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.

Heat Impact on Trees

Tree Service Alamo

When we were younger, we learned about photosynthesis.  This is the mechanism by which trees “breath”.  It is the process to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.  But, how does heat impact trees and this process.  It has a dramatic effect.

Heat Impact

During warmer weather, photosynthesis rates slow down and put more pressure on the trees.  In fact, the heat impact on trees is even more substantial as trees are losing water through their leaves while having lower photosynthesis rates thereby causing a dramatic impact on a trees ability to maintain itself.

Sun Rays

The heat impact from sun rays do result in some tree protections.  Trees as with humans have HSPs.  These are special proteins within them to help protect your body’s proteins from the higher temperatures.  They work to allow for continued cell functioning.  Beyond HSPs, there are other nutrients that help during the heat.  For instance, calcium can provide further stabilization assistance for the body.

Solutions

Beyond the natural protections, you can do a lot to protect your plants and trees.  Here is a short list of recommendations:

  • Modify watering to higher amounts to give your trees and plants more nutrients over the summer months.  Many times, this involves doubling or tripling the watering times during the warmer months.  We recommend spreading this out over the course of a 24 hours rather than merely extending the run time for each iteration.
  • Utilize mulch to keep moisture in and keep the trees cool.  A healthy layer of about 1-2 inches is recommended.
  • Use fertilizer and high quality soil to give your plants the right nutrients.  If you’re unsure, get your soil tested and then mix it with the right combination of nutrients.
  • Do not be afraid to use continued soil sampling to maintain the right balance.

If you have questions about how to maintain the right balance and protect your landscaping, contact Sexy Trees certified arborist.

Natural Solutions to Avocado Tree Pests

Berkeley Tree Service

The avocado also known as Persea Americanus beautifies servings of mixed greens and ties guacamole. The rich green organic product gives a lot of nourishment but avocado tree pests pose a danger. Avocados planted indoors do not grow well however, you can plant your very own trees. A couple of traps will help keep the few bugs that trouble them away, which we’ll collectively call the avocado tree pests.

Types of Avocado Tree Pests

Mites:

Such pests aren’t simple to spot outwardly, however the harm they do to leaves is evident. For the individuals who are asking why the falling leaves are viewed as such a major ordeal, this is on bases that the leaves are imperative to shielding the organic product from the harming sun beams. Whenever permitted to go unchecked, bug populaces are fit for developing quickly. The predator vermin has one eradication solution that is accessible to tree proprietors, yet the best treatment for bugs is particular horticulture oil.

Caterpillars:

For reasons unknown, the famous picture of caterpillars biting through apples has a solid premise in actuality. These pests follow blooms, leaves, and natural products. In the event that they’re sans given rule, they’re fit for crushing a whole avocado harvest in basically no time by any stretch of the imagination. The speed at which they work is a major piece of what makes a caterpillar invasion especially risky to your tree. Caterpillars can be treated with a bacterial splash called Bacillus thuringiensis. By taking consideration to shower the leaves and the inner parts of any buds, you can stop a caterpillar invasion dead in its tracks.

Thrips:

This is a condition that outcomes in scarred avocados and hindered development relying upon how genuine the condition moves toward becoming. You will ordinarily observe these bugs come during a particular season since they like to benefit from developments and shoots while they’re as yet youthful and delicate. Thrips attempt to look for dampness so ceasing an invasion at last comes down to a blend of repulsing the populace on the avocado tree and expelling elective hosts. To battle Thrips, it’s optimal for tree proprietors to haul out any grass or different plants close to the avocado tree and to likewise apply a pesticide or oil and fat-based cleansers intended to slaughter hurtful creepy crawlies.

Mealybugs:

In the event that you see honeydew on your leaves, particularly in blend with a dirty shape, mealybugs might be the reason. Mealybugs are horribly damaging. They suck out the juices of a plant through the leaves, hindering its development colossally and notwithstanding causing the possible demise of the tree in extreme cases. Ants are typically present with mealybugs, yet once the ants are controlled, regular adversaries like winged creatures and ladybird scarabs will generally deal with the invasion rapidly. Minor invasions can be overseen by hand picking or touching with scouring liquor. Greater pervasions can be made do with a solid splash of water and the utilization of an insecticidal cleanser or neem oil.

Subterranean Insects:

The most well-known bug you’ll see on an avocado tree is the subterranean insect, which is fascinating in light of the fact that ants don’t benefit from the avocado tree straightforwardly. The subterranean insect benefits from honeydew which is discharged by a few creepy crawlies, which makes them both a gift and a revile. They’re a gift since seeing ants is a pointer that there is another vermin issue. A revile in light of the fact that the ants can regularly intrude on the organic controls that may somehow upset the culpable creepy crawly. Dispose of ants by first pruning all lower appendages up to a tallness of no lower than 2 feet starting from the earliest stage. At that point apply a wide band of sticky material encircling the base of the tree trunk. This will interfere with the subterranean insect’s capacity to get into the tree enabling you to deal with different bugs determined.

You now know about bugs that can do genuine harm to an avocado tree. Fortunately, a significant number of the conditions referenced here can be overseen and effectively secured against with a solid routine of pruning, cautious regulation of issue zones, and compost.  Avoid Avocado Tree Pests and contact the Certified Arborist with Sexy Trees.

 

Japanese Maple Tree Care

Danville Tree Service

Japanese maples are generally hearty, healthy trees. Japanese maples are pretty easy to raise and care for. They tend not to succumb to disease or infection, but will perform poorly when their needs aren’t being met.

Your Japanese maple will appreciate it if you keep these things in mind:

Don’t Allow Japanese Maple Tree Roots to Sit in Water

If your Japanese maple doesn’t look healthy and well, there’s a good chance that the roots are overwatered. If the soil is too heavy, contains a lot of clay, or doesn’t drain well, that can be affecting the health of the tree. 

Before planting a Japanese maple, you can be sure that the ground is properly aerated with appropriate soil, and plant with the root ball only half burried. Once a tree is in its place, your best move is to monitor soil wetness. Be sure not to overwater, and your tree with thank you.

Don’t Spray Foliage

When you spray the leaves of a tree (any tree really) the water droplets act as little magnifying glasses, concentrating the sun’s power on a small spot until the water evaporates. Some leaves are bothered by this more than others. Although it certainly won’t kill your Japanese maple, this tree would prefer you spray the ground rather than the leaves. Or if you must spray the leaves, don’t do it on a sunny day, please. 

Don’t Over Fertilize 

These trees like soil rich in nutrients, but not rich in commercial fertilizers. In fact, they do better with no fertilization at all rather than many of the fertilizers available at the plant store. If you think your Japanese maple needs fertilizing, consult your trusted arborist.

Threats to Your Japanese maple tree

Of course, sometimes outside influences do attack your tree. Some of the problems that arise for this particular type of tree include: 

Pseudomonas Syringae

Pseudomonas syringae is opportunistic bacteria that usually attacks plants that are already damaged by other threats. It affects woody plants, including Japanese maples, which can display spotted leaves, and veins within the leaves can be blackened when infected. It can also cause dieback of small branches.

To learn more visit: Pseudomonas Syringae

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt is caused by a soil borne fungi but usually attacks plants that are stressed by other things like drought, frost, or wet soil. This fungus lives in the soil as small, darkened structures called microsclerotia. These microsclerotia may lie dormant in the soil for years. 

One or more branches, usually on one side of the tree, wilt suddenly. Sometimes the leaves turn yellow before they wilt, or leaf margins turn brown and appear scorched. Branches that die will need to be removed.

The best prevention for this fungi is a strong, healthy tree. There is some evidence that unbalanced fertilization (too much or too little nitrogen, for example) exacerbates this disease, but there’s no specific prevention or treatment. 

To learn more visit: Verticillium Wilt

Japanese Maple Scale

Scale insects are sucking insects that extract plant sap from the host plant. These scale have an armored exoskeleton, usually white. Scale insects are predatory, generally attacking unhealthy plants. The healthier your plants, the less likely they are to be attacked by scale insects. 

In trees with heavy infestations scale can cause premature leaf drop, branch dieback, or death of the plant. On Japanese maples, scale insects usually only attach themselves to the stems of the tree and not the leaves, so scrubbing the tree with soapy water and a scrub brush may solve an infestation.

To learn more visit: Japanese Maple Scale

Tree Borers

Tree Borers are a group of insects that lay their eggs on or inside of trees, where the young larvae eat through living tissues. Anything that bores into tree stems is commonly called a tree borer, whether it be beetles or clearwing moths. The symptoms and treatments are the same.

You can avoid initial infestation by having a professional prune your tree, eliminating unnecessary tree damage. Also, adding mulch around your tree and providing it with appropriate water and fertilizer will help it fight off borers and heal any previous damage.

To learn more visit: Tree Borers

Anthracnose

Affected trees often show spots that may look like scorching on the leaves. This fungal disease is prevalent during rainy seasons and conditions of high humidity. Rainy weather can empower this fungus, and drought can slow it down or stop it. 

Anthracnose remains active on leaves and twigs that have fallen to the ground, which helps it spread. Eventually spores are released from dropped leaves and re-attach themselves to the tree or new leaves. The easiest method of control is to keep dead twigs and leaves raked up from under your trees, and keep leaf litter that you suspect out of your compost pile.

To learn more visit: Anthracnose

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew covers leaves and stems starting with the underside, but becomes most obvious when it shows on the top of leaves with a white or grey powdery film. It thrives in hot, or hot and humid conditions, especially where a lot of plants are grouped together and air circulation is poor.

Trees are weakened by this mildew, but rarely seriously injured. Rake up and dispose of any affected leaves. It’s best not to put the affected leaves in your compost bin. 

Cut off affected portions, restrict fertilizing, water only at the soil level and do what you can to increase air circulation to control a powdery mildew infection.

To learn more visit: Powdery Mildew

Aphids

Aphids feed by attaching themselves to the leaves of a plant and sucking nutrients out of the leaves. Resulting leaf damage can be unattractive, but your Japanese maple tree will likely not suffer more than some leaf loss. They have a number of natural predators including lady bugs, so they usually don’t last long once they appear. You can treat them with insecticidal soap or rinse them off with a blast of water.

To learn more visit: Aphids

Phytophthora Root Rot

This is a fancy way of saying that the root system is rotted because of excess moisture. Japanese maples are susceptible because they don’t tolerate wet heavy soils that drain poorly. Of course solutions include planting shallowly, and never overwatering. If you’re having a problem with root rot, consult a qualified arborist for advice.

To learn more visit: Phytophthora Root Rot

 

Why Cash Paid Contractors Are a Threat to Your Property

Concord Tree Service

Does it seem like a hassle to locate licensed, insured contractors for your jobs? Do you know that even when you hire what appears to be a quality contractor, they may be using staff that they hire and pay cash the same day?

It can seem appealing to hire day laborers, or companies that do hire them. Or maybe you want to hire a friend or neighbor? You may even know a cash worker to have completed projects like yours before. But there are also overwhelming unknowns when you work with cash paid contractors.

And all these problems are avoidable simply by hiring a reputable company with a full staff on payroll.

How Could It Go Wrong?

Off Payroll Staff Aren’t Traceable.

No paperwork means a worker can’t be held accountable for their mistakes, and has no incentive to perform their job at top quality. All they have to do is get through the day with the appearance of competence. The long-term quality of their work has no relevance to them.

Also, without documentation of exactly who the workers are, there’s no documentation that proves the staff has any safety or skills training, and no way to prove or disprove anyone working the project are qualified to do the work. When it can’t be demonstrated that the workers are qualified or unqualified, there’s very little incentive to be picky about who’s on a work crew.

 

Only Real Staff Get Quality Training

Employers have multiple incentives to train their staff well. The financial investment of on-the-job training, safety certifications, and ongoing skill training makes perfect sense when an employer is fostering a long-term relationship with their team.

But cash workers have no formal relationship to their company, foreman or crew leader. Why care if someone gets better at their job, knowing you may never see them again? As a result, the workers that take cash jobs rarely have anything more than the basic knowledge they need to complete a job. A job where nothing unusual happens, and nothing goes wrong.

 

You Have Liability

The liability for workplace injuries, damage to water, power, or sewage lines, or work that’s not up to code would normally fall on your licensed, insured contractors. When you’re working with whoever showed up that day to earn cash, then the liability is yours. Both the financial liability and the legal liability.

If you’re hoping your homeowners insurance will save you from paying medical bills and lost wages to an uninsured worker that gets hurt on your project, we’ve got bad news. Standard homeowners insurance or landlord liability insurance exempt damage caused by the knowing use of illegal or unlicensed contractors.

Landlords need to be aware of what their property managers are doing. When a property manager brings in an unlicensed or uninsured contractor, they are in danger. Courts have generally held both the property owner and property manager liable for anything that goes wrong.

 

Uncertainty that Licensed Insured Contractors Solve

If everything goes perfectly to plan, then insurance doesn’t matter, theoretically. If you’re willing to gamble your home or property on that unlikely event, then don’t worry I guess. But if you want to be sure you won’t suffer unnecessarily for mistakes or unforeseen challenges, you NEED to work with licensed, insured professionals.

Licensed and responsible contractors carry a lot of insurance, from contractors’ liability insurance to workers compensation insurance. All these different forms of insurance coverage ultimately protect the customer if things don’t go according to plan. It’s a requirement that to have a contractor’s license the applicant must carry a minimum level of insurance.

Sexy Trees is a licensed, bonded and insured Diamond Certified Arborist with a full staff of trained tree care specialists. For more information on finding a quality contractor, visit the Contractors State License Board.

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. 

Fertilizer Root Injections to Support Tree Health

Tree Care Blackhawk

If you have a tree that needs a little help to get or stay healthy, there are options for you. Liquid fertilizer treatments can be injected to the root area to fortify your tree.

 

What is Deep Root Fertilization?

When a specialized liquid fertilizer treatment is injected to the root area of your tree, that is Deep Root Fertilization. The liquid solution injected into the root zone is under pressure and mixed with oxygen. The injection method aerates the root system and distribute nutrients evenly. The fertilizer is injected to about 1 foot to 1.5 feet below ground, in sites 2 to 3 feet apart. The sites form a grid pattern in the canopy area soil and beyond the drip line.

 

Why Not Just Apply Fertilizer on The Ground Surface?

When applying them directly to the surface, only a limited part of the root system is exposed to them. Plus if grass is present, grass root systems absorb most of your fertilizer. Wind and rain erode the rest of your surface fertilizer. None of it generally makes it to the depth of more than a foot underground where tree roots need it most. It can be a real waste of effort.

 

How Often Should You Have Your Trees “Fed” Liquid Fertilizer Root Injections?

Fertilization performs best when repeated once or twice a year for healthy trees. Sometimes there is severe root damage, soil is compacted, or your tree has other health problems. When that happens, the arborists at Sexy Trees will examine your tree and may recommend increasing frequency or amending nutrients. The custom treatment plan will optimally improve conditions in and around the root zone to restore your tree to health.

Roots are opportunistic by nature and will grow wherever oxygen, nutrients, and moisture are present. Ongoing deep root fertilizer injections improve the oxygen content, microbial activity, and nutrient levels within the soil. The injections create better environmental conditions in the root zone. Your trees will get progressively healthier and more robust as they keep receiving root injections.

To provide your tree with these health-boosting nutrients, you’ll need to work with an arborist that has the proper equipment and training, like Sexy Trees. Contact us today to find out more or schedule your first root injection.