Watering Christmas Tree Displays: Tips from an Arborist

Walnut Creek Tree Removal

If you’ve brought a living Christmas tree into your home, you’ll need to take proper care of it. Otherwise you may have to witness it’s death and decay right in your home! Luckily, keeping a cut tree alive indoors is not extremely complicated. At the same time, there’s some bad information out there about what your tree needs, so let’s clear a few things up:

 

Cutting Your Tree

When the tree’s going to be stored more than a couple days, put the trunk in water and store it in a cool, shaded and protected area like an unheated shed or garage.

If the tree was harvested within the last 12 hours, it’s not necessary to recut the trunk before putting it in water. After longer than 12 hours, the trunk needs recut for maximum water uptake.

Cutting off a disk of wood about ¼” thick from the base of the trunk is all you need. Make the cut perpendicular to the trunk. Not at an angle or in a v-shape. Those fancy cuts make it far harder to steady the tree in the stand and reduce the amount of trunk submerged in the water.

Don’t drill a hole in the trunk to try to help it hydrate, this only hurts the tree.

 

Using Tree Stands

A tree stand needs to provide at least 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. For most Christmas trees, the treestand should hold at least 1 gallon of water.

Make sure your tree stand is big enough, not that your tree trunk is small enough. Don’t whittle down the sides of the trunk to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should be retained.

Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water is above the bottom of the trunk. Many stands will still be holding water even when the base of the tree is no longer submerged.

 

Hydration and Watering Christmas Tree Care

A cut tree will absorb a surprising amount of water, particularly during the first week, so replenish the water daily.

Displayed trees suffer when they’re near sources of heat like fireplaces, heaters, heating vents, and direct sunlight. Lowering the room’s temperature will slow the drying process, reducing the amount of water the tree needs.

Cold, cool, lukewarm or even very warm water are all fine and won’t affect the tree’s ability to hydrate.

Check your tree daily for dryness. It’s easy to run your fingers across the needles to see if they’re dry or brittle. If they break or fall off easily, the tree is dangerously dry and should be taken outdoors away from the house.

A well-cared-for tree will reliably remain fresh at least three to four weeks before becoming too dry.

 

Don’t Get Too Creative

Anti-transpirants for Christmas trees won’t help you much at all, even though they may technically reduce some evaporation, it’s not enough to make your tree last longer indoors.

Adding water-holding gel products to the stand reduces the amount of water available to the tree, making it a pretty bad idea.

Don’t use additives in the water. No floral preservatives, commercial tree preservatives, molasses, sugar, bleach, soft drinks, aspirin, honey, or anything else. Clean water is what trees want to drink, and how you’ll get the best results.

Flame retardant products can give flame retardance while reducing your tree’s ability to stay hydrated, losing the advantage they gained.

 

What Are Mycorrhizae And Why Should You Care?

Berkeley Tree Care

Fungi are an incredibly important part of soil health. You may hear the term Mycorrhiza Fungi used referring to beneficial fungi. So, what exactly is this stuff? Basically, “myco” means fungus and “rhiza” means root. These special fungi establish a beneficial connection with plant roots and aid them with the uptake of water and nutrients. Mycorrhizae fungi have been in existence for more than 460 -million years since the first plant life appeared on dry land.

How Do Mycorrhizae Work With Roots?

After the mycorrhizae colonize and begin to multiply, they effectively increase the root area and volume by acting as extensions of the roots. The symbiotic cycle between roots and mycorrhizae results in improvements to not only the root system but also the color, foliage and overall health of the tree. Mycorrhizal fungal filaments in the soil are truly extensions of root systems and are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the roots themselves.

More than 95 percent of terrestrial plant species form a symbiotic relationship with  mycorrhizal fungi and have evolved this symbiotic relationship over the past several hundred million years. These fungi predate the evolution of terrestrial plants, and it was the partnership with mycorrhizal fungi that allowed plants to begin to colonize dry land and create life on Earth as we know it.

Types of Mycorrhizae

There are two major groups of mycorrhizal fungi: ectomycorrhizal and endomycorrhizal fungi.

Endomycorrhizae

Endomycorrhizal fungi penetrate the plant cells where direct metabolic exchanges can occur. Endomycorrhizal fungi colonize trees as well as shrubs and most herbaceous plants and do not form visible structures.

Among the types of endomycorrhizal fungi, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are the most prevalent in soils. Their name is derived from arbuscule structures they form within the plant root cell.

Ectomycorrhizae

Ectomycorrhizal fungi are also found in natural environments, mainly in forests ecosystems. Ectomycorrhizal fungi develop exclusively on the outside of root cells. Ectomycorrhizae are found on trees and form visible structures.

These fungi can form visible reproductive structures (mushrooms) at the feet of trees they colonize. Ectomycorrhizal fungi grow between root cells without penetrating them. Their hyphae grow externally, forming dense growth known as a fungal mantle. These fungi form symbiotic relationships with most pins, spruces and some hardwood trees including beech, birch, oak, and willow. 

How Mycorrhizal Fungi Help Soil Health

Trees can only take in nutrients from the soil within their rhizosphere (the area surrounding their roots). This area extends only about 1/10 of an inch from the roots.

Beyond that 1/10 inch, all the fertilizer, compost, water and whatever else you add to the soil would be wasted without this web of fungi, the tree is simply not able to reach it.

That’s where mycorrhizae comes in. They spread out from the tree roots in long, root-like stringy webs call hypha and bring any needed nutrients or water back to the rhizosphere for the tree. In exchange, the tree provides carbon and sugars to feed the fungi.

In effect, the fungus provides a secondary “root system” that is considerably more efficient and extensive than the tree’s own root system, allowing it to access more nutrients. One tablespoon of healthy soil can contain several thousand of mycorrhizal filaments!

Benefits Of Mycorrhizae-Rich Soil

• Increased yield from fruit trees

• Enhanced  plant and tree growth

• Healthier root development

• Increased disease resistance

• Improved transplant success

• Increased drought tolerance

Why We Should Care

So, why do we need to know about this? Many of the regular practices we use to augment our soil actually kill the organisms in healthy soil including Mycorrhizae. This is one of the best reasons low/no-till gardening has become more prevalent over the years.  Inoculating plants with multiple varieties of Mycorrhizae and providing food that will support plant health is a necessity. Be very careful with poisons and weed killers, they can destroy healthy symbiotic relationships.

If you have questions on how to create or foster healthier soil for your trees, contact Sexy Trees today.

Do Treehouses Hurt Trees?

Alamo Tree Care

Although building a treehouse іѕ nоt something ѕmаll, іt саn bе a fun thing to do іf you uѕе the right рlаnѕ for the job. It’ѕ a great way tо involve the whole family and there аrе lоаdѕ оf different designs tо сhооѕе frоm. Building уоur сhіld a treehouse not only рrоvіdеѕ them with a fun рlасе to play, іt can fоѕtеr an appreciation fоr trees and the natural world. But ѕоmе homeowners worry that a treehouse will harm their trees.

While ѕоmе treehouses do damage their hоѕt trees, it іѕ possible to design, construct and install оnе іn ways that will do minimal harm. Below, we’ll dіѕсuѕѕ some оf the wауѕ treehouses can саuѕе damage and some оf the bеѕt wауѕ to аvоіd stressing уоur trees when building one.

Dо Treehоuѕеѕ Harm Trееѕ?

It’s difficult to make sweeping generalizations, and many treehоuѕеѕ dо hаrm their hоѕtѕ. If property conceived, designed, рlасеd and constructed, tree hоuѕеѕ саn uѕuаllу bе іnѕtаllеd without damaging the tree.

Every situation, tree and treehouse іѕ different. It’ѕ impossible tо mаkе guarantees about the future оf any tree. However, аѕ long as уоu account fоr and minimize the stress and burden уоu place оn the tree, you can uѕuаllу іnѕtаll a tree hоuѕе without dooming your bеlоvеd tree.

It’s easy to саuѕе damage to the tree when building a treehouse. Following ѕоmе ѕіmрlе guidelines уоu саn rеduсе dаmаgе аѕ muсh аѕ possible. It is impossible to саuѕе no damage at all, but trees have evolved several techniques tо tolerate dаmаgе and rеmаіn healthy. As trees аrе living organisms, they dіffеr frоm fаmіlіаr building materials in the following four ways.

  • Thеу can be infected bу bасtеrіа and viruses, causing loss of branches оr death to the whole tree
  • They slowly grow larger оvеr tіmе, increasing the diameter of their trunk every уеаr
  • Thеу uѕе a рrосеѕѕ саllеd compartimentilization tо іѕоlаtе damaged оr infected areas
  • They will compensate for a changed weight distribution

Limiting the Dаmаgе Cаuѕеd: Lоw-Imрасt Treehouses

Now that уоu see some wауѕ іn which treehouses саn harm trees, you can embrace a few strategies and techniques to limit the potential for damage. To start, this mеаnѕ adopting the following рrасtісеѕ:

Uѕе Tree-Friendly Connectors and Hardware:

Aѕ much as is possible, аvоіd driving nails or screws directly into the trunk оr branches. Instead, uѕе adjustable straps оr u-bolts tо connect the structure tо the tree. Bе sure to іnѕресt these connectors regularly and adjust them to allow the tree tо grow properly.

Avoid Creating Moisture Pосkеtѕ:

Provide рlасеѕ that allow wаtеr tо drain and air tо flоw between the structure and the tree’s bark. If уоu muѕt create a potential moisture pocket, try to position it ѕо that it receives plenty оf sun exposure, which wіll help it dry out mоrе effectively.

Kеер the Trееhоuѕе Near the Trunk:

Always рlасе the treehouse nеаr the trunk, rather than fаr out on the tree’s branches. This will hеlр you аvоіd altering the tree’s balance and rеduсе the сhаnсеѕ that the structure wіll function like a ѕаіl, catching wind and bending branches.

Buіld a Lаddеr; Dоn’t Nаіl Steps to the Trunk:

Aѕ much аѕ іѕ possible, уоu want to lіmіt уоur kіdѕ’ contact with the tree. They should primarily be standing оn the structure, rather than the tree itself. Yоu’ll want tо сrеаtе a standalone lаddеr оr set оf ѕtаіrѕ tо provide access to the treehouse, rather than by attaching ѕtерѕ directly on the trunk.

When considering a tree hоuѕе аѕ a hоmе improvement рrоjесt, be ѕurе tо consider ѕаfеtу. Whіlе these buildings саn оffеr a great place to spend a ѕummеr dау for kіdѕ of all ages, precautions muѕt be including in the construction рhаѕе tо еnѕurе that the structure rеmаіnѕ ѕаfе for many уеаrѕ. A well-constructed tree hоuѕе can provide a рlасе for the kids tо рlау оr a great рlасе for a party.

While we are arborists, we do not build treehouses. What Sexy Trees can do for you is tell you if your tree is healthy and strong, either before building or a few years down the road so you know whether your treehouse is still safe. We can also get your tree the care it needs to keep it in tip-top condition. For all your arborist and tree care needs, call Sexy Trees.

What’s The Right Way To Prune: Pollarding, Reducing or Topping?

Mistletoe Removal

 

If you have large trees in your yard, you might be concerned about their size and growth. Large trees look beautiful, but they can reach overhead lines, become unstable, and be dangerous in a storm. Typically, trees need to be pruned and maintained for their health and your safety. While there are many methods of pruning, here we look at three common methods.

Pollarding

This type of pruning is used to reduce the overall size of a tree to fit a defined area and offers a longer-term solution. It involves removing the upper branches or top of the tree in a way that creates denser foliage within a smaller canopy. At first, pollarding may not typically create a very attractive appearance, however, as new growth appears, foliage becomes denser and much more appealing. One advantage of this approach is that it maintains the tree in a juvenile state, which can help the tree to live longer. The tree also has less height, which makes it less susceptible to wind damage.

Reducing

Reducing typically involves cutting back limbs to their point of origin on the tree. Unlike pollarding, it does not create a long-term solution. The tree branches will grow back and will require reduction or other methods of pruning again in the future. Reducing mostly just shortens the length of branches and stems. Reducing may be needed to keep trees away from overhead lines. It can also help protect very large trees that are otherwise at risk of being blown over in bad storms or dropping branches in a dangerous way.

Topping

Tree topping involves removing large branches, whole tree tops, and even the top of the tree trunk. It may be done to reduce the tree from view or limit its shade. This approach can be deadly for some tree types because it removes the parts of the tree that are necessary for it to sustain itself. The new lack of shade on bark can lead to too much sun exposure and tree decay, while also removing the leaves that are the tree’s energy source. This approach is sometimes used to promote new growth, but it is a risky approach, as the tree is more susceptible to insects and fungi.

The Right Type Of Pruning

Pollarding, reducing, and topping are just three methods for tree pruning. Choosing the right technique depends on the type of tree and the demands of the space, which is where the assessment of a skilled arborist can help you make the right choice. Where possible, milder and less invasive methods of pruning, applied regularly to control growth and tree shape, usually create the best outcome for trees.

If you need pruning for the trees in your yard, it’s best to connect with a professional arborist or tree service. They can survey the area, assess the trees, and make recommendations for your best pruning options, then carry out the job correctly. This helps preserve the appearance and health of your trees, while protecting the safety of your yard and home.

Summer Stressed Out Your Trees? Regenerate Your Trees in Fall

Walnut Creek Tree Service

Hot weather and ongoing drought has left California trees drained, dehydrated and in need of a little TLC. Thankfully, with fall here and winter around the corner, now is the perfect time to regenerate and reinvigorate your trees and bring them back to full health. If some of your trees didn’t survive the summer, or you’re looking for a change, fall is also the perfect time to plant new trees and get your garden back in shape before winter.

Prune Leaves and Branches of Existing Trees

A harsh summer may have left dead and dying branches on your trees that should be trimmed during fall and certainly before winter. If your tree added a lot of growth during summer but is still relatively healthy, tree trimming may still be necessary to remove some of the excess leaves and foliage that the tree may not be able to support during winter. Fall is the best time for tree trimming, as you can correct summer growth while also prepare for winter.

Of course, any overgrown trees or trees growing over property or power lines require advanced tree care and should be trimmed by a local arborist. Because winter can mean storms and strong winds that cause branches to drop, make sure a professional tree company inspects your trees for weak branches and applies cabling and bracing as necessary.

Plant New Trees

If you want to plant new saplings, fall is the ideal time, with milder temperatures and moderate rainfall to help encourage new tree growth. If you want to increase the number of outdoor trees in your yard, adding new saplings in fall provides them the ideal conditions to create strong, healthy root systems before the chill of winter.

Regenerate Soil

Dry, hot conditions can deplete the nutrients and moisture content of soil, causing soil to become dry, hard and compacted. Aerating your soil helps to break up compacted ground, and mulching is the ideal way to add essential nutrients and moisture back to your soil. Mulch also helps to protect your soil from the heat of the sun and the chill of cooler weather as winter comes closer. Your local tree care company can deliver mulch to your garden to protect your tree roots and reinvigorate your soil.

Water Deeply

As you regenerate your trees and replace lost water in the soil, it’s a good idea to use deep watering techniques to ensure water reaches the deep root systems and soaks into the soil for longer lasting hydration. It’s better to water deeply just once or twice a week, rather than watering superficially more often. Be sure to pay close attention to watering saplings and decaying trees, as these will need the most TLC.

While hot dry summers can take a toll on your trees and leave your garden looking worse for wear, some expert help with arboriculture from your local tree company and some focused attention on planting, pruning and regenerating the soil, can bring life back to your garden during fall.

6 Things You Need To Know About Tree Removal

Alamo Tree Service

While tree removal should be avoided whenever possible, and trees should be saved and conserved through appropriate tree pruning or tree trimming, in some cases, tree removal is unavoidable. Dead or dying trees that are beyond saving, or trees that are growing in a way that threatens people or property usually need to be completely removed. Tree removal is usually much more difficult than it seems, and the steps and processes involved with tree removal should be properly understood before you decide to remove a tree. Above all, it is essential to consult with a professional tree services company when you are thinking about removing a tree, as trying to remove a tree on your own can result in damage to you or your neighbor’s property, or injury and even death for those who try to remove a tree without the proper training. Here we look at 6 things you need to know about tree removal before you decide to get rid of your tree.

Local Laws

In some cases, you need permission from the local council before you remove a tree, even if it is on your private property. Be sure to make your intentions known and receive the appropriate tree removal permits, which are necessary in some cities in California for particular types of trees, known as ‘heritage’ trees.

Danger to Property and People

Tree removal, particularly for large and overgrown trees, is a dangerous process that can pose significant risks to both property and people. Many people have been injured or even died as a result of trying to remove a tree without the proper tools or training. Tree removal should always be left to the care of professional arborists wherever possible.

Underground and Above Ground Hazards

Tree removal can sometime involve close proximity to power lines, which means extremely careful and delicate work is required for safe removal. Likewise, digging to remove tree stumps and tree roots poses the risk of damaging underground cables, sewer lines or gas lines, so a proper understanding of underground structures should be obtained before any digging begins.

Trees Hanging Over Neighbor’s Properties

When parts of a tree or tree branches hang over into neighboring properties, confusion can arise when one neighbor wishes to remove the tree. Local laws or bylaws may govern this situation, but even if not, it’s always best to communicate and ask your neighbor before removing a tree that hangs into their property.

Stump Grinding & Removal

Once your tree has been cut down and taken away, in most cases a stump will be left behind. Old stumps can create a hazard, be unsightly, and spread tree diseases, so wherever possible, have your tree care professional provide tree stump grinding and removal to eliminate all traces of your tree.

Importance Of Professional Help

Due to the complex process and significant risks and dangers involved in removing a tree from your yard, it is essential to work with a tree services professional for safe and effective tree removal. A tree care professional can not only prepare by evaluating risks and getting necessary permits, as well as successfully remove your tree and the stump, they can also help advise you how to correct the issue that led to the need for tree removal and recommend an appropriate tree replacement.

By keeping in mind these 6 points before you remove your tree, you can ensure that your tree removal is safer, more effective and more successful, benefiting both you and the surrounding environment.

Danville Tree Removal

Berkeley Tree Removal

The following is a video of a redwood being removed in Danville, California.

Berkeley Tree Removal

Walnut Creek Tree Removal

North Berkeley removal of oak canopy leaving main trunk from wildlife habitat.

5 Ways To Save Time And Money on Lawn Care

Alamo Tree Removal

If you have a grass lawn at your home in California, chances are it’s looking a little worse for wear after the hot, dry summer we’ve had. With winter around the corner, you may need to give your lawn a little TLC to bring it back to life. But lawn care can be a time consuming and money wasting affair, particularly when environmental conditions are no longer supporting healthy lawn growth. So what can you do to reduce the time and money you spend on lawn care while still keeping your garden looking beautiful? Here we look at 5 ways to save money and time on lawn care, so you can spend more time enjoying your garden, and less time fixing it.

  1. Use Smart Watering Techniques

Knowing how to water your garden properly can not only help maintain the health of your lawn and trees, it can also help to save time and precious water sources. Water your lawn less frequently, but water deeply, allowing water to soak deep into the soil and directly feed the roots.

Tree death and tree removal during hot, dry weather can leave lawns exposed and disposed to more rapid damage. As the lawn is often an open and exposed patch of ground, it’s highly prone to evaporation. That’s why it’s important to water at a time when there isn’t much sun, such as very early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to prevent evaporative water loss.

  1. Mulch Your Lawn

Mulching your lawn, flower beds and tree roots is essential for maintaining moisture and nutrient levels in the soil, and also helps you save time feeding and watering your garden. Tree stump removal and tree stump grinding often leaves behind quality mulch that can be used in your garden. Mulch can be delivered by your local arborist, or you can use the clippings from tree trimmings or grass cuttings.

  1. Choose Low Maintenance Grass Varieties

95% of American lawns have bluegrass for their lawn, which is a particularly thirsty variety that requires a lot of water and care. Slow growth, drought resistant grasses are lower maintenance and make lawn car easier, and these include varieties such as Zoysia, Buffalo, Bermuda, St Augustine and Bahia grass.

  1. Try A Grass Free ‘Lawn’

If you really want to reduce the cost and maintenance time for your lawn, perhaps the best option is to forego the grass altogether and opt for a grass free landscaping solution. Placing some drought resistant trees and plants in your garden and replacing grass ground cover with stones, pebbles, succulents, ‘hardscapes’ or artificial grass can help to foster a lower maintenance garden that is just as beautiful and easy to enjoy.

  1. Check Regularly For Pests and Damage

Lawns can quickly suffer under the effects of pests, and so should be checked regularly for signs of damage. Professional lawn services can help you quickly identify lawn issues and provide a solution if you need it. Quick treatment can save lawns, trees and plants in your garden and save you expense and trouble in the long run.

If excessive time and money investments for lawn care are getting you down, think about utilizing these 5 ways to reduce cost and time spent on lawn care in your home garden.

What Are The Most Drought Resistant Plants and Trees?

Walnut Creek Tree Pruning

With drought spreading across most of California, and now affecting many other states across the U.S. as well, many more homeowners are looking for alternatives to keeping their homes and gardens beautiful while minimizing water usage. One of the best ways to do this is to switch out your lawn and water hungry plants for drought tolerant plants, trees, and landscapes. A drought tolerant landscape designed by a skilled arborist will be resistant to water shortages and look beautiful all year round. Here we look at how the drought situation might affect you and your garden, and how you can maintain a beautiful landscape with drought resistant trees and plants.

Drought Affected Areas

If you’re living in California, you may be all too familiar with the effects of drought, however drought conditions are also prevalent in over 30 states across the U.S. More than half of California is currently in a state of drought, with 59% of the state affected. Nearby Nevada is also affected in 22% of the state, while 28% of Georgia, 40% of Massachusetts, and 27% of New York is also affected by drought. Regardless of the dry conditions in these states, the right knowledge of tree care and low water plants and trees can help to maintain a beautiful outdoor environment, even in drought conditions.

Drought Resistant Trees

Tree trimming and tree pruning can help to reduce water consumption by trees, however it can also result in tree death and the need for tree removal. A better solution is to plant drought resistant trees which have leaves that use water efficiently, waxy coatings that protect from water loss, and extensive root systems to maximize water absorption. While a tree company or certified arborist can provide expert advice on which kind of trees would best suit your environment and aesthetic taste, some of the drought resistant trees suitable for California and the Bay Area include Western sycamore, California oak, Southern magnolia, Eldarica pine, Kentucky coffee tree, White oak, Northern red oak, Eastern red cedar, and the Thornless honeylocust.

Furthermore, the California sycamore and Holly oak are drought resistant, but only once established. Choose drought resistant trees, or contact a tree cutting service to prune your trees safely and appropriately in order to keep your garden drought friendly. 

Drought Resistant Plants

Drought resistant plants can also feature in a drought resistant garden, and they make the perfect addition to homes with smaller available garden space. Drought resistant flowers such as hawthorns and crepe myrtle, drought tolerant succulents and dry climate grasses all contribute to added variety and color in a drought resistant garden.

Drought Resistant Landscaping

Lush, green lawns are great, but not during a drought. Why let your grass go brown and die when you can swap out your thirsty lawn for a drought resistant landscape? If you want to maintain the appearance of green grass without the water consumption, realistic artificial grass could be the ideal solution. Gravel or stone landscapes interspersed with succulents and other drought resistant plants also look stunning and add a modern landscape feature to the home. Ornamental grasses and perennial flowering plants add a touch of variety and color.

Although drought conditions look set to stay for a while, with the assistance of a professional arborist to build the perfect drought resistant garden for your home, you can enjoy a beautiful landscape year from season to season.