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