Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to "train" and prune your fruit-bearing trees


Growers often neglect the annual training and pruning of fruit trees. Without training and pruning, however, fruit trees will not develop proper shape and form. Properly trained and pruned trees will yield high quality fruit much earlier in their lives and live significantly longer.

A primary objective of training and pruning is to develop a strong tree framework that will support fruit production. Improperly trained fruit trees generally have very upright branch angles, which result in serious limb breakage under a heavy fruit load. This significantly reduces the productivity of the tree and may greatly reduce tree life. Another goal of annual training and pruning is to remove dead, diseased, or broken limbs.


Proper tree training also opens up the tree canopy to maximize light penetration. For most deciduous tree fruit, flower buds for the current season's crop are formed the previous summer. Light penetration is essential for flower bud development and optimal fruit set, flavor, and quality. Although a mature tree may be growing in full sun, a very dense canopy may not allow enough light to reach 12 to 18 inches inside the canopy. Opening the tree canopy also permits adequate air movement through the tree, which promotes rapid drying to minimize disease infection and allows thorough pesticide penetration. Additionally, a wellshaped fruit tree is aesthetically pleasing, whether in a landscaped yard, garden, or commercial orchard.

Summer pruning is an easy and convenient method of controlling the growth of backyard fruit trees.  Some advocates of this kind of pruning recommend keeping fruit trees at a height of around 12 feet which allows for ease of care and harvesting.  Pruning of rampant spring growth also allows light and air to reach lower branches.  This improved air circulation may reduce disease, and additional light can help promote lower growing fruit. 

To find out how to deal with your apple trees specifically, click here

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

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trees "R" Us, Inc. in action.  Here we are in the city of Des Plaines working hard on their tree removals. It's been one HOT week, but we work regardless.

When you need a tree removed it is best to leave it to the professionals.  Safety is or top priority. taking down a tree can cause major harm to you and/or your family in addition to damage to your home, car or neighbor's property.  The last thing you need is to make a major repair on your home, or neighbor's home because you didn't remove the tree properly. Or worse yet, injure yourself or a loved one in the process.

Tree removal is no easy task.  Great care, training and precision is needed in getting trees to the ground safely.  This is a procedure that should be left with someone qualified and with extensive experience. You can rest assured that when you call on Trees "R" Us, Inc. for any tree work, but especially tree removal, that you'll get the best service in the industry by professionals with years of experience in competing tree work accurately and safely. Contact us at 847-913-9069 or on the web at www.TreesRUsInc.com.  We have on online form for quotes and tree work to make things easy for you too!  Enjoy the summer heat and be safe.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

EWWWW! Earwigs are Everywhere!


Earwigs are quite a creature. Many of us know earwigs as the bug that crawls into sleeping people's ears and eat their brains, causing madness and/or death. Really? This is probably one of the best urban legends out there. This is not true by any stretch of the imagination. Experts have yet to reach a consensus on the etymology of the word earwig, however. Some sources (mainly older ones) say the name originated as an Old English phrase meaning "ear insect" or "ear creature," citing the old wives' tale as a direct inspiration. Others conjecture it's a corruption of the phrase "ear wing," referring to the ear-like shape of the insect's hind set of wings. Take your pick.

What is certain is that earwigs are back and are starting to show up both outside and inside. Earwigs are insects that that prefer cool, dark places to hide, such as damp, unfinished basements and the cement crevices between a garden and a walkway, as compared to say a bedroom. They are omnivores, as they eat both insects and plants. Typically though, they are just pests that you might randomly stumble upon every now and then.

The earwig’s diet consists of a wide variety of small insects, plants, fruits and flowers. They will also scavenge and eat dead animal matter. They tend not to be picky about the type of vegetation they eat and are often blamed for damage to crops and gardens. They are known to eat clover, dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhock, lettuce, cauliflower, strawberry, sunflowers, celery, peaches, plums, grapes, potatoes, roses, seedling beans and beets, and tender grass shoots and roots. They can also eat corn silk ruining corn crops, but they are not considered to be a huge threat to crop production.


Interesting Facts about Earwigs
Earwigs get their name and reputation from an old wife tales that they crawl into your ear and lay their eggs in your brain. NOT TRUE!

  • The female earwig looks after the eggs until they hatch and then watches over the hatchling until their second molting. This is very unusually behavior for an insect.
  • Some earwigs dig up to 6 feet down to hide during cold winter months.
  • Earwigs are rapid runners and can migrate short distances using this ability.
  • Vinegar is an effective way of controlling an earwig infestation. It won’t kill them but it will deter them from entering your house.


How to manage the pest.  In order to rid your home of earwigs, it is important to understand the basic biology of the earwig. Earwigs are not dangerous to humans but they can be quite startling as they dart fast when uncovered. They are most comfortable in very moist soil or in decaying vegetation. Sometimes, when people are cleaning up leaves, earwigs will scurry out of the debris, causing alarm.

The body of the earwig is very flexible so the hind end, or abdomen, seems to be able to curve as it moves. What is most disturbing to most people, though, is the large pincers or forceps protruding from the abdomen, extending from the body. These forceps are not dangerous, although they can pinch. Forceps are used to hold prey for the predaceous species, to help with mating, and as a defense mechanism.

Since earwigs prefer the moist areas in and around decaying vegetation, the best way to control earwigs is to modify that wet and comfortable environment. This can be done by making sure that the grade of the soil drains away from the house or structure rather than towards the structure. This will reduce the saturated soil near the structure and ultimately, reduce the numbers which might wander into a living area.

Another way to reduce the moisture is to make sure that if any irrigation or watering is occurring in the area, either automatic or manual, that the soil is not overwatered. Everyone loves beautiful plants and shrubs, but overwatering will create conditions that are suitable for earwigs.

Removal of the decaying vegetation such as fallen leaves from areas near a structure will also minimize the hospitable environment for earwigs. If there is no wet and decaying vegetation, the earwigs are going to be less likely to populate the area.

Finally, if there is a need to treat, products are available to create a barrier around a structure to keep pests out. Always, read, understand and follow the label directions. It is best to contact a pest control professional for all applications.
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, July 9, 2013

Cut your cooling costs with trees!

Although we've had a rather cool, wet summer thus far, it seems that a heat wave it is on its way. And, if today's muggy heat is any indication of what is to come, it looks like we'll all be indoors with the A/C cranked. 

If you are fortunate enough to live in a home with mature trees planted in the right places, you'll enjoy the benefit of potential significant savings on your cooling costs. Trees can add value to your home and in these extreme summer temperatures can help cool your home and neighborhood.

In fact, in USA Today's article on reducing cooling costs, they list planting trees as their number one thing to do.  

If you don't have those big, towering trees that provide shade to your home, now is the time to start planting trees in prime spots.  Although you won't get the cooling benefits for at least a few years, it will help in the long run. Trees increase property value regardless so you'll see benefits either way.

Just how beneficial are trees in cooling your home?

Here are just a few facts of what you can expect from your trees.

“The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.” —U.S. Department of Agriculture

I've reported this fact before and have highlighted this again. That is truly amazing!  I can attest to this. We rarely run our air conditioner because of all the trees around our home.

If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%.” —Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research

“Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20–50 percent in energy used for heating.” —USDA Forest Service

So when the heat wave subsides and we all can go outside again, let's make it a point to plant a tree or two around our homes and offices. By doing so we not only will reduce our cooling costs over time, but also will reduce our carbon footprint in the process. It's a win win.

The way you plant a tree is very important to its health and growth rate. Investigate the soil at your tree-planting site. Loosen the soil at your planting site to a depth of at least a foot and then remove it. Follow our tree expert’s recommendations for adding organic matter or fertilizer if necessary. When trees shade your yard, the yard needs less watering and the air around your home is cooler. It's time to contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. and talk to one of our certified arborists to guide you in picking the correct tree and planting it in the right place. Give us a call at 847-913-9069 or fill out our online form at www.treesrusinc.com and we'll be in touch with you shortly.

Trees "R " Us, Inc. is proud to educate our communities on proper tree care and maintenance.

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



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A checklist for taking care of your trees this July

July snuck in on us with cool temperatures and mild weather. We've been struck by lots of storms, flooding and cool, windy days...a far cry from what we are used to in Chicago for July. So what's in store for our plants this season? 
Here's my July plant health care checklist which will provide you with detailed information on how to take care of your trees and plants in July with these wet mild conditions.

Mulch You must get a fresh layer of mulch down on your plants. 2 to 4-inch layer of organic mulch over garden beds will suffice. This will conserve moisture, cool plant roots, and discourage weeds. Don't pile it against stems and trunks to prevent rot.  If you need good quality, organic mulch, contact Organic Solutions, Inc.  The best mulch at the most competitive prices can be found here.  Or call 847-366-8869.
Support fruit tree branches  Applepeachpear, and plum trees may be laden with fruit this month. To prevent limb breakage, use wooden supports to brace sagging branches. Also, regularly clean up and discard fallen fruit, since it might harbor diseases and pests.
Remove suckers from apple and pear trees  Because summer pruning doesn’t encourage as much regrowth as winter pruning, you can take off suckers (vertical sprouts that shoot up from horizontal limbs) now. Rub little ones out with your thumb, and nip bigger ones out with a knife, pruning shears, or saw.  Or, prune out all ground-level sucker growth from crabapple, apple, plum, peach or apricot trees by cutting out growth below soil level.
Prevent wormy apples Codling moth larvae (apple worms) and apple maggots destroy apples by tunneling through them. You can treat them organically by applying spinosad, which is made from a soil bacterium,Saccharopolyspora spinosa. It's sold as Success, Entrust, and Monterey Garden Insect Spray, and is widely available at nurseries.
Shake down plum trees  Plum trees can often overproduce. Pick off or shake out a percentage of fruit before it swells.
Water When temperatures rise and drought conditions occur, adjust your automatic irrigation systems to water more often and as your water district allows. Check container plants daily. Make sure mature fruiting and ornamental trees are deeply irrigated. If the amount of rain we've had in Chicagoland continues, watering even every other week won't be necessary. Use your best judgement. If we haven't had rain in a while deeply water your trees and plants, if it has rained regularly, then you need not water. 
Protect oaks Make sure the ground under the canopy of mature native California oaks gets good irrigation, because summer watering can kill these trees. The danger of root rot is greatest when you water close to the trunk. If you can’t keep the entire area under the tree dry, be sure no water gets within 10 feet of the trunk.
Prune wisteria Summer pruning of new growth keeps wisteria under control and increases flowering next spring. To extend the height or length of the vine, select some of the new streamerlike stems and tie them to a support in the direction you wish to train the plant. Then cut back the rest to within 6 inches of the main branches.
Prune flowering limbs  Once they have flowered, prune out the flowering limbs of shrubs such as philadelphus and deutzia to encourage graceful new wood for next year. High summer is the best time to prune stone fruit to avoid Silverleaf. This is an airborne bacteria that infects the trees through open cuts. Replace tired limbs on fan-trained cherries and peach once fruit is harvested, and give young plums some formative pruning to create well balanced trees, by removing crossing branches and encouraging an open framework of limbs.

Prune water sprouts  Prune out weak, green but very fast-growing water sprouts that grow vertically from branches of fruit trees, redbuds, or other ornamental flowering trees.

Remove old canes  If not done yet, renovate overgrown shrubs including dogwood, lilac, and forsythia by removing one-third of the oldest canes.

Avoid over pruning  If necessary, boxwood and yews can be lightly pruned to maintain geometric form. Avoid over pruning, especially in very sunny, hot weather.


Battle slugs The heat may chase them into hiding, but they’re there. A little bait in the cool spots will go a long way right now (as will night raids after lawn watering or summer showers; just handpick and throw them away). Put bait under stones, along the edges of walks, and near foundations. To protect pets and wild birds, place the bait in petproof slug traps or under boards held up by bricks.
Fertilize roses  For the third and final time at the end of the month with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer, fertilize all rose bushes. Do not fertilize after August 1.

Deadhead  Continue to deadhead roses by cutting flowers back to the first set of five leaflets.

Monitor rose bushes for fungus  Monitor roses closely for blackspot. Remove any leaves that show darkened circles with fuzzy margins on either the topside or underside of leaves; yellow foliage with dark spots; and any leaves that have already dropped from the plant. Begin a spray program with approved fungicides immediately. Always choose disease-resistant roses in the future.



Trees "R " Us, Inc. is proud to educate our communities on proper tree care and maintenance.

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