Bark Mulch or Rock Mulch: Which is Better for Garden Beds?

Alamo Tree Pruning

Mulch is great for gardens, helping to retain moisture, protect plants and adding a decorative finish to your beds. Mulch can greatly improve the condition of your garden, replenish the soil and keep your garden neat and maintained. But when it comes to mulching your garden, wood mulch is not the only option. There are many choices of material for mulch, but two of the most common and popular are bark or wood mulch and rock mulch. Both of these mulch types perform the essential functions of retaining moisture in soil and keeping the soil insulated. Here we look at the difference between these two mulch types and which is better for your garden beds.

Bark or Wood Mulch

Bark and wood mulch are organic mulch types that are made from shredded bark or wood. Wood and bark mulch are naturally brown or black, however they can be dyed a variety of colors to match your tastes. Bark and wood mulches are available from professional arborists, who obtain the mulch from healthy trees. Natural wood or bark mulch has an appearance like wood chips or small pieces of bark. It also releases a natural earthy smell when placed on your garden.

One of the most significant and distinctive benefits of wood and bark mulch is that it decomposes and adds nutrients and nitrogen to your soil. Wood and bark mulch is also inexpensive, has a more natural appearance, and looks great in every garden bed. Wood and bark mulch effectively form a preventative barrier against weed growth and help avoid the need for edging material. Wood and bark mulch are also relatively soft and make it easy to garden even with the mulch covering.

However, there are also some disadvantages of wood and bark mulch. One of the most significant disadvantages is that wood and bark mulch needs to be replaced every 1 to 2 years as the mulch breaks down or is washed away. The vibrant color of wood and bark mulch can also fade in sunlight. Wood and bark mulch can potentially draw in pests and insects attracted to the small, broken pieces of wood.

Rock Mulch

Rock mulch offers a polished and flawless coverage for your garden beds. Rock mulch consists of any type of stones or gravel used to provide cover and protection for garden beds. The size of the rocks can range from very small to as large as a fist, and rock mulch is available in a variety of colors.

One of the greatest benefits of rock mulch is that it does not need to be replaced as often as wood and bark mulch. Rock mulch is hardy and won’t wash away or decompose.  Rock mulch can also be ideal for sloped gardens as it holds its position well.

Rock mulch is much more expensive than wood and bark mulch, but it also lasts longer. While rock mulch doesn’t decompose, it may wear thin overtime, and you will need to find the same rock type and color to replace your coverage. One of the disadvantages of rock mulch is that weeds can grow through the gaps in the rock especially if organic matter and debris is allowed to collect on the surface of the rock mulch. Rock mulch is also heavy and difficult to remove if you change your mind or decide to add or take away plants from your garden.

Which Is The Best Choice For You?

Choosing the right mulch type for your garden beds depends on the type of plants you have and the look you’re going for. For plants that need extra nourishment, stable soil temperatures, and potentially moving or replanting, wood or bark mulch is best. if your plants can withstand higher soil temperatures and require less nutrients and nitrogen in the soil, rock mulch may be the best choice for you.

Having a local arborist inspect and analyze your garden bed and plants can help you identify the right mulch choice for you .

Moving a Tree: How Easy Is It To Transplant A Tree

Berkeley Tree Care

While the perfect landscape can last for years, there may be times where you need to make changes. You may need to extend or remodel your home, move to a new house, or deal with an overgrown tree or shrub. But this doesn’t always have to mean tree removal or leaving your favorite tree and shrubs behind. Moving or transplanting a tree allows you to keep your beloved trees by moving them to a more suitable location. While this gives you more options when deciding what to do with an out of place tree, it’s not always easy to move a tree. Here we look at how to evaluate when you can move a tree, and how moving a tree can help you maintain the garden you want.

Plan Your Tree Transplant

A tree transplant can’t be done in a hurry, and adequate planning and preparation needs to go into your tree transplant process. You need to ensure you have sufficient time and budget to put in to moving a tree properly so that it survives the transplant process. Times of year when the ground is dormant and the temperature not too hot or cold, such as spring or fall, are ideal for moving trees.

You need to ensure you take into account time to prune tree roots in the season before you plan to move the tree. You also need to have ability to remove what could be a large tree along with the root ball to a new location. Keep in mind that for every inch of tree trunk diameter you should include 10-12 inches of root ball attached. This can mean that for a more mature tree, you will need a large truck or piece of machinery to move it. If this is the case, it can be helpful to call on your local arborist for professional assistance in moving your tree.

Think About Location

Moving a tree successfully is all about finding an appropriate location to move it to. It’s important to consider the species and characteristics of your tree, because different tree types require different conditions to flourish. It’s important to evaluate sunlight levels and the soil type and drainage. It can also be helpful to inspect the final tree destination to ensure its also free of pests and diseases. Because transplanting a tree is difficult, you don’t want to do it often. Ensure that your new location is suitable and provides plenty of room for your tree to grow and flourish.

Transplant With Care

The transplanting process should be done with great care, and by a professional arborist if possible. Tree roots need to be adequately watered beforehand to soften the soil and ensure the soil also sticks to the roots. During tree transport, the tree should be adequately supported, with the root ball kept moist. If the tree needs to be transported uncovered or left for some time before replanting, the roots should be kept moist with wet burlap or fabric and kept in the shade. Soil at the new location should also be kept soft and moist to aid planting and prevent damage to the root ball.

Be Prepared To Look After Your Tree

Transplanting a tree can be a source of stress and shock from which it can take the tree sometime to recover. It’s important you leave time to water and care for the tree appropriately for at least 1-2 years after transplanting, depending on the size of the tree.

When it’s time to give your favored trees a new home, transplanting a tree is the ideal way to move them. Keep them healthy and safe with adequate preparation and after-care, and work with a professional arborist to move large, bulky and difficult trees.

5 Essential Steps for Spring Tree Care

Danville Tree Care

Spring is the time for new life, new growth and regeneration. And nowhere is that truer than in your garden. Spring is the perfect time to get to work on creating a better outdoor environment, cleaning up after winter and planning for the summer ahead. Tree care and garden maintenance during Spring is essential to prepare your trees for healthy new growth and resistance to pests and diseases. Here we look at 5 steps for essential tree care during spring.

Boost New Growth

Spring is the time that your trees and plants want to burst forth with fresh new growth, and proper tree care can help to encourage this new growth. Facilitating new growth means working on an inclusive approach to garden care, as well as mulching and watering your garden to nourish the roots. Mulch helps the soil warm up and begins to regenerate nutrients and minerals after the long cold of winter. Watering the soil also helps to encourage new growth so that your trees have enough nutrition and water to reach their full potential.

Garden Clean Up

Spring is the perfect opportunity to clean up your garden and refresh your outdoor space. Your garden ‘spring clean’ should involve clearing up any fallen fruit, branches, leaves, or debris to help your garden stay clean and thrive. A messy garden can contribute to the spread of disease, pests and fungus infections, so cleaning up your garden for Spring is essential.

Check For Disease and Pests

Because Spring is the season for new growth, it is also the time to check for latent disease and pest infestations. Check for any abnormalities on the trunk or branches of your tree and check the tops and undersides of any leaves on the tree. It can also be useful to check around the base of the tree for holes or any evidence of pest damage.

Plant New Trees

As the season for regeneration, Spring is the perfect time to plant new trees and shrubs. It might be helpful to talk with a qualified arborist regarding the right timing for planting, and the ideal placement of your new trees. This should take into account the projected growth pattern of your trees to ensure your space can accommodate and nurture your new trees.

Prepare For Spring Weather

Spring can also bring rain and storms that can challenge or damage your garden. Spring tree care should involve strengthening and reinforcing your trees by removing weak limbs. You can also get the assistance of a professional arborist to cable and brace any risky branches. You can also have your trees professionally pruned by an arborist if they are untidy or overgrown to prevent issues during storms.

A Spring garden clean is the perfect opportunity to provide your trees and shrubs with some much-needed care and maintenance, and to prepare them for the warmer weather. Contact your local arborist for professional assistance or advice to create a flourishing, healthy garden for spring.

When Do Trees Grow Their New Leaves?

Concord Tree Care

 

While bare branches and naked landscapes are the telltale signs of winter, we expectantly await fresh, new growth in the spring. Warmer weather is the trees’ cue to leaf out and present their new springtime growth. But how do trees know when to grow their new leaves? And is there any way for us to predict this phenomenon?

While we can’t pinpoint with accuracy the date that trees will begin to sprout their new growth, there are various ways we can estimate the approximate timing by observing the environmental patterns trees respond to. This can help us to establish when to expect new growth by and how to best care for our trees to ensure they put forth new growth on time.

The Cue for Trees to Leaf Out

Trees sprout their new leaves according to temperature changes that are usually associated with going from winter to spring. During cold weather, it doesn’t make sense for trees to sprout new growth, with less water availability and sunlight. But once the weather starts warming up again, it’s time to capitalize on the increased sunlight and water availability.

Trees respond to two different aspects of our changing seasons. First, there must be a period of prolonged cold weather, at chilling temperatures between 25 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps to juxtapose the incoming warmer weather. These cooler temperatures trigger the balance of hormones and enzymes needed to break out new growth when warmer temperatures come.

While new growth won’t break through on the first warm day, once the days are more consistently warm, it signals to the tree that spring is here and it’s time for new growth.

Secondly trees respond to the longer days and shorter nights that come with changing seasons, syncing their new growth with the signals of spring.

What If Your Trees Don’t Sprout New Growth

There are several factors that can affect or inhibit new tree growth. Whereas trees have been shown to adapt to changing climate conditions, sudden changes can mean that trees don’t receive enough chilling to break dormancy once warmer weather comes.

If your tree seems to be barren but other trees in your area are sprouting new leaves and branches, don’t panic. It may be that your particular species of tree breaks out a little later than others. This is a normal phenomenon.

If you do become concerned that your tree is remaining leafless for longer than seems normal, contact your local arborist. An arborist will not only be able to diagnose any specific issues with your particular tree, but can also help you understand any local environmental trends that may be affecting new growth this year. If a tree is green inside, it’s still alive and waiting for its time to sprout forth.

However, if your tree doesn’t sprout or the new growth is shriveled or black you may need an arborist’s expert assistance to correct the issue.

While all trees sprout their new springtime growth on their own timing, if you’re concerned about your trees new growth, contact your local arborist for professional advice.

The Effect of Rain Storms on Trees

Lafayette Tree Service

Rain storms can be both positive and detrimental for trees. On one hand, rain storms provide essential water to feed and fuel trees while the force of storm winds also strengthens trees and their roots. But similarly, the power of storms can damage trees, stripping them of leaves and branches, and even completely uprooting them. This becomes a major concern when large trees are growing in close proximity to dwellings or businesses. Understanding the effect of storms on trees is important for both home and business owners, as well as landscapers and professional arborists. This understanding can not only allow us to protect trees from storms and prevent storm damage, but also helps us to make the most of the benefits of rain storms on trees.

The Benefits of Rain Storms

Rain storms don’t have only negative effects on trees. Rain storms are also very beneficial for trees. Tree root systems are uniquely designed to hold large volumes of water if necessary, acting as reservoirs for storm water that helps to reduce flooding. This also acts as a source of water and nourishment for the trees when water supplies are low.

Rain storms usually include strong winds as well, and these can provide a beneficial effect for trees. Occasional strong winds help to strengthen trees and provide reinforced root systems to prevent trees bending, breaking or being uprooted. Research has shown that trees will specifically grow stronger in one direction to protect themselves from strong winds that consistently approach from one side.

How Rain Storms Can Negatively Affect Trees

Of course, the negative effects of rain storms on trees are often clearly seen in the aftermath of rough weather. Fallen branches, cracked, broken and split trunks, and completely uprooted trees can frequently be seen after bad storms. Rain storms can cause property damage for houses and businesses when trees fall on buildings, or branches go through windows. The stripping of leaves and branches from trees can also result in costly clean-up and to maintain the safety of outdoor areas.

How To Manage Storm Damaged Trees

If you have a storm damaged tree on your property, it’s important to control the damage as soon as possible. For minor issues, such as fallen branches and leaves, a simple clean up should eliminate the hazards on the ground, and regular tree care should help your tree recover.

However, more severe or complicated tree damage such as split or cracked trees or uprooted trees may require the work on an arborist to correct. A skilled arborist can prune your tree or remove your tree to control damage and remove hazards. Stump grinding can help to remove traces of a fallen tree and allow you the opportunity to regenerate your garden and replace the tree. It’s best to remove fallen or dead trees promptly, as they can rot or act as reservoirs for pests and disease if left fallen.

How To Prevent Tree Storm Damage

Regular tree care and arborist service helps to keep trees strong and healthy, and reduce the impacts of storm damage. Corrective pruning can eliminate issues as soon as they start, while cabling and bracing can protect weak branches. It’s important to pay close attention to dead or diseased trees, as these trees can be more likely to fall in the event of a rain storm.

By monitoring and correctly pruning the trees on your property, you can avoid tree and property damage, and allow your trees to take advantage of rain storms with less of the drawbacks.

4 Situations Where Trees Need Protection

Tree Service Concord

 

Throughout history, trees have been a source of shelter and protection for humans. Trees still provide protection by functioning as windbreaks, stabilizing soil, helping the land to store rainwater, and moderating soil and air temperatures. However nowadays, our trees are more likely to be treasured for their role as ornaments for our homes and gardens. While trees still provide protection for us, there are some situations where trees need our protection to grow and flourish.

Weather

Because we now plant trees outside of their natural habitat, we often need to protect trees from weather conditions that might negatively affect them. Most trees are wind resistant, bending and moving naturally with the wind. However, allowing your tree to become overgrown puts the tree at greater risk of succumbing to high winds. Professional tree pruning allows you to keep your tree’s branches in check and protects your trees from windy weather.

Cold weather can also affect trees. Paying attention to the outdoor temperatures and the forecast for the winter months can help you adequately protect vulnerable trees. If it is possible to move the trees or shrubs (because they are potted), move them to a more protected location. Other susceptible trees can be covered in a burlap, tarp or sheet frost cover to protect from cold weather. Talk to your local arborist about the specific needs of the trees in your garden, and how to best protect them during harsh weather.

Pests

Pests can be a normal part of every garden, but left to get out of control they can destroy your trees and plants. Protecting your trees from pests involves paying close attention to the state of your trees and your garden to monitor pest activity and stay prepared. Of course, you can always use spray pesticides to manage pests, but many homeowners prefer to avoid these. Instead, consulting with your local arborist about pest control and maintaining a clean and tidy area around trees helps protect trees from pests and limit pest attacks in the first place.

Home Construction

Building a new home or a new addition to a home is an exciting time, but the existing trees in your landscape need to be taken into account. Protecting trees during building construction should be a priority as trees offer so much to a property, including bolstering property values. Discussing your construction plans with a tree specialist or arborist can help you develop a plan that takes your existing trees into account and protects them from damage.

Exposed Tree Roots

Exposed tree roots can be an eyesore and a hazard, so what should homeowners do about them? Tree roots become exposed not because they grow above the ground, but because the soil that originally covered them has eroded away. The easy solution to protecting these roots from the lawn mower blade (and protecting the roots from being trip hazards) is to add a circle of mulch around the tree base. This offers a more stable solution to keeping the roots protected and minimizing trips.

While trees offer us the most protection, there are times when they need our protection as well. Developing a plan to protect your trees with your local arborist helps to keep your trees healthy, so they can continue to add beauty to your home for years to come.

4 Steps To Reviving A Topped Tree

Tree Care Pleasant Hill

A topped tree can be the result of unskillful or over zealous pruning. Topping a tree is when the topmost, healthy, leading branches are chopped off the tree to provide a quick and lazy pruning solution. While tree topping is best avoided in favor of careful and dedicated pruning by your local arborist, if you do have a topped tree, all is not lost. From this point it is critical to seek professional tree care and allow your tree time to heal and regrow if you want to see it thrive again.

Call A Local Arborist

A topped tree needs extra TLC, and your local arborist is the tree professional who can offer it. An arborist can help identify where your tree pruning went wrong, and identify a plan to nurse your topped tree back to health.

Topped trees are weak and unstable and prone to decline, but with the care of your local arborist you can identify the care and corrective pruning your tree needs to flourish again.

Give Your Tree Time

One of the most important things a topped tree needs is time. A topped tree has lost its prime energy and fuel producing leaf growth, and needs time and specialized care to regenerate this growth.

However, you may be happily surprised at how quickly your topped tree starts to put forth new growth. These fresh new branches are called water sprouts, and they need time to establish themselves. Avoid tampering with these sprouts until they have grown to the original height of the tree, as this is a sign the sprouts have established themselves.

Protect Strong Sprouts

The strongest of these initial sprouts are called the leaders. The leaders are the dominant branches that should be the tallest and free from any damage, cracks or pests. These leader branches will become the strong new branches of the tree, so it’s important to protect them and ensure their growth and health is promoted.

Trim Sprouts

In the initial stages of your topped trees healing, there is limited resources and energy to support the new growth, so the strongest and healthiest branches need to be prioritized. Contact an arborist to come and identify the strongest and weakest branches and appropriately prune the weakest branches in order to allow the strongest branches to flourish.

 

The short sprouts that are stronger and look like they could catch up to the new leader should be left to provide additional volume to the new growth. The new leader sprouts need to be monitored in order to support their healthy growth and to ensure the regeneration of the topped tree. This careful pruning process needs to be repeated over the next 4-6 years in order to facilitate the growth of the new branches. Contact a professional arborist to expertly trim the new branches in order to train them and cultivate new growth without limiting the regeneration of your topped tree.

 

A topped tree can be successfully repaired and returned to it’s former glory, but it does take some extra time, care and attention from you and your local arborist to bring your tree back to full health.

How To Care For Your Christmas Tree (And Your Trees At Christmas!)

Tree Service Walnut Creek

Are you planning on bringing home a real Christmas tree this year for an exciting addition to your holiday celebrations? Providing proper care for your fresh cut Christmas tree ensures that it lasts throughout the holiday season and continues to bring joy to your friends, family and guests. When you cut and pick up your tree, more than half of it’s weight is water, so with special tree care and management you can promote the longevity and beauty of your tree. At the same time, as we come into winter, it’s important to also keep in mind the trees in your own backyard, and how they should be best cared for during the holiday season.

At The Tree Lot or Farm
If you want to ensure your tree lasts right through the holiday, it’s important to begin with careful selection when you are buying your tree. Give you tree a quick shake to check that the tree doesn’t drop too many needles, and inspect the tree for brown areas and dryness. Wrap your tree in plastic or a net for the drive home to preserve and protect the branches.

Setting Up Your Tree
Of course, everyone wants to decorate the tree as soon as you bring it home, but it’s important to prepare and set up your tree so it stays fresh and healthy. If your tree was freshly cut when you bought it, you can bring it home and place it immediately in a bucket of water. If your tree was bought pre-cut, it’s necessary to cut an additional inch off the bottom of the trunk before placing in water. Cutting your tree trunk flat is more effective for water absorption than drilling holes.

Water, Water, Water
Arborists and tree experts agree that the most important part of Christmas tree care is ensuring your tree has enough water. You should provide one quart of water for every inch of tree trunk diameter and check the water level everyday. It’s quite normal for a tree to absorb a large amount of water one day and just a little the next. Keeping your tree adequately watered is key to preventing it drying out and dropping needles by the end of December. The temperature of the water is not important and nothing needs to be added to the water either to maintain tree health.

Tree Care at Christmas
It’s also important to care for the other trees in your garden in the cooler holiday season. Call your local arborist for some expert help or advice for the trees and shrubs in your yard, to ensure they stay in perfect health throughout December. Having your local arbborist deliver fresh mulch can help to protect the roots and keep your trees healthy through winter. If there doesn’t seem to be a lot of rainfall during winter, make sure you water your trees and shrubs deeply a few times a week to prevent them drying out.

Taking good care of your Christmas tree during the holiday season helps to ensure the festive cheer this special addition brings can last even longer. It’s also ideal to use this opportunity to take care of the trees in your yard as well, and with professional advice from a qualified arborist you can support and nourish your garden to thrive in the new year.

5 Tips for Preparing Your Trees and Shrubs for Winter

Concord Tree Removal

Now is the ideal time to prepare for winter by tidying your yard and protecting your trees and shrubs in advance of the cooler weather. Tree care undertaken before the mercury starts to drop can protect trees from dry conditions and damage, as well as help prepare you for the next year’s season. Here we look at 5 tips to help you care for your trees and shrubs and prepare your garden for winter.

Light Tree Pruning

Tree pruning and thinning of branches before winter can help to reduce canopy weight and the stress on your tree for when temperatures drop and sunlight is reduced. Trees often can’t sustain the rapid growth they put forth in summer, so light tree trimming before winter can help to maintain tree health and vitality and prevent dropped branches. Pruning and thinning foliage in trees and shrubs helps to make best use of diminished sunlight in winter.

Mulching

Mulch has a multitude of benefits for trees and shrubs, and mulching in winter can produce some of the greatest advantages. Mulching protects trees and plants from drastic temperature changes, insulates roots, and provides vital nutrition to the soil. Mulch also helps your soil to retain moisture and controls weed growth around your trees. Your local arborist can deliver mulch to your door for easy use in your yard, or you can keep your own mulch after removing a tree.

Cable and Brace Weak Spots

Colder winter temperatures, less sunshine and reduced soil nutrition can be hard on trees, and these conditions place more pressure on weak branches. Cabling and bracing can help to support weak branches through difficult conditions, so call your local arborist for an inspection. A professional arborist can swiftly and accurately ascertain the stability of your branches, identify weak spots, and apply expert cabling and bracing where necessary.

Nourish the Soil

Winter is a time where nutrients in the soil can be more difficult for tree and plant roots to access, and the soil nutrient levels can be depleted. Nourish the soil in fall by applying mulch and fertilizer while the weather is not yet cold, in order to build up nutrient stores deep in the soil. Before the cold weather sets in, it’s also the ideal time to water deeply to prepare the soil and your trees for winter.

Remove Problem Trees

Dead or dying trees can often cause issues in winter, as storms and bad weather can knock them down causing damage to people or property. Be sure to have the trees in your yard and around your house inspected by a professional arborist to check for disease and pests, and have any dead or dying trees professionally removed. Undertake stump grinding to remove all traces of dead trees and prevent tree diseases being spread through your yard.

Winter can be a hard time on your trees and shrubs, but good preparation for the cooler months can help your yard stay beautiful and healthy until spring.

 

Summer Stressed Out Your Trees? Regenerate Your Trees in Fall

Walnut Creek Tree Service

Hot weather and ongoing drought has left California trees drained, dehydrated and in need of a little TLC. Thankfully, with fall here and winter around the corner, now is the perfect time to regenerate and reinvigorate your trees and bring them back to full health. If some of your trees didn’t survive the summer, or you’re looking for a change, fall is also the perfect time to plant new trees and get your garden back in shape before winter.

Prune Leaves and Branches of Existing Trees

A harsh summer may have left dead and dying branches on your trees that should be trimmed during fall and certainly before winter. If your tree added a lot of growth during summer but is still relatively healthy, tree trimming may still be necessary to remove some of the excess leaves and foliage that the tree may not be able to support during winter. Fall is the best time for tree trimming, as you can correct summer growth while also prepare for winter.

Of course, any overgrown trees or trees growing over property or power lines require advanced tree care and should be trimmed by a local arborist. Because winter can mean storms and strong winds that cause branches to drop, make sure a professional tree company inspects your trees for weak branches and applies cabling and bracing as necessary.

Plant New Trees

If you want to plant new saplings, fall is the ideal time, with milder temperatures and moderate rainfall to help encourage new tree growth. If you want to increase the number of outdoor trees in your yard, adding new saplings in fall provides them the ideal conditions to create strong, healthy root systems before the chill of winter.

Regenerate Soil

Dry, hot conditions can deplete the nutrients and moisture content of soil, causing soil to become dry, hard and compacted. Aerating your soil helps to break up compacted ground, and mulching is the ideal way to add essential nutrients and moisture back to your soil. Mulch also helps to protect your soil from the heat of the sun and the chill of cooler weather as winter comes closer. Your local tree care company can deliver mulch to your garden to protect your tree roots and reinvigorate your soil.

Water Deeply

As you regenerate your trees and replace lost water in the soil, it’s a good idea to use deep watering techniques to ensure water reaches the deep root systems and soaks into the soil for longer lasting hydration. It’s better to water deeply just once or twice a week, rather than watering superficially more often. Be sure to pay close attention to watering saplings and decaying trees, as these will need the most TLC.

While hot dry summers can take a toll on your trees and leave your garden looking worse for wear, some expert help with arboriculture from your local tree company and some focused attention on planting, pruning and regenerating the soil, can bring life back to your garden during fall.