How Does Mistletoe Harm Your Trees

Mistletoe Removal

Do you have mistletoe on your property? If you have mystyldene, all-heal, bird lime, golden bough, or devil’s fuge, then yes. You have mistletoe.

It’s leaves are part of a fun Christmas tradition that encourages you to a kiss while standing under it. But it’s actually very harmful to your trees. Although the evergreen plant is quite beautiful with the fragrant flowers it produces in winter, this poisonous berry does more harm than good.

Mistletoe is native to Nevada, California, Arizona, Baja California, as well as Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico. Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic pest that grows on branches of deciduous trees, which his why you’ll want to have it removed by a professional.

How Does Mistletoe Harm Trees?

Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that sends out its root-like structure into tree branches. This small evergreen shrub then steals necessary water and nutrients from its tree host. The mistletoe then continues to grow larger as it continues to damage the tree.

Although mistletoe spreads slowly, when not stopped it can be harmful to trees. When a tree is infested with the plant, it can become stunted, less vigorous and even be killed if additional stressed from other environmental factors are present. Things like root damage, drought, insect infestation, extreme temperatures, disease and mistletoe infestation can all kill an otherwise healthy tree.

If you see that mistletoe is growing on your trees, you can prune out the infested branches. But just cutting it with the branch won’t kill mistletoe; it’ll only slow down its growth. You can’t get rid of mistletoe unless you remove all the infected limbs of the tree. Special care must been taken to avoid over pruning, which is why you want to hire a professional arborist to walk this fine line for you. 

A professional arborist prune in a way that balances your need to eliminate mistletoe with your trees need to retain branches. At the same time they can also aid the tree in it’s recovery. Removing other stressors from your trees can help ensure their recovery and resistance to future infections.

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.

 

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.