Summer Tree Planting Keys to Success

Lafayette Tree Service

Early autumn and spring are generally considered the best times to plant new trees, but there are some reasons summer tree planting is preferable. Trees are typically in a dormant stage during the fall, which means their growth is significantly slowed, almost like they’re sleeping. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and plant, here are some tips to ensure your summer trees flourish.

Not so Fast

If you plant small trees in the summer, consider leaving them in containers for a while. Trees that are containerized develop a healthy root system, which means they have a better chance to thrive. By keeping very young trees in a pot, it’s less likely they’ll experience transplant shock, a condition that can kill trees in all seasons, not just summer.

Provide Enough Water

There’s less rainfall in summer months, so you’ll need to manually water any trees planted at this time of year. Scheduling sufficient watering ensures that your trees don’t dry out and wither. If you help your new trees through the dry months, you can probably let nature take its course from autumn onwards. It just depends on your local climate.

Heeling In

Before summer tree planting, dig a large trench filled with fresh soil. Ground that has already been cultivated is ideal, but if not, use fresh compost and ensure there’s plenty of moisture to help roots get established.

The trench should be dug with a sloping back, and deep enough for the roots of the tree to be entirely covered. Once you finish your summer tree planting, cover the roots then help the tree remain upright by treading on the fresh soil.

The Best Trees for Summer Tree Planting

While summer tree planting isn’t considered ideal if you live in a hot climate, following these simple steps can ensure that your new trees make it through the dry season. If you’d like more information on the best trees for summer planting, call us at (925) 233-6877. We’re happy to answer any questions you have.

The Dangers of Improper Tree Pruning

Concord Tree Service

Trees offer homeowners so much, while requiring little in return. They provide shade and add beauty to any landscape. But did you know your mature trees can become a safety hazard if they aren’t pruned correctly? When trees become diseased or die, we offer Concord tree removal, but hopefully your trees just need a regular pruning schedule to keep them healthy. Read on to learn more about the dangers that can result from improper tree care.

A Botched Job

The most obvious downside of improper pruning, from an aesthetic standpoint, is that it’s the equivalent of a bad haircut. There’s really nothing you can do but let it grow out. In the meantime, your trees will look a bit awkward.

Weakening Trees

Poor technique can also weaken trees, making them more vulnerable to a number of things, like storms. It’s possible for the inner wood to become less dense, even though the tree looks healthy from the outside. When this happens, it increases the likelihood of broken branches.

The Risk of Injury

Inexperienced pruners run the risk of accidental injury to themselves, as well as property. Trees are heavy. Even branches often weigh a considerable amount, so they can cause significant damage when falling from what may seem like even a minor height.

Cutting through wood requires sharp, heavy-duty equipment. And a novice won’t have the experience needed to properly secure branches, or know where it’s best to cut. These kinds of mistakes can be fatal.

Branch Decay

Trees are alive, which means that while necessary for the structural integrity of the tree, pruning creates wounds that take time to heal. Improper pruning can compromise the health of a tree, creating needless cuts. Over time, this can lead to decaying branches.

Concord Tree Removal

We hope you now have a better understanding of the importance of proper tree pruning. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or speak with us about our Concord tree removal service, please call our office at 925-233-6877 or email us at alex@sexytrees.com with any questions! We offer free estimates.

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.

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.

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. 

Our Newest Service: Arborjet Tree Injections

https://youtu.be/RbKiYnqbcnw

 

Sexy Trees cares about the health of your trees, the ecosystem they need to thrive, and the larger ecology. We’re always looking for more effective ways to protect and benefit your trees and the larger ecosystem they rely on. Our values are why we’re now offering Arborjet tree injections.

 

What are Arborjet Tree Injections?

First and foremost, they are effective! Arborjet nutrient injections get what your tree needs to thrive directly into the tree’s circulatory system, and quickly distributed. The injection is delivered through the trunk, so none of it is wasted in the soil or drained away with water.

Maybe your tree is having any trouble absorbing nutrients through the roots, or your soil just doesn’t have the right balance. Arborjet trunk injections are a highly effective solution to delivering proper nutrition for a lush, strong tree. Injection is faster than any other method for immediate delivery of elements your tree works to extract from the ground.

 

What Trees are Good Candidates for Arborjet Injections?

Not all trees are good candidates for trunk injections. Your arborist will tell you if your tree can benefit from them. If your tree is actively fighting an infection or parasite, your arborist may recommend taking another course. This may be either combining the injection with another solution to the tree’s active problem or postponing injection until after the tree has completed treatment. And there will be some trees that simply are dead or in the process of dying.

 

If you ‘re in the San Francisco wider bay area and are wondering if your tree or trees can benefit from Arborjet trunk injections, contact Sexy Trees today. We love trees, and we’d love to help your trees thrive.

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.