Tree Planting Myths

Tree Care Blackhawk

Earlier this month, we discussed the benefits of adding new trees.  From improving breathability to increasing coolness and energy efficiency, trees have a big impact on your life.  However, how do you go about adding trees?  There are a lot of myths out there about planting trees.  Are they true?  We explore a few tree planting myths in this article.

Pruning in Advance

There is a belief that you should prune a tree before planting it, especially when an area appears dead.  The dilemma with this technique is that you maybe pruning too early.  Trees regain a dead areas nutrients.  Thus, it’s critical to allow the tree to go through its normal process before pruning.  If you do not, you maybe causing the tree to lose valuable nutrients.  Leave the tree alone and do not prune before you plant it.

Deep Planting

A common tree planting myth is that planting needs to be really deep to allow for the tree to take root but this is inaccurate.  In fact, if you plant a tree too deep then you run the risk of keeping nutrients and water away.  These vital vitamins tend to be nearer the surface so planting it deeply will restrict access to them.

Use Tight Bracing

Many individuals think that bracing new trees to make them sturdy is crucial.  This is partially true.  While bracing your new tree is important, you shouldn’t make it too tight.   The tree must be allowed to still sway. This movement allows trees to get much needed calcium so it can be healthy.

More Mulch

Mulch is good for keeping moisture and nutrients but there are limits.  More in not always better.  Keep the depth at no more than 3 inches of mulch to ensure that you aren’t suffocating the tree with mulch.

If you have questions or unsure of the tree planting myths or how to plant a tree, contact the certified arborist at Sexy Trees.

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.

Tree Pruning Tips in Time for Spring

Alamo Tree Service

In preparation for the spring growing season, there are a few things you can do to help your trees stay healthy and strong for years to come. These aren’t large tasks, in the scheme of things. As you know, trees don’t ask much of you in general. With a few days of attention a year, you can have hearty, lush trees for years or decades.

Start Before Spring Growth Begins

While your deciduous trees are still bare, visually check them for signs of disease or damage that might be masked by full leaf cover later. This is also the best time to prune, while pruning is least likely to spread pests or diseases that are inactive in winter. Target dead, unhealthy, or dangerous branches for pruning, and follow safe tree pruning tips.

If you have any doubts about proper tree pruning, educate yourself on tree pruning. Hire a professional if you aren’t sure you can do it in a way that’s safe for the tree, and safe for all people and property involved.

Readying for Blooms

Before your trees bloom, they’ll need to be in good health to get through the energy expenditure of blooming! Ensure they’re prepared by using a long-lasting fertilizer at the very start of Spring. There are multiple fertilizing and nutrient-delivering options available, talk to your local arborist if you’re not sure what option is best for your tree and goals.

Spring in Full Swing

When spring has fully arrived, it’s time to renew mulch under your trees, making sure you’re using an appropriate mulch for your landscape and applying it properly. This’ll prevent weeds and grass from leaching nutrients away from your trees, and preserve moisture for your tree’s roots.

If you need help with pruning, fertilizing, or other tree care, call Sexy Trees (925) 233-6877

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. 

Apple Trees in the Bay Area: Good or Bad Idea?

Tree Service Concord

If you already have apples trees in the SF Bay Area, then you already know: Apple trees are great here. Not effortless, but not hard.

 

Which Apple Trees are Good in the Bay Area?

Apple varieties that are “Low Chill” can be found at most Bay Area nurseries, and these are the ones you want. Among these are ‘Baldwin,’ ‘Braeburn,’ ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin,’ ‘Fuji,’ ‘Gala,’ ‘Golden Delicious,’ ‘Red Gravenstein,’ ‘Spitzenburg,’ ‘White Pearmain’ and ‘Yellow Bellflower.’

Of course your property may already have an apple tree or many of them. To find out what kind of tree you have, whether it’s in good health, and what its needs are, you can set an appointment with Sexy Trees to come out, examine it, and schedule any maintenance it needs.

 

What Kind of Care Do They Need?

If you have a newly planted apple tree, now is the time to have it pruned.  As your tree grows, prune for the four “D’s”: Dead, Diseased, Damaged or Disoriented Branches. Fruit trees, including apples, benefit from pruning in winter and summer.

Your tree also needs sunlight to fruit, not in general, but specifically: each branch with perform in alignment with how much sunlight it receives. Apple trees don’t do well in shade, and pruning should reflect that, being mostly at the top of the tree so that maximum surface area gets strong light exposure.

Top-dress your apple trees with compost each fall. Also, lay down mulch about 3 inches deep and  about 4 inches from the trunk, which keeps back weeds and retains moisture.

Unless they’re self-fertile, apple trees need pollination to produce fruit. Neighboring or nearby apple trees are needed for pollination to bear fruit, after honeybees and other insects pollinate the trees. Once fertilized, their flowering can be followed by good fruit set.

 

For help with your apple trees or any tree on your property, contact Sexy Trees today to get top quality services from a Diamond-Certified professional arborist.

Signs of a Dying Tree

Tree Service Danville

We rely on trees for our livelihood as they provide the oxygen that we breath to survive. This is why many of us feel a kindred connection to trees and the outdoors. However, trees are not indestructible or immortal. They can get sick and do die over time. As with humans, there are signs that you should be aware of so you can quickly identify a sick or dying tree.

 

Loss of Leaves

During the autumn and winter months, it is quite common for trees to lose the foliage. This is very normal. Should a loss of leaves occur in the spring and summer months, this is a clear indicator of a problem. Similarly, if the leaves turn brown and brittle during said months. Sometimes, a sick tree may get reddish/brown leaves in these same months.

 

Inspect the Branches

Beyond the leaves, take a look at the branches of a tree. If no bark exists, this is a sign of an issue. It is called deadwood. Such branches are often prone to falling and be a great area for fungus growth. Should you see such signs, you should contact a certified arborist right away. Even if your tree is not dead, this could be an indication of an infestation and you want to prevent it from attacking the healthier parts of your tree.

 

Absence of Bark

Related to the above, the peeling or loss of bark is a strong indicator of disease. The presence of missing bark can also be caused by things like weed eaters or environmental conditions that make a tree highly vulnerable to bacteria, disease or fungus. While such situations may not be enough to remove the tree, a tree inspection by a certified arborist would allow you to ensure your tree is kept healthy.

 

Trunk Firmness

If the tree’s trunk becomes hollow or soft, it is usually a sign of a dying tree. It is similar to a potato that goes bad. It becomes squishy and if you leave it out long enough it starts decomposing from the inside out. Some signs of such decay are mushrooms, cavities, insect damage, or any of the other conditions discussed above.

 

Roots

Although you are unlikely to see this most of the time, damage to the roots is another indicator of a problem with your tree. Some indications of this issue are soil rising around the base of a tree or visible roots that show decay. Another sign could be a reduction in the tree coverage or a lean in the tree.

Regardless of what the factors maybe that lead you to believe there may be a sickness or death to the tree, a certified arborist can both be a great resource to do a proper inspection and/or do routine preventive care. Contact the certified arborist at Sexy Trees at 925.233.6877.

Spring Mulching

Concord Tree Service

 

Spring is starting in two weeks and besides spring cleaning, many of us start focusing on our yards. Mulching is the key thing to do for your landscaping. It can help with your trees and plant health if applied properly. However, if you do too much, then it could negatively impact things. Spring is the best time to start mulching. So what is the proper way to mulch?

1. Choose your Mulch Carefully

Mulch is not as simple as throwing some wood chips in an area. It also is not a matter of picking the one that looks best. You want it to bring the proper minerals to your soil while also retaining moisture, protecting your landscaping, and keeping those nasty weeds away.

Organic mulch is generally best for most trees and bushes. The living matter in them can provide valuable ingredients to your soil as it decomposes. Several varieties exist and you can usually find some at your local gardening place or through online stores like Diablo Mulch.

There are some other, more common mulch varieties may save you some money but you need to make sure you keep some things in mind. For instance, you could use cut grass but you need to let it dry out before placing it or you’ll end up damaging your soil.

2. Quantity

While in many things in life, more is better, this isn’t the case with wood chips. The best quantity for trees is about 2-3 inches deep with between 3-10 feet around the base of a tree. As the wood chips decompose, you may need to add an inch each year to keep the aesthetics.

3. Proper Mulching Technique

Think about when you’ve gone hiking and how the ground looks around trees. If you recall, it is covered with leaves, wood particles, and other organic items. This is the same fashion in which mulch should be placed.

4. Preparation

Prior to mulching in the Spring, you want to get the area around trees prepared to apply the wood chips. A good rule of thumb is to remove the grass and other items from within the 3 to 10 feet around the tree in which you’ll apply the mulch. This will ensure that the mulch will keep the right amount of moisture in while providing proper drainage.

Upon clearing the area, the next step we recommend is getting some compost and placing some in the impacted area. You should then water this area and then apply the wood chips. This will provide your tree with adequate water with the wood chip keeping it in.

A quick word of caution, do not use mulch within about a foot of any structural foundation. This is to limit the likelihood of creating an environment for termites to crop up.

Mulch provides an essential element for your trees. Should you have questions about mulching or other tree care for your East Bay home, contact Sexy Trees certified arborist at 925.233.6877.

What Should You Ask a Tree Care Specialist?

Berkeley Tree Service

 

Many of us either ignore our trees, do some self-tree care, or simply ask the gardener to do the tree service. Is this best way? Usually these are not the right approaches to ensuring your trees thrive. The following are some key things to ask you Tree Care Specialist:

  • Please give me your experience level

When speaking to tree care specialist, their experience level is critical. They may have seen many situations and been around various tree scenarios. Among their experiences should be becoming a certified arborist. Certified Arborists go through extensive testing to ensure they are familiar with the nuances of caring for trees. Sometimes the difference between a healthy tree and a sick one could be hard to identify differences in how it was pruned or cared for.

  • What things should I do regularly to care for my tree?

Whether it’s watering, pruning, or adding supplements, caring for a tree is very individualized. Each tree will be getting a set of nutrients from the soil, but it does have other needs. An oak tree will have different needs than a peach tree, and those will also vary according to terrain and climate. Each has to be cared for appropriately to ensure maximum health. Get specific recommendations about level of watering, sunlight, etc. A certified arborist has this knowledge to evaluate the tree and make quality recommendations.

  • What is your approach to pruning a tree and why?

As you are speaking with a tree care specialist, some will recommend some pruning or even tree removal. Always ask the essential question of “why?”. If they give you a very generic answer, it’s important to follow up and ask again for the basis of their recommendation. Hacking a tree shorter or removing it without a true need could permanently damage this living being.

Sexy Trees has a certified arborist with years of experience. We do offer tree evaluations. If you have questions about planting trees, feel free to reach out at Sexytrees.com.

5 Tips For Caring For Mature Trees

Berkeley Tree Pruning

 

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

Water Your Trees Correctly

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

Prune Mature Trees Properly

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

Protect Tree Roots

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

Inspect Mature Trees For Pests And Diseases

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

Nourish the Soil

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

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

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