Tree care is more than you think

Jeff Meagher teaches you about quality care for your trees

Archive for the category “Tree health”

Will topping my tree harm it?

Topping is probably the most harmful tree pruning practice there is. However, despite more than 25 years of explaining its harmful effects, topping remains an all to common practice.

“Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include “heading,” “tipping,” “hat-racking,” and “rounding over.”

The most common reason that people give for topping their trees is that they are trying to reduce the size of the tree.  However, even though topping my temporary recuse the size, the the long run it creates a much larger and more hazardous tree than was there before.  When a tree is topped, often times more than fifty percent and i many cases one-hundred percent of the trees foliage is removed.  Since the foliage is the evergy factory of a tree, when it is all cut off the tree goes into shock.

As a result of the shock the tree is going to do whatever it takes to keep alive and will use it stored energy to react and push out new foliage as soon as possible.  When the new folliage appears it is most often in the form of many water sprouts right below where the topping cut was made.  Since the tree needs leaves fast to produce energy, these water sprouts are skinny and grow very fast, without any good attachement to to tree.

When this happens, the tree becomes much less aesthetically pleasing, and because of the amount of those water sprouts and their poor attachment to the tree, they have a high likelihood of breaking out and hurting someone, or causing property damage.  In the case where the tree doesn’t have adequate reserves stored, the tree isn’t able to survive the shock and the tree will the die and have to be removed.

Lastly, topping offers a great opportunity to attack the tree, or for the tree to become very susceptible to decay.  When the tree is already in shock from the topping, and has many large open wounds, it is doing everything it can just to stay alive.  If bugs move in, or decay starts to take place the tree will have to energy to fight of such things

Remember, DO NOT top trees.  If they are to large for your liking contact a certified arborist and see what they can do for you.



Should I water my trees in the winter?

With the warm temperatures and lack of snow here in Northern Nevada it is hard to believe its winter.  As I’m sure most of you are, I continue to hope for snow and wish things would return to the record setting snowfall that we experienced a year ago.  Last year it seemed that we got snow almost every other day, so one would naturally assume that with a winter like that you wouldn’t need to water your trees at all.

However, even before the snow melted the calls started coming in from clients who were experiencing sick trees.  At first we didn’t think anything about all the calls, and didn’t put two and two together, but before long the arborists on staff began to connect the dots; all the sick trees were as a result of a lack of water all winter.  We found that many people never even thought about watering their trees especially with all the snow they watched fall all winter.

Now here we are a year later, and there is not only no snow here in Reno, but there isn’t any snow to speak of in the mountains either.  Combine that with the warm temperatures of late and not manually watering your trees for many months and you are sure to have some tree problems come spring.

A good rule of thumb that we like to tell our clients is that every fall when you shut off all the automatic watering systems in your yard, start watering your trees with a hose on all the holidays.  During the winter time it seems that we get a holiday anywhere from every two to four weeks, and it happens to be a good schedule for watering your trees.  As far as for how long and how high to have the hose up the, that is going to very from tree to tree.  The bigger the tree the more water it is going to need.  The harder, and more clay like the soil around your tree is, the slower and longer you should water you trees.  The softer, and more sandy the soil around your tree, the shorter and faster you can leave the hose on.

Also, during the winter it is best to water your trees in the late mornings and afternoons.  During this time the soil has warmed up enough so that it can absorb the water and gives the water enough time to sink in so that it doesn’t freeze once the cold air of the night returns.  If you are having trouble getting the water to absorb into the soil, consider getting yourself a ross root feeder to get the water down deep.  Lastly, If you have any questions about the health of your tree or how much to water it make sure to contact a certified arborist near your.

Take care and remember your trees even when its cold outside.


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