Sunday, September 30, 2012

Plant health care keeps trees healthy

Over time a tree can easily go from healthy to hazardous due lack of proper tree maintenance.  Plant health care is a term that the industry uses to describe what it takes to give trees the proper care and maintenance for a long healthy life.  

It is now recognized that the best way to protect trees from pests such as insects and disease is be proactive rather than reactive. The practice of Plant Health Care begins with proper selection and planting, continues with good care to reduce stresses, and implements a careful program of scouting, monitoring, and use of integrated pest management. Good tree care involves maintaining trees in balance with the environment and other organisms. When possible, protect groves of trees, not just individual trees. Protect the growing space of the tree as well as the tree itself. Try to avoid drastic change around trees as they can only respond incrementally. Too much of anything is usually detrimental. As a general rule, trees can not be cured of problems (saved), but with proper care they may be preserved.

Benefits of training trees for structure and form careful, thoughtful pruning of trees in order to train their structure and form will provide many benefits. Training will influence future performance, landscape potential, and safety. Correct pruning of young trees will improve structural stability, increase tree longevity, and decrease maintenance costs. Trained trees will have fewer branches, but will have better spacing. They will have fewer structural defects when mature, thus reducing the need for costly corrective measures later. The process of training young trees directs growth to fulfill the landscape function, reduces structural defects that may lead to tree failure, and ultimately decrease hazard potential and liability risks. Well-maintained trees are an asset to any landscape.


Any well established, quality tree service will have a plant health care division.  Talk to your local tree services to find out if they offer these services.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has a plant health care division run by certified arborists.  You are getting the best care and advice when you tree service offers these services by such highly qualified individuals.  


Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area.  We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner.  Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healthy Trees need Fertilizer


Fertilization
When trying to keep your trees healthy, fertilization is another good choice.  The application of moderate rates of slow-release nitrogen fertilizer materials to the soil over the root zone of young to mature trees is beneficial to their growth and survival.   Excessive rates should be avoided and trees past maturity or in senescence should not be fertilized.

Fertilization; the different mixes for different trees, when to apply, how to apply and what type to apply can be a difficult concept to master.  But getting it right is crucial to a successful fertilization plan. I highly recommend seeking the assistance of a professional tree service, like Trees "R" Us, Inc. when it comes to fertilization.  Most high quality tree care companies have several certified arborists who will take all the guess work our of fertilizing.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff who can answer all your questions about plant and tree fertilization.  In addition, a tree service's plant health care division, if they have one, is exactly what you need.  The plant health care division provides arborist services, fertilizations, and general health care for all your plants and trees.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. offers plant health care and much more. If you are local to the Chicagoland area, please give us a call to find out more about how we can help you keep your trees healthy.


Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area.  We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner.  Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Friday, September 28, 2012

Good tree maintenance includes mulching

Healthy trees require some attention and care.  One common element to protect trees from becoming hazardous is mulching.

Urban trees benefit from woody organic mulches applied to the root zone. Mulching reduces competition from turf and weeds, moderates soil moisture and temperature, helps prevent mower and string trimmer injuries, and creates a better environment for soil microbes associated with trees. An ideal mulch consists of coarse wood chips several inches thick, spread over as much of the root zone as practical, but not against the trunk.

Organic Solutions, Inc. in Long Grove, Illinois has many mulch options to choose from at very affordable prices. When it comes time to mulch your trees, contact Organic Solutions, Inc. or visit their website for information on mulching, types of mulch, pricing and delivery options.  Organic Solutions, Inc. is clearly the best choice for mulch and organic mulch in the Chicagoland area.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A little pruning goes a long way

Maintaining a tree in a healthy condition requires periodic inspection, and tree maintenance activities such as pruning, mulching, fertilization, and plant health care. Pruning is the most significant practice due to costs and impact on the tree. Proper pruning can extend the useful life of a tree in your yard for decades. Trees may need to be pruned for any of the following: to remove dead or hazardous branches, to improve the tree structure, to provide better clearance under, over, or through the tree, to increase light or air penetration, or for aesthetic considerations. Timing of pruning is not a mystical horticultural secret. Routine maintenance pruning of dead wood can be done at any time. Generally, it is easiest to prune live wood when it is dormant. Flowering trees should be pruned after blooming. Check with local experts about exceptions.

When a tree is too big to be pruned from the ground, it is time to call in an Arborist. An arborist is a specialist in the care of individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees, and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly; tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work in trees in a manner that is safe both for them and for the trees. Click here to find out more about how to hire an arborist.

Pruning standards

There is a proper way to prune trees. Pruning cuts should be made outside the branch collar, not flush with the stem. Excess end weight should be removed with preliminary cuts to avoid tearing bark. Pruning is often done to remove dead wood from a tree, to thin the crown for air circulation or to balance weight, and to provide ground clearance. Tree topping, an unacceptable practice, occurs when indiscriminate cuts are made on large branches in an attempt to lower the height of the tree. Topping creates a structurally unsound condition, is stressful to the tree, is expensive to maintain, and is visually offensive. Whenever topping is being considered, removal of the tree and replacement with an appropriate size tree will better solve the problem and reduce hazards in the future.


Trees "R" Us, Inc. prides itself not only on being the best tree service in the suburbs of Chicago, but also in educating its customers about trees, tree maintenance and tree care. As tree service providers to the North shore, north suburbs, and northwest suburbs of Chicago, we offer exceptional tree trimming, tree removals, stump grinding and plant health care. Contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. today for more information or an analysis of your trees and plants. Check us out on the web at www.treesrusinc.com or call us at 847-913-9069.

Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to maintain healthy trees

The goal of any homeowner is to keep trees healthy so that they are a benefit to the landscape. This involves maintaining the tree in the best possible health while making sure it doesn't present a hazard to people.

Trees need to be managed as part of the over all landscape, keeping in mind their limitations as biological organisms. Trees grow, thrive, decline, and die in a natural cycle that plays out every single day. It is important to understand that trees use their available growth resources efficiently and economically to maintain their health. Trees react to short term stresses by swaying, bending, or breaking. They react to long term stress by adjusting growth patterns to develop resistance to failure. Homeowners can help, or inadvertently hinder these natural processes.

Maintaining healthy trees involves taking preventative action such as following proper planting and pruning standards, staking trees when necessary, mulching, and appropriate pruning. It also involves emergency actions taken after storms or accidents to restore a tree to a healthy condition.

Selection of the right tree for the right place and proper planting of trees are the first steps in good tree care. Selection requires an examination of the site and then consideration of species or varieties to fit the conditions of the site. In order to reduce hazards remember that fast growing trees sacrifice structural capabilities in their quick ascent to form a canopy, while slower growing trees are generally stronger structurally. The form of the tree should be appropriate for the space available. Proper handling, planting, and after-care will reduce future problems. Dessication, improper planting depth, lack of mulching, incorrect staking, and lack of water are common mistakes that reduce tree survival.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. offers plant health care as well as a highly knowledgeable staff that includes 4 certified arborists.  When you choose Trees "R" Us, Inc. you can rest assured that you've made the right choice for your tree care, tree maintenance, and plant health care needs.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. services the North Shore and the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.  You can contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. via the web at www.treesrusinc.com or by phone at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading, 
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Planting techniques that will help you get that healthy tree

Hazardous trees are usually avoidable. Another way to keep your tree from becoming a hazard is starting its life in your yard off right by planting it correctly. It has been said that anyone can plant a tree. While this may be true, not everyone knows how to plant a tree correctly. Here are some step-by-step instructions for planting a tree:

• When to Plant – The best time to plant a tree depends on the climate where you live. Usually the ideal time to plant trees during the dormant season when there are no leaves on the tree (for deciduous trees) say between November and April. Avoid planting trees in when the ground is frozen, or during hot, dry weather. Keep in mind that your local tree service will take care of the planting for if you would prefer.

• Getting Your Tree Home - Trees are often damaged or stressed during the trip home from the nursery. Take special care to reduce injuries when loading and unloading your tree. If you are using a pick-up or trailer, or leaving the car trunk open, protect the buds (or leaves) and needles from the wind by wrapping or covering them. Cushion stems and branches, particularly if they rub against the vehicle. Tie the tree securely and avoid high-speed travel.

• Temporary Storage - Plant your tree as soon as possible. If you must store it before planting, put it on the north side of a building away from direct sunlight and heat. Keep the roots or root ball moist to prevent the roots from drying out. If you can't plant the tree within 1 to 3 days, make arrangements to leave it at the nursery until you have time to plant it.

• Preparing the Planting Hole - Proper planting is the most important step. Many problems with a tree can be traced back to improper planting. Dig the hole at least 2 feet wider than the size of the container, root system or root ball. A large hole will allow better root growth and is especially important in compacted soils. Roughen the sides of the hole, which should be the same width at the top and bottom, and remove any rocks or debris.

• Planting the Tree - Planting depth is of critical importance. Trees often are planted too deep in the hole. Carefully set the tree in the hole at the same depth or slightly higher than it was at the nursery. Plant it with the root collar at ground level or slightly higher (2") to allow for settling. The graphic above right shows the importance of digging a big enough hole to allow the roots to extend out into the soil around the planting site.

• Planting B&B Trees - When placing a B&B tree in the hole, always support the root ball with your hands and gently place the tree in the hole to test for proper depth. Never drop the tree on the ground or in the hole as this disturbs the root ball and can break the roots. The root flare and top of the soil ball indicate the original planting depth. Take care not to loosen or break the soil ball. Cut and remove all twine around the trunk. Pull or cut the burlap away from the trunk and top of the ball as far down as possible. Sometimes the root ball is wrapped with non-degradable fabric; be sure to cut away this fabric. If the root ball also is supported by a wire basket, bend or extend portions of the wire basket down below the soil surface level. Cut the wire away once the tree is in place at the proper depth.

• Planting Container trees - Container trees often have roots growing around the inside of the container. After removing the container, gently straighten the roots to avoid girdling root problems. The root flare and top of the soil ball indicate the original planting depth and the level at which you should plant the tree.

• Planting Bare-root trees - The key to successfully planting a bare-root tree is to keep the roots moist before planting. After digging the hole, mound some soil in the center. Set the root mass on top of this mound so the roots cascade downward in each direction. Again, where the root flare meets the trunk is where you will find the appropriate planting level.

• Backfilling the Hole - If you plan on staking your tree, drive two wooden or metal posts along the sides of the hole before you backfill. This prevents you from accidentally driving the stakes through the root ball and damaging the root system. Fill the hole with soil about one-half full, lightly tamping it with your foot to remove any air pockets. Make sure the tree is standing upright and not leaning. Water slowly to saturate the soil and remove any remaining air pockets, then finish filling the hole with soil. Remove any extra soil rather than mounding it around the tree. Build a temporary berm at the drip line to hold water around the root system.

• Soil Amendments - Amendments are additions to the soil that enhance its moisture-holding capacity, nutrient availability, or structure. Amendments include good loamy topsoil, peat moss, and various kinds of mulches. Most soils -- except sandy soil, soil with a high clay content, or soil that has been heavily disturbed by construction -- don't require amendments. Additions of organic matter will help clay soil. This soil is easily compacted which obstructs the movement of water and air. Mixing in organic matter helps break up clay particles and improves water and air flow around the roots.

• Fertilization - Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to fertilize trees when you plant them. However, if you want, you can use a well-balanced (for example, a 10-10-10 formulation), slow-release fertilizer in the planting hole. Slow-release fertilizers have a long-lasting effect and are less likely to burn the roots. Other fertilizers can accentuate transplant shock. Never use lawn fertilizers in a planting hole.

These helpful hints will make your tree planting project a successful one, and get the tree started on a long a productive life. 


Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area.  We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner.  Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.

Thanks for reading,
Nick

Monday, September 24, 2012

Selection of high quality trees is crucial

Hazardous trees cost money.  Plain and simple.  Hazardous trees may need emegency services, removal or excessive trimming.  My goal is to give you all the information you need to prevent wasting the tree and money either to try to keep it or remove it.

In my previous posts I've explained how initially you must plant the right way and choose the right species.  Not sure what to do, then contact your local tree service for help. That is what we are here for!  

The next crucial piece of the puzzle in ensuring your trees will be healthy is selecting a very high quality tree.

After evaluating your planting site and deciding what types of trees you want to look for, visit a nursery or garden center. Avoid buying the cheapest tree you can find, because you will probably pay for it later. The cheapest tree available may be an undesirable species, have poor form, have some other problems, or may simply be an overstock item for the retailer.

At the nursery or garden center, you will find trees in containers, bare-root trees, and balled & burlapped (known as B&B). Each method of moving trees from the nursery field to your yard has its advantages and disadvantages. Bare-root trees, for example, tend to be less expensive and are easier to handle (they're lighter without the soil), but you have to use extra care to keep the roots moist during transport. Not every tree you come across will be a “high-quality” tree, so beware. Here are some tips for comparing high-quality and poor-quality when it comes to trees:

A High-Quality Tree Has:
• An adequate-sized root ball. If possible, check to ensure there are enough sound roots to support healthy growth.

• A trunk free of mechanical wounds and wounds from incorrect pruning.

• A strong form with well-spaced, firmly-attached branches.

A Poor-Quality Tree Has:
• Broken or circling roots in a small root ball or small container.

• Trunk wounds from mechanical damage or incorrect pruning.

• Weak form with multiple stems or branches that aren't adequately spaced along the trunk.

If you buy a poor-quality tree, you are buying problems that could contribute to that tree being hazardous in the future. Any of these problems will greatly reduce the tree's chances for a long, attractive, healthy, and productive life in your home landscape.

When you buy a high-quality tree, plant it correctly, and treat it properly, you and your tree will benefit greatly in many ways for many years to come. It sounds easy, but with all the tree choices at the nurseries, it can be overwhelming.  Your local tree service will gladly help you with this process.  Contact them and take all the guesswork out of the equation.


At Trees "R" Us, Inc. we take pride in not only our professional tree care services, but also educating our customers. It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment. We hope you found this post informative and educational.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs. Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services. Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com





Sunday, September 23, 2012

No more hazardous trees - choose the right species to ensure good tree health

To continue yesterday's post about how to properly plant a tree, choosing the right species is another critical component in tree planting.

We've already discussed that you need to analyze your tree planting site, or consult with a professional tree service.  Now it is time to match that site with an appropriate species. The following description of tree types should help narrow your selection to the trees that best suit your reason for planting. Again, I suggest you consult with a professional tree service if you are not comfortable tackling all this.

Are you looking for a tree that has fall color? Or spring flower? Do you need to screen out the neighbor's yard? There are many, many tree species to choose from. These species are usually grouped into the following categories:

• Shade trees are deciduous, meaning their leaves turn color and drop off in the fall. 

  • They are best planted at least 25 feet away from houses, buildings, or other obstacles. 
  • Shade trees can range from under 35 feet to 50 or even over 100 feet tall at maturity. 
  • Avoid planting shade trees under utility lines or too close to other trees unless you plant a small species.


• Ornamental trees are usually chosen for a particular characteristic, such as spring flowers, fall color, an attractive bark, or crown form. 

  • These trees range anywhere from 25 to 50 feet tall at maturity. 
  • Small ornamental trees with a mature height of less than 25 feet work well under utility lines or in confined spaces.


• Conifer trees ("evergreens") have needles or needle-like leaves that usually stay green all year. 

  • Conifers are the best choice for windbreaks and privacy screens.


• Native trees are those that grow naturally in your area. 

  • Depending on where you live, native trees should fit well in the home landscape, especially along streams or open areas, but might not be suitable for all sites and situations in urban areas. 
  • If you live in a city with harsh growing conditions and poor soils, a native species probably isn't your best choice and you should consider an ornamental or shade tree that is a tough urban tree. 
  • Avoid exotic species that may prove to be invasive later.
There are many books and internet websites that can help you choose a species to match your planting site. Your local tree service will also be an information resource for you. Another great idea is to visit a nearby arboretum or botanical garden where the various plants are labeled. Take a notebook with you and write down the names of species that appeal to you. It is best to have several species choices in mind when you visit the nursery or garden center.


Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area.  We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner.  Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.

Thanks for reading,
Nick

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Plant the right way to avoid going from healthy to hazardous

Tree planting; anyone can do it, right?  No so. Although tree planting sounds pretty easy, many people seek the help of an arborist or professional tree service, and there's good reason for it. Planting a tree is not just about digging a hole, putting the tree in the hole green side up.   Planting the wrong tree in the wrong place, or planting a tree improperly are both very quick ways to 
1. waste money
2. have a dead tree
3. create a future hazard tree that might end up falling on someone or something. 

In reality, the “simple act of planting a tree” may not be so simple. Choosing the right site, the right species, the right tree specimen, and the right planting method will ensure that any tree you plant will become an asset to the landscape, not a liability; healthy not hazardous.

There's a philosophy that is upheld by those in the tree service industry and that is  “Right Tree, Right Place”. Essentially this means that you first look at a potential planting site and then determine what tree would work best in that spot. It involves carefully examining the characteristics of a potential planting site, including soil quality and quantity, available growing space above ground in relation to other trees or to buildings, the amount of sun the site receives, and other similar considerations. Based on these site characteristics, you can look at the broad array of tree species available and decide which species are best suited to that spot and if you don't know, contact your local tree service; they'll be able to assist you.

Examining a Potential Planting Site

Start by thinking about what you want your yard to look like in 10 or 20 years. The key to analyzing a planting site is to envision it with a full-grown tree. Although the new tree you are considering planting probably will be only 5 or 10 feet tall, it may grow to 50 or 100 feet, depending on the species. Keep this in mind when selecting a planting site.

Here are some questions to consider about your planting site:

* Does the site provide enough room for the tree's crown and roots to grow? Are the prevailing winds and sun exposure conducive to its growth?

Consider other trees, buildings, or landscape features near the site. Again, keep in mind the mature height of the tree you're about to plant. What looks like enough room now may look very crowded after 10 years of growth. 
Tree roots: 
~need space too, and 
~don't like to be confined by sidewalks, driveways, or house foundations. 
~Some trees tolerate shade, 
~others prefer full sun. 
Some trees have shallow root systems, so you may need to stake the tree for the first year. 

* Are there utility wires or other obstructions nearby or overhead?

If there are overhead wires on your property, avoid planting large shade trees within 25 feet of them. Planting large maturing trees underneath power lines could cause power outages and increased maintenance costs. Eventually these trees will require severe pruning. If you must plant directly underneath wires, select a tree that will be less than 30 feet at maturity.

* What is the soil like? Is it sandy or comprised of heavy clay? Is it poorly drained or well drained?

The health and vigor of your tree will greatly depend on the quantity and quality of the soil in the planting site, so investigate the soil before you plant the tree. Soil near houses tends to be highly compacted, a less than ideal growing condition. Tree roots need loose or uncompacted soil because they must have oxygen for growth. If you have sandy or clay soil, peat or compost can increase the air space and improve drainage.

* What function will the tree serve? Will you choose a shade tree, an ornamental tree, a deciduous tree or a conifer?

The purpose of the tree is an important consideration. For example, if you're looking for a privacy screen, a maple is a poor choice because it doesn't hold its leaves year round. However, a cedar is ideal for this purpose. If the tree's primary purpose is shade, an oak, maple, or ash may be at the top of your list.

By carefully assessing your site, you will be able to make a more informed choice about the tree species best suited for that location.

There's so much to consider, but this is not all that is involved in planting the right way.  to really ensure your trees stays healthy and doesn't become hazardous, stay tuned. During the week, I will be posting more information on healthy planting.

At Trees "R" Us, Inc. we take pride in not only our professional tree care services, but also educating our customers. It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment. We hope you found this post informative and educational. 

Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs. Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services. Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Friday, September 21, 2012

how healthy trees grow vs. how hazardous trees grow

Hazardous trees are such an unfortunate occurrence. Mostly because hazardous trees are avoidable. How does this happen? How does a tree go from healthy to hazardous right before our eyes? To understand how trees may become hazardous, we must first understand some general tree concepts: how they grow, why the root system is important, the tree's response to being wounded, the nature of tree defects, and the significance of individual tree characteristics.

Trees are actually long-lived, woody, perennial plants. They are segmented organisms with rigid cell walls that restrict movement. The vertical orientation of tissues allows for movement of water and essential elements upward (kind of like a big straw!), while carrying carbohydrates down to the stem and roots. Each year a tree grows new living tissue on top of, and to the outside of, the previous year’s growth. This process can be described like a cone: a tree is simply a living layer of tissues on top of older layers, some of which are no longer living. Every year the tree adds another layer to the cone, both upward and outward. Trees have a genetically controlled life span influenced by the environment. This life span has been described as a growth curve, moving upwards as the tree captures energy and grows, peaking at maturity when it reproduces, then declining through old age and decay.

What Makes Trees Grow



Trees capture sunlight and convert it to chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis. This chemical energy is used or stored as carbohydrates such as sugars and cellulose. Energy is required to build structural tissues (wood) and to enable all living cells to respire (burn energy). Trees have growing living wood called sapwood, and more dense structural wood called heartwood (see left).

Compare young trees to mature trees- young trees are making and storing energy. The surplus energy enables them to combat stress and control decay. They typically have lower hazard potential and can overcome many stress-causing conditions. Mature trees must use their energy to protect the stored energy in their tissues. They typically approach the end of their life cycle in a spiral of decline- multiple stresses lead to further decline resulting in mechanical failure and/or death. Mature trees in decline frequently become hazardous due to their size and condition.




The Tree's Roots

Tree roots are shallow, they exist in the soil oxygen zone. Roots are extensive, spreading to several times the width of the canopy. Roots live in the soil with other organisms: other plants, fungi, bacteria. The graphic at right (courtesy of the International Society of Arboriculture) shows what tree roots really look like. Damage to roots is a major cause of decline, death, or physical failure. Roots are injured or destroyed by soil compaction, soil removal, severing roots, fill soil over roots, flooding or drought.

Tree Response to Wounding

Unlike animals, trees have no wound healing process. Healing means to restore to a previous healthy state, to repair or replace injured tissues. Trees, with their rigid cell walls, are unable to heal injured or infected tissue. Trees seal off damaged tissue rather than heal it. When tree bark is damaged, as in this picture (left), microbes attack the plant tissue, and trees respond by creating walls around the tissue. This process is called “compartmentalization” and it occurs as the tree builds four walls around the injured area in order to preserve the rest of the tree. How well the tree ultimately survives the wound will depend on how successful the tree is at compartmentalizing the damage. You've probably seen trees with abnormal looking growth occurring around a wound. That is called "callous" tissue, and it is a reaction that happens as the tree tries to seal (not heal) the wound.

When Trees have Defects
Structural defect characteristics identified by tree experts include: poor branch attachment, ineffective compartmentalization response, lack of taper in stems or branches, stem defects such as cracks or deformities, reaction wood development, excessive or recent lean, and improper canopy development. The photo at right shows what happens when one of these defects fails.

Human caused defects may be the result of improper arboricultural practices such as: topping or heading, excessive thinning, lack of branch spacing, poor cut placement or execution, crown raising or crown reduction. Other activities that may damage trees include construction, utility work, landscaping, grounds maintenance, or irrigation. Other living organisms may responsible for defects. These include small animals like birds and squirrels, plant diseases, insects, and even other plants such as mistletoe.

Individual Tree Characteristics

The hazardous nature of trees is dependent on certain characteristics that may be identified and even predicted. Tree species vary in their potential to be hazards. Weak wood or poor branching habit are characteristic of certain species but not others. The age of the tree (relative to the growth curve) is significant. Old senescent trees are more likely to fail than young vigorous trees. Size is an obvious factor. Large trees or large tree parts are more dangerous when they fail. Research is also beginning to describe failure patterns, determining which trees are more likely to fail in certain regions and which parts are likely to fail.




Thursday, September 20, 2012

How do trees go from healthy to hazardous?

To continue with my series on healthy trees, I've compiled a list of reasons why your trees may go from healthy and beautiful or hazardous and on the verge of removal.  Here's my top 10 reasons why trees become hazardous.  Here is a list of what NOT to do when it comes to tree planting and care.

1. Lack of Knowledge of Trees
Most people don’t know as much about trees as they think they do. There are still a lot of myths out there about trees, such as how deep root systems go (not very), whether you should use wound paint after pruning (no), or that you should make pruning cuts flush with the trunk of the tree (NOT!). The fact that you are reading this post shows that you’re taking the initiative to learn more about the trees in your yard. Congratulations, you're on your way to healthier trees!

2. Lack of Concern for Trees
Some people don’t care about trees. They think trees get in the way. They don’t realize that we couldn’t even live on this planet if it weren’t for trees. People that lack concern for trees often make mistakes around them that contributes to the decline or death of trees. For example, you need to take care when you remodel or start a construction project at home.  Need a new sidewalk for example? The placement of the sidewalk is crucial if there are nearby trees and the construction work to put in the sidewalk could damage roots, or the trees' root system will eventually damage the sidewalk.  If people who work around trees aren't concerned about the impacts of their work, that is what can happen. If you appreciate the benefits we get from trees, spread the word to others!


3.  Lack of Space for Trees
When someone plants a tree, they often think of the tree in terms of the size it is at that time rather than how big the tree will be when it matures. Very often we find the wrong tree planted in the wrong place, so the tree doesn’t have enough room to grow properly. This competition for space often results in a tree that comes in conflict with sidewalks, utility lines, buildings, or other structures. And the tree often loses. When planting a tree, think ahead!

4.  Automobiles
Cars can do a lot of damage to trees, either by wounding the trunk by running into them, or by compacting the soil by being parked on top of the tree’s root system. People like to park underneath trees on hot summer days because it keeps their car cooler. It doesn’t usually do much for the tree though. Tree roots need good soil, oxygen, and water to survive and grow. Do your tree a favor; keep the cars away from it!


5.  Improper Planting
Trees in the home landscape often get planted incorrectly. Improperly planting a tree gets it started in life on the wrong root. If a tree is planted too deep or too shallow, in poor soil conditions, or without a big enough planting hole, it will never grow into a normal, healthy tree. For example, if you buy a tree with twine string holding the burlap around the root ball, then you must remove it when planting the tree. If not, ultimately, this will strangle the tree and kill it. Proper planting techniques are important to give trees a good start in the landscape.


6.  Lack of Aftercare
Some people think they can just plant a tree and walk away and let the tree grow by itself. Neglect of newly planted trees will cause them to struggle and not grow properly. Mulch, watering, and protection from lawnmowers are important in order for a new tree to survive and thrive. Not every tree needs to be staked, so contact your local arborist for help.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 arborists on staff to help you with these kinds of issues, so call us. We are here to help you!


7.  Too Little or Too Much Water
Most people associate young dead trees with too little water, but too much water is equally damaging. With excess water roots will suffocate; without water most roots dry out and die. Trees in lawn areas often get too much water because trees and grass have different watering requirements.

8.  Improper Pruning
Tree pruning is both an art and a science, and quite frankly, some people flunked both of those subjects. Flush cuts (picture at left) and excessive pruning are types of mistakes that lead to tree decline and death. Cutting the branch too close removes hormones that the tree needs to seal off the pruning cut. An improperly pruned tree is subject to insect and disease problems and decay formation.


9.  Topping
Topping, the indiscriminate removal of much of a tree’s canopy, is a sure-fire way to create hazardous trees. Topping violates most commonly accepted methods of proper pruning; it is an assault on the health and beauty of your tree, and a topped tree is much more likely to break apart during a storm than a tree with a natural growth pattern.

10.  Construction Damage
Building a new home or an addition, putting in a new driveway or sidewalk, or trenching for utilities are all common construction activities that can put trees at risk. Severing roots, changing the grade of the ground, and other root zone incursions usually lead to the decline and death of mature trees. Although this damage sometimes doesn’t appear until several years after construction, damage to tree roots is the number one killer of trees in the home landscape.

Check back tomorrow for additional information on this series about healthy vs. hazardous trees.

What you do to keep a tree healthy today may prevent it from becoming a hazardous tree tomorrow. So now that you know what it takes to make trees hazardous, you also know what it takes to keep them healthy and safe. The best advice I can give you is leave it to the pros. Have a professional tree service come out at least once a year to assess your trees and plants.  They can help ensure that your plants and trees will remain healthy for the years to come and thereby protect the investment you've made in your trees, in cooling your home, in keeping your family healthy and in having your yard and home look beautiful.


Trees "R" Us, Inc. offers tree and plant health care as well as a highly knowledgeable staff that includes 4 certified arborists.  When you choose Trees "R" Us, Inc. you can rest assured that you've made the right choice for your tree care, tree maintenance, and plant health care needs.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. services the North Shore and the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.  You can contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. via the web at www.treesrusinc.com or by phone at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading, 
Nick







Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Preventing your trees from becoming hazardous

Did you know that most hazardous trees are preventable?

Hazardous trees are often created when people lack the knowledge of what it takes to keep trees healthy, and by the ignorance of how their actions can unintentionally lead to the decline and eventual death or failure of a tree. What exactly does it take to prevent trees from becoming hazardous?

If you have a tree that you think may already be hazardous, consider hiring a Certified Arborist to conduct a Hazard Tree Assessment. Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 Certified Arborists on staff to help assess your trees.  This involves determining the likelihood that a tree or part of a tree will fail and injure people or property and assessing risk factors that may contribute to the eventual failure of a standing tree.

When a tree becomes hazardous, it often fails, which means a limb falls out of the canopy of the tree, the trunk splits and falls to the ground, or the entire tree becomes uprooted, and people are often injured and property is damaged or destroyed. Because trees are living organisms growing in varied dynamic environments, it is impossible to predict exactly when a tree will fail. Weather often plays a role in tree failure. Extreme wind, rain, snow, and ice can cause perfectly healthy trees to fail. But usually it is the trees that have some defect, decay, or damage that fail under extreme weather events. Fortunately, this tree failure is often preventable through proper planning, planting, care, and maintenance of trees.

Hazardous trees are often created through human influences. Rarely do environmental factors create hazardous trees; usually these factors just contribute to the timing and severity of the tree failure. By understanding what circumstances create hazardous trees, you can learn how to prevent trees from becoming hazardous.

Take care of your trees and plants. For assistance, advice, and overall tree care, contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. at www.treesrusinc.com or call us at 847-913-9069. Trees "R" Us, Inc. provides quality tree care and tree maintenance to the north shore of Chicago and its surrounding north and northwest suburbs. Trees "R" Us, Inc is a tree service that provides quality tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding and plant health care among other services.

Thanks for reading,
Nick

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Avoid emergency tree services!

Keeping the trees in your yard healthy and safe will not only make them beautiful, but it will also prevent them from becoming hazardous and as a result save you a 'treeload' of money in emergency tree care when the tree becomes a serious safety hazard.

You need to be on the lookout for hazardous trees as one measure to keep your trees healthy and safe.  A hazardous tree is one with a significant potential to fail or is a target that might sustain injury or damage. Hazard trees are created through a variety of circumstances including human influences, disease, and weather. The trees in your landscape are an asset to your home. They increase the property value of your land, they clean the air that you breathe, they mitigate the pollution caused by the car you drive, they provide shade that can decrease your energy bills, and they make your home, neighborhood, and town a more attractive place to live. However, with neglect, improper care, and damaging construction work, your trees can become a liability instead of an asset. Fortunately, most hazard trees can be prevented through proper tree care. By properly planting the right trees in the right places, giving them proper arboricultural care, and protecting them from damage, the trees in your yard can provide many benefits for decades to come.

During the following days I'll be posting tips on how you can keep the trees in your yard healthy and beautiful and as a result prevent your trees from becoming a hazard. 


Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area.  We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner.  Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.


Keep reading!

Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Friday, September 14, 2012

Critical Steps to Quality Tree Care that YOU can do at home



There are certain things a tree owner must know to keep trees healthy and in the very best condition. Read the tree care essentials for a basic overview of keeping a tree healthy over its natural and predicted biological life span.

1. Limit Staking Your Tree

Tree staking is never done with the intention of harming a tree. Staking is usually done with love and with a desire to promote root and trunk growth and protect a young tree from harm. What some tree planters do not understand is, rather than helping a tree develop root and trunk growth, improper tree staking replaces a supportive trunk and root system with an artificial support that causes the tree to put its resources into growing taller but not growing wider.

2. Transplant Your Tree

Tree owners often need to move or transplant trees from a nursery or within the yard. Yard trees may have been planted too thickly or threaten to out-grow available space. Size is a critical factor in transplanting. The larger a tree, the more difficult it is to transplant.

3. Protect a Tree's CRZ

Before starting a mulching project, become familiar the the critical root zone (CRZ) or tree protection zone. This zone is generally defined as the area under a tree and out to its dripline. Improving conditions in this protection zone will also result in major health benefits to a tree.

4. Mulch Your Tree

Mulching is the most beneficial thing a home owner can do for the health of a young tree. Mulches are materials placed on the soil surface to improve soil structure, oxygen levels, temperature and moisture availability. Properly applied, mulch can give landscapes a handsome, well-groomed appearance.

5. Fertilize Your Tree

Ideally, growing trees should be fertilized throughout the year. The greatest amounts should be applied during the early spring and summer months. Several light applications a year are preferred as the tree gets older.

6. Prune Your Tree

Pruning is essential in developing a tree with a strong structure and desirable form. Here are several methods showing you how to prune your trees.

7. Storm Proof Your Tree

A tree is never in greater danger than during a storm. That can mean a threat from pounding rain and hail, from the fury of the wind, from the scorch of lightning or the weight of ice on branches and leaves. You may also have to remove a tree that endangers life and property during or after a storm. Learn how here.

8. Prevent Ice and Snow Damage to Trees

Brittle tree species normally take the brunt of heavy icing after a winter storm. Many of the elms, most true poplars, silver maples, birches, willows and hack-berries are tree species that simply can't handle the weight of the ice slurry coating limbs. Learn how to select and manage trees to withstand ice and snow.

9. Winterize Your Tree

Trees in fall are beginnng their dormant phase. Trees may seem to be inactive but the fact is they need to be winterized - protected and cared for to remain healthy, free from diseases and insects. Here is how you winterize your trees.


Thanks for reading this excerpt on tree rings.  I hope you found this helpful and it taught you a thing or two about trees and their rings.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. prides itself not only on being the best tree service in the suburbs of Chicago, but also in educating its customers about trees, tree maintenance and tree care. As tree service providers to the North shore, north suburbs, and northwest suburbs of Chicago, we offer exceptional tree trimming, tree removals, stump grinding and plant health care.  Contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. today for more information or an analysis of your trees and plants.  Check us out on the web at www.treesrusinc.com or call us at 847-913-9069.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spruce Trees Giving You Worries?


This is about the time of year when we at Trees "R" Us, Inc. start to get calls from homeowners that are concerned with their browning spruce trees.  Spruce trees are a very popular landscape feature, whether they are large specimens or shrub-sized dwarf cultivars in a garden. However, when the foliage starts to turn brown, it can cause some concern.

The questions we seem to get the most of are:
~Is some browning normal? 
~Will it spread to other parts of the tree or to other spruces nearby? 
~Will my spruce die? 
~More importantly, if it does have a disease or insect problem and what can I do about it?

There are a number of pests and diseases that can cause trouble for spruce. Here I’ll describe some of the most common problems. Pests that will be covered include spruce spider mite, spruce gall adelgids and white pine weevil. I"ll also touch on two common diseases for spruce trees, Rhizosphaera needle cast and Cytospora canker.
Browning of tender new growth in the spring can be caused by a hard overnight frost. Winter injury can cause browning when there is a loss of moisture from the needles on windy sites or during a mild spell. To prevent winter injury, water deeply late in the fall if it has been dry. Small spruces near buildings that reflect heat can be protected by wrapping them loosely in burlap or placing a screen between the tree and the building.
Spruce spider mites feed on needles by inserting piercing and sucking mouthparts (like tiny straws) into the tissue and withdrawing cell fluids. This results in tiny yellow to brown spots on the needles that create a “stippled” look. From a distance, the foliage may look bronze to brown.
Damage is more severe on drought-stressed trees. Spruce spider mites are most active during cooler weather in spring and fall, but the browning may not occur until weeks or even months later. By mid-summer, the mites are inactive but you can look for signs of their activity which include webbing or tiny black bits of frass (excrement) on the needles. These are most easily seen with a good magnifying lens.
To check for spider mites when they are active - and this is a highly scientific method;) - hold a stiff white paper (a paper plate works well) below a branch and firmly tap on it a few times. If mites are present, they will fall onto the paper and be visible as very tiny, slow-moving dots. If you check several branches and find 10 or more mites per branch, treatment is recommended.
A strong stream of water or even a heavy rain will dislodge many mites. Horticultural oil can be applied as a dormant oil to target the eggs or as a summer oil in early May and/or early September. Horticultural oils can diminish the blue color of Colorado blue spruce.
Several insects cause interesting galls to form on spruce. These are usually just a curiosity or aesthetic problem and seldom affect the health of the tree. Symptoms include curled or deformed older twigs and dead needles beyond the gall. Adelgids cause swellings that include the needle bases; after adult adelgids emerge they look like tiny brown pineapples. Midges cause similar galls but they do not include the needle bases.
If control is desired, remove young green galls by pruning. Bag and dispose of them in the trash because the insects will continue to develop on the clipped twigs. A dormant oil can be applied in late fall.
If the terminals shoot up to a few adjacent whorls of branches that wilted, drooping or dead and no other branches are affected, the white pine weevil is a likely suspect.
Spruces less than 20 feet tall and growing in an open, sunny location are most susceptible. Larvae feed under the bark of the stem during May through early July then form cocoons on the host tree. Clip off and dispose of the attacked shoot(s) before mid July when the adults emerge. Remove any larvae by pruning just below the junction of live and dead stem tissue.
Insecticides are not usually recommended. When the terminal shoot is removed from a young spruce, one or more of the lateral branches will take over as the new main stem.
Browning or dying lower branches on spruce can be caused by Rhizosphaera and other needle cast diseases. Colorado blue spruce is most susceptible to Rhizosphaera.
Symptoms typically begin on the lower branches and the older needles will become brown first, while the current year’s needles remain green. The interior of the tree may be sparse or bare. The older infected needles may have a purplish cast. Check browning needles for tiny black fungal fruiting bodies in the rows of white stomates (pores) on the needles with a magnifying lens to confirm this disease.
Management recommendations include promoting good airflow around the lower branches by allowing for plenty of space around the tree as it grows, mowing under the tree, and pruning lower branches.
Good airflow promotes rapid drying of the needles after rain or dew formation which reduces fungal infection. Infection can only occur when a film of water is present on the needles. Prune diseased branches to remove sources of spores that will cause new infections on adjacent branches. Fungicides can be used preventively and should be applied in the spring when new growth is half elongated and again when fully elongated. When using pesticides, always read and follow the label instructions carefully.
If browning and dying branches are occurring at various locations on the tree, the problem may be Cytospora canker. Look for cankers at the base of dead twigs and branches by checking for whitish, resinous sap. Colorado blue spruce is very susceptible.
To prevent Cytospora canker, minimize tree stress by using good cultural practices. Plant spruces in sunny sites with a well-drained soil and avoid crowding. Avoid wounding the branches and trunk. Prune any infected branches during dry weather in late fall. Sterilize the cutting tool between each cut by dipping or swabbing with 10 percent household bleach, 70 percent alcohol, household disinfectant or a product made for this purpose to avoid spreading the disease.
While nothing is foolproof, the best thing you can do to help minimize losses due to insect and disease problems is to maintain healthy trees and shrubs and avoid wounding them, both above and below ground. Plant them in a site they are well suited for and have the soil tested if there is a concern about the soil pH or fertility.
New spruces should be planted at the same depth they were in the nursery. Planting too deeply is a common cause of failure or stress in newly transplanted trees and shrubs. Water regularly to supply one inch of water per week (including rain) for the first two seasons. It is better to water deeply a couple of times a week than light watering daily to promote healthy root development.
Success in controlling pest and disease problems once they occur is much more likely if the problem is discovered early. With this in mind, keep an eye on your landscape plants and try to notice wilting, browning or dieback in its early stages. This minimizes damage and can reduce the need for chemical pesticides.
For more information on the care of your spruce trees or other plants contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. at 847-913-0669.


Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area.  We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner.  Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com