This may seem a strange statement as we enter the chill of Winter here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I am referring to a great time for working with trees in many ways.
It is perhaps the best times to plant trees since they will have ample time to start getting established prior to the heat of Summer. It's even a good time for an application of certain tree fertilizer formulas to grow roots and kick start the new growth in the Spring.
Mostly, it is a great time to prune and trim trees. Here are some key reasons why:
1) Low stress - Since both deciduous and evergreen trees are in their dormant period, removing limbs has less impact on the near-term and long-term health of the tree. In addition, more frequent rainfall and cooler temperatures means the soil holds a greater amount of moisture for the roots which is like a protective blanket for the tree. Winter is like a general anesthetic for the tree when it is being "operated on." When the tree comes out of its sleep in Spring the tree has already started its healing process from any cutting that has been done.
2) High visibility - For deciduous trees, their branch structure becomes quite visible and structural issues can be more clearly identified and addressed. Overlapping or rubbing limbs can be removed before the problems become more significant. Areas where the canopy needs thinning become readily apparent. Mistletoe can be identified for removal in Cedar Elms, Hackberries, Oaks, and Bois d'Arcs.
3) Low risk - Cutting trees makes them more succeptible to a variety of pests like insects and disease. During Winter months insects are also dormant and not actively seeking out new territory to infest. Beetles, aphids, caterpillars, etc are sleeping through the winter cold. Fungal diseases such as Oak Wilt and Cotton Root Rot have stopped their life cycles temorarily as temperatures drop. Cuts made in Winter months are far less likely to become conduits for pests to infest your trees.
I know that this topic begs the question, "Why would I want to have my trees pruned in the Summer?" The answer is this -Trees can be safely pruned any time of year by tree professional taking the appropriate precautions. Such procautions would include sterilizing equipment, painting tree cuts, and application of water and nutrients.
Given that this is a great time of year to prune and trim your trees, have Heritage Tree Service of Texas do your tree prunning this Winter.
What do I mean by this? It means that a majority of problems that trees have arise from the base of the tree and the surrounding root zone. To be sure, there are problems that arise in the canopy (ie. Mistletoe, insects and weather damage), but considering the tree gets nourishment and support from its roots, it's natural that this is the area requiring the most protection.
Here is a list of some of the more common problems that I see:
1) Overwatering - too much water displaces oxygen in the soil around the roots and the tree suffocates. This is typically a problem during Summer when owners overreact to the arrival of hot weather. It's also a fact that most homeowners apply twice as much water as is necessary for they landscape to flourish.
2) Soil compaction - This results from heavy equipment rolling over the root zone during construction. This is most common where new homes are being built on existing lots or where major additions are made to a home. The effect is the same as overwatering in that the soil loses its oxygen and the tree slowly suffocates. Unfortunately, this results in a slow death occuring about two or three years after construction and thus death is not always attributed to the construction. Always keep an eye on the tree canopy to notice stress in the tree. This problem, when combined with overwatering, accelerates the death of the tree.
3) Weed-n-Feed - Application of fertilizers containing weed killer (a broad-leaf herbicide) to the root zone of trees and shrubs can damage roots and stunt the growth of trees for years to come. This is often characterized by deformed new leaf growth during the growing season. Although usually not fatal to the trees, this problem can have extended negative impact in the growth of the trees. I know this from personal experience.
4) Ivy and vines - Often vines will sprout from the base of a tree and climb the tree to access sunlight. Some common problem vines include, English Ivy, Poison Ivy, Trumpet Vine, Virginia Creeper, Wild grape, Greenbriar, and Smilax. These vine cause a number of issues including promoting insect infestations, decreaseing tree vigor due to canopy coverage, and, in extreme cases, canopy deformity. Vines and ivies should be avoided in trees due to these issues.
5) Grade changes - I have seen numerous situations where additional soil was added on top of the root zone due to either home or landscape construction. Over time, tree feeder roots naturally grow in the top 12 inches of soil due to ideal oxygen and moisture levels. When heavy soil is added (loose mulch does not have the same effect) the tree roots lose oxygen and suffocate. If the grade change is minimal (under 4 inches) then the tree can adjust its root growth before it suffocates. If the change is large than 4 inches, the tree cannot adjust its root growth prior to suffocation and the tree dies. A similar problem is caused by mounding soil up aggainst the tree and covering teh root flare (the base of the tree where the trunk begins to widen to attach to the root system). Covering the root flare with soil can prove fatal to the tree as well.
6) Chemical poisoning - I have seen a couple of instances where painters cleaned ther equipment under a homeowner's tree and caused significant damage. Water-based paints are usually not a problem but any activities requiring chemicals to clean up should be kept outside of the tree "dripline."
I have worked on trees that are at least 100 years old and they all are healthy and have another 100 years in them. The thing they have in common is a protected root zone. So to ensure a healthy tree that will last longer - protect the base!
For ways to keep your trees healthy, contact Heritage Tree Service of Texas to get the best advice for your situation.
Fall and Spring can be stormy times here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. These seasonal storms can damage your trees and leave them susceptible to future problems like insect infestation and decay. Following these steps will ensure that your trees recover from damage more quickly and will preserve the structure and health of the tree.
1) Check your trees. After a storm involving high winds or snow (which can be very damaging to evergreen trees) check them to make sure there is no damage to the tree. Broken branches left in the canopy often put additional stress on other branches and can lead to additional damage by breaking or bending lower limbs. It is quite common for significant damage up in the canopy to go unnoticed by the owner.
2) Get an assessment. Have a tree professional provide an assment and quote for repair of the tree. Certified arborists understand the risks of damage, necessary corrections, and how it will affect the growth and shape of your tree. They also can usually provide a quote for making the repairs.
3) Have the work done ASAP. Do the work your self or have a tree professional do it. Work performed by untrained personnel, often leaves untreated scars and branch stubs that can decay and intruduce damaging insects and fungus into the tree. Remember that not taking care of this quickly can cause additional structural damage to the tree and result in unnecessary expense for repair.
DO NOT climb a tree unless you are trained in practices and techniques to safely do so.
4) Get a picture of the future. Trained profeessionals can give you a prognosis - which includes any irreparable damage and how the repairs will affect the future health and structure of the tree. Significant damage may involve multiple "phases" of future work to completely address the needs of the tree. This can often be provided in writing.
From experience we have found that the expense of immediate repair of the tree is very reasonable and saves more in the long run. If you experience tree damage in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, have Heritage Tree Service of Texas provide you a free assessment and quote for repair.
Most folks don't think of applying fertilizer in the Fall but now is one of two times a year when fertilizer will greatly benefit your trees. Fall fertilization involves providing the righ combination of nutrients that will promote root growth over the Winter months. The additional nutrients help insulate the roots from excessive cold and dryness that may occur here in the Winter. In addition, your trees will show an added amouint of new tip growth in April when we enter the Spring growing season.
Don't miss this opportunity, have Heritage Tree Service of Texas apply a Fall dose of nutrients for a stronger start to your tree's growth in the Spring.
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts here leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of Robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me.
But only God can make a tree.
In the tree business, "supplemental support," refers to
man-made hardware used to provide support in addition the tree's natural strength. Types of issues requiring supplemental support include cracked trunks, narrow forks, internal decay, and hazardous overhangs. These can be the result of natural causes, like weather, or human activity, such as damage from heavy equipment. With supplemental support trees keep their shape years longer than they would without it.
Cabling is when a steel cable is connected to cantilevered trunks to prevent sagging or breakage. It is especially good when trees have multiple leaning trunks that have a high risk of splitting. Heritage Tree Service of Texas uses Extra High Strength (EHS) cable and state-of-the-art hardware to secure trees.
Bracing is essentially bolting the tree together when a crack or a split occurs. In 99 percent of cases where the break is immediately fixed, the tree will be stronger than before the break and will see few long term effects. Heritage Tree Service of Texas uses the highest quality hardware for bracing, which results in zero failures.
If you feel you have a tree that is at risk of breaking or splitting, give us a call to provide a determination of risk and prescribe a solution if necessary.
Today I removed some significant dead wood from a large Mulberry. I remove a lot of dead wood from trees. Usually I remove it a couple years or more too late. That's because dead wood can introduce decay into the tree and that will be problem in the long run.
Dead limbs cause a variety of problems beyond just the aesthetic. Here are just a few issues:
1) Dead limbs will not heal over well. They typically break off outside of the area (branch collar) where the tree will naturally heal the scar. This leaves a jagged stub sticking out that will start to decay. The decay will then travel into the tree's heartwood and down into the trunk and can kill the tree. This is common in Hackberries since the heartwood is soft and decays quickly. It is not unusual to see large Hackberries that are hollow since the decay has worked its way down from a broken limb.
2) Dead limbs allow carpenter ants to infest the tree. I have seen swarms of them come pouring out of dead stubs that I have cut off. Those suckers sting too. One might argue that if they have a good home in the tree they won't get in the house. There are numerous flaws in this reasoning. If the limbs are cut back to green wood and painted, chances of an infestation go way down.
3) Dead limbs fall. If you are taking advantage of what a nice tree offers - shade, you may have personal items (chairs, table, grill, air conditioner compressor, etc.) under the tree. Ever seen a big limb punch through a glass-top patio table. It aint pretty.
There are other issue resulting from dead limbs. Regardless, take the time to have them removed periodically. This may be required each 3-7 years depending on size and speciest of tree.
Most folks from out of town think we have a long growing season here in Dallas/Fort Worth. The fact is, we really have two shorter seasons. As the hot summer weather breaks in September we enter our second growing season.
That makes now a good time to do several things for trees now. Fertilization should be done now to prepare the tree for winter and get a jump on next spring. Trees will absorbe and store the nutrients over winter and produce a robust canopy in the Spring.
Now is also a good time to plant trees to get them established a bit befor winter. Once the soil cools in Winter, roots will grown more slowly so now is a goiod time to plant.
Systemic insecticides should also be applied now since they will be more quickly absorbed into the tree. This activity will slow after Halloween so now is a good time to apply it.
Things you do now will yield dividends for your trees next spring. Have Heritage Tree Service of Texas plant or take care of your trees this Fall.
Today, while driving through North Dallas, I saw many trees that had contracted what I call "Builders Disease." This disease is a slow killer of trees resulting from new home or pool construction being done without proper protection of the root zones. Interestingly, complete death occurs as much as three or four years after constructiuon is complete so homeowners typically attribute the cause to something else.
The key causes are most often soil compaction from construction equipment, root damage due to excavation or concrete pavement over much of the root zone. The typical symptoms are a slow process of diminishing vigor in the tree. Each successive year the canopy gets thinner. Increasing amounts of die-back also are characteristic. The amount of time it takes for complete death depends on the species of tree and the extent of root damage. Since the tree's vascular system in vertical and linear often the tree die-off will first occur on the construction side of the tree.
Prevention is the best approach to save the trees through a variety of measures. However, if caught early, this "disease" can be treated through a combined approach of aeration and fertilization of the root zone.
If you have this problem contact Heritage Tree Service of Texas at 214-244-8411 to get valuable help.
Over the years I have seen and worked on trees that have a distinct yellow foliage. Some would describe it as chartreuse or lime green. Trees should not be yellow.
The condition is called chlorosis and is caused by a nutrient deficiency in the tree - primarily iron which aids in production of chlorophyll (green pigment). Most often the trees affected by this condition are those species preferring acidic soil such as Pin Oaks, Dogwoods, Sweetgums or Magnolias.
I find the most common culprits in our area seem to be Pin Oaks or Pin Oak hybrids that were sold and installed as Red Oaks. The leaves look very similar to those of Red Oaks but once they are installed in Dallas/Fort Worth's alkaline soil they cannot absorb iron and turn yellow. Most of these trees succumb to the problem before they get large but some having less of the Pin Oak traits can grow larger before they display yellow foliage.
Solution: For larger trees having less Pin Oak traits it may be most economical to apply regular soil amendments that can neutralize the alkalinity in the soil. This will allow greater iron absorption in the trees. There are a variety of ways to do this and can be handled by an arborist. If the trees are small, the best approach is to remove the trees and start with a true Shumard (Red) Oak that is guranteed by the supplier. This way you will be sure to avoid yellowing problems in the future.