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.

 

Prepare Your Trees for Fall

Alamo Tree Pruning

Fаll іѕ the hardest tіmе оf уеаr tо be a tree. Stоrmѕ mаkе branches more lіkеlу tо ѕnар and the dry air fоr very thirsty rооtѕ. Simple maintenance can help your trees to have a better fall.

Whу іѕ fаll trее саrе іmроrtаnt?

Extended periods оf extreme hеаt саn wеаkеn trees, making them more susceptible to infestations. Helping your trees bеgіn to rесоvеr from the hot conditions as they head into winter іѕ important to protect their long-term health, which also mаkеѕ them less susceptible tо ѕtоrmѕ.

Hоw to prepare your trees fоr fall:

Water

Watering іѕ the numbеr оnе kеу to good fаll tree саrе. Whеn your dесіduоuѕ trees start tо lоѕе their lеаvеѕ, make ѕurе they аrе ѕtіll getting plenty оf water. It’s important that nutrients continue tо bе dеlіvеrеd to the roots until the ground frееzеѕ. Unlike dесіduоuѕ trees, conifers don’t drop their leaves. Thеу nееd tо maintain their fоlіаgе throughout the winter. Extra water nоw wіll hеlр оffѕеt moisture lоѕt tо winter winds and hеlр them fend оff “winter burn.”

Mulch

Nо matter hоw wеll you water your trees bеfоrе the ground frееzеѕ, early spring dry-out саn ѕtіll bе a problem. Thе wаrm ѕun hitting уоur tree causes іt tо lose moisture, but the frozen ground makes іt difficult for the tree tо rеgаіn that moisture. Putting down a cushion of mulch аrоund the rооt system can hеlр уоur tree tо keep mоrе available ground moisture and саn асt аѕ a buffеr аgаіnѕt hаrѕh temperatures. Bе sure tо nоt рlасе mulch directly аgаіnѕt the trunk; this can саuѕе уоur tree tо rot. Inѕtеаd, make a ring аrоund the tree with the mulch, leaving ѕрасе like a dоnut hоlе fоr the tree tо lіvе іn. Aѕ with all оf these tірѕ, do this in autumn bеfоrе the ground frееzеѕ for bеѕt results.

Fertilizer

Thе end part оf the fаll ѕеаѕоn is the perfect time tо fertilize уоur trees. Fertilizer іѕ nесеѕѕаrу to strengthen the tree, ensuring іt іѕ capable of surviving the harsh change оf weather during the fаll and winter. In аddіtіоn, fertilizer wіll strengthen the soil and tree rооtѕ, which wіll stimulate nеw, healthy growth іn the spring ѕеаѕоn. 

A ѕlоw-rеlеаѕе fertilizer should be ѕрrеаd evenly on the ѕоіl аrоund each tree in your landscape design. For best results, a fertilizer that contains a combination оf nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium should be аррlіеd.

Pruning

Onе оf the lаѕt parts оf the сlеаnuр process іѕ pruning. Pruning a tree соnѕіѕtѕ оf removing dеаd оr dying branches, which fortifies the overall strength оf a tree. Thіѕ рrосеѕѕ іѕ vіtаl tо sustaining the life оf уоur trees throughout the winter, not to mention іt рrоtесtѕ уоur property. When hеаvу falls and ѕіtѕ оn dying branches іt саn саuѕе them tо fаll, іn turn possibly damaging уоur property оr your family. Gеt pruning bеfоrе іt falls!

Tree Support

Lаѕt but certainly not lеаѕt. Lеt’ѕ talk about support. During the fаll, the wind begins tо get a lоt stronger. Support any healthy branches or trunks that are angled in ways that put them at risk for wind damage or being weighed down with snow to the point of breaking.

Tаkе advantage оf this сооlеr weather and gеt outside and tаkе саrе оf уоur trees. Yоu саn perform these five асtіvіtіеѕ yourself, оr саll in the professionals.

When is Best to Transplant Trees?

Tree Removal Lafayette

 

Maybe when you moved into your dream home, you noticed that beautiful tree in your backyard and thought, that would look so good if I could put it in my front yard. Or your tree has flourished to the point of outgrowing its current location. When is a good time to move/transplant your tree?

As with most things, it all depends on the type of tree. However, the biggest rule of thumb is to try to move it when it is dormant and not freezing. You want to move it before the colder weather hits or before the tree starts sprouting new foliage.

What is dormant?

During the winter months, trees go into their form of hibernation, called dormancy. While they may seem like they are sleeping or even dead, they’re doing quite a bit to keep going. They drop their leaves and fill their cells with water. Upon the arrival of winter, some of this water goes into the spaces between the cells. This water then becomes the barrier for the trees to protect against possible freezing.

Why transplant trees when they’re dormant?

During the non-dormancy period, trees are heavily reliant on the steady water flow coming to their roots. If this is cut off during the critical period, the tree maybe harmed and have a hard time adapting to its new environment. It would be similar to being in a nice warm shower and having someone dump ice cold water on you.

Dormant trees do not rely on water as much. They’ve lost their leaves and any fruits. They have time to establish their roots and get acclimated to their new environment before the new water supply becomes essential.

However, a critical warning. Do not move trees during extreme cold spells. This could dramatically damage the roots and prevent proper transplantation.

The following are some general rules of thumb for transplanting:

Pine/Evergreen: Fall

Oak: February/March

Maple: Late Fall

Fruit: Early

If you are wanting to transplant your tree, talk to our certified arborist at Sexy Trees. He can provide you key details to avoid damaging your tree.

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.

The Hidden Dangers Lurking In Your Garden

Danville Tree Removal

A beautiful garden can enhance your home and property values, but it can also present some unexpected risks to your house and family.  Read on about some of the hidden dangers you may find lurking in your garden:

Dead Trees and Loose Branches

One garden danger can come from dead or dying trees.  A dead or dying tree presents a danger when it gets unstable, falls down, or drops branches, perhaps hitting and damaging your home.  You might be able to spot a dangerous tree by simply inspecting it closely.  Consider whether it is leaning, whether the leaves look healthy, and whether the branches are drooping.  If you notice any of these symptoms, your tree may be in bad shape.  You should consider having it cut down or removed before it falls.

Normal, healthy trees do drop branches and limbs from time-to-time.  However, these too can present some danger.  Those branches and limbs could damage property or hit a person, on their way to the ground.  They can also hit electrical lines.  Once on the ground, they could become trip hazards.  It is important to have your tree branches and limbs pruned or trimmed back skillfully by a professional arborist to prevent these hazards.

Tree Stumps and Roots

If you have a tree cut down, there may be a stump left behind.  These too can present a hazard as a person or animal may trip over an old stump.  Wood-boring insects such as beetles, termites, and ants may be attracted to an old, decaying tree stump.  This could give them a shortcut to your home.  Some tree stumps can also sprout new growth, which will be costly to remove.

When you consider your trees, you also need to think about the parts you cannot typically see.  Extensive tree roots can cause problems to plumbing, sidewalks, and property foundations.  When tree roots arch up above ground, they can become trip hazards.  They are also difficult to work around when maintaining your yard with equipment.  If you have tree stumps or troublesome roots, you may want to bring in a professional arborist to safely and thoroughly remove them.

Poisonous Plants

Another hidden danger that could exist in your landscape is poisonous plants.  Many of us are familiar with Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.  Some plants look nice, but they can be dangerous to pets that might eat them.  Examples include Hydrangea, Buttercups, and Mistletoe.  If you have a Red Maple tree, be aware that the leaves can be toxic to horses.  Certain mushrooms can also be dangerous to both pets and adults.  It is helpful to screen your yard or have a professional arborist screen for, and remove these plants.

Spiders, Insects, and Pests

Your garden may play host to some uninvited guests in the form of spiders and insects.  Some of these could pose dangers to your garden or home, such as Japanese Beetles.  Others can pose a danger to humans and animals, such as wasps or bees.  You may want to use pesticides to keep these pests away; however, those chemicals can also create risks to animals and small children.  If you see these pests around your garden, you may want to consult with professionals, who can help eliminate them.

Having a garden is an appealing and inviting feature for a home, but it does require some work to maintain and keep it safe.  Consulting with a professional tree service company is one step towards maintaining healthy trees and safe garden.

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.

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.

4 Important Reasons You Should Leave Tree Work to the Professionals

Tree Care Concord

Many homeowners like to do their own DIY work around the house, and many may see money spent on professional tree service and arborists as ‘wasted’. Many feel that when it comes to tree trimming and pruning in California – how hard can it be? But the reality is that tree care is hardly as simple as it looks and in fact involves a number of considerations and precautions many DIYers fail to take into account, and these could end up costing you in the long run. Here we look at 4 of the most important reasons you should always leave tree care to the professionals.

Arborists Have Essential Tree Knowledge

Do you know and understand how every tree and plant should be cared for in your garden to promote its optimal health? Are you familiar with when and how each type of tree variety should be pruned? Would you recognize critical tree damage such as weakened tree branches, tree and plant pests and tree diseases? A certified arborist is trained and experienced in these and other aspects of arboriculture and tree care in order to provide relevant and targeted tree care to ensure tree health.

Arborists often pick up underlying issues when working with your trees, such as tree diseases and pest you may not have noticed, or the need for cabling and bracing to support tree branches and protect your property. Having a qualified arborist work on your trees allows you to receive an expert opinion on tree care and health.

Improper Tool Use

Homeowners completing DIY jobs on their trees and plants are often at risk of injury and damage to property due to improper use of tools. Power tools such as chainsaws are incredibly dangerous and difficult to use, and improper use or use of a blunt or damaged blade can cause major issues. Ladders are another dangerous tool that are improperly used in DIY tree trimming, and they can often be too short, set on unstable ground, or supported by a faulty limb.

Professional arborists also have an collection of specialized tools such as stump grinders, wood chippers, and aerial lifts which provide the easiest way to remove tree stumps and allow some of the more complex and difficult jobs to be completed more quickly and efficiently.

Personal and Property Safety

Improper use of tools, a failure to accurately assess and understand environmental conditions and a lack of adequate support or other people to work with can all result in large risks to the DIY tree trimmer and their property when completing a DIY tree care job. Removing high or large limbs, using ladders and power tools and uprooting a tree are all tasks that present significant risk. DIYers often suffer serious injuries or fatalities from taking on difficult tree work, particularly alone, due to risks from electrical wires, falls and dropped branches.

Falling branches, removing trees and failure to recognize root damage can also result in damage to your home and neighboring properties. Using a professional Bay Area tree care company reduces these risks to personal safety and property.

Insurance

If you’re planning to be your own tree trimmer, you might want to think about what the consequences will be if something does go wrong and whether it’s worth it. If damage does occur during DIY work, the homeowner will be the one responsible. Reliable arborists complete work in your yard with personal and property damage insurance so you can have peace of mind.

For safe work and the most comprehensive and detailed tree care, always choose a professional, qualified arborist for completing work in your yard.

 

How To Conserve Water In Your Garden This Summer

Berkeley Tree Care

Summer is a time when a lot of plants and trees are putting forth new growth and even providing fruit. However, the hot summer weather and increased growth means that plants also have an increased need for water. As much of California is still experiencing drought, and the drought conditions are being felt in local areas such as Walnut Creek, Concord, Berkeley and Pleasant Hill, it’s important for homeowners and gardeners to be aware of how to prepare their trees and gardens for the drought, while also conserving water and using a more environmentally sustainable approach. Here we look at some tips for plant and tree care to conserve water and maximize your garden’s health in summer.

Water the Right Amount

If you are under-watering or over-watering your garden, you not only pose the risk of damaging your plants, you may also simply be wasting water and doing more work than you need to. With proper tree identification from an experienced tree specialist, you can establish exactly how frequently you should be watering your plants and trees for their optimal health. Once this schedule has been established, stick to a routine of watering your plants only when they need it.

Observe Your Plants and Trees

One of the ways you can establish how often your plants need watering is by observing your plants and trees for signs of water loss such as dryness and wilting. Plants with larger leaves lose water more quickly than plants with smaller leaves, so use large-leaved plants in your garden as an indicator for when you should water.

Trees that aren’t watered adequately can drop more leaves and branches than necessary, which in extreme cases can require cabling and bracing. If you’re not sure how often your tree should be watered, consult a tree doctor for specialized advice.

Water Deeply

If you’re wondering exactly how to water trees in order to conserve water, deep watering is the method for you. Deep watering is a technique that helps essential hydration for plants reach deep into the roots up to 8-12 inches below the ground, rather than just wetting the surface. This is particularly important in summer, as huge water losses due to evaporation can occur in hot weather. It’s better to water plants and trees more heavily on less days of the week than watering just a little bit every day.

Deep watering also helps tree and plant roots reach deeper into the soil for greater stability and strength, and avoids wetting the leaves of the trees and shrubs which can give rise to fungal disease.

Use Mulch

Once you have thoroughly watered your tree and plant roots it’s important to cover the root area in mulch in order to limit evaporative water losses and protect tree roots from the heat. Mulch can be provided by your local tree specialist to act as an insulating cover that conserves water in the soil and also helps to optimize soil health, which is essential in drought conditions.

Drought Resistant Plants

One of the best ways to conserve water in your garden is to plant drought resistant plants and shrubs which are tolerant of low water conditions and more suited to the native environment. Of course, pruning trees can reduce their water usage, but it can also lead to the tree dying or failing to grow.

If you want to make you garden more drought tolerant, consult with a qualified arborist to choose plants that both help to conserve precious water and fit into your landscape.

With these tips you can conserve water in the garden and create a beautiful landscape that flourishes even in drought conditions.