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Keeping Trees Healthy and Beautiful

Trees are valuable features on any property. Hiring Austin Tree Service is important to protect trees by erecting fences and barriers or planting gardens around them. Keep lawnmowers and other equipment away from the base of the trunk, and be careful not to prune with stub cuts.

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Identifying trees is a fun activity that can also be useful for determining whether a tree presents a hazard to people or property. A basic starting point is analyzing the leaf type and shape. There are three basic leaf types: needles, scales, and broadleaf leaves. Needle-shaped leaves are found on evergreens, and scale-shaped leaves are found on deciduous trees. In a broadleaf tree, the leaves are elliptical. Leaf venation is another important characteristic to observe. Leaf veins can be pinnate (having branches on either side of the mid-vein) or palmate.

Tree twigs are an excellent starting point for identification, especially during winter when many deciduous trees have lost their leaves. Look for lateral branch arrangement, and note if the branches are alternate or whorled. You should also observe the color and texture of the twig and its bark. Take into consideration if the twig is flexible or stocky and whether it has lenticels, a terminal bud, leaf scars, stipules or a pith.

Flowers are another identifying characteristic to examine, but only during the appropriate season. It is helpful to understand the plant’s reproduction habits as well – is it monoecious or dioecious? Monecious plants produce both male and female flowers, while dioecious plants only produce either male or female flowers. Size is also a useful identifying characteristic. The largest trees, such as oaks and maples, are often distinguished by their large leaves.

The way plants grow and the look of a landscape is greatly influenced by pruning. Pruning removes dead or unhealthy parts of a plant to reduce insect and disease problems, as well as to shape the plant for horticultural purposes. Proper pruning techniques will promote vigorous new growth and encourage the proper balance between branches, allowing free movement of sunlight throughout the canopy.

The timing of pruning depends on the type of plant and what needs to be done. Most pruning should be done during the late dormant season (late winter to early spring) to minimize stress to the plant. This includes most shade trees, many deciduous shrubs and evergreens, and some woody perennials such as lilacs and forsythia. Pruning during the active growing season will sacrifice flower production on some plants.

Types of pruning include thinning, raising, and size reduction. Thinning involves removing branches from the base of a tree to open up a view, create head space for pedestrians or vehicles or reduce a dense canopy. Raising pruning shortens the height of a tall tree, for example to allow for utility lines and reducing a wide-spreading tree. Size reduction is used in fruit trees to increase light interception and enhance quality.

Pollarding is a process of pruning to produce long, slender branches. This type of pruning is often performed on pines and spruces in urban areas to control size and for aesthetic purposes. It should only be done on healthy trees that have a well-formed central leader.

Watering is important for tree health and can help trees fend off diseases, pests, and droughts. Whether your property has young trees or mature ones, the proper technique for watering can make all the difference.

Water needs vary by climate and soil type. In general, newly planted trees require regular watering in order to establish a healthy root system that can grow and thrive in the landscape.

New trees should be watered at least twice a week in the spring and summer, especially if you live in a hot, dry region. The root systems of established trees are better able to take up water on their own, but supplemental irrigation is still a good idea during periods of drought or during the summer when heat stress can damage the tree.

The best way to water a tree is by using a garden hose and letting it drip slowly around the base of the tree. It is important to water deep, so the roots are soaked, but you should avoid getting the leaves wet. Watering in the early morning or evening is ideal because evaporation is less likely, and the ground can soak up the moisture more easily.

Mulching is also beneficial because it helps the soil retain water and reduce competition from other plants and grass. It is important to mulch out to the edge of the canopy, but not right up against the trunk.

Insects are a major concern for any gardener, but especially for those who have trees. Some insect infestations are a normal part of the forest ecology, but rampant and recurring outbreaks can have long-lasting, sometimes irreversible effects on the environment.

Sucking insects, such as aphids, mites, and scale insects, can stunt growth and reduce tree vigor. Aphids are hard to detect, but a severe infestation is usually evident by the sweet, sticky substance they excrete called honeydew. This honeydew can build up on the underside of leaves, attracting ants and other predators that feed on these sucking insects. Horticultural oil and a well-timed spray with insecticide can provide effective control of aphids and other sap-feeding insects.

Boring insects can be among the most destructive of all pests. They pierce the bark and/or stems of trees, depriving them of nutrients and water. Signs of borer damage include swollen branches and trunks, wilting foliage, bare areas, and sawdust at the base of the tree. If left untreated, a serious borer infestation can kill a tree.

Preventing borers is a complex task that begins with proper pruning, fertilization and watering. Removing debris, mulch, weeds and old wood from the area around susceptible trees will also discourage egg-laying. Pruning sealer can help protect open wounds and minimize borer attraction. A Multi-Insect Killer Tree Injection Kit or a soil drenching treatment such as the Once-A-Year Insecticidal Soil Drench w/Merit can be helpful in controlling existing infestations.

Trees and shrubs are vulnerable to a wide variety of diseases caused by various fungi and bacteria. These diseases not only impact the aesthetic appearance of the plant but can also significantly reduce the overall health and longevity of the tree. In extreme cases, some tree diseases may even kill the plant.

Symptoms of a diseased plant typically show up in the leaves of the plant, which will develop discolorations, spots or blights or begin to wilt and droop. The disease can then spread to other parts of the plant such as twigs, branches and roots.

Fungal diseases are spread by wind and rain, carrying spores to other plants. They can also be spread by insects, root grafts, and pruning cuts. Some fungi are harmless to the tree, while others can be quite destructive or even fatal. Our ISA Certified Arborists can diagnose and prescribe treatments to get your trees healthy again.

Many of these diseases are caused by environmental stress, such as drought, overcrowding, root damage, and other factors that weaken the defenses of the plant. Other causes of diseases include poor site selection and improper planting or installation.

Trees add to the beauty of any landscape, and they help create a healthy environment. They also provide a home for animals and other natural organisms. However, if a tree becomes dead or damaged, it can be a safety hazard and can cause damage to nearby homes and buildings. Therefore, it’s important to keep up with regular tree care. This can help prevent the need for costly tree removal in the future.

In the event that a tree must be removed, it’s essential to hire a professional. These professionals will ensure that the process is done with minimal impact on the surrounding environment and property. They will also use specialized equipment to reduce the risk of damage. Additionally, they will clear the site of any remaining debris.

Many locations have ordinances that focus on protecting and caring for urban and community trees. Often, these ordinances require the removal of trees that are structurally unsound or near utility lines or other hazards. They may also recommend pruning or other maintenance work to prevent problems in the future.

Tree removal is a complex and challenging task that requires specialized training and skills. It’s important to consult with a qualified arborist before performing any work on your property. They can help you determine whether a tree needs to be removed and how best to perform the job. They can also advise you on the best methods for removing the tree and how to protect the surrounding plants.