Summertime.. And the trees are needy!

Tall Green Tree
Summertime is here, and your trees needs a few things from you.  Here is a short list of how to care for your precious greens throughout these hot summer months.
Prune: 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.
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. We have organic options that are safe for your children and pets. In fact, you can go back to enjoying your outdoor space within 15 minutes of us spraying. Call us for a free estimate today!
Tree health diagnosis: Summer gives 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.
Questions about your tree care needs, plant health care or other services we provide?  Please call us at (914)725-0441 or email us at info@emeraldtreecare.com
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Topping is for Ice Cream, Not Trees

topped tree

Tree Topping Fiction vs. Facts

Definition: Tree Topping – the removal of main tree branches to stubs in either a straight-across hedge fashion or a complete delimbing of the tree, leaving only the main trunk or trunks of a tree.

Fiction: “Topping rejuvenates the tree.”

Fact: Tree topping usually removes so much of the tree’s crown that it can unbalance an older tree’s root-to-shoot ratio and temporarily cut off its ability to make food. When trees are topped, they will typically respond by readily growing new shoots. From that point forward they become high-maintenance. Most must be pruned regularly in an attempt to restore normal structure and growth. Pruning a tree annually is not environmentally sustainable or cost-effective. Your tree will also be more susceptible to disease and insect problems.

Fiction: “The tree is too big and casts too much shade, and needs to be reduced by topping.”

Fact: By their very nature, trees create shade, which means you really can’t plant anything underneath and expect full success. But in some instances, proper selective pruning, NOT topping, can reduce the bulk of a tree, letting in more light and allowing wind to pass through the tree. Proper pruning does not stimulate regrowth, and the tree will not respond as drastically as when topped or over-thinned. A qualified arborist is trained to understand which kinds of cuts to make (thinning cuts, not heading or topping cuts); he/ she also knows when to stop.

If problems caused by a tree cannot be solved through acceptable management practices, the tree should be removed and replaced with another species, or other plant material more appropriate for the site.

Fiction: “Topping a tree is cheaper than having it pruned.”

Fact: Initially, it might seem cheaper to cut the tree in half to get the result you are looking for. But over time the tree will require more frequent maintenance, and become a danger.

Drastic topping cuts create opportunities for epicormic shoots on the remaining trunk to grow quickly into large, poorly attached branches, if the tree doesn’t just die outright. The potential for them to break off and cause a hazard to property or people is very high. From a legal standpoint, the owner or owners of such a tree may be responsible for damages if it can be proved they were negligent. Incorrect pruning can cause trees to become hazardous, and therefore is negligence.

Fiction: Topping is a time-tested way to prune a tree.

Fact: Topping is not a standard practice, and in fact is “outlawed” by national tree care standards. Topping has always been controversial. If someone tells you they have always done it that way, it’s a good bet they aren’t up to speed with the latest, scientific tree care methods.

Fiction: A banana split with all the toppings is considered a serving of fruit.

Fact: We may not know diets, but we do know trees. Topping is for ice cream, not trees.

So how can you reduce a tree’s growth without the injurious effects of the “toppings?” Consult with a professional arborist who is bound by an industry code of ethics to provide proper pruning according to the profession’s tree care standards.