Thursday, December 19, 2013

Heating efficiency - heat your home the right way this winter

This winter save on your heating costs by heating your home with your fireplace or wood burner. Or don't. While it may seem like a good idea to fire up the fireplace or wood burning stove, it is not likely to perform better than oil or gas heat. So let's cover some ways to help that fireplace save you some money on your heating bill and warm up your home at the same time. 

Depending on the type of fireplace you have, it may actually waste more energy than it creates throughout the season because in most cases the heat goes up the chimney, drawing cold air into the house to replace the heated air. And, when a fire isn’t burning, there is even more loss of warm and and money wasted on heating your home. When there's no fire in the fireplace warm air can still escape through the chimney. Be weary of the products that deem to fix this problem and other pitfalls with fireplaces. Do your research before you buy as many of them are not as effective — or safe — as you might like them to be. Here are a few common things that may or may not help you save on heating your home. Find out what will really work in saving you heat and money.

Fireback. A fireback is simply a heavy sheet of metal (traditionally cast iron) behind the fire. it protects masonry in the back of the fireplace. The fireback is used to reflect heat into the room, instead of all the heat going up the chimney. While great in theory, in practice it is nothing more than a pretty fireplace decoration. 

Damper. The damper is the metal plate that regulates airflow through the chimney. Some dampers fit snuggly when they’re new, but frequently warp within a year or two, producing a loose fit and allowing air to leak past them. A leaky or missing fireplace damper can cost as much as several hundred dollars of heat loss right up your chimney. Chimney cap dampers close the entire top of the chimney, so they reduce heat loss when the fireplace is not being used, but that's about it. They don’t improve efficiency otherwise.

Fireplace doors. Fireplace doors are efficiency and preserve energy. During winter or the cold season where the need to use the fireplace arises, a big portion of the comforting heat generated by the burning fuels at the fireplace can leak outside through the chimney even with a fireplace blower being used around. During the warm summer seasons where air-conditioning plays a vital role in cooling the house, the cool air will also leak out into the chimney thereby affecting the energy costs of the household. With a fireplace door installed, the chimney is shut tight and neither heat nor cool air could leak out through the chimney. This results into overall energy efficiency.

Grate heater and radiators. Grate heaters and radiators aren’t as large as complete fireplace inserts but capture a significant amount of heat from the fire and force it into the house. Although steam heat radiators have been in use longer than most heating technologies, some of their longstanding use owing to their durability and relatively simple conception, they are not the most efficient means of centrally heating a home or a building. I do not recommend these. There are many places between the grate heater and the individual radiators in each room that can contribute to inefficient operation, from the system of pipes to the radiators to the grate heater itself. In terms of cost, the isolated components of the system are usually lower priced than other heating methods, but replacement of the entire system can get very expensive. Thus, depending on the age and the condition of steam heat system, a cost/efficiency analysis can often fail at both ends. Stay away from this means of heating your home. 

Insert or wood burner. To make your fireplace truly efficient, you’ll want to install an insert approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A fireplace insert is basically a woodstove that fits into a masonry fireplace. Within the last 15 years, fireplace inserts have become much more energy efficient. This is the best option to improve efficiency and reduce standby losses. To be safe and effective, the insert must have a stainless steel liner run right to the top of the chimney.

Inflatable plugs. If you’re not using your fireplace regularly, inflatable plugs can stop warm air from going up the chimney when the fireplace is not in use.You can install a Chimney Balloon in the fireplace flue and close it off with a tight energy-saving seal. It is very simple to do.

As the winter continues on it is important to be prepared and educated on the best ways to prevent heat loss in your home. It's all about being efficient and responsible and we are glad we can help.

Contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. today for a free estimate of any tree services needed at 847-913-9069, or

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Get your tree pruning done in the winter!

Well, winter sure did come on like a lion. There was no easing us into it this year. I'm sure many of you had big plans to get the yard ready for next season or prepare that garden before the snow fell, but Mother Nature had other plans for your yard, garden and trees. 

Don't fret Trees "R" Us, Inc. can still help you get your trees in order even though we're in full swing winter. Did you know that a great time to get your tree work done is in the winter? That's right, winter is the perfect time, so give us a call as our schedule is filling up fast. Winter is especially a great time to have tree work performed on deciduous trees. While certain types of pruning on evergreens can be harmful this time of year, all deciduous species can be pruned in the fall or winter without exception. 

Our most popular requests this time of year are deadwood pruning, house clearance, tree limb removal and/or removal of entire trees. Whatever you need, contact us to see what we can do for you and when the best time to do that type of tree work is. 

You can rest easy when you call us as our staff has been properly trained and uses industry standard equipment to get the job done right. The first time.

So, don't refrain from getting tree work done in the winter thinking that it is not good for your tree. This couldn't be further from the truth in  most cases.

If you were one of the many who suffered through the unexpected November storm in the Chicago area that caused numerous tornadoes, then you've probably had some tree damage that still needs to be resolved. If you have a tree or even multiple trees that suffered storm damage that has not been fixed yet, Trees "R" Us, Inc. can give you a fast and professional quote on tree pruning or tree removal.

Our hearts go out to all those who suffered damage or a loss from that deadly storm, especially those in Washington, Illinois.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. is dedicated to providing you with exceptional service. Our highly trained and certified team will provide you the information you need to make an educated and informed decision.

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.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, December 9, 2013

Real or Fake? 13 Reasons why or why not to use an artificial Christmas tree

Did you catch my last post on the pros and cons of real Christmas trees? Be sure check that out is addition to this post on artificial Christmas trees. 

Are you thinking of buying a new Christmas tree this year? Are you keeping up with a family tradition or starting a new one?  No matter what your plan is for a Christmas tree this year, make sure you know what to expect with either a real or fake Christmas tree. And while there really are no right or wrong answers, there certainly are real, proven pros and cons to the real vs. artificial Christmas tree.

When It Comes to Artificial Trees…

PROS of Artificial Christmas Trees

1. Convenience. Just grab the pieces from storage, snap them together and the tree is up and ready for trimming with lights and ornaments. You get to use it over and over for years to come.

2. Easy storage and maintenance. Bend branches, make it thinner, bag it up or place it in the box it came in and store it easily for next year.

3. Longer use during the season. You can set up an artificial Christmas tree as early as you want. You know how stores start putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween is even over? Now you can too!  If that's your thing. Live trees have a short 'shelf life' so your fake tree can get you in the Christmas spirit at any time during the year.  On the flip side, it can stay up until Valentine's day if you're too lazy to pack it up!

4. Minimal maintenance. No watering needed for the artificial tree. No sap. No needles all over the floor needing to be cleaned up.

5. Consistency. You always will know how the tree will fit in the same spot year after year. Figuring out the size of the real tree you need in the space available in the house is always tricky when at the tree farm.

6. Ease of trimming. Over the years, artificial trees have changed from just a plain tree to trees with lights already on them or frosted with fake snow on the branches. Pre-lit trees certainly make trimming the tree easier.


7. No smell. This is big, as fragrance is a top reason people prefer live trees.

8. Room for storage. You must store them, which takes up space you may not have. Often, it is hard to fit them back in original boxes. They are cumbersome to lug up tight attic stairs or down basement stairs. They can take up quite a bit of space.

9. Aesthetics. Most artificial trees are not as full and voluminous as real trees.

10. Environmental concern. Artificial trees are made from nonrenewable petroleum. If one catches fire, it releases toxic fumes. Some contain metals and lead as well.

11. Fake looking appearance. I've never found this to be the case, but many say it is hard to retain the shape of artificial trees that have been bent tightly and stored all year in a box. I guess it would depend on the quality of tree that you purchased. Make sure to get a good one. Hopefully you'll have it for many years to come and the cost will be worth it.

12. The initial cost. Speaking of costs, artificial trees can be a big expense, with some of the bigger, pre-lit trees running into the hundreds of dollars. Of course, when you spread that out over the lifetime of the tree, it isn't much more than a real tree.

13. Poor recycling. Many of us hang on to our trees for about 6-9 years. After that time, they go in the garbage where they get transported to a landfill and sit there for centuries. 

As you can see whether you buy a real or artificial tree is a matter of personal preference and many times a matter of family tradition that probably started many, many years ago. Which ever way you go, just do your research before hand and make sure you are making the best decision for your family, wallet, environment and home. 

Thanks for reading,


**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**

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Real or Fake? 10 reasons why or why not to buy a real Christmas tree

Do you buy a real christmas tree every year or drag out the artificial one from the basement or attic? No matter what you do, I bet it is a tradition and you wouldn't have it any other way. Family traditions like this make for great memories and tend not to change over the years. And while there really is no right or wrong answer, there certainly are real, proven pros and cons to the real vs. artificial Christmas tree.

Ask people if they prefer real Christmas trees or artificial trees and one thing is clear: People are firmly rooted in their tree traditions.

When It Comes to Real trees...

PROS of Real Christmas Trees

1. Memories and traditions. Making or continuing a tradition of taking the family out to the tree farm and picking out the perfect tree…or Charlie Brown tree…is one of the most special times of the year for many. Making those memories is irreplaceable.

2. It smells like Christmas. Bringing the Christmas tree home is an exciting time. The tree fills the house with that fresh pine scent, a sure sign that Christmas is on its way. Douglas firs and Fraser firs both have a distinct fragrance.

3. Support local economy. Buy buying a Christmas tree, many times you can find them locally and thereby support the local farming community.

4. Easy recycling. After the season is over, the tree is ideal for post-holiday bonfires. This is a serious tradition for some families! Sounds like fun. Wish we'd do that here in Chicago, but too much snow and icey-cold temps don't make me want to roast marshmallows on the open fire.

5. Helping the environment. During growth, real Christmas trees emit oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and other gases. It will clean the air in your home.

CONS to Buying A Real Christmas Tree

6. The mess. Real trees are a mess. They will shed needles on floors, carpets and the cars or trucks that transported them. Also, look out for sap. What a mess that can be on the carpet.

7. Pets react strangely to the tree. Pets are attracted to real trees — drinking the water, climbing them, eating the needles and then getting sick on the carpet. Cats especially think that these trees are their personal jungle gyms. Dogs on the other hand have been known to 'mark' them. Gross, I know, but, that's what they'd do if they were outside after all.

8. Allergies. Christmas trees inside the home may spur allergies, asthma attacks and hives.

9. Potential fire hazards. If exposed to flames or intense heat sources, real trees become engulfed in flames within seconds, especially if the trees are dry and brittle.

10. Extra work. You have to saw off excess stumpage, cram it in (or on) your car, clean up the needles and cover bare spots.

As you can see the real tree has some great environmental benefits, but is more work. I'll tackle the reasons why artificial Christmas trees are good or bad next, so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,


**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**

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Top 5 reasons why you should contact a tree service

A tree service is here to help you not only plant your trees, but also help you keep them healthy through the years. Taking proper care of your plants, trees and shrubs is just as important as taking care of and upkeeping your home. A really nice, well-maintained home looks terrible when it is surrounded by ill-kept trees and scrubs. No one wants a nice home on a land that hasn't been maintained properly. 

Just like your home, trees planted today aren’t just for today; they’re also for the future. Trees need maintenance, but proper maintenance. You just can’t plant trees and let them go. And, unless you have good working knowledge of tree and plant health care, it is best to, at the very least, consult with a tree service before you take on caring for the longterm health of your trees and shrubs yourself. Do yourself and your trees a favor and contact your local tree service to help you help your trees live a long and healthy life.

Healthy trees are an essential piece of your landscaping that is more valuable than you know. Take a look a these top 5 reasons for using a tree service to help you maintain your trees and you'll quickly realize the value that your trees hold. 
• Well cared for trees increase your property value by 5-20%.
• Trees reduce your cooling costs because of the shade they provide.
• Healthy trees can help with climate control as they moderate the effects of the sun, rain, and wind.
• Trees help keep you healthy by constantly filtering out harmful gasses and pollutants from the air.
• Trees provide privacy and borders between you and your neighbors which is viewed upon in a positive manner in communities. 
The benefits you'll reap by using a tree service to help you with your tree care will come back to you ten fold. Make sure your tree service is properly bonded and insured and it's even better if they have a certified arborist on staff too.
Trees "R" Us, Inc. has been in business for over 20 years, serving the residents of Chicagoland and surrounding suburbs with distinction. We do it all; tree trimming, stump removal, tree pruning, tree removal, and much more. We’ll also give you a free estimate on what tree services we think would benefit your property.
Looking for a dependable tree service? Contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. today at 847-913-9069 or

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Arborists can help with trees after storms

With the recent storms that swept through Illinois and Indiana, we certainly realize the fury of weather and the destruction it can leave behind. 
We'd first and foremost like to send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the Sunday's tornadoes. Washington, Illinois was one of the hardest hit and the pictures of the damage are overwhelming. We are thankful that they are on their way to recovery by rebuilding and moving on.

While it might be your first instinct to contact a tree service to remove a damaged tree after a storm, did you ever think of contacting a certified arborist? A good tree service should have some certified arborists on staff already, but many do not. Make sure you do your research on the service you use before you commit. A certified arborist would be a great person to have out to your home or business to assess the damage to a tree as they are highly qualified to determine if any trees on your property need removing or just pruning. They have the tools, equipment and skills necessary to take on the job. Tree removal is usually recommended if a tree is considered hazardous, dead or dying, causing an obstruction, or needs to be replaced by a more suitable tree. An arborist will be able to determine if the tree can be salvaged. After you've invested in a tree, the last thing we want to do is remove it from your property, so we will do everything we can to make sure the can not be saved.
Many of you may be looking for emergency tree care. With the recent storms, high winds and tornadoes many area trees were severely damaged, even causing substantial property damage. It is likely that damaged trees can fall on other trees, homes, other structures and vehicles. For a complete assessment of the area and damage, an arborist can determine what needs to be done and go about the job in a completely safe manner, salvaging whatever possible.
Arborists are able to provide other services, which include plant health care, preventative tree maintenance, cabling and spraying to control and prevent insect and disease problems.
Select the Right Arborist for the Job
Make sure the arborist you choose has the right credentials and the skills to cover all aspects of tree care. All the necessary permits and licenses should be up to date and ready for your inspection. Don’t be afraid to check references either. Why? Because tree care is a long-term investment; it’s like buying a new car after having first taken it for a test drive.
Be on the lookout for door-to-door sales people offering a bargain for tree maintenance, especially after major storms like we've just had. Most reputable and legitimate companies are too busy to solicit business in this manner. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The professional arborists at Trees "R" Us, Inc are here to help. We have several certified arborists on staff, as well as teams of tree care professionals to help you clean up your property after the storm or just help you maintain your trees.
In need of a free quote? Contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. today: 847-913-9069 or

Monday, November 11, 2013

November Tree Care Tips From Trees "R" Us, Inc.

fall tree planting
Fall is well underway and we are approaching some of your last times to plant new trees and shrubs to get them ready for the next growing season in the spring. 

Many people think that because it is fall that the time to plant has passed and you have to wait until spring to plant new trees and shrubs. On the contrary, this is a perfect time to plant! Although the growing season has halted for some species and has really slowed for others, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be planting. Fall is an ideal season for planting trees, shrubs and other assorted plants. There are many benefits to planting in the fall, but there area some rules to be followed. 

When you plant in the fall, do it well before winter sets in; ideally about 6 weeks before your area generally sees the first hard frost. This will ensure that smaller plants will be well established before the harsh winter takes it toll. Shrubs will get a definite head start over ones that are planted in spring. And larger plants will see more growth and therefore become more established; generally trees see one inch of tree trunk diameter per year. Planting in the fall should give them a 6 month head start. By planting in the fall and doing it properly you are encouraging good root growth. Planting trees and shrubs in fall enables the root systems to grow before the hot summer returns which is a big benefit to the health of the plants, trees and shrubs.

These plants that are planted in the fall also do particularly well in the following growing season because they are more established they can tolerate the temperature differences in the summer with the heat and also are more immune to drought. 

Another great benefit to planting in the fall is so obvious, yet really overlooked. Fall colors! In the spring one of the most common questions I get asked is what the tree will look like in the fall. What will the colors be? Will the leaves be red? Will they be orange? Well, now, if you would have looked at trees to purchase and plant in the fall, you would know exactly what colors the leaves would turn. It may seem silly that people would pick trees to plant based on what color their leaves turn in the fall, but remember, trees add property value. And, if a tree's leaves turn an amazing display of red and orange in the fall, it only makes your property look that much better.

Some of the most popular trees to plant in the fall are alder, amur corktree, ash, buckeye, catalpa, crabapple, elm, hackberry, hawthorn, honey locust, horse chestnut,  linden, maple, pine, spruce, and sycamore.
fall trees

A few rules to follow or pitfalls to avoid: do not plant broadleaf evergreens in the fall. These include rhododendrons, azaleas, boxwoods and hollies. They are susceptible to harm from the winter winds and extreme cold temperatures. If you do plant them it is really important that you protect them from the wind and have them treated with an anti-desiccant.
Although I recommend planting in the fall, it is important that you plant well before the first frost and that you do not continue to plant trees too late into the fall as this will have a negative impact on the health of the plant. September through November is the ideal time to plant, providing your area doesn't see too much snowfall during these times. Planting before the snow and hard frost will allow the important root system to become established before the ground freezes. On the flip side, please do not plant too late into the fall as this will have a negative impact on the health of your plants and trees.

Cooler, wetter weather of fall is the perfect time for tree planting. During the fall season there is usually an increase in rainfall and cooler temperatures, so less watering is needed. As tree shoot growth comes to a halt, plants, trees and shrubs require less water because the days are cooler and shorter with less and less sunlight every day, so therefore, the rate of photosynthesis decreases. The stable air temperatures of the season also promote rapid root development. In addition, soils may stay warm well after the air temperature cools, also encouraging root growth. While you may think that not much is happening during the tree's dormant period, but in actuality, trees grow to establish roots in new locations before warm weather stimulates top growths which sets the tree up for success in the spring and summer.

Got a tree in mind you'd like to plan? Give us call before you do. Picking the right tree for
tree care by Trees "R" Us
the right location is also a key factor for a healthy tree. We are experts at tree care and will help you make the best possible choice for your tree, your location and your wallet! Call today to arrange a consultation from our fully trained and certified arborists for tree care, tree fertilizer, plant health care and/or arborist services from Trees "R" Us, Inc. Contact us today!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Learn How to Keep Your Young Trees Healthy Through the Winter

Welcome to the last post of this series on tree care tips to ensure your young trees get a healthy start to a long life. Although these tips are for anyone to follow, I encourage you to call upon your local tree service for assistance with your overall or general tree care. Many tree services are best left to professionals. While it is great to be a do-it-yourselfer, you don't want to jeopardize the health of your tree or waste the dollars already invested in the tree by making rookie mistakes. Today's topic is on clearing. If you're just stumbling upon this post and have missed the previous ones, my information posts on young tree care found here, here and here!

When we speak of clearing many of us will think of removing a large amount of trees from a specific area. That is not what I am referring to here. Clearing, when it comes to the tree care of young trees, is simply being mindful to pull up any grass and weeds for a radius of at least 2 feet around the tree - or clear the area so that the tree and roots can get the sunlight, water and nutrients they need. Use your spade shovel to cut straight down into the grass. The flat shovel was good for cutting under the roots of the grass to keep the sod in big pieces. Take care to avoid damage to the tree’s roots. Major tree roots often grow within a few inches of the soil surface. Some species, such as maples, grow roots particularly close to the surface.  Mulch the area under the tree with compost and/or wood chips. These materials are porous enough to allow sufficient oxygen supply to the soil and may actually encourage fine root growth. Acting as an insulator, the mulch will minimize frost-heaving and erosion.

Mulching also keeps down weeds, thus eliminating competition for water. In addition, much water that otherwise would be evaporated by the sun can soak down through a 2" layer of mulch to the soil around tree roots. Mulching trees also helps keep their roots cooler in hot weather.

Early in the year, when the soil is moist, cover the cleared area with a mulch mat, bark or brushwood chippings, or old piece of carpet. This helps retain moisture near the roots, reduces competition from weeds, and means there is no need to use grass-cutting machinery near the tree where it might damage the bark.

As always, if you have questions about your tree's care, contact your local tree service. As a Chicago tree service, they are well versed in all this and will give you the assistance you need. Those of you that are local to the Chicago area, Trees "R" Us, Inc. will help you with the care of your trees. In addition, their plant health care division has several Chicago certified arborists that are highly trained in caring for plants and trees. 
Stay tuned for my final post on the care of young tress that will cover clearing. If you want to read the previous posts on young tree care, click here
Thanks for following us!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Check Your Tree's Stake. It May Be Time to Remove It.

Welcome to part 3 of this series on tree care tips to ensure your young trees get a healthy start to a long life. Although these tips are for anyone to follow, I encourage you to call upon your local tree service for assistance with your overall or general tree care. Many tree services are best left to professionals. While it is great to be a do-it-yourselfer, you don't want to jeopardize the health of your tree or waste the dollars already invested in the tree by making rookie mistakes. Today's topic is on loosening. 
Loosening refers to the staking of the tree. Check the stake. Is it too tight? Is it causing too much pressure from the tie. Keep in mind also that the tree stem should not rub against the stake or guard.
Perhaps the tree doesn't even still need to be staked. A young tree should only need one stake until the roots have grown well into the soil so that it gains stability. This process usually takes about a year. One way to tell it is time to remove the stake is to release the stake and see if the tree stays upright. If it does, it is time to remove the stake. If it doesn't keep the stake as is, but loosen it a bit so that it is not rubbing against the tree stem. When removing the stake, pay close attention to if the tree leans to one side or the other, or if the roots move, or if the top is heavy or bending. All these factors signify that the tree still needs to be staked. Also make sure that when you restake the tree, ensure that the tree stem stands upright. 
As always, if you have questions about your tree's care, contact your local tree service. As a Chicago tree service, they are well versed in all this and will give you the assistance you need. Those of you that are local to the Chicago area, Trees "R" Us, Inc. will help you with the care of your trees. In addition, their plant health care division has several Chicago certified arborists that are highly trained in caring for plants and trees. 
Stay tuned for my final post on the care of young tress that will cover clearing. If you want to read the previous posts on young tree care, click here
Thanks for following us!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Bit About Tree Guards and Tree Pruning

Welcome to part 2 of this series on tree care tips to ensure your young trees get a healthy start to a long life. Although these tips are for anyone to follow, I encourage you to call upon your local tree service for assistance with your overall or general tree care. Many tree services are best left to professionals. While it is great to be a do-it-yourselfer, you don't want to jeopardize the health of your tree or waste the dollars already invested in the tree by making rookie mistakes. 

Here's a little tip about how tree guards and pruning will help your trees stay healthy. 

Tree guards are intended to stop animals – such as mice, rabbits, deer or horses – from damaging young trees by eating the shoots and leaves or stripping the bark. Check the guards in spring and autumn to ensure they are effective (no bark missing or twigs bitten or broken off) and not rubbing or cutting into the tree.

If a guard is inadequate or the risk has changed, consider different protection, e.g. a taller tube to protect against deer, or fencing to keep off cows and other farm animals. 

Make sure to repair or replace damaged guards. If a guard is damaging the tree, adjust, modify or replace it. Remove the guard when there is no longer a risk of damage and clear away any material that has built up inside.

Careful pruning can prevent problems in later life. If a tree has two competing upright shoots, remove one at an early stage to leave a single main shoot. This can save the tree from possible future branch failure. With pruning it is important to know WHEN to prune, WHAT to prune and HOW to prune. Pruning the wrong tree in the wrong season the wrong way can lead to major problems with the tree and even death. Make sure you do your research on the type of tree you are pruning so you know how to go about pruning. Of course, your local tree service will know the best plan of action for your trees, so I encourage you to contact them. Chicago readers can call Trees "R" Us, Inc., a Chicago tree service to the Chicagoland area and the Chicago suburbs.

Stay tuned to part 3 of this 5 part post on tree care for young trees. Part 3 will cover loosening, an ofter overlooked aspect of tree care.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Young Trees Need Some Extra TLC

It is really important that young trees get a good start on a long healthy life.  Young trees are especially susceptible to heat, overwatering, bugs, and the elements. To protect your young trees, follow these simple tree care tips or call your local tree service for assistance. Chicago readers can call Trees "R" Us, Inc., a Chicago tree service to the Chicagoland area and the Chicago suburbs.

If you have planted a tree in the last 5 years, you should provide them with a 'tree care checkup'  at least once a year to give them the care that will help them to survive for many years to come.

Thousands of young trees, planted with care and expense, die from the lack of just a little aftercare.  So the previous time, money and effort invested in the tree end up being wasted. 

Here are some tips to give your trees to best start to survive the crucial early years. 

These easy, effective tasks normally require less than five minutes for each young tree. You can do many of these at any time of the year, but ideally every March or April is the best time.  Contact your local tree service before winter hits and get on their busy spring schedule for next year to ensure you get prompt care in the spring.

The first tip is check the tree's TENDING.

Check the tree in March or April every year.  Is it alive? If there are no leaves, look for green under the bark of twigs by scraping the surface with a fingernail or knife. Also check  and living buds in the same manner.

Fill in any gaps in the soil around the roots and use a foot to firm the new soil. Also, if the soil has been lifted by frost, firm it down.

If the soil is waterlogged, channel/drain the excess water away from the tree.

Look for damage caused by pests and diseases.

If the tree is dead, try to work out why and correct the problem with the help of an arborist or tree service. Trees "R" Us, Inc. has a complete Chicago plant health care division run by arborists highly trained in this type of tree care. Before planting a new one be sure to check with your tree service or arborist to make sure the sick tree can't be saved. Our Chicago-based arborists are highly qualified for this type of work.

Guards are another easy tree care tip to ensure the health and vitality of young trees. Follow on to the next post to find out more. I'll be posting this in the next few days, so stay tuned to learn more. This is the first of a 5-part post on the tree care for young trees.  Please check back to get the whole story!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Weather plays an Important Role in the Health of your Trees

Weather is unpredictable. Trees are not. Get to know your trees and how to help them during unsettled weather patterns. With some simple tree care steps you can help your trees thrive and be healthy for many years to come. 

To help you monitor your trees during the seasons, I've developed this list of the top 10 tips for caring for your trees, especially young trees, in unsettled weather: 

1. Since the weather is unpredictable, regularly check your trees to ensure that damage has not occurred due to extreme conditions and take appropriate action. 

2. After stormy weather, check for abrasion on the bark caused by rubbing against the stake or loose ties.  Replace the stake or re-tie the ties to prevent further abrasion. 

3. If a stake has been snapped by the tree moving in windy weather, replace it and re-tie. 

4. To prevent newly planted trees from being rocked backwards and forwards and becoming loose, stake them firmly back in place if necessary. Re-stabilise wind blasted small stock that is not staked by treading the soil around it. 

5. On windy sites, two or three stakes can be inserted opposite each other, or equally spaced around the tree outside the root ball, and secured to the trunk by long ties or a timber crossbar and tie. 

6. If windy conditions have caused the tree to lean to one side or to become top heavy, reset or shorten the stake and replace the tie at the top of the stake to ensure the stem stands upright. 

7. If your trees survive wind damage or waterlogging, remove any dead or damaged limbs once the bark has dried out. 

8. Ensure that the tree guard has not filled with water, by raising its base above the soil level. Also check that it is not so tight to the tree that water cannot escape. 

9. Mulching can reduce compaction and soil erosion that can often follow heavy rain. 

10. If the tree has died due to waterlogging, replace with an appropriate species that tolerates wet soils, for example alder, willow or poplar.

For help with your trees - planting, maintaining, fertilizing, transplanting and removing, be sure to contact your local tree service. It is always best to leave these things to a professional.  Trees can be a big investment and it is important that you give your tree proper care so that it will provide you with benefits for many years to come. If you are local to the Chicago area, contact Trees "R" Us, Inc., a full service tree care company servicing both residential and commercial accounts. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tree Care for Unpredictable & Unsettled Weather

Helping your Trees Get Through Unpredictable and Unsettled Weather

Weather is unpredictable and your trees feel the stress of changing weather more than you might think. 

Between drastic changes in temperature, like we are experiencing in the Chicago area, and floods, dry spells, high winds, and ice storms, trees really get beaten up by Mother Nature. Here are a few tips on how to help your trees, especially young ones, make it through all the seasons, all the elements and all that Mother Nature throws at them. 

In wet and windy weather, your first priority should be trees planted in the last three years. These newly planted trees often have roots that have not developed fully. As a result, they are not yet anchored firmly into the ground and are particularly at risk from extreme weather conditions such as high wind and heavy rainfall.

During times of high, forceful winds, pay attention to these signs of wind damage:

• Leaning to one side, away from prevailing wind direction

• Splits at a weak fork

• Broken or splintered branches

During times of heavy rains or flooding many trees will be slow to show symptoms. Therefore, it can be difficult to assess if there is damage or what the damage is. Look for these tell tale signs of tree stress from waterlogged soil.

• Yellowing and early drop of some leaves

• The early onset of autumn color and full leaf drop

• Small leaf size

• Dead twigs and leaves at the ends of branches

There's more to come on how trees deal with severe fluctuations in weather conditions. Check back this week for more on tree care during unsettled weather.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Insects Go Mining Too - On Your Leaves!

Continuing our post of strange things on leaves, let's talk about mines. Like the last post on galls, the leaf miners leave leaves looking like something for a halloween display. 
A tell tale sign you have a leaf miner are squiggly white lines all over the leaf. If you see this, you probably have a miner. 

A leaf miner is a larva of an insect that lives between the epidermal layers of a leaf. In most cases, they complete their life cycle within a single leaf. If they were removed from the leaf, they generally wouldn’t be able to survive and move to another leaf.

Like the gall-makers, they’re very host-specific.

For the most part when we see a leaf mine or a gall we need not start to panic, however are varieties are destructive.

The spinach and beet leaf miners eat the leaves and can do considerable damage in gardens and farms. If you happen to see these, remove them as soon as possible  unless the plants is not wilting or crumpling. It is nothing to worry about if the plant still looks healthy.

But if you don’t see the plant wilting away or the leaves crumpling away, probably nothing to worry about.

Pay special attention to the oaks in your yard. Oaks are particularly popular with these insects. There are four orders of insects that mine leaves, and all four of them have species that mine oaks. So, beware of the mines when you have oaks.

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 or call us at 847-913-9069.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

You've Got A Lot Of Gall! Tree Galls Explained.

Balloon-like structures on leaves and twigs; leaves chewed up in a particularly interesting pattern; and leaves with squiggly white lines etched on them are all tell tale signs that you've got a lot of gall!

We always get questions about weird things that grow on leaves. Most of these leaf abnormalities are very normal galls - green balloon-like growths that look like cherry tomatoes attached to a leaf; brown bubbles on oaks; leaves that look like they are blistering. As weird as these all are, these are all examples of galls.

But what’s a gall, really? Is it a disease?

No, galls aren’t diseases. A gall is a deformity in a plant that’s caused by another organism, like a fungus, bacteria or a mite, but many of the most conspicuous ones are insect-caused. There are wasps and flies [including midges] and aphids and a few other insects that cause these galls.

The insect has somehow re-programmed the plant—and in many cases it’s not really understood what is going on physiologically. In some cases it’s just a physical disturbance that’s causing the plant to change its growth, and in some cases it’s chemical, and in some cases I believe it’s actually genetic engineering by the insects themselves.

So the plant is in some way redirected to make this growth that surrounds the developing egg and larva of the insect. And it provides all of the food and shelter that the insect needs as it develops, and then the adult insect emerges when it’s mature.

So now that we know what exactly a gall is, what can we do about it when these weirdos appear on our tress?

A gall is really a sophisticated relationship between the plant and the gall-maker. It like the two have an agreement that the insect is just going to damage what might be just one part of one leaf, and the rest of the leaf is free to photosynthesize and go about its business.

Gall-makers are about the least-damaging insect herbivores—they’re not munching the plant down to nothing.

Although, galls can form on other plant parts, not just on the leaves, they are still rather non-threating to the plant. It is not uncommon to see galls on fruits, roots, flowers, leaves—all parts of plants. All are very host-specific and very location-specific, so a particular insect will typically be on one genus if not one species of plant, and on one part of that plant.

Oak trees in particular seem to get really gall-y. There are actually several hundred species of gall wasps that go after oak trees. Most of them are bi-modal galls, which means they make one form of gall in the spring and another form in the fall. For example, a ping pong sized gall and then then a fluffy one, or a white one, or one that looks like a dense rosette of leaves. 

There's another similar predator out there - the mine. Let's leaves the mines for the next post.  Check back to read about mines - what they are and how they effect plant life.

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 or call us at 847-913-9069.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

September Tree Care Checklist

September is upon us already and it seems like summer just started. Weather is hot and humid, but probably not for long. The leaves will be turning and the awesomeness of fall will be upon us.  
Pay special attention to your trees and shrubs this month. If you feel you'd like to move them to a new location, or need to move them for any reason, you should wait until trees and shrubs drop their leaves or undergo color change  before doing so.  After plants and tree drop their leaves they enter a state of dormancy. When they are in dormancy they react better to transplanting. Transplant shock will be minimized if you wait. Of course, if you need help, call your local arborist or tree service and they can help you with transplanting your trees and with your other fall tree care needs. If you are local to the Chicagoland area, contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. for your tree and plant concerns.
If you have broadleaved and needled evergreens, either dwarf or standard, then you should pay special attention to getting those moved by October 1st.  Make sure you give them ample water at planting time and each week up until the ground freezes.
For general tree care, you should continue to water large trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, until the ground freezes hard. Since we still have some rather hot weather with little rain, you really need to make sure those trees are kept well hydrated. 
For Evergreens, they continue to lose moisture through their needles throughout winter and must have adequate water in their root zones to avoid winter burn or dessicated needles. It is weird to think that you need to water trees in the winter, but it is true. Newly dessicated needles that show up in early spring are mainly due to lack of water from the winter. 
For general fertilization, you should wait until October. I would recommend fertilizing any tree or shrub that looks like it might benefit from extra nutrition — for example, has stunted growth, has failed to fully flower or leaf out, or has undersized fruit or off-color foliage. If you are unsure what plants and trees need some nutritional support or don't know what to treat the plants and trees with, contact your local arborist. Trees "R" Us, Inc. has a team of arborists that are well trained on how to best service your plants and trees during each time of the year. 
Check back next month for the October list. And in the meantime, follow our blog for me details on tree care. We post regularly and have been for over a year.  You'll find a wealth of information here with us!
Thanks for reading, 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Trees Get Thirsty Too!

How you can help spot your community’s stressed, thirsty trees and give them the water they need to restore their spring vigor?

Chicago-area tree canopies may be experiencing a little bit of stress lately with the lack of rain we've been had. The rainy and cool beginning to spring that stretched into summer has quickly ended with little to no rain for weeks and now soaring temperatures. Yes, it has been a strange summer in terms of weather and if we think so, so do our trees and plants. 

As a result, our once lush trees are withering under the pressure. Throughout Chicagoland, especially in the more recently developed residential communities where trees tend to be younger and less mature, leaves are turning yellow, drooping and even falling off. This is not because fall is on its way. This is because of the lack of water! This is a protective mechanism since trees lose moisture through transpiration on their leaves. The leaves droop in an effort to create a smaller surface area to lose the moisture from. You can help spot and soothe your stressed trees by following these recommendations:

  • Look for trees that are yellow in color or look ‘scorched’ with a red outline that have drooping branches and/or already experienced a loss of leaves.
  • Water trees with a soaker hose or another hose with a low flow. This way the water can soak in rather than just run off the surface.
  • Place two 20 litre buckets and drill holes in the bottom of the tree. Buckets can then be placed next to the tree and filled with water. The water will seep through the holes to the feeder roots, which are often located a small distance away from the trunk.
  • Do not prune tree branches on your own. Even if the leaves have fallen, the branch could still be alive and possibly bud new leaves later in the summer. Contact a qualified arborist, like the ones at Trees "R" Us, Inc., for any pruning or questions.
  • Ensure to water close to the drip line. The drip line being the edge of a tree’s canopy on the ground all the way around the tree

Older trees in well-established areas will be able to withstand the heat better than younger trees planted within two to three years in recently developed areas. Older trees have a well-established root system, whereas young trees are planted in areas that lack the organic matter that retains the moisture trees need to flourish. Older trees should remain healthy trees. Our communities are designed to get rid of water quickly, so it’s challenging for trees to get enough of water. If you require the services of a professional and dedicated arborist, and are in the Chicagoland area or suburbs, contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. and we will be more than happy to answer any of your questions or send over a qualified arborist for a free estimation on any of your tree care needs.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Prevent and Manage Wood Boring Insects

To complete my series on wood-boring insects, I'd like to conclude with the management of these bugs. Managing wood-boring insects can be a difficult task and one that is best left to a professional tree service and/or a certified arborist. For the readers that are from the Chicagoland area, you can trust that Trees "R" Us, Inc. will give you honest, accurate and professional advice for all your tree care needs, not just those about wood boring insects.  Now on to the management and prevention of wood borers.


Since most wood-boring insects are considered secondary invaders, the first line of defense against infestation is to keep plants healthy. Proper care of trees and shrubs discourages many borer pests and helps infested plants survive. Good sap flow from healthy, vigorously growing trees, for example, defends the plant from damage by many borer pests. Good horticultural practices include: Selecting well adapted species of trees and shrubs that are not commonly attacked by wood borers in your area. Arizona ash, birch, cottonwood, locust, soft maple, flowering stone fruits (such as peaches and plums), slash pines (in west Texas), willow and poplar are especially prone to borer attack. Choosing and preparing a good planting site to avoid plant stress, freeze damage, sun scald and wind burn. Minimizing plant stress and stimulating growth by using proper watering and fertilization practices. Avoiding injury to tree trunks from lawn mowers, weed trimmers or construction.

Promptly caring for wounded or broken plant parts using pruning or wound paint during all but the coldest months of the year. Properly thinning and pruning during colder months. Removing and destroying infested, dying or dead plants or plant parts, including fallen limbs. Wrapping tree trunks and limbs with quarter inch hardware cloth spaced about 1 1/2 inches from the tree’s surface where woodpecker damage is likely. Wrapping trunks to prevent borer attack is ineffective and may, under certain conditions, increase the rate of infestation. Using plastic trunk protectors to help prevent injury from lawn mowers and weed trimmers is a good idea. Non-chemical control for infested plants. Once trees and shrubs are infested, non chemical options for borer control are limited. One option is to remove and destroy heavily infested or injured plants. Also, inspect damage sites closely to determine if the larvae can be extracted from the plant with a pocket knife, wire or other suitable tool.

Chemical control

It is important to remember that stressed, unhealthy trees can be attacked repeatedly and will need repeated applications of insecticide indefinitely. In most cases this is neither economically nor environmentally justified. When chemical treatments are used, efforts always should be made to improve overall tree health. Most of these products are applied as sprays to the trunks and branches, and are non-systemic, residual insecticides (e.g., bendiocarb, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, endosulfan, esfenvalerate, fluvalinate, lindane, methoxychlor, cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, permethrin, sumithion). While these products do not kill larvae that have already penetrated the sapwood or heartwood, they will kill adults and larvae tunneling through the treated bark layer. This is primarily a preventive treatment. Some products (those containing paradichlorobenzene and ethylene dichloride) act as fumigants to repel egg-laying adults or kill accessible larvae.

Systemic insecticides applied to the soil are ineffective for borer control and few are registered for this purpose. Trunk injection products (containing abamectin, acephate, dicrotophos, imidaclaprid and oxydemeton-methyl) are registered for treatment of some borers. These products are reported to work by delivering insecticides into the cambium and phloem tissues where borers feed. Several factors should be considered when using insecticides to control insect borers:

1. Time your treatments to match adult activity. Knowing when adults lay their eggs is critical, as insecticides are most effective if applied when adults are emerging and eggs are hatching. For the peachtree borer, a single surface application of a contact insecticide in late August or early September can prevent infestations on Prunus species. For most beetles, the adult egg-laying period is either very long or unknown. Surface treatments are effective for only a 3- to 10-week period. Therefore, regular re-treatment of susceptible plant parts is needed for effective control.

2. Be sure coverage is complete and minimize drift. Effective treatment for borers requires that all surfaces of trunks and branches be covered. Only in a few instances (such as for peachtree borer) is treatment of only the base of the tree trunk sufficient to protect the tree. Complete coverage may be difficult on large trees and may result in drift to non-target areas. To minimize drift, spray only on days when wind is less than 6 to 7 miles per hour. When making Sapsucker damage appears as square holes in a tree trunk. 

Treat susceptible plants. Treatment of highly valued landscape trees or vulnerable plants may be justified. Newly transplanted trees and shrubs are naturally stressed and may need treatment, especially when borers are known to attack newly planted trees in the area.

Adult wood borers sometimes emerge from firewood stored indoors. While most of these insects are not considered harmful, old house borer and powderpost beetles will attack seasoned, dry wood inside the home. Treating firewood with insecticide is both ineffective  and potentially dangerous to the homeowner. Wood should be stored outdoors away from the house until just before use. If firewood is infested with borers it can be treated by wrapping it in a tarp and allowing sunlight to heat it. Stacking wood layers in alternate directions will help it dry and reduce areas that can harbor insects.

Remember to take care when using pesticides and attempting to treat infestations of insects. When in doubt, call upon a professional.