Spotting Grubs in Your Yard Before It’s Too Late

dying grass, grubsGrubs are a quiet enemy of a healthy lawn. Voracious eaters, grubs live beneath the surface of unsuspecting lawns. Also aggressive multipliers, grubs will continue to reproduce and inflict ever-increasing damage.  Because they live below ground, homeowners are unlikely to spot the invaders or catch them in the act. However, anyone who is paying careful attention can easily spot the evidence of grubs. Here are some signs that grubs are feasting on your grass.

Wilting Grass

Grubs live to feed on your grass. But they don’t eat the pretty green stems that you see above the surface. Therefore, you won’t see them crawling around on your lawn, and you also won’t see grass being chomped off by these pests. Instead they eat the roots. This means that all of the damage is occurring below the surface. Of course, this will affect the overall health of grass plants. What you will notice is grass that looks wilted or sick.

Brown Spots

If grubs continue to feast on your lawn, eventually grass will not just look sick or wilted. Eventually the grass will die. Death of grass will demonstrate itself with brown spots. Sometimes brown spots start out small and you can attack the pest before the problem becomes widespread.

Easily Removed Grass

Another consequence of grub infestation and the accompanying loss of roots is a steady weakening of grass plants. You probably don’t try to pull up your grass, but if you suspect grubs you might want to do just that in a small, inconspicuous area of your yard. If grubs are destroying the roots of your grass, clumps of the plants will be easily removed with your hands. Strong grass plants, on the other hand, will have dense root systems that keep them firmly anchored in the ground.

Increase of Animal Visitors

Finally, a dead give-away that you have grubs is an increase of animals coming to your yard to eat. Animals, including birds, moles, and racoons, are natural predators of grubs. If you have noticed flocks of birds frequently landing in your yard while ignoring your neighbor’s yard, you can be pretty sure that they are coming to feed on the pests feeding on your grass. On an even more unpleasant note, skunks also enjoy a meal of grubs. Now that is motivation to eradicate these pesky pests from your yard!

If you think you have a grub problem, Ping’s can help. Our lawn care division can make needed pest control applications or provide holistic lawn care which includes both fertilizer and pesticide treatments. Call us at 317-298-8482 to find out more about the services we offer.

It’s Time for a Spring Yard Clean-Up

We’ve been waiting for it since last November and this year we thought it would never come. But finally, spring has arrived in central Indiana. Now that spring is here, it is time to get to work. As winter clears out, it’s easy to see that there is much to be done. Here is a list of spring yard clean-up tasks to get you started.

Clear Lawn Debris

Winter weather tends to make a mess in your yard. Snow, wind, and ice can be hard on your trees, bringing down small twigs, larger branches, and sometimes even whole trees. In addition, leaves and trash may have been blown into your yard and will need to be taken care of. Whether you have a small mess or a big one, Ping’s can come take care of it for you. Even cleaning up a large tree is no problem for us.

Clean Out Landscape Beds

Likewise, your landscape beds may have collected the same types of debris over the winter. Beds may also have dead leaves, flowers, and stems that were not removed in the fall. This can be a big job if you have multiple landscape beds. Or delegate the work to Ping’s Landscape division. We will quickly clean out the old and get your beds ready for new spring plantings.

Trim Trees and Shrubs

Once new leaves appear on trees and shrubs, you might notice that they look a little shaggy. In this case, they could probably use a trim. Ping’s has the expertise and equipment to prune trees, improving both health and appearance.

Aerate and Overseed Grass

Problems with your lawn can become apparent in the spring. Ground may be compact or the grass may become sparse or thin. Taking the time to aerate your lawn and overseed it can improve your chances of a lush, green lawn this summer. If you don’t have the time, Ping’s lawn care team can do it for you.

Fertilize Lawn

Great looking lawns don’t just happen. Spring is a good time to start fertilizing your lawn and getting it ready for a healthy growing season. This helps your grass recover from the harsh winter weather and get ready for the hot days of summer. Again, Ping’s can do this for you. We actually have a 6-step program that provides lawn treatments at just the right time.

Apply Mulch

For many homeowners, spring means that it’s time to apply mulch. This is a helpful practice, which conserves water and reduces both run-off and weeds. It is important that mulch application be done correctly since too much mulch can be harmful to trees and plants. Aren’t sure how to apply mulch? See our blog for some tips or better yet, let Ping’s do it for you.

Spring’s to-do list can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be. Let Ping’s help you out. We provide all these services for commercial as well as residential customers. Call us today at 317-298-8482 and let us know how we can get your property cleaned up and ready for spring.

Elements of a Beautiful Landscape Bed

landscape bedDriving through local neighborhoods gives you a chance to observe some beautiful landscaping. This might get you thinking about adding some landscaping to your yard. Before you start planting, you should give some thought to the elements that are commonly used in landscape beds and how you will incorporate them into your bed. Keep reading for a summary of the typical components of a landscape bed.

Small Trees or Shrubs

In planning a landscape bed, you should think first about the larger, more permanent elements of the bed. These give the bed a structure around which you can plan other elements. A small tree or shrub is often a good option. Just make sure you choose this element carefully because it is not as easy to change it out as other elements. Dogwoods, magnolias, and redbuds are flowering trees that can work in landscape beds, especially if you choose a miniature variety. If you’d rather stick with shrubs, boxwoods, barberries, hollies, and hydrangeas are just a few attractive alternatives.

Vines

Some vines do not belong in your flower bed (think poison ivy!), but other less irritating vines are a great way to add some height and color to an ordinary landscape. Clematis are a popular vine whose pretty large blooms will last for weeks or even months. Sweet peas and morning glories are two other colorful options. Any of these can be trained to a trellis within the bed. English ivy is a good choice to add more green color to your backdrop, especially if the bed backs up to a building or house.

Perennial Plants

The heart of any landscape bed is found in its perennial plants. These hardy plants come back year after year, often even multiplying to cover more space and produce more flowers. Shasta daisies, coneflowers, phlox, and black-eyed susans are just a few of the perennial plants that thrive in central Indiana. Once they are established, they will continue to grow and multiply in nearly any condition.

Bulbs

Similar to perennials, bulbs also come back year after year. However, they usually bloom for a relatively short period of time, adding a burst of color for a few weeks. Crocuses are some of the earliest bulbs to bloom and may even appear before the snow melts. For early spring color, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths can’t be beat. Later in the summer, irises, allium, and lilies will add interest.

Annual Plants

As you plan your garden bed, be sure to leave some space for annuals. These plants are not hardy enough to survive the cold Indiana winters so they must be planted every year after the last frost of the year. You can buy small plants or even plant some varieties from seed. Some annuals commonly planted in local gardens are petunias, impatiens, marigolds, zinnias, and bachelor buttons.

Nonplant Elements

While plants will be the main component in a landscape bed, inanimate objects have a place too.  Many landscapers like to accent with birdbaths, benches, or rocks. Some even choose to express their own personality with a piece of outdoor art.  These objects will provide some year-round consistency as flowers bloom and fade with the seasons.

Creating a landscape bed is an exciting and rewarding project. When done right, it can bring you joy for many years and add value to your residential or commercial property. At Ping’s, we have the expertise and experience to create a landscape bed at your home or business that optimally combines the design elements and your own personal style. Call 317-298-8482 today to talk to our landscaping unit about how we can implement your landscaping project without the effort and stress of doing it yourself.

 

The Right Tree Removal Equipment Is Essential – Ping’s Has It!

tree removal equipmentTree removal is no easy task. It is dangerous, complicated work, which is why most homeowners prefer to hire professionals to do it rather than doing it themselves. Tree care professionals have the required skills and expertise that enable them to accomplish removal of trees safely and without incident. But in addition to skill, tree removals, especially large or complicated removals, also require the right equipment. Ping’s Tree Service has a fleet of tree removal equipment which enables them to handle any tree removal, tree care, or tree emergency.

Providing Necessary Access

If all tree work could be done from the ground, things would be far less complicated. But in truth, pruning, trimming, and tree removals demand that workers get strategic access to branches that are far off the ground. Taking down a large tree cannot be done without the right equipment. Ping’s has an aerial lift device that can reach up to 90 feet above the ground. With the help of this reliable equipment, we can say that there is no tree removal that is too large for us to handle.

Getting Into Tight Spaces

In some tree situations, it is not elevation that proves to be the biggest problem, but rather the ability to breech a barrier. Like the fence that surrounds your backyard. Yes, fences can be very helpful for keeping kids in and wild animals out, but if you have a tree that needs to be trimmed or removed behind that fence, you’ve got a problem. That’s because there’s no way that you can get traditional tree equipment past that fence. However, it’s no problem for Ping’s. We have several pieces of equipment that can fold up to fit through a small opening, including a trac crane that will go through a 54-inch opening, a 90-foot trac lift that can go through a 44-inch opening, and 3 72-foot trac lifts that will go through a mere 36-inch opening. These kinds of equipment enable us to get to any problem tree without causing a big problem in your yard.

Having Just the Right Equipment

Every tree is unique and likewise every tree care problem can demand a unique solution.  Tree work varies from job to job and each job requires just the right equipment. At Ping’s, we have a whole fleet of trucks, cranes, and other equipment that we keep well-maintained and updated with new pieces as needed. Having the right piece for the right job means that we can work safely and efficiently. For example, we recently added a 38-ton crane that gives us incredible capacity for even tricky tree removals. Our tracked aerial devices sometimes even allow us to prune or remove trees without climbing in certain dangerous situations or with difficult to reach trees.

With the necessary equipment and years of experience, Ping’s can be trusted with your tree problem, no matter how big or complex. Call us today at 317-298-8482 to schedule an appointment or anytime, day or night, that you experience a tree emergency.

Flowering Trees Add Beauty to Your Yard

flowering treesAfter a long winter of monochromatic dullness, spring bursts onto the scene with a palate of beautiful colors. Tulips, daffodils, and crocuses are among the first bearers of spring color. Flowering trees also adds color to your yard during the spring and summer. Keep reading to learn more about these pretty trees and the care that they require.

Flowering Trees for Central Indiana

If you want to add color to your landscape, flowering trees are a good way to do it. There are a variety of flowering trees in different colors and of different sizes and shapes. Each tree offers a different type of flower so you’ll want to view them in full bloom to pick just the right one. Some good choices for flowering trees in Indiana include:

  • Tuliptree – A large tree reaching as tall as 150 feet tall, the tuliptree produces yellowish green blooms from May through mid-June.
  • Dogwood – With blooms of white or pink that appear in the spring, dogwoods reach heights of 20 feet.
  • Crabapple – Spring-flowering crabapples are available in a variety of colors but also produce messy fruit later in the year.
  • Flowering Cherry – There are several varieties of flowering cherry trees (with a range of sizes and a variety of colors) that do well in Indiana.
  • Lilac – One of the first trees to bloom in the spring, lilacs bring both color and fragrance to your yard.
  • Viburnum (Blackhaw) – Viburnum trees grow to about 15 feet tall and shows off its clusters of white flowers in early May.

Special Care for Flowering Trees

Caring for flowering trees is not much different than caring for other trees. Many of the same principles apply. However, ignoring the necessary tree care tasks may have more visible results in flowering trees. Failure to provide adequate water and fertilizer to flowering trees may lead to a decrease in flowers. One area of tree care that is different for flowering trees is pruning. Because flowers set in the fall for spring-flowering trees, pruning should be done immediately after bloom in the spring. Summer-blooming trees, on the other hand, can be pruned in the late winter or very early spring.

If you are thinking of planting a flowering tree, Ping’s can help. Our arborists can help you choose a good tree for the conditions in your yard. We also understand the best techniques for planting a tree as well as caring for the trees you have. Protect the beauty that flowering trees bring to your yard with top-notch care from Ping’s.

Spring Lawn Care Activities

spring lawn care Was your lawn a disappointment last year? Were you embarrassed to have the brownest, sparsest lawn in the neighborhood? Did you finally just give up on achieving the green, lush yard of your dreams? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative, we have good news for you. Spring gives you an opportunity to start afresh on your lawn. Here are some spring lawn care tasks that will help you have a healthy, beautiful lawn in 2018.

Clean Up from Fall and Winter

Nature can be messy, especially in the fall and winter seasons. Lawns all over central Indiana find themselves covered by a blanket of leaves every fall. Some leaves fall before summer even says goodbye. Others fall as the chilly nights of autumn arrive. But still others hang onto their leaves well into what feels like winter. Once snow falls, it is harder to rake leaves and remove them from your lawn. In that case, your first spring lawn care task should be to get rid of leaves as well as any tree branches or sticks that have fallen in winter.

Tune Up Your Mower

If there is one thing that everyone does in the summer, it is lawn mowing. It starts in the spring almost as soon as the weather warms and continues through the cooler days of fall. You better be ready! Many homeowners take their mowers in for a tune-up before mowing begins. This assures that your mower will be ready to run when the grass needs to be cut. At the same time, it is important to make sure that blades are sharp, ensuring clean, healthy cuts to grass.

Fertilize Your Lawn

When you want something to grow, you better feed it. This is as true for grass as it is for any other living organism. That’s why homeowners hoping for a lush, green lawn this year should fertilize in the spring. If you are unsure about how to apply fertilizer or just don’t want to do it yourself, Ping’s offers single applications of fertilizer as well as season-long lawn care programs that apply the right lawn care treatments at just the right time.

Overseed or Fill in Bare Spots

As your lawn starts to come back from its winter hibernation, it is a great time to look for thin or bare spots. There will be areas where grass has died or has just been weakened or damaged. Applying grass patch on bare patches allows you to fill in these spots. In addition, overseeding your whole lawn helps promote a fuller, healthier lawn. Take advantage of the mild spring weather to encourage optimal growth and nurture of grass seeds and young plants.

Prevent and Kill Weeds and Pests

While helping grass grow is a good thing, there are other plants and animals that you don’t want growing in your lawn. In the spring, weeds will take off almost immediately. To keep them from taking over, preventative treatments should be applied. Grubs are also known to invade lawns in spring. You can tell grubs are a problem when the birds start to congregate and feast on your lawn. Ping’s 6-step lawn care program will apply herbicides and pesticides to eliminate these problems.

Spring lawn care is important. It provides the foundation for grass that thrives through the changing temperatures and conditions of a central Indiana summer. You are not alone in these lawn care tasks; Ping’s offers services to help with many of these. Whether fertilizing, applying herbicides or pesticides, or overseeding, Ping’s will make sure that it is done at the right time and in the correct manner. Beyond just spring, Ping’s also provides a reliable lawn care program throughout the growing season. To learn more about the services we offer, see our website or call us for more information (317-298-8482).

Ping’s Tree Service Receives TCIA Accreditation

TCIA accreditationMany industries have their own system for developing and recognizing experts within the industry. Through accreditation program, seasoned experts within an industry can pass on their knowledge and certify that those who have completed the program have the skills and expertise needed. By awarding accreditation, industry groups can also communicate to the general public that graduates have mastered industry skills and demonstrated success. Ping’s has recently renewed their 3-year Residential/Commercial Accreditation with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), which was formerly known as the National Arborist Association.

What Is TCIA Accreditation?

TCIA is the oldest and most well-respected tree care trade association in the country and their accreditation takes into account a company’s ethics, quality of work, and consumer confidence. Within the tree care industry, the TCIA’s accreditation program offers tree care professional the opportunity to reach a high level of proficiency and to be recognized for that.  They examine the policies and procedures of companies applying for accreditation.  According to Bob Rouse, TCIA’s chief program officer, “Accreditation is a process that helps the owner really get a handle on their business, get it organized, understand strategically how it works and where they want to take that company in the future. It shows customers that this is a model tree care company, the best in the area, and raises the bar for other tree care companies in the area.”

What Does TCIA Accreditation Tell You?

So what does that mean for you as an Indianapolis resident? In short, it gives you confidence in the Ping’s organization. Nearly every homeowner or commercial property owner has at least one tree and thus will need tree care at some point. You might notice that your trees are showing signs of distress or disease. Or you may recognize that your trees are looking straggly and in need of a trim. Sometimes icy or windy weather bring down a whole tree or a weak branch, demanding your immediate attention. Whatever your situation, you’ll want highly trained, knowledgeable tree care professionals to address your problem.  And with the TCIA accreditation, you can rest easy knowing that Ping’s is equipped to provide the best tree care in the Indianapolis area.

Ping’s offers tree care services ranging from routine maintenance to 24/7 emergency service. Last year, we also opened a landscape division, which provides lawn care, landscape, and snow removal services. It is our honor to be able to deliver services of the highest quality to residents and commercial property owners in the Indianapolis area. Call us at 317-298-8482 or schedule an estimate on our website.

Getting Trees Ready for Spring

preparing trees for springJust when you thought you couldn’t handle another day of brutal Indiana winter, spring is within sight! But before you put away the hats and gloves, the heavy coats and snow shovels, remember that we still have a few weeks of winter.  And that is a good thing because there are some tree care tasks that need to be done before spring is in full bloom. The window between the worst of winter weather and the bright flowers of spring can be quite short so get ready for these necessary activities.

1. Tree Inspection

While inspection seems like a rather passive and minor activity, it’s not.  To the contrary, thorough inspection can help you spot problems while they’re small and, pardon the pun, nip them in the bud.  When trees are bare, it is easier to see weak or diseased branches.

2. Tree Trimming

Before trees start to leaf out, it is also helpful to do any pruning or trimming that is needed.  Not only is it easier to see what’s going on without leaves, but is also better for the health of the tree to prune before the weather gets warmer.  In cold weather, the chances are reduced for infection or infestation of the open wounds left by pruning.

3. Tree Clean-up

As the snow begins you melt, you may begin to see a real mess around your tree.  If you placed protective wrapping on your tree for the winter, you’ll want to start by removing that.  Fallen branches should be picked up to from around the tree to make your lawn beautiful and ready to take off in spring weather.

4. Tree Planting

Once the ground thaws, spring is a perfect time to plant any trees you’d like to add to your landscape.  The earlier you can get them in the ground, the better as they will have more time to recover from the trauma of planting before they must endure the trauma of hot summer weather.

5. Tree Fertilization

Growth takes energy so you want to provide all the nutrients your trees need to grow. Fertilizers will have an optimal effect if they are applied as soon as the ground is workable.  That way, when your tree is ready for that spring growth spurt, it will have the nutrients it needs at its disposal.

6. Soil Testing and Amendment

Relatedly, this transition time is also a good time to test your soil and see what nutrients it is missing.  Soil that is lacking the necessary nutrients for healthy long-term tree growth can be amended with the proper additives.

7. Mulch Application

Tree health is closely tied to their ability to access water.  Bare or weedy soil can divert necessary water from trees. Mulch keeps water from evaporating and prevents weeds from taking root. To help retain water in the ground around trees, mulch should be properly applied.

8. Arborist Consultation

Finally, keeping trees healthy is not always a straightforward task. You may not know what your trees need or the best approach to take with them. It is often helpful to schedule a consultation with a trained arborist who can assess the situation and give recommendations for ensuring trees’ ongoing strength and vigor.

Don’t let care for your trees overwhelm you during the short period of transition from winter to spring.  Instead, let Ping’s help you out.  The experts at Ping’s offers Indianapolis tree trimming, planting, fertilizing, and other services to help you get ready for spring. Schedule today online or by calling us at 317-298-8482.

Homemade Maple Syrup: How-To Guide for Hoosiers

homemade maple syrupIt’s easy to pick up a bottle of maple syrup at the store, but have you ever considered making your own?  Yes, it is a lot of work, but tapping your trees is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature’s bounty. And when you’re done, you’ll have the sweetest reward for your efforts. Of course, it can be tricky to know where to start. All you need is the right setup, a few tools, and a little patience.

How to Identify a Sugar Maple

The first step for homemade maple syrup is locating your trees. Homeowners with more mature trees might be pleasantly surprised to find that they have a sugar maple right in their backyard. Sugar maples can be recognized by their brown pointed buds, shaggy bark, and the five wide-lobed notches on their leaves. The Indiana DNR has a helpful guide to help you identify trees by their leaves.

Look to tap trees that are wider than 10 inches in diameter. If you don’t have any sugar maples available, you can also try tapping sycamores, box elders, or birch trees. They all produce sap as well, though the sugar maple will yield the most for your efforts—between 5 to 60 gallons of sap each year. It sounds like a lot, but 10 gallons are needed just to make one quart of maple syrup!

How to Tap Your Trees

The key to tapping your sugar maple tree is temperature. In order for the sugar maple sap to be good for making syrup, the daytime temperatures should reach about 40 F. In Indiana, the maple syrup season typically starts in February and wraps up in April. This is when an enzyme in the tree becomes active, transforming starch into sugar. Tap your trees during these ideal temperatures to get the best product.  Follow these instructions for tapping trees:

  1. Drill a slightly angled hole upward into your tree, about 3 feet above the ground.
  2. Tap a spile (the drip spout) into the hole.
  3. Hang a sap bucket from the spile.
  4. Wait for the sap to drain. About 1 drop per second is a good pace.
  5. Collect the sap and store in a cool area.

Many of the tools needed for tree tapping can be found at your local hardware store. Or you may prefer to order them online.

How to Make Maple Syrup

Once you collect sap, it’s important to boil it off as soon as possible since sap can actually go rancid after 24 or 48 hours. Due to the large volumes of sap needed to make syrup, it may be easier to perform the initial steps outside over a fire pit. To transform sap in syrup, follow these directions:

  1. Strain your sap through cheesecloth to remove any impurities.
  2. Heat the sap to a strong boil so the water evaporates.
  3. Bring the last few gallons indoors to finish heating on the stove.
  4. Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer—it should be ready at 219 F.
  5. Pour your maple syrup into sterilized jars and enjoy!

Does making homemade maple syrup sound like a fun project? Whether this labor-intensive endeavor is for you or not, you’ll want to keep all your trees (including maple trees) in good health.  Ping’s Tree Service offers all the tree maintenance services you need to keep your trees healthy and beautiful…though you’re on your own with the syrup making!

 

Four Ways Ping’s Can Make Your Winter Better

snow removalWinter is not the most popular season in central Indiana.  It is often cold and dark and full of unpredictable weather.  But Hoosiers are good at looking at the bright side of things.  Snow-covered landscapes can be dazzlingly beautiful.  Cold weather can lead to cozy evenings with your favorite family or friends.  And inclement weather often provides opportunities to help or be helped by neighbors.  At Ping’s, we view winter as a time when we can offer services to make the season a good one for our customers.  With the required expertise as well as the necessary snow removal and tree service equipment, Ping’s can make your winter better in these four ways.

  1. Snow Removal Service

One frustrating aspect of winter in the Midwest is that travel is more difficult.  Snow must be removed from roads in order for vehicles to safely pass.  We are fortunate that local governments take care of public roads. Yet there are still neighborhood streets and commercial parking lots that are not the responsibility of public road crews.  If you are responsible for making sure that a lot or subdivision is kept clear, Ping’s can help.  You tell us the trigger for plowing, and when we receive that amount of snow, we will send out a crew.  Day or night, you don’t have to worry.  Our snow removal service let you rest assured that snow and ice will be dealt with promptly.

  1. Removing Dead or Dangerous Trees

Winter weather brings with it conditions that can quickly take down a dead, dying, or otherwise weakened tree.  Strong winds, ice accumulation, or even heavy snowfall can put stress on trees.  Those that are vulnerable may lose large limbs or even topple completely.  At this point, you may experience more damage than just tree loss.  If a branch falls on a car, house, or commercial building, the results can be devastating.  No one wants to deal with the property damage and personal injury that can occur when a tree or branch falls.  If you know you have a vulnerable tree, Ping’s can help you avoid disaster by removing it now before nature gets the chance to take it out.  We have the tree service equipment required to make an easy fix to a potentially dangerous situation.

  1. Emergency Service

Sometimes even with the best of forethought and preparation, winter weather will deliver a punch you weren’t expecting.  Even healthy trees can sometimes fall victim to gusty winds and weighty precipitation.  When this happens to you, Ping’s will help you make the best of it.  Our emergency tree service is available 24/7 to provide quick clean-up help.  We are ready to send our crews out anytime you need us, and we will see that the mess is taken care of safely and efficiently.

  1. Getting Ready for Spring

One final way that Ping’s can help make your winter a little brighter is by helping you get ready for spring.  It doesn’t take long for most of us to tire of the dreariness of winter.  We start to dream of spring long before it arrives.  Ping’s can help you put your dreams into action.  Winter is a good time to trim up trees, getting them ready to grow as soon as the weather turns warmer.  We can also help you devise a plan for lawn care or landscaping during the warmer seasons.  After all, it won’t be long until you’ll be mowing your grass instead of scooping snow!

So sit back, enjoy the best of winter, and let Ping’s make the colder months more bearable.  Right now, we are offering a 15% discount on qualifying services performed before February 28th, 2018.  Call us today (317-298-8482) and let us know how we can help!

How Amazing Trees Survive the Winter

snow-covered amazing treesTrees really are amazing, and the more you know about them, the more amazing they appear.  For starters, their resiliency and their ability to endure the ever-changing environment is impressive. Have you ever thought about how trees survive the winter here in blustery Central Indiana?  Keep reading to learn more about trees and their amazing ability to tolerate harsh winter conditions.

Dormancy Reduces Trees’ Needs

It’s no secret that most trees lose their leaves in the fall.  This natural occurrence leaves trees without a way to produce food.  Green leaves convert sunlight into energy through the process of photosynthesis.  This energy is the tree’s food, which it uses to grow and function.   Obviously, there are no green leaves in the winter, which means no food is being produced.  Fortunately, trees handle this quite efficiently.  They simply go dormant in the winter.  During dormancy, trees do not grow and their metabolism slows down.  They only perform essential biologic functions, thus conserving energy.  The limited energy needs are met with food that has been stored in cells during sunny summer days.  When spring comes and the days lengthen and brighten, leaves again emerge and trees come out of dormancy.

Cellular Changes Keep Trees from Freezing

Lack of food is only part of the problem created by winter weather.  Trees also have to endure freezing temperatures.  They do not have the ability to move to a warmer climate or to shelter themselves in any way.  But they do have the ability to make incredible changes to their own cells that protect them from the cold.  One change is that cell membranes become more pliable, which allows water to move more freely out of the cell.  Secondly, the cells convert stored starch into sugar, which is used to sweeten the fluid within the cell.  This sweetened liquid has a lower freezing point so the water inside remains unfrozen while the water outside of the cell freezes.  Finally, the cell liquid itself actually transforms into an almost solid state which keeps the cell from crystalizing.  (For a more detailed explanation of these cellular changes, you can see this article.)

Trees are remarkable in their ability to deal with winter weather.  At Ping’s we think that this is only one of the ways that trees are amazing.  Our business is dedicated to providing the best preventative tree care as well as responding quickly and efficiently to tree problems and emergencies.  Call us for a free estimate and our expert arborists and technicians will help you protect these miraculous plants.

The History of the Christmas Tree

Christmas tree historyHoliday traditions vary from family to family, but the Christmas tree has been a long-standing symbol in American culture. Of course, that wasn’t always the case. Most of the first settlers would have thought it was strange to have an evergreen tree inside!  There are a lot of different stories surrounding this history, though a few things are for certain. For one, today it doesn’t matter what kind of tree you decorate in your home. Whether you’re loyal to live pine trees or you keep things easy with a decorative faux tree, the story of Christmas tree history is pretty interesting when you take a closer look.

Origins of the Tradition

Decorating homes with evergreen boughs has been customary since ancient times. From the early Romans using evergreens to Ancient Egyptians hanging green palms, the symbol has long held meaning for various cultures. Families would often celebrate the winter solstice with this type of greenery. Hanging boughs in the home and around entryways was meant to be an inspiring reminder that spring and summer would return once again.   Although wintertime greenery was popular in many areas around the world, the country with the biggest role in the tree as we know it today is Germany. Known as the Tannenbaum, the Christmas tree story for Germans typically dates back to the 16th century. It was during that time that Christian families started associating the decorative trees with the birth of Christ.

Coming to America

From Germany, the Christmas tree was eventually brought to America. Though it did take some time to catch on. Some accounts suggest that German settlers in Pennsylvania had a tree on display in the 1830s. Another story also dates to the mid-1830s. But in that version, the tree was set up by a Harvard professor in his Cambridge, Massachusetts home. Both sound likely enough since the tradition was common in Germany. The rest of the nation just needed a little more inspiration before adopting the tradition as their own.

Growing Acceptance

Fast forward to 1846. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are often credited with popularizing the Christmas tree to those outside of Germany. The spark was pretty straightforward. Because Albert was German, the royal family posed for a sketch in front of a decorated tree at Windsor Castle. That image was later published in the Illustrated London News. As the news spread, it helped popularize the tradition both in Britain and in the fashion-forward society in New England.

Current Popularity

As time progressed, another trend started to emerge. While Europeans preferred having a Christmas tree that was smaller (around 4 feet tall), Americans tended to like trees that were bigger. By the 1890s, it wasn’t unheard of to have trees that stretched all the way to the ceiling. It’s a decorating style that we still see today!  Size does vary according to personal taste from home to home, but the bottom line is that the Christmas tree enjoys near universal popularity.  Almost every home (and some businesses too) in America will have a Christmas tree this year.

As you tend to your Christmas tree inside, don’t forget to peak at your blue spruce, pine, and fir trees outside. If you start to have problems with your outdoor trees, be sure to give Ping’s Tree Service a call at 317-298-8482. Our crew would be happy to consult with you on any tree issues you might notice. With our residential tree care services, your trees can remain healthy and beautiful all year long—even through winter.

Five Good Children’s Books About Trees

children's books about treesGiving gifts to children at Christmas-time can be a source of joy for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even family friends.  If you are considering what to give the kids in your life, books always make good gifts.  Even before they can read, children love to have books read to them.  Kids will often latch onto favorite books and request that parents read them over and over.  We’ve compiled a list of some good children’s books about trees that kids will enjoy and learn from.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf  by Lois Ehlert

Kids love to learn about the world around them.  This book is perfect for teaching kids about trees and how they grow and change.  The simple words and brightly colored pages of Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf are appealing even to toddlers and small children.

Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall and Sheri Halpern

Books help kids make connections between themselves, the world, and other books.  Kids will gain a greater understanding of the nature they experience every day through this book.  The complex ecosystem of trees, plants, and animals will come to life as kids point and listen.  A recipe for apple pie is included in this book and offers an engaging activity to extend the opportunity to learn.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

Kids can’t help loving Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  And it’s as fun to read as it is to listen to.  The prominently featured coconut tree provides the background for an interesting way to review the uppercase and lowercase alphabet.  Don’t tell the little ones that this book is educational – its sing-song wording will have them chanting along and learning without even knowing it.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Books have the ability to teach more than just facts.  They can also teach listeners and readers about values.  The Giving Tree illustrates the value of sacrifice and selflessness is a very vivid way.  This book gives you an opportunity to shape the character of the kids in your life.

The Legend of the Three Trees by Catherine McCafferty

Making sense of the world is not always easy for adults, and it can be even more difficult for kids.  Great books can bring make the complexities of the world more easily understood.  The Legend of the Three Trees presents a vivid picture of God’s loving care for the world He created.  The message of this classic is timeless and comforting to kids growing up in a world that doesn’t always make sense.

Trees positively impact our lives in so many ways.  These books can help kids start to appreciate trees and all they provide for us.  We hope you have found this list helpful and that it gives you some good gift ideas for the kids in your life.  All of us at Ping’s wish you a Merry Christmas.

Reasons to be Thankful for Trees

thankful for treesLife in central Indiana is good.  There is so much to be thankful for every day.  However, in November we give our blessings more thought than usual.  As you consider all the reasons you have to be thankful, don’t forget about trees.  Though you may rarely give trees a thought, they really do make life better in a variety of ways.  Here are just a few reasons to be thankful for trees:

Trees Encourage Better Breathing

Breathing is so natural that we rarely consider how reliant we are on our ability to breath in and out.  Yet the reality is that without the ability to breath, we cannot live.  In order for breathing to continue, we must have breathable air.  Trees contribute to the air composition in a significant way.  Their natural processes actually use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, which people and animals need for life.  Trees (along with other plants) ensure a constant supply of oxygen for animal respiration.

Trees Reduce Pollution

Not only do trees provide the necessary constituents of our air, but they also reduce the pollutants that can affect air.  Odors, gases, and particles that pollute the air can be absorbed by the leaves and wood of a tree.  In this way, trees act as a natural air filter.  Trees also help to reduce water pollution by conducting water into the ground where it can be absorbed.  This reduces runoff and allows water to instead soak into the ground, where the soil filters out pollutants.

Trees Conserve Water and Energy

It’s terrible to waste the resources we have.  Trees help us to steward our natural resources, especially water and energy.  They help keep the nearby environment cooler by providing shade and by releasing water vapor into the air.  When trees are planted near homes and businesses, they diminish the amount of energy that is needed to cool these buildings.  Trees also reduce the rate of evaporation from the ground and keep more moisture available for lawns and other plants.

Trees Create a Functioning Habitat

In nature, organisms need each other.  Trees are no exception.  Many other plants and animals rely on the trees that they share an environment with.  Some animals nest in the branches of trees.  Others enjoy the shelter trees provide.  Some trees also provide food for animals.  The loss of trees from a habitat would have a destructive effect.

Trees Provide Resources

Not only do trees provide life-giving resources to surrounding animals, they also provide resources to people.  Wood from trees has long been a source of heating as well as a durable building material.  Trees also provide some of the best food that nature has to offer.  Fruit trees, such as apples and cherries, and nut trees, including walnuts, hickory nuts, and chestnuts, can easily be grown right here in central Indiana.

Trees Increase Property Values

The beauty of trees is obvious.  Whether the buds of early spring, the full green foliage of summer, or the brilliant colors of fall, trees attract our attention and please our eyes.  Trees bring beauty to any property and thereby raise the desirability and value of the property.  Since trees are relatively inexpensive to plant and maintain, they make good investments for any property, whether commercial or residential.

Trees Improve Relationships and Wellbeing

Imagine your neighborhood without trees.  If all the trees disappeared, would it make a difference in how you felt about yourself and your neighbors?  Research says that it would.  Trees provide many intangible benefits to individuals and communities.  They help bring a sense of unity by giving people comfortable places to gather together.  In addition, just enjoying the beauty of trees can comfort us and improve our overall outlook.

With all that trees contribute to the world, we should be thankful for them.  We should also take good care of them and ensure that they will endure for many years to come.  Ping’s can assist you in your tree care efforts.  Call us at 317-298-8482 to enlist our help with planting, fertilizing, trimming, or treating trees for pests or diseases.

How to Care for Newly Planted Trees

As we tell our customers all the time, fall is the best time to plant a tree.  A previous blog explains that trees planted in the fall have the benefit of three seasons to adjust to a new environment before the stress of summer’s heat hits.   If you recently planted a tree on your residential or commercial property, you may be wondering how to best protect that investment.  There are simple steps that can ensure your newly planted tree gets off to a healthy start.

Provide Adequate Water

Water is essential to the ongoing life and health of every tree.  For a newly transplanted tree, it is especially important.  Planting is extremely stressful for a tree.  Without the established root system that trees develop over the years, a new transplant doesn’t have the ability to search the soil for needed moisture.  If a newly planted tree doesn’t get the hydration it needs while building a healthy root system, it may not survive. For this reason, it is important to water trees during dry periods for the first few years after planting during which time the root system is being established.

Weed Around the Tree

During times when the soil is dry, all plants will compete for whatever water can be found in the soil.  Since water is vital for a tree’s survival, you will want to make sure that there are no unwanted plants competing with your newly transplanted tree for water.  Get rid of all weeds that are growing near the base of the tree and weed regularly to make sure that these nuisance plants don’t have a chance to put down their own roots.

Apply Mulch Correctly

To help keep moisture in the soil around a newly planted tree, it is a good idea to mulch around the tree.  This will also prevent weeds from springing up and diverting moisture from the tree.  However, it is important to apply mulch correctly.  Mulching too heavily or too close to the base of the tree can cause serious damage to any tree.  For more information on how to mulch correctly, see our blog on this topic.

Delay Pruning

We’ve talked about what to do for your tree, but there are also things you should not do.  Heavy pruning is one tree care task that should not be done immediately after planting.  While sometimes it is necessary to take off a few branches, in most circumstances it is best to delay pruning for at least a year.  You don’t want to add more stress to an already stressed tree.

The investment of a tree can yield rewards for many years to come.  It is worthwhile to administer proper care to newly planted trees as they become healthy and established.  Put the effort in now and you will have a beautiful tree to enjoy for years to come.  Ping’s would love to partner with you in keeping your trees strong and healthy.  From planting to trimming to diagnosing problems, the experts at Ping’s know how to apply best tree care practices. We’ll help you get the most out of your tree investments.

The Dangers of Improper Tree Trimming

Trimming trees is an important tree care activity.  When you trim your trees, you are able to remove dead or diseased branches, reduce burdensome weight from the tree, and promote new and healthy growth.  However, like many activities, tree trimming is only helpful when it is done right.  When tree trimming is done improperly, it can actually cause more problems for the tree than simply doing nothing.  Here are a few negative consequences that can result from improper tree trimming.

Marred Beauty

One of the difficulties of properly trimming a tree is that it is hard for an untrained trimmer to know where to make cuts as well as how to make them.  Common mistakes include cutting branches off the tops of the tree (topping), trimming the ends off the ends of the branches (tipping), and cutting a disproportionate number of branches from one area of the tree.  All these can cause trees to look awkward, and sometimes it can take a long time to outgrow the effects of a bad trim!

Diseased Branches

When you trim a tree, you are making a cut into the wood.  This is by definition an injury to the tree.  Open wounds on a tree can easily allow pests and organisms inside and cause infection.  Though disease may begin in these areas of weakness, there is no guarantee that they will stay there.  Infection or infestation can have a harmful effect on trees and may even lead eventually to death and the necessity for removal.

Weakening Trees

When improper pruning techniques are used and disease results, trees can quickly become weakened.  Sometimes the inner wood of the tree becomes less dense or even dies while the outward, visible parts remain looking normal.  A weakened tree is a dangerous tree.  While trees can go on looking outwardly strong, an undetected weakness will make the tree vulnerable.  Strong winds, ice, or any jarring hit can cause branches to break or even entire trees to fall.

Property Damage

In addition to the long-term effects of improper tree trimming, there are also some immediate dangers.  When trimming large branches, you may accidentally drop a branch onto nearby property.  Branches are heavy and when falling from any height, they can cause quite significant damage.  These kinds of damage are easily avoidable by using properly trimming techniques, such as securing branches.

Personal Damage

Even more destructive than property damage is the potential personal damage that can occur.  Trimming trees is not without risk to the trimmer.  Falling branches as well as accidental injury from trimming tools (such as chainsaws) are the most common causes of damage.  These kinds of injuries can be serious and even fatal.  It is important to use the utmost care when using such powerful tools on large, heavy trees.

As you consider the harm that can result from improperly trimming trees, you may come to the conclusion that this is a job that is best left to the professionals.  Our tree technicians and arborists know the best techniques to quickly and safely trim your trees.  We will trim your trees properly in order to leave them stronger, healthier, and more beautiful than before.  Schedule your tree trimming today by calling 317-298-8482 or scheduling online.

The Benefits of Lawn Aeration

The growing season is quickly coming to an end.  Mowing will soon become unnecessary as the cooler weather settles in and grass enters a dormant stage.  But there are still lawn care activities that need your attention.  In fact, some of the things you do now can actually affect the healthy and beauty of your lawn next spring.  One such activity is lawn aeration.  If you are uncertain about what lawn aeration is and whether you should do it, keep reading.

What is Lawn Aeration?

Aeration is the practice of making small holes in the surface of a lawn.  The preferred method of lawn aeration is to insert hollow cylinders into the ground.  The cylinders force 2- to 3-inch long plugs out of the soil and leave behind holes of the same depth.  Alternately, insertion of spikes can also be used for aeration, but this method is not as effective since it does not remove plugs from the soil.

Benefits of Lawn Aeration

But you may be asking yourself why anyone would want to make holes in their lawn?  The simple answer is that it actually helps the lawn to be healthier.  Some key benefits of lawn aeration include:

  • It reduces compaction of soil
  • It prevents thatch from building up on the surface of the soil
  • It allows better circulation of air
  • It improves the absorption of water, fertilizer, and nutrients by grass roots

In short, aeration helps grass get what it needs to live and thrive.  It is especially helpful for soils that experience heavy traffic or are in generally poor condition.

Combine with Overseeding

Often homeowners follow lawn aeration with overseeding, which is the process of scattering grass seeds over existing grass.  For lawns that are thin or nearly bare, overseeding can significantly improve the look and health of the turf.  Combining the two boosts the effectiveness of overseeding.  When sown on aerated ground, seeds have a better opportunity to settle directly on the soil.  This promotes germination and root growth.  As more individual grass plants grow and become established, the lawn will become more thick and lush.  It will also be healthier and better able to fight disease and withstand drought and other damage.

Lawn aeration and overseeding are valuable lawn care practices that every homeowner should consider, especially if there are signs of soil compaction or thinning grass growth.  Fall is the ideal time to perform these activities to give the grass seed time to germinate and become rooted before colder weather arrives.  If you think your lawn could benefit from aeration and overseeding but aren’t sure how to do it (or just don’t want to), Ping’s can get it done for you.  Just like we provide expert tree care that keeps your trees healthy and beautiful, we can also provide services to keep your lawn healthy and looking great.  Call us at 317-298-8482 to schedule aeration and overseeding.  Our work now will help you get your lawn ready to grow in the spring.

Enjoy Fall Colors Right Here in Indianapolis

Autumn in central Indiana is a delightful season.  Football games, fall festivals, corn mazes, and pumpkin-flavored everything are a few highlights in the autumn season.  But trees are the undisputed star of autumn.  As the temperature drops and the days shorten, the leaves on the trees will begin their transformation.  In weeks, they turn from lush green to brilliant yellow, fiery orange, blazing red, bronzy brown, and even majestic purple!  At Ping’s, we love trees year-round, but we must admit there is a unique splendor to the woods in the fall.  If you’re looking for a good place to enjoy the fall color show in the Indianapolis area, here are a few ideas.

Take A Walk in the Park

While much of Indiana is flat, there are places to enjoy more interesting landscapes.  Often these interesting landscapes have been set aside as state, city, or nature parks.  Some popular parks which provide access to the changing leaves include Brown County State Park and Turkey Run.  However, if you’d like to stay a little closer to home, try an Indy park.  As an example, the trails at Holliday Park provide a great place to enjoy the colorful autumn display on terrain that is decidedly different from the flat ground that characterizes most of the Indianapolis area.  These trails are moderately easy to navigate and provide many opportunities to interact with nature.  A walk from Holliday Park’s nature center will take you past wooded slopes, ravines, ponds, and eventually the White River.  Holliday Park is just one of many local parks.  For a list of those within Indianapolis, see the Indy Parks website.

Head Back to School

Enjoying the beauty of nature may not be the most common reason for visiting a college campus, but it’s still a good one.  Many universities boast beautiful common areas for their students to enjoy.  One that is easily accessible to Indianapolis residents is the Butler campus.  The wooded areas around Hinkle Field House and Holcomb Observatory provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic with a view of the changing sights of the season.  Keep heading north from there and you’ll run into the Central Canal, where you can continue your scenic walk.  If you’re in the mood for a trip out of the city, the campuses of Indiana University and Notre Dame also provide popular autumn destinations.

Follow the Trail

A great way to take in the scenery of autumn is to do it while you walk or bike.  The mild fall weather makes exercise more enjoyable and the surroundings can be a wonderful distraction.  Trails throughout the city provide a place to experience nature while you get moving.  Fall Creek Trail is just one example of the trails available to the color-seeker.  Located on the east side of Indianapolis, this trail follows Fall Creek and loops around Fort Harrison.  Find nearby trails at this website.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas for good viewing of the changing leave, but perhaps the best place to enjoy the beauty of autumn is in your own backyard!  Ping’s can help you care for your trees and ensure that you can continue to enjoy them for years to come.  We offer expert advice and services, including tree trimming, insect and disease management, and fertilization.  If your trees are not thriving as they should be, our certified arborists can diagnose the problem and recommend necessary treatment.

Choosing the Right Tree to Plant

Planting a tree is making an investment in your residential or commercial property.  Trees add value to your property and enjoyment to your activities.  In your yard, trees provide shade for outdoor living and beauty that can be enjoyed from within and outside of your home.  On commercial properties, trees can help keep energy costs low, screen unattractive views, and even contribute to a positive workplace atmosphere.  When you plant a tree, it may very likely remain in its place for the entirety of your life, or even beyond.  Therefore, you want to make the most of your investment by choosing just the right tree to plant.  To ensure you make the right choice, consider these questions.

What Kind of a Tree Are You Looking For?

First of all, you should think about why you are planting this tree and what you want from the tree.  Are you planting for shade?  Are you trying to add a particular aesthetic element to your yard or commercial property?  Do you want a flowering tree or a fruit tree?  Knowing what you expect from the tree will help you start making your list of possible trees that can be whittled down by additional considerations.

How Large Will the Tree Grow?

The sapling that you plant today will not stay small for long.  Sometimes it hard to imagine just how large your tiny transplant will eventually become.  But it’s important to consider the mature size of the tree before you plant.  Will the tree block beloved views or get in the way of power lines or permanent structures?  Consider also where the shade from the mature tree will fall.

How Fast Will the Tree Grow?

Another factor you may want to consider is the rate of growth of the tree you will plant.  Each tree variety has its own rate of growth.  Before planting, you should be aware that fast-growing trees often do not have as much strength as slower-growing trees.  You must weigh the short-term benefit against the liability that a weaker tree can be in the long run.

What Trees Do Well in Your Climate?

Finally, perhaps the most important consideration is whether a tree is suited to the location where it is planted.  Not every tree will thrive in every environment.  Obviously, a tree that does well in the tropics is not going to survive here in central Indiana.  Before you plant, think about your hardiness zone and whether a tree can tolerate the cold winters that we experience.  In addition, you need to consider the soil type and drainage in your yard.  Our clients often ask us what trees we recommend for planting in the Indianapolis area.  Of course, you must consider the particular conditions on your property, but the following list of trees that generally do well in our area is a good place to start.

  • Small trees – crabapple, magnolias, Japanese maples
  • Medium-sized trees – red point maple, Canadian red chokecherry, greenspire linden
  • Large trees – swamp white oak, red oak, tulip poplar, elm

Fall is a great time to plant trees so if you’re considering making that investment, you may want to do it in the near future.  I hope this blog has given you some guidance in your choice of the right tree to plant in your yard.  And we can also help with the actual planting! Our experts can plant any tree for you, giving you the assurance that your tree will be planted in the correct way and given a good growing start.  Call us today at 317-298-8482 or schedule a consultation at your convenience.

Dollar Spot: A Fungus That May Affect Your Lawn

The first sign that there is a problem with your lawn is often a change in appearance.  Instead of the healthy, lush green carpet you expect, diseased grass will often be different in color or density.  One such difference that you may notice in your lawn is the discoloration caused by dollar spot.  You may have never heard of dollar spot, but it can cause pervasive damage to your lawn if it is not stopped.

What Is Dollar Spot?

Dollar spot is a disease caused by a fungus that affects bentgrass, bluegrass, fine-leaf fescues, perennial ryegrass, and zoysiagrass.  It shows up first with small yellowish green blotches, which may escape your attention.  As the disease progresses, it causes blades to become a tan color, affecting patches of grass about the size of a silver dollar.  If left unchecked, the disease will spread and patches will become larger.  Eventually, the entire yard may be damaged by the fungi.

What Causes Dollar Spot?

Much like we might catch a cold, grass can become infected when exposed to micro-organisms as well.  Activation of fungi spores cause dollar spot to develop.  The spores of this fungus may be present in your soil and spread by natural means.  They may also be spread through contaminated mowers, sprinklers, or other maintenance equipment.  The disease is exacerbated by wet turf, high humidity, and weather that is warm during the day and cool at night.

Can Dollar Spot Be Prevented?

Though soil may contain dollar spot fungus spores, this does not necessarily mean that dollar spot will develop.  The right conditions must be present.  Some of these conditions are out of your control.  For example, high humidity can promote the growth of the fungus.  But you do have some control over other factors, such as your watering and mowing habits.  Lawns should be watered deeply and infrequently and should always be watered early enough in the day to allow grass to dry out before nightfall.  It is also important to keep your lawn free of thick layers of grass clippings by mowing regularly.  Cut grass that is left on your lawn can give fungi a perfect environment in which to grow.

What If I Have Dollar Spot?

If you find that your lawn is infected with dollar spot, you can rest in the knowledge that it is fairly easy to treat.  For mild cases, treatment with nitrogen fertilizer may stop the spread of the fungus.  In more severe cases, a fungicide may need to be applied.  When your lawn experiences problems, including dollar spot, the professionals at Ping’s can help.  We can evaluate your lawn, identify the problem, and implement the solution.  We offer full-service lawn care as well as treatments for specific lawn problems.  Visit our website for more information or give us a call at 317-298-8482 for a free quote.

What You Need to Know About Watering Trees

One of the most basic needs of trees is water.  In order to continue to grow and flourish, every tree needs adequate water.  Everyone knows this, but it raises the questions of whether you need to water your trees and how that task is best accomplished.  This blog will answer your questions about watering trees.

It’s Important to Water Newly Planted Trees

For newly planted trees, regular watering is a necessity.  After planting, trees should be watered immediately.  This helps the tree to settle into the soil and replaces moisture lost during the planting process.  After planting, it can take several years for trees to become fully established.  Trees should be watered regularly for a few years throughout the growing season.  This is especially important during hot and dry summer weather, which can take its toll on trees and necessitate supplemental hydration.  We recommend watering newly planted trees every other day, giving them a good soaking at the drip line with a soaker hose, when the temperature is over 80 degrees.

Established Trees Do Not Usually Need Watering

While watering is vital for trees during the first two to three years after planting, it is generally unnecessary after that initial time period.  Trees that receive adequate water in the first few growing seasons will develop a healthy root system, which enables trees to withstand periods of dryness.

Be Careful to Avoid Overwatering

Watering is important, but overwatering can be disastrous.  Too much water can quickly kill a young tree.  Soil should be moist but not wet.  To determine whether you should water, check the soil at a depth of 2 inches.  If soil at that depth is moist to the touch, then you do not need to water.  On the other hand, if the soil is dry, you should water your tree.  How often a tree should be watered will vary depending on how much rainfall it is receiving.

How You Water Matters Too

Trees do not benefit from shallow watering.  In fact, shallow watering encourages shallow roots, which can be unhealthy for a tree.  A deep soaking once every few days will encourage roots to become well-established.  Watering should be done at the drip line (the ground under the outermost leaves of the tree) and just beyond.  This method best imitates natural rainfall.

Proper watering is one crucial element of tree care though it certainly isn’t the only one.  For other, more complicated tree care tasks, such as fertilizing, pruning, or treatment of infection or pests, the experts at Ping’s are ready to help.  We can even plant trees for you!  Give us a call at 317-298-8482 or schedule an appointment online.

Cultivating Good Mowing Habits

Mowing is not a sport, a hobby, or an art, but we do spend a lot of time doing it.  Most Americans like to have a well-kept lawn.  Our lawns are a source of pride for many of us, and we work hard to make sure that the grass is always an acceptable height.  Since we spend so much time mowing, we should at least make sure we are doing it right.  By following these principles for good mowing habits, you can get the most out of your mowing investment.

Keep Equipment in Good Condition

Good mowing starts with having the right equipment.  Regular maintenance will keep your mower running and ready to go when you are.  At the end of each mowing season, any remaining gas should be drained from your mower before you put it away for the winter.  When you get your mower out at the beginning of the season, it is helpful to have it tuned up and looked over by a lawn-mower mechanic.  This will hopefully prevent you from running into problems and having to take your mower in for repair when you need it most.

In particular, it is important to make sure that the blades on your mower are sharp.  Dull blades can be damaging to your lawn.  A dull blade will essentially tear your grass rather than making a clean cut.  An uneven cut will cause grass to be more vulnerable to attacks from disease and pests.  Mower blades should be sharpened at least twice per mowing season, more if your mower gets heavy use.

Choose the Right Time to Mow

Some tasks on your to-do list can be done anytime, while others have less flexibility.  There are no hard and fast rules about when mowing should be done, but there are definitely some guidelines.  First of all, you need to know the ideal height for your grass, which varies depending on grass type.  This helpful article from DIY Network can help you figure out what’s best for your particular variety.  In general, you don’t want to cut more than 1/3 of the height of the grass at each mowing.  Following this recommendation will help the grass to thoroughly recover from the stress of mowing.

Additionally, you will want to make sure that the grass is dry when you mow.  Wet grass can clump and accumulate on your lawn.  As it decays there, these clumps can be a breeding ground for microscopic pests.  They can also prevent your lawn from receiving adequate sunlight in the affected areas.

Prepare Before You Mow

You might be ready to just jump in and start mowing right away, but some preparation is best.  Trimming and edging before you mow will give you the best results.  Doing this prep work will benefit your grass and your mower as well as trees, plants, and other landscape elements in your yard.  And best of all, it also makes actual mowing time quicker and more enjoyable for you.

Resist a Mowing Rut

Finally, mowing can be a repetitive task, and you may be tempted to do it the same each time.  Maybe you feel like you’ve found a pattern that works and you’re going to stick to it.  However, it is better for your lawn if you change things up from mowing to mowing.  Following the same pattern can contribute to the problems of turf wear and soil compaction.  To prevent this, change the direction in which you mow. Go one direction this week and the opposite direction the next.  You can even challenge yourself to mow diagonally across your yard from time to time.  It doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as you don’t always do it the same way.

We are in the middle of mowing season.  Right now, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to hone your mowing skills.  But if excelling at mowing is not your dream, maybe you’d like to delegate your mowing duties to the experts at Ping’s.  We’ve got an experienced crew that is ready and willing to take this never-ending task off your hands.  Visit our Landscape page to learn more or call us at 317-298-8482 to learn more.

Best Practices for Tree Care

Trees are so plentiful that sometimes we can take them for granted.  We should not forget the many ways that trees make our lives better.  First of all, they contribute to the complex environment that living organisms rely on by releasing the oxygen that is vital to our existence.   Aesthetically, trees make the world around us beautiful and interesting.  On the practical side, they increase property values and improve energy efficiency by shading and cooling buildings.  Needless to say, trees are valuable to us all and we should all do our part to preserve them.  Here are 6 tree care practices you can implement to help ensure your trees will endure for many years to come.

Inspecting Warns of Problems

One of the easiest things you can do to protect your trees is to simply keep your eyes open.  Look at your trees up close and with an eye that is looking for what might be wrong.  Some (though not all) problems will display visible signs.  Since some problems might escape your notice, it is also a good idea to have a professional inspection.  Ping’s has trained, certified arborists on staff, who are trained to find and address tree problems.

Mulching Regulates Moisture and Temperature

Because they are not mobile, trees are unable to protect themselves against some negative environmental elements.  They must endure high winds, lightning strikes, and extremes in temperature and moisture.  Winds and lightning are unavoidable, but mulching can help regular moisture and temperature for trees.  Mulch keeps the soil around a tree from becoming waterlogged or dry.  Its protective layer also mitigates the effects of extreme cold or extreme heat on the tree.   When mulching, it is important to use proper techniques; see our blog for more information.

Fertilizing Provides Nutrients

Because trees don’t always get adequate nutrients from the soil, fertilizing trees is a good practice.  This is particularly true in suburban neighborhoods whose soil has been stripped of its rich topsoil.  If you are unsure about how to apply fertilizer or if you’d just rather not mess with it, Ping’s can fertilize your trees for you.

Applying Insecticide Protects

Nothing can ruin the health of a tree like an invasion of pests.  They can literally eat the life out of a tree.  Applying insecticides can often solve a pest problem if it is found early enough.  Preventative insecticides are also an option when you suspect that your tree may be a target for certain pests.  A consultation from an arborist can help you determine the best course of action.

Pruning Promotes Growth

It may not seem to make sense, but sometimes to get more tree growth, you need to cut the tree back.  Pruning branches that are weak, unproductive, or just in the way can actually spur a tree to increased growth.  The tree is able to concentrate resources into the remaining branches, making them stronger and healthier.  The Ping’s team has many years of experience in pruning trees.  We can get your trees trimmed up and ready to grow.

Bracing Protects Weak Branches

Finally, in some cases, trees need an extra measure of protection against damage from weather or other assault.  While wind, snow, ice, or other extreme weather could inflict harm to a tree at any time, it becomes more likely when part of a tree is weak.  Weakness can be the result of structural deformity, previous damage, or disease.  When a branch is weak, it is often necessary to either remove it or brace it to keep it from falling and causing damage to life or property.  Ping’s has the expertise needed to provide safe bracing for damaged or weak branches.

Together these 6 activities represent good practices for maintaining healthy trees.  With years of experience, Ping’s knows the best ways to implement these practices.  We can help you keep your trees strong and vigorous for years to come.  Call us at 317-298-8482 to schedule any of these services or for a consultation from an arborist or schedule online at your convenience.

Avoiding Lawn Care Scams

Lawn care takes center stage during the warm months of summer in central Indiana.  Everyone is busy at work to keep the lawn looking healthy and green.  From mowing to edging, from fertilizer to pest control, significant effort goes into lawn maintenance.  Often homeowners and commercial property owners reach the conclusion that lawn care is too much for one person to handle.  There are many lawn care companies who are ready to provide lawn care services.  Yet not all of them deliver all that they promise.  These tips can help you avoid being ripped off by lawn care companies.

Ask Questions

As you start to consider hiring a lawn care company, you should be prepared to ask some questions.  You can learn a lot by simply talking with a representative about the company and their offerings.  Find out how long they have been doing lawn care work and how many employees they have.  Ask questions about their process such as how often they provide service.  Inquire whether the company is a member of any professional organizations.  If the representative seems unable to answer questions, you might be skeptical of their ability to deliver reliable service.

Check for License and Insurance

One specific question that you’ll want to ask is whether the company has the proper license and insurance.  Local regulations require lawn care companies to have a license to apply fertilizer and insecticides.  Furthermore, companies need to have insurance to protect you in the case that something goes wrong and your lawn is damaged.

Do Your Research

Beyond asking questions, you should also investigate the company from other sources.  If your neighbors have used the company, talk with them and find out whether they have been happy.  Social media networks give you an opportunity to find out what people beyond your circle of acquaintances think.  You can also check to see if the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.  The BBB will also have a list of complaints against companies that have been filed with them.

Get It In Writing

When you are serious about hiring a company to perform lawn care, make sure you have a contract.  The contract should spell out exactly what will be done and how much it will cost.  Additionally, you should not pay for the service until it is actually completed.

The bottom line when it comes to hiring a lawn care company is trust.  Your lawn is a reflection on you so you want to be sure that any company you hire will do a good job.  For years, you’ve been trusting your tree care needs to Ping’s Tree Service.  Now you can trust your lawn care needs to us too!  Ping’s is accredited with the Better Business Bureau.  In addition, we are also certified with the Office of Indiana State Chemist for proper management and application of treatments for tree, plant, and lawn services and currently employ 7 ISA-certified arborists. See our website for a full description of our 6-step lawn care program.  Call us at 317-298-8482 or schedule online today for a free estimate on our lawn care services.

The Advantages of an Arborist

It might be tempting to think that caring for trees is a simple task.  Trees grow in nature without human interference or assistance.  So you might assume that the trees growing in your yard don’t need much attention or care.  This assumption is wrong.  While in the wild trees die all the time without much notice, you probably don’t want to lose even a single tree in your yard.  To keep your trees looking healthy and beautiful, they do need care.  An arborist is often the best resource to care for your trees.  They can help in the following ways:

Arborists Recognize Tree Problems

Some problems that a tree may experience are easy to spot.  However, many are not. Because only a fraction of the tree is visible, you may not see that a tree is sick, weak, or even dying.  By the time you do see symptoms, sometimes irreparable damage has been done.  The trained eye of the arborist, on the other hand, can often spot trouble at an early stage.  Arborists must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of tree care in order to become certified.  Additionally, they are required to complete ongoing education to maintain certification so they know about the latest research and techniques.

Arborists Understand What Trees Need

In addition to recognizing sick trees, arborists also know how to attend to healthy trees.  They are knowledgeable about what trees need for proper growth and development.  Administering good care can often avoid common tree problems later.  Arborists can help with all of the following and more:

  • Fertilizing
  • Treating nutrient deficiencies
  • Preventative sprays
  • Treatment for diseases and insects
  • Trimming and shaping trees
  • Cabling and bracing of branches
  • Removing trees
  • Planting trees

Arborists Exercise Best Practices of Tree Care

Knowing what to do and being able to do it well are two different things.  Arborists don’t just have theoretical knowledge.  They also have an abundance of practical knowledge.  This wealth of wisdom comes from years of experience working with trees.  Certified arborists know the best way to do necessary tree care activities.  Tree care often requires the use of chemical or mechanical interventions, which can cause additional damage if done improperly.  Novices can sometimes do more harm than good. In contrast, most good arborists know what to avoid in order to preserve a tree’s health.

Ping’s Tree Service appreciates the value of highly trained and experienced arborists.  We have several ISA  certified arborists available to consult with you about your trees.  Call us today at 317-298-8482 to schedule a tree inspection or to get help from an arborist about a specific tree concern.

6 Enemies of a Green, Healthy Lawn

People have different tastes in clothes, houses, and cars, but when it comes to lawns, everyone wants the same thing.  They want a green, healthy lawn that looks beautiful and well-maintained.  Since a great-looking lawn does not happen by itself, you will find homeowners working hard in their yards throughout the year.  Unfortunately, there are enemies of a healthy lawn that seem to always be at work to destroy your lawn, including the following.

Worms and Insects

Some of the most devastating enemies of a healthy lawn are worms and insects.  While nature is full of these little critters and many are beneficial for grasses and other plants, some can be damaging and even lethal to grass.  One common pest that can do significant harm to your lawn is the white grub.  If you see birds or small animals feeding in your yard, you probably have a problem with grubs.  Luckily, grubs are fairly easy to treat.  Usually a chemical called Imidacloprid will get rid of grubs and allow your lawn to return to health.

Diseases

Another enemy of a respectable lawn is disease.  There are many fungi and bacteria that can find their way into your lawn and attack the grass growing there.  These disease-causing agents do not affect all grasses alike.  Each type of fungi and bacteria will attack certain types of grass.  They also only do damage under certain conditions.  This is why you may notice grass starting to die at the change of the season.   Changes in the moisture or the temperature of your lawn may cause these diseases to flare up.

Animals and Kids

More noticeable than small insects and microscopic pathogens, animals can also be enemies to your lawn.  Dogs in particular can tear up grass and make it hard for it to grow.  Once grass has been uprooted, it is difficult to promote its growth.  Overseeding may be necessary, but even this measure will be futile if the behavior continues.  Kids can also be hard on your grass, especially if they like to dig in a favorite spot, but they usually grow out of these damaging habits in a few years!

Lack of Sunlight

Plants need sunlight to grow so it is not surprising that grass will suffer when it doesn’t get adequate sunlight.  This often happens under large trees that block the necessary rays.  Grass that does not receive enough sunlight will become thin.  The lawn may even become completely bare under thick trees.  A good pruning of the trees above the bare spots will encourage grass proliferation.  It may also be helpful to apply more grass seed once the offending trees are cut back.

Compacted Soil

In addition to sunlight, plants also need nutrients from the soil.  Compacted soil is an enemy of a healthy lawn because it keeps grass from reaching vital nutrients.  Roots cannot develop normally in compacted soil.  Fortunately, aeration is an easy remedy for compacted soil.  In fact, aerating your lawn annually will help to keep your yard healthy and beautiful.

Misapplication of Fertilizer

Finally, did you know that you can be an enemy of your quest for a good-looking lawn?  Even while you are working diligently to promote healthy growth in your lawn, you might be doing more damage than good.  Fertilizer can be very beneficial to your lawn, but misapplication of fertilizer can be harmful.  Uneven application of fertilizer might leave your lawn looking striped instead of uniform. Overfertilizing will cause your grass to turn yellow or even die.

If you feel like you need a little help making your lawn live up to your dreams, Ping’s has the solution.  We have a lawn care program that will give your grass just what it needs when it needs it.  We can evaluate what enemies are attacking your lawn and how to tackle them.  Whether you need an ongoing lawn plan or a one-time targeted application or service, Ping’s has the expertise to get your lawn looking great.  Call us today at 317-298-8482 to get started!

Signs of an Unhealthy Tree

When a tree is dead, it is obvious.  At that point, there is little to do except to remove the tree to avoid damage to any nearby commercial or personal property.  It is much more beneficial to identify a tree that is struggling for one reason or another.  Unfortunately, it is not as easy to spot the signs of an unhealthy tree.  Since the inner workings of a tree are largely unseen, you need to be aware of some telltale signs that something is wrong with your tree.

Excessive Broken Branches

In the winter, and even in the early spring, trees are dormant.  It is difficult to evaluate the health of a tree during this time.  One sign that may be noticeable is an excessive amount of broken branches.  All trees will lose some branches in the winds and ice of winter.  However, trees that are unhealthy or weak for whatever reason will experience an increase in branch loss.

Leaning Trees

Another sign of trouble that is observable during any season is a tree that leans.  Healthy trees have strong trunks that support the weight of branches and foliage.  The dense wood can normally withstand the day-to-day assault of nature.  Trees that have been weakened by disease, pests, or structural abnormalities do not have this strength and may succumb to the constant pull of gravity.

Unusual Leaves

As leaves begin to appear in the spring, there are other signs to notice.  Unsurprisingly, trees that are not healthy may have leaves that do not look healthy.  You may observe leaves that are slow to develop in the spring.  Leaves may also be a smaller size or an unusual color.  In short, if a tree’s leaves look unusual, you may want to have the tree inspected to see if it is healthy.

Absent Leaves, Flowers, or Fruit

Beyond just being slow to appear or abnormal in form, sometimes leaves are completely absent in a portion of the tree.  This is an obvious warning sign, which probably means that part of the tree is dead or dying.  Similarly, a lack of flowers or fruit on a tree that normally bears them can indicate that the tree is not healthy.

Abnormal Fungi Growth

While absence of leaves, flowers, or fruit can indicate a problem, the presence of mushrooms or other fungi can also be a warning sign.  These organisms feed off dead tissue so if you see them on or around your tree, it probably has areas that are dead or dying.  This is a sure sign that you need to take action to save the tree.

Out-of-Place Shoots

A healthy tree looks like a normal tree.  From the roots to the trunk to the branches and leaves, everything is where it should be.  However, there are trees that seem to have branches growing out of the base of the tree.  While these are technically shoots and not branches, they are out of place and they indicate that the tree may have a problem.

Visible Insect Activity

Finally, one sign of an unhealthy tree that is easy to spot is the presence of pests.  Sometimes you might see the insect.  Other times you might just see evidence that they have been there.  Examples of evidence you might see include eggs, chewed up leaves, or sticky residue.  If you think a tree may be infested, it is always a good idea to get an expert opinion.  While some pests are harmless, many can do significant damage.

Paying attention to your trees can help you see the signs that a tree is unhealthy.  If you can catch a problem before it’s too late, it may be the difference between a dead tree and a tree that endures for many years.  If you suspect that you have a tree with a problem, it’s probably time to call our arborists out for a consultation.  We will conduct a thorough inspection and give you our recommendation for the best outcome.  Spring is a great time to have a tree inspection done.  Give us a call at 317-298-8482 or schedule online at your convenience.

Helpful Information About USDA Hardiness Zones

When adding plants or trees to your landscape or yard, it is important to evaluate whether a particular plant will do well in the spot you have picked out for it.  Plants are living things that are sensitive to the environment.  Not every plant or tree will thrive in every location.  One element of the environment that can have a significant impact on plants is temperature.  Knowing your hardiness zone can help you assess the compatibility of a tree or plant with your location.

What Are USDA Hardiness Zones?

The USDA has divided the country into 13 hardiness zones.  These zones have been developed to indicate the average lowest temperature for a specific location based on historic temperature data.  Each zone (Zones 1 through 13 from coldest to warmest) represents a 10-degree temperature range of the average minimum temperature.  The zones are further divided into A (colder) and B (warmer) subdivisions.

Indianapolis and the surrounding central Indiana area fall in Zones 5B and 6A. Zone 5B has an average minimum temperature between -15 and -10 degrees Fahrenheit.  Zone 6A has an average minimum temperature between -10 and -5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Visit the USDA website to view a detailed map and find the hardiness zone for your zip code.

Why Do Hardiness Zones Matter?

Is it important to know your hardiness zone?  If you plan to do any landscaping or planting on your property, it definitely is important.  The hardiness zone tells you how cold you can expect temperatures to get on the coldest days of winter.  Temperature is one component of the climate that can have a serious negative effect on plants.  All trees and plants have a range of temperatures which they can tolerate.  A tree or plant that experiences temperatures outside of that range may even die from the exposure.  You should only plant those trees and plants that can tolerate temperatures expected in your hardiness zone.

How Can Hardiness Zones Help You Plant Smarter?

The hardiness zone is very important for trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers.  However, for annual flowers, this doesn’t matter.  They cannot survive the colder temperatures of winter and are meant to bloom beautifully for the summer and then die.  However, if you are planting perennial flowers, shrubs, bushes, or trees, you will want them to live through many years.  This means that they must be able to withstand both the warm, sunny days of summer and the bitterly cold days of winter.

Temperature vary greatly from season to season (or even day to day here in central Indiana).  Planting vegetation in the sunny days of spring, it’s hard to remember that the icy days of winter will come eventually.  As you consider what to plant, make sure you investigate your hardiness zone and whether the tree or plant you are considering will thrive there.

Nature can be harsh without protection from the elements.  People live in houses and wear clothes to keep the wind, heat or cold, and precipitation from harming us.  Even animals can move to shelter from storms or extreme temperature.  In contrast, a tree, shrub, or plant must endure nature’s best and worst without the ability to move or cover itself.  Without the ability to protect themselves, plants are very vulnerable to extreme weather.   Fortunately, the USDA hardiness zones can help you determine whether a plant is suited for your location before you plant it.

Ping’s New Indianapolis Lawn Care Services

We understand the nearly universal desire to have a lush, green lawn.  A beautiful lawn gives you a place to enjoy time outdoors and also makes any property more attractive.  Yet often homeowners and commercial property owners find that the work required for that dream lawn can be a bit daunting.  This is where Ping’s can help.  We are now offering Indianapolis lawn care services, both with our pre-set 6-step program or with a customized program that meets your lawn’s individual needs.

Round 1: Stop Crabgrass Before It Even Gets Started

Ping’s starts the 6-step lawn program in the spring.  We apply pre-emergent crabgrass control early enough to block crabgrass growth before it even gets started.  Making a pre-emptive strike at the crabgrass gives us an advantage and a better chance to win the battle.  By minimizing crabgrass growth, the healthy desirable grass has an environment where it can thrive.

Rounds 2 to 5: Feed the Grass, Kill the Weeds

Once the growing season is in full swing, our lawn care strategy changes.  We will make 4 application, one during each the late spring, summer, late summer, and early fall.  These applications have a dual purpose.  With fertilization, we give lawns the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy throughout the season.  At the same time, we apply broadleaf weed control to minimize the proliferation of weeds.  Together these two components produce a yard that is uniformly green and luxurious.

Round 6: Get Your Yard Ready for Winter

As the growing season winds down and the weather starts to get colder, we will make our final application of the year.  This late-fall application gets your lawn ready for winter.   While through the summer the object of the treatments has been to keep grass looking lovely, now the main purpose shifts to strengthening the roots.  Additionally, this application will get grass ready for the early spring growth that follows the winter dormancy.

What Your Lawn Needs, When It Needs It

Ping’s lawn care program is structured to provide your lawn with what it needs just when it needs it.  Our lawn care experts know the strength of the fertilizer that is best for each season as well as the best time and the best way to apply it.  We will schedule these treatments with you at the right time so you don’t have to worry about it.  In addition to these application, we also offer other lawn services, including:

  • Fungicide Treatments
  • Grassy Weed Control Treatments
  • Grub Worm Treatments
  • Insect Control Treatments
  • Lawn Core Aeration
  • Overseeding with Starter Fertilization
  • Slit Seeding with Starter Fertilization

If you are thinking about starting Ping’s lawn care program, now is the time to sign up.  New customers who act now will receive Round 6 for FREE.  Call us at 317-298-8482 or schedule online for a free estimate.

The Nutritional Needs of Trees

Most of us understand how important it is to eat a healthy diet.  We carefully choose the foods we eat in order to consume a balance of the nutrients we need.  Making healthy food choices is important to us because we know that our bodies need a variety of nutrients to function correctly.  This truth is a reality for all living creatures, including plants.  Just like humans, trees have nutritional requirements which must be met for healthy growth.  Read on to learn more about the nutritional needs of trees.

What Nutrients Do Trees Need?

You are probably familiar with the dietary needs of people, but what do you know about the nutrients trees need?  There are three categories of nutrients used by trees: macro nutrients, secondary nutrients, and micro nutrients.  Macro nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  Trees need a substantial amount of these nutrients.  For this reason, these are the main nutrients contained in fertilizers.  Trees do not need as much of the secondary nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.  Finally, trees need very little of the micro nutrients, including iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and boron.

How Do Trees Get These Nutrients?

Trees are generally very self-sufficient.  Many trees survive without any help from anyone.  The incredible design of trees allows them to get the nutrients they need from their environment.  They create food for themselves from sunlight through the amazing process of photosynthesis.  Using their expansive root system, trees are also able to draw nutrients out of the soil.  When left undisturbed, nature provides much of what trees need.  Sometimes, however, our human intervention can cause deficiencies for trees.  In suburban neighborhoods, common practices, such as stripping off top soil and removing leaves in the fall, can upset the delicate balance of nature.

What Happens When Trees Are Deficient of Nutrients?

A tree is dependent on the soil in which it is planted for much of its nutrition.  It is hard to know what nutrients are contained in the soil of a particular area.  Thus, it is also difficult to discern whether a tree is getting what it needs.  It is important to look for outward signs that might indicate a deficiency.  Some of these signs include slower growth than expected; wilting, yellow, or discolored leaves; and sparse foliage.  While these symptoms are noticeable, there are other problems that are not so visible.  Trees that do not get the right nutrients will gradually become weaker.  When weakness occurs in a tree, that tree will become more susceptible to disease, pests, and even damage from weather events.

You may be wondering what role the application of fertilizer plays in correcting nutrient deficiencies.  It is true that the appropriate application of fertilizer will replace the nutrients that are missing in the soil.  However, care should be taken to evaluate what trees are actually missing before applying fertilizer.  Trees can also be harmed by an excessive amount of some nutrients too.  If you suspect your trees may be nutrient deficient, it is always a good idea to get the opinion of an experienced arborist.  The arborists at Ping’s are always available to conduct a thorough inspection of your trees.  We can then make recommendations or apply the needed fertilizer.  As experts in the science of tree care, we have the know-how to take care of all your tree needs.  Call us today at 317-298-8482 to set up an appointment or schedule online.

Ping’s Is Now Offering Indianapolis Landscape Services

For over 40 years, Ping’s has been providing expert tree care for central Indiana homeowners and property owners.  Our knowledgeable arborists and experienced technicians have been keeping your trees healthy and taking care of your big and small tree problems.  Now we are branching out!  Our new landscape division will bring the same level of expertise and quality to your lawn and landscape projects.  As we embark on this new venture, we will be offering outstanding Indianapolis landscape services such as the following.

Lawn Care

For many of us, most of our residential landscape or commercial landscape needs revolve around lawn care.  You probably want your lawn to be healthy and green, regardless of the weather.  Yet you know that lush, beautiful lawns do not happen without care.  Lawns demand a lot of attention.  They require frequent mowing, periodic fertilization and weed control, and general maintenance.  Ping’s offers all this to our lawn care customers.

Our 6-step lawn care program addresses the basic fertilization and weed control needs of lawns on a seasonal basis.  You can rely on us to provide the right applications at the right time using the right method.  Additional services from Ping’s include aeration, overseeding, and pest control.  We will keep your lawn or grass on your commercial property looking healthy and well cared for.  Our team can even perform the ongoing tasks of mowing and edging for commercial properties, condos, or HOA common areas.

Landscape Beds

While your lawn is a major part of your outdoor space, often the smaller landscape beds capture more attention.  Ping’s can take care of your landscaped areas.  Our comprehensive offerings include everything from design to maintenance.  We can help you add color and beauty to your yard or your commercial property with landscape design.  Once you have a vision, our team will handle the construction, renovation, and planting.

Beyond the creation of new landscape elements, we can also help you take care of the landscaping you already have.  Ping’s will evaluate your property’s climate, soil, and drainage conditions and help you choose the right plants.  We can get your beds cleaned up and ready in the spring.  Through the summer, we provide regular maintenance services such as weeding, dead-heading, and pruning.  When the weather turns colder, we will clear your beds of fall debris and apply protective coverings to roses and shrubs.  Our seasonal flower bed program lets you keep flowers on your commercial property or at your home always looking fresh.  With this program, we will switch out the vegetation in your beds periodically as the seasons progress.  We’ll keep your flowers and plants looking beautiful in every season.

Outdoor Upkeep

Keeping your entire outdoor area looking great is not easy.  It takes a lot of work.  Ping’s can assist you with every facet of outdoor upkeep.  We offer spring and fall clean-up services.  In addition, we can apply mulch to your trees, shrubs, and flower beds.  Of course, we also remain dedicated to providing excellent tree care service.  We will continue to offer expert care for your trees, including planting, fertilization, pruning, and treatment of diseases or deficiencies.  Ping’s can also remove any dead, diseased, or damaged trees or branches.  There is no tree problem that is too difficult for Ping’s!

Ping’s has the expertise and the resources to take care of your outdoor areas.  Whether you are responsible for commercial property, common areas of a neighborhood, or simply your own home, you can rely on us.  Our flexible tree care, lawn care, and landscape services will cover all your needs.  To learn more, call us at 317-298-8482 or schedule a consultation online.

Common Reasons for Tree Removal

Trees are a beautiful and beneficial part of the world around us. Many homeowners appreciate their trees and do all they can to keep them healthy.  Likewise, Ping’s is dedicated to providing preventative and remedial tree care.  However, in spite of the most determined efforts, there are cases where trees should be removed.  This blog explains some of the most common circumstances that require tree removal.

Dead Trees

Every homeowner or commercial property manager hates to see a tree die.  The sad fact is that sometimes trees do die.  Once a tree has died, there is nothing more to do…except take it down.  Removal is necessary because a dead tree will slowly lose strength.  As the tree weakens, it loses its ability to withstand the assault of storms or extra weight.  Snow, ice, storms, and winds can break off branches or bring down a dead tree.  The fall of a dead tree or even a branch can cause extensive damage to nearby houses, cars, or even people.  Dead trees represent a tremendous potential liability and should be removed as soon as reasonably possible.

Diseased Trees

One major cause of tree death is disease.  Sometimes you may not know that a tree has been infected until irreversible damage has already occurred.  In recent years, central Indiana has seen a devastating infestation of the emerald ash borer.  Many ash trees have died due to this pest.  If you have a tree that is diseased, it is important to have it evaluated quickly so that it can be treated before it’s too late.  Immediate removal of a tree that is beyond help is often best.  Not only will this avoid the eventual weakening that will follow as the tree dies, but it also better prevents the spread of the disease to other trees.  If you see signs of disease in your tree, Ping’s can examine it and recommend action.

Damaged Trees

Unfortunately, sometimes healthy trees experience unavoidable damage.  Severe weather (both thunderstorms and winter storms) has the potential to damage trees.  In particular, lightning can cause harm in a flash.   Trees are often mortally injured by a lightning strike.  Yet it may take the tree years to show the extent of damage.  Other sources of damage are animals or accidental contact with a vehicle or other solid object.  Again, you need to evaluate the situation to see if the tree can recover.  Ping’s can help you make an informed decision about your damaged tree.

Encroaching Trees

Trees are alive and growing, which means that their effects on their surroundings can change.  At the time of planting, a tree may enjoy a good location.  However, trees grow and new structures are built around trees.  Roots of nearby trees can disturb the foundation of a house or building.  In addition, growing branches may get in the way of power lines or other utilities.  Less critically, trees may grow to obscure a favorite view.  Trees that cause these kinds of problems are often removed.

Annoying Trees

Not all trees are equally beloved.  Some healthy trees are a nuisance.  They may shed annoying seeds or fruit.  Some trees have wood that is naturally weak and more likely to break.  At times, there may just be a personal preference against a certain type of tree.  In other instances, you may just desire to use the land occupied by a tree for another purpose.   In the case of an annoying tree, removal is completely elective.  You can do it in your timing or decide it isn’t worth the trouble and leave it alone.

Some reasons for tree removal require immediate action (like an uprooted tree resting on your roof).  Other circumstances are less urgent and allow a wait-and-see approach.  Whatever your reason, when you decide you need (or want) to remove a tree, you can trust Ping’s to do the job.  We have amazing equipment and years of experience.  For us, no tree removal is too big or too complicated.  On the other hand, tree removal can be extremely difficult and dangerous for someone without the right equipment or technical expertise.  It is better to leave it to the experts at Ping’s.  In emergency situations, we even offer 24/7 service.  For non-emergency situations, call 317-298-8482 today to schedule your tree removal and avoid a future emergency.

Why Winter is a Good Time for Tree Trimming

tree trimmingDuring winter, many of us enjoy the break we get from outdoor maintenance work.  While the other three seasons may have us outdoors mowing, planting, pulling weeds, or raking leaves, winter demands relatively little outdoor work.  However, tree trimming is one outdoor task that can be done in winter.  In fact, there are some good reasons why winter is a good time for tree trimming.

Branches Are More Visible in Winter

The frigid temperatures and biting winds make us hesitant to venture out into our yards to perform regular tree trimming maintenance in winter.  Nevertheless, in some ways, winter is the easiest time to trim trees.  Without foliage in the way, the shape and structure of the tree is more plainly seen.  Branches that are diseased or dead are easier to spot and remove.  Likewise, branches growing contrary to the overall growth pattern of the tree can be quickly identified and pruned.  The cold days of winter also freeze the ground, which simplifies the task of getting larger tree-trimming equipment to the tree.

Trees Are Dormant in Winter

Trees can be trimmed at any time during the year, but winter is optimal due to trees’ dormant state.  Throughout the spring and summer, trees are working hard to grow and produce.  They are taking in sunlight and transforming it into usable energy through photosynthesis.  Depending on its variety, trees may produce flowers and fruit in addition to leaves.  But in winter, all activity stops.  Trees become dormant and rest for a season.  Dormancy is the perfect time to trim trees because there are no other competing activities going on within the tree.

Trees Are Better Protected from Disease in Winter

The cold weather of winter protects trees after a trimming.  Any cut into a tree (just like a cut in your skin) is an opening for infection.  Microbes and pests can use these wounds as an entrance into the tree, which may result in the development of disease.  Yet in winter, many pests are dormant too.  Bacteria, fungi, and insects are less likely to infect a tree trimmed in the winter.

Spring’s Growth is Just Around the Corner

One reason for trimming trees is to stimulate increased growth.  Getting rid of dead, dying, diseased, or misshapen branches ensures that energy will not be wasted on these branches.  Instead, the energy will go to healthy branches.  Trimming just before spring gets trees ready for the season of most prolific growth.  Trees are able to produce more abundantly and grow more vigorously after a winter trimming.

Winter Trimming is Not Right for All Trees

Trimming in the winter is good for most trees, but not all.  Trees that flower in the spring, such as lilac or ornamental flowering trees, should not be trimmed in winter.  The bloom buds are already set and trimming will cause a loss or reduction of bloom.  These trees should be trimmed immediately after blooms fade to minimize bloom loss for the next year.

Tree trimming in winter is beneficial for your trees, but it is not necessarily convenient for you.  If you want to get the benefits of a winter tree trim without having to brave the elements, Ping’s is always here to do the hard work for you.  With our years of experience, wealth of expertise, and fleet of equipment, trimming trees is a snap, no matter the season.  Call us at 317-298-8482 or visit us online to schedule an appointment today.

Winter Damage to Trees

winter damage to treesWinter weather can bring snow, ice, wind, and rain at any time to Indiana and the Midwest. When winter weather strikes, we often sit at home glued to our televisions with anticipation of what this storm will bring and how it will affect the various communities of the Indianapolis area. Besides school closings, grocery shortages, or road closures, winter weather may also cause winter damage to trees.  Even though trees, plants, and grass are dormant in the winter, they are still potentially vulnerable to weather damage. Trees are particularly susceptible to injury in the cold months, though the effects are often not obvious until spring.

Causes of Winter Damage to Trees

The low temperatures, frost, ice, and dry air of the winter months can take a toll on some trees.  Trees and plants that are exposed to the stresses of harsh winter weather may be damaged or weakened, and some may even struggle to survive.  Common winter weather events, including fluctuating temperatures, rapid temperature drops, and low soil moisture, that are known to cause winter tree damage are detailed below.

Low or Fluctuating Temperatures

When temperatures drop below a plant’s natural tolerance, trees and plants can sustain damage.  Trees or plants that are on the edge of their hardiness zone may not be able to withstand those record-cold days. Temperature fluctuations can also cause problems, such as frost cracks, which result from a sharp drop in temperature.  Frost cracks are vertical cracks that form in the bark of a tree.  They occur more often on the sun-facing side of the tree due to the greater variance between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Sunscald is a similar injury which causes an area of damaged bark resulting from warming of that area by the sun.  Often frost cracks and sunscald only cause superficial damage.  In these cases the tree or plant will recover, though the injury itself may be permanent. If you are unsure about specific damage, Ping’s is always available to help you assess the health of your trees.

Warm Weather Followed by Frost

Did you know that trees can get frostbite?  Frost forms when humidity in the air combines with near- or below-freezing temperatures. This can be problematic if a tree or plant is actively growing or producing. Frostbite shows up on trees or plants as brown or black flowers, buds, leaves, or fruit. New leaves and shoots will often twist, curl, or wilt in frost conditions.  The most common time for a tree or plant to be frostbitten is late winter or early spring.  When warmer weather causes plants to emerge from dormancy, they are vulnerable to damage from frost.  Rarely, this may also happen in an unseasonably warm winter.

The Weight of Ice Build-Up

During the winter months, trees are dormant and brittle. If a winter storm brings ice, it may cause winter damage to trees. When this happens, don’t try and remove the ice from your trees. Doing so may cause more damage to the tree. Pruning in the fall (or even in the winter) helps reduce the risk of injury due to a storm. After an ice storm, there are a few things you can look at to see if a tree service professional is needed:

  • Was the tree healthy prior to the storm?
  • Has any portion of the crown been lost?
  • Are there any broken limbs or branches?
  • Are there any cracks in the wood?
  • Is the tree leaning?

If any of these conditions exist, the certified arborists from Ping’s Tree Service can evaluate your trees and help assess the damage from ice on a tree.

Winter Dryness in Evergreens

For the same reason our lips and skin feel dry and chapped in the winter, trees and plants can struggle to find moisture as well. Lower moisture content in the air and soil create a very dry winter environment. Evergreens are particularly vulnerable to damage from winter dryness.  This condition, called winterburn, creates browning of evergreen needles.  In severe cases, the plant may not recover.  Application of an anti-desiccant to evergreen trees through the winter can protect against winterburn.

When you work with Ping’s Tree Service, you’ll find that we take specific, proven steps to keep your trees healthy year-round. A Ping’s certified specialist will recommend plants that are naturally hardy to our communities and help you manage any trees or shrubs that are particularly susceptible. Some steps you can take to prevent winter damage to trees include:

  • Planting trees and shrubs in well-drained soil conditions
  • Using mulch and checking soil moisture in advance of freezing conditions
  • Using wind breaks to prevent damaging or drying conditions
  • Utilizing a customized Ping’s Tree Service plan to provide the right nutrient content, protection, and water to your landscaping.

Whether in the numbing cold or the blistering heat, Ping’s understands the science of tree care and knows what your trees need.  Call Ping’s Tree Service today at 317-298-8482 to see what we can do to keep your trees healthy and growing.

Winter Safety Tips

winter safety tipsEvery year we know it’s coming.  Yet the first cold blast of winter is still a shock.  Did we really think that the beautiful days of autumn would not succumb to the icy days of winter?  We can’t expect that in central Indiana!  As we enter the cold and snowy season, we are also entering a season that brings with it some increased risks.  It is important to be aware of the potential danger that accompanies winter weather so that you can take steps to minimize your risk.

Risks to Your Health

The cold weather that inevitably arrives this time of year does more than just make us uncomfortable.  It actually takes a toll on our bodies.  When it is cold, it requires more energy just to maintain normal bodily functions.  This is a stress on the body, though in healthy individuals it is a minimal one.  Health is additionally strained by the assault on the immune system caused by increased infectious diseases.  For these reasons, winter sees a spike in illnesses as well as heart attacks.  To stay well during the winter months, get plenty of rest, stay away from sick individuals, and don’t exert yourself beyond your limits.

Risks at Home

Winter weather can be hazardous to your house as well as your body.  One of the most damaging elements of winter can be the freezing temperatures.  Severe cold can freeze water in your pipes or water that is blocked in your gutters or on your roof.  The expansion that occurs in the freezing process can cause pipes to burst or ice dams to form, resulting in household floods.  To avoid these damaging events, ensure pipes (especially those on an outside wall) stay adequately warm and remove any obstructions to water flow patterns on your exterior.

Another common danger during severe winter weather is fallen or uprooted trees.  Brisk winds can easily bring down branches or even trees.  Just a little bit of heavy ice or snow can also do a lot of damage and do it quickly.  Since weak or dead trees or branches are more susceptible to wind, snow, and ice, they should be taken care of before they fall on your valuable property, such as home or car.  Ping’s can trim these dangerous branches for you or take down dead trees.  They are also ready to clean up any tree emergencies that you experience.

Risks on the Road

Accumulating snow and icy temperatures affect more than just your home.  They also have a significant effect on the roads.  When winter storms blow in quickly, they can cause the roads to become very dangerous in a short span of time.  The best defense against these risks is to stay off the roads when possible.  But that is not always feasible.  When you have to travel in inclement weather, you should be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.  It is also important to have an emergency kit in your car.  The kit should include your phone and a charger, a blanket, hat and gloves, a flashlight, flares, a first-aid kit, and snacks.  While you might not always be able to predict when severe weather will hit, you can be prepared when it does.

Risks to Your Business

Finally, if you are a business owner, you have not only yourself, your family, and your home to protect, but also your business.  You must consider your employees and your commercial property.  Some of the same risks for homes also exist for commercial property.  Be on the look-out for vulnerable trees and branches as well as potential flooding disasters.  It is also important to avoid the potential liability of slick parking lots and sidewalks.  Failing to deal with snow and ice can result in serious accidents and injuries to customers or employees.  Ping’s is now offering reliable snow removal services. When the snow falls, Ping’s will take care of it for you so you don’t have to worry.

There’s no doubt about it – winter can be a dangerous time in central Indiana.  But if you are prepared and sensible, you can keep yourself safe.  Ping’s is happy to serve you at this time of the year and lessen your risks when we can.  Call us at 317-298-8482 for more information about our services or to make an appointment.

Tree Damage Caused by Animals

animal damage

Have you noticed the squirrels lately?  They are busy at this time of year.  Even with their nuts all stored away for the winter, they are still madly scurrying up and down the trees and dashing around on the ground. Many animals, like squirrels, live, play, and work among the trees.  They often depend on trees for food and shelter.  Some animals, however, take a little too much from trees and can even inflict damage.  Any animal has the potential to damage trees, especially those trees that are young, weak, or diseased.  After all, a tree isn’t really able to defend itself.  Following are some examples of common animal damage to trees.

The Growing Impact of Deer

Deer typically live in more rural areas, but the sprawl of the suburbs has resulted in an increasing incidence of deer in more populated neighborhoods.  These large animals have the potential to damage trees in two main ways.  First of all, deer can damage trees by rubbing their antlers against the trees.  This can be especially harmful to smaller trees, which may not survive extensive damage to a tree’s bark.  In addition, deer may also feed on leaves or leafless branches when food is scarce.  Since deer have quite an appetite, continued deer munching can weaken a tree.

Big Damage by Small Animals

Rodents (like mice, moles, and voles) and rabbits are much smaller than deer, but they can do big damage too.  These animals do their damage at the base of the tree trunk or even below the soil.  They will chew the roots and bark of the tree, usually no higher than 2 feet up the trunk.  Since these animals are small and the injuries they inflict are near the ground (or even below ground), you may not notice their work until the harm is done.  When the tree sustains too much damage to the outer bark and interior tissue, the tree will gradually weaken and die.  Squirrels can also do some damage to trees by snipping twigs or chewing or stripping bark.  This type of damage leads to limb failure because the weakened branches can no longer support the excessive weight of the foliage.  It also makes trees more susceptible to wind damage.

The Danger of Boring Birds

A final group of animals that can have an adverse effect on trees is birds such as sapsuckers and woodpeckers.  Both of these birds bore multiple holes in trees as they search for food from inside the tree.  Sapsuckers, as the name implies, are seeking sap while woodpeckers are typically looking for insects.  Woodpeckers are usually not much of a threat to the health of a tree.  The insects they seek are often found in wood that is already dead.  On the other hand, sap is found in healthy tree tissue and is needed for continuing tree health.  For this reason, sapsuckers can often do substantial harm to trees.

Animals can quickly weaken a healthy tree.  Keep your eyes open for both the animal and the damage they may be causing.  Ping’s Tree Service can help you treat damaged trees and restore them to good health.  Give us a call at 317-298-8482 to address the problem swiftly and completely.

Ping’s Is Now Offering Snow Removal Service

snow removalOur business continues to grow and expand.   We are now offering snow removal service – just in time for another Indiana winter.  If you manage one or more commercial properties, you know that commercial snow removal is a must. Most property owners or managers are responsible for making sure parking lots, walkways, and other areas around buildings (such as office buildings, healthcare settings, restaurants, retirement homes, malls, apartments, condos, and schools) are completely free of snow and ice during the weeks and months of a long Indianapolis winter.

Reliable Snow Removal

If you’ve decided to hire a company to clear snow from your property, then consider Ping’s.  We will reliably and carefully handle all your snow removal needs. Before the snow even falls, we will get to work.  We preview each property we service to determine what sort of manpower and equipment will be needed. That way, we will know how to work with your specific property and meet your specific needs.

The Right Equipment and Personnel

We have the right equipment including plows, snow blowers, and shovels to clear your sidewalks and parking lots. We can even haul mounds of snow to other locations if necessary. Beyond equipment, we have abundant supplies of ice melt to keep parking lots and sidewalks safer. Our snow removal staff is on-call 24 hours a day. We will monitor snowfall through the day, night, and early morning to ensure that your property is clear and safe.

Ping’s has a commercial snow removal department available for businesses in Indianapolis, Plainfield, Avon, Brownsburg, Zionsville, Carmel, Westfield, Fishers, and Noblesville. If you’re prepared, you’ll be much less likely to lose business during snowstorms and other winter events. We will work with you to save you money in the long run. With the proper equipment and expertise, we are the right commercial snow removal company to get the job done. We are appropriately licensed and properly insured and bonded.

By hiring a commercial snow removal company, you can save yourself a lot of headache and trouble when winter storms hit. Call Ping’s now at 317-298-8482 to ensure your business’ parking lots, drives, and sidewalks are taken care of when the inevitable snowy weather arrives.  And when the snow melts and spring returns to central Indiana, we will be ready to supply all your landscaping needs.  But more about that later!

Veterans Day: A Brief History

Veterans DayWe are proud Americans.  We are proud to be citizens of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  But we would not be free, if not for the brave.  That’s why we honor our American veterans.  For our Ping’s family, it is especially important to celebrate this day.  Not only because our owner, Phil Ping, is a veteran, but also because of our veteran employees and their families.  We want to show them on this day, and every day, how very much we appreciate and respect their sacrifices for our freedom.  To truly understand the importance of Veterans Day, we’d like to take a look at where it all began.

The Origin of Veterans Day

Veterans Day was not always called Veterans Day.  From its first observation in 1919 until 1954, Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day.  Its original purpose was to commemorate the events that had occurred one year earlier in 1918.  On November 11th, 1918, at 11:00 am, an armistice between the Allied forces and Germany went into effect.  Although World War I did not officially end until The Treaty of Versailles was signed in June of 1919, this armistice was effectively the end of the fighting.

The Significance of the Day

The end of World War I was a momentous event in the life of Americans, and we can still feel its impact today.  Many young men had fought in World War I, and many had given their lives to protect our freedom.  As the first war that featured the devastation of modern warfare, World War I was a shock to the world.  Thus, it was called The Great War or The War to End All Wars.  These terms demonstrate the major impact that this war had on the people of our country.  The end of this horrific fighting was remembered through the observance of Armistice Day.

Continuing Remembrance of Veterans

There was a strong hope at the end of The Great War that it would be The War to End All Wars, but we know now that it was not to be.  World War II proved to be even more destructive.   The United States would be involved in still more wars after that.  In 1954, Armistice Day was re-named Veterans Day in order to honor soldiers who had served in all wars.  And now in 2016, we observe Veterans Day.   Many individuals and businesses use this day as an opportunity to show appreciation to those veterans who are still living for all they gave to protect our freedom.

All of us at Ping’s Tree Service are thankful for our veterans.  One way we express our appreciation is by making a concerted effort to hire veterans whenever possible.  We encourage you to celebrate Veterans Day by saying thank you to those who have served in the armed forces.  As a veteran-owned business ourselves, we hope that on this day you will enjoy your freedom while remembering those who fought for it.  THANK YOU TO ALL OUR VETERANS!

How Does Pruning Benefit Your Trees?

pruningIf you’re like most Indianapolis area homeowners or commercial property owners, you value the trees that form the foundation of your landscaping.  You may appreciate the benefits of trees while still being unsure about how you can best protect them and keep them strong and growing for many years.  One easy practice that you can regularly perform is to prune your trees and shrubs.  Some of the benefits of pruning are the following:

Pruning (if done properly) Fights Insects and Infections.

Regular pruning is good for the health of a tree.  It is especially important to prune away infected branches.  Infections can travel to healthy parts of the tree and may eventually endanger the life of the tree.  Dead branches should also be pruned as they are susceptible to insects and infections.  Getting rid of them through pruning and sterilizing the cuts of infections will help to keep the infestations and infections from spreading to the rest of the tree.

Pruned Trees Are Healthier.

In addition to fighting infections, pruning also keeps trees generally healthier.  Cutting away the dead allows the tree to more efficiently nourish the remaining branches.  Furthermore, when trees become dense, thinning the branches helps to decrease the weight of branches and increase the amount of light and air that get through to the tree.

Pruning Keeps Trees Looking Beautiful.

You want your trees to be healthy, but you also want them to be beautiful.  Pruning helps with this as well.  Obviously, cutting out dead branches makes the whole tree look better.  When pruning and trimming are done, the tree can also be shaped.  Uneven growth patterns can be smoothed out, making the tree more pleasing to the eye.

Pruned Trees Are Safer.

A final reason that trees should be pruned is safety.  You may not think about trees as a danger, but in truth they can be.  When weak, dead, or dying branches are left on the tree, there is always a heightened risk that they will be broken off unexpectedly.  It may be during an ice storm, on a windy day, or just in normal conditions.  The loss of these branches can have dramatic consequences from damage to a car, home, building, or even personal injury.

Pruning, thinning, and trimming trees will keep trees healthy, pest-free, beautiful, and safe.  If it seems like a bigger job than what you are willing to tackle, Ping’s can help.  We have the expertise and equipment to take care of your trees with ease.  Call us at 317-298-8482 today to schedule an appointment.

Ping’s Tree Service Is Growing Too!

satellite locationWhether it is a tree or a business, when something is healthy, it will grow!  Ping’s Tree Service has been serving Indianapolis and the surrounding communities for over 40 years.  We work hard to provide you with the best possible tree care services by investing in top-of-the-line equipment, setting high standards for our workmanship, and treating our customers right.  So it’s no surprise that our business is growing.  Today we are happy to report that our business is expanding and opening a satellite location.

Our additional office will be located in Fishers at State Road 37 and 131st Street.  For the rest of 2016 and the early part of 2017, we will be preparing to open our satellite location for business.  Right now, that location is scheduled to open in February of 2017.  We are excited about this opportunity to better serve our customers and about the possibilities this expansion will open for us.

Our original location on the northwest side of Indianapolis will continue to operate as usual and will remain the main office of our company.  With the growth and changes we are making, we anticipate this expansion will enable us to be even more responsive to customers closer to the Fishers area, especially in emergency situations.  We have quite a few customers in the communities of Fishers, Carmel, Geist, McCordsville, Cicero, and Noblesville.  We look forward to being right in the heart of this area, close by when you need us!

The anticipation of opening our new office in February is building, and we are eager to get things rolled out.  We will let you know more about our official opening as our plans unfold.  In the meantime, we will continue to meet all your tree care, trimming, pruning, fertilizing, and tree removal needs.  We’ll keep your trees healthy and growing…just like us!

The Best Planting Times for Trees and Shrubs

planting timesTrees and shrubs can add appeal to your landscaping.  In the long term, trees can also provide shade to your home or your yard.  Fruit trees can even provide food grown right there in your yard. There are many good reasons for planting trees and shrubs.  So you may be wondering if there is a good time to plant.  The answer is a resounding yes.  There are both good and bad times to plant trees and shrubs.

Not in the Summer or Winter

Let’s start with the negative.  If you live in central Indiana, you never want to plant trees or shrubs in either of the more extreme seasons.  Summer and winter are not good planting times due to the harsh weather.  The summer in particular is a stressful time for all vegetation.  The heat and lack of adequate water require plants to tap into their valuable stored resources. Since planting is also a stressful event for a tree or shrub, it should not be done at a time of year that is typically taxing.  Planting in the winter is not only not advisable, it may also be nearly impossible.  Once the ground freezes, it will obviously be hard to dig a hole for planting.

Spring is Okay

Once the snow melts and the rising temperatures allow for the ground to thaw, you can start planting your trees and shrubs.  Typically, spring provides a mild climate for planting here in central Indiana.  Temperatures are usually moderate, without either the severe cold of winter or the severe heat of summer.  Rainfall is generally adequate during the spring season as well.  If you choose to plant in the spring, it is a good idea to do it well before the heat of summer sets in.  This gives the tree or shrub enough time to become adequately established in the new location before experiencing the stresses of summer.

Fall is Best

While spring is not a bad time for planting, it is not the best.  Fall is actually the best time to plant trees and shrubs in central Indiana.  The moderate climate of fall ensures that planted vegetation will not be assaulted by the stressors of heat and dryness.  Temperatures are falling at that time of year and rainfall levels are usually adequate.  This is similar to the conditions experienced in the spring.  An added benefit is the coming winter.  Trees and shrubs will usually go dormant in the cold winter months.  In the spring, trees wake up again to another moderate season.  Thus, the tree or shrub planted in the fall has two active seasons in which it can become well-established before the more demanding season of summer.

For those of you who are considering a planting, now is a perfect time to do it.  Planting now gives you the best chance of having a healthy tree now and in the years to come.  If you have a tree that looks unhealthy or that has been damaged, Ping’s is always available to help.  From our arborists to our tree removal experts, our experienced staff can solve your tree problems.  Call us at 317-298-8482 or schedule online at your convenience.

 

Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs

tree fertilizerWe all try to eat healthy.  Get plenty of vegetables, enough dairy, and the right amount of protein.  But what about your trees?  What kind of nutrition do they need?  Obviously, trees do not “eat;” instead, they receive nutrients from the soil.  Since the quality of the soil can vary based on location and treatment, trees often benefit from regular fertilizing.

The Advantage of Fertilizing

Trees that are planted in suburban neighborhoods are often in particular need of fertilizing.  Home builders frequently remove rich top soil at the time of building.  Further compounding the problem is our habitual practice of carefully removing all fallen leaves each autumn.  In a natural setting, fallen leaves are allowed to decompose and add nutrients back into the soil.  Since we typically do not allow this to happen in residential areas, you may want to consider fertilizing.  When you fertilize your trees and shrubs, you give them the materials they need to grow and live.  Thus, a fertilized tree will typically grow faster, look healthier, and be able to better defend against insects and diseases.

The Type of Fertilizer

The type of fertilizer you need depends on the condition of your soil.  You can perform a soil test to determine any soil deficiencies.  A complete fertilizer will contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and a soil test will show how much of each nutrient is needed.  The strength of each nutrient in the fertilizer is shown through a numeric designation for each nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, in that order.  For example, 10-10-10 would be a balanced fertilizer containing 10% of each of the nutrients.  Fertilizer can be purchased in either dry or liquid forms.

The Time for Fertilizing

The best schedule for fertilizing is to make applications in both the spring and the fall.  These are times when trees are not under the stress of extreme temperature and are ready to absorb the nutrients you are putting down.  For your fall application, early September to mid-October is ideal.  Tree roots can absorb nutrients as long as the soil temperature is above 40°F.

If you are unsure of what your trees needs or would just rather not mess with fertilizing yourself, the arborists at Ping’s can take care of it for you.  We can assess your soil condition, determine what your trees need, and fertilize your trees.  Give us a call today (317-298-8482) or schedule online to get your fertilizer treatment done while the weather is still good.

The Backyard Bucket: The Right Tool for Backyard Tree Problems

backyard bucket

This Backyard Bucket fits through a 45-inch opening.

Have you ever had a problem that seemed unsolvable?  Big or small, these kinds of problems take our attention and sometimes require a lot of extra work.  But having just the right tool can make all the difference in the world.  Opening a can without a can opener can be difficult and messy.  With one, it’s a cinch.

Since Ping’s specializes in taking care of trees, we have a few tree-related tools at our disposal.  These valuable tools often make things easier on us and you.  One tool that really allows us to minimize the efforts of homeowners to get ready for us is the backyard bucket.  This cleverly designed piece of equipment combines the capability of some of our larger trucks with the ability to access tight spaces.  We have two backyard buckets. One can fit through a 45-inch opening; the other through an opening just 36 inches!

Just imagine that you have a beautiful oak tree in your backyard.  It’s always been a part of your landscape since you bought the house; in fact, it’s probably been there for a hundred years or more.  Then one night a line of thunderstorms blows through your area (as they are prone to do in central Indiana).  Suddenly a bolt of lightning rips through the dark sky and strikes your stately oak.  In the morning, you sadly survey the results of the storm and see that the tree sustained a direct hit and is now split down its center.  You consult with an arborist and learn that your tree is beyond repair.  It will slowly die and as it dies it will become more vulnerable to further damage.  To avoid damage to your home and the homes of your neighbors, it is best to take it down.

Besides the fact that you hate to lose your tree, you now have another problem.  A section of that new wooden fence that you put in last year will have to come down so that the necessary equipment can be brought to the tree.  However, with the backyard bucket this becomes unnecessary.  Although it is a tight fit, the backyard bucket can squeeze through a space of a mere 36 inches.  Yet it still has the capacity to handle big jobs.  It is also a valuable tool to use in a crowded space where the room needed for traditional tree equipment is not available.

For hard-to-reach trees that need tree care or tree removal in Marion County or the surrounding counties, check with us.  We will take a look and give you a free estimate.  Chances are we will have just the right tools to minimize your inconvenience and solve your tree problem!

Scale Insects Are a Real Nuisance!

Joe Boggs, The Ohio State University Extension

Honeydew produced by soft scales. (Joe Boggs, The Ohio State University Extension)

During these summer months, there are lots of things in the yard that demand your attention.  In addition to regular mowing, you may be busy with trimming, weeding, planting, mulching, and other assorted tasks.  But even while you are keeping everything looking nice, there may be a problem that is forming on your trees and shrubs without you even noticing.  Scale insects are so small that you may not notice their presence on a tree until they begin doing some real damage.

What Are Scale Insects?

Scale insects are a class of insects named for the protective scales that cover their bodies.  They are typical very small (up to 1/8 of an inch) and without any legs, they move quite slowly if at all.  Scale insects usually survive by finding a good spot along the veins of a leaf and sucking the sap from the leaf.  As long as the leaf continues to provide an adequate supply of sap, they will happily set up camp and stay.

How Do Scale Insects Harm Trees?

While this sounds like a nice arrangement for the scale insect, it doesn’t really work out so well for the tree or shrub.  A healthy tree produces a lot of sap and one scale insect probably wouldn’t do much damage.  However, like many pests, these insects reproduce rapidly and each new generation will find a comfy spot, usually on the same tree, and start sucking away.  The euonymus variety of scale insects can produce up to 3 generations each year!  A constant drain of sap will eventually take its toll on the tree or shrub.

What Other Adverse Effects Do Scale Insects Have?

In addition to putting stress on your trees, scale insects also make a mess in and under your trees.  As they are gorging themselves on sap, these little creatures are also excreting a sticky substance all over the leaves on which they live.  This substance, romantically known as honeydew, covers tree leaves as well as dropping onto the ground or anything else parked under the tree.  (The picture at the top right shows a leaf with honeydew.)  If left undisturbed, honeydew will often lead to the formation of a black sooty mold.

How Can Scale Insects Be Eliminated?

I’m sure you can see why no homeowner with a sound mind would want scale insects.   So what can you do to eliminate these tiny pests?  Due to the protective scale which covers these insects, they are often resistant to normal sprayed insecticides. Full-strength oil sprays may be applied directly to the tree’s leaves during dormant periods in an effort suffocate over-wintering egg masses. However, the timing of application is crucial to safe and effective elimination.  Oil sprays are usually applied in late winter or early spring and should not be applied to trees or shrubs that are fully leafed out.   The most effective and reliable method for getting rid of these pests is the use of systemic insecticides.

If you find that you have scale insects invading a tree, Ping’s Tree Service has the experience and expertise to take care of your problem.  With the mild winter we had this year, we have been seeing more of these sneaky little critters than usual.  But they are no match for our certified arborists.  Scales are not easy to displace once they have taken up residence, but Ping’s will do what it takes to send them packing.  Give us a call to schedule an appointment for a free consultation (317-298-8482).

Weak Trees Are No Match for an Indiana Thunderstorm

storm damageThere is nothing like a good thunderstorm to put nature’s awesome power on display.  Brilliant flashes of lightning, driving rains, high-speed winds, occasionally even the whirling vortex of a tornado.   With the intense energy that is packed in these storms, it is no wonder that they can do a lot of damage – to home, autos, and even trees.  While it is impossible to predict where or when a storm will strike, you can identify trees that may be more vulnerable to storm-related damage.  In general, any weakness in a tree can make it more susceptible to damage.  This weakness may be the result of previous damage, decay, structural abnormalities, or even environmental deficiencies.

Decay is a major cause of tree weakness.

When a tree experiences decay, some of its tissue is dying. Where once there had been strong, solid, living material, now there is soft, squishy, dead matter.  Obviously, this makes it less able to withstand any assault.  So what causes decay in the first place?  Decay can begin when there is a wound to the tree that allows the entrance of disease.  These wounds may result from improper bracing or pruning as well as damage done by a lawnmower or weed trimmer.  Improper mulching, overwatering, or inadequate soil drainage can also encourage decay.

Structural abnormalities can also make a tree vulnerable.

Trees with codominant stems, for example, can be more susceptible to storm damage.  This condition occurs when the tree has 2 or more stems that form the main trunk, each with approximately the same diameter.   While the tree may look strong to the casual observer, it is more likely to fail to withstand damage from a storm.  Another abnormality that can cause weakness is stem girdling roots. Roots at or just below the surface of the soil that partially or completely encircle the tree are known as stem girdling roots.  They take a toll on the overall health of a tree and often cause a weakness to form in the lower trunk.  High winds can cause the tree to then snap off at the weak point, bringing the tree down.

Many tree weaknesses can be addressed.

The good news is that many of these weaknesses can be avoided or treated.  First, evaluate the condition of your trees often.  Look for dead branches that need to be removed, places where damage has already occurred, and structural problems like codominant stems or stem girdling roots.  Second, leave major tree work to the professionals.  Rather than trying to prune your tree or attach needed cables or braces, it really is best to get someone who will do it right.  If you see a problem or just suspect that something is not right, call an arborist.  They are trained to know what to look for and what can be done to mitigate the problem.

The experienced staff of certified arborists at Ping’s Tree Service is happy to come out and take a look at your trees anytime.  Our experts know how to spot a potential problem and what to do to handle it.  We will give you a free assessment with any recommendations for treatment.  Call us at 317-298-8482 with your concerns or schedule your free assessment today.  We will help you protect your trees against the fury of the next Indiana thunderstorm.

Paying the Price for a Mild Winter

tree care

Leaves affected by apple scab.

The winter of 2016 was a mild one in central Indiana, and it was a needed relief after the two unseasonably cold and snowy winters preceding it.  We all enjoyed the benefits of a more temperate winter.  Yet as often happens, this much welcomed mildness is not without a downside.  Now we must deal with the increase in insects and disease that often accompany warmer temperatures and fewer blizzards.

More Insects.

The harsh weather of winter is hard on insects.  Prolonged freezing temperatures will kill more insects as the frost level pushes deeper into the ground, reaching to places where more insects are hibernating.  In a mild winter the ground will not freeze as far down, allowing for more insect to survive.  Insect populations get another boast when warm weather arrives earlier in the spring without a resurgence of cold.  In these circumstances, bugs can begin reproducing earlier and have more time to build up in numbers.

It is easy to see that this increase in insect populations can have some negative consequences.  Obviously, insects are pests and having more of them will require more effort to keep them from wreaking havoc.  One area where the reach of more insects must be battled is in plant care.  From crops to landscapes, from trees to perennials, all plants are exposed to more attacks from insect pests after a mild winter.  In particular, the tree care specialists at Ping’s are seeing an increase in scale insects, especially in maple, tulip, oak, and crab apple trees.

More Disease.

In addition to an increase in insects, mild winters can also result in an increase in disease experienced by plants and trees.  Mold, in particular, can be a real problem after a mild winter.  Mild winters produce the kind of wet and mild conditions that mold thrives in.  Not only are temperatures more suitable to the growth of mold and other diseases, but the fact that more precipitation falls as rain rather than snow leaves the ground soggy and wet, a perfect environment for the growth of mold, fungus, and bacteria.  Our arborists are currently battling attacks from fungi such as apple scab and anthracnose.

There are many advantages to a mild weather, but it is not without its drawbacks.  Now that the seasons have changed, it is important to be aware of the accompanying increase in insects and disease.  If you have considered the Plant Health Care Plan offered by Ping’s, now is a perfect time to start.  Our certified arborists will monitor the health of your trees and guard against disease and infestation.  Visit our website to read more or give us a call (317-298-8482) to talk to a tree specialist.

The Danger of Mulching Too Much

mulch around treeMulching is a great practice that can contribute to the health of trees and plants as well as the overall beauty of your landscaping.  But too much mulch will not help – in fact, it can be detrimental to trees and plants.  Here is an overview of the damage that can be done when you get too aggressive in your mulch application.

  1. Trapping too much moisture around trees.

    One of the key benefits of mulch is that it helps keep moisture in the soil around plants and trees.  However, too much water held in the surrounding soil can be devastating.   When mulch is piled too high or mounded up the base of the tree trunk, it can retain too much moisture, causing the roots, bark, and cambium to rot.  The cambium is the layer of tissue just under the bark which transports water and nutrients to the leaves of a tree.  Without it, your tree will die.

  2. Choking out the oxygen in the soil that plants need.

    We don’t often think of plants needing oxygen, but they do.  And they receive this oxygen through their root system.  Too much water in the soil prevents the roots from getting the oxygen they need, literally choking them.  When roots are deprived of oxygen, they cannot live and neither can the plant or tree.

  3. Exposing plants to excessive heat.

    You may have noticed as you have applied mulch that it can sometimes give off heat.  This heat is created as the mulch decomposes.  When mulch is applied too thickly, this heat can become trapped without a way to escape into the air.  Plant tissue that is exposed to this heat may suffer irreversible damage.

  4. Creating a haven for bacteria, fungus, and other pests.

    While to all appearances, a thick layer of mulch may seem like a protection for plants and trees, it actually can harbor harmful organisms.  A wetter soil environment, which is maintained by an abundance of mulch, makes a perfect place for bacteria and fungus to grow and thrive.  Obviously, these are a threat to trees and plants.  Furthermore, insects and small animals can find shelter in mulch, and these pests can inflict chewing damage to the tender bark or cambium of a tree.

The important thing to remember is that mulch is good, but too much of a good thing is definitely harmful in this case.  Even if you see neighbors or professional landscapers applying thick “volcanoes” of mulch around trees, you will save yourself a lot of trouble with a more conservative application.  In general, you should keep mulch less than 3 inches deep, and it should not be applied directly against tree trunks.  If you have a question about tree care, call the professional arborists at Ping’s Tree Service (317-298-8482).  We have the expertise to answer your questions and accurately evaluate any problems with your trees.

Emergency Tree Service

emergency serviceIndianapolis may not be in tornado alley, but we do experience our fair share of large summer storms.  Most of the time, these storms have heavy winds and rain that can wreak havoc on our trees and shrubs and may require emergency service.  It’s not uncommon for trees to lose many limbs, have lead branches break, or even have an entire tree uproot and crash down on a structure.

So, what should you do if a tree falls on your home?  That’s the exact question one of our customers asked himself after the last big storm.  Standing in his front yard, looking up at the massive tree that crashed through the side of his house, he was completely at a loss of what to do next.  Of course, he made sure everyone was safe, called 911, and then called his insurance company.  Their advice was to get the tree off the house immediately.  But how do you do that in the middle of the night?  The insurance agent suggested to call a company with Emergency Tree Service.

Our customer, who was unaware tree service companies even offered emergency services, was relieved he could get immediate help.  Not all tree service companies offer emergency service to residential and commercial properties, but Ping’s Tree Service does.  We work around the clock to handle any emergency tree service needed.  Our crews are on standby during every storm and are ready to help.  We have all the equipment to get your tree down quickly and safely, including a large crane to remove even the most massive tree in our service area.  So next time a storm blows through the Indianapolis area, don’t panic.  Simply call our office at 317-298-8482.  We’re here to help you make sure your property is once again safe after experiencing storm damage.

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Spring Has Sprung: Time for Planting Season

As the weather continues to warm up, property owners are getting ready to pick their favorite trees and get them planted during prime tree-planting season.  Spring is a great time to add new life to your landscape, and getting trees planted early can aid in their growth and survival throughout the year.  When choosing a tree specimen to plant, there are several factors to keep in mind.

Man and woman planting tree

Location.  How close will the tree be to a structure?  Do I need it for shade?  Will it attract birds to the area?  Will it enhance the overall appearance of the property?

Availability.  Are these trees readily available in the area?

Size.  How large will this specimen grow?  How much will it spread out?

Hardiness.  How will the tree stand up to the changes in temperature and conditions of the area?

Rate of Growth.  How fast will the tree grow?

Space.  How much room is available to allow the tree to grow naturally?  How much room does it need above and below ground?

Appearance.  Does the tree fit the landscape around it?  How will it look when fully matured?  What is the color and texture of the bark, flowers, foliage, fruit, etc?

Nourishment.  What are the moisture requirements for this specific specimen?  What type of fertilization is needed?

Maintenance.  What type of pruning will be needed to keep this tree looking its best?

Need help choosing your tree?  Our Certified Arborists are experts in tree selection and planting.  They analyze the area by considering soil conditions, presence of channelized winds, proximity to structures and other important factors to determine the tree specimen options that will best thrive and add curb appeal to your property.

Don’t forget to check your community restrictions and what is allowed by HOA’s and municipalities.  Also consider having the utilities marked on your property before getting your heart set on a particular location.  Call 811 for the national “Call Before You Dig” hotline to get assistance.


 

Tree Pruning for Property Managers is Prudent.

Proper tree pruning on any property helps breathe new life into the overall look of the landscape. It not only helps to maintain tree health, but it greatly adds to the appearance and appeal of the surrounding area. There are many reasons why property managers should consider having the trees on their managed properties pruned regularly. Here are a few of the most important ones.

Visibility.

Overgrown trees can block customers from seeing signs advertising the business or from viewing the property itself. This is where the property manager should take extra care to ensure all trees are trimmed accurately in order to provide as much visibility as possible.

overgrown parkinglotClearance around the building.

All too often, trees are planted too close to a building or structure. General tree trimming guidelines suggest a clearance of 5 to 10 feet of clearance. Property managers don’t want to have to continually be trimming back overgrown branches, so it’s a good thing to have a Certified Arborist put a tree pruning plan in place. A good plan will include pruning the entire tree, not just one side.

Parking.

Overgrown trees with low hanging branches can prevent the use of all available parking spots by making it impossible for a vehicle to access the space. Property managers want to keep those parking lot trees adequately pruned back so as to allow their customers plenty of room to park their cars and trucks. Having those trees regularly maintained can keep your lot looking nice and inviting to your patrons.

Ping’s Tree Service recommends contacting a Certified Arborist who can provide a professional evaluation of your trees and give recommendations on their individual needs. We currently have 7 Certified Arborists on our staff who are experts in all tree species, especially those located here in Indiana. We would love the opportunity to help you maintain the beauty of your managed properties.


 

Winter Is Coming!

heavy_snow_1_560817

Fortunately we missed out on Winter Storm Jonas and the massive amounts of snow it dropped on the east coast. However, winter is not over yet. Even though we had a little warm up this week, meteorologists predict that February is going to be a very snowy month for us here in the Indianapolis area.

Winter storms and heavy snow can cause severe stress and damage to trees. If your trees experience damage from these types of storms, there are a few things for you to consider.

  1. Assess the Minor Damage. If your trees have acquired minor damage with only the smallest branches being injured, then generally there is no major threat to the tree. You may need to clean up the broken twigs and branches or have the crown thinned of bent or twisted limbs. But overall, the tree shouldn’t be in danger or distress.
  2. Asses the Major Damage. Tree damage that consists of large broken branches, missing bark that has been torn off, or trunks that are splintering can be signs of major damage and pose a risk to the health of your tree. That tree may require more maintenance or may need to be removed. A certified arborist is able to evaluate the health and safety of your tree in this situation.

 

Note: If it has been determined that the tree is not worth saving, have it removed as soon as possible. Leaving the tree to die can result in it becoming a hazard tree which increases the risk to yourself and the tree crew that will remove it. Increased risk requires special tools and techniques to safely remove the tree and will therefore increase the cost of the tree care work.

So whether it’s minor or major damage, take time to do a quick evaluation of your trees after a winter storm. If there is any damage, we’d love to help. Ping’s Tree Service offers a FREE Estimate on pruning, trimming, and tree removal services.


 

Recycling Your Christmas Tree 2016

christmas treeNow that the Christmas holiday has passed, it’s time to get your decorations put away and dispose of your Christmas tree. Recycling Christmas trees will provide mulch to the city parks for trails and landscaping to be used as needed. Here is a list of where you can get drop of your live, bare trees in and around the Indianapolis area:

Marion County

  • Broad Ripple Park (1610 Broad Ripple Ave.) south lot
  • Ellenberger Park (5301 E. St. Clair St.) west of pool in main parking lot
  • Garfield Park (2432 Conservatory Drive) MacAllister Center
  • Gustafson Park (3110 Moller Road) near the front entrance
  • Krannert Park (605 S. High School Road) north parking lot
  • Northwestway Park (5253 W. 62nd St.) near the recycling bins
  • Perry Park (451 E. Stop 11 Road) soccer field parking lot
  • Riverside Park (2420 N. Riverside Drive) tennis court parking lot
  • Sahm Park (6801 E. 91st St.) soccer field parking lot

Please note that from now until January 31, trees can be dropped off from dawn until dusk.

Note: DPW will NOT offer curbside Christmas tree pickup this year

Fishers (until Feb. 1, 2016)

  • ​Brooks School Park, 11780 Brooks School Road
  • Cumberland Park, 10580 Cumberland Road
  • Roy G. Holland Memorial Park, 1 Park Drive

Johnson County (until Feb. 11, 2016)

  • ​Center Grove High School, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, near the tennis courts
  • Johnson County Fairgrounds, 250 Fairground St., Franklin, near the Purdue Extension Office
  • Indian Creek Intermediate School, 1000 S. Indian Creek Dr., Trafalgar, near the teachers’ parking lot
  • McCarty Mulch, 100 Bluffdale, Greenwood
  • Curbside pickup will be offered in GREENWOOD through January.

Hendricks County (until Feb. 13, 2016)

  • ​Brownsburg Yard Waste Recycling Center, 90 Mardale Drive, Brownsburg
  • Plainfield Yard Waste Recycling Center, 7020 South CR 875 East, Plainfield
  • GreenCycle-McCarty, 494 South CR 200 E, Danville

Carmel and Westfield

Curbside Christmas tree pickup is available for free on your regular trash days.

♦ Once again, please make sure to remove all decorations, including your tree stand, before dropping off your tree.

♦ Also, it’s important to know that you should never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. This may contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.


 

TCIA Professional Communications Awards Winner!

PCA 2013 WINNERSPing’s Tree Service is proud to announce it has been awarded a Professional Communications Award from the Tree Care Industry Association — TCIA. More than 20 years old, this program honors marketing and communication excellence within the tree care industry.

In August, we submitted our tree frog ads for entry into the TCIA Professional Communications Awards. These ads were created as part of our company branding initiative and have received a generous amount of positive responses in our advertising areas.

TCIA evaluated each entry on the overall appearance, content quality, adherence to American National Standards Institute and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, and its success in achieving the company’s marketing and communications goals.

To learn more about TCIA’s Professional Communications Award program, visit TCIA.org.

About the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA): Founded in 1938, TCIA is a public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture. It has more than 2,300 member companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards and who are required to carry liability insurance. TCIA also has the nation’s only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that adhere to industry standards for quality and safety; maintain trained, professional staff; and are dedicated to ethical and professional business practices. With access to the latest and best safety standards and training, the typical TCIA member company has 50% fewer accidents than a typical non-member.


 

Tree Topping . . . what is the alternative?

In our last blog we discussed several points on why tree topping is harmful to your trees. Trees that have been topped suffer starvation, shock, insect infestation, decay, weak limbs, and even death. There are no situations when we would ever recommend having your tree topped. So, what can you do instead of tree topping? Here’s what we recommend.

Canopy Reduction. This practice is the removal of small limbs from their point of origin. No more than 25% of the tree’s foliage should be removed, based on its species and health.

Crown-Raising-Before-AfterInterlimbing or Thinning. This method is best when you prefer your view to be through a tracery of green. Removing selected branches up the trunk provides partial views through the tree and will let more sunlight into your back yard if your trees were blocking it out. Thinning also creates paths for strong winds to move through the tree instead of pushing against them, allowing your tree to withstand those winds.

Raising the Canopy. This process opens up a view by removing the lower limbs of a tree. All branches are cut from the ground up to the desired level. These lower limbs give less energy for the tree’s growth, so the tree can tolerate their removal. To achieve a pleasing shape, be careful not to limb up higher than half the visual height of the tree. If the tree looks top heavy, you can thin out some of the higher branches.

Although these techniques are simple to understand, tree pruning can be dangerous and complicated and is best performed by a professional. To ensure your trees have an aesthetically pleasing shape, consult with a Certified Arborist and make sure to stay away from anyone who suggests tree topping as an option.


 

Tree Topping – Why it’s NOT recommended by your tree doctor

Any good tree service company will tell you that tree topping isn’t a good practice. Topping consists of drastically cutting back or removing large branches on mature trees. Not only does this leave the tree looking ugly, but it also causes severe damage to the tree’s health. Often times, homeowners feel their tree has grown too large for the space, or they fear their large tree could become a hazard during a strong storm. Tree topping is NOT the solution for several reasons.

1. Starvation.  Leaves produce starches during photosynthesis. The tree then moves these starches to the roots for storage and conversion into the much needed nutrients for the tree to grow and tree topping 1thrive. Tree topping, however, removes so much of the leafy crown that the tree may be unable to produce enough starch to properly nourish itself, leaving the tree to starve.

2. Shock.  The crown of the tree acts as a barrier between the hot summer sun and the bark of the tree. Removing a large portion of the crown exposes the bark to sun scald, shocking the tree with direct sunlight. This can result in poor health and even the death of your tree.

3. Insect and Disease.  Tree topping cuts can produce large wounds that are difficult to heal because of the location and size of the cuts. These open wounds on the stubs of the tree are a welcome mat to insect infestation and the spread of disease and decay fungi.

4. Weak Limbs.  New limbs that develop from the cuts grow only from that point on and are not an extension of the parent branch. Many times these new limbs are weakly attached to their parentlimb, with not more than an inch of wood.

5. Rapid New Growth.  Instead of controlling the height and spread of the tree, topping actually encourages rapid new growth. Trees respond to the cuts by sprouting many long limbs resulting in a taller and bushier tree.

6. Death.  Some tree species do not tolerate tree topping. They sprout only a few new limbs and therefore lack the leaves necessary to capture sunlight to produce glucose. Without this much needed nutrient, the tree simply dies.

7. Appearance.  Plain and simple, a topped tree is ugly. Even with the new growth, the tree will never regain its original beauty. It will no longer be a valuable asset to the surrounding landscape.

8. Price.  You need more than a ladder and a chain saw to properly prune a tree. Tree topping may be cheaper to accomplish, but the overall higher price will be reflected in the lowered property value, removal and replacement cost when the tree dies, declining health of nearby trees and shrubs reacting to the change in sunlight, liability risks from weak branches, and higher costs for future trimmings.

Want alternatives to Tree Topping? Check back for our next blog coming soon.


Preparing Trees For The Winter

WINTER IS COMING!! Before winter officially arrives, there are a few things you can do to prepare your trees for the hazardous weather.

plantingtreePlant the tree. Now is a great time to plant new trees in your yard, just make sure to get them planted prior to a hard freeze. That way they can enjoy the mild weather and frequent rainfall that help roots grow strong. You also want to mulch any new or established trees, but be careful to avoid volcano mulch (mulch piled high against the trunk of the tree).

PrunePrune the canopy.  Fall is a great time of year to have a certified arborist take look at the structure of your trees and make recommendations on how much to prune or trim. Proper pruning allows those brutal winter winds to pass through the trees which results in less breakage and damage, protecting your property.

Feed the roots.  Even during the winter months, your trees’ roots system continues to absorb nutrients until fertilizingthe ground is frozen. Fertilizing your trees helps them stay healthy during freezing temperatures and prepares them to return strong in the spring.

Spray the tree.  Applying dormant oil after insects have laid their eggs will stop insect larvae from developing further.       Come springtime, you’ll have less bugs chewing on your fresh tree buds and fruit. No Worries!! oil sprayDormant oils are less toxic to beneficial bugs and only remove the bad ones.

Need help winterizing your trees, contact us at info@pingstreeservice.com or call 317.298.8482

 


 

To Fertilize or Not To Fertilize. . . That is the Question.

Tree FertilizationYour trees may be STARVING!  Just like humans, trees are living things.  In order for them to grow and produce, they need a proper diet.  Forest trees naturally get the nutrition they need, because of all the decomposing leaves and branches that lie on the ground around them.  But trees in urban areas (where leaves are raked, branches are picked up, and yards are manicured) lack those natural nutrients.  To feed your trees over the harsh winter months, you may need to fertilize them, and NOW is the best time to do that.  Fall fertilization, before temperatures drop to freezing, allows the roots of established trees to take nutrients from the soil and use them to promote root development and protect against disease and insects.  All the excess is stored in the roots and will be available in the spring for new growth.

However, keep in mind, not all trees are perfect candidates for regular fertilization.  It’s important to have a professional evaluate your trees’ needs. They can recommend the proper balance of nutrition that is best.  Just like overeating is not good for you, too much fertilization can be wasted and end up contaminating the soil.

Learn more:  Tree Fertilization