Prepare Your Trees Before The Freeze


The changing of seasons has a powerful way of triggering certain emotions and actions within people.  Summer nears and we all tend to let loose a little bit; introducing more fun to our schedules with beach days and BBQs.  Just the opposite tends to happen as the leaves start to change color and the majority of families gear up for back to school.  Whether you have children in school or not, there is something about the crisper air temps and fall smells that manifests the motivation to prepare, keep a schedule and get back into the swing of things.  In our business, we recognize the need for trees and shrubs to do just the same.  Fall is the time to prepare your trees for a season where winter storms can bring unpredictable outcomes.  You may be thinking, “we are months away from any potential snow storm”, which is true, but hurricane season is upon us, and it’s predicted that 2017 will be a long and intense one.  Jim Skiera, Executive Directory of the International Society of Abroriculture (ISA) urges homeowners to give their trees proper attention in the fall when he explains:

“Minimize stress by helping your trees through the cold months, a little at a time. If you take care of your trees in the winter, you’ll be rewarded in the spring.”

So, what exactly do your trees need to help protect themselves against harsh winds and extended periods of freezing?  Here is a helpful checklist of actions you can take to ensure your greens will weather the storm:


The summer heat can really take a toll on your trees and shrub’s nourishment levels.  So they are already low on nutrients and are about to enter several months of dormancy? Well of course that makes fall the perfect time to amp up nutrient levels with a proper feeding.  Fall Fertilization is especially important for younger, less established trees, that are more susceptible to storm damage. A slow releasing fertilizer injected or soil drenched along the drip line of the tree will help distribute nutrients to the root system for several months.


Even though trees enter a period of dormancy in the winter, when all consumption, digestion and growth slow down, they still need to maintain adequate levels of moisture. The amount of water your tree needs will depend on the species of tree, it’s age and your climate.  When watering a tree, focus around the drip line, which is the circle that trims the width of the crown on the ground. Imagine the tree like an umbrella, the drip line is where all the water droplets will run off and meet the ground.  This is where the smaller, feeder roots are located, and the primary spot where water and nutrients are absorbed. It’s important to water until the soil is moist but not soggy.  The key to a good fall watering, is to catch the tree after it has shed it’s leaves but before the ground has frozen.  Frozen soil acts as a barrier preventing the roots from absorbing any of the water.

Prune Away Dead Wood.

Before the fall is in full swing, prior to all the leaves falling off, is the easiest time to identify dead wood because they will be the branches that did not sprout any leaves over summer. Healthy branches have life inside them and are flexible when blown by the wind.  Conversely, dead branches are brittle and weak and will snap very easily with even small levels of stress.  Now is the time to prune away all dead wood so branches and limbs do not fall and cause damage during upcoming storms.

Cabling Weak Trees.

Cabling is the installation of flexible steel strand cables in trees to add needed support to weak branches.  A certified arborist is trained to analyze a tree’s structure and identify limbs that are not strong enough to bear the weight they are carrying.  The goal of cabling, is to transfer the weight load from the weaker branch to stronger ones to ensure that your tree will withstand heavy winds and stressful weather conditions. Cabling is very effective and is often a long term fix to a tree that might have otherwise failed.

Have your trees inspected before the winter hits and take the necessary steps to protect your home and family from any hazards that may exist.  Emerald Tree & Shrub Care is offering Free Property Inspections this fall, to have a certified arborist come evaluate your trees call us at 914-725-0441.


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.