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.

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.

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.

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.

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