Sunday, May 25, 2014

Is EAB Emerging in Your Area?

Are you in on the fight against the invasive species that has devastated ash trees in the northern and central part of the state of Illinois?

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Risk Management can help stop the spread of this little bugger. 

EAB is a small, (1/2-inch long, 1/8-inch wide) metallic green beetle native to Asia. Discovered in Illinois in 2006, it has since spread throughout northeast Illinois and remote locations in and around LaSalle and Bloomington. EAB feeds only on members of the Fraxinus genus or true Ash trees. If trees go untreated, the death rate is 100 percent. If infested trees are not treated or removed, EAB will continue its destructive path — eventually wiping out ALL Ash trees. It's no joke. ALL ash trees will be wiped out. Please do your duty in saving trees. Understand that EAB risk management should be done by a tree service with a certified Arborist that has the experience and knowledge of how to effectively deal with EAB.

Ash trees make-up a large percentage of our green canopy in Illinois and EAB destruction has and will continue to have a huge impact on our state's landscape. 

Do your part and at the very least contact your local tree service to survey your yard, taking a special look at any ash trees for signs of EAB. 

Thank you,
Jenni Willis 
President and CEO, Trees "R" Us, Inc.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Allergy Catastrophe!

If you feel like over the years your spring and summer allergies have gotten worse, you're probably not imagining it. You see, over the years, in order to try to control tree diseases, tree litter and other things, more male tree have been planted than female. According to City of Chicago Forester John Lough, in the 1950s it was recommended that nurseries grow more male street tree varieties (non-flowering and non-fruiting) in order to reduce tree litter, odor, size, the presence of thorns, and other attributes considered undesirable in urban areas. Buyers continued to ask for these varieties too.

Here's why that was actually bad for humans! Male trees produce a lot of pollen which is what pollinates female trees so they can flower and bear fruit. As we all know, pollen is allergenic to many people. Fewer than 10 percent of the U.S. population reported having allergies 30 years ago. Today that number has skyrocketed to 38 percent according to the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. And allergy rates are significantly higher among urban residents than rural folks, even though there is far more vegetation in rural areas.

As it turns out, four out of the top five selling street trees in the U.S. are male varieties, which means there is far more pollen floating around in cities than ever before and much of it is attracted to our mucus membranes, our skin, our eyes, and our noses and throats. Since there are far fewer female trees and shrubs being planted and many more male types are replacing them, there is much more pollen in the air coinciding with far fewer flowers to trap it.

So who or what traps the pollen? Humans.

In addition, poor tree care can cause trees to produce mold spores. Many trees and shrubs are unhealthy for a number of reasons, including poor placement in the landscape, poor or insufficient maintenance, storm damage, insect damage, and others. As their health deteriorates, many plants and trees create mold spores. The mold quickly reproduces creating millions of tiny spores which become airborne. Like pollen, these spores settle on our skin, eyes, noses, and throats. They can also reach our lungs and cause asthma. The biggest part is number three, the maintenance. Tree care and tree maintenance is key to retain good plant health for trees and shrubs. Contact your local tree service for advice and direction. A good tree service will know what kind of trees fit the bill here when it comes to minimizing the pollen count around your home. Now, truth be told, just replacing a few trees in your yard, isn't going to bring down the pollen and mold count for your area, but at this point, it's all about baby steps and increasing awareness. So share this news with your friends and family and we will make a difference for generations to come!

Thanks for reading,
Jenni Willis
Trees "R" Us, Inc. President and CEO

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Does an Arborist Do Anyway?

Professional pruning methods and approved, modern practices of arboriculture are key to providing your trees with the best shot at a long, healthy life. Using these professional methods reduces risk of decay, storm damage, insect infestation, disease and greatly reduces the risk of hazard liability. The best way to ensure your trees are properly cared for is to hire an Arborist to help you along the way. Most reliable tree services, like Trees "R" Us, Inc. have at least one, if not more, Certified Arborist on staff ready to help you with these issues and a lot more. Check out all that a Certified Arborist can help you with:

Services an Arborist can Provide


An arborist can determine the type of pruning necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance, and safety of trees.

Tree Removal

Although tree removal is a last resort, there are circumstances when it is necessary. An arborist can help decide whether a tree should be removed.

Emergency Tree Care

An arborist can assist in performing emergency tree care in a safe manner, while reducing further risk of damage to property.


Some arborists plant trees, and most can recommend species that are appropriate for a particular location.

Plant Health Care

Preventive maintenance helps keep trees in good health while reducing any insect, disease, or site problems.

Many other services

Consulting services, tree risk assessment, cabling and bracing trees, etc.

We have several Certified Arborists on staff ready to take on your tree care questions. Those local to the suburbs of Chicago, please feel free to contact us with your questions. 

Thanks for reading,
Jenni Willis
President and CEO

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May Tree Care Tips

It's May…finally!  The weather is getting warmer, we'll be out in the yard more often, and our trees and shrubs will be getting more of our attention. Here are 7 surefire tree care tips to get your trees in tip top shape for the summer months.
  • Watch weather conditions for an appropriate window of time to spray fruit trees or large deciduous trees with dormant oil. Spray if aphids, scale, or mites were a problem in the past. Temperatures must be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit with no chance of freezing or rain within the following 24 hours. Avoid spraying on a windy day. 

  • NO PRUNING March through November! To reduce the spread of oak wilt, all oak pruning should be completed in March, or before the oaks begin active growth. Pruning should not resume until after the first frost, or around November 1.
  • Prune fruit trees in early March on a dry day before buds swell. As with all pruning chores, sterilize pruning tools with a 10 percent solution of bleach before each cut. Prune out sucker growth, water sprouts, and any diseased or dead branches. Remove crossing branches, rubbing branches, or those that grow toward the center or the plant rather than outward, away from the interior. Fruit trees benefit from having their canopies opened up to permit more sunlight and air into their centers.
  • Prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs immediately after they flower to preserve this season’s flower display.
  • Prune roses when the forsythia begins to bloom. When pruning roses, make a 45-degree cut above a healthy bud, angled away from the center of the plant. If not done last fall, prune hybrid tea roses and grandiflora roses back to 12 inches to reinvigorate growth. Prune out dried, darkened, and broken canes and any dead tips. Prune shrub roses to remove dead wood and very lightly to shape to size.
  • Fertilize woody plants four to six weeks before they begin new growth only if they have shown signs that they could use it. These would include poor leaf color, failure to completely fruit or flower, or stunted growth. Use a slow-release granular fertilizer or an organic product and water in well. Do not fertilize newly planted trees or shrubs. Wait one year before making this application.

  • Plant trees and shrubs before they break bud and when soil conditions permit. If spring weather is unusually wet, consider planting in the fall when the plants begin their dormancy. With all woody plants, avoid planting too deep. Research indicates that more trees suffer from being planted too deep in the hole than any other problem. Plant with one-third of the root ball above ground. Taper soil away from the trunk back to ground level. Mulch the entire root zone with several inches of shredded or chipped bark.
Got questions? Go ahead and post them below or send a message to

Thanks for reading,
Jenni Willis,
President and CEO