There are a number of things you can do to help your trees survive the winter when they go dormant. Almost everything about winter; the ground freezing, the heat of daytime followed by freezing nights, snow and ice storms can all damage your tree.
Trees are known for their ability to survive through the winter and then spring back to life during the spring. Today we’ll be taking a look at just how trees are able to do this, and we’ll learn something about nature as we go.
Let’s start by looking at dormancy and some of the measures 72 Tree and you can take to help your trees survive the coldest months.
Dormancy in Deciduous Trees
Dormancy is one of the coolest tricks Mother Nature knows. This is when a tree stops producing food during the winter and no longer needs the photosynthesis process or the leaves involved in it. So leaves have to be removed to conserve energy. Deciduous trees produce a chemical called abscisic acid (ABA) in the terminal buds that connect leaves, telling leaves it’s time for them to go.
ABA prevents both deciduous and coniferous trees from growing. This impeded growth is another part of the dormancy process, further reducing how much energy the tree consumes. As the tree enters a conservation state, the metabolism of the tree slows down; using the energy from stored food slowly to maintain vital functions.
Winter Tree Care
Pruning – You should wait until dormancy to prune your tree, when you aren’t likely to damage new growth. Late season growth is particularly at risk from pruning, as it hasn’t had the time to prepare for winter months. Ice crystals may form within new growth and rupture cell walls. If they aren’t pruned properly, they are likely to die off during the spring.
Visit here for more pruning tips and instructions.
Mulching – Winter drought is a problem caused by a tree shrub or plant losing more moisture than can be absorbed. While you aren’t able to control the weather, you have some influence of the effects of it. Putting a thick layer of organic mulch down before winter temperatures set in helps to insulate the roots. The mulch also prevents runoff and moisture loss, benefiting the overall health and hydration of the tree.
Please note that trees don’t freeze entirely, even in a dormant state. Looking at the tree shows you they prepare on the cellular levels. It sounds incredible, but much of the work a tree does to survive winter is happening under the bark inside the tree.
Remove Build-up of Ice and Snow – It’s likely that you might see snow build up on your tree or cling to the branches of it following some bad winter weather. It’s important that you leave the snow be and don’t shake it off. There’s a good chance that the branches have frozen solid and become brittle. Shaking them could damage the tree or even cause these limbs to break off and fall, which is a serious hazard. If you find yourself in this situation then call in a tree professional to evaluate the situation. They will be able to advise the best course of action to take.
Trees Spring Into Life Following Dormancy
Trees will start springing back to life as the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer. If you took care of them properly, then you’re in for another year of beauty and shade provided by a healthy tree. Taking care of them, by the way, means doing absolutely nothing and letting nature take its course. After taking care of the seasonal pruning, you’ll have done enough to protect your tree. Trust the natural survival mechanisms of your tree to handle everything else.
Your trees are often stressed during winter. Knowing ways to lessen the impact is helpful. Learn these preventative tree stress methods to give your trees a greater chance at prolonged health and life. 72tree.com/winter-tree-stress-prevention-and-protection-tips/
Trees in native stands are said to sustain fewer wounds and decay when compared to their counterparts in the urban and suburban environments. Severe storms like hurricanes and torrential downpour in addition to debris and structures can causes trees to sustain severe and fatal injuries.
Humans to a large extent contribute to these injuries – albeit by accident, such as construction equipment, vehicles, bumping into the tree trunks, lawn mowers, improper pruning and surface roots. Other natural events like severe storms can cause devastating injuries, crown damage and on some occasions, total destruction of the trunk.
Evaluating Tree Damages
Often times, trees easily recover from severe damages arising from harsh storms. Before felling trees that can be saved, use the guide below to help you diagnose them;
Missing Limbs – The more severe the damage to the tree limb is, the lesser the chances of recovery. If a majority of the branches are gone, removal should be considered as the tree has a very little chance of pulling through.
Is the Crown Intact? – If the crown of the tree has a significant portion of its branches affected, removal should be pondered as it may not produce enough to last another season. The crown extends from the tree trunk in the canopy region.
Multiple Missing Limbs – Normally, the remaining limbs are expected to grow rapidly to replace the missing foliage. Check to see that the branches are in the right place, as they will help in giving the tree a fuller appearance.
Assessing Trunk Wounds and Their Treatment
Trunk wounds that pierce the bark of the tree will damage its cambium layer – a thin layer of vascular tissue, which helps in conveying mineral and nutrients. In the event that there is a wound on the trunk, carefully, the injured bark should be removed, what should remain is a healthy bark that is healthy and firmer on the tree.
Decay-causing fungi can initialize a decay process when a wound occurs. Trees have a special defense system – the wood around the wound produces a special compound in the wood cells that will obstruct and segregate the affected part – this process is known as compartmentalization.
To hasten the healing process, branches affected by the storm should be properly pruned. 72 Tree warns to ensure that you do not prune directly against the trunk as flush cuts can cause widespread decay.
Tree Removal as a Last Resort
Tree removal is often at the bottom of the list, but some circumstances can justify the action. Furthermore, our Arborist treesaregood.org/findanarborist/findanarborist/id/169107 can help you ascertain if a tree needs to be removed or not.
However, before a decision can be reached, these factors should be taken into consideration:
• The age
• The species
• Type of soil and saturation
• The tree’s capacity to sprout and recover
• The tree’s position (level or sloped terrain)
Once you have reached a decision, arrange a meeting with a professional tree service to treat or have the tree removed. In conjunction with an arborist, tree professionals have the needed skill, equipment and experience to safely remove a tree in the safest possible manner.
Research is key. Before buying trees, layout a plan of where they will be planted. Know how large they will grow, how far the canopy will extend, and how much space they will need to reach their maximum potential.
The Hardiness Zone Map will help you select appropriate trees for the geographic region they will be planted in. Consulting your local tree professional is always a good idea if you have any doubts.
The USDA Hardiness Zone Map Explained
The state of Georgia finds itself in zones 7-A & B and 8-A & B. A hardiness zone is based on a 30 year average of annual extreme minimum temperatures. It’s not based on the lowest recorded temperature in a region or what may happen in the future.
Keep this in mind as you choose plants and trees, especially if you are planning to “push” the hardiness zone by planting trees and plants not designated for your particular zone.
To learn more about the USDA hardiness zone read this: 72tree.com/trees-shrubs-usda-hardiness-zone-map/
The Right Season for Planting
Planting – There are two seasons for planting trees. Early spring and early fall. There is an interesting debate here. One side of the argument is that planting in early spring (when the tree is coming out of dormancy) reduces the shock and recovery time of the tree. The other side argues that planting in early fall allows the tree to establish its root system and adapt to its environment before entering dormancy.
Depending on the hardiness zone and the tree species, either season may be appropriate for planting. If you have any doubts, consult our tree service and professionals.
Transplanting – Regardless of how carefully performed, transplanting results in the damage of a great portion of the tree’s root system. It is important that the digging, moving, and replanting operations be carried out with the least possible damage to the remaining root system.
The recommended time for moving trees is during the dormant season. Early spring is generally the best time to transplant; conditions should be ideal for rapid root growth.
For more tree planting tips and details of the process, visit: treecareadvice.blogspot.com/2015/12/properly-planting-canadian-hemlock.html
Purchasing Bare Root vs Container Grown
Bare Root – Abundant root growth should be present, there should be fibrous and numerous small roots as well. They should have good color to them being flexible and moist. Deciduous trees should present roots equal in length to its stems.
Container Grown – Avoid trees that have become root bound in their container. Roots circling around in the container will likely become circling roots (cut them when planting).
NOTE: Examine the tree’s roots, trunk, and canopy. Trees are able to absorb water from the tips of their youngest roots and undisturbed, fibrous, and non-circling root systems are your best option.
Buying Strong and Healthy Trees
When deciding on which trees to purchase for your landscape or project, keep in mind that the Hardiness Zone Map will guide you by the geographic region you are planting in, while the season you are planting in will determine if you should plant or transplant.
Whether you choose bare root or container grown, be sure to inspect the roots, trunk and canopy. Avoid trees that don’t meet your standards, and always look for the strong and healthy ones.
If you have ever gone into the nursery and picked a plant or tree, later to realize it was not suitable to be planted in the environment in which you live, this can be avoided. Besides the scientific plant name and care instructions, you will notice the hardiness zone printed on its tag.
The USDA Hardiness Zone Map splits North America up into 11 separate planting zones. Each individual planting zone is around 10°F colder (or warmer) than the adjacent zone during an average winter. If you’re reading a plant description in a gardening magazine and you see a mention of a hardiness zone, then it’s likely referring to the USDA Hardiness Zone map.
What are Hardiness Zones?
A hardiness zone is based on average annual extreme minimum temperatures across a 30-year period. It’s not based on the lowest recorded temperature in a region or what might possibly happen in the future. Gardeners must keep this in mind as they choose plants and trees, especially if they are planning to “push” the hardiness zone they live in by planting trees and plants not suited for that particular hardiness zone. Something else to keep in mind is that there could be microclimates that won’t show up on a map – even one as detailed as the current USDA PHZM map.
Eastern Zones vs Western Zones
Eastern Zones – The USDA map is great at its job of outlining the different gardening climates of the eastern half of North America. This is a comparatively flat area, which means it can be mapped out by drawing lines approximately parallel to the Gulf Coast around every 120 miles as you progress north. The lines will start to tilt northeast as the Eastern Seaboard approaches. The USDA map also accounts for the special climates caused by the Appalachian mountains and the Great Lakes.
Western Zones – A range of factors including winter lows, elevation and precipitation determine the growing climates in western North America. The weather in the west floats in from the Pacific Ocean, becoming less humid as it moves around the mountain ranges to the west. The growing climates in the west can vary quite a bit compared to the east, where cities in similar zones can grow the same plants in the same climates. The weather – and the plants that can be grown in it – in coastal Seattle are much different than what you can expect in the higher and more inland Tucson, Arizona. This is in spite of both cities being a part of zone 8 of the USDA map.
To find the zone for where you live, see http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
Ideal Trees and Shrubs for Alpharetta and Roswell Ga
Many of our customer’s aim to improve their well-manicured yards with trees, shrubs, and flowers. Of course the right sunlight, soil, and moisture conditions are factors needed for these plants to flourish. After being asked for specific species, we created a short list of popular trees and common shrubs that will thrive in Alpharetta and Roswell Ga. 7a and 7b are the zones for North Georgia, so next time you visit the nursery, be sure to look for plants that are conducive to living in these zones.
Other Factors to Consider with the Hardiness Zone Map
There are other environmental factors that determine whether a plant succeeds or fails on top of the hardiness zones. Wind levels, soil type and moisture, humidity, pollution, winter sunshine, and snow are all major contributing factors to plant survival. Whether or not a plant survives can also depend on where it is planted, how it is planted, their size, and their overall health.
The map was most recently updated in 2012 when the USDA adjusted the plant hardiness map to account for the warmer global temperatures occurring over the past thirty years. Refer to this resource when purchasing trees and plants for your garden and landscape.
Interactive Map: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/phzmweb/interactivemap.aspx
You don’t need a landscape expert to tell you that your lawn is under intense heat when the summer sun arrives. This is why you must proactively take care of the lawn and prepare so that it will retain its health and appearance.
Summer is when many homeowners choose to list and present their home to buyers. The exterior – lawn, landscaping, and curb appeal – is what will draw and attract buyers to your home.
Keep your garden and lawn fresh this summer by following these simple and easy to implement tips:
1. Keep Chemical Fertilizers Away from Your Plants
Organic and natural solutions are typically best when compared with chemical fertilizers. Though chemical fertilizers can ignite growth and vitality, an unintended counteraction may leave you with an insect infestation problem.
This issue arises as using fertilizers during summer encourages super growth, which would require more pruning, trimming, mowing and watering. This creates a problem because as you overwater the plants, insects will invade the plant. Use natural solutions to treat and care for your plants, and if you have insect problems, see 72tree.com/using-dormant-horticultural-oil-treat-tree-insect-infestations/
2. Always Mow Your Yard and Prune your Trees
Give your lawn, shrubs, and trees that wonderful view when you regularly mow your yard, trim and prune your trees. You will be proud of yourself when you go to relax in the garden and you begin to enjoy the rich view and healthy smell.
Your soil conditions and type of grass will determine the frequency at which it should be cut. 3 inches is an optimal height for summer, but be aware that cutting your grass too low, will lead to weed invasion and heat damage.
Weeds are another thing to tame because they can rob your soil and grass of valuable nutrients. This may eventually lead to their taking over your yard. Keep your lawn cut, watered, and free of weeds.
Tree trimming is not only done for aesthetics and safety reasons, it also actually improves the overall health of trees shrubs. Structural appeal is important, but pruning boosts the development and growth of your plants when performed properly.
For more on tree pruning visit treecareadvice.blogspot.com/2016/03/tree-pruning-why-how-and-when-to-prune-trees.html
3. Strategically Plant and Water Your Landscape
When planting, take into account the amount of direct sunlight needed for each species. Identify the locations in your yard that have partial shade, and use these as needed. You want to add mulch to your flowerbeds to keep pests off and retain moisture in the roots.
You might want to consider watering your plants adequately and often if you reside in an area that is overly dry. You’ll be surprised at the rate to which plants dry up during the summer months. Create a simple schedule and do your best to prevent that from happening.
When watering, make sure you water deeply so that it will get to the roots of the plant because that’s where the “engine” of the plant is.
Tip – Some decorative plants are drought tolerant and don’t require frequent watering. Lithops, Wallflowers, and Verbenas are beautiful flowering plants that have a great low to moderate watering tolerance.
Maintenance of Your Landscape
There’s a different maintenance routine for all properties and landscape. It is highly advisable that you seek the services of a professional in Landscape on deciding the best method for maintenance of your property. Always remember that your landscape is what will attract visitors and buyers alike to your property, so be sure to dish out a best first impression.
What is Fire Blight Tree Disease?
Fire blight is a hard to control disease of fruit trees like pear and apple. It is caused by bacteria, its effects are devastating and it leaves a behind a burnt appearance; this is where it gets its name from. In addition to fruit trees, it attacks ornamental plants like roses, cotoneaster crabapple, loquat, hawthorn, pyracantha, and mountain ash. Unlike dieback, fire blight attacks flowers first, twigs next and finally branches.
Signs of this Disease
The first signs of fire blight usually appear in early spring, when the weather is humid and rainy and when temperatures rise above sixty degrees. Flowers infected by the disease turn black and die. The disease moves through the branch, infecting and killing young twigs. These dead twigs go black and curl over like a shepherd’s hook.” Affected branches look fire scorched as their leaves are black and wilted. Cankers, which are slightly sunken areas show up on the branches and the trunk. Fire blight affects many parts of the plant including leaves, stems, fruits and blossoms. In wet spring weather, a translucent milk-like, sticky liquid that contains multitudes of bacteria oozes out of the infected part of plant.
Fire blight spreads effortlessly in a lot of different ways and through different means, they include:
• Insects, birds, and animals transmit it from one plant to another.
• Rain drops splashes the bacteria among plants.
• Plants make contact all the time, that way the bacteria can move from an infected plant to an uninfected plant.
• Gardening tools can transmit the disease when gardening or even when watering. Tools should be sterilized after use on an infected plant.
Late spring or early summer is the maximum time of risk of infection. At this time, the bacterial emerges from its dormant period and the cankers become more pronounced. Infected branches should never be left on the ground when pruned, they should be immediately burnt or put in a bin as placing them on the ground could infect the surrounding bushes or trees.
Commonly Affected Plants
In your home garden, fire blight can be very damaging to pear and apple trees especially pear trees as they are very susceptible. Some pear trees, (e.g. Bradford) are unaffected by the disease but can develop it when the environment is advantageous to disease development. Some plants in the rose family such as the Rosacea, can be infected with fire blight, others include; mountain ash, photinia, crabapple, hawthorn, loquat, pyracantha, spirea, cotoneaster and quince.
Prevention & Treatment
Fire blight has no cure thereby making prevention very important. Though there are many ways to control fire blight, these methods are not 100% effective. Some fire blight control methods include; making use of recommended sanitation measures and cultural practices, choosing tolerant varieties, and applying bactericides and insecticides.
Bactericides & Insecticides: Bacteria enters plants through fresh wounds, blossoms or natural openings, it is then spread by rain and insects such as ants, bees, aphids, beetles and flies who transfer the bacteria to blossoms. Insect control can decrease the spread of bacteria, however, insecticides shouldn’t be used when plants are blooming. To learn more about disease and pest prevention oils, visit: 72tree.com/using-dormant-horticultural-oil-treat-tree-insect-infestations/
Sanitation Measures & Cultural Practices: all infected plant parts should be removed and destroyed, and all pruning tools should be disinfected with household bleach and water (one part bleach and nine parts water). This will lead to a reduction in the spread of the disease. Cuts should be made at least 8 to 12 inches beneath the infected tissue.
Pears: Pear trees can be treated with a copper fungicide spray (pre-bloom) and a streptomycin spray in bloom. The first spray should be applied immediately the flowers open and should be repeated every three to four days. There should be a minimum of fifty days between the application of streptomycin and harvesting of fruits.
Apples: If fire blight was severe the year before, then copper fungicide should be sprayed just before bloom. All branches and spurs should be thoroughly covered with streptomycin spray which is the recommended bactericide for apple trees in bloom. It should be sprayed first at the beginning of bloom and should be repeated every three to four daysas long as there are flowers.
Crabapple: copper fungicides are also used to treat crabapple trees. In other to lessen bacterial inoculum on the exterior of twigs and spurs, they should be applied before and after bloom. It shouldn’t be applied when plants are blooming as it may cause fruit abortion or russeting on the plant.
Arborists Discuss Controlling Tree Disease
Scheduling an annual inspection of your landscape is another way to prevent and treat tree disease. When you detect that something has gone awry with your trees and plants, contact your local tree professional. Properly identifying and treating the issue is key to halting it and preventing future occurrences.
Many diverse diseases affect your landscape, shrubs and trees. Identifying these diseases is critical because, not all tree diseases can be controlled. We love to watch things grow when we garden but we must note that not all growth is positive or advantageous to the trees. Some of these growths take energy away from the tree; common examples include water sprouts and suckers. At 72tree.com we often see the damaging effects of tree disease, and in this article, dieback, tree suckers and water sprouts are the disorders we’ll be discussing.
Dieback of a Tree or Its Limbs
In spring as the weather gets warmer, and buds start noticeably leafing out, you might notice that a section or even an entire limb is not leafing out consistent with the rest of the tree. Dieback is a condition in which the ends of the tree branches die. These sections are generally located at the limb tips, but can also be entire limbs or sections of the tree where there will be no leaves. Most times, this is a sign that all is not right with the tree.
Water Sprouts Due to Branch Removal
Water sprouts are dynamic shoots that develop from dormant buds either on large branches or trunks of a tree. They are usually upright and in many cases occur as a result of the removal or trimming of large branches. Heavy pruning may also lead to the production of more sprouts. Tree stress may also result in water sprout growth, but it’s not usually as vibrant as those that occur due to pruning.
Trees should be checked regularly. If you notice new shoots, eliminate them by rubbing them off as they emerge. Large water sprouts can be pruned off close to the trees trunk. Water sprouts can ruin a tree’s shape and they also divert the tree’s energy by blocking air circulation and light. Though not advised, some allow sprouts to grow in the place of missing branches, but it may lead to a reduction in quality of the tree’s ability to bear more fruits. Also, water sprouts are more inclined to promote tears, disease and breaks, as they are generally weaker than other branches.
Suckers are un-planned, vegetative growths that stem from a tree’s root system. Suckers grow from rootstock and divert nutrients away from the trees top growth. There isn’t any actual benefit from letting suckers grow because, rootstocks are usually different from the type of tree that you planted (example – a Gala apple tree will not have a Gala apple rootstock).
To find and cut from the base of a sucker, you may have to pull back any ground cover and dig up some soil to fully expose the sucker. Ensure that as much growth as possible is removed to reduce the potential of them popping up again. If they do re-emerge, this simple process will have to be repeated. Although suckers and water sprouts are similar, remember suckers originate from the root or base of the tree.
Tree Disease Prevention and Care
You might be able to deal with a disease that occurs on your trees and shrubs but you ought to consider consulting a local arborist or tree service professional if you are uncertain. The arborist will identify any disease and offer you the best treatment options and the ideal time to care for the tree.
Early spring (during most maintenance pruning) is the best time to remove both water sprouts and tree suckers. However, these unwanted growths sometimes sprout and occur during the growing season, they should be removed as soon as you notice their existence. Your trees will thank you and be fruitful!
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