Want to Add Some Shade to Your Yard? Plant a Few Sycamore Trees

Oaks, maples, elms – they all make great shade trees, but so many people have them in their yards. If you want a shady yard that stands out from the crowd, consider planting some sycamore trees instead. They have a unique appearance, and they’re rather easy to grow if you start with a sapling from a local nursery.

Characteristics of Sycamore Trees

The American sycamore is a large tree, reaching up to 100 feet in height when mature. Of course, your sycamore won’t be that large for several decades.  Sycamore trees are great choices for landscaping since their notably straight trunks have a clean-cut, groomed appearance. Their branches are long and sprawling, giving the tree a wide-topped shape that’s great for shade.

The leaves of the American sycamore are medium-green in color with a network of veins running across them. They have multiple lobes and are often said to be shaped like hands. In the fall, sycamore leaves turn brown before tumbling to the ground.

Planting and Growing Sycamore Trees

Choosing a Healthy Tree

Visit your local nursery, and look at all of the sycamores before choosing one. It’s easiest to plant sycamore trees that are several feet tall, rather than purchasing a young seedling. The bark should be bright and in-tact, and the branches evenly distributed around the trunk. The wider a trunk of a young tree, the stronger and healthier it is.

Choosing the Right Site

American sycamores prefer moist soil, so plant them in a lower area in your yard, if possible. Do not plant too close to a sidewalk or paved area, or you may find that the tree’s roots ruin these structures within a few years. Once you’ve found the right site, dig a hole that is about a foot wider than the root ball. This gives the roots space to grow. Don’t dig the hole too deep—the top of the root ball should be just above the surface of the ground. Pack the soil back in around the tree, but not too tightly, and then water the tree generously.

Caring for the Young Tree

When your sycamore is young, you may wish to have it pruned several times by a tree care professional. This is not necessary, but it will ensure that your tree develops a balanced, symmetrical shape. During its first few years of life, place mulch around the base of the tree each spring. This will help seal moisture into the ground, and the mulch will also break down, adding nutrients to the soil.

If the idea of planting sycamore trees sounds too involved and time-consuming, consider hiring a tree service (such as Troyer Tree Service Inc) or landscaping company to do so for you. In a few years, you’ll have stunning shade trees that the neighbors will envy.

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How To Care For The Trees On Your Property

Caring for the trees on your property is extremely important. This is because trees that are not properly cared for can pose serious threats such as causing property damage to your home or a neighbor’s, fostering pest infestations, and more. Here’s how to begin caring for the trees on your property to ensure that these threats are avoided:

  • Water and Mulch Weekly: Watering the trees on your property is important and they cannot continue to stay healthy without it. The amount of water that your tree needs depends on its age and the time of year. The older the tree, the more water it needs, for example. Also, more water is needed in the summer than other times of the year. You also need to be sure that you provide the tree with mulch in order to control weeds and to keep the soil surrounding the tree moist. 
  • Prune Regularly: Pruning the trees on your property is another important step to take regularly. Be sure that you are using sharp tools to do this to ensure that branches are cut evenly and without having to saw them off. Also, only remove branches that seem to be wilting or are already falling off. By pruning the tree regularly, you are not only increasing curb appeal, but you are keeping your tree healthy and preventing the tree from becoming overgrown. Overgrown trees attract many pests that will eventually make their way into your home.
  • Know When to Prune: Knowing when to prune is important because you want to be sure that you are doing it when it is easiest and best for the tree. For most trees, this would be between December and March when their leaves have fallen off and you can see the structure of the tree better. However, for flowering trees, it is better to prune after the flowers have bloomed and fallen off, which can be at different times of the year depending on what kind of flowering tree you have. 
  • Hire Professionals: Hiring professional arborists, such as MML Tree Service, to care for the trees on your property is best if you aren’t sure how to prune them properly, or if the job is too dangerous and poses a safety risk to you or your neighbors. 

By knowing how to properly care for the trees on your property, you can avoid a number of problems, such as pests, property damage, and much more. 

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Four Tips To Help You With Replanting Trees After Having Tree Removal Done

If you have to have trees removed on your property, they may be valuable trees that you want replanted.  The trees you had removed, may have been removed due to disease or other problems beyond you control. Replanting the trees, or planting different tree species can provide your property with the benefit of having lush, green trees.

Here are four things that you may want to consider when replanting the trees on your property:

1. Clearing The Area Of Debris And Stumps

When you have tree removal done, it is likely that there will be a lot of debris and stumps.  Before you begin replanting, you will want to remove all the stumps. If there are only a couple, a tree service can remove the stumps for you.

If there are many stumps, a more practical way to get rid of the stumps may be to burn them and any debris like limbs from the tree removal.

2. Preparing The Soil For Planting New Trees

Once the trees have been removed and you have cleared the debris and stumps, you will want to prepare the soil. This is not like planting crops, so you will not need to do a lot of preparation. You may want to rake the area and smooth any uneven spots out.

For large areas, this can be done with a tractor with a rock-rake attachment. You may also want to add some fertilizer to the soil to help the new trees grow.

3. Choosing The Type Of Trees To Replant

Depending on where you live, certain types of trees may grow better than others. If you live in a dry climate, plant hardy trees that are resistant to drought. If you live in an area with high rainfall, you may want to plant a variety of trees that like a lot of water and grow quickly.  Using native trees in your area is the best option to ensure that your trees grow healthy.

4. Replanting The Trees To Create Forested Areas

When replanting the trees, you can plant them in a disordered fashion like they would grow in a forest. You may want to use different species of trees for creating forested areas. You will want to make holes with a shovel and make them just big enough to put the saplings in.

Once you put the tree in the hole, compact the soil around the tree with the heal of your boot to ensure that it is firmly planted in the ground. 

These are some of the things that you may want to consider when replanting trees on your property. If you need help with tree removal, care or replanting new trees, contact a professional tree service to get the help you need for the trees on your property. To learn more, contact a company like Gifford Brothers Inc Tree Service with any questions you have.

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Three Short Pine Species That Are Perfect For The Corners Of Garden Beds

Pine trees look elegant and enticing when placed in the corners or on ends of garden beds. The secret, however, is making sure you choose a variety of pine tree that will stay small, rather than eventually taking over your whole garden. Here’s a look at three pine varieties that stay short with minimal pruning, and are therefore excellent choices for your garden bed corners.

Dwarf Norway Spruce

Carefully developed from the large, stately spruce trees of Scandinavia, this dwarf spruce variety is one of the smallest pine shrubs you can find. It only reaches about 2 feet in height when mature. Its needles are short with a gray-green tint.

Because of their unique shape, dwarf Norway spruce trees are sometimes known as birds nest spruces. They prefer full sunlight, but will tolerate a little shade if panted along the edge of a building. They are highly tolerant of an array of soil types ranging from clay to rocky, so long as the area where they’re planted is well-drained.

Once established, this shrub requires little care. It can be pruned in late winter if desired, but pruning is not required because of its slow growth. Drawf Norway spruces should be fertilized each spring.

Colorado Blue Spruce

If you’re looking for a more traditionally shaped pine tree with a pointed top, consider planting a Colorado blue spruce. There are several medium-sized cultivars that reach about 10 feet tall 8 years after planting.  These include Montgomery and Fat Albert Varieties. A common smaller variety, which reaches about 3 feet in height, is the Glauca Globosa.

Colorado blue spruce trees are named for the blue-green color of their needles. Most varieties have medium-length needles and retain their color all year long. Colorado blue spruce trees will tolerate shade, but they will not grow in overly wet soils, as the excess moisture may cause root rot. You can have your trees trimmed to maintain a precise shape, though pruning is not technically necessary.

Compact Mugo Pine

Mugo pines have a full, round shape with pointed tops. There are many varieties of Mugo pine, but the compact varieties tend to reach about 4 or 5 feet in height. They have very coarse, dark green needles that grow to between 1 ½ and 3 inches in length.

Mugo pines will tolerate droughts and do not require watering, but they must be planted in areas that receive full sunlight. They often require pruning to keep them from spreading out too much.

A pine tree planted in the corner of your garden bed adds a hint of greenery to your landscape all year-round. Talk to your landscape professional or a company like Arch City Tree Service about the varieties above. They’re all pretty easy to find and grow.

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3 Reasons To Purchase Debris Removal Insurance

Most homeowners will have some sort of insurance in order to protect the property and pay for any damages should a disaster strike. However, what most people forget about is debris removal insurance. This type of insurance should be a part of any comprehensive property insurance for the following three reasons.

1. You Don’t Want to Do it Yourself

After a tornado or some other natural disaster, you are going to have a great deal of debris that will need to be removed in order to make repairs to your home or to make your property safer for children. You absolutely don’t want to remove the debris yourself, especially if bits of debris are especially large. Chances are good that no one you know has the strength or tools to remove a fallen tree. In order to make sure that you can get everything removed in a timely manner, you want to hire professionals. Debris removal services can be expensive. Having debris removal insurance will help make sure that you are able to pay for professionals.

2. You’re Going to Have Other Repairs to Make

Even if, under normal circumstances, you would be able to easily afford debris removal services, if you need such services, chances are excellent that the circumstances are not normal. You are going to have to pay for many other repairs if you have enough debris on your property to require debris removal services. You don’t want to have to compromise fixing the roof of your house and getting the shards of tree out of your yard so that your children can play safely. Get debris removal insurance to make the services more affordable and so you can avoid having to make that choice.

3. It’ll Be Quick

Many companies prefer to work for clients that have insurance because they can be sure that they will be paid on time. If you have insurance, you can be certain that some companies will prioritize your debris removal needs over other people who they are not sure will be able to pay in full. This will mean that you will get the debris removed from your property within a short period of time after the natural disaster, reducing the dangers to those who live in the home.

For more information about this type of insurance, contact a property insurance company. They will be able to answer any questions that you have. Talk to experts like Atlas Tree Service Inc for more information.

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Beneficial Services Offered By Tree Removal Companies

If you have a lot of trees on your property, you might consider getting help from a tree removal company. These companies offer many services to help you maintain the trees on your property with ease. 

Tree Trimming

Sometimes trees on your property can grow too large, and branches may actually start rubbing up against your home’s foundation. Tree specialists can safely and quickly remove any branches that get too large.

Trimming trees won’t be difficult for these specialists because they have a special device called a tree pruner. This tool is essentially a long pole with a steel blade at the top. This blade is metal and has saw teeth – allowing professionals to cut thick branches or twigs in an effortless manner.

The removal specialist won’t have to even get off the ground when trimming the trees around your property. Tree pruners feature a foam grip, which allows the removal specialist to remain comfortable when using the pruner for hours.

Stump Removal

If there are stumps on your property, these are just taking up space and creating eyesores. They can be removed quickly, though, when you get help from a tree removal company. A specialist will come out and use a special burning technique. 

First, the stump is cut down as much as possible to where only a couple of inches are left over. Then, holes are drilled around the perimeter of the stump at the top. Kerosene is then put inside all of the holes. Finally, a tree stump is placed at the top of the stump and lit on fire. This burning technique is controlled at all times by the removal specialist, so you don’t have to worry about your property catching on fire.

Tree Safety Inspections

It’s critical to make sure the trees around your property are safe, as this prevents you and others from getting hurt over the years. To protect your trees from lightning, a tree specialist can set up a copper cable system near the top of every major trunk on your trees. Fasteners are then used to hold the cables away from the tree and protect the trunk from getting struck by lightning.

If any trees on your property are a liability, they can be removed completely. Using heavy-duty chainsaws, tree specialists will remove the tree and then transport it using a crane. These professionals can determine where the tree falls after it’s cut, so no one gets injured and your property doesn’t get damaged.

If you are looking to maintain all of the trees around your home, you might want to get help from a tree removal company like Gene’s Tree Service. This company can remove stumps, inspect the safety of trees and trim trees that are getting too big.

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Trimming Trees While Looking After Wildlife

If you have several trees in your yard that are in dire need of trimming due to long branches, you should take special steps to ensure the safety of any wildlife during the trimming process. Many small animals such as squirrels and birds will nest in trees from late winter to autumn, making it difficult to find a great time to trim trees without disturbing young babies. Here are some tips you can use to keep your trees healthy by doing your routine trimming without hurting animals that may be using the tree as a home.

Trimming At The Best Time

The best time to trim a tree is when it is in a dormant state, which would be from late fall to late winter. Waiting until spring or summer months can cause a tree to become diseased or become an attraction to harmful pests, possibly hurting the tree after the trimming process. To avoid this, do your trimming before spring begins. Squirrel and birds are both known to have babies from late winter to late summer, making it difficult to trim trees that have nests in them. Special precautions will need to be be taken to keep both trees and animals safe.

Looking Before You Cut

Before you start your tree trimming project, take a close look at the tree to see if there are any hidden animal homes. Squirrels nests are usually a few feet in diameter and are located in a crook area between large stumps of a tree. They may be located several feet in the air. Bird’s nests are often in similar locations but are smaller in size.

Look for dirt, small twigs and bramble in the trees before you start to do your cutting. Knowing where nests are located can help you avoid them completely when you do your trimming. Trim the branches around them and go back to the branches the nest is located upon after the inhabitants have moved out.

Moving A Nest

If you go out to your tree to start trimming and notice there is a squirrel’s lair or a bird’s nest with babies or eggs inside, put on some gloves, sprinkle some dirt on them to help cover up the scent of your skin from getting through the fibers, and gently take it out of the tree. Place it inside a cardboard box in a safe place while you are doing your trimming. When you have completed the trimming, place the nest back where you had found it. 

If you need help with your tree care and trimming, contact a local tree removal and service company. 

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Turn Your Backyard Into A Beautiful Floral Display: Grow Ornamental Flowering Trees

You can grow a variety of flowering ornamental fruit trees in your yard and enjoy a lovely floral display in spring and winter. Whether you choose flowering cherry, peach, or plum, you can cut branches and use them for indoor floral arrangements. With some TLC and the right location, you can easily grow ornamental members of the genus Prunus, which are ornamental, non-fruiting tree varieties. 

Flowering Cherry

Flowering cherry trees bloom in early to mid-spring, depending on variety. Blooms usually appear before tree leaf out, but some may blossom with new leaf growth. All varieties are good trees to garden under. You can choose larger varieties, like Great White Cherry for shade and fall color, or smaller varieties, like Weeping Higan Cherry for a Japanese garden. 

All varieties have the same cultural needs:

  • Fast-draining, well-aerated soil
  • Moderate water
  • Sunny location
  • Pruning to remove awkward or crossed branches

You can pinch back aggressively growing shoots to force branching. 

Flowering Peach

Flowering peach blooms in late winter to early spring, before leafing out. It is identical to fruiting peach trees in terms of size, cultural needs, growth habit, and pruning requirements. To ensure a healthy tree it needs proper care, including:

  • A location with good drainage
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • A regular fertilization schedule

Place flowering peach trees where they will appear striking while in bloom but unobtrusive when out of bloom. Trees make good screens for several months out of the year. 

Flowering Plum

Flowering plums bloom in midwinter and mid-spring, usually before new leaves appear. Many varieties have purple foliage. These trees are less particular about soil than other ornamental trees and have the following cultural needs.

  • Moist soil
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Little, if any, pruning

Flowering plums make good screens and specimen trees. They are safe to plant beneath power lines and offer good fall color. 

Cutting Branches For Indoor Color

To enjoy long-lasting blooms indoors from flowering trees, cut branches just at the buds have opened or when they first begin to show color. Take your branches indoors and place them in a deep container of water. Make sure to strip off any flower or buds that would be below the water level. Use them in arrangements or alone to bring some of the outdoor beauty indoors. 

Flowering fruit trees make lovely additions to your yard. There are other Prunus varieties: flowering almond and flowering apricot. You can contact a local tree service like Done-Rite Tree Company Inc. for assistance in choosing the best ornamental flowering fruit trees for your landscape needs. 

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How To Kill A Fruit Tree For Removal

If you have a fruit tree that is no longer bearing healthy fruit, it may have become more of a hassle than anything else. In this case, removing the tree is probably best, as it does nothing but encourage disease and pests. Before removing a fruit tree, killing it is often recommended because it makes the tree removal process go much more quickly. Here are instructions on how you can kill the tree and its roots before removing it.

Water the Tree First

It may seem counterproductive, but when using herbicide to kill a fruit tree, you want it to be actively growing, and for its leaves to be expanded. If you haven’t had good rainfall recently, spend some time watering the tree first. Water it as deeply as you can over the course of a week or so, or until you see the leaves start to expand. This will make the rest of the process go much more smoothly.

Mix Your Herbicide

You are going to use herbicide to kill the tree and its roots. Choose an herbicide product that contains triclopyr, glyphosate, or imazapyr. All of these ingredients are effective at killing a fruit tree and its roots. Prepare the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it is mixed properly, pour it into a garden sprayer. The herbicide product will give specific instructions on where to spray the product, such as a certain number of inches around the diameter of the tree trunk. You can also create a more diluted herbicide by adding more water to your mixed solution, which can make it easier to get full coverage of the trunk and let it soak through.

Create Access to the Tree and Roots

In order for the herbicide to work properly, you need more access into the tree, as well as the roots. You can do this by making cuts into the trunk, going around the perimeter of the trunk. You can use any tool you like for the cuts, such as a hatchet, axe, or saw. Just be careful with it and ask for help if you don’t feel comfortable using these tools. You want the cuts to overlap and create a girdling pattern around the trunk. It will kill the canopy of the tree and prevent it from re-sprouting.

Spray the Herbicide

You are now ready to spray the herbicide. Spray it on the trunk directly onto the areas where the trunk is cut. The product should cover the cuts entirely. Once you have sprayed the herbicide, follow the instructions on the label for how long to wait before the tree begins to die and can be removed. Once the tree and roots are dead, you will find removing it much easier to do.

For professional help with any part of this process, contact a tree removal service.

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3 Tips To Prepare Your Tree For Treehouse Construction

A treehouse requires more planning than simply nailing a few planks of wood to the trunk. You should check the tree’s healthy and have it undergo a full maintenance check before you begin construction. Not only does this ensure the safety of the treehouse, it also ensures your tree will survive this new use.

#1: Check the Tree for Suitability

Not all trees can safely support a treehouse. Oak, beech, maple, ash and cedar can usually support the weight of the structure without breakage.

When selecting a tree, choose a mature tree that is no longer putting on rapid growth. Make sure it isn’t near any power lines or roads – you don’t want to take any chances with a potentially fatal accident.

Size also matters. For a small kid’s treehouse, which usually measures no more than 8 feet square, a trunk diameter of 12 inches can support the weight. Any branches that will bear some of the weight should be at least 8 inches in diameter.

#2: Shed the Deadwood

Deadwood can be a danger to to both your child and the structure. Before you begin to build, check the branch canopy for any dead or damaged branches. If you locate deadwood, have it pruned out before you begin to build. Most kid-size houses are placed no more than 10 feet off the ground, so it’s important to remove any deadwood above the placement of the house platform.

If the tree is overgrown, you may want to hire a maintenance crew, like Tidwell’s Tree Service, to thin out the canopy before you begin construction. This ensures that only a strong framework of healthy branches remains, minimizing the chances of falling branches later.

#3: Verify the Tree’s Health

Finally, make sure the tree is healthy. Sometimes, a tree may look healthy from the outside but it’s rotting at the core. Obvious signs of tree distress include:

  • Discolored leaves. Often, this is a nutrient deficiency or treatable fungal disease, but you will need to verify the cause and fix the problem before you can proceed with your build.

  • Wound or lesions, especially if they are oozing liquid or sap. This can indicate a potentially fatal fungal or viral infection. The tree will need proper diagnosis to save it if possible. In this case, finding a different tree is advised.

  • Insect infestations. A severe infestation of pests can indicate other health problems with the tree. Don’t proceed until the pests have been eradicated and the tree has been fully inspected for any further disease problems.

When constructing the treehouse, use single lag bolts to attach each support directly to the tree. Straps, cables and nails can all result in bark damage, which will weaken and eventually kill the tree. Sterilize your tools with a dilute bleach solution so you don’t introduce any pathogens to the wood during construction. After construction, continue to monitor the tree each year for any health problems or maintenance needs. For example, you may need to relocate supports to avoid strangling the trunk as it grows and expands each year.

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When I was young, my father purchased a beautiful large tract of land in a rural area. The small pecan orchard residing on the property was one of the things that attracted my dad to this particular plot of earth. Sadly, most of my parents’ pecan orchard was destroyed during a storm a few years ago. After the devastating storm passed, only two of my parents’ fourteen pecan trees still stood. And, one of these two trees was badly damaged. If you currently have compromised trees on your family estate, don’t assume you immediately need to cut them down. A professional tree service can diagnose the problem and may be able to offer a solution that will allow you to keep your trees. On this blog, you will discover how a tree service can help you preserve a legacy.


April 2015
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