The Most Popular Indoor Trees

We offer our Berkeley tree service to residents with backyards, but this week we want to talk about how special indoor trees are too. They can add a living structural element to your home, and even boost your mood. Plus, they help improve air quality. Here are a few of the most popular homebound trees.

Parlor Palm

Parlor palms can help brighten up rooms that don’t receive a lot of natural light. They’re independent and don’t need much love, light, or water to thrive. So if you tend to forget about your leafy friends, or have north-facing windows, the forgiving parlor palm might be right for your home.

Malabar Chestnut

But the giant chestnut craves a bright, indirect light source, and extra water because it comes from swampy wetlands. Make sure your tree is in a pot with good drainage, though. The giant chestnut has a braided trunk and is sometimes called a “money tree.”

Fiddle Leaf Fig

The flowering fiddle leaf fig would be happy in a bright bathroom, where it’s shielded from drafts, but gets some extra humidity. After all, it originated from a lowland tropical jungle in Africa.

Jade Tree

Jade trees are for beginners or people with a black thumb. They have succulent leaves and don’t mind sporadic watering. They just need a sunny window, making them one of the easiest trees to care for.

Norfolk Island Pine

The Norfolk Island pine is an adorable, long-lived variety of tree that you could eventually transfer to your yard. They’re those little holiday trees you see in December, but they can grow quite large, so keep that in mind. If you live in an apartment, this pine will eventually outgrow your space.

Citrus

Citrus trees are a sweet-smelling option, and although they might be a little fussier than some of the other indoor trees, they’re worth it. They have dazzling blooms, plus, just think of the fresh lemonade and citrus pound cake recipes.

Berkeley Tree Service

At Sexy Trees, our team is passionate about the work we do. We believe beautiful trees make the world a better place, and we offer free estimates on our Berkeley tree services. If you have any questions about your indoor or outdoor trees, please call us at 925-233-6877 or email me at alex@sexytrees.com.

Planting Trees in the Fall

Tree Service Danville

Fall is a great time to plant trees. You can take benefits of sales at your local nursery and add a few dimensions to your yard’s landscape. You can even offer your new plants a jump start for next spring with suitable preparation.

 

A lot of experts claim that planting trees in fall is better. In fall, the tree can build new roots without having to nourish the leaves. Water necessities are much lower without the leaves on the tree. To us, it feels cool in autumn, but that is the finest temperature for root growth. Roots grow up best in cool soil.

 

There is probably less range in fall, but good quality nurseries do have many plants available because fall planting is becoming trendier. The other possible benefit is that there are good sales in the fall. A lower price may or may not be a good thing. If the plant is in fine condition, it is a good time to purchase. However, in fall you also discover trees that have been sitting in the garden center all summer and suffering due to the hot climate. These badly treated trees are not as good a deal. Make sure you check the plant’s leaves and soil before purchasing.

 

Right Plant, Right Place

 

Planting trees in fall season varies a little from spring procedures. The most important thing is to pick the right plant for the right location. This will involve research before heading to the nursery to pick out the plant. Consider the height and shape of the plant that is desirable in the landscape. Always plan for the grown-up size of the plant, not what you spot in a nursery pot. This stops plants from overtaking the selected space and decreases maintenance such as pruning.

 

Water to Keep the Roots Moist

 

Once the tree or shrub is planted, keep it properly watered. During winter, the soil does not dry up as rapidly as summer so there’s no need to water as often as the summer months. Test the moisture level and water as required throughout the entire winter. When watering, soak the soil and let it dry completely before the next watering.

 

Why it’s better to plant trees in the fall season

 

  1. Transpiration is low

Transpiration is the progression of water movement through a plant. Low transpiration in the cooler months of fall allows plants to conserve more water than in warmer months.

 

  1. Root generation is high

There is a high potential for roots growing in fall so plants can anchor into the ground and soak up water from the soil easier.

 

  1. More time to establish roots

Planting in the fall provides plants three seasons to develop their roots before the hot summer comes along. A fall planting allows the tree to develop and strengthen roots in fall and again in early spring before leaves develop. This gives the tree a superior chance to lay down a good set of roots before they need to gather water and nutrients for the leaves.

 

If you have questions about how to plant trees, contact Sexy Trees, certified arborist.

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.

The Magic of Mulch

Danville Tree Removal

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

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

 

Basic Mulch Types

 

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

 

Mulch and the Microbiome

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

 

Mulch and Water

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

 

Mulch and temperature

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

 

Mulch and Your Trees

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

Keys to mulching your tree well:

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

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

 

Are You Harming Your Soil Ecosystem?

Danville Tree Pruning

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

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

Using Biocides

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

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

Removing Vegetation

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

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

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

Allowing Soil to Dry Out

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

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

Using Biochar Amendment for Better Soil

Lafayette Tree Service

When used broadly, the term biochar simply refers to charcoal made from any organic matter. Biochar is a type of charcoal that can improve soil quality, not all charcoal is good for this.

Raw biochar can be processed further prior to being added to the garden. Adding it to compost, or soaking it with nutrient rich compost tea, urine, or fish emulsion are commonly used to introduce beneficial organisms and nutrients to the porous biochar.

 

What are the benefits of using biochar in the garden?

 

Optimum Soil Properties

Biochar makes better soil, because it changes soil composition in multiple positive ways. With the charcoal amendment, your soil will have better water handling characteristics. It’s porous structure both drains and retains water better, keeping a more consistent water balance.

Biochar reduces soil acidity, and the raise in soil pH also reduces aluminum toxicity. Your soil will have a higher cation exchange capacity after biochar is added. Cation exchange capacity is a bit of a fancy way of saying that on a molecular level, it can hold onto nutrients better.

 

The Soil Ecosystem

Amended soil enjoys an increased web of fungal life deep inside the soil. Healthy microbes thrive, including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which is a needed soil feature that has a symbiotic relationship with the vascular roots in plants.

In fact, your soil should be teaming with life that interacts with the plants you see above ground. Biochar keeps that web of life healthy for you. The presence of biochar increases the microbial respiration and biomass, meaning you have more microbes and they breathe better. This increase in biomass also means that eroded soil is replaced faster than it would be otherwise.

 

Better Fertilization

The amount of fertilizer required for your trees and plants will decrease because of the biochar content. Most estimates say you’ll need 10% less fertilizer for soil areas that have biochar components.

Because of the chemical and porous nature of biochar, your soil will be able to hold higher levels of available Carbon, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium. This will reduce leaching of nutrients so your soil stays rich.

 

A Long Lasting Investment

The benefits that come from using biochar are not temporary, in fact your grandchildren will be witness to the benefits to the soil that you amend with biochar today. Your trees and plants will grow healthier for years to come as a result of lasting changes that take place in the soil’s inert properties and its ecosystem.

 

To set the foundation for lush trees and healthy lawns, contact Sexy Trees today and arrange for biochar amendment.

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.