Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shade Trees

Trees offer us so much and one of the elements that home owners love about them is how they provide shade. There are so many varieties to choose from when landscaping, let's take a look at some of the best shade trees.
For a tree to be a great shade tree it must have two qualities: it should be a fast grower so that one does not need to wait a decade to enjoy the benefits and it should also be strong and sturdy. For example, a Silver Maple will grow to great heights in a short amount of time, however it is often very weak when mature, bending easily and a target for pests.
Therefore, let's discuss great shade trees that grow rapidly while maintaining excellent structure and a strong solid base and branch system.
It should be noted that on average, trees will grow between one and two feet each year; therefore the following shade trees will exceed that by varying degrees. It will also help if you keep up a good routine of watering for at least the first five years and then rainfall can take over.
After year five, water only if there is drought and it appears that leaves are wilting without enough water. Also, the quality of the soil in which you plant your tree will make a big difference as well. It will provide your choice with essential nutrients for optimal growth.
The Northern Red Oak is an exceptional shade tree, as it will reach a mature height of approximately fifty feet. It will grow in the shape of having a large dome that offers quite a bit of protection from the sun, under which one may enjoy having a picnic or relaxing with a book. It grows best in zones 5-9.
The Freeman Maple is another good choice. The mature height is eighty feet and fifty feet wide. In the autumn is has strikingly gorgeous bright orange foliage. It does well in zones 4-7.
The Green Vase Zelkova is an unusual vase shaped tree that has branches that spread upright and leaves that are a deep green that turns a bronze hue in the autumn. It will reach sixty to seventy feet and roughly forty-five feet across. It can grow well in both full sun and partial shade and does well in many types of soils. It is very strong and does not easily bend with strong winds

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Drought Stress: Its Dangers and How to Handle It

If you're in one of the many areas of the country where there has been an extended drought over the past few years, you may be starting to notice your trees looking a little haggard. They may be suffering from an affliction known as drought stress. You should never ignore signs of drought stress in your trees because it can lower your trees' ability to fight off infection, fungi, and bugs that can end up killing the tree. Learn more about drought stress and how to deal with it.
What Is Drought Stress?
When any plant is placed in a drought scenario, it will undergo steps to try to stay alive for the duration of the drought. This reaction is called "drought stress." In trees, this reaction starts by the tree shutting down its photosynthesis process, which is how the tree creates its food through converting carbon dioxide into organic sugars with the help of sunlight. Leaves then begin to droop, curl, grow yellow, and then fall. Some leaves will appear to "scorch" before they fail, appearing to have yellow or brown edges or veins that look similar to mild burning. Pine trees are better adapted for drought scenarios, but a pine suffering from drought stress will either have a browning of the tips of its needles or will begin to lose needles. If the drought continues, the tree will slowly kill off its branches from the furthest out to the closest in, and after enough damage, the tree itself will become unresponsive to irrigation attempts and die.
How Can I Help Drought Stressed Trees?
Irrigation is the very best way you can help a tree to avoid drought stress. If your region is in a drought, do what you can to gently water each of your established trees around three times a month during late spring through to early autumn. Extreme heat in summer can exacerbate your tree's water loss, so it's important to take special care during summer months to irrigate your trees. Water your trees gently by using soaker hoses circled around the root base or by leaving a slowly running hose over several different spots around the root base. Kill off weeds and grasses near tree roots to avoid creating competition for water, and consider using mulch around the tree base to help retain moisture near the roots.
Bringing In a Professional Arborist
If your trees look particularly parched, you've had several years of drought, or you are concerned that a tree may be succumbing to disease due to drought stress, you should have a professional arborist or tree service come and inspect your trees to determine what course of action you should take for both the safety of your trees and the safety of your family. Your arborist or tree service can recommend ways to increase your tree's water absorption and to improve water retention, as well as provide vaccinations to boost your tree's immune system against certain threats. If necessary, your tree service professional may also recommend that the tree be removed for safety reasons or to encourage the health of other trees in the area.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Tree Planting Suggestions

Tree planting can be easy if you can avoid a few common mistakes that most of us make. If tree planting is done in a burrow too deep it will not allow the proper amount of oxygen get to the roots to ensure good growth. If the burrow is not wide enough the roots will be unable to expand enough to nourish and the tree will not be anchored properly. As a rule you should not transplant a tree any deeper than its original container soil. The holes width needs to be no less than 3 times the width of the container, the root ball, or the spread of the roots on a bare root tree.
If you purchase a tree wrapped in burlap or in a ball and cannot transplant it right away, you can store it in a shady place as long as you keep the root section moist, but it still needs to be planted as soon as possible. When you do get around to planting the tree always lift it by the ball and not by its trunk. If the tree is wrapped in natural burlap you can pull it back a third of the way off the ball; if the burlap is plastic or synthetic you will need to cut away all of the burlap. You will also need to remove all string or twine. Once the tree is placed in the excavation start adding your back-fill soil such as compost, topsoil, or peat moss, around the tree only to just under the root ball to allow settling. Be sure not to pack down the back-fill, this may prevent any water from reaching the roots and the roots will be unable to expand out as they should.
Container trees can also be stored for a short time but because they are container trees they have a tendency to heat up faster and dry out quicker. The methods for planting are basically the same as for the burlap tree or ball tree. All plastic or metal containers need to be removed completely; if the container is made of fiber it is best to remove the sides but you can leave the bottom. Check the roots after removing from the container; if they seem to be root-bound use your fingers to loosen the roots and spread them out. If the tree has very woody compacted roots you may need to use a spade on the bottom section of roots to open it up. Then you can gently fan-out the roots before planting; doing this will prevent the roots from 'girdling' around the tree which can kill the tree. Once you have the tree in place use your back-fill to the level the tree was while in the container and do not compress.
Planting a bare root tree is a little different mainly because there is no soil encircling the roots. Time is the most important factor between purchasing and planting this type of tree; it needs to be planted as quickly as possible. Before you purchase a bare-root check the roots carefully to be sure they are moist and they have many lengths of delicate root hairs; this is a sign of a healthy tree. Be sure to keep the roots until moist you plant it. Prune any damaged roots but still leave as much of the root structure as you can. When you plant a bare-root you will need to build a cone-shaped mound of soil in the center of the cavity; this will allow you to spread the roots out when you plant. Make sure your mound is high enough so the trunks flare and crown of the roots is two inches above the soil; this will help the tree settle naturally.
As soon as you have planted your tree it will need to be watered. During the tree's first growing season, it will need to be watered on a weekly basis particularly if there is no rain and more times during the summer heat. If you over-water it may lead to oxygen deprivation. If you are not sure if the tree needs water, dig around the edge of the cavity about 6-8 inches down, if the soil feels crumbly or floury it needs more water. Soil that contains enough moisture forms into a ball if you squeeze it. Moisture should reach down to about 12 to 18 inches in order to encourage root growth; for this reason a deep soaking is much better than a light watering.
Your newly planted tree can be covered with mulch to help retain moisture and improve upon water and air penetration. Mulch depth should be at least 3 inches but not more than 4 inches. Any type of porous landscape fabric can be used since it allows water and air to penetrate freely. Plastic sheeting should never be used as mulch since it will not allow air and water to flow properly.
Even though most trees survive just fine without any fertilizer when you plant them, most plants do suffer some root-loss and stress with moving from nursery growing conditions and its final planting in the landscape. To make restitution for any root loss and to help eliminate shock from transplanting give your tree a fertilizer that has the proper formulation for your particular tree. Sometimes a bio-stimulant will help promote the development of roots and the general health of the tree. These are just a few suggestions that will help you with future tree planting.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Planting Around Your Tree: Top Ten Plants That Grow Best in the Shade

Trees add height and character to every yard, but many gardeners, having difficulty getting plants to grow beneath the shade of a tree, don't know whether to forgo their trees to help their plants or to live with a barren, flowerless patch beneath the tree's shade.
Shade is wonderful in the summertime, making your yard more comfortable in the summer heat. Instead of removing a valuable source of shade and beauty, choose plants that will thrive in the shade to complement your landscape.
The Top Ten Georgia Plants that Grow Best in Shade
  1. Lenten Rose (Helleborus). This beautiful low-growing flower is available in pink, white and mauve. Its evergreen foliage remains a vibrant green throughout the year, and the blossom blooms until late spring.

  2. Autumn Fern (Dryopteris Erythrosora). These ferns can stand up to a number of climates and, like the Lenten Rose, remain green all year. Coppery fronds uncurl during the spring; despite their size, they grow surprisingly tall and will contrast well with other plants in the garden.

  3. Hostas. These ferns grow together and provide a contrasting leaf form. They come in a variety of colors and grow well with the Autumn Fern listed above.

  4. Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum). This bush showcases its white striped edges and looks great when paired with other plainer green shades which bring out its unique leaves.

  5. Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium Nipponicum). While these ferns will grow in heavy shade, a small bit of sunlight throughout the day is best. The beautiful silver tint of the leaves is best complimented by blue and purple leaved Hostas.

  6. Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Pedatum). This green and delicate fern is more rigid than it appears; given filtered light it will even begin to spread and form a colony.

  7. Toadlily (Tricyrtis). With orchid-like flowers coming in shades of lavender, plum and pink, these plants bloom into autumn. Toad Lilies should be placed at the edge of a shady region in order to produce the most flowers.

  8. Barrenwort (Epimedium). Small, delicate flowers on wiry stems signal the arrival of new foliage. They form a beautiful ground cover of yellow, lavender or white when the flowers are in bloom.

  9. Hardy Begonia (Begonia Grandis). True to its name, this plant can withstand harsh winters and grow into colonies. It is colorful through the year with its red veined leaves year round and pink flowers in the summer.

  10. Woodland Phlox (Phlox Divaricata). Similar to the Barrenwort, these plants leave a carpet of lavender or blue small flowers. They are lightly fragranced and blossom most fervently with some morning sun.
With so many options and varieties of pretty flowers and foliage to adorn a shaded area, there is no need to sacrifice your trees in order to enjoy a beautiful garden. Keeping your tree neatly trimmed will provide a great opportunity to start a shaded garden underneath it. Shaded gardens can add a nice contrast to your yard, as most shaded area plants are green year round and will last for more than two years. Allowing some light to fall through the tree's branches will help a shaded garden grow fast and remain healthy; having the tree professionally trimmed will keep both the tree and the new shaded garden looking their best.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5 Common Myths About Tree Pruning

Pruning is among the most important aspects tree care and maintenance. It affects the longevity, health and the tree's ability to resist storm damage. Unfortunately, this maintenance procedure is often misunderstood because of the myths that cloud its true value.
Myth #1
Trees will grow just fine even without pruning.
It is true that forest plants grow perfectly well with nature's own way of pruning. But the trees in most suburban yards have different needs. Most suburban trees require some form of pruning to keep and maintain their shape and to eliminate fast-growing water sprouts. When pruning a tree, keep in mind that you should never remove more than 1/3 of the crown in just one pruning.
Myth #2
Cutting too close to the trunk will help the tree to heal quickly.
Trees don't actually heal, meaning they can't replace damaged or lost tissue. They can only cover their wounds by growing new layers of wood. When pruning, avoid pruning too close to the tree's parent limb and retain the branch collar.
Myth # 3
Pruning wounds that are more than three inches in diameter must be coated with wound dressing.
Tree wound dressings or sealants are petroleum-based products that are traditionally used to seal freshly cut wood and prevent decay or insect infestation. However, studies show that using wound dressing, seals in moisture, causes decay, inhibits compartmentalization and eventually causes cracks that may expose the tree to pathogens. It also slows down the production of new layers of wood.
Myth # 4
Prune back the tree's crown to compensate for root loss during transplanting.
It is not a good idea to prune trees after transplanting except when there is a need to remove dead or broken branches. The crown of younger trees should not be pruned back to make up for the lost roots. Minimal pruning is necessary during the first three years of planting the tree.
Myth #5
Pruning certain species of trees early in the spring will cause bleeding which may lead to stress and health problems.
It is true that there certain trees like maples and birches that "bleed" from pruning cuts done early in the spring. However, this bleeding doesn't hurt or stress the trees. Bleeding often occurs when a tree loses its sap which is quite inconsequential in the general health of the tree. With some exceptions, you can prune trees anytime of the year. But the best time to do it is during the tree's dormancy or after the flowering period. The worst pruning time is when the tree has just leafed out during spring.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Root Collar Exam On A Large Valley Oak

For the longevity of the tree, it is important to do a root collar exam. One of the many services at Signature Tree Service.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cutting Down Trees Is Not That Simple

Whenever anyone has some rather large plant life in the garden, it is obvious that the homeowner may be inadequately prepared to chop off branches or tidy up the specimen so that it stays very healthy. The homeowner may be too shaky to do this work or too busy with outside activities to get the work done and it is at this time when the expert is needed to sort out the matter. Try looking up 'tree trimming' or 'tree pruning' to see which company is within the local area.
Of course, many people think it is just a matter of getting the ladder and axe out of the garage and have a go at the offending specimen. This may be true in some instances but in most, danger lurks around the corner. Many horror stories abound where the local handyman offers to do the work at a good price. Eventually he turns up to have a go and then is when the problem starts.
Specimens falling onto cars or houses, or trapping the family pet underneath, abound and clearing up the mess afterward is also not done to perfection. Indeed, any damage caused by an amateur is not always covered by insurance companies so it is wise to think twice before getting in someone who is obviously not qualified to do this. They may also damage other plant life too while they are struggling to cope and this could cost an inordinate amount of money in the end.
These specialist companies will have all the insurance cover necessary to carry out this kind of work. On top of that, they should have all the necessary tools which are right for the job and have the knowledge of where to cut and how to shape the whole thing to give it an aesthetic look. Some specimens can be damaged completely by taking off the wrong branch or limb and if the specimen has been around for a long time, this can be quite upsetting.
Even neighbors, where the plant overhangs their land, have the right to chop off branches at will. The fruits and produce on the plant also belong to them so keeping everything trimmed down to size is important if good relations are to be maintained. Of course, most neighbors will just inform the owner that the specimen is encroaching on their land but this sometimes sets up lifelong feuds that always end up acrimoniously.
Finally, these companies will usually offer to clean up the mess once they have finished what they are doing. Damage to other plants will be kept at a minimum and they may also shred the smaller branches to make mulch for the owner. Larger branches are cut and stacked for burning later on, or disposed of in the correct manner which leaves the site looking clean and neat. Difficult stumps are pulled out too and this often makes the garden look much bigger and neater than it ever was before. A professional job all round, and well worth the expense.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Tree Service Will Remove That Downed Tree

A huge tree has fallen across your driveway and you need help. Who do you call and what do you do? It pays to know someone to call for emergency tree removal Atlanta style. The best way to deal with emergency tree issues is being proactive.
Trees can be an asset in providing shade during the hot Atlanta summers. They're a place to sit for a pleasant summertime meal with your family. They can even provide food if you choose fruit trees for your yard. However trees are something that are easy to take for granted and occasional maintenance helps to insure that these treasures remain healthy.
Despite all caution there are times that your efforts are not enough. Demand for emergency tree removal may increase after storms. By knowing in advance who to call, you can minimize the response time by calling early. There is a variety of situations that could result in needing a tree removed.
Having experts deal with tree trimming can save you money. Regular inspection of your trees can show problems such as insects, rotted branches and other issues long before they become a problem. Perhaps you need to open up an area of your yard for a new garage or other structure. Professional tree trimmers can take out limbs and branches safely, with special equipment that reduces the damage to structures and property.
Look up high for loose branches or weak spots in trees. If there are woodpeckers visiting your tree look closer or call a tree expert as this could be a sign of pests in the tree. Where there is food there are animals to eat it. A healthy tree is less apt to split in wind storms but when you know a tree is compromised with pests or disease, act promptly to protect your property or that of neighbors.
Pay particular attention to trees during times of drought. Ask professionals about insuring the health or your trees. This will reduce the chances of having large trees come down across your driveway in a storm. Sometimes for safety reasons a weakened tree must be eliminated, but most often the professionals will do their best to save it.
Remember that often insurance companies don't cover tree removal. Many found in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that their fence or roof was covered, but the removal of trees was not. This can make for a challenge when help is needed after a storm. With many folks needing emergency help all at once, the challenges can be great.
When there are power lines being compromised after a storm and other challenges it's not the time to put people in danger. Call the tree removal experts for maintenance and prevention as well as in emergency situations. Take care of your trees so they live a long and leafy life. Do your best to learn about them because they are a valuable resource to all of us.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

All Tree Trimming Companies Aren't Created Equal

There are various tree trimming companies offering specialized services dealing with different issues relating to trees. You have to make sure that you choose the right company that solves your problem and satisfies you. Certain amount of knowledge and skill is necessary to trim trees. One cannot just take a saw and trim trees. There is a certain way to go about it. Hence, you must put in good amount of time and effort in deciding the company whose services you will hire. You must keep the following points in mind before selecting a company:
1) Insurance: The company must have its workers well insured. Trimming trees involves a huge amount of risk. The company must remove insurance policies on its laborers and workers to protect them. If they are injured, the workers could claim compensation. When trimming trees, if the workers damage the neighbor's property in some way, then the workers need coverage for that too. To trim trees, at times, the worker has to climb great heights. If there is a fall then there has to be a good policy in place to cover the accident. In case the company has not covered its employees, then you should definitely not hire its services at all. The entire risk will fall upon you in case of any terrible incident. Since the trimming takes place on your property, you could face legal charges due to any accident.
2) License: It is important for the tree trimming companies to get valid licenses for their workers. The employees have to undergo proper training programs to get their license. The course makes them fit to take care of all safety precautions while doing their jobs. Trees felling process should be in a way that protects them from damage. You would hire services of the company only if its workers have certifications.
3) Quotations: Before you hire any company for tree trimming on your estate you must take quotations from two-three firms. This will give you a clear picture that the company you select is not over-charging you. You must also ask them to put onto paper the services that they will offer at the price they are demanding. You must keep in mind that if the quote is low, it does not mean that the services are the best. You must do your research well before you choose the company. At the same time, you must see to it that the company is not cheating you by over-charging.
There are various tree trimming companies listed on the Internet. You could get their contact numbers and call them to get detailed information. If you research on the Internet, you will also find that there are reviews or ratings given by customers who have hired the services of the companies. These feedback and reviews will be of great help as you will be able to decide if it is worth engaging the company for your tree problems. In case their services are not worthwhile, it will save you from regretting later.

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