How Root Flare Exposure Affects Tree Health

Tree root exposure berkeley tree services.

One of the biggest overlooked tree care mistakes is a relatively simple one: your tree was planted too deep. If a tree seems to be declining despite efforts to regularly prune it, trim its branches, and give it adequate water, it might be time to take a look at the root cause of the issue (pun intended). In addition to regularly scheduling maintenance with your local Berkeley tree service experts, get acquainted with how a buried root flare could be suffocating your tree – and how to fix it.  

What is root flare and how can Berkeley tree services help?

The root flare of a tree is the area around the base of the trunk, where the trunk meets the roots and creates a sloping outward flare into the soil. A tree’s root flare is a powerful indicator of its health, and a damaged or improperly developed root flare can cause a number of detrimental effects for fledgling and established trees. A certified arborist will be able to identify an underexposed root flare and provide recommendations or services to fix it. 

Signs that your tree’s root flare is suffocating:

If you can’t see a tree’s root flare, soil or mulch is likely covering it (which it should not be). Indicators that the tree is suffering due to its improperly exposed root flare are: 

  • Prematurely dropping leaves in the fall or delayed leaf growth in spring 
  • New shoots have a narrow reach, which gives the appearance that the foliage is hugging close to the branches
  • The tree appears like a telephone pole sticking out of the ground: completely cylindrical with no visible flare. Though this is natural for some varieties of tree, most should slope outwards as the trunk meets the roots and enters the soil. 

Health Consequences of a Buried Root Flare 

Soil or mulch covering a tree’s root flare comes with immediate and long-term consequences. Immediately, the tree experiences reduced oxygen availability to its roots, reduced water infiltration, and reduced access to shallow nutrient pools. If chronically underexposed, buried root flare could cause: 

  • Fungal wood decay. When mulch or soil is mounded over the base of the tree, moisture can accumulate over the tree’s root flare and deprive it of crucial oxygen. Over time, this can cause fungal wood decay at the root flare, which weakens the structural integrity of the tree while compromising the vascular system.
  • Girdling roots. The excess moisture at the root flare causes dormant buds to emerge from the base of the tree. Although these girdling roots start out small, they quickly grow into a restrictive tangle that abrades the buttress roots and suffocates the vascular system. These unnatural roots are a direct result of covering the tree’s root flare. 

Talk to Us

If you are looking for the best Berkeley tree service, look no further. At Sexy Trees, our wide range of services and care will keep your trees healthy and beautiful for decades to come. We believe in supporting our communities of trees through evidence-based techniques that you can depend on. Give us a call at 925-233-6877 for a free estimate, or email us at [email protected] anytime with questions! 

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.

Can You Really Tell The Age of a Tree By Counting Rings?

Walnut Creek Tree Service
Tree rings to count the age of a tree

Trees are fascinating creatures, and learning about their ways can keep you entertained for a lifetime. Their symbiotic relationships with their surroundings are fascinating, as is photosynthesis and their reproductive systems.

One other fascinating thing about trees is that you can reliably tell how old they are down to the year by observing their bodies. With humans and most other animals and plants, this is impossible. But because of the annual cycles that trees grow in, and the solid structure of their trunks and branches, we can read the records of their lives.

Yes, you can tell how old a tree is by reading the rings when the trunk is cut in a cross-section. Actually, you’re able to tell how old THAT PART of the tree is. In a large branch you can also count how long it’s been there in this way. Skilled arborists can even gain other information from looking at tree rings. And arborist can gather fairly accurate info about whether there were droughts, disease or damage in the tree’s history.

What Makes This Possible?

The wood of a tree grows fast in spring, and is lighter because it consists of larger (more moist) cells, so the pigment distribution is less dense. In summer, it’s dryer and growth is slower; the wood forms smaller cells and looks darker. Fall and winter there is no growth worth noting. So when the tree is cut, the layers appear as alternating rings of light and dark wood. Each light/dark set is one year of growth, so either count dark or light rings, but not both.

The main drawback of using this amazing natural record-keeping system is that you have to cut down your tree. It is possible to bore a sample without killing the tree, but not without hurting it. So for highest accuracy, you really have to wait until the tree is removed or at least cut down to get it’s age.

What if The Tree is Still Standing?

There is a way you can take measurements and use some math to estimate tree age. It’s outlined here by the state of Michigan Athens-Clarke County Community Tree Program: Estimating Tree Age. Doing this tree age estimation can be just as fun and counting rings, and you get to keep your tree! This uses some math that is high school or college level, so get help if you need it!

Another interesting way to figure out the age of a tree is to look up historical photos of the property the tree is on. Or if it’s near a building, find out when the property was built and if the trees were put in at the same time. This tracing the history of the are usually can give you a ballpark idea, but not exact year of planting.

 

 

 

 

Sycamore Tree Care and Illness

Tree Care Concord

An American Sycamore tree is most notable for its exfoliating bark. People love the peeling patches on sycamore trunks.

Healthy Sycamore Trees

The bark of the trunk and its larger limbs tend to flake off in large, irregular masses, giving the surface a mottled look. The bark can be of many colors due to this, from grey to brown to greenish white. The smaller limbs often look whitewashed.

The leaves of these trees are pale green in color. When fully grown they become a bright yellow color on top and a paler yellow underneath. They become a brown color in autumn and wither just before falling away.

A sycamore tree can grow to quite massive proportions. American sycamore trees tend to be divided nearer to the ground into many secondary trunks that are free from branches. The limbs spread out at the top to make an irregular, open crown. The roots are fibrous and it’s noteworthy that trunks of the larger sycamore trees tend to be hollow.

Threats to Your Sycamore

Sycamores are vulnerable to diseases and also insect parasites, similar to almost every category of trees you could plant. As first line of protection, you should keep your tree healthy with good prevention and maintenance care. If your tree is very healthy, it’s much less likely to struggle with health issues. Of course, well irrigated and fertilized sycamore trees can be affected by diseases and pests, too.

Lace Bug

Lace bug is one of the most common and harmful sycamore tree parasites. The lacy pattern on the adult’s chest, wings, and head earn it’s name. The insects eat the under sides of the tree’s leaves.

While the sycamore lace bug’s damage is not always serious, a heavy infestation will slow the tree’s growth. You should wash off bugs with a hose. Insecticides are also readily available for this. 

Sycamore Anthracnose

Sycamore Anthracnose is a fungus that winters on twig tissue and causes leaf spots. It’s also called leaf and twig blight, and can kill American Sycamore trees while doing only minor damage to other types. A frequent clue is crinkling and browning of the leaves. Symptoms include tan to red-brown lesions extending along the veins and edges of the leaf.

Considerable defoliation, sometimes with complete leaf loss, occurs on many trees by late spring in cool, wet years. This sycamore tree disease is more likely to strike in wet weather. Rainfall and wind spread the fungi’s spores.

For Sycamore Anthracnose, we use an Arborjet treatment called PHOSPHO-jet applied in the fall following leaf coloration or early spring prior to twig infection. Propizol applied in the fall will slow the spread of infection the following spring and help the tree to grow leaves more normally.

Arborjet Therapy for Oak Tree Care

Concord Tree Care

People love oak trees. They’re majestically broad and protective feeling, with dense green foliage spans.

 

About Oaks

Oaks grow naturally across the Southeastern USA. They can be found on the east shore from southeastern Virginia to Florida and west to southern and central Texas. They grow naturally in the sandy soils of low coastal areas.

Oaks have male and female reproductive systems on the same plant. They flower every spring from March through May and acorns mature in September and fall off by December. Live oak acorns are long, dark brown to black.

They seldom grow over 50 feet tall, but the crown of the tree can have a span of 150 feet wide. That’s why it’s an incredibly popular shade tree! Oak tree wood is so sturdy that they were used for shipbuilding years ago, but today they’re mostly decorative trees.

 

Oak Wilt and Fungal Infections

Oaks tend to grow in huge groups with interconnected roots, which makes them extremely vulnerable to contracting oak wilt. The fungus travels from one oak to another through the linked roots and insect activity. Oak wilt destroys hundreds of trees just in Austin, Texas every year because of how rapidly they expand in groves.

Symptoms of oak wilt are otherwise healthy leaves developing yellow veins, turning brown and falling off the tree outside of autumn. The crown of the tree thins and weakens till it dies. Oak wilt can be costly to treat and regulate. An accurate medical diagnosis is critical. You’ll need to consult a certified arborist to guarantee proper medical diagnosis and treatment.

Unfortunately, oak wilt is quite infectious. Without the proper treatment, the death of the tree is inevitable.

 

Arborjet Therapy to the Rescue

Avoidance starts with expertise. To treat this fungus effectively, you need to seek the services of an expert.

Once diagnosed, we advise a trunk shot of the Arborjet Treatment, Propizol. It contains a systemic fungicide that reduces Bretiziella fagacearum, and specifically to combats oak wilt. Because oak wilt is spread through roots and insects, we advise Arborjet therapy of non-infected oaks near the contaminated trees. This can slow down and stop the spread of the condition.

After Care

Infected trees are highly susceptible to nitidulid beetles, which also carry oak wilt fungus. You’ll want to schedule tree trimmings at appropriate times to avoid nitidulid beetles, planning your trimming around the beetles’ off period. The active period for nitidulid beetles varies throughout the USA, so consult with your arborist.

A wound dressing that’s not toxic to plants is important on injured oaks, including those those that have been trimmed. Painting the wounds of an oak after cutting it will shut the wound off to prospective infection from nitidulid beetles. The county may penalize you for not repainting the wounds of a tree that’s just been trimmed.

When treating several trees, your arborist must sanitize drill bits and also injection devices between trees. Sexy Trees is an expert in controlling the spread of infection, with industry leading sterilization and sanitation. Don’t assume every arborist is as careful as is necessary when dealing with oak wilt and beetle infestations. Always ask.

Get in touch with Sexy Trees if you believe a stump or a tree on your property may be influenced by oak wilt.

Healthy Trees Increase Property Values

Lafayette Tree Pruning

All homeowners want their home to increase in value. In fact, no matter how long you plan to live in your home, you want it to increase in value as much as possible. You might be looking to make your home more appealing to a buyer, you want to make it the most valuable property you can for when you leave it to family. Maybe you want to use it as collateral for a loan. In any case, property value matters.

Healthy Trees

Perhaps everybody wants to have a shady spot. Children love to play in shade, adults love to lounge in it. This is one of the major offerings that healthy trees bring to the family, but not the only one. Trees can protect your outside areas from wind and provide shelter for more delicate plantings. They bring a harmony with nature to your property, allowing your home to “fit in” to the landscape more gracefully. And trees offer places for birds and other wildlife to live and raise their young.

Your shady space, your wind-protected cove, the benefits your trees bring to you: they need to be healthy to do this. Your family can’t enjoy the shade under a tree that’s threatening to drop branches. The look of your home is not improved by scraggly, sickly looking trees. Delicate plantings below a sick tree will suffer and be exposed to pathogens and parasites attracted by decay. No space is useful under damaged or dangerous trees.

It’s important to do everything in your power to keep existing trees healthy. A mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000, according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. With multiple healthy trees, this can be significant when selling.

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” -Unknown

Useful Space

The value of your property is increased with the presence of useful outdoor space. Trees are one of the most attractive, functional ways to increase the usability of your landscape. Using existing trees and even incorporating new trees can help you create distinct areas, manage the wind and sun in those areas, and can even host a tree house or swing. All of this raises the value of your property.

Curb Appeal

“Curb Appeal” is the first impression your home makes when a guest pulls up. You must give attention to both home presence and landscaping to make the best presentation. Stand in the street across from your home. Do your trees look well maintained? Welcoming? Do the plants look inviting? Overgrown? Crowded? Bare? Keep the trees at the front of your house looking strong, full, healthy and your home will look better for it.

Maximize Property Values

The trees are already there. The key now is to foster their healthy growth. This could mean getting nutrient injections, having sickly trees removed, pruning trees, mulching, or any number of things. Have our Certified Arborist guide you towards what your trees need to bring them to their best possible health and beauty.

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.

3 Causes for Dry and Brittle Trees

Berkeley Tree Removal

Dry trees can often drop branches and break leave tips easily, becoming a hazard during storms and strong winds. Most homeowners would prefer to have lush green trees in their yards to provide shade, however it’s not uncommon to find dry and brittle trees in your yard. But what are the main causes of dryness in trees? While sufficient water is an important factor it’s not the only cause contributing to dry and brittle trees.

Drought Stress

One of the most obvious and common causes for dry trees in California is drought stress. Drought stress can cause tree branches to become weak and fall easily, and also causes leaves to go brown and drop from the tree. Signs of drought stress also include slowed growth, a thinning canopy, and dying twigs high in the branches. The signs of drought stress are not necessarily obvious, and once the characteristic signs begin to show themselves it maybe too late to rescue the tree. Drought stress can eventually destroy your trees, leading to the need for tree removal.

Drought stress can be avoided by limiting pruning during drought times, avoiding using fertilizer, and applying organic mulch around the root system instead. When watering trees during dry or hot seasons, soak the roots less often rather than watering shallowly more often. If you need to prune trees call a qualified arborist to provide expert service to protect your trees and keep them healthy.

Over-Fertilization

Trees that grow rapidly are not as strong as those with slow, steady growth. Avoiding fast growing tree types can help to avoid dry and brittle trees, especially if your garden is going through difficult conditions such as a drought. Trees can also grow too fast if they’re supplied with too much fertilizer.

Fertilizer can ‘fast track’ growth without the tree being able to support the new growth with adequate nutrients or water. While fertilizer seems like a great way to ‘feed’ trees, it’s better to take a slower, more natural approach, and have an arborist apply mulch. Avoid fertilizing trees that are already dry or brittle, under drought stress or suffering from insect infestations or disease.

Pest Infestations and Diseases

Various pest infestations and tree diseases can cause trees to become weak, leaves and branch tips to become brown, and bark to go dry and fall off. The symptoms vary depending on the particular disease or infestation affecting the tree. If you notice your tree undergoing any unusual changes or you see visible signs of disease or pests on your tree, it’s important to call your local arborist as soon as possible. They can diagnose the specific condition affecting your tree and treat it in order to save the tree and prevent the condition spreading.

Dry and brittle trees could signify an underlying condition affecting your trees. If you notice dry and brittle trees, it’s important to act fast to prevent tree death or damage to your garden or property. Call a professional arborist as soon as possible to help get your trees back to full health.