The question is: what does tree maintenance entail? Ask and you shall receive. Here are a few tips for maintaining your trees in Evergreen Park, Illinois. (more…)
However, you shouldn’t just get online and use the first service you lay your eyes on. Before hiring a tree care service, you need to do a little research. This is the only way to ensure that the company you’re hiring is legitimate and competent.
Even though apple trees are dormant in the winter, you cannot just ignore them for the season. In fact, late winter is the ideal time to give your apple tree’s their annual pruning. Trimming away old and damaged branches before the tree starts budding helps reduce stress on the tree. Regular trimming is important to ensure even airflow to the branches and to reduce the spread of disease. (more…)
During transplant shock, some of the roots—especially roots that were damaged when removing the tree from its place—will die instead of becoming established. If too many roots die in this manner, the tree will struggle to survive in its new home.
Proper soil, hole, and equipment preparation are what will help you to reduce transplant shock. The first year after transplant is always the hardest for the tree, so starting off right increases the chances that your new tree will become beautiful and healthy under your care. (more…)
Your lawn should represent a peaceful and enjoyable green space that frames your home and presents an opportunity to relax in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, unless you take the proper preventative steps, it can also be an area where threats arise. Dying and damaged trees may come crashing down in stormy conditions, leaving you scrambling to complete costly repairs.
The best way to prevent damage is to engage in regular prevention, and keeping an eye on the trees in your yard is an important step in that process. Most trees display clear warning signs of potential damage before a break and fall occurs, so if you’re educated on those warning signs, you can stay ahead of the curve.
Below, you’ll find a guide to some symptoms that your trees are likely to display before they suffer catastrophic damage so that you can act to protect your home.
While the biggest risk to your home might come from tree damage that occurs during a storm, severely damaged trees might even break apart in a calm breeze. If heavy branches have been dead for a long time, it’s possible that their internal structure is so damaged that a minimal force in exactly the right area could be enough to knock them free and on to objects below.
Once the weather turns warm and your trees start to flower, it’s important to keep an eye out for any branches that don’t appear to be sprouting new leaves. These branches are likely to grow long, thin, and dark, and they may be the most likely to hang over your roof.
A tree branch without any vegetation is likely one with a lot of internal damage. Calling a tree service to trim back those branches is an important task to complete if you want to guarantee that you can dodge damage.
Sometimes, the biggest warning signs of pending doom are not in a tree but in the ground surrounding it. If the root base becomes loose or unsettled, an entire tree may be at risk of toppling. Obviously, this can create a much more serious situation than merely shedding limbs, and might also represent a much more challenging cleanup.
If you notice new or unexpected cracks in the ground surrounding the roots of a tree, it can be a sign that subterranean shifting has begun to occur. Your trees might be at particular risk of this following periods of heavy rain, as wet soil can become loose soil and then dry and crack unevenly. These root conditions may be salvageable, but it’s also possible that your tree service might determine the risk is far too great.
The heart of a tree is its trunk. It represents a strong and stable base, and a healthy tree might be the very definition of an immovable object. However, the trunk should be one consistently strong piece. If it begins to splinter, it’s likely a sign of serious internal damage.
That damage may have a variety of sources. An infestation of insects, for example, can be attracted to the soft wood at the core of a tree and eat their way out. Disease, bacteria, or fungus may grow on a tree and threaten its structural integrity. Strong environmental forces may cause the trunk to bend or break.
Whatever the cause, a tree with a split trunk is a tree with a very limited life span. The professionals at Smitty’s Tree Service Inc. will be able to diagnose that damage and safely remove the tree so you don’t have to deal with the hassle that comes with a sudden collapse.
From covering the windows with plastic to servicing your snow blower, there are several steps you as a homeowner need to take to prepare for winter. Specifically, the snow and chilly temperatures can wreak havoc on the immature trees in your yard. If you don’t care for young trees properly, there is a strong possibility they won’t survive the nasty Midwestern winters.
Don’t risk inadvertently injuring or even killing any immature trees in your yard. To help you, here are a few simple tips to help your trees survive and thrive during the winter.
Caring for the Roots
First and foremost, it is important to care for the root system. The root system of young trees is underdeveloped. This means young trees typically need to be watered more often than mature trees. Unfortunately, it can be nearly impossible to water your immature trees on a regular basis throughout the winter.
For this reason, it’s vital that before the first thaw you provide the tree with thorough soaking. After the first freeze, apply a two- to three-inch layer of organic mulch around the young tree. The mulch should be spread three inches away from the trunk.
As the winter progresses, there will be days when it is unusually warm and the ground thaws slightly. Take these opportunities to water your young trees. Remember, even a small amount of water will help ensure the tree survives the winter.
Preventing Pest Damage
Squirrels, mice, insects, and pests of all kinds are desperate to find food in the winter. Pests will feed on the bark and twigs of your immature tree. When this occurs, the tree may not be able to survive the damage. Luckily, there are several simple things you can do to prevent pests from making a meal out of your fragile trees:
- Surround the immature trees with mesh hardware cloth. Dig a small trench at least three inches below the ground to ensure any rodents cannot dig to access the subterranean roots.
- Apply a repellent to the trees. There are several repellents available that will deter both rodents and deer. You will need to reapply the products several times throughout the winter.
- Wrap the immature tree in burlap, as this is another effective way to deter deer. Make sure the burlap isn’t wrapped too tightly to allow for tree growth.
Avoid using any pesticides to keep rodents, deer, and insects away. You might wind up accidentally poisoning your or your neighbor’s pet.
Preventing Sun Scald
Another common problem, sun scald, typically occurs on the southwest side of any tree, including your fragile, immature trees. When the sun shines on the tree or the sun is reflected off the snow onto the tree, the heat will cause the bark to thaw.
After the sun sets and the temperature drops, the newly thawed bark will begin to freeze rapidly. This leads to severe damage, cracks, and cankers that can dramatically weaken the bark. These cracks and cankers also easily allow insects and bacteria to invade the tree.
Luckily, there are several simple ways to prevent sun scald. For example, you can wrap the tree in crepe paper or commercial tree wrap, which is available at your local hardware store. Another simple way to protect the immature tree from sun scald is to cover it with a thin layer of diluted white latex paint.
The light color will reflect the sunlight off the tree, and the diluted paint will help protect the bark from the colder temperatures.
With a little extra attention and care, you can help your immature trees survive the winter. If you have any more questions about your trees and landscape, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Smitty’s Tree Service.
Tree squirrels are simultaneously among the most beloved and hated of suburban and urban wildlife, as their antics can draw both admiration and scorn from homeowners. While squirrels are undoubtedly fun to watch, the truth is they can cause significant damage to both ornamental and nut-producing trees. Below is more information on tree squirrels native to the Chicago area, what kind of damage they can produce, and what can be done to prevent them from harming trees.
The Squirrels of Chicago
There are four tree squirrels native to Illinois, and though they look similar, there are distinct differences between the species. Below is more information on the four species.
The king of all tree squirrels, fox squirrels are the largest species in North America. Fox squirrels are identified by their rust-colored fur and long body lengths that can exceed 20 inches. Fox squirrels inhabit both rural and urban areas and can be found in the hearts of cities and towns.
The gray squirrel is distinguished by their monochromatic fur colors: white, gray, and even black at times. The second largest squirrel, adult gray squirrels can weigh between one and one and a half pounds. Gray squirrels are also quite successful in adapting to the urban landscape and lifestyle.
A much smaller squirrel that rarely exceeds one half of a pound in weight, the red squirrel has decidedly red fur and is not common in urban areas.
The smallest of all Illinois species, the flying squirrel is known for its remarkable ability to glide from tree to tree. This species is also rarely seen in an urban habitat.
Lifestyles of the Tree Squirrels
Both fox squirrel and gray squirrel females are capable of having two litters of offspring per year, and each litter contains anywhere from two to four pups. Squirrels will typically nest inside tree cavities or create nests using twigs and other materials, and the young will remain in the nest for two months or longer before venturing out on their own.
Squirrels are active in the daylight hours, unlike other many rodents, and will spend their time endlessly searching for food to eat or store. If food becomes scarce in a given area, squirrels have been known to wander dozens of miles to search for new habitats.
The Downside: How Squirrels Can Become Nuisances
Unfortunately, squirrels can be a big source of trouble when it comes to trees. Since fox squirrels and gray squirrels are both inhabitants of urban areas, their actions are particularly problematic. Here are some of the ways squirrels can damage or even kill trees.
Squirrels will consume tree bark, especially if there is strong competition for available food. This bark removal can make trees vulnerable to parasites and microorganisms that enter through the exposed xylem.
The tender buds of emergent tree limbs and leaves are vulnerable to hungry squirrels. If too many of these are eaten on a particular tree, growth of the tree is stunted and could result in disfigurement of the tree, as well.
Consumption of Nuts
The tendency for squirrels to harvest nuts in large amounts can be a problem for people who collect them for food or other purposes. In areas where trees reseed without human involvement, squirrels can actually hinder normal reproductive processes by removing too many nuts.
What Can Be Done about Squirrels and Your Trees
If you are experiencing problems with squirrels damaging your trees, then you will need to contact a tree service for help. There are several actions that can be taken to keep squirrels from doing grave harm. For example, trees can be fitted with large metal bands that make climbing difficult or impossible.
In addition, special chemical repellents can be applied to keep squirrels away from your trees. Or, depending on the location of the tree when compared to other structures or power lines, limbs can be carefully trimmed to prevent squirrels from gaining easy access.
It’s best not to hesitate when facing squirrel trouble. Tree services can provide guidance and concrete assistance with the problems caused by squirrels and will help rehabilitate trees that have already been damaged.
No matter where you live in the United States, droughts may be an unavoidable part of summer. Unfortunately, even if a drought doesn’t affect your health, it will impact the health and wellness of your trees. A consistent lack of rainfall and moisture can prove disastrous to your trees, which in turn can be difficult and expensive to remove and replace. Don’t needlessly place your trees at risk. Instead, here are a few simple tips to protect your trees during a drought:
Signs Your Trees Are in Trouble
If you’re in the midst of a drought, you might be concerned about the welfare of your trees. However, before you become too unnerved, remember that trees are very resilient, and some trees are more resistant to drought than others.
For example, the California sycamore, holly oak, and western sycamore are all very drought-resistant, and are able to easily survive with minimal interventions. However, if you’re not sure which type of trees are in your yard, or if your trees don’t look healthy, you might wonder if you should take action.
Here are a few signs that your tree is negatively impacted by a drought:
- Leaves that are undersized, wilting, or falling off prematurely
- Leaves that change color far too early
- The presence of certain insects, including the black turpentine beetle and the bronze birch borer
If you suspect that your trees are being impacted by the drought, but aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to ask a professional arborist for assistance.
Providing Adequate Water
Once you’ve established your trees are impacted by the drought, your first step is to provide them with adequate water. However, this can be tricky if you’re not sure how much water to provide and how often. The answer to these questions is dependent upon several factors, including the age of the tree.
Typically, a younger tree will require more water more frequently than an older, established tree. However, if you aren’t sure how old your trees are, there is a simple way to ensure your trees get an adequate amount of water, no matter their age.
Begin by testing your soil at a depth of at least four inches. If there is moisture at this depth, you won’t need to water your tree just yet. However, if there isn’t moisture, provide your tree with a healthy drink until the water reaches a depth of at least 10 inches.
It is important to water your tree from the trunk outward toward the drip line. The drip line is the outermost point of the canopy. At this spot underground, the feeder roots grow and typically receive moisture when rain drips off the tree’s leafy canopy.
The best way to water your trees is slowly, which helps ensure the moisture has time to completely soak into the soil. One of the most effective ways to water trees during a drought is with a drip irrigation system. An arborist can assist you in creating a system that is inexpensive and provides your tree’s root system with the moisture it requires to survive.
Timing Is Everything
Now that you know how to water your tree, make sure you know when to water your trees. Typically, the best time to water your trees is early in the morning, or after the sun goes down. This will ensure that the sun doesn’t cause any water soaking into the soil to evaporate too quickly.
Caring for your trees during a drought is critical because it can mean the difference between them surviving, or perishing from lack of moisture. If you have any further questions about caring for your trees, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Smitty’s Tree Service, Inc.
Spring provides much-needed relief from the cold temperatures and bleak landscapes of winter. However, while spring may be a cheerful season, warmer weather also means higher levels of rainfall and snow runoff.
Water may be essential to tree growth, but flooding and oppressive rainfall can cause serious tree damage. In this blog, we discuss five ways that spring precipitation may affect your trees and what you can do to protect your landscaping.
Ways Spring Precipitation May Damage Trees
Most of the damage that heavy levels of precipitation does to trees comes from either how the water moves around the tree or from the environmental changes that occur with water settling around the tree. High water levels may cause any of the following.
- Bark Damage
Once flood waters reach a certain height, they can begin to flow at high speeds. When large amounts of water crash into trees, the water may break off and wash away pieces of bark, leaving the trunk beneath exposed to the impact damage caused by the next wave.
Additionally, standing water can soften tree bark, making it more vulnerable to impact damage such as debris knocking into the trunk due to the flow of water.
- Inadequate Aeration
When water flows into an area, the liquid fills up all the spaces in the soil. This amount of water reduces the amount of oxygen that moves through the soil. Large amounts of flooding can even completely undo any aeration measures that were previously taken.
If the water continues to saturate the soil for several hours, the deep roots may stop receiving oxygen altogether. We’ll discuss the effect of water on tree roots further in section five.
- Increased Risk of Disease
As with any other absorbent item, trees are vulnerable to mold and fungus once they become saturated with moisture and remain wet for a long period of time. These growths are most likely to occur below the water level.
Trees that stay wet for more than three hours also have a high risk of diseases caused by insufficient nutrients. Flood waters replace the existing bacteria in the soil with other organisms that can cause nutrient imbalances.
- Leaning or Toppling
If your property is hit by high flood waters, the impact could do more than damage the bark. In some cases, flood waters can push trees into a tilted position. Severe flood waters can even uproot or knock trees over. This outcome is especially likely if you have trees that are top-heavy, diseased, poorly cared for, or weak.
Often, weakened roots contribute to a tree leaning or falling due to flood conditions.
- Weakened Roots
When water saturates soil, it changes the soil’s structure. Wet soil offers little support or anchoring for trees, weakening the grip the roots have in the soil. This change in soil structure is why a tree may shift even after the flood waters clear.
If roots stay soaked for too long, they may develop rot or mold. These diseases can take time to develop but can mean that the tree is more vulnerable to toppling and other types of permanent damage during the next big storm.
While some forms of water damage can be remediated, it’s important to protect your trees in advance to reduce the risk of irreversible damage.
Steps to Take to Protect Your Landscaping
Begin preparing for seasonal rainfall at the end of winter. In Illinois, average precipitation levels begin to rise in March and can stay at peak levels for months. Take the following steps to protect your trees from rain, puddles, and floods:
Consult with an arborist. Before making any changes to your trees’ nutrients and drainage, consult with us. Professional insight ensures that you fully provide for each tree’s needs.
Create drainage. You want water to flow away from your trees’ roots rather than create puddles there. You may need to create furrows for the water to travel through or bank up low-lying land to create optimal drainage.
Follow recommendations for pruning. Trees are more likely to suffer permanent damage if they’re uneven or improperly cared for. Be sure that your trees are professionally pruned or trimmed before the spring showers start.