Spring is a time for rebirth. There are so many changes occurring this time of year that it is easy to lose sight of them all. Take a moment to review these tips to see if the trees around your house could use them. Spring is the time to:
Trim Palm Trees
The threat of winter hard freezes is over. Pruning your palm trees now will have them looking great during the summer when you are by your pool.
Remove Dead Branches And Suckers
Dead branches and suckers are sapping vital nutrition from your tree. Removing dead branches and suckers promotes growth and an overall healthier tree. Dead limbs are a safety hazard and is even more of one when the weather warms up and the little ones venture outdoors to play.
Fertilize Oak Trees, Pecan Trees, And Elm Trees
Big trees need the right nutrition to be healthy. Replacing thousands of leaves lost during fall is taxing. Fertilization will keep your tree in better shape while extending its life.
Arborist Administered Insecticide Tree Injections
Caterpillar season is coming soon! Caterpillars range from an annoyance to a real tree damage dealer. Tree injections done by a certified arborist can keep these pests away.
Can you top my trees?
We get this request far too often. The answer is, "No. You should almost never top a tree." Let's start off with what tree topping actually is. Tree topping is cutting the main branches down until there is almost nothing left of the branch. Some companies even do this to trees clean across like a hedge. Even worse are the instances when the tree is cut down to the trunk only. Except for rare exceptions, if you spot a tree company topping trees, write them off as dangerous and avoid using them.
Even when speaking with a certified arborist, property owners still push back with the "usefulness" of tree topping. We will clear up some of the more common misinformation here.
Tree Topping Does Not Reinvigorate The Tree
This belief is rooted in seeing new growth soon after a tree topped. What happened was the tree's food production just got slashed, literally. The tree pushes out new growth in a dire effort to restore food production. The new growth is poorly structured and out of balance with the rest of the tree. The new growth is the most likely area to be afflicted by problematic insects or worse. This new growth will have to be shaped more often to keep the tree with any semblance of its natural shape.
Topping A Tree Is A Terrible Choice For Reduce Its Shade
Trees make shade. That's something you have to live with. Don't plant things that need full sun under a tree. If you need to open up a tree's canopy, selective pruning is the correct method. This should be undertaken by an arborist. They can make the proper cuts to ensure sound structure for your tree.
Topping Trees Regularly Creates A Hazard
Regularly topping your trees each season makes them structurally weak. Weak trees are more likely to drop branches or fall. Keep your area safe by not topping trees.
It Is Not The Correct Practice Because A Family Member Always Did It That Way
We get this push back the most often. Just because your grandpa used to do it, doesn't mean it was correct. Sorry grandpa, but its true. Their trees would have been healthier and better looking if they would have used different methods.
Seek Out A Professional Tree Company
Professional tree companies are operated by certified arborists. Always verify the company you are dealing with operates under an arborist number. Arborists study trees and work with them everyday. Feel free to voice your concerns, but please take the time to listen to their professional tree advise. Any good tree company will tell you "no" if you ask them to do something that would not be beneficial to your trees.
These trees can appear healthy from the outside, yet are an accident waiting to happen. Have a certified arborist inspect your trees every year.
This is a core I took out of sweet gum that we had just removed. From the outside the tree looked fine other than around the base it was developing some odd cavities. I knew the tree had termites from the trails left moving up the bark.
Look how many are on this piece. This piece is only 3"x 3" big.
This is the damage they cause. From the inside, outward. Devastating to the tree!
Trees are a beautiful and functional asset to your property. They provide shade, oxygen, and in some cases fruit, nuts, or flowers. Knowing this, why is pruning and cutting branches on trees important?
Removing weak or dead branches prevent decay and insect problems. Canopies that are too dense can cause increase disease and insect problems. Crossed branches rub the bark away from where they meet. These exposed areas are easy spots for pathogens to be introduced.
Removing competing leaders. Leaders are branches at the top of the tree. Having two that compete can lead to wood that splits and tears.
Older trees can form pockets where water will sit. Sitting water can rot wood and lead to some real damage. Selectively pruning these locations can improve the well being of your tree.
It reduces the risk of branches falling and damaging property or people. Low growing branches can hit people or cars. Branches that hang over property can lead to damages during storms and high wind.
Trees tend to grow best when they keep their form. Removing wild growing branches early keep your tree's form looking good and your tree healthy.
As trees grow larger, they do not need to keep such a low canopy. The higher branches block out more sun, and the lower branches are less effective at producing food. raising a tree's canopy helps to make the tree more productive while making it easier to walk beneath the tree.
September is the most active month of hurricane season. Most of you have been through it before and are prepared in the event another storm hits here. Below is a refresher for how to prepare for a hurricane.
Here is a basic hurricane prep kit:
Prep kit extras:
Inspect your trees today. If they appear unhealthy, contact an arborist. If they have dead branches, have them removed. Tree companies can get booked up once there are hurricane storm path models projecting your area being possible. Contact a tree service company sooner than later for better scheduling.
In the event of a hurricane, bring in outdoor furniture and potted plants. Board up windows and doors you deem necessary. Charge all phones and tablets fully before a hurricane strikes. Charge extra battery kits also. Fill a bathtub with water to use for cleaning in case the water stops working. If there is an evacuation order, get out early. Traffic will cause gridlock quickly. We hope to avoid any hurricanes this seasons and hope you are safe in the event we do encounter one.
How to tell if your tree is dead? Here are five signs to tell if your tree is dead or dying. This is a very common question so this is a quick check for you to do to see if any of these line up with your tree's condition.
1. No Leaves - If all of the trees around it are green and leafy and it has very few or no leaves. Unless it is very early in the year or the other trees are evergreen trees, this is an easy to spot problem.
2. Fungus Growth - If there are mushrooms growing out of the bark of the tree trunk, it is probably a goner. Fungus grows on decomposing organic tissue. This means your tree has been dead long enough to start decaying and may be a real hazard. Look at tree removal to be a very possible choice.
3. Dirt in the Tree - If there is dirt formations on the tree trunk, especially higher up. This can be a visual sign of termite damage. Termites can either do a minimal amount of damage or they can hollow out and entire tree trunk. Get an arborist to inspect your tree to verify the extent of the damage.
4. Bare Bark Areas - If large spots of your tree are missing bark, your tree may already be dead. This happens when a tree starts to dehydrate and the bark falls to the ground.
5. Sudden Decline in Leaves - If your tree has suddenly dropped a lot of leaves during the growing season, it is clearly a bad sign. Recent root excavations, herbicide applications, or lightning strikes could be the cause. These trees may still be saved, so get an inspection first before deciding on removal. Tree fertilization can help trees recover in the early stages of decline.
If you have seen any of these tree issues or are still worried and want a second opinion, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. Big Bark Tree Care operates in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and everywhere in Louisiana between. We can inspect your tree and let you know your options.
Tent caterpillars and bagworms tend to start showing up in summer and keep coming until fall. Early on they will form an infestation like the one shown below. Later you will see silky encasings either across your tree or hanging in a bag. These can be a problem for your pecan trees. You can also find these worms on a number of other trees and shrubs. If you notice a large mass of caterpillars or bagworms, treat them before they have a chance to move up your tree to harder to reach places. Some options for treatment are BT, carbaryl, or Malathion. Read the label before using any pesticide to make sure your variety of tree is listed.
If you are noticing caterpillars and bagworms later on in their life cycle, you should get a hold of a tree care professional. Pressurized spray equipment is usually needed to reach high locations on the tree. Large worm bags need to be removed from the tree completely. If you are set on doing it yourself, try to remove as many bags as you can and throw them away in a sealed bag. If you can't quite remove higher bags, damage them or at least puncture them. Put a bird feeder near the base of the tree to attract birds. The birds will not kill all of the caterpillars, but they will knock down the population some.
If you are in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or somewhere in Louisiana between, contact Big Bark Tree Care to take care of your trees.
Hurricane season is upon us yet again. After closely watching subtropical storm Alberto make landfall, it is certainly here. Hurricane preparedness saves lives. We are repeatedly informed to make sure our family has enough food, water, hygiene supplies, batteries, and gas to last in case disaster strikes. We are asking you to take a look at one more thing that could become deadly, your large trees.
If you have a large tree on your property, have one of our arborists take a look at it for free. Healthy trees often have dead wood hanging from limbs that can cause damage in a storm. A large tree could have a lot of branches that generate wind resistance. A few select cuts will reduce the chance of the tree falling during strong winds. It can also look better and allow light to pass through to the plants below, making them healthier and better looking.
The most dangerous situation is if you have a dead or dying tree. A large dead tree during a hurricane can kill. It is safer to have dead trees removed immediately. These are the first trees to fall during a storm and tend to be the ones on the news shows firmly through the roof of someone’s home. Even if you are insured and no one gets hurt, it will take months to get everything repaired and replaced.
Be on the safe side. If you live in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or anywhere in Louisiana between, get one of our arborists to inspect your tree’s health today for free. Contact us today to get it scheduled.
You have a tree that needs to come down. A professional tree company seems pricey, so you are contemplating doing it yourself. Tree removal carries a lot of risks, some obvious, some hidden. We will go through some of the dangers of cutting down a tree.
This is the most common danger. Climbing in a tree can get you really far off the ground. ALWAYS wear a fall arrest harness without exception when you are climbing in a tree. Some of the branches on a tree may look healthy, but may have some signs of damage you do not notice. Even with proper footing, using chainsaws can cause you to shift your weight and may lead to a fall.
Chainsaws make doing tree work a lot easier. They can also quickly injure. Wear at least leather work gloves, a face shield, and leather chaps when dealing with a chainsaw. Never try to cut something the chainsaw was not designed to cut. Small hard objects may be launched out by the chainsaw. Never cut with the chainsaw close to your face. Do not cut anything directly overhead. Be sure to maintain the chainsaw according to it's manual.
Ropes are a necessary tool for tree work. They make the job safer and easier. They are a lumberjack's friend. A worn out rope is a false friend. Inspect every foot of rope you will use when cutting down a tree as if your life depended on it, because it will. A rope breaking during a tree job can have devastating consequences. If your rope is worn, throw it away and get a new one.
Tools fall all the time. When working with heights, these drops can lead to injury. Be sure that others working with you are wearing hard hats. No one should be underneath anyone who is performing tree work. Which also leads to...
Branches are a lot heavier than they look. The momentum of these branches can kill if they land on you. Branches cut while tree trimming will bounce off other branches on the way down which will cause them to land far from where they were originally cut. Again, stay clear of the area beneath anyone doing tree work.
Tree trunks are a different beast all together. These will kill if they land on anyone. Tree trunks can cut right through houses and cars. If a full tree trunk is felled, it can damage pipes and utilities buried beneath the ground. Sometimes you will find a tree trunk to be partially or fully hollow from insect damage. This can cause a weak point that will make the tree fall in a hard to predict pattern. The need for caution cannot be overstated when cutting a tree trunk.
Trees are often near power lines. Accidentally touching a power line can mean lights out. If the branches are close to touching the power lines, you should leave this job to a professional. Heights with chainsaws are dangerous enough without adding the element of electrocution. Contact your power company and they may trim away the branches or even cut down the tree for you.
A quick change in weather is always a possibility in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A strong uptick in wind or a freak thunderstorm can make the conditions for cutting down a tree dangerous. Always check the weather forecast prior to starting your tree removal project.
If you have palms, they probably still do not look that good. We get asked everyday the same question, “Are my palms dead?” Here is how to check.