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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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