Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fall Fertilization Tips for your Trees

Fall is here. Time to fertilize. 

With a hot summer and cold winter, trees are bound to lose vital nutrients in the soil. To help make sure your trees gain nutrients lost this summer and continue to feed over the winter, apply a slow-release fertilizer to replace nutrients and improve resistance to damage from disease, insects and stressful weather.

Feed your tree what it needs.

The proper fertilizer will help the tree and the nutrients in the soil that are feeding the tree.
Also know your numbers. All fertilizers have 3 numbers on the packaging. These numbers refer to the 3 key ingredients in the fertilizer. The first refers to the nitrogen, the second phosphorus and the
3rd is the potassium. They are basic nutrients for building up the cells of the plants and different plants have different needs for these elements. Usually, the percentage of each element will be marked on the bags of the fertilizer like 15-10-5. This marking means the ratio of the nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium is 15%, 10% and 5% respectively. Since the sum of these numbers s less than 100 percent and the rest of the weight are actually some filling materials. Knowing what combination to use on your trees is essential in keeping the tree healthy. Ideally these numbers should match those of the closest natural environment, like a forest. To find out what combination will suit your trees, contact your local tree service for a assessment. 

With proper maintenance and some regular fertilization, you can have landscape trees that will be valuable components to your landscape and they will stay healthy for a long time.

For a complete assessment of your trees and if you are local to the Chicagoland area (Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, or Will counties) give Trees "R" Us, Inc. a call. We're her to help you with issues just as this, including tree trimming, pruning, tree removal, stump grinding and general plant health care. 

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's this sooty stuff on my trees?

Sooty Mold

Another beautiful day in Illinois. You take a nice stroll through your yard and notice this awful black, sooty stuff on your trees. Gross! Although hideous in site, it is probably of no concern to your plant's
health. It is likely that the black stuff you are seeing is sooty mold. Sooty mold is caused by several different fungi. The fungi don’t infect plants, but grow on the sugary honeydew excreted by aphids, scales and other insects.

Where can I find sooty mold?

In Iowa and Illinois, sooty mold is most common on maple, pine, linden and elm trees. While sooty mold can reduce plant vigor by blocking sunlight and interfering with photosynthesis, the damage is mainly aesthetic. Sooty molds are associated with high temperatures and increased stress brought on by limited moisture. During drought, aphid populations and their honeydew production typically increase on foliage undergoing moisture stress.  So, keep plants well watered and free of insects.

What should I do about it?

It is not necessary to control sooty mold as it does not cause serious harm to healthy, well established trees.

In addition, it’s usually not necessary to control aphid and scale infestations on trees with insectides. Damage to healthy trees is seldom serious. Plus, natural enemies and weather usually provide adequate control of scale and aphids. However, to control the infestation reduce the population of
sucking insects that excrete honeydew. Use the appropriate recommended chemicals that control aphids and other sucking insects. Also, a good washing of infested tree's foliage (if possible) can dilute the honeydew and wash off mold. That just may be all that is needed.

To help you diagnose your tree's problem, whether it is sooty mold or any other tree disease, treat it and keep it healthy for years to come, it is recommended you consult with your local tree service.

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

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 16, 2014

What to do to keep my Apple and Pear Trees healthy

Are you hoping for a good crop from your apple and pear trees this year? Such great fruits to harvest as the season gets colder and many of our other trees and plants have stopped producing. However, many apple and pear trees are commonly affected by a disease called  
Fire Blight. 

What to look for

Fire blight affects many apple trees and pear trees. It damages cotoneaster, crabapple, hawthorne, mountain ash, ornamental pear, firethorn, plum quince and spiraea trees. Fire blight, caused by the blight bacterium Erwinia amylovora, can affect many parts of a susceptible plant but generally noticed first on damaged leaves.

Fortunately, Fire Blight is really easy to diagnose. Start looking for signs o f fire blight in spring when temperatures get back up to the mid 60s. Look for a brown-to-black scorched appearance of twigs, flowers and foliage. It is usually seen first in Spring when blossoms and fruit spurs appear water-soaked, wilted, shriveled and finally turn brown to black.

Shoot blight occurs when infections begin at shoot tips, moving rapidly down the shoots and then to limbs and trunk. Apple and crabapple leaves turn brown, pear leaves turn black. Frequently, the tip of the blighted shoot bends over and resembles a shepherd’s crook.

How to treat fire blight

Prune. Reduced Fertilization. Chemicals applications. 
 Control fire blight through pruning. Remove all stems showing symptoms as they first appear. Cut back into the healthy portion of both stems and limbs.

You can also control fire blight by making sure you do not over fertilize. Too much fertilizer will cause rapid new growth which is most susceptable to the blight. Moderate fertilizer to reduce rapid tree or shrub growth. Over pruning can have the same effect so you should refrain from heavy pruning.

Chemical sprays, although they have a negative stigma with use on trees that bear fruit we eat, will also do the job. The antibiotic streptomycin is the most effective spray material for controlling fire blight. It will prevent but not control infections. Use streptomycin in Spring during bloom.

To completely ensure fire blight won't wreck your crop, consider planting tree varieties that are resistant to this disease. There are resistant apple, pear, crabapple, ornamental pear and pyracantha trees. Check with your local garden center to find out which varieties they carry are fire blight resistance.

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

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August plant and tree care tips

August is upon us. It's hard to believe that the dog days of summer are already here.

August is a challenging time for the upkeep of your garden. many plants are on their way out, some need replacing, some need to be planted. Let's take a look at some of out top recommendations for August. 


When it comes to the August garden, plants and trees, irrigation is the main thing you have to do on a regular basis. The best way to water can vary greatly depending on the garden situation. For this reason, it is best to watch your plants closely and regularly feel the soil with your fingertips to check for dryness. Obviously wilting plants need water, but also check the soil and be careful not to overwater and allow the top layer of soil to dry between waterings.

Plant Groundcover

It's also time to get a new groundcover started, whether in a recently cleared area or as a lawn replacement. As with any new planting, make sure it is kept moist until autumn rains set in.

Check for Bugs

You should also take special care to monitor newly planted trees and shrubs for insects or disease. Succulent new growth is often the first area to be attacked by insects. Aphids can be hosed off foliage. Many sucking, piercing, and chewing insects will finish feeding this month, leaving cosmetic damage but nothing serious enough to warrant chemical control.

Prune and Trim

August is a great time to prune hedges. Shrubs grows faster at the top. To counteract top-heavy growth, clip a hedge slightly wider at the base, slanting it in at the top. 

Tree triming is generally not advised this month, with the exception of shrubs that have just flowered. They are pruned immediately following their flowering.

This is the month that annuals need to get trimmed. Cut off dead flowers to encourage blooming. If heat causes annuals to stop producing flowers, cut the plants back by half and continue to water and fertilize; most kinds will perk up and start blooming again when the weather cools.

Add Color

Pop in some late-summer color: Many perennials reach their bloom peak in spring and summer, but there are plenty of flowers that will carry a border into later summer and fall. Choices include aster, cape fuchsia, chrysanthemum, coreopsis, daylily, gaillardia, gaura, Japanese anemone, lavatera, Nemesia fruiticans, rudbeckia, Russian sage, salvia, and summer phlox. Before shopping, check to see which plants are best adapted to your climate.

Eat Your Veggies

August also means you'll have more veggies! Early ripening tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are starting to produce. The first of the garden beans are probably ready as well. August is a great time for starting fall batches of many cole crops and, in later August, greens and a new batch of peas. Cole crops include broccoli, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, etc. Short season root crops such as radishes and scallions can be started now, as well. When harvesting lettuces, cut every other plant to the ground. This practice allows each lettuce head to develop fully.

The best quality and best tasting salad greens come from plants that were watered frequently and lightly rather than infrequently but deeply. This advice is the exact opposite to what is recommended for watering trees, shrubs, perennials, grass, and other plants.


For your fruit trees this is the last month we recommend summer fertilizer. Sometimes it is appropriate to do some pruning of certain fruit trees in August, especially water sprout removal. These are the very vertical growths, frequent on apples, which shoot up after the fruit has started setting in spring. They are usually not desirable as future branches and can be removed. Major pruning can sometimes be done but is usually put off until winter.

On this flip side, roses and other repeat blooming shrubs can benefit from continued fertilizing if you have not done so recently. As most rose growers know, they usually benefit from continued use of fungicide to keep that black spot and mildew in check as well.

Lots to consider here. Hope this helps you keep your trees, shrubs and gardens in tip-top shape. If it seems like too much to monitor call us or your local tree service with a plant health care division. The Trees "R" Us, Inc. plant health care is a tree, plant and shrub maintenance program that will allow you to have more time to devote to your family rather than your lawn and garden. We fertilize, protect and care for your plants giving you timely advice and proper maintenance. Check out our plant health care program on our website at

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

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

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tips for keeping your trees healthy

Many customers ask me how to check the health of their trees. An arborist or tree service is your best bet in determining tree health.

What is a healthy tree?

A healthy tree begins with correct planting procedures. If you don't know what you are doing, then leave it to the pros! To avoid poor growth or death of a young tree, it is wise to invest some time to learn the right way to plant a tree. A well-planted tree will grow and prosper more rapidly. Newly planted trees are more likely to survive and prosper if mulched. Landscape trees which are planted in or near lawns require special treatment. Seek the advice of a professional tree service for proper tree care.

Mature Trees

For mature trees, proper trimming is key to good tree health. Landscape trees that are carefully selected and properly planted, trained and maintained should require little pruning after they reach maturity. Such trees require only the removal of poorly positioned or strongly competing limbs, weak branch attachments, or branches that are damaged or dead. Mature trees should be inspected annually to assess overall structure and to determine if any limbs should be removed. Trees with dense foliage may benefit from some crown thinning to improve light penetration and air movement. Improper pruning can lead to various future problems, increased cost and hazards. As well-pruned tree, best done by a certified arborist/professional tree service, should look as if it has not been pruned!


Take a good look at the leaves. Make a note of any discoloration of leaves over the last three years or a in any three year period - a yellowing of leaves could mean problems. Yellowing leaves is a good reason to contact your local tree service or arborist.

Small leaves and abnormally shaped leaves are a problem and are also reason to contact a professional.

In addition, insect activity and spotted, deformed, discolored or dead leaves or twigs, should be noted and watched closely. A pesticide treatment or other insecticide may be needed to save the tree.

Contact Professionals

Get recommendations from professionals on appropriate treatment when a problem is developing, or leave it in the hands of the professionals. If you are ever uncertain as to what should be done, it is best for the tree that you clarify the proper treatment before you implement your plan. For additional information, you can report your findings to your local ISA Certified Arborist, professional tree service or State Service forester for advice on possible treatment.

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

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