’s stressed. Be sure trees are receiving proper irrigation in addition to rainfall if needed. Prune dead, diseased, or hazardous branches. Also remove branches that will interfere with construction equipment and machinery.

 

Stay Engaged: Protecting Trees During Construction

Visit the construction site and inspect your trees on a regular basis. An arborist’s presence alerts workers that trees are important and their careful treatment is important. Should damage occur, begin repairs as soon as possible. Immediately inform the builder/contractor of any violations in the tree preservation plan and photograph any damage. All protective fences should remain in place until all construction workers have left the site.

 

Minimize Soil Compaction

Construction equipment and vehicles are a common cause of soil compaction. Have your project manager limit access points and designate routes on and off of the property. The fewer, the better. They should also designate areas for parking, storage of equipment, construction materials, excess soil, etc.

 

Grade Changes

Grade changes directly affect the roots of a tree. This happens either by removing roots when lowering the grade, or suffocating the roots when raising the grade. It can also change drainage, creating excess water in some areas and not enough in others. Except where absolutely necessary, do not change grade within the Tree Protection Zone. If raising the grade is necessary, we recommend not adding more than two inches of fill each year. Lowering the grade removes important roots and your rich topsoil. If a lowering of the grade is necessary, have your arborist root prune at least four to six months before construction starts and use a regular irrigation schedule before during and after root pruning.

 

Post Construction

It can take several years for trees to overcome and adjust to the injury that occurs during construction. These changes can be stressful, and trees that are suffering from stress are naturally more prone to insect and disease infestations than healthy trees. It is important to establish a long term maintenance program with your arborist to monitor and maintain the trees.