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.