COVID-19 UPDATE: Arborwell is Open and Performing Essential Tree Care Services at this time

Arborwell is Open for Essential Tree Services

COVID-19 UPDATE: Arborwell is Open and Performing Essential Tree Care Services at this time

Arborwell is Open for Essential Tree Services




Arbor-wellness: Bark Beetles

What are bark beetles?

Bark beetles are common pests of pines, spruce, cypress, oaks and even elm trees. There are over 200 types found in California, of which about 20 are serious problems for us.

Why are there so many trees dying from bark beetles?

Our trees are still recovering from the 6 year drought a few years back. It will take several more years of good winter moisture before our trees have fully recovered. If there are additional stresses like compacted soil, excess salinity from reclaimed water or poor soil nutrition, it will take even longer. Because our trees are still weakened, they are not producing the auxins and other chemicals that help them ward off pests. Bark beetles and other pests have an easier time attacking and often killing trees that if healthy would problem not succumb.

Photo by Arborjet

How do bark beetles harm the trees?

Bark beetles in particular, lay their eggs inside the bark of trees. When the larvae hatch, they begin to feed on the living tissue just inside the bark layer. This slows or stops the transportation of water and nutrients up and down the tree. As they mature, they pupate into adults, exit the tree and look for more trees to attack. When enough bark beetle larvae are feeding on a particular tree, the tree can’t recover and dies. Sometimes the beetle will introduce a disease into the tree which either helps kill the tree, or increases the rate of wood decay, making it dangerous faster.

So what should I do?

The most important thing to do is improve or maintain the health of your trees. Proper summer watering, mulch, improving soil health and nutrition all help this process.
Secondly, be proactive about protection. Preseason applications can protect your trees for an entire season and are very cost effective compared to treating a tree after it has been infected.
At Arborwell, we can design a program to help your trees become and stay healthier, plus we can recommend the proper tool to protect your trees from bark beetles and from the disease they sometimes bring with them. Contact your representative today if you are concerned about your oaks, we will help you preserve them for you today AND for your children tomorrow.

To get in touch with one of our certified arborists, fill out the form below:

Arbor-wellness: Soil Nutrition

What’s wrong with my soil?

Poor quality soil has a major impact on the health of your trees. When soil is healthy, has the proper mineral balance and thriving microorganisms, trees naturally grow better, withstand stresses better and tend to fail less frequently. Poor soil conditions are often the underlying cause of tree decline and failures. It could be from compaction, poor soil water holding ability, excesses of salt or other minerals, or deficiencies of key micro-nutrients.

How can you tell if there’s something wrong with your soil?

Unhealthy plants are the most obvious indicator; however, there are ways to assess and determine more precisely what is wrong and – more importantly – how to fix those problems.

Just what is soil anyway?

It much more than just dirt that tracks into our houses, gets muddy when wet and blows around when dry and windy. The simple explanation is that soil consists of air, minerals and water. The balance of how much of those elements are in your soil go a long way to determining the actual health of the soil. However, soil is much more than just this.

Soil is an incredibly complex ecosystem that we usually think very little about. It’s role in tree health has been studied for a long time, yet we are still learning so much about how soil organisms interact with one another, with plants and with the soil itself. Because soil is so complex and in reality, very dynamic – what we do to soil affects very much the quality of the soil and its ability to help plants thrive. Because the very nature of being in an urban environment, natural soil conditions no longer exist around our buildings, in our parking lots and even in our parks. So how do we fix it?

“Essentially, all life depends upon the soil”– Charles E. Kellogg

To figure out what is wrong with your soil, you first need to understand what healthy soil actually is.

  • First soil minerals should be properly balanced. The main components that make soil have an ideal balance. We determine this from a basic soil test.
  • Second, we identify micronutrient excesses and deficiencies. These are the components that are critical to proper tree growth, but usually needed in small amounts.
  • Third we need to ensure that soil biology thrives. This becomes trickier because while these microscopic creatures are native to all soils, they need very specific conditions to truly thrive. These conditions include: proper soil moisture and temperature, enough air, a balance of minerals in the proper ratios and in particular, enough carbon in the soil. This can come in different forms and often the type of carbon is very critical as well. The good news is we can determine just what the potential of soil life is when we to a soil health assessment. This more complete analysis identifies the potential for your soil to thrive and indicates the obstacles to preventing that.
  • Lastly, we should pay attention to toxins, water management and mulch.

When we do a soil health assessment, we are looking at all of these factors to determine the best course of action to improve the soil for your trees. That is why our recommendations often include more that just fertilizer components. We strive to identify the limiting factors to YOUR soil and help you take cost effective steps to help improve the quality of your soil. This leads to many benefits for your trees and your sites.

How does healthy soil help your local site?

Let’s end the discussion by identifying some of the benefits of improving the soil conditions on your site:

Healthy soil 

  • Is less prone to erosion
  • Holds water longer
  • Holds minerals so they don’t leach into the water table
  • Meets the nutritional needs of your plants
  • Healthier plants are more resistant to insects and diseases
  • Healthy soil helps to filter toxins from the soil
  • Healthy soil supports good soil biology and reduces soil diseases
  • Creates a more sustainable environment for your property

To get in touch with one of our certified arborists, fill out the form below:


Arbor-wellness: Stop the Sticky Sap

What can I do about sap dripping from my trees right now? 

Many property owners have trouble with sap dripping off of their trees onto their cars and walkways. This sticky substance can be difficult to remove, accumulate dirt, and attract flies and other annoying insects. This sticky substance isn’t sap but is honeydew, and despite the name it has no relation to the fruit. Honeydew is the excrement of plant-sucking insects such as aphids, scale and certain whiteflies. This dripping is a telltale sign of an insect infestation.


What trees are most susceptible?

Insect infestations that lead to honeydew are frequently found on ash, crepe myrtle, elm, hackberry, oak and sometimes maple, willow, and fruit trees.


Does the honeydew hurt my trees? 

Honeydew by itself is annoying and a hassle when it drips on objects or the ground but will typically not hurt your tree. The real concern with the tree is the amount of damage the insects do to the leaves. Insects typically feed on stressed trees first, so this can indicate overall poor tree health too.


Can you stop the dripping?

Yes, we have specific products that are quick, effective and safe to use. They usually stop the feeding within 24-48 hours. HOWEVER, if there is a lot of honeydew on the tree, the dripping may continue for a while. The best answer in this case is to carefully wash the tree with a water solution to remove as much of the sap as possible. Cleaning of the sidewalks or roads can be done with a soapy water solution. Once you call your Arborwell arborist, we can assess the needs and provide appropriate answers. Remember too that we can easily prevent this in the off season to prevent the problem for next year.

If you are concerned about any diseases or sap on your trees and want to schedule an inspection, fill out the form below.



Owner Highlight – July 2018

As you all may know, Arborwell became Employee Owned this past year.

This means that all of our employees have become part owners! Beginning this month, we will be posting “Owner Highlights”, which will be articles that highlight employee’s that are going above and beyond to provide excellent service to our customers. Without employees like this, we would not be the company we are today. This month we will be highlighting two individuals who have been nominated by regional managers for their hard work and attitude. Below are the reasons that each employee received their nomination, enjoy!

Daniel Bautista

(Daniel is shown above assisting a new climber working in a tree)

Foreman for Arborwell in the Bay Area.

Been with Arborwell for over 3 years

Nominated by account manager Matt Fournier:

     “He has been the residential Foreman for the last year. Arborwell gets so many verbal compliments on our residential pruning now. He has taken it upon himself to encourage and mentor new climbers on his crew and is absolutely steadfast in his discipline regarding his work ethic and responsibility on his job-sites. Our residential crew serves a difficult clientele and It takes nothing to get a residential client dissatisfied, yet Daniel continuously performs large, technical projects for our residential portfolio without accidents or client complaints !! He has also taken Chris Salas, who recently graduated ACT training, and given him the support he needs to step towards becoming a complete climber. The more Foreman we have do things like this the more success our training programs will have.”

Miguel Ramirez

(Miguel is shown above with 2 other Arborwell employees after Aerial Rescue Training)

Foreman for Arborwell in Sacramento

Been with Arborwell for over a year

Nominated by account manager David Vega

“Miguel Ramirez, a Foreman in Sacramento I believe deserves special recognition. He showed great diligence today holding a new job briefing  and having me sign it because my presence and assistance changed the original plan. Also during aerial rescue he wasn’t content to just watch and learn he got involved and started helping new climbers practice throwing the throw ball.  For these reasons I gave him my Knee Ascender and a brand new set of chaps.”





Arbor-wellness: Needle Blight

My spruce trees are starting to turn brown, can you help them? 

It does depend on what is wrong with them, but many of our evergreen trees easily develop one of many fungal diseases that kill either the needles, the tips of a twig, or entire branches. Newly developed needles that die can affect the overall health of the tree, so understanding what the problem is and how to prevent it can be important. 

How bad will the damage be?  

It depends on the type of disease. Some are minor problems, some will eventually kill the tree. But seeing this problem may indicate your trees are already stressed in some other way. Asking one of our certified arborists to review the problem and recommend a course of action is a wise thing to do. 

What can I do about it?  

There are treatments that work on most types of needle or tip blights. They are especially helpful when the tree is not severely affected yet. Old needles can’t be helped but we can discourage spreading these problems to new needles with timely treatments. 

Knowing what kind of disease, how bad the problem is, and what the best course of action would be is something we at Arborwell can do for you. 

If you are concerned about any diseases on your spruce or evergreen trees and want to schedule an inspection, click the button at the top of the page!

Arbor-wellness: South American Palm Weevil

Why do so many palms look like they are dying? It seems like the top fell off and only the side leaves are left.

This is a sign of a new pest species invading the southern California region called the South American palm weevil. It is a large, black insect that deposits eggs in the top of the palm tree. The larva eats through the main upper part of the palm tree, eventually killing it. 

Will it affect all palm trees?

The primary palm it invades is the Canary Island date palm. However, other palms, including our native California fan palm tree, are possible targets as well. We are carefully monitoring this situation with all palms just to be prepared.  

Will it spread to other areas?

This large insect is a long distance flyer. Studies indicate it can fly as far as 15 miles in one flight. It was only present in southern parts of San Diego region a few years ago but has spread further north and east as it expands its range in the US. It has also started to become a problem in other southern states with Canary Island date palm populations. 

I see black round plastic boxes by some palms, what are those?

White or black weevil traps are being set in areas to help determine the spread of the insect to new areas. This helps determine how quickly it is spreading into new areas. 

Can you do anything about it?

There are controls for this insect, but they are only effective when preventing an attack or very soon after that. We know that if your palms are healthy, watered correctly and not otherwise having problems, the current control measures will be more effective. Because this seems to be a serious pest problem, avoid planting new Canary Island date palms in the future.  

When should I remove an affected palm tree?

If you suspect your palm might have this insect, contact your Arborwell arborist right away. We can determine if your palm has this insect and safely remove and dispose of those that are affected.  Remember they kill a palm quickly, so being proactive with protection of prized trees is important for their survival.

If you are concerned about the South American palm weevil and want to schedule an inspection, fill out the form below.

Arbor-wellness: Invasive Shot Hole Borer

If you have paid attention at all to the news the past few years, a very small beetle has made big news in Southern California. And rightly so, because it is one of the most destructive invasive pests we have encountered. Polyphagus shot hole borer is a very small beetle that attacks over 600 species of trees and shrubs in our region. It is currently found in L.A., Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside & San Diego counties. There is a very close relative of this beetle, called the Kuroshio beetle. They look exactly the same (even to entomologists) and cause very similar damage. Now the scientists are calling BOTH of them “Invasive shot hole borer”, which we have started doing as well. 

They are also called “ambrosia” beetles, which refer to beetles that carry a symbiotic fungus with them that is transferred to new trees when they burrow into a tree. It is this fungus – a type of fusarium wilt – that typically kills the tree.

What makes the understanding and control of this beetle even harder is that while it attacks a large number of trees and shrubs, it typically only reproduces in about 60 species, mostly hardwood trees. These include alders, avocado, box elder, liquidambers, maples, oaks, sycamores, and willows.

What can we do about it? Every site is different, so we really love to visit a site, see the trees currently there and discuss your budget and goals for the site. There are ways to protect trees if they haven’t been attacked, or to stop the problems if the tree is not too severely infected. Strategic removal of trees that are not a high priority for the site can be discussed as well.

If you are concerned about invasive shot hole borers and want to schedule an inspection, fill out the form below.

Arbor-wellness: Spider Mites

Will they harm humans or animals? Spider mites specifically only feed on plants, thus they cannot harm animals or humans. 

Where do they come from? They are dormant on the bark or other parts of the tree in winter, and re-emerge in the spring or summer. They are tiny and can be carried by the wind, or even when animals brush up against an affected tree or plant and move them on their fur. 

How do they damage my trees? They remove chlorophyll from the leaves and slow plant vigor and health. In severe cases, they can actually kill a plant, but that is rare. 

What can I do about it? There are many species of spider mites, but their control is similar. The most important distinction between types is determining if you have warm season mites or cool season mites. This determines the timing of some of the treatments. There are a variety of ways to control mites, including ways to reduce populations naturally.  

  • Proper pruning can help. This reduces the conditions in the tree that favors mites.  
  • Canopy washes help by simply wash off dust and mites. If the population is not high, this can be effective control in itself.   
  • Systemic treatments prevent populations from establishing. These are best to apply before the growing season.  
  • Canopy treatments geared specifically to spider mites are options when the population builds enough that they are damaging plant health.

If you are concerned about spider mites and want to schedule an inspection, fill out the form below.

How can we help you? Lets Talk