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.

3 Tips for Winter Tree Care

Alamo Tree Service

 

As winter weather approaches, many of us look at trees as being “dead” without any work needed. Since the trees around the Bay Area have lost much of their foliage, it may feel like a sign to leave them alone. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Proper winter tree care is what helps the tree grow and become stronger for its spring growth.

Here are a few key tips for winter tree care this time of year:

Saving Rain Water

Whether we have a rainy season or drought conditions, it’s very important to try to maximize the amount of water that is preserved in the tree’s surrounding soil. There are a couple techniques that we recommend for Bay Area trees. First, get fresh mulch. This can help keep the water contained, captured, and embedded in the soil. Even an inch of mulch helps retain moisture.  If you would like to also use the mulch for weed control, use about three inches of mulch.

Keeping the Bugs Away

While many pests stay away during this time of year, if you’ve had attacks from mites, scale, or aphids, then you should spray for them now. Use dormant oil to kill the eggs after the leaves drop. Another layer of protection is to spray for peach leaf curl or lime sulfur.

Winter Tree Care Pruning

Growth has to be monitored and may need controlled to prevent problems. It’s critical to cut back some trees in order to allow light to enter and hit the inner branches. Along with lightening heavily congested areas, you should also prune away diseased or dead areas of the tree so the nutrients will focus on the remaining portions of the tree. Sometimes you will also have to trim to maintain the balance of a tree, to prevent it from breaking.

By following the above winter tree care tips, you will find that you’ll have healthier, fuller trees in the spring and summer.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our Certified Arborists at Sexytrees.com

 

 

What Should You Do With A Fallen Tree?

 

Trees can fall due to adverse weather, damage or underlying disease or pest infestation. A fallen tree needs to be dealt with and removed to prevent wood rotting, spreading of tree diseases and pests as well as the negative aesthetic and safety effects. So what is the right thing to do with a fallen tree?

Analyze The Causes And Responsibility

If a tree has fallen in or near your property, it’s important to ascertain the cause of the fallen tree, as well as who is responsible for its removal. Municipalities can offer aid in removal of trees that fall due to widespread cause or natural disasters. If a tree from the street or a park on public property falls in your yard, it will likely be the responsibility of local authorities to remove it.

However, if a tree rots or becomes diseased on your own property, it will be your responsibility to remove it or pay for it to be removed. If the cause of the fallen tree is disease or pest infestation, it’s advisable to remove the tree rapidly to prevent cross-infection with other trees.

fallen tree, tree removal, dead tree

Can You Use The Tree?

When a tree falls, the wood is often able to be recycled and used for some purpose, including firewood, mulch, landscaping or lumber. It’s important for you or an arborist to analyze the type of tree and wood as this can inform you as to its potential purpose. If the wood is damaged, it can still be used or sold as firewood or mulch (as long as it isn’t diseased). Quality wood can be turned into furniture or outdoor furniture, and valuable wood like mature walnut, cherry, redwood can be taken to a mill and cut into lumber.

Plan The Removal

Once you know what you want to do with your fallen tree, you can plan the removal. The type and size of tree and the hardness of wood will influence how difficult this is. Most tree removals require chainsaw work and other heavy machinery, so it’s important that the operator has the knowledge and experience to use these tools, and proper insurance and coverage is in place. Otherwise, call an arborist for professional removal.

Keep Safety In Mind

Because the process of analyzing, sawing and removing a fallen tree can be so difficult, bringing in a skilled arborist for the job is recommended. This ensures that the work done on your fallen tree is safe and insured, and you can get the best use out of the fallen tree’s wood. A professional arborist can guide you through the process of identifying the tree’s type and condition as well as inspect it for disease or pests. Then they can safely cut and remove your fallen tree, recycling the wood for its best purpose.

While a fallen tree in or around your property can be a nuisance or a hazard, finding the right way to deal with a fallen tree can turn it into a positive. For expert advice to help you make the right decision, contact your local arborist for professional tree removal.

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.

3 Causes for Dry and Brittle Trees

Berkeley Tree Removal

Dry trees can often drop branches and break leave tips easily, becoming a hazard during storms and strong winds. Most homeowners would prefer to have lush green trees in their yards to provide shade, however it’s not uncommon to find dry and brittle trees in your yard. But what are the main causes of dryness in trees? While sufficient water is an important factor it’s not the only cause contributing to dry and brittle trees.

Drought Stress

One of the most obvious and common causes for dry trees in California is drought stress. Drought stress can cause tree branches to become weak and fall easily, and also causes leaves to go brown and drop from the tree. Signs of drought stress also include slowed growth, a thinning canopy, and dying twigs high in the branches. The signs of drought stress are not necessarily obvious, and once the characteristic signs begin to show themselves it maybe too late to rescue the tree. Drought stress can eventually destroy your trees, leading to the need for tree removal.

Drought stress can be avoided by limiting pruning during drought times, avoiding using fertilizer, and applying organic mulch around the root system instead. When watering trees during dry or hot seasons, soak the roots less often rather than watering shallowly more often. If you need to prune trees call a qualified arborist to provide expert service to protect your trees and keep them healthy.

Over-Fertilization

Trees that grow rapidly are not as strong as those with slow, steady growth. Avoiding fast growing tree types can help to avoid dry and brittle trees, especially if your garden is going through difficult conditions such as a drought. Trees can also grow too fast if they’re supplied with too much fertilizer.

Fertilizer can ‘fast track’ growth without the tree being able to support the new growth with adequate nutrients or water. While fertilizer seems like a great way to ‘feed’ trees, it’s better to take a slower, more natural approach, and have an arborist apply mulch. Avoid fertilizing trees that are already dry or brittle, under drought stress or suffering from insect infestations or disease.

Pest Infestations and Diseases

Various pest infestations and tree diseases can cause trees to become weak, leaves and branch tips to become brown, and bark to go dry and fall off. The symptoms vary depending on the particular disease or infestation affecting the tree. If you notice your tree undergoing any unusual changes or you see visible signs of disease or pests on your tree, it’s important to call your local arborist as soon as possible. They can diagnose the specific condition affecting your tree and treat it in order to save the tree and prevent the condition spreading.

Dry and brittle trees could signify an underlying condition affecting your trees. If you notice dry and brittle trees, it’s important to act fast to prevent tree death or damage to your garden or property. Call a professional arborist as soon as possible to help get your trees back to full health.

4 Signs Your Tree Needs Cabling And Bracing

Walnut Creek Tree Removal

The trees in your garden are living entities and need attention and care in order to flourish. In some cases, trees need first aid and even ‘surgery’ to help maintain their health and structure. Cabling and bracing is a technique that can be applied by a skilled arborist to help support your trees branches and trunks. This can extend a tree’s life if done correctly, allowing your trees to flourish for longer. Here we look at 4 signs that your tree needs expert attention from a qualified arborist with professional cabling and bracing.

  1. Leaning Trees

Trees that are dead or dying tend to lean, however a leaning tree doesn’t always signify a problem. Cabling and bracing can’t be used to save diseased or dying trees, but it can help to provide structure and support to trees that are weak, but healthy. Trees may normally have a slight lean to them. A skilled arborist can inspect your trees and assess whether they are leaning normally, or whether there are adverse underlying causes. A tree’s root system can grow to accommodate and calibrate a lean, but in some cases cabling and bracing may be needed to support the tree to prevent cracking and hazardous tree falls.

  1. Cracks in the Trunk or Branches

Cracks in the tree trunks and branches can be a sign that your tree is becoming unbalanced and overburdened. Cracking or splitting in the trunk of your tree can represent a particularly serious structural issue, and you should enlist the assistance of a professional arborist as soon as possible. In some cases, cabling and bracing can be applied to help strengthen and reinforce your tree when the problem is caught early to prevent cracks deepening and causing split trunks. Cracked branches may not be worth trying to recover, but it’s important to remove them to avoid potentially dangerous falling branches.

  1. Multiple Trunks

It’s not uncommon for trees to split at the trunk, with the two trunks diverging in a V shape. This can be called co-dominant stems or V-crotch trunks. As the tree grows, these multiple trunks can form a weak spot, as one trunk becomes larger than the other and threatens to topple the tree. Cabling and bracing can help to strengthen divergent trunks so they don’t split too far apart and cause breakage. However, in some cases one of the trunks may need to be removed by your arborist to preserve the tree.

  1. You’re Due For Adverse Weather

Storms, rain and strong winds can really put on a strain on your trees and worsen any structural issues you may already be experiencing. If you’re expecting adverse weather, have your trees inspected and fitted with cables and bracing if necessary to protect against the harsh conditions. Professional cabling and bracing from a skilled arborist can help to keep your trees and branches safe during harsh weather, adding extra strength and reinforcement while also allowing flexibility, to keep your branches intact.

Cabling and bracing can be a useful tool to protect and preserve your trees when implemented safely by a professional arborist. Talk to us about your tree’s needs and whether cabling and bracing is right for your trees.

Our tree experts service the following areas:  Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Lafayette, Orinda, Oakland, Albany, Alhambra Valley, Alamo, Berkeley, Danville, Diablo, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Sunol, Saranap, San Pablo, Reliez Valley, Piedmont, Port Costa, San Leandro, Vine Hill, Martinez, Benicia, Fairfield