Lagerstroemia, known as crepe myrtle or crape myrtle is a tree that thrives in US Hardiness zones 7 through 10, making it a perfect choice for your Alpharetta or Roswell yard. The genus came to the US over 200 years ago and got its name from the Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerstrom.
The most popular species is L. indica. It is a native of southern China and Thailand. For centuries, crepe myrtles have been grown in Asia as ornamentals.
Of all the southern trees and plants, crepe myrtles are among the most desired for their outstanding summer display of blooms and their brilliant fall colors. 72 Tree, Seed & Land Co. prepared an extensive article covering the characteristics, environment, and care these trees need to flourish and light up your landscape.
Are Crepe Myrtles Trees or Bushes
The Lagerstroemia genus contains approximately 50 species of trees and shrubs both deciduous and evergreen. So, this species can indeed grow as a tree or shrub, making it ideal for hedges, container planting, or even in groupings along your landscape.
Height – The L. indica species possesses cultivars and hybrids that remain under 5ft in height, some that reach 11 to 15ft in height, and those that tower over the others, reaching heights of 20 to 30ft.
Canopy – At maturity, the canopy can reach from 6ft to well beyond 15ft depending on the species.
Trunk – Crape Myrtles are known to have multiple trunks with beautiful bark which exfoliates in the winter months. Be cautious when pruning or working around these trees, their wood is somewhat brittle, and the trunks may easily crack when put under pressure.
Lifespan – When planted in full sun and fertile soil, Crepe Myrtles can live well beyond 50 years. In fact, dotted along the southeastern landscape, it is common to come across specimens over 100 years old.
Uses – Depending on the species, these trees work as shrubs, hedges, container plants, landscape groupings, and in some cities as street trees.
If you decided you prefer to plant an evergreen instead, visit 72tree.com/3-evergreen-species-alpharetta-roswell-yard/ for some great candidates.
Crepe Myrtle Tree Care
About two years after planting, these species become very tolerant to drought, heat, humidity, and will do well in nearly any well-drained soil. They become robust enough to resprout even after being completely frozen.
Crepe myrtles are low maintenance. However, you still need to do some planning before planting and a bit of upkeep as they grow.
Planting – Location is critical when planting crepe myrtles. Select a spot that has well-drained soil and gets full sun. Planting in partial or full shade will significantly reduce its ability to flower and may reduce its lifespan as well.
Crepe myrtles have a shallow and very fibrous root system which can extend 3 to 4 times the diameter of the canopy. As with all trees, the planting location should be at least 5 to 10 feet away from cement pathways, foundations, and sidewalks.
Pruning – Very little pruning is required. Improper pruning disrupts the development of a robust branching system and will leave your specimen deformed and vulnerable to weather, pests, and fungi.
If there is a need to prune, it should occur in late winter or early spring to correct the following:
• Removing crossed or rubbing branches.
• Removing suckers from the base.
• Branches growing inward (toward the center).
• Canopy thinning for better air circulation.
• Gradually remove side branches up to 4 or 5 feet as the tree grows.
• Reducing multi-trunk trees to a single trunk (not recommended).
Summer pruning can include:
• Removing old seed pods and spent flowers (removing them after the first bloom encourages further blooming).
• Removing small twig-like growth.
All crepe myrtle species bloom on new wood. The proper and minimal pruning of your tree will encourage this growth and promote a beautiful summer blooming season.
If you are pruning your tree because it has gotten too large for its location, you’ve planted the wrong species.
Watering – Provide newly planted crepe myrtles with a deep and thorough watering. Then, water your tree up to 4 or 5 times per week during hot weather or when planted in sandy soil. When the tree is dormant or during cold weather, your tree will need watering once per week.
Blooms – As previously mentioned, all crepe myrtles bloom on new wood. After the first bloom, removing the spent flowers will encourage further blooming in the season.
Tree Pests and Disease That Attack Crepe Myrtles
These trees like all others on your landscape are susceptible to infestations, disease, and animal damage. The best defense against these threats is to keep your tree(s) healthy, plant, prune, and water them properly and they will be less likely to suffer damage from the following:
Pests that infest crepe myrtles:
Japanese Beetle – This insect is approximately 1/2 inch in length, its body is oval and metallic green, and its wings are copper in color.
Larvae remain underground where they consume grass and young tree roots. Adult beetles feed on the tissues of the leaves and are most active on trees in full sun during the warmest part of the day.
A Japanese beetle infestation can cause severe damage to all of the trees on your landscape. Traps, pyrethrins, and neem oil can help curtail a beetle outbreak. However, this is an urgent situation which needs to be evaluated by a certified arborist.
Crape Myrtle Aphid – These insects are yellowish-green and have black spots on their abdomen. They measure from a sixteenth to an eighth of an inch in length.
Both nymphs and adults feed on the underside of the foliage causing it to droop and yellow leaf spots to appear. Buds, flowers, and branch tips can all be damaged as well from their feeding.
Sooty mold will appear on the leaves when there is an aphid infestation. This mold is a byproduct of the aphid’s excrement and will disappear once the outbreak ends.
Watch this video to learn how to eliminate aphids and “black” sooty mold on your crape myrtle.
When a crape myrtle aphid infestation occurs, apply a 2oz. to 1 gallon solution of molasses and water to the affected areas and release ladybugs around the tree. Neem oil is also very useful in controlling aphids.
Fungi that attack crepe myrtles:
Powdery Mildew – This fungus appears as a white powdery substance and can spread very quickly if not handled properly.
It is worth noting that trees planted in full sun are not typically bothered by this fungus.
To control powdery mildew, spray a fungicide on the affected area and its surroundings.
Sooty Mold – This mold has a tar-like appearance and is a result an aphid infestation (see above).
Bark Shedding – Don’t be alarmed. While it may seem that something has infected your tree, there is nothing wrong with it. Crepe myrtles, once reaching adulthood will naturally exfoliate their bark in winter months, revealing the magnificent color variations of its trunk.
Crepe Myrtles and Summer Blooms
If you are looking for an incredible addition to your Alpharetta yard or landscape, crepe myrtles are a must have. Besides being low maintenance, they will put on a colorful show every summer.
An added plus in the summer is when the blooms attract birds seeking refuge and nesting and offer their nectar and pollen to the bees.
The post Crape Myrtle – A Southern Tree for Your Alpharetta and Roswell Yard appeared first on http://www.72tree.com.
The difference between evergreen trees and deciduous trees becomes very obvious in the fall. Evergreens stay green and keep their foliage, while deciduous trees typically change the color of their leaves before dropping them and going dormant.
Evergreen trees do drop foliage, just not all at once. Throughout the year, they will drop small portions of their foliage and grow it back. These trees do not experience a dormant period like their deciduous counterparts, but they do slow down in the winter months.
For those with an aversion to raking up leaves in the fall, the arborist at 72tree.com identified 3 evergreen tree species to enhance your Alpharetta and Roswell Ga landscape.
Of the North American native tree species, pine trees are one of the most widely spread and varied classes. Because of their ability to adapt and the ease to care for them, pines remain very popular landscaping trees from coast to coast.
Height – Within the pine family, some of the species can reach an astounding 150 feet tall and live to be more than 450 years old.
Crown Width – Mature pine tree canopies can stretch from 15 t0 30 feet in diameter depending on the species and the environment it is planted in.
DBH – When pines such as these reach maturity, their trunk DBH (diameter at breast height) can measure from 2.5 to 4 feet. As with most trees, there is just as much happening below ground.
Root System – As pines develop an extensive, deep, expansive, and invasive root system, they should not be planted within 20 feet of permanent structures like fences, underground utility lines, or homes.
Pest Problems – Bark beetles, aphids, and bagworms are a few of the pests that enjoy making a meal of pine trees. Mites and tree scale are also likely.
Disease – Some of the more common diseases that affect pine trees are needlecast, root rot, and pine wilt.
Pesticides and fungicides can be used to curb the progress of these pests and diseases. However, in cases of severe infestation and infection, an arborist should be called to evaluate the tree and what actions should be taken (including the tree’s removal if necessary).
This classic Southern beauty (magnolia grandiflora) is very distinctive with its wide glossy leaves and enormous fragrant white blossoms. When it comes to year-round beauty, there are few trees that can keep up with it.
Its full luxurious look has made it a popular ornamental around the world.
This tree, although evergreen will drop leaves throughout the year. Growing anything beneath this tree (including grass) is difficult due to its dense foliage casting full shade and its shallow roots.
Height – A magnolia tree planted in a location with rich soil, little to no obstacles for the root system, and good soil drainage can reach heights of more than 80 feet.
Crown Width – While this tree possesses a pyramidal to rounded crown at the top, its width can reach 30 to 40 feet at the base and mid section.
DBH – Adult magnolias can reach a DBH of 24 to 36 inches. To reach this size takes anywhere from 80 to 100 years.
Root System – The species itself is a deep rooted one. First to develop is a strong tap root, then as the tree grows, many sunken roots will grow down from the root collar, and as the tree ages, major lateral roots will grow. When planted in areas with a high water table, the roots will grow more shallow and outward.
The optimum soil for this species is a rich, well drained, and slightly acidic one. When planting a magnolia, add generous amounts of organic material to the soil for the best growing conditions.
Although magnolia roots are not considered invasive, when planted too close to sidewalks or foundations, they will eventually cause undesired cracking and buckling.
Pest Problems – Varieties of scale, aphids, striped mealybug, spider mites, and magnolia leafminers are all potential infestation culprits.
Disease – There are a number of fungi which cause leaf spots. For the most part, they are unable to cause any significant damage to adult magnolias.
As well, there are a number of Polyporus fungi and Fomes which can cause heart rot.
Again, pesticides and fungicides can be used to curb the progress of these pests and diseases. When a severe infestation or infection is detected, an arborist should be called to assess what actions should be taken.
Of all of the evergreen trees you could want in your yard, eucalyptus should be at or near the top of the list. This species is a fast growing, insect repelling, and gorgeous tree that adds beauty and practicality to whatever landscape it grows in.
For most, the image you get when you hear “eucalyptus” is a koala bear latched on to a branch, munching away at the leaves. You may be surprised to learn that only the koala, some possum species, and a select few insects are actually able to consume parts of this species. In large quantities, this tree’s secret weapon (cineole) is toxic.
It is the cineole aka: eucalyptol in eucalyptus trees that make up the greatest part of its signature aroma. Eucalyptus essential oil has been used for centuries in the treatment of respiratory ailments, as a disinfectant, and as an antibacterial or anti-fungal agent in medicine.
Height – Eucalyptus tree sizes vary. Their height at maturity can range from 30 to 35 feet for smaller varieties all the way to over 200 feet for the tallest of the species.
These trees must be planted away from physical structures. Mature eucalyptus trees are known to unexpectedly drop branches.
Crown Width – The eucalyptus tree species will typically grow tall and relatively slender, with mature crowns reaching from 12 to 30 feet in diameter. Many varieties of the species are able to reach much greater diameters as they age.
DBH – Adult eucalyptus trees can reach a DBH of 15 to 20 inches.
It is worth mentioning that this species is able to reach maturity within 10 years of growth. That’s less than half (in some cases less than a third) of the time it takes for the majority of other species to reach maturity.
Root System – This species quickly adapts to the soil it is planted in. In rich, fertile soil, the roots have no need to go deep. The tree is on a fast track for height and the roots will spread horizontally staying close to the surface.
In more nutrient deprived soil, the roots will dive deep for their food and moisture source. Counterintuitively, it is the eucalyptus planted in poor soil that grows to be the more stable and wind or storm resistant.
Pest Problems – Little to none (as long as the tree remains healthy). High concentrations of cineole in all parts of eucalyptus trees acts a natural insect repellant.
Two species of Australian tortoise beetles (family Chrysomelidae) (still isolated in the west) chew semicircular holes or notches on edges of eucalyptus leaves.
These beetles are able to remove most of a leaf’s surface, leaving only the midvein.The damage caused by these beetles is unsightly but not life threatening to the tree.
If a tree is stressed enough, an opportunity opens up for the eucalyptus longhorn borer. The female of this species lays her eggs on stressed trees, producing larvae that burrow their way to the cambium layer.
A heavily infested tree can die within weeks, which is due to the larval galleries girdling the tree and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients.
Infestations must be treated immediately. Because of the speed at which death can occur, an arborist should be called to evaluate the tree and determine what actions to take.
Disease – Canker, heart rot, and Phytophthora can infect a stressed eucalyptus tree. All three of these fungi attack and damage the tree from the inside.
Signs of infection are discolored leaves and in severe cases, splitting of the trunk. In any of these cases, the tree should be removed, destroyed (burned) and all equipment disinfected to prevent the disease from spreading to other trees.
Tree Care for Evergreens
As long as evergreens are planted in hardiness zones where they can thrive and get ample summer sunlight and winter shade (possibly on the north side of your property), caring for these trees is relatively simple.
Water them regularly and mulch around their trunk. This will keep them strong and winter injury resistant. Evergreens (when not mulched or watered well) can be severely injured by the drying effects of the sun and wind through winter months.
A major benefit of evergreens in your yard is that there is no bad season. Even during the coldest days of winter, your landscape will be filled with full, and vibrantly-green trees.
The post 3 Evergreen Tree Species for Your Alpharetta and Roswell Yard appeared first on http://www.72tree.com.
Trees, flowering shrubs, bushes, plants, and grass all work together to create a diverse ecosystem above and below the ground. While birds, insects, and other wildlife are attracted to the foliage, refuge, and blooms above, the roots are working below to find water, nutrients, and stability.
Choosing the right shrubs for your Alpharetta Ga landscape is a question of selecting ones that will thrive in the conditions of the environment where they are planted.
The team at 72tree.com has identified 4 shrub specimens that will enhance the natural beauty of your Alpharetta yard and landscape.
Hardiness Zone 7b Bushes and Shrubs for Alpharetta
The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 planting zones. Each individual planting zone is around 10°F colder (or warmer) than its neighboring zone –during an average winter.
At your local nursery or garden supply store, plant identification tags usually identify the zone in which that species will thrive.
The city of Alpharetta is located in zone 7b with a humid subtropical climate which supports the following striking species:
Juniper – juniperus
Junipers are long lived, slow growers, and rarely die. With a strong and extensive root system, they are able to adapt to their surrounding environment with ease. When planted in a location with ample space for growth, this specimen requires very little attention.
Juniper varieties vary in shape and size. The taller of the species can reach heights of more than 130 feet at maturity. The majority of the species however, are slow growing and will only reach about 30 feet in height, or 3 feet in diameter at maturity.
Junipers are evergreen and while they do not produce flowers or fruit, they do produce seeds.
Under the right conditions, this species can live from 400 to 700 years.
They are vulnerable to rust disease, which can be managed through pruning affected areas and treating them with fungicides.
Mountain Laurel – Kalmia latifolia
Mountain Laurels are relatively fast growers when properly planted. With a matted spreading root system, this shrub grows well in acidic well drained soil, and thrives when grown on north facing slopes or the east side of structures.
Mountain Laurel varieties are able to reach upwards of 25 feet, and if left to thrive without pruning, can grow into a large blooming thicket. Prolonged direct sunlight in summer months can stress this species. Take this into consideration when choosing its location.
This species is evergreen and produces flowers in terminal trusses of 50 to 150 blooms. Blooms range in color from white to pink and deep rose commonly with purple details. Flowering occurs in late spring (May and June).
This shrub however, is toxic. All of the green components – including the flowers, pollen, and twigs – contain andromedotoxin and is poisonous when ingested. If browsing animals consume enough of the plant, it can be lethal.
Mountain Laurel is vulnerable to leaf spot which can be managed through pruning affected areas and then treated with fungicides.
Rose of Sharon – Hibiscus Syriacus
Rose of Sharon can be planted as a small tree or large shrub. It grows well in varied soil types but performs best in hot climates with moist soil and full sun.
At maturity, this species can reach up to 12 feet tall and grow 10 feet wide. Being multi-stemmed with vertical branches, it is relatively easy to grow, and requires minimal care. For this trait, Rose of Sharon is commonly used as hedging.
Rose of Sharon is a deciduous flowering shrub which with heavy pruning in early spring promotes flowering from July through September. Its flowers reach 2 to 4 inches in width, and blooms can range in color from pink, red, purple, white, and blue with a typically red center.
This species, if left unchecked, will reproduce and spread quickly in areas with little disturbance. Rose of Sharon is a vigorous and healthy species with high tolerance to pests and disease. When there is a problem with either, it is easily remedied through heavy pruning and with insecticides or fungicides.
Gardenia – Gardenia jasminoides
Gardenia can be planted as a small tree or large shrub. It thrives in acidic soil with good drainage, and flourishes in high humidity. This shrub grows best with night temperatures above 60 degrees, and mid to low 70’s during the day. Bright (not direct) sunlight is best for this species.
This shrub can typically grow up to 15 feet but some varieties are able to reach heights of 50 feet tall. With its many size and form variations, they are frequently used as hedges, ground cover, and even specimen plantings.
Gardenias are evergreen flowering shrubs and small trees that do require moderate attention and care. Flowering from April through July, the flowers can be solitary or in clusters; they range in color from white to pale yellow.
One of the greatest features of growing gardenias is its sweet scent. Once the species blooms however, the flowers quickly wilt when they come in contact with water.
Gardenias are highly susceptible to pest infestations. However, they can be easily managed with insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. It also helps to maintain a high level of biodiversity in your garden which serves to attract predators of the insects threatening your garden.
Benefits of Shrubs Around Trees
Besides all of the artistic possibilities that come about on a landscape rich with trees and shrubs, during severe weather and strong winds, it is your shrubs and bushes that act as a wind buffer.
Shrubs and bushes do an excellent job at diverting wind, thus weakening it. This in turn spares the surrounding trees from taking the full force of potentially damaging winds.
Likewise, the bushes planted around your home will help shield it when the cold winter winds begin to blow.
Healthy Gardens and Landscapes Need Diversity
A healthy garden and landscape will have a variety of thriving tree, plant, and shrub species. Throughout the blooming season, as each species flowers, it attracts different insects and wildlife.
This biodiversity helps to stave off infestations. Likewise, the co-mingling of roots and fungi (in fertile soil) help to create a thriving mycorrhizal network below the soil that works to impede invasive diseases.
Remember to have a plan in mind when acquiring plants and shrubs for your garden and landscape. Not all shrubs can be planted equally, but they all can thrive in the right environment.
Spring has arrived and with the new season comes new tree problems. It isn’t just the flowers blooming, trees budding, and pollen everywhere; tree pests and diseases are coming alive as well.
Generally, when winter weather and lower temperatures are sustained throughout the season, pests and disease won’t pose much of a threat in the spring. This year however, winter weather and temperatures were relatively mild, favoring the spread of disease and increasing pest population. It’s just the beginning of the season, and there is great potential for tree damage this spring.
The arborist at 72 Tree, Seed & Land Co. identified 5 common tree killers, and methods to get them under control this spring. Also being discussed are routine tree and landscape inspections, pest and disease prevention, and ongoing tree care throughout the year.
3 Common Spring Tree Pests
While there are a wide variety of tree pests, the following have been singled out due to the extent of the damage they can cause. So take heed because, the damage often goes unnoticed until removal of the tree is necessary.
Bagworms – If the leaves on your tree are turning brown or the needles are falling off of your pine, the culprit may be bagworms. Your tree is their food, and as they consume, your tree is unable to produce vital nutrients to keep it healthy and alive.
These worms make a bag-like nest (thus the name) which is often mistaken for a pinecone. In the fall, they mate and each female bagworm is able to lay over 500 eggs that hatch in mid spring.
There are two effective ways of controlling bagworms. You can physically remove and destroy the “bags”, or apply a pesticide in the spring as they are hatching. Once you have confirmed that bagworms have invaded your landscape, you will likely need the help of a professional tree service to keep them under control.
Cankerworms – Also known as inchworms, cankerworms chew away at the foliage of your trees. There are two species of this pest “fall cankerworm” and “spring cankerworm” but don’t let the name mislead you, they both hatch in the spring and feed on the same trees.
The damage they inflict on trees is more stress related and potentially leads to dieback, borer damage, and even root decline. For a healthy tree, one year of cankerworm defoliation won’t necessarily result in the loss of the tree. However, multiple years of defoliation will weaken the tree, making it susceptible to other pests that can ultimately lead it to its death.
When there is a breakout of this pest, there are two principle treatments.
1) Banding the trees in the fall (the wingless females stick to the band and cannot reach the canopy to deposit their eggs) is one very effective measure.
2) The other is the use of pesticides shortly after the worms have hatched. This measure is only effective while the worms are small and should be monitored by an arborist to ensure proper control is achieved.
Southern Pine Beetle – (Dendroctonus frontalis) These boring tree killers are known as the most destructive forest insect in the southern states. The signs or symptoms of an infestation are severe dieback, browning, and eventual death of entire limbs, foliage, and the tree itself.
Once this beetle attacks and succeeds at making a tree its host, the adults emit a pheromone attracting other beetles to the tree. In a matter of days, a tree’s defenses can be overrun by thousands of beetles. As one tree becomes overpopulated, the beetles will seek out nearby trees to colonize, thus expanding their population and local infestation potential.
It is the older and weakened trees that are more susceptible to beetle infestation. Control is accomplished by promoting the health of your trees, and when there is a breakout, applying insecticides to the tree bark is an alternative.
If you have a tree affected or infested by southern pine beetles, you will need an arborist to help identify witch, and if measures can be taken to thwart the infestation.
2 Common Spring Tree Diseases
Throughout the lifecycle of a tree, it may be faced with a number of fungal invaders from its roots to its leaves. While a tree builds a natural resistance to these invaders, trees are not completely immune and can be severely debilitated. The following tree diseases are ones that should be addressed immediately after being diagnosed.
Fire Blight – (Erwinia amylovora) Is a contagious plant disease. Blight is a hard to control pathogen that robs plant and tree foliage of its nutrients, causing the blackening and death of that foliage. Fire blight differs from dieback in that it leaves behind the appearance that the foliage has burned. Thus the name.
Blight is most successful in the springtime, as temperatures and humidity remain ideal for its growth. As with other pathogens, it is spread from host to host by physical contact, insects, birds and other wildlife; be careful when working in the garden because even the tools used for landscape maintenance can transmit fire blight disease.
Moreover, there is no known cure for blight. Control is achieved by pruning and destroying the affected foliage and limbs. The use of pesticides can also aid to control the pest population. As stated, the proper cleaning of equipment after use is helpful to avoid its proliferation. While the planting of resistant or tolerant species is an effective and proactive approach to overcome this disease.
NOTE: When cleaning garden and landscape equipment after handling diseases such as blight, applying a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water) to your tools is recommended to neutralize the pathogen.
In the following link we discussed preventing fire blight tree disease in more depth, so check it out for more solutions and detail of this devastating disease.
Heart Rot – Heart rot is a fungal disease causing the softening and decay of the wood found at the center of a tree’s trunk and branches. When you see mushrooms or fungus conks attached to the trunk or branches of a tree, it can be a strong indicator that heart rot is present within the tree.
Fungi enter the tree through damaged bark or poorly pruned ares, move to the heartwood, and begin the process of decay. Softening of the heartwood leaves trees structurally weak and prone to collapse or breakage.
Hardwood trees are affected by heart rot on a global scale, and is extremely difficult to prevent. However, if a tree is growing vigorously, it may be able to isolate the affected portion of itself through a process called compartmentalization.
Control of this destructive disease may be achieved by keeping your tree healthy through proper pruning techniques, annual inspections by an arborist, and post storm maintenance and pruning.
Routine Tree and Landscape Inspections
Tree and landscape inspections start with you. When you’re out mowing, watering, pruning, or playing in your yard, observe the plants, shrubs, and trees. Look for insect infestations, discoloration in the foliage, and dieback of the limbs and crown. For more on dieback and signs of a diseased tree, visit 72tree.com/signs-diseased-tree-dieback-suckers-water-sprouts/
Once a year, hire an arborist to thoroughly inspect your trees and the plant life in your yard. They are trained to spot potential health issues, and implement the best solutions to save and/or extend the lives of your plants.
Prevention and Continued Care
The best preventative maintenance for your trees and plants is the consistent and continued care that you provide them. Healthy plants have the strength to develop defense systems that ward off both pests and disease.
Proper and timely pruning, watering, and fertilizing will help your trees reach maturity faster and in a stronger and more resistant way.
Controlling Pests and Disease All Year
Every pest has its season and every season has its pests. As you have probably gathered by now, the best way to control pests and disease is by keeping your trees, shrubs, and plants healthy through remaining proactive and aware of their state.
Pest control will help in stopping the spread of pathogenic fungi and bacteria, as well as curbing some of the more voracious insects. Fungicides will also help keep many of the pathogens away from your landscape’s ecosystem.
Keep your trees healthy this spring and for years to come by knowing what to look for and which steps to take. And when something strange pops up, call on your local arborist to address and get it solved.
Your trees are constantly responding to environmental changes and throughout the year, they will need some help by way of pruning.
Tree pruning will help to improve the overall health of your trees, their overall appearance, and naturally reduces the possibility of tree failure. The improper pruning of a tree can stress a tree leading to potential decay, infestation, disease, and even death.
Below the arborist at 72 Tree, Seed & Land Co. discuss the different ways trees can be properly pruned.
Tree Height Reduction
When reducing the height of a tree, much care and precision pruning are necessary.
This procedure must be done correctly; “topping” or cutting through the main trunk often leads to several issues for the tree including failure.
Depending on the species and growth pattern of the tree, height reduction may not be possible without irreparably damaging the tree. In these cases, the choice to remove or relocate it may have to be made.
Tree Crown Raising
Crown raising involves the pruning, cutting, or removal of the lowest branches of a tree. This procedure provides more clearance under a tree for people and vehicles.
This procedure, when performed on younger trees, will encourage more growth in the upper branches. When raising the crown on older more developed trees, much caution is needed as the lower branches will be much larger and leave larger wounds.
Tree Crown Thinning
Crown thinning is a wise option for trees that sustain the full force of strong winds or have to bear the weight of accumulated snow or ice.
This is accomplished by the selective and careful removal of branches from within the crown. This process reduces the force of the wind on the canopy, as well as reducing the weight of snow and ice on the tree.
Care must be taken when thinning a crown. The improper procedure or over thinning can lead to disease, decay, infestation, or make the tree more susceptible to being blown over.
Tree Crown Cleaning
As the name suggests, crown cleaning is the removal of dead and dying branches. Crown cleaning is the more common of the pruning options.
This procedure helps to protect your tree by removing unnecessary weight, reduces the risk and hazard of falling branches, helps to halt the progression of decay and disease, thus improving the overall health of the tree.
Small or Ornamental Tree Pruning
Small or ornamental trees should be routinely pruned for many of the same reasons mentioned above. They may also be pruned for simple esthetics or to train them as they grow.
Professional Regular Pruning
Once aware of the signs your tree needs pruning, having your trees regularly pruned by a tree service or certified arborist will keep your trees healthy and beautiful. This will also benefit your landscape by the early detection of problematic infestations, fungi, or irregularities that may otherwise go unnoticed until it’s too late to correct.
An added benefit to regular pruning services is curb appeal. The better your landscape appears, the more curb appeal your property will have. This usually translates to a higher property value.
Overall, pruning is beneficial and necessary throughout the year. Follow these tree pruning tips, and visit our tree care blog more articles and information.
What causes a tree to die from the top down? A common reason for a tree to die from the top down or from its outer limbs is drought. Even with reasonable rainfall, your tree may not be getting the water it needs to thrive and survive.
When a tree begins to deteriorate from the top down, this condition is also known as dieback. Dieback is the gradual death of tree branches, foliage, and/or limbs starting at the tips (extremities) and moving inward toward the trunk. Dieback, as mentioned above may result from drought. However, there may be a variety a variety of causes contributing to the gradual death of your tree.
The following will help you to identify what is causing dieback, the options available to save the tree, and the actions you can take to prevent the tree’s death.
What Can Cause Dieback from the Top Down?
In order to identify the cause of dieback, you need to know what you are looking for. The following are common reasons and symptoms when tree health declines.
Drought – Symptoms include the wilting or discoloration of leaves, limb, twig, and branch dieback, as well as the death of roots. Trees suffering from drought are very likely to be affected by insects, disease, or both.
Soil Imbalance – Soil is composed of minerals, organic and inorganic matter, water, air, and has an acidic or alkaline pH level. When an imbalance of these levels occurs, nutrients needed for the tree’s survival may not be absorbed. This can certainly lead to dieback and death of the tree if not addressed.
A sure sign of soil trouble is the absence of worms, plant growth, and small insects. “Life” should be detected in your soil, if not your soil’s health needs attention.
Insect Infestation – Invasive insect species also cause or accelerate dieback. When trees are stressed, they produce more amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. This in turn makes them more attractive to invasive insects that feed off them.
As an infestation grows, the tree becomes more stressed and in turn, produces more of the chemicals – attracting more insects. This process can become a self-reinforced loop, and the initial stressors now combined with the infestation will eventually lead to the death of the tree if not treated promptly.
NOTE: While trees have adapted their defenses and healing processes over the millennia, it is these same adaptations that may feed an insect infestation.
What Options Do I Have to Save My Tree?
For each of the causes listed above, there is a specific course of action to halt or even reverse it. Once the cause is identified, the following simple treatments may help to save your tree.
Drought Treatment – During dry seasons or when rainfall is scarce, give your trees a thorough watering once a week. Make sure that the soil is soaked to a depth of at least twelve inches. Mulching around your trees base will slow the evaporation process and help the soil and tree retain moisture.
Soil Imbalance Treatment – While calling in a Certified Arborist may be the best option here, you are perfectly capable of getting a soil test kit from your local nursery or home improvement store (gardening department). Use the kit to determine if there is an imbalance for the species of affected tree(s), then seek appropriate soil treatments to return the soil to a healthy composition.
Insect Infestation Treatment – Once an infestation is confirmed, insecticides, traps, and oil can be used to kill the existing insects and prevent further infestation. Read this 72tree.com/using-dormant-horticultural-oil-treat-tree-insect-infestations/ for more on using and applying oils to treat insect infestations.
It is important to note that insect infestations are typically the result of a tree already stressed or in bad health. Once the infestation has been dealt with, begin looking for other stressors that may have lead to the weakening of the tree’s health.
How Do You Save a Dying Tree?
When dieback occurs, saving your tree will involve pruning or trimming off the dead parts of the tree, and identifying the reason that the dieback occurred. Once identified, treat it. If it is an infestation that is threatening other trees and plants, you may have to make the decision to completely remove the tree to prevent further contamination and damage.
Proper Treatment and Prevention – Once you have treated the cause of your tree’s dieback, understand that you can save a dying tree by simply paying attention to it through the seasons. Your tree will show signs of stress, and once you detect it, consider it a call to action.
It is equally important to establish and follow seasonal maintenance and care. Bringing in a Certified Arborist or reputable tree service to inspect your trees and landscape will help give you the upper hand in keeping your trees healthy!
Tree roots constantly seek a water source, in doing so, they can spread very deep or very shallow and in a very large radius from the trunk. When roots spread at shallow depths, they will find their way under asphalt, sidewalks, and yes, driveways.
As the roots naturally expand and thicken, they will displace everything around them creating tremendous potential energy. This energy is usually released upward (path of least resistance), resulting in the breaking, cracking, warping, or buckling of whatever structure is above.
Here, we will discuss measures you can take to repair damaged concrete, remove damaging roots, and how to avoid this issue in the future.
How Much of the Tree’s Roots Can Be Removed
The answer to this isn’t quite as simple as it may seem. Here are some factors to consider:
Tree Roots Three Inches or More in Diameter – When cutting roots this size, they typically will not grow back. However, a wound this large leaves the root susceptible to insect and disease. Often times, this allows rot to reach all the way back to the trunk, seriously compromising the health of the tree.
Tree Roots Less Than Two Inches in Diameter – Tree roots this size are typically able to regenerate. Removing them will only e a temporary fix.
Tree Roots Grow Far and Wide – Typically, you will find that one inch converts to about a foot and a half. That is, for every inch at DBH (Diameter at Breast Height – measured 4.5 feet above the ground), the roots will extend up to a foot and a half away from the tree trunk. A twelve inch trunk at DBH means roots are extending up to eighteen feet away from the trunk in every direction.
Tree Roots Are Sensitive to Disturbance – Tree roots seek out uncompacted soil rich in oxygen (like the soil under sidewalks and driveways). When the soil underneath a tree is compacted by heavy machinery or used as a storage area for a construction site, the roots beneath the surface are literally being choked to death. Eventually, this will result in the decline of the tree’s health, leading to its death.
Tree Roots Under the Driveway – Roots provide structural integrity to a tree. If they have grown under the driveway, the driveway is now a part of its structural integrity. Depending on the size and depth of the roots, removing them may lead to the falling of the tree in severe weather.
More often than not, by the time tree roots have buckled your driveway, you may be faced with the ultimate removal of the tree, if you are to break up and re-lay the affected portion of the driveway.
How to Repair Your Driveway and Save Tree Roots
If the tree is a keeper in your landscape and the roots in question are vital to its survival, there are construction options or methods which will allow the coexistence of the roots and your driveway. Here is one of the multiple options you may use:
Aggregate Surfacing – This technique requires the cutting and careful removal of the damaged concrete. Once the concrete has been removed, the surface below is covered with driveway fabric (aka: geotextile fabric), then four to five inches of dense grade aggregate (DGA) or road stone. The project is completed by using edging along the sides to prevent the aggregate from spreading laterally.
Tree Species, Watering, and Location Matter
Ultimately, it is the lack of planning or the proper information to form a plan that lead to situations such as these. Before planting a tree, you should be aware of its species, potential growth, root spread capacity, and if its roots are typically classified as invasive or not.
Location is a key factor in the survival of any tree or plant. Planting a tree too close to a structure is like inviting a bull into a china cabinet. As trees grow, they instinctively seek out water sources, expand their canopies, and potentially wreak havoc on the structure they were planted next to.
Once a tree is planted, frequent watering will help its root system to grow deeper. Shallow root systems often reflect insufficient watering or compacted soil further beneath the surface.
To learn more about proper planting, see: http://treecareadvice.blogspot.com/2015/12/properly-planting-canadian-hemlock.html
Professional Tree and Tree Root Removal
While the solution you choose may be an easy one, innocent mistakes may lead to a much more serious situation as your tree’s health declines and ultimately dies.
Before any steps are taken to remove a tree or a portion of its root system, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of a certified arborist. An arborist is a tree professional trained to spot trouble pertaining to tree issues and how to efficiently resolve them.