Mature Trees And The Value Of Your Home

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“A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.” – Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers

Here at Emerald Tree & Shrub Care, we always urge customers to think twice before removing a tree.  Our main concern is preserving the environmental and ecological benefits that trees provide, but there really is no arguing with the fact that mature trees increase the value of your home.

While a well kept lawn and flower beds certainly catch your eye and look pretty, potential homebuyers want a backyard that feels private.  Mature trees are a wonderful way to make a property feel more secluded and quiet.  Picture a corner lot that borders against two noisy streets, an eye sore of traffic and increased pollution.  Now imagine a row of mature trees acting as a visual screen while blocking a good amount of noise and improving the air quality.  An outdoor space that could have caused irritation and angst is now an outdoor sanctuary, an extension of your living space.

Another huge benefit to mature trees is the shade they provide.  Homebuyers will recognize mature trees as a way to save on their electric bill.  In fact, on the hottest day of summer, some might say a 30 foot Oak Tree on the East Side of your home is utterly priceless.  A strategically placed tree can cut down your electricity bill up to 30%.  Mature trees can also provide shelter from heavy winds in winter months, reducing the amount of energy your heating system uses.

According to Pat Vredevoogd Combs of the National Association of realtors:

Well-landscaped yards with mature trees and bushes that provide privacy not only fetch higher prices — they sell more quickly than houses with little or no landscaping, she said, noting that they provide the ultimate “curb appeal” by impressing buyers before they even walk into a house.

There are however, some instances when mature trees can hurt your property value and cause it to sit on the market.  One example is when they have not been properly placed and are impeding with the actual home or another necessary structure such as a fence, driveway or garage.  We have seen countless trees that are planted too close to a sidewalk or driveway, and as they grow vertically, their roots are not given the proper space to expand.  Two potential risks can occur 1) The tree will continue to grow vertically, but without the proper root strength, it will become top heavy and potentially fall and cause costly damage.  2) the roots will forge their way and cause rippling, cracking and crumbling of the pavement.  This is why it is very important to consult a certified arborist before selecting and planting trees on your property.   A plant site analysis is easy to schedule and can save you lots of headaches down the line, call us today at 914-725-0441.



Why is the bark on my tree shedding?

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When bark shedding is natural

In recent weeks when I walk around Westchester I have noticed many trees that are rapidly shedding their bark.  Admittedly, this can look very alarming, but the truth is that in most cases it is a completely natural occurrence.  The most common cause of bark shedding, which is in fact very logical, is that the tree is preparing for growth, and needs to let its existing bark fall off in order to give the trunk room to grow.  “But my tree is very old”, you say, “why is this the first time I’ve seen this happen?” Younger trees have thinner, more flexible bark with a certain level of elasticity to it.  Up until a certain age, a tree can slowly grow, expand its trunk, and the bark will just stretch along with it.  However, the bark on older trees is a bit thicker, dryer and weaker.  As the trunk expands, chunks of bark tend to peel off one by one leaving a messy pile of bark peels on your lawn.

If you have one of the following trees with no other recognizable problems, chances are the shedding bark you are seeing is of no concern, as these trees are known to exhibit  bark peeling:

  • Silver maple.
  • Birch.
  • Sycamore.
  • Redbud.
  • Shagbark hickory.
  • Scotch pine.

When it is cause for concern

Another common reason for bark shedding poses more of a concern, and that is a fungal infection.  Cankers, are any kind of open wound that has penetrated through the bark and left the interior of the tree exposed to fungal or bacterial infection.  treecankerCanker infections or diseases are easily recognizable with a defined indent or lesion and a reddish or brownish discoloration on the bark.  As the tree responds to the fungal infection, it works to eliminate the infected portions which can lead to falling branches and limbs.  Also, since the canker disease enters the tree through the bark and spreads beneath it, you will often see bits of infected bark falling off as it separates itself from the healthier tree tissue inside.

If a canker infection is discovered on a branch, the best treatment would be to remove the infected branch.  Treatment becomes a bit more difficult when the canker is discovered on the trunk. There is no chemical that’s been proven effective at eliminating the fungal disease from a tree, plus the fungus can very easily spread to neighboring trees so it’s important that you enlist a certified arborist to advise you on the proper treatment method.

For a free tree inspection by a board certified arborist call us at 914-725-0441.

Developmental Pruning of Ornamental Trees & Shrubs

Ornamental trees or shrubs are very simply, plants that are grown for a decorative purpose.  Each ornamental at some point was hand selected and planted for a reason.  Maybe it provides shade in a much needed spot, perhaps it adds texture to an area that felt blah, defines a space as is the case with hedges,  introduces height to an otherwise low growth area, or in general, just adds aesthetic interest to your landscape.  The first step to ensuring the success of ornamental trees and shrubs is selecting and planting them in an area where they will thrive.  At Emerald Tree and Shrub Care we always recommend consulting with an Arborist before investing in and installing new plantings.  While you may think that Japanese Maple will look lovely in the back corner of your garden, sunlight patterns and soil tests may prove you wrong.  The second, and most important measure to keeping your ornamentals beautiful and thriving is, Developmental Pruning.

An ornamental tree or shrub can easily go from being a beautiful asset to a terrible eye sore if ignored and allowed to become overgrown.  We’ve all seen hedges that have gone wild and completely impede on a sidewalk or front walkway.  Not only do these look bad, but severe overgrowth is a hard problem to fix, and unfortunately sometimes results in removal which can be expensive and disappointing.

Avoiding overgrowth is an important reason for developmental pruning, but certainly not the only.  There are lots of benefits to routinely pruning your ornamentals, including:

  • Removing dead, damaged or diseased growth.  Just like any plant or tree, as soon as dead branches are discovered they should be removed to allow the healthier, thriving branches to get the full amount of nutrients they need.  Plants actually waste quite a bit of energy trying to nurse dead branches back to health, so removing them with proper pruning, gives the tree more strength and energy to nourish existing branches and support new growth.
  • Supporting advanticious growth. Selectively removing certain growth allows sunlight to reach the interior of the plant and lets the air better circulate throughout, both of which help produce new buds.
  • Maintaining it’s original shape.  Keeping a tree or shrub’s shape and size to a scale that make sense to the landscape is a benefit to the overall appearance as well as the health and growth of other plants.  Our trained arborists can walk through a landscape and immediately identify pruning opportunities that will promote the health of the entire assortment of plantings.

At Emerald Tree & Shrub Care we pride ourselves on never defaulting to gas or electric trimmers, but rather performing all pruning by hand.  This is the only way to be truly selective with which branches you want to trim and also prevents damage on the branches you want to keep.  Whether you are looking for a natural aesthetic that fits within a wooded area, or a very pristine crisp edge on your boxwood hedges, please let us be the ones to help.  Our goal is to achieve your desired look while performing the developmental pruning that is most beneficial for your ornamentals.

For more information about our pruning service view a demonstration by our Board Certified Master Arborist, Kevin Wyatt here.

Everything You Need To Know About Horticultural Oils


What are Horticultural Oils?

Horticultural Oils are lightweight oils with either a petroleum or vegetable base that have been manufactured specifically for agricultural and horticultural uses. These oils have been highly refined to remove any and all impurities and toxins and then combined with an emulsifier so they can be mixed with water and easily applied with a sprayer.

What are they used for?

The primary use of horticultural oils is to control insects and mites on plants, especially trees and shrubs.  Common insects that can be effectively treated with horticultural oils are typically soft-bodied and include:

  • Woolly adelgid on hemlocks
  • Spider Mites
  • White Flies
  • Scales
  • Aphids
  • Mites

How do they work?

The most prevalent way that horticultural oils work is by smothering any pests present on a plant along with their eggs.  The oil literally blocks the air holes that pests use to breath, causing them to die almost instantly.  They are completely safe to use on fruits and vegetables because the oils can easily be washed off.


Two other ways that they sometimes work is by acting as a poison to the mite or by interfering with their feeding process.  Horticultural Oils are safe to use, effective, and have limited effects on beneficial insects.  One known downfall is that the oils can sometimes injure a plant, therefore they should be used intermittently and with careful selection to which plants or trees they’re applied to.  Horticultural Oils are constantly improving and becoming more refined making them safer to both plants and beneficial insects.  


Overall, Horticultural Oils are a great option to keep your trees and shrubs

safe from insects and disease while also protecting the environment.  

To learn more, or to see if your property could benefit from an application,

call us at 914-725-0441.

Tick Tubes for Added Protection Against Tick Borne Diseases


As we are sure many of you know, we are in the midst of one of the worst tick seasons in many years.  If you have not already signed up for routine yard sprays, it’s not too late, and we have an additional treatment measure we urge you to take advantage of, Tick Tubes.

How Tick Tubes Work

While spraying is a very effective way to control ticks that have settled on your grass, Tick Tubes take the treatment back to the source of the problem: the nests of white footed mice.  These cardboard biodegradable tubes are filled with cotton swabs that have been soaked in an insecticide called permethrin.  Our team strategically places them in common areas of mouse habitat.  Since mice are always looking for soft nesting materials, they will grab up the cotton swabs and bring them back home where they will eventually cover the mice fur with permethrin.  The mouse then becomes our tick control agent, killing any ticks that were hosting on the mouse, along with any future ones that try to attach to the mouse.

For more information of to schedule a treatment call 914-725-0441

Benefits of Tree Inoculations or Trunk Injections


What are Inoculations Used For?

Just like humans, trees too require vaccines and immunizations to protect them from harmful diseases, insect infestations and fungal infections. The process of giving medicine to a tree for any reason, is called an inoculation or a trunk injection. There are really tons of problems that tree inoculations could be the solution for, however some of the most common reasons to inoculate or inject a tree include:

  • Dutch Elm Disease
  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Pine Wilt
  • Oak Wilt
  • Pythium Diseases
  • Protection from Damaging Insects
  • Apple Scab

Why Trunk Injections Should Be Done By a Professional?

The first reason to have an arborist evaluate your tree and perform the trunk injection is because they are trained to diagnose tree problems and the identify the best possible treatment.  Some tree diseases and even insect infestations cannot be cured with an inoculation.  It’s important to have the proper diagnosis and treatment plan set fourth by a certified arborist.

Certain prescriptions can be harmful if mishandled.  Not only is the proper water to product ratio required, but gloves and protective goggles should be worn at all times.

The most effective area to inject the trunk is all the way at the bottom near the roots.  In some instances, an air spader should be used to uncover the portion of the flare found just below the dirt.  This is where the cambium layer can easily be reached, allowing quicker and more direct access to the vascular system of the tree.

An inoculation requires drilling holes about 1.25″ into the surface of a tree which leaves the tree exposed and vulnerable.  These holes should be done with great care, so that the tree can heal quickly once the medicine has been administered.  Creating holes that are too wide, too deep, or at the wrong angle could have harmful effects to a tree’s health.

Should I Have Tree Injections Done?

The answer is, have your tree evaluated by an arborist before committing to any treatment plan.  If and why you inject your tree depends greatly on your geographical location, the age and type of tree as well as what the known threats are at the time.  There are countless benefits to Inoculation Treatments, the biggest being that it is the quickest and most effective way of administering a prescription to a mature tree.  A mature and healthy tree has an immeasurable value to you and the environment.  The oxygen it transmits, the shade it provides and the beauty it lets off for years and years to come cannot be measured.  Our advice is to consider preventive treatments so you can enjoy your trees for years to come, and provide a safe and risk free environment for you and your family.

For a free tree evaluation done by one of our certified arborists please call Emerald Tree & Shrub Care at 914-725-0441.

Also, to learn more about the process of inoculation, view this video.


Summer Tree & Shrub Care Tips

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The long hot days of summer may have you wanting to stay inside by the air conditioner, but these are the days when your trees need you the most. Increased hours of sun and summer rain team up for an immense time of growth for trees and shrubs in addition to a higher risk for insect infestation. Below are a few important preventative measures that will help ensure a successful summer season for your greens.

Pruning: Overgrown trees and shrubs are a big problem in summer heat because there is not enough fresh air circulating throughout the branches. A common misconception is that all pruning should happen during dormant periods, meaning the winter. This is false. Summer is a very beneficial time to prune trees, as it can be easier to identify weak branches when they slump from the weight of newly formed leaves. Also, summer is the ideal time to prune flowering trees and shrubs since they have not yet begun to form new buds. The general rule of thumb is to prune flowering trees and shrubs immediately after their blooms die. If you procrastinate, you run the risk of cutting off new buds which will mean fewer flowers for the following year.

Treat for Insects: Unfortunately, with warmer weather comes more pests, and we don’t just mean ticks and mosquitos, but the thousands of different bug varieties that can spread diseases to your beloved plants & trees. Most of the time, identifying an infestation requires a trained eye. Sometimes the bugs themselves are not visible so our Plant Health Care Technicians have to rely on symptoms such as leaf spotting, cracked bark or crown die-off. When it comes to insects, the best thing you can do is get in front of the risk with preventative care before a problem arises. At Emerald Tree and Shrub Care, we are extremely knowledgeable of all insect threats and can prescribe a treatment plan that will keep infestations at bay all summer long.

Provide Adequate Water: Just like humans, plants too require nourishment in the form of H2O during hot summer days. It’s important to make sure your plants and trees receive enough water, especially those that were planted in the last couple of years. An optimal amount of water for a tree or shrub is about 1-2 inches of water each week; just enough to reach all of the roots, both shallow and deep. Be careful not to overwater, as this could cause root rot, wilted leaves due to lack of oxygen or a condition called Edema when the plant cells fill with water and actually burst. Every plant and shrub is different, so it’s important to research the specific needs of your variety or consult with an arborist.

Storm damage prevention: Summer is the season for thunderstorms and heavy winds. To protect your property from falling tree limbs, consult with an arborist to assess the safety of your large trees. Cabling or bracing trees with weak limbs, or removing weak limbs completely, may be necessary.

Tick and Mosquito Control: What good is a backyard if you can’t enjoy it during the summer? To combat insect-borne diseases and viruses like Lyme, West Nile, Powassan and Zika in our own backyards, Emerald offers safe and effective mosquito and tick protection programs. Our treatments are organic and safe for your children and pets. In fact, you can go back to enjoying your outdoor space within 15 minutes of us spraying. For a free estimate complete this form.

Tree Health Diagnosis: Summer give us the best opportunity to identify tree health problems. Diagnosis of the actual cause of the tree malady is a tricky business best left to an expert. As with human illness, prompt detection and treatment can be critical. If you are unsure whether your tree is healthy or can withstand the next storm, consult our professional arborists who can identify and remove hazards as well as treat tree health problems.

Tick Season and Threat of Powassan Virus


Increased Ticks in Summer 2017

It’s predicted that ticks may prove to be a serious problem in Westchester and Fairfield counties this summer. An increase in the tick population is expected because Winter 2017 was unseasonable mild and with minimal freezing temperatures, more ticks were able to survive and reproduce. In addition, we can expect to see an earlier onset of tick season as temperatures have already began to rise into the 70s in recent weeks.  All this paired with the chatter around Powassan Virus and it’s no wonder residents in our area are anxiously looking for safe methods for tick control.

What’s Known About Lyme Disease

Westchester and Connecticut residents have long been aware of the threats of Lyme Disease and the importance of tick prevention. Roughly 20% of ticks in our area (1 in 5), carry Lyme Disease, with that percentage increasing as you head further north into New England. If left untreated, within several weeks, Lyme Disease can spread to effect a person’s joints, their heart and their nervous system. The good news is that Lyme Disease can be successfully treated if caught within the first month of infection.

Harmful Threat of Powassan Virus

What’s very concerning to Westchester and Fairfield County residents this year, is the predicted increase in prevalence of a more rare tick-bourne disease called Powassan Virus. While not new (first cases reported in the early 1950’s) doctors are anticipating an increase in the coming years. Unlike Lyme Disease, the Powassan Virus has virtually no window for diagnosis and treatment, as it passes from tick to human in as little as 15 minutes. The Powassan Virus is said to quickly attack the central nervous system, cause inflammation of the brain, as well as encephalitis and meningitis. It’s reported that 60% of Powassan Virus infections lead to severe disability, with 10% ending in death. For more information on the Powassan Virus visit (

Protect Yourself from Ticks & Mosquitos

While there is still much to learn about the Powassan Virus and it’s prevalence in Westchester and Fairfield Counties, it’s important to understand what you can do now to prevent tick-bourne diseases from affecting you and your family. Take the following steps, with help from the professionals at Emerald Tree & Shrub Care, and enjoy your outdoor space with a little peace of mind this summer.
  • Remove any standing water on your property
  • Apply Anti-Desiccant and Deer Repellant to your trees and shrubs (Organic Options Available).
  • Schedule monthly treatments using an Organic Tick and Mosquito spray with Emerald Tree & Shrub Care
  • Learn the signs and symptoms associated with all tick-bourne diseases (


Call Emerald Tree & Shrub Care

Keep your lawn pest-free and healthy this summer with the help of your friends at Emerald Tree & Shrub Care.  To schedule a pest control consultation, please call us at:
  • Westchester County Residents: 914-725-0441
  • Fairfield County Residents: 203-422-2441

Our Pest Control Services

Emerald Tree & Shrub Care offers a variety of safe pest control programs to ensure your yard is tick and mosquito free and your family healthy.  To read more about them, visit our website.

Why Are My Boxwoods Turning Brown?

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Why are my Boxwood’s Leaves Turning Brown? I have not done anything different to my front boxwood hedges, but this year they are not fully green and healthy looking. I tried fertilizer but that did not help, what is the problem?

There are several different problems that could be affecting the health of your Boxwoods.  For a true and accurate diagnosis, we would have to send a Plant Health Care Technician to your property to inspect, but for now, we will take some time explaining the few issues that we see quite often.


Boxwood Blight is a fairly new fungal disease that was originally identified in North America in 2011.  Signs of this include lesions or dark streaking on the stems, brown spotting on the leaves, and defoliation (leaves falling off the branches).  These warning signs should not be ignored, because if left untreated, Boxwood Blight will completely kill your shrub and can rapidly spread across a group hedge.  


When looking at your boxwood, if you notice the outside leaves appear yellowish in color and smaller than the green ones, as though they have shrunken, you probably have Leafminers. Leafminers are fairly noticeable to the common eye. If you look closely you will see little yellowish-orange larvae.  They tend to chew a tunnel through the top layer of the leaf, and then feed on the inside.  As the larvae mature, they grow into reddish-yellow flies that will swarm around your boxwoods awaiting new growth.  As new growth develops, they lay their eggs on the healthy leaves and so the cycle continues and your leafminer problem exponentially gets worse.  


Winter burn is a condition that occurs during cold winter months when the leafs of a plant have lost their water and the roots are completely frozen and unable to replenish. Despite the fact that boxwoods are a very hardy evergreen, they are particularly susceptible to winter burn. Signs your boxwood is damaged because of winter burn include: the damaged portions of your shrub face the area the wind blows from (usually South or Southwest), foliage is damaged and dried out, and in severe cases, the stems are cracked.  

In most cases, your Boxwoods can be revived and will bounce back to the hardy green shrubs you remember by next season.  Unfortunately, in some instances, as with Boxwood Blight, if the disease has spread significantly, we may recommend removal of the infected plant.  The goal with Boxwoods and all your precious greens, is preventative care.  This is the number one reason why we created our Plant Health Care Program.  Rather than always getting the calls to fix the problem, we want to help ensure the problem never happens.  Spraying your shrubs with Horticultural Oils several times a year will help ward off diseases and insects.  Also, ensuring your shrubs are nutritious and strong entering the winter season can greatly decrease the chances that cold weather will result in Winter Burn.  These services and more, are all part of our Planet Health Care Program.  Custom designed to meet the needs of your property and keep your plants healthy all year round.

For more info or to sign up today, please call us at 914-725-0441.

Emerald Tree and Shrub Care Receives Gold Star Award from TCIA

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Emerald Tree and Shrub Care Receives Gold Star Award from TCIA

On Thursday, April 27th, just a day before National Arbor Day, Two local businesses received the Gold Star Award from the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA): Emerald Tree and Shrub Care, a family owned, Westchester-based provider of high-quality arboriculture and plant health care services, and Fordham University, a private, independent research university founded by the Catholic Diocese.

The Gold Star Award is a huge honor paid by the TCIA to an individual or company that represents leadership in the field of arboriculture and long-term commitment to the tree care industry.  This year, the Gold Star Award will honor Emerald Tree & Shrub Care and Fordham University for their Stewardship and Preservation of the Rose Hill Campus Unique Collection of American Elms (Ulmus Americana).
The American Elms population has been severely affected by a fungal disease called Dutch Elm Disease (DED) that has caused extreme die off in their native region of Eastern North America.  When cared for properly and kept safe from exposure to Dutch Elm Disease, American Elms are extremely hardy trees that can last several hundred years and withstand temperatures as low as -42 degrees.  The American Elms on Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus are not only beautiful, they provide abundant amounts of shade to the campus which helps keep the buildings cool during hot summer months and improves the overall energy efficiency of the University.  Emerald Tree & Shrub Care has been providing routine health care and maintenance to the American Elms for 12 years, with hopes of seeing them stand tall for another century.

The TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association) came to Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus on Thursday, April 27th to award this very prestigious Gold Star Award to the two local businesses that have put their time, energy and resources into the preservation of this unique collection of American Elms (Ulmus Americana).  Representing Emerald Tree & Shrub Care was the company owner and founder, Steve Farrelly, and receiving the award on behalf of Fordham University was the Vice President for facilities management, Marco Valera.
This recognition came at a very relevant time, as today, individuals across the country are sharing their appreciation for trees in celebration of National Arbor Day.  In acknowledgment of this honor and in observance of Arbor Day, Steve Farrelly, owner of Emerald Tree & Shrub Care, partnered with Anthony of A. Bulfamant Landscaping to donate and plant a Pin Oak tree on Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus.

About Emerald Tree & Shrub Care
Emerald Tree & Shrub Care was founded by president Steve Farrelly in 1996.  This Westchester-based business prides themselves on providing expert arboricultural services and care to residential and commercial properties throughout Westchester County, Fairfield County and New York City.  With regional expertise, a reputation for exceptional customer service and outstanding knowledge of the area’s indigenous wildlife, Emerald Tree & Shrub Care is a prime option for your tree care and plant health care needs.

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