Japanese Maple Tree Care

Danville Tree Service

Japanese maples are generally hearty, healthy trees. Japanese maples are pretty easy to raise and care for. They tend not to succumb to disease or infection, but will perform poorly when their needs aren’t being met.

Your Japanese maple will appreciate it if you keep these things in mind:

Don’t Allow Japanese Maple Tree Roots to Sit in Water

If your Japanese maple doesn’t look healthy and well, there’s a good chance that the roots are overwatered. If the soil is too heavy, contains a lot of clay, or doesn’t drain well, that can be affecting the health of the tree. 

Before planting a Japanese maple, you can be sure that the ground is properly aerated with appropriate soil, and plant with the root ball only half burried. Once a tree is in its place, your best move is to monitor soil wetness. Be sure not to overwater, and your tree with thank you.

Don’t Spray Foliage

When you spray the leaves of a tree (any tree really) the water droplets act as little magnifying glasses, concentrating the sun’s power on a small spot until the water evaporates. Some leaves are bothered by this more than others. Although it certainly won’t kill your Japanese maple, this tree would prefer you spray the ground rather than the leaves. Or if you must spray the leaves, don’t do it on a sunny day, please. 

Don’t Over Fertilize 

These trees like soil rich in nutrients, but not rich in commercial fertilizers. In fact, they do better with no fertilization at all rather than many of the fertilizers available at the plant store. If you think your Japanese maple needs fertilizing, consult your trusted arborist.

Threats to Your Japanese maple tree

Of course, sometimes outside influences do attack your tree. Some of the problems that arise for this particular type of tree include: 

Pseudomonas Syringae

Pseudomonas syringae is opportunistic bacteria that usually attacks plants that are already damaged by other threats. It affects woody plants, including Japanese maples, which can display spotted leaves, and veins within the leaves can be blackened when infected. It can also cause dieback of small branches.

To learn more visit: Pseudomonas Syringae

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt is caused by a soil borne fungi but usually attacks plants that are stressed by other things like drought, frost, or wet soil. This fungus lives in the soil as small, darkened structures called microsclerotia. These microsclerotia may lie dormant in the soil for years. 

One or more branches, usually on one side of the tree, wilt suddenly. Sometimes the leaves turn yellow before they wilt, or leaf margins turn brown and appear scorched. Branches that die will need to be removed.

The best prevention for this fungi is a strong, healthy tree. There is some evidence that unbalanced fertilization (too much or too little nitrogen, for example) exacerbates this disease, but there’s no specific prevention or treatment. 

To learn more visit: Verticillium Wilt

Japanese Maple Scale

Scale insects are sucking insects that extract plant sap from the host plant. These scale have an armored exoskeleton, usually white. Scale insects are predatory, generally attacking unhealthy plants. The healthier your plants, the less likely they are to be attacked by scale insects. 

In trees with heavy infestations scale can cause premature leaf drop, branch dieback, or death of the plant. On Japanese maples, scale insects usually only attach themselves to the stems of the tree and not the leaves, so scrubbing the tree with soapy water and a scrub brush may solve an infestation.

To learn more visit: Japanese Maple Scale

Tree Borers

Tree Borers are a group of insects that lay their eggs on or inside of trees, where the young larvae eat through living tissues. Anything that bores into tree stems is commonly called a tree borer, whether it be beetles or clearwing moths. The symptoms and treatments are the same.

You can avoid initial infestation by having a professional prune your tree, eliminating unnecessary tree damage. Also, adding mulch around your tree and providing it with appropriate water and fertilizer will help it fight off borers and heal any previous damage.

To learn more visit: Tree Borers

Anthracnose

Affected trees often show spots that may look like scorching on the leaves. This fungal disease is prevalent during rainy seasons and conditions of high humidity. Rainy weather can empower this fungus, and drought can slow it down or stop it. 

Anthracnose remains active on leaves and twigs that have fallen to the ground, which helps it spread. Eventually spores are released from dropped leaves and re-attach themselves to the tree or new leaves. The easiest method of control is to keep dead twigs and leaves raked up from under your trees, and keep leaf litter that you suspect out of your compost pile.

To learn more visit: Anthracnose

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew covers leaves and stems starting with the underside, but becomes most obvious when it shows on the top of leaves with a white or grey powdery film. It thrives in hot, or hot and humid conditions, especially where a lot of plants are grouped together and air circulation is poor.

Trees are weakened by this mildew, but rarely seriously injured. Rake up and dispose of any affected leaves. It’s best not to put the affected leaves in your compost bin. 

Cut off affected portions, restrict fertilizing, water only at the soil level and do what you can to increase air circulation to control a powdery mildew infection.

To learn more visit: Powdery Mildew

Aphids

Aphids feed by attaching themselves to the leaves of a plant and sucking nutrients out of the leaves. Resulting leaf damage can be unattractive, but your Japanese maple tree will likely not suffer more than some leaf loss. They have a number of natural predators including lady bugs, so they usually don’t last long once they appear. You can treat them with insecticidal soap or rinse them off with a blast of water.

To learn more visit: Aphids

Phytophthora Root Rot

This is a fancy way of saying that the root system is rotted because of excess moisture. Japanese maples are susceptible because they don’t tolerate wet heavy soils that drain poorly. Of course solutions include planting shallowly, and never overwatering. If you’re having a problem with root rot, consult a qualified arborist for advice.

To learn more visit: Phytophthora Root Rot

 

Tree Pruning Tips in Time for Spring

Alamo Tree Service

In preparation for the spring growing season, there are a few things you can do to help your trees stay healthy and strong for years to come. These aren’t large tasks, in the scheme of things. As you know, trees don’t ask much of you in general. With a few days of attention a year, you can have hearty, lush trees for years or decades.

Start Before Spring Growth Begins

While your deciduous trees are still bare, visually check them for signs of disease or damage that might be masked by full leaf cover later. This is also the best time to prune, while pruning is least likely to spread pests or diseases that are inactive in winter. Target dead, unhealthy, or dangerous branches for pruning, and follow safe tree pruning tips.

If you have any doubts about proper tree pruning, educate yourself on tree pruning. Hire a professional if you aren’t sure you can do it in a way that’s safe for the tree, and safe for all people and property involved.

Readying for Blooms

Before your trees bloom, they’ll need to be in good health to get through the energy expenditure of blooming! Ensure they’re prepared by using a long-lasting fertilizer at the very start of Spring. There are multiple fertilizing and nutrient-delivering options available, talk to your local arborist if you’re not sure what option is best for your tree and goals.

Spring in Full Swing

When spring has fully arrived, it’s time to renew mulch under your trees, making sure you’re using an appropriate mulch for your landscape and applying it properly. This’ll prevent weeds and grass from leaching nutrients away from your trees, and preserve moisture for your tree’s roots.

If you need help with pruning, fertilizing, or other tree care, call Sexy Trees (925) 233-6877

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.

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.

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.

Signs of a Dying Tree

Tree Service Danville

We rely on trees for our livelihood as they provide the oxygen that we breath to survive. This is why many of us feel a kindred connection to trees and the outdoors. However, trees are not indestructible or immortal. They can get sick and do die over time. As with humans, there are signs that you should be aware of so you can quickly identify a sick or dying tree.

 

Loss of Leaves

During the autumn and winter months, it is quite common for trees to lose the foliage. This is very normal. Should a loss of leaves occur in the spring and summer months, this is a clear indicator of a problem. Similarly, if the leaves turn brown and brittle during said months. Sometimes, a sick tree may get reddish/brown leaves in these same months.

 

Inspect the Branches

Beyond the leaves, take a look at the branches of a tree. If no bark exists, this is a sign of an issue. It is called deadwood. Such branches are often prone to falling and be a great area for fungus growth. Should you see such signs, you should contact a certified arborist right away. Even if your tree is not dead, this could be an indication of an infestation and you want to prevent it from attacking the healthier parts of your tree.

 

Absence of Bark

Related to the above, the peeling or loss of bark is a strong indicator of disease. The presence of missing bark can also be caused by things like weed eaters or environmental conditions that make a tree highly vulnerable to bacteria, disease or fungus. While such situations may not be enough to remove the tree, a tree inspection by a certified arborist would allow you to ensure your tree is kept healthy.

 

Trunk Firmness

If the tree’s trunk becomes hollow or soft, it is usually a sign of a dying tree. It is similar to a potato that goes bad. It becomes squishy and if you leave it out long enough it starts decomposing from the inside out. Some signs of such decay are mushrooms, cavities, insect damage, or any of the other conditions discussed above.

 

Roots

Although you are unlikely to see this most of the time, damage to the roots is another indicator of a problem with your tree. Some indications of this issue are soil rising around the base of a tree or visible roots that show decay. Another sign could be a reduction in the tree coverage or a lean in the tree.

Regardless of what the factors maybe that lead you to believe there may be a sickness or death to the tree, a certified arborist can both be a great resource to do a proper inspection and/or do routine preventive care. Contact the certified arborist at Sexy Trees at 925.233.6877.

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.

Planting Trees in the Winter

Danville Tree Service

 

Many people look at the barren parts of their garden and wonder when they can plant that fruit tree they’ve always wanted to have. They know it is winter so they don’t want to waste time planting something that will die due to the weather.  The good news is that you can plant many things during the winter, especially in the warmer temperatures of the Bay Area.   However, even without these weather conditions, the best time of year to plant most trees actually occurs in late winter.

Dormancy

In order to understand the basics of planting trees, let’s discuss a key stage in a tree’s life, dormancy.  A person recognizes this as the stage in which their leaves usually fall off and it appears that the tree is dead.  In reality, the tree is in a “sleep” mode whereby it is using less energy and not growing at the same rate.  During this portion of life, a tree can withstand changes and thereby be moved, planted, and nurtured a lot easier.  As a result, many people start planting their trees in the middle to late winter while they are in dormancy.  Thus, when they enter the spring and key stage of growth, their roots are fully established in their new environment.

Evergreens

What about those trees that do not lose their leaves, the evergreens?  The short answer is that the same time period does apply with a bit more leniency.  Evergreens tend to withstand changes a lot better and aren’t as prone to dramatic shifts.  If anything, their ideal period for transferring can go longer due to their genetics.

Now is the time (if it’s late winter)

If you are wanting to get some trees planted, you should start selecting that ideal tree and begin planting it in the next thirty days or so.  Sexy Trees has a certified arborist with years of experience.  If you have questions about planting trees, feel free to reach out at Sexytrees.com.

 

 

5 Essential Tips for Fall Tree Care

Walnut Creek Tree Service

 

Fall tree care is crucial to year round healthy trees. Yes, fall is a time to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and spend brisk days outdoors raking them into piles. But as fall turns to winter, your trees become vulnerable to the elements. Here are some essential steps you should take each fall to care for your trees and prepare them for the winter:

  1. Inspect and Prune Away Dead Wood

As you head into the winter months, any dead or dying branches could pose a risk to your property. Fall tree care is the perfect opportunity to make a good inspection of your trees, checking their health and stability.  It is much easier to inspect your trees once they have lost their leaves.

To inspect your trees, first stand back to assess stability and structure. Then, take a closer look for any concerns like diseased branches or boring insect activity. Prune away any branches that look unhealthy or loose. For bigger limbs, you may need to utilize a qualified arborist.

  1. Nourish and Insulate Your Trees

In fall you want to fertilize your trees to keep them healthy during winter months. This gives the trees nutrients to nourish them, which makes them stronger and less susceptible to winter damage. Laying mulch will also help protect trees during winter, because mulch insulates the roots against cold weather. Mulch also helps to retain moisture in the soil. You typically want to lay 2-4 inches of mulch in a 2 foot radius around a tree or plant.

  1. Treat Against Disease and Insects

Raking not only keeps your yard attractive, it also helps to prevent disease in your trees and plants. Fungi spores can hide out and develop in fallen leaves. If left on the ground, during spring rain, those spores awaken and infect your trees. As you prepare for winter, you’ll also want to guard your tree against boring insects that might be looking for a winter home by raking up dead leaves.

  1. Hydrate and Protect Trees from Dry Air

It may seem strange, when snow is on the ground, that trees could become dehydrated, but winter brings less rainfall and less moisture seeping into the ground (until the spring thaw). Additionally, trees in arid climates that don’t get much rain or snow in winter may still need some extra moisture.

Hydrate your trees by watering them during the fall to prepare them for the winter months. As you water your trees in the fall, remember on the deeper root system, not just the area near the trunk. You can also treat your tree with anti-desiccants, which help protect the leaves by locking in moisture.

  1. Consider Cabling Your Trees

You may notice in parks and public spaces, cables being used to stabilize trees. You can also have cables installed to support the physical structure of trees in your yard. This technique is for healthy trees that just need extra help to support their weight. This is especially useful fall tree care anticipating heavy winds and winter storms.

Tree specialists can help protect your trees against the effects of winter weather. Keeping healthy trees is a sound investment, because prevention and maintenance reduces other costs related to lost trees, property damage, and future tree replacement. Plus you can have peace of mind when professionals tend to your trees while you enjoy the beginning of the fall season.