What Exactly Is Plant Health Care?

Arborists Are Trained To Diagnose Plant Illnesses

Walk around your property at any given time and chances are you will probably notice some dead branches, brown spots in bushes, bare spots where leaves dropped too early, white mildew or if you look super close you may see insects that have made themselves a nice little home on your precious greens.  Are these all symptoms you should be concerned about? Not necessarily, but it would be wise to call an arborist that is trained at identifying the underlying cause of these problems.  For instance, the bugs could be completely harmless, or, they could be spider mites that will slowly increase their presence and suck the life out of your hedge’s leaves and eventually, cause them to stop growing.

Early Detection & Environmentally Safe Remedies Are Key

Now we have to ask, how often are you walking your property and looking closely? We mean really closely, to check for these symptoms? Our guess is maybe once or twice a summer… if that.  Unfortunately, if the plant problem goes undetected for some time, often times the issue cannot be fixed and removal is the only option. The key to keeping your trees and shrubs healthy and vital is ongoing monitoring and prevention.  In fact, these are the two main objectives to our Plant Health Care Program. By remaining ahead of the problem, we are able to rely on nontoxic and organic treatments, some of which include:

  • Insecticidal Soaps
  • Beneficial Nematodes
  • Soil Drenches and Injections
  • Aerification of Compacted soils
  • Hand Pruning of Nests or Localized Infestations
  • Mauget Systemic Injection Systems
  • Custom Blended Deep Root Liquid Fertilization

A Holistic Plan That’s Designed Specifically For You

Since every property is different, and the needs of plants vary, it’s impossible to devise a “one size fits all” Plant Health Care Plan. Instead, we rely on a detailed inventory of your property’s elements and a strong working relationship with the property owner to understand the comprehensive needs of your yard.  Below are the promises we make to all of our loyal Plant Health Care Customers:

  1. Initial property inspection to determine baseline needs and any immediate problems that need to be remedied.
  2. A thorough write up with our recommended Plant Health Care treatment plan. This includes how often we will visit your property (anywhere between 2-6 times a year), what plants we will prioritize, what treatments we will administer and approximate dates when you can expect our crew to visit you.
  3. We will also propose any additional recommended actions that we feel will benefit your property (ie. tree fertilizations, tick and mosquito prevention plan or tree trimming, bracing, cabling or removal).
  4. Once our arborist and the property owner have an agreed on plan, it is our mission to monitor, detect and treat your plants and shrubs to the best of our capability. We consider it our duty to protect your precious greens from insects, diseases and anything else that may effect their health.

Scalable Programs For Every Budget

Many people ask us, “Well what does a Plant Health Care program cost?” The only commonality among all plans is the goal, to keep the property safe and healthy.  Beyond that, one plan may be as simple as a couple of annual visits to check on and feed two trees.  Alternatively, another plan might involve monthly inspections and treatment of every tree and shrub on the property.  As your partner, we want to help you make informed decisions that address the highest level concerns of your property.  With that being said, the complexity of your program will depend entirely on how much you, the property owner, is willing to invest.  We are here to protect your property no matter what size, shape or variety.

For more info on Emerald Tree and Shrub Care please call us at 914-725-0441.

 

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Plan Before You Plant

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Start With A Plant Site Analysis

Picking the right tree, or the right spot for your tree requires a great deal of thought and research.  Many homeowners don’t realize all the factors that can contribute to a tree’s success or failure.  When you enlist our certified arborists to conduct a plant site analysis, we carefully examine the following factors:
  • Amount of space available for the tree to mature.  This includes visible structures such as garages, sheds and sidewalks, as well as underground objects like pipes, septic systems and bedrock.
  • The topography of the land. Steep hills, ditches and slopes are all an important factor in the ability of a tree to remain nourished and stable.
  • Soil composition is a vital element of plant site analysis.  Knowing and understanding how differences in nutrient makeup effect certain species of trees makes all the different when selecting the right tree.
  • Your location and the recommended hardiness zone for the particular tree of interest is also an importance factor to examine.  Just about every type of tree has a recommended growing zone where they will prosper best.  Unfortunately, not all trees will survive in our zone (Zone 7a). Hardiness Zone Map.
  • The amount of sun and shade an area receives is key. Sun and shade patterns change with time of day, as well as time of year.
  • Other things to consider would be exposure to elements like harsh winds, sprinkler systems and heavy foot traffic.
Seems like a lot of work doesn’t it?  Not necessarily for the trained eye. Our arborists have a vast amount of experience with different types of trees and landscapes. Even when working with a landscape designer, it is important to have an arborist walk the property and review planting plans.  The extra time and energy put into planning, will prevent you from wasting your time and money on the wrong tree.
To schedule a plant site analysis call us at 914-725-0441 or email us at estimate@emeraldtreecare.com.

TREES: The Real Superheroes of Winter

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.02.51 AMThe entire east coast is covered in snow, iguanas are freezing and dropping from trees in South Florida, single digit temps have us all hunkering inside and somehow, the trees all prevail. Have you ever stopped to think just how trees and plants survive prolonged freezing temps and still manage to bloom in the spring? The answer is that science is truly amazing and trees are pretty good at preparing for the winter.

The first step occurs in autumn, when low temps and longer nights act as a warning signal for trees to store their nutrients, slow down on producing chlorophyl and drop those leaves!  The tree is preparing to become dormant.  What most people don’t realize, is that dormant doesn’t actually mean inactive, instead the tree strategically turns on the genes that will help it survive the cold and turns off those genes that are associated with growth.

When the temp drops to moderate freezing (20s and 30s) the trees have a very complex way of controlling where the ice will form within their makeup.  The tree will often separate out their more vulnerable cells, allowing them to become the nucleator of ice growth.  Since moisture is attracted to ice (think about frost growing in your freezer) ice will continue to form in these concentrated areas, leaving the remaining more important cells protected.

But what about when the temp gets dangerously low, like the 5-10 degree range we are experiencing now? Trees in much colder climates have a final defense against the cold that is truly remarkable.  Trees sensing an extreme drop in temperature will begin producing protein molecules and sugars that will lower the freezing threshold for liquids inside the tree’s cells.  These sugars act just like anti-freeze, turning the cell liquid into a really dense, concentrated solution, thick like molasses, that literally cannot freeze. The tree also produces more molecules that will act as ice nucleators, but smartly only grows them in the intercellular spaces, protecting the cells from ever freezing and drying out.  “At this stage where trees are fully cold-acclimated, you can put them into liquid nitrogen and they would survive” says Sally Aitken, Forestry Professor at the University of British Columbia.

So now that you’ve learned how hard-working and smart trees are, you can breathe easy knowing they can withstand the winter… well almost.  There is definitely reason to be concerned when we have an extremely cold winter.  The trees will survive, but they are working overtime to produce those sugars and transform their physiology to prevent freezing.  After harsh winters (like the one it seems we are in for) it is more important than ever to feed and fertilize your trees and shrubs in the spring.  They will absolutely benefit from the added boost of nutrients before they enter their real busy seasons, Spring and Summer.

Call today to schedule a spring fertilization from our certified arborists at Emerals Tree and Shrub Care: (914) 725-0441.

 

 

Beware! De-Icing Salt Can Damage Your Plants

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It’s that time of year when municipalities, homeowners and local businesses are liberally spreading rock salt on sidewalks, roads and steps to prevent human falls from slippery surfaces. Did you know though, that while this is a great safety precaution to take for humans, it can have severely damaging effects on your landscape’s plants and shrubs? It may take some time for you to notice the effects salt has on your plants, as it will first be absorbed into the soil, and will slowly move to the roots, stems and buds causing permanent decline and even death. Over time, sometimes years, exposure to salt will result in wilted, disfigured foliage, stunted growth and overall bad health.

Because the damage won’t be recognizable until the next growing season, or even for some time after, it’s important to take steps to help avoid salt runoff from reaching your precious greens.

  • When possible, avoid using rock salt all together.  And if it must be used, dilute it with sand or another abrasive.
  • Improve drainage of your soil by adding organic matter such as activated charcoal or gypsum.
  • Build barriers between your plants and nearby sidewalks, roads and walkways that may be subject to de-icing salt runoff.
  • Select salt-resistant trees to plant in areas where salt exposure is inevitable.  Need suggestion, just call us 914-725-0441.
  • Prune properly and add fertilizers to correct nutrient deficiency as indicated in spring soil testing.

If you have plants, shrubs or trees that are showing signs of salt damage and you’d like a professional opinion, please call us today for a free arborist consultation: 914-725-0441.  As always, we are here to help protect your precious greens in every season.

Winter Storms Approaching – Call a Pro to Prepare Your Lawn

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Storms Approaching – Will Your Landscape Survive?

Winter is the season for some of nature’s most severe weather. Storms in all shapes and forms create havoc throughout the country. One of the greatest dangers posed by storms is presented by falling trees. Unsafe trees are a threat to lives and property.

“Many shade and ornamental trees are damaged throughout the year by windstorms, lightning or ice and snow accumulations,” notes Tchukki Andersen, CTSP*, Board Certified Master Arborist and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. “Damage usually consists of a few broken branches. However, more severe damage – such as splitting or pulling apart of branch unions, removal of large areas of bark, twisting and splitting of the trunk, or even uprooting – pose possible dangers.”

A few tree species, including Chinese elm, silver maple, boxelder and various poplars, have brittle wood that is easily broken. These rapidly growing trees cause a considerable amount of damage to homes, cars, buildings and utility lines each year. Homeowners should be aware of these characteristics and avoid planting them close to potential targets. If such trees are already growing in these locations, preventive pruning, bracing or cabling may help reduce storm damage this winter. This is particularly true as the tree grows in size and the weight and surface of the leaf and branch area increases.

Over the years, growing trees will “catch” more wind and become heavier, so they are prone to increased mechanical stresses, thus increasing the chances of failure. Larger trees will also affect an increased area should they or their larger limbs fall. This means that power lines, homes and other structures that might not have been threatened a few years ago might suddenly be under threat by a tree that has grown. Preparing trees for these natural disasters is a must and should be done well in advance of the stormy season. To help ease these dangers, have a professional arborist evaluate your trees. Doing this will help you determine potential weaknesses and dangers.

Look at your trees for the following warning signs:

  • Wires in contact with tree branches. Trees may become energized when they are contacted by electric wires.
  • Dead or partially attached limbs hung up in the higher branches that could fall and cause damage or injury.
  • Cracked stems and branch forks that could cause catastrophic failure of a tree section.
  • Hollow or decayed areas on the trunk or main limbs, or mushrooms growing from the bark that indicate a decayed and weakened stem.
  • Peeling bark or gaping wounds in the trunk also indicate structural weakness.
  • Fallen or uprooted trees putting pressure on other trees beneath them.
  • Tight, V-shaped forks which are much more prone to failure than open U-shaped ones.
  • Heaving soil at the tree base is a potential indicator of an unsound root system.

Remember, too, that a tree is a living thing, and its integrity and stability change over time, so don’t assume that a tree that has survived 10 severe storms will necessarily survive an eleventh.

Call a professional

A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees and shrubs to plant for your existing landscape. Contact Emerald Tree and Shrub Care today to have a certified arborist come evaluate your property and identify any threats before winter storms hit.  (914)725-0441.

Oak Wilt: What You Should Know

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First off, why should you care about Oak Wilt?  It’s a rapidly occurring, life threatening disease that has been identified in areas as local as Brooklyn and Long Island.

Which Oaks does Oak Wilt effect? Examples of trees effected in the red oak group include those with pointed leaves: scarlet oaks, pin oaks, black oaks etc.  Oak wilt also does attack trees within the white oak group with rounded leaves such as the white oak, swamp white oak and scrub oak, although the disease is much slower moving on these trees.

This disease was first discovered in Wisconsin as far back as 1944.  Over the years it spread throughout the midwest and Texas killing tens of thousands of oak trees. It was first discovered in Long Island, New York in 2008 and has been discovered as recently as Fall 2016 at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

Once Oak Wilt is discovered, the surrounding area immediately becomes an Oak Wilt protective zone.  This is essentially a quarantined area where the movement of logs, branches or large wood pieces is prohibited.

The disease is spread by beetles that attack bark (especially attracted to fresh wounds from pruning) and also travel from root structure to root structure underground.  As mentioned, this disease spreads and kills at a very rapid pace! Taking a mature tree out in a matter of weeks, and close to a full mile in just a year.

How can you keep your eye out for Oak Wilt? Symptoms of oak wilt infection are definitely much more visible in the red species than in white oaks.  Signs to look for include:

  • Brown coloration develops on leaves starting at the outer edge and progressing inward toward the mid-vein of the leaf.
  • Branch dieback starts at the top of the tree’s canopy and progresses downward.
  • Leaves suddenly wilt in the spring and summer and may fall while there is still some green on them.
  • Fungal spore mats may develop under the bark of infected trees.

What to do it you discover Oak Wilt? Call an arborist immediately!  Because this is such a fast acting disease, you should not hesitate to get a trained professional to evaluate the situation.  While there is no cure for Oak Wilt, trunk injections have proven helpful in prevention.  Once a tree becomes infected, the top priority is to stop the fungus from spreading.  This can be done through a process called trenching, where arborist will dig deep into the ground to sever the infected tree’s root system to stop it from moving on to neighboring trees.  The infected tree then must be removed, the stump should be ground as thoroughly as possible, and then the remaining elements treated with a herbicide to prevent spreading.

For more information or to schedule a free tree evaluation please call 914-725-0441.

 

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Emerald’s Crews Restore Old Cemetery to Honor Our Veterans

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On Friday, November 10th, Veterans Day, a group of 10 certified arborists and tree care specialists from Emerald Tree and Shrub Care donated their time to improve the conditions of New York City’s oldest soldier’s cemetery, West Farms Soldier Cemetery.  Kevin W. Wyatt, of Emerald Tree and Shrub Care, was working at a neighboring NYC park months ago, when he recognized the poor neglected state of the cemetery trees.  He immediately reached out to the cemetery’s managing group, Partnerships for Parks, and offered to have his team donate their time to restore the grounds where 40 veterans that have served in 4 different wars are buried.

 

The crew arrived on site at 7:30am and immediately got to work removing dead wood and pruning back branches to improve the strength and health of a large number of Oak and Locust trees scattered throughout the grounds. Each grave was adorned by an American Flag to indicate that a veteran was laid to rest there. Kevin, a Master Arborist and history buff said “I could not think of a better way to spend Veteran’s Day than to be performing long overdue tree pruning and revitalizing at one of the burial grounds of our War Veterans.”

 

West Farm Soldier Cemetery, located on 180th street in the Bronx, just south of the Bronx Zoo, typically sees an increase in visits from family and friends on the weekend following Veterans Day.  What great timing to have the grounds looking clean, safe and back in a state of beauty.

 

Since launching in 1996, Emerald Tree and Shrub Care has had a niche for performing tree care in some of the areas most prominent cemeteries.  Cemeteries requires specialized tree care that preserves and protects the tombstones, mausoleums, monuments and other historical structures.  Emerald’s crew of certified arborists have developed a specialized approach using techniques that prevent damage and keep cemetery grounds in pristine condition throughout the year.
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Protect Your Trees During New Construction

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Planning new construction is always exciting! Whether it’s an addition or a whole new house from ground up, the opportunities are endless and creativity is in full drive.  Anyone who has been a part of a major construction project knows that inevitably the project will grow, the timeline will lengthen and the budget will need to be adjusted.  One vital step that people often overlook is preserving the existing trees and shrubs so that they can be there to accent your new shiny structure when all is said and done.

Just because you are building new.. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace and preserve the old.  When it comes to trees, there are many benefits to keeping those mature oaks standing, including:

  • The shade they provide will help cool your new home and keep air conditioning costs down
  • If you cleared you land (which often happens during new construction) when you move in you will have no privacy at all
  • Mature trees carry a value up to $10,000 each! With all your spending, it’s nice to know you are saving somewhere
  • Mature trees absorb close to 50 lbs. of carbon a year, and let off about 250 lbs of Oxygen.  A yard with abundant fresh, clean air is priceless.
Ensuring the health of trees before, during and after construction requires a custom built plan that is tailored to the variety, location and size of the trees on a property.  For over 20 years, we have been called on to evaluate and protect trees during new building.  We are experienced in working with developers and builders and have a thorough understanding of the area’s climate, diseases and other threats that exist.  Our ultimate goal is to protect mature trees from harm so that they can continue to bring value to your property for many years after the project is complete.
If you have a new project you are planning, and are worried about the interference with your existing tress, call us for a FREE evaluation today: 914-725-0441.
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Fall Fertilization: Your trees will thank you in the Spring.

IMG_7052Why Fertilize in Fall?

Late September through early October is a great time to fertilize your trees and shrubs because a good dose of nutrients will help them stay nourished, protect against diseases and support root development throughout the dormant months of winter.  Fertilizing a plant or tree right before winter months will also support healthy new growth in the early spring as the nutrients stay present in the soil for the roots to absorb for several months.  This year, we have experience extremely warm temps in fall which has put the trees under stress.  When the temps change drastically from cold to warm (90 degrees in Septemeber!) they need a little energy boost.

Our Fertilizer

Here at Emerald Tree & Shrub Care, we have tried a plethora of different fertilizers and have to say, we found one product that can do the work of many.  Biochemists at Growth Products have created the perfect mix of essential amino acids, sea kelp, humic acid, yucca extract, rooting hormones, fermented extracts, vitamins enzymes and more! They work together to boost each others beneficial properties and have proven to:

  • Aid seed germination
  • Improve rooting
  • Feed beneficial soil microbes
  • Improve plant physiology
  • Reduce excess salinity in soils
  • Improve a soil’s nutrient holding capacity
  • Reduce environmental stress

All of that AND it’s 100% Organic.

How to Fertilize

The proper way to fertilize is to inject the formula directly into the ground where the feeder roots are located.  Feeder roots can be found along the drip line of a tree, 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 maximum amount of nutrients will be absorbed.  A needle like the one pictured below is hooked up to our fertilizer solution and inserted into the ground to feed the tree the necessary amount based on it’s size.  There are times when underground wiring or irrigation prevent us from doing a ground injection, and in those cases we will just give the drip like a nice hefty soak.  The problem with a ground soak is that you can never be sure the nutrients reach the roots below.  Sometimes the ground is compacted, or the roots are deep down and that is why we prefer to use a needle and inject our fertilization.

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Interested in scheduling a fall fertilization appointment?  Call us at 914-725-0441.  Trust us, the temporary smell is well worth all the benefits your plants and trees will experience.

 

Mushrooms Growing On My Trees, What Does It Mean?

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Often times, after heavy periods of rain, some trees may sprout mushrooms at the base of the trunk.  They grow fast, and are a very important sign that something could be wrong with your tree.  Mushrooms are known as fruiting bodies; meaning they are a specimen that produces spore of a fungus.  There are many different types of fungus, but the one to be most wary of, with regards to your trees, is the Armillaria Species.  Armillaria is a parasitic fungi that causes root rot and could prove deadly to hardwoods like Oak, Elms, and Honey Locust Trees.

A couple of ways to identify these fruiting bodies, which are often called honey mushrooms, is to examine their appearance.  If the mushrooms on your tree are yellowish in color, with a white rim around their stems and a flat shaped cap, you likely have Armillaria.  A second way to confirm if your mushrooms are honey mushrooms is their smell. Honey Mushrooms got their name because of the sweet smell they let off.  Unfortunately, there is typically very few signs of this root rotting fungus until the mushrooms sprout, and by then it is too late.  Your tree might appear completely healthy, but that does not mean you can ignore this alarming symptom.  Armillaria invades the roots and wood of the tree, extracting all the nutrients for it’s own survival.  Once infected, the structural integrity of the tree is completely compromised and there is rarely an option for treatment, removal being the only solution.

It’s very important that you call a certified arborist for an inspection as soon as you spot mushrooms on the base of your tree.  One infected tree can pose great danger for the rest of the trees on your property.  Special precautionary steps, such as removing as much of the roots as possible, should be taken to avoid the spread of this invasive pathogen.

Got Mushrooms?  Don’t wait, call us immediately at 914-725-0441.