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

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Tree Wellness

Threats to your Redwoods

Specific Redwood Issues

Phytophthora Root Rot

Phytophthora root rot is caused by a soil-borne organism. When first infected, the coast redwood’s foliage may wilt, yellow and dry out but remain on the tree. The leaf damage is because of the slow death of the redwood’s roots, which limit its ability to absorb adequate amounts of water. Eventually, the entire tree will turn brown and is unlikely to recover. If caught early enough, phytophthora root rot’s presence in the soil may be managed, or at least reduced, with the application of a fungicide containing potassium phosphate. But this is not always successful.

Armillaria Root Rot

Armillaria root rot rarely infects healthy coast redwoods. But stressed, under- or overwatered redwoods may fall prey to this disease. This soil-borne disease enters the plant through the roots, where it may be years before symptoms become noticeable. An infected coast redwood may slowly decline over a period of years, section by section. Or it may suddenly wilt and then die in a few weeks. To identify armillaria root rot, pull back the tree’s bark. Infected trees will have white or yellow fan-shaped mycelium growing between the bark and the wood. There is no cure for armillaria root rot. Infected trees should be uprooted and destroyed and the soil sterilized before another tree is planted in its place.

  • Phytophthora root rot is caused by a soil-borne organism.
  • When first infected, the coast redwood’s foliage may wilt, yellow and dry out but remain on the tree.
care for redwood trees

Botryosphaeria Canker

This fungus feeds on the cambium, sapwood and inner bark of weakened trees, forming large cankers. As these cankers grow, the fungus develops pimply black fruiting structures. The cankers will eventually girdle the branch, cutting of the nutrient supply to the leaves. To get rid of botryosphaeria canker, prune away the infected plant tissue.

Watering Issues

This is an important consideration as more and more sites are being watered with reclaimed water. The drawback to this water is the high salt content of most reclaimed water. At Arborwell, we can recommend ways to reduce the salt build-up from reclaimed water. This is important because too much salt will cause problems with many trees. If your site has reclaimed water, the advanced moisture sensors we use also measure salinity. This helps us watch and act to reduce the salt build up before it affects the trees.

Pests

Spider Mites – 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.  

Bark Beetles – 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.

Tip Miners – While most massive redwoods scoff at the presence of pests, some pose more problems than others. Watch for signs like yellowed or browning leaves, which could indicate the presence of cypress tip miners.

Click the button at the top of the page to schedule an inspection today. Our ISA Certified Arborists can come up with a proactive plan to protect your Redwoods.

commercial tree service

Why is Soil pH Important?

One measurement we use in helping to determine overall soil health is soil pH. This is a common concept and important to understand, but is only one of many measurements we use to determine overall soil health. A good soil health recommendation will take many factors into consideration, but soil pH is the starting point, as it helps us determine nutrient availability, the tightness of soils, and the ability of soil biology to thrive or not. The wrong pH may encourage fungal pathogens, while the proper soil pH range will encourage good soil microbes.
The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. Any pH reading below 7 is acidic and any pH above 7 is alkaline. A pH of 7 indicates a neutral soil. Most trees will grow in soils having a pH between 6.5 (slightly acid) and 7.2 (slightly alkaline). Ideally, maintaining a soil close to 6.8 is perfect for most trees. There are a few plants that prefer a soil pH below 6.0. These “acid-loving” plants include azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries. The soil pH for these plants can be lowered by incorporating elemental sulfur (S) into the soil. Since the soil acidifying response to elemental sulfur is slow, it should be applied and incorporated a year before planting.

When soil pH is too high, many nutrients start to become unavailable to the tree. They may exist in the soil in adequate amounts, but are tied up and not available. One example of this is with pin oak a maple trees. When the pH is too high, they will show signs of iron or manganese deficiency, which is characterized by yellowish green foliage. Most of the time, iron and manganese are found in good supply in the soil, but are not soluble and thus not available. When this occurs, it is important to treat both the short-term problem of yellow foliage and the long-term problem of soil pH.

Soil microbes are also somewhat dependent on proper pH too. When the pH is too low or too high, certain pathogen fungi or bacteria will tend to proliferate. When the pH is in the proper range, the good guy microbes tend to thrive. These guys battle the pathogens and help prevent disease infections from the soil borne pathogens. Other factors besides pH determine how healthy the good soil microbes are, so those factors must be taken into consideration, too.

Soil “tightness” is a third factor that is affected by soil pH, at least indirectly. When the soil pH is too low, there is often a lack of calcium in the soil. When supplied in the adequate ratio compared to other minerals, the soil micro-pores will be more open, thus allowing more water and air space at the root level.
When a soil problem, such as pH, is suspected to be contributing to the problems with a tree or trees, a comprehensive soil test is always recommended. If you are concerned about this problem, ask your Arborwell Arborist for an evaluation and recommendations.

ph balance, plant health care, soil

care for redwood trees

Challenges with Caring for Redwood Trees

Towering redwood trees make quite an impact and are beloved by residents and visitors alike. Robust and long-lived, these large trees suffer comparatively few issues, though they’re not problem-free. What are the challenges with caring for redwood trees on your San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, or Seattle property? Be on the lookout for these red flags.

challenges, redwood trees, redwoods, tree care, tree maintenance

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sudden oak death

What Causes Sudden Oak Death?

What causes Sudden Oak Death in trees and plant life? Sudden Oak Death, or SOD, is caused by the pathogenic fungus Phytophthora ramorum. This waterborne mold pathogen infiltrates plants and trees through contaminated irrigation water, wind-blown rain, infected plants, and contaminated pots and soil mixes. This fungus is also associated with other tree wellness issues like Ramorum leaf blight, Ramorum dieback, and Phytophthora canker.

disease, fungus, oak tree, tree health

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tree care

How Poor Drainage Can Create Root Rot in Trees

Roots are the foundation of your trees and essential to their health and longevity. However, buried out of sight, roots in poor condition often go unnoticed until it is too late. Diseases, soggy soil, and drought affect root health. When these inhospitable soil conditions exist, they can lead to many root diseases, collectively referred to as root rot. Poor drainage is a leading cause of these issues, and it often takes the expert eye of a skilled arborist to identify root-related tree problems. How does poor drainage create root rot in trees?

drainage, root care, root disease, tree health

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tree wellness

The Value of Trees in an Urban Environment

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban towns and cities. Due to socio-economic factors, this number is only expected to increase. In most situations, the rapid expansion of cities takes place with little if any planning, leading to disastrous consequences for nearby forests and green areas, increasing pollution, and decreasing the availability of food and other natural resources.

With tree planning and management, trees can reduce these adverse effects, even with the amplification of these issues from climate change. In fact, the value of trees and green spaces in the urban environment is so great that many areas are beginning to look at ways to increase their tree count. Just what makes urban trees and plant life so valuable?

The Environmental Benefits of Trees

Trees absorb carbon, fighting climate change
Mature trees can absorb hundreds of pounds of CO2 annually. Trees sequester and store atmospheric CO2, using it during photosynthesis to produce sugars for energy, and releasing oxygen as a by-product.   

Trees filter pollutants from the air
Trees clean the air, absorbing dangerous contaminants like carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides and filter out fine particulates like smoke, dust, and dirt.

Trees cool the air, decreasing the “heat island” effect
Strategically placed trees can reduce the “heat island” effect, cooling the surrounding air between 4 – 15 degrees F. This helps people feel more comfortable, reducing AC use and energy consumption, and offering energy savings of up to 30%. They also insulate against wind, reducing heating bills by 20-50%.

Trees and greenery regulate water flow
Healthy trees and greenery can help control water flow, thwarting runoff, and preventing flooding. One mature evergreen can intercept more than 4,000 gallons of water annually.

Trees increase biodiversity
Planting and caring for native trees and plants increases urban biodiversity, offering a safe habitat for plants and animals.

The Socioeconomic Benefits of Trees

Trees provide a healthier environment
Trees improve air quality, producing oxygen and filtering pollutants and particulates from the air, helping reduce the incidence of disease and supporting the health of urban populations.

Trees can contribute to food security
The fruits and nuts from trees can provide food for humans and animals or composted and used to improve the quality of the soil.

Access to green spaces improves mental health
Multiple studies show proximity to green spaces is strongly associated with improved physical and mental health, decreasing high blood pressure and stress, and contributing to a more pleasant neighborhood environment. 

Trees can boost property value
Planning to include trees in the design of your San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, or Seattle urban property can increase its value by up to 20%, attracting residents, tourists, and businesses.

Enhance the value of trees in your urban environment. Safeguard the health of your trees for future generations with proper care, or learn more about ways to increase your green space with the help of Arborwell Professional Tree Management. Contact us at 888-969-8733 today.

root care, tree health care, tree trimming, urban forest

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Types of Palm Tree Pests in San Diego

There is no shortage of palm trees in San Diego. Sadly, there’s also no shortage of palm tree pests. In recent years, invasive, non-native insects have taken on a toll on these icons of the West Coast, making it challenging to keep your palm trees looking their best. Which types of palm tree pests do our San Diego arborists find causing the most damage to area landscapes?

Red Palm Weevil

red palm weevil

The Arborwell team frequently encounters red palm weevils when compiling arborist reports. One of the biggest threats to area palms, these giant 1.5-inch red-brown insects feed on over 40 different palm species. They have caused millions in economic losses globally.

A delicacy elsewhere in the world, these pests are believed to have been introduced when they were brought into the U.S. for food. However, red palm weevils can fly about a half a mile per day, and they quickly spread through the region by flight and through palm tree sales. Difficult to detect, no one identified the escapees until landscapers noticed area palms slowly dying, the trees looking brown and droopy.

Red palm weevils are tunneling insects with a long, slender snout, which the female uses to penetrate the bark of palms to deposit her eggs. Once hatched, the larvae burrow deep into the tree, consuming it from the inside out, and leaving behind a foul-smelling mush-like substance. Because damage begins high in the tree, where new frond growth emerges, the sound of the gnawing insects often goes unnoticed until tree wellness suffers.

Our arborists are familiar with the signs of red palm weevil infestation, which we often encounter during routine trimming. Our trained professionals know to watch for signs of red palm weevils, including larval tunnels and feces within leaf bases in the tree canopy. We can help you quickly quarantine and rid your grounds of these invasive pests using traps and trunk injection treatments.

Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer

arborist services palm tree

Unlike the massive red palm weevil, polyphagous shot hole borers are small; only the size of a sesame seed! Though tiny, these beetles have decimated hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California, including healthy palm trees. Polyphagous beetles were discovered in the late winter of 2012, infecting several backyard avocado trees in Los Angeles, and have since spread to surrounding areas.

The pests were possibly introduced via shipments from Southeast Asia, though their specific origin remains unknown. The pest cannot fly but can hitchhikes in landscaping equipment, tree waste, and firewood. Another outbreak occurred a year later, found to be a second species of polyphagous beetle, the result of a second introduction rather than a spread of the L.A. infestation.

Polyphagous shot hole borers attack dozens of landscape tree species, tunneling within. They carry Fusarium, a fungus causing fusarium dieback, which affects hundreds of species. Unlike red palm weevils, these wood-boring beetles do not eat tree bark. They lay eggs in certain species that serve as reproductive hosts, such as California, Fountain, Jelly, and King palms, among many others. Like tiny farmers, they also use the tunnels they excavate to grow Fusarium, their primary food source, cultivating it within infested trees.

Our arborists can quickly recognize the signs of polyphagous beetle infestation and Fusarium dieback, dubbed the shot hole borer-fusarium dieback (SHB-FD) complex. Property owners typically notice limb dieback from the fungus, which blocks the transport of water and nutrients to leaves. When we see tiny little pinholes in tree bark, with sawdust-like powder around the holes, we scrape back bark to look for the tiny beetle in its circular galleries. As ongoing trials using natural predators progress, we use tree injection treatments to exterminate the polyphagous shot hole borer, devising a customized tree care plan to protect your landscape.  

Are pests taking a bite out of your landscape? Arborwell Professional Tree Management can help you control many types of palm tree pests in San Diego. Contact us at 888-969-8733 to speak to one of our ISA certified arborists, or to schedule an examination of potentially infested trees today.

palm tree pests, palm trees, palm weevil, tree health, weevil

plant health

What Does Soil Drainage Have to Do with Plant Health Care?

Many plants suffer or die in soil that is too wet or too dry. Knowing what type of soil you have and how it affects the greenery on your commercial property can dramatically impact your chances of successfully growing healthy, beautiful foliage. Your soil varies depending on your region and even how your property is situated. For example, hillside properties almost always drain well, while bottomland can be extremely poor in drainage. There is also diversity in soil structure that influences soil drainage and plant health care needs.

How Your Soil Type Affects Your Plants and Trees

What do soil type and drainage have to do with plant health care? As with the value of commercial real estate, the key to plant health is often “location, location, location.” Soil drainage affects the availability of water and plant nutrients. Many commercial landscaping sites lack the ideal drainage conditions. Because each plant species has different nutrient and irrigation needs, understanding the soil type on your property can help you manage issues integral to plant health.

Common Soil Types

Do you know which of these common soil types you have on your Seattle or Bay Area commercial property?

  • Sand
    Sand particles are quite large, draining quickly. Because sand does not retain moisture or nutrients well, plants grown in this type of soil require more frequent watering and intensive plant nutrient management to ensure health.
  • Clay
    Clay particles are extremely fine, sticking tightly together when moist. Clay is packed with nutrients and holds water well, but drains poorly, making your plants prone to fungal issues. If water displaces air, your plant’s roots, which thrive on oxygen, can suffocate, and they may die. Because of its dense composition, it can be difficult for the roots of young plants to penetrate clay.
  • Silty soil
    Typically found along riverbeds and lakes, silt particles are between sand and clay particles in size. Silty soil is one of the most fertile soil types, because it retains nutrients and moisture well but drains more quickly than clay. 
  • Loam
    Loam is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Providing the benefits of all three types of soil, it is the ideal growing medium. Some loams possess a higher proportion of sand or clay by volume.

What Type of Soil Do You Have on Your Commercial Property?

Arborwell plant and tree health care services experts have identified these types of soil in our commercial landscape management service areas:

  • The Bay Area is fortunate to have soil made of clay with loam, including rocky clay loam in the hills and gravelly loam in the valley.
  • Seattle Area soil is primarily Tokul soil, which is quite rare. Tokul soil began as volcanic ash. It is one of the most productive soils in the world. Tokul features a surface layer of gravelly loam, rich with plant matter, a reddish middle layer infused with iron oxides, and a cemented, root limiting layer of glacial till 20-40 inches below the soil surface. Though its top layers drain well, the cemented glacial till layer has high water and precipitation storage capabilities.

Finding the Right Balance

At Arborwell, we can help you analyze your soil on your commercial property, identifying issues, and taking corrective action when necessary. Depending on the unique composition of your soil, we may need to employ solutions such as soil amendments, to correct drainage and nutrient issues impacting plant health. Because each plant species has different requirements, this can complicate the plant health care landscape. Fortunately, Arborwell experts are well-versed on the soil types in your region, expertly assessing the irrigation and nutrient needs of your plants to help you achieve the right balance.

Are drainage issues destroying the landscaping on your Seattle or Bay Area commercial property? Schedule a plant health care consultation with an arborist in your area. Contact Arborwell Professional Tree Management at 888-969-8733 today.

plant health care, soil drainage, soil types

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