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.

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.

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

This is Why You Need To Remove Old Tree Stumps From Your Garden

Danville Tree Pruning

You might think that there’s no harm in keeping that old tree stump in your yard. Old tree stumps can be ignored, and you think it’s not worth the trouble of having it ground down or removed. But there are several reasons why you should consider removing tree stumps as soon as possible, for the sake of your garden’s appearance, safety and health. Here are 5 reasons why you need to remove old tree stumps from your garden now.

  • Stumps Can Be Dangerous

Tree stumps in your garden are obstructions that can be difficult to see. Leaving tree stumps on your lawn can create a trip hazard for your family members, friends and visitors. If someone injures themselves on your property, you may be liable for damage and injuries. Stumps can also be a hazard when you are mowing your lawn, causing damage or accidents with your lawnmower.

  • Tree Stumps Can Resprout

Tree stumps are left behind when you cut down trees that need to be removed. But if you leave the tree stump in your garden, you may end up with the same problem you started with. Tree stumps can re-sprout with many small trees, leaving you with unsightly, uncontrolled growth. Tree sprouts can be hard to stop as they will continue to grow back while the root system remains. Tre stumps can also be reservoirs for tree disease or pests. Professional stump removal helps to prevent trees re-sprouting or infecting other trees in your garden.

  • Tree Stumps Attract Pests

Old tree stumps sitting in your yard can be a haven for vermin, termites and other pests. Rotting wood attracts wood boring insects, and can provide a nesting spot for other pests as well. Once these pests have gained a foothold in your garden they can infect other plants and trees, and surrounding structures, including your home. Removing tree stumps promptly avoids attracting these pests and keeps your home and garden safe.

  • Stumps Can Be Unsightly

With no fruits, foliage or any kind of redeeming feature, most tree stumps are unattractive and unsightly. Unkempt tree stumps can detract from the appearance of your garden, and make your outdoor environments unattractive and unappealing.

  • Tree Stumps Interfere With Your Garden

Unwanted old tree stumps and their roots take up space in your garden that could be put to better use. If your tree stumps start to re-sprout, they could draw precious nutrients and water from your soil, taking these away from your other plants. Generally, old tree stumps don’t add anything to a landscape, so wherever possible, have your tree stumps professionally removed so you can enjoy more space in your garden.

Keep your garden safe, healthy and pest-free by having tree stumps promptly ground and removed after you have a tree cut down. A professional arborist can provide safe and economical tree stump removal to provide more space for your garden to flourish and thrive.

5 Essential Steps for Spring Tree Care

Danville Tree Care

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

Boost New Growth

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

Garden Clean Up

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

Check For Disease and Pests

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

Plant New Trees

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

Prepare For Spring Weather

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

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

4 Situations Where Trees Need Protection

Tree Service Concord

 

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

Weather

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

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

Pests

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

Home Construction

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

Exposed Tree Roots

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

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

4 Steps To Reviving A Topped Tree

Tree Care Pleasant Hill

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

Call A Local Arborist

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

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

Give Your Tree Time

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

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

Protect Strong Sprouts

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

Trim Sprouts

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

 

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

 

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

Walnut Creek Tree Removal

Danville Tree Service

When Is The Right Time To Plant A Tree?

Mistletoe Removal

 

Trees add beauty, shade and structure to your yard, being both functional and ornamental. But when is the best time to add new trees to your yard? Many professional arborists say that spring and offers the ideal, mild conditions for new tree planting, but others say fall is the better option for planting new trees. Here we look at what makes the right time to plant a tree and how you can get the best results for new trees in your yard.

Trees are an Investment

The trees in your yard are not just an investment in the appearance of your yard, they can also add to the value of your home. By some estimates, a healthy, mature tree can add up to $10,000 to the value of a property. So, it’s important to make the right choice about when to plant your tree and how to nurture it to optimum health. Your local arborist is an expert on which trees are best suited to your climate and environment, and which choices will add the most value to your home in terms of beauty and quality.

Spring or Fall?

In warmer climates like California where it doesn’t usually get cold enough for the ground to freeze in winter, the timing of planting a tree isn’t so critical as long as you can provide the tree with sufficient water. Usually the best time for planting a new tree is late summer and early fall, where the weather is starting to cool down and rainfall increasing, but while the temperatures are still not so cool as to discourage tree growth and development.

In the initial stages after a tree has been planted, the tree needs to immediately lay down new root systems to support itself. This tends to happen better in the cooler weather of fall and winter as root growth is increased in cooler soil. Trees planted in spring expend more energy putting forth new leaf and flower growth and often don’t have the resources to lay down a root structure as well, and this actually disadvantages trees in the long run.

However, some types of trees tend to survive better when planted in spring, including magnolia, dogwood, tuliptree, sweet gum, red maple, birch, hawthorn, poplars, cherries, plum and many of the oaks. If you are thinking of planting one of these trees, consult with your local professional arborist about when you should plant these trees in your specific location and climate.

Tips for New Tree Success

In order to give your new trees the best chance for survival, make sure they receive plenty of water in the months after they are first planted. It’s often helpful to water less often, but water deeper, so that moisture reaches the deepest roots. Avoid pruning the tree while it is still newly developing by Berkeley Tree Pruning professionals or anyone else. Don’t fertilize under the second growing system, but you can use mulch on the planting area, about 12 inches away from the young trunks.

If you’re thinking of planting new trees in your yard in California, consult with your local arborist for more specific guidance on determining the best time to plant trees for your yard and local conditions.