What are these cottony looking white things on my Hemlock?
Most likely they are adelgids. Adelgids are similar to aphids and can be very devastating in large numbers. They prefer Hemlock trees but are also found on other conifers like Douglas fir, larch, pine and spruce. They can produce white, cottony tufts on bark, branches, twigs, or needles.
Will they harm my trees?
When present in large numbers, adelgids may cause yellowing and
early dropping of needles and dieback of terminals. They can retard or kill
trees, although healthy plants can usually tolerate small adelgid populations.
Can I get rid of them?
When the population builds high enough, there are ways to treat
your conifers to reduce the populations. Treatment now is important if the
populations are causing problems. Otherwise preventative treatments in the fall
or early spring will help.
What can I do to help my tree look better?
Proper nutritional feeding and avoiding tree stresses – like lack of water or even salt build-up, will help. On conifers it is important not to over feed them and produce excess growth. At Arborwell, we use a very specific program that has the proper balance of nutrients for each type of tree. If you suspect salt may be a problem, we can identify how bad the problem is and provide cost effective solutions for that.
Fill out the form below to contact your Arborwell Arborist today and we will be happy to check out your hemlock – and all your conifers – to keep them healthy, now and for the future.
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When I ask what the most limiting factor is for tree health,
I often get answers like insects or diseases, the right climate, or even
compacted and poor soils. And while those are all important factors in tree
health, the most important is actually water. If a tree does not have water it
Proper watering is an essential part of caring for
trees. But how much to water and when
are critical to understand.
Here are some guidelines:
Water deeply – Water the soil, where the roots are. We recommend deep watering in the root zone, which is out from the trunk to the edge of the canopy, and getting the soil moist at least 12 inches down each time you water. For established trees, this should be done every 8 weeks during the dry season. For trees that require more water – like maples and redwoods – the frequency should be every three to four weeks. Young trees require watering more often too, but since their canopy is smaller, the area to water will be smaller.
Most importantly, avoid frequent, light watering – Trees require a very different watering schedule than turf or even most shrubs, so having a way to water trees separately can be very valuable.
When trees are not watered deeply, it often leads to
moisture or drought stress by mid-summer.
Drought stress can increase a tree’s susceptibility to certain diseases
and insects. Dry soils can cause the
death of small roots and reduce a tree’s capacity to absorb water, even after
the soil is re-moistened.
There is no way to look at the soil from above and tell how much moisture is in it. To determine how dry the soil is, you must probe the soil, either with a trowel by hand, or with a moisture meter. Hand moisture meters do help, but at Arborwell we have new state of the art wireless meters that are installed in the ground and read the moisture on a continual basis. When trees are very valuable and there is concern for their survival, then long term monitoring is the best way to track and analyze how often to water and how much to put on. These same sensors can be used for shorter duration monitoring if you are auditing the irrigation system to determine the best schedule and timing for an automatic drip or bubbler system
Don’t forget the trees on your parkway – During droughts street trees need water too.
Keep checking in the fall – Trees and shrubs, especially evergreens and newly planted trees, need ample water in their root systems as they go into winter. So continue to water as long as you can.
Water trees in containers more frequently – Because there is little soil to hold water around their roots, container plants can dry out and wilt fairly easily. If container plants are in full sun, they will likely require more frequent watering than those in shade.
Check on sensitive trees and shrubs – Drought-sensitive trees and plants that are likely to show the effects of reduced moisture include magnolias, Japanese maples, dogwoods, beeches, larches, tulip trees, redwoods and birches.
Spread mulch – A layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood mulchto insulates soil against extremes of temperature fluctuations and holds in soil moisture. Apply no more than three inches deep of mulch in a circle around trees. Do not let mulch touch the trunk.
What systems to use – On larger properties and irrigation system is a must. We recommend a drip or bubbler system. These should be checked on a regular basis for clogs and leaks. Older irrigation systems often used spray heads around trees and many sites still have them. Above ground water is far more inefficient. The proper area around the tree is usually not covered adequately by the spray and the trunk of the tree is often sprayed excessively. Most spray heads also put out too much water at one time, so the ground cannot absorb enough before it starts to run off. When it is possible, these spray systems should be converted to drip or bubbler systems. The water savings alone will offset the cost down the road.
Reclaimed water – 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.
If you have any questions or concerns about your trees health, fill out the form below to get in contact with one of Arborwell’s certified arborists!
arborist, reclaimed water, soil, tree care, trees, water
Most pictures of California include palms in the skyline. They have become an iconic symbol of the state. There is even one California based fast food company that feature palms in their logo and at all of their sites. The taller palms are easy to see in the skyline and remind us of sunny days and warm breezes.
For the most part palms seem to be easy to grow. They grow quickly, are fairly drought tolerant and handle most of our weather variances well. However, they do need maintenance and – in many cases, protection – from certain diseases and insects.
While we classify palms as a type of tree, they are very different from shade trees or evergreen conifers. They are actually closer related to grasses and as such, have very different needs than most other trees.
With palms it is important to make sure they are planted
correctly. They need well drained soil, to be planted at the right depth and
with enough space for their roots. Palm roots don’t extent too far though so
smaller planters are acceptable for them. However, they will still need some
water so the planter needs to allow for them to be watered when needed.
They also need regular fertilizer. Most of our soils in a
city environment do not contain the components necessary for a palm to truly
thrive. Palms receive a bulk of their nutrients from a very small area, so that
area needs to be replenished on a regular basis. For most palms, feeding twice
a year with a natural fertilizer blended especially for palms should be
adequate. For larger palms like the Canary Island date palm, three times a year
Watering is critical, but it also depends on the soil type
and the drainage. IF your soil is sandy and drains well, watering every four to
six weeks is usually adequate for an established palm. If the soil is heavy or
doesn’t drain well, water less often. You should also consider improving
drainage and the soil conditions if the soil is compacted and tight.
Protection from diseases. Several of the prevalent diseases
on palms – like pink rot and diamond scale – are worse when palms are stressed
or not growing vigorously. Proper water, drainage and fertilization that we
discussed above will reduce the incidence of these problematic diseases.
However, protective treatments should be made until the underlying soil,
drainage or watering problems are fixed.
The remaining concern is insects on palms. While generally
there are not a lot of pests that can bother palms, on occasion they will
become infested. Aphids, scale, mealy bugs and mites are the most common
insects we see. These don’t kill a palm, but they can weaken it and allow
diseases or other problems to proliferate. If these have been a problem on your
palms, proper treatments will reduce the problems and allow your palms to
thrive again. In the San Diego area, there is a destructive newer insect that
does kill palms. It is called the South American palm weevil. One of the
largest insects we deal with, it attacks the upper growing tip of the palm and
completely destroys it. Since this is the only growing part of the palm itself,
the palm does not survive. Proactive treatments are the only possible solution.
If you are worried about the health of your palm trees, or you would like some advice on a maintenance plan for them, fill out the form below to contact your certified arborist at Arborwell. We will be happy to visits your site and inspect them and develop a wellness program for their long term health and survival.
arborist, palm tree, plant health care, tree care
I’ve been told my oak
trees have bacterial leaf scorch, what is that?
Leaf Scorch is a devastating
disease of shade trees caused by a bacteria. The bacteria themselves live inside the tree’s water conducting
tissue. They “cluster” inside the water transport tissue and essentially block water
transport, which leads to the scorch symptoms.
The disease will slowly progress throughout the tree for up to a
decade causing dieback and eventually killing the tree.
What trees are
affected by it?
Symptoms and damage are usually most visible on pin and red
oaks, but shingle, bur and white oak can be affected as well. It can infect
elm, sycamore, mulberry, sweetgum, sugar maple, and red maple.
How does it spread?
Insects like sharpshooters, treehoppers, leafhoppers, and
spittlebugs spread the bacterium from one tree to another. These insects feed
on the xylem tissue and will inoculate the tree if they carry the bacteria with
Can you treat for
It is best to treat before the tree has Bacterial Leaf Scorch or
in the early stages of it. Your Arborwell Arborist can develop treatment plans
after determining the scope of the problem on your site. They can determine if
preventative treatments or early curative treatments are required. If certain
pests are prevalent, treatment to prevent their establishment may be
Also remember that a stressed tree will develop symptoms faster, so keeping trees properly watered and mulched are another way to help reduce the spread of this disease.
If you are concerned about bacterial leaf scorch, or other problems on your trees, contact your Arborwell arborist to help you create the most effective management plan for them.
arborist, bacterial leaf scorch, plant health care, tree care
What is the Cherry Bark Tortrix?
The cherry bark tortrix, is an introduced caterpillar pest in western Washington and from British Columbia south to parts of Oregon coastal areas. It is found mostly on cherry, plum, and apple; but may also be found on peach, crabapple, pear, hawthorn, mountain ash and quince.
Why do I need to worry about it?
It is a growing problem in our area. It can kill trees outright through girdling the trunk. Typically, though, heavy infestations around the graft lead to dieback above the graft. The stress associated with an infestation can leave trees susceptible to secondary disease and insect problems.
How does it spread?
Cherry Bark Tortrix is a smaller moth, whose caterpillar stage does the damage inside the lower tree trunk. They overwinter in the trunk and emerge in the mid-late spring time frame. The adults lay eggs in cracks and wounds in the bark area in late summer. Large populations will kill the trees as they girdle around the tree. Initial infections will stress the tree and often cause a gummosis that exudes from the bark.
What is the best way to treat it?
Protection from these late summer infections is usually the best proactive treatment, but spring systemic treatments are also effective and should be considered if you are concerned about this pest. Your Arborwell Arborist can insect your trees and determine a treatment plan. Typically they include a treatment to suppress any existing problem, then an annual proactive treatment to prevent further infestations. Proper tree health is also important, so they may recommend nutritional feeding and corrective pruning if needed.
If you are concerned about cherry bark tortrix, or other problems on your trees, contact your Arborwell arborist to help you create the most effective management plan for them.
arborist, cherry bark tortrix, seattle
What is Pink rot?
Pink Rot is a disease that attacks weak or stressed palm trees. Because palms cannot repair wood tissue, they are more susceptible to diseases like pink rot when damaged or pruned too severely. It can attack any portion of the palm, including the trunk, but it most often affects new growth.
What palms does it attack?
There are a number of palm trees that are susceptible to Pink rot. We mostly see it on Washington fan palm, king palm & queen palm.
What should I do about it?
Because there is almost always an underlying cultural problem that encourages pink rot to develop, you should try to determine that and correct the problem if possible. We can help to determine that, by the way. The underlying problem could be planting incorrectly, watered improperly, poor drainage, poor nutrition or even just the wrong palm for the site. It is important to avoid wounding a palm trunk, so even nailing something to the trunk or climbing a palm with tree spikes is not beneficial. Where it is possible to correct one or more of the above problems, it will create a longer-term solution for palm rot problems.
Can I treat the palm if it has Pink rot?
Yes, there are treatments for pink rot if the disease has not progressed too much. Treatments should begin as soon after discovery of the disease as practical. This includes a systemic treatment applied to the soil and regular fertilization with a palm specific fertilizer. Also, steps should be taken to change the conditions that are reducing the health of the palm tree. It is important to remember that if the underlying problem is not improved, there will be an ongoing need to treat the palm and it may eventually fail anyway.
If you are concerned about Pink rot or other problems on your palm trees, contact your Arborwell arborist to help you create the most effective management plan for them.
arborist, palm tree, Pink rot, tree, tree care
What is a tussock moth and why are they so damaging?
There are many types of tussock moths that all have distinctive clumps of bristles on their backs of the caterpillar larvae. The adults are usually a smaller dull brown or white moth. The damage is done by the caterpillar – which are voracious eaters of foliage with the capability of defoliating entire groups of trees. On the west coast the most important species are the Western Tussock moth, the Douglas-fir Tussock moth and the Pine Tussock moth.
Why are they so numerous?
Most caterpillar species like the tussock moth go through population swings, building up a population level for several years, then seemingly disappearing for several years before returning in large numbers again. The presence of predators of these pests plays a large role in those population swings. For the Tussock moth, the overwintering cocoon in the trunks of trees can help indicate the potential of a population outbreak.
Are there safe methods of keeping their population low?
At Arborwell, we strive to find the safest, most effective solutions to pest problems. For the Tussock moth and other caterpillars, we use a commercial version of a biological suppression product that is effective on caterpillars. This fits most LEED and organic type programs. Timing is very important to be effective so often we recommend two or more treatments in a given year. Preventative treatments are available that work inside the tree – eliminating the need to spray the canopy of the tree.
If you are
concerned about Tussock moth or other caterpillar problems in your trees, contact
your Arborwell arborist to help you create the most effective management plan for
caterpillar damage on your trees.
arborist, plant health care, spring, tussock moth
Arborwell Professional Tree Management is dedicated to offering any and all tree care services your business’s needs. Our professional arborists are ISA-certified. This means they have written and passed exams designed to test their knowledge of the full range of tree care. At Arborwell our expert arborists provide tree care services such as:
- Tree planting. What trees should you
plant? Where is best place on your property to plant them to increase curb
appeal while maintaining lawn health and a proper shade/sun ratio? If you are
developing land and aren’t sure what type of trees to plant and where, our
experts can help you make the most out of your property.
- Water management. It isn’t easy keeping your
trees properly watered, especially in drought season. Arborwell creates
favorable watering conditions using appropriate irrigation techniques and
- Tree removal. If you have a dying or
unsafe tree on your property, our arborists are trained to remove it safely and
- Tree Transplanting. A tree that needs to be
transplanted is in good hands with our professionals. They will take care of
your tree before and after to ensure minimization of transplant shock.
- Tree trimming. Trees need regular
trimming to maintain peak health and beauty. Our team is outfitted with the
proper equipment and knowledge to safely and easily trim your trees.
- Pest control. Arborists are trained in
studying damaged trees to determine if harmful insects like aphids or
caterpillars are destroying them. After identifying the problem, we will create
a wellness plan to help your trees recover and stay protected against pests.
- Tree fertilization. Proper fertilization of
your trees can help them live longer, look healthier and build resistance to
pests and disease. Arborwell has the knowledge to help your trees stay happy
Contact Us Today Regarding Tree Health
At Arborwell Professional Tree
Management, we offer our services for all aspects of tree care at locations
across California and Washington.
For more information about what our arborists can do for you call
us at 888-969-8733 or click here to request an estimate
for a complimentary tree assessment.
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Arborwell’s core purpose and driving force as an organization is to help our customers be successful. This video will show you how we can help you be successful, and why we should be YOUR tree care experts. Enjoy!
If you would like to get in contact with one of our ISA Certified Arborists, please fill out the form below:
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Let’s answer a common question: what does an arboriculturist do?
An Arborwell arboriculturist, also known as an arborist, studies and manages the health of trees. Their focus differs from that of other tree professionals, such as foresters, who concentrate on the management of large areas of trees.
Arborists are essential to Arborwell’s mission of preserving trees in our service areas. Conditions in urban areas stress trees. Pollution, compacted soil, traffic collisions, and root restrictions because of building foundations, roadways and underground pipes all reduce the lifespan of a tree in the city.
An arborist helps a tree thrive despite these conditions. Experienced arborists are skilled at evaluating trees by inspecting growth rate, leaf color, peeling bark, signs of mildew, growths, and oozing fluid.
They then devise a plan to bring the tree back to robust health. Strong trees are important chiefly because of their environmental benefits, which include:
- Producing oxygen. An acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people in a year.
- Absorbing pollution. Trees act as filters, removing odors, particulates, and gases such as nitrogen oxide from our air.
- Providing shade. The urban tree canopy shields us from ultraviolet rays while cooling our buildings and streets.
- Slowing runoff. When it rains, trees slow water runoff, preventing soil erosion and allowing moisture to seep into the ground.
- Creating homes for wildlife. Insects such as bees, squirrels, birds, possums, and other animals live in our trees and keep the ecology in balance.
Beyond the environment, trees also increase property values by adding beauty to city lots and streets and improve the attitudes of humans. Neighborhoods that are well-landscaped with trees have been shown to experience lower crime rates than barren neighborhoods.
Arborwell arborists also consider the conditions of the city in which they practice. An arborist in Sacramento, for example, looks for indications the tree is getting enough water in periods of drought. Our arborists in Seattle guard against tree diseases that exist in the northwest’s cool, moist climate.
How a Skilled Arborist Cares for Trees
Arborwell arborists in Oakland and the East Bay, San Diego, the San Francisco Peninsula, Seattle, Sacramento, and Seattle care for all types of tree species. They are experts in the areas of:
- Trimming a tree is a science and an art. Precision cutting of branches removes dead wood, promotes growth, and gives a tree an appealing shape.
- A planting location must meet a tree’s soil, moisture, and sun needs, as well as provide enough space for roots and the canopy spread.
- Providing adequate moisture, periodic fertilization, and immediate attention to any damage keeps a tree looking beautiful and helps fight off diseases.
- As a last resort, removing a tree may be sometimes be necessary. An arborist knows how to take down a tree safely and quickly when branches or roots interfere with structures or lightning, wind, vehicle collisions, or disease cause irreparable damage.
Call Arborwell For Skilled Tree Care
We hope this blog post has answered the question, what does an arboriculturist do? Put our skilled arborists to work on your property. Call 888-969-8733 today to schedule a consultation.
arborculturist, arborist, tree management