Category: Blog

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Palm trees add instant glamour to any yard, but not when their leaves are turning yellow!  Yellow palm fronds could be the sign of something wrong with your tree, or just natural growth from your palm.  

Palm trees grow new fronds from the upper central part of the tree.  Older fronds towards the bottom, or outside, of the plant will start to yellow, eventually turning brown.  This is a natural occurrence, and you can safely trim the brown leaves off to improve the look of your palm.  Make sure to wipe your shearing blades with rubbing alcohol in between cuts to avoid transferring any diseases to the rest of the plant.  

While some yellowing is natural, ti could also be a sign of something wrong.  A lack of nitrogen could be the culprit. The mineral nitrogen is vital for growth.  The oldest leaves will turn a light green, then yellow, followed by the younger leaves.  To fix this problem, use a nitrogen rich slow releasing fertilizer to feed your plant back to health.  This can also help any other lack of nutrients, such as a lack of potassium or magnesium, causing your palm to yellow.  You can purchase a soil testing kit at any garden shop to check the nutrient levels in your plant’s soil to insure that your palm is getting the right food.

If the soil isn’t to blame, it could be a case of fungi or other pests.  Search for other signs of illness, such a rotting roots or a sticky film covering your fronds.  Some pests create webs that can also harm your tree. It’s important to contact your local arborist to check your tree to determine the best course of action to help your palm to recover.

Since palm trees are evergreen trees, they are not kept on a normal pruning schedule, making them a different challenge than oak trees.  If you are worried about the health of your palm tree, call an arborist to assess your tree.

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You may have noticed small lumps or long protrusions dangling from the leaves of your trees.  These are called leaf galls. Leaf galls can be hollow or hard, and look like there’s something wrong with your tree, but fret not.  These bumps are usually not a sign of disease.

While leaf galls look terrible, they are usually not anything to worry about.  The bumps are usually caused by an insect or bacteria feeding on your leaves. The bumps are an after effect, similar to a bug bite you may get.  The original organism is not still hanging around. Unfortunately, unlike our bug bites, leaf galls don’t go away.

Insects like to feed on new, fresh leaves, so leaf galls rarely affect more mature leaves on the trees.  You may also find galls on stems or flowers, but they are most commonly found on the leaves of trees, such as oaks, maples, and elms.  

Trees will most likely be more affected by galls after a harsh winter, when the bugs are hungrier.  This is usually not a problem for healthy trees, but trees that have encountered more damage over the winter season may be more susceptible to early leaf loss.

Since leaf galls are primarily a cosmetic issue, it’s best to just leave them alone.  If the insects are a problem, that typically takes care of itself, as gall causing bugs find natural predators rather quickly.  It’s also not a bad idea to spray your trees at the beginning of spring to ward off any unwanted pests.

With any unusual growth on your trees, keep an eye out for weakening trees along with the gall, as this could be a sign of something larger at play.  When in doubt, always call a professional arborist to examine your tree for further damage or infections.

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It’s important to take care of the trees on your property.  Not only are they good for the environment and our air quality, but trees can increase your property value.  If you are observant, you may be able to help your sick tree before it’s too late.

Trees will normally have telltale signs that it is sick.  It’s good to be able to visually inspect your tree for any abnormalities.  Some of the most common visual cues are:

  • The roots are severed, or have a lot of fungi growing on them.
  • The ground is heaving upwards.
  • The trunk’s bark is peeling or loose.
  • The trunk is split or has large cracks.
  • The trunk is swelling in certain places.
  • The trunk has holes, or cavities.
  • The wood is very soft.
  • The tree is not producing any leaves.
  • The leaves have dark spots or are odd colored.
  • The branches are lean and leaning.

If you see one or more of these issues with your tree, it could be a sign that something serious is wrong with your tree.  Dark spots, or discoloration on your leaves could be a sign of leaf disease.  Holes and cavities in the wood may be a pest and insect problem.  Your tree could also have a serious infection.

When you suspect that there is something wrong with your tree, you should call a licensed arborist to come out and inspect the tree.  Sick trees can infect other trees on your property, so it’s best to contact someone as soon as you see any signs of illness.  A professional arborist can help treat the disease, or safely remove the tree from your property.  

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Agroforestry is the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into agricultural and livestock farming to create economic and environmental benefits.  Cultures all over the world have been putting agroforestry into practice for centuries.

Agroforestry is great for the environment and the crops because it decreases damage from wind and rain.  The crops are able to gain access to more water and nutrients than simply water and feeding them alone.  Trees help regulate the carbon and humidity in the area.  Trees and shrubs can also encourage helpful wildlife to the crops.

By planting a variety of trees and crops, farmers can increase their productivity of the land.  The soil won’t be zapped of all of its natural resources, as the plants require different nutrients to grow.  

There are four main traits that must be met in order for a crop to be labeled as an agroforest.  

  1. Intentional:   Trees, crops, and wildlife are managed as one whole unit and are intentionally designed.
  2. Intensive:  Agroforestry practices are intensively managed to maintain their productive and protective functions.  They should also involve fertilization, irrigation, and cultivation.
  3. Interactive:  Management actively seeks to manipulate the biological functions between the trees, wildlife, and plants to enhance more than one harvestable crop at any time, while also providing conservational benefits.
  4. Integrated:  The trees, crops, and wildlife come together as one single integrated unit.  

Agroforestry is an important, ancient practice that helps to maintain the integrity of the land.  By integrating trees and shrubs into our crops and livestock, we can increase the amount of healthy food we eat, and provide natural habitats for wildlife.

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The type of soil used in planting your tree is vital to the health of your trees.  Most of the time we are focused on what is happening above ground that it is easy to overlook healthy soil, and what your tree needs to thrive.  Understanding soil basics will help you to maintain good tree growth.

There are several different varieties of soil, and certain soils can be mixed together to provide the ideal environment for your trees.  

Sandy–  Sandy soil is rough in texture and doesn’t retain moisture very well.  This can make it difficult for your tree to get the nutrition it needs.

Chalky–  Chalky soil is very rocky, usually comprised of bedrock or limestone.  This soil will need to be mixed with a soil rich in nutrients.

Clay–  Clay soil is very densely packed, and can feel sticky when wet.  This soil, because it is packed so tightly, will make it hard for your tree roots to access the air and moisture it needs to grow well.

Silt–  Silty soil is very slippery and silky.  It is able to retain moisture, but it may hold on to too much water for most trees.  

Peaty–  Peaty soil is very acidic.  This soil does not have many nutrients but does retain water well.

Loamy–  Loamy soil is the best soil for plants.  Holds moisture and has plenty of nutrients.

To test your soil to see what type it is, simply take a sample and place it in a mason jar with some water.  Shake the jar and let it sit overnight.  Where the soil settles will let you know what type of soil you are working with.  Sandy soil will settle at the bottom, while clay will rise to the top.  The others will lie somewhere in the middle.

Soil is very important in your tree’s health and its ability to get the water and nutrients it needs.  What type of soil is in your yard?

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A yard full of trees makes for a beautiful landscape, but it’s important to protect and care for them.  Here are some important reasons why your trees need to be cared for by an arborist.

  1. Arborists are skilled and trained to take care of trees.
    Arborists are trained to properly care for your trees, maintain them, and plant trees for your yard.  They can protect your tree from harmful bugs and prune your trees correctly to protect them from the elements.
  2. Arborists protect your investment.
    Trees are not only beautiful to look at, but can increase the property of your home.  A poorly maintained trees can not only decrease the value of your property, but can become a liability.
  3. Arborists can safely clean up after a storm.
    When a major storm hits, it can destroy or damage many trees on your property, making for a very dangerous situation.  Arborists have been trained on the proper way to safely clean up an damage caused from a storm.
  4. Arborists come equipped with the right tools.
    Arborists have the right tools they need to maintain, clean, prune, and care for your trees, without damaging them.
  5.  Arborists stay educated.
    A certified arborists is required to stay up to date on any new developments in tree care and maintenance.  They will most likely be able to help you and your trees with exactly what they need.

Arborists are the go to for anything trees.  Have you called your local arborists today?

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Plants illuminating our city streets and sidewalks as bright as street lamps sound like something straight from a fantasy novel, but it may not be too far off.  Scientists at MIT have been working and developing plants to produce a natural light. While the plants are still in a very preliminary mode, they could be the way to light our streets and our homes.

There are many benefits to using plants to light our way, according to Michael Sterno, professor of chemical engineering and leader of the research at MIT.

“Plants are made from carbon dioxide and consume carbon dioxide, so they are doubly carbon negative.” says Sterno.  The plant needs no additional electricity source, and should they die, they can be composted, making them great for the environment.

The team at MIT are dipping the plants into a solution of modified nanoparticles that reacts with the natural sugars in the plant, causing the plant to glow.  So far, the plant is only as bright as a nightlight, and lasts up to three and a half hours, but the group is working with the nanoparticles to make them longer lasting and brighter.

While it may be awhile until plants are lighting up our entire homes, Sterno and his team are hopeful.  Would you use plants to light your home?

Watch this video from MIT:

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria caused devastation through Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.  Many people lost their homes, their vehicles, and many possessions.  Thankfully, insurance is often available to help victims piece some of their belongings back together.  Unfortunately, this does not include the millions of trees that were destroyed in many of these cities’ forests, parks, and homes.

There are many ways you can help your trees to heal and regrow after a natural disaster.  The first step is to assess the damage.  Safety is very important, as heavy winds and rain can cause many dangerous situations.  Some fallen trees and branches may require a professional arborist to help remove the debris.  Remember, cleanup can be hazardous, even for professionals.

When using a chainsaw, make sure to only use it on the ground.  Hire professionals to cut limbs still attached to the tree.  Trees can often uproot underground pipes and damage power lines, which increases the probability of electrocution.  If suspected, call the electric company and your utilities to handle the cleanup.  

If there is a tree on your property that could still be saved, it’s best to consider hiring a professional arborist.  An arborist can be a very worthwhile investment to restore the trees to health.  Beware of scammers, though, and make sure to do a thorough check on the qualifications of the arborists to insure that they will not cause any further damage to your trees.  

Are there trees on your property that were damaged in one of the hurricanes?

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For many the Holiday season is a time to decorate your home, property and landscaping with colorful lighting arrangements. Here are a few tips to make your home the envy of the neighborhood without going full Clark Griswald from National Lampoons in the process.

Start Small – Start with just a few strand and see how it looks, you may not need to add too many depending on how it looks

Stay Safe – Only use lights that have the UL label. This is the Underwriters Laboratories lights and are designed specifically for outdoor use.

Use a Sturdy Ladder – and get someone to hold the ladder for you especially when lighting your big oak trees in your yard and having to reach for the long branches

Update any Rigging – get rid of all the old rusty nails, screws and clips from last year. There are many new options that will not damage your trees or rooftops.

Check your lights – before you climb up and down on the ladder for hours, make sure the lights work.

Let it shine – Now that you have safely decorated, you can sit back with friends and family and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Oak trees are big, beautiful, sturdy trees that last for centuries. It’s amazing that something so big starts from something as small as an acorn. If you’ve ever wondered how to grow your own giant oak tree from a tiny acorn, here’s how!

  1. Pick an acorn.
    Selecting the right acorn is an important step. Make sure that the acorn does not have any cracks or holes. Soak the acorn overnight in water. If the acorn floats, toss it out and start again with a new acorn.
  2. Select a container.
    Find a gallon container with holes in the bottom for drainage. Using the same soil the tree will eventually be planted in, fill the container.
  3. Plant your acorn.
    The acorn should be planted about one and a half inches below the surface of the soil.
  4. Place it in morning sunlight only.
    It is important to place your container in an area where it will receive morning sunlight only and shade in the evenings. Water your acorn and check the soil regularly to make sure it has enough water.
  5. Let your acorn go to work!
    Water your acorn as necessary until the fall. Plant your new sapling away from power lines and other plants to allow for the roots to take hold and for future growth. Add a ring of soil around the soil to aid with water retention.

Your tree should become fully established in about three years. Make sure to properly care for and water your tree to ensure that it will continue to grow big and strong.