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

palm trees

commercial tree services

Palm Trees – Regular Maintenance is Crucial

Palm trees are an essential part of the California atmosphere, inspiring daydreams of fun in the sun. Maintaining the good looks of palm trees on your commercial property, however, is anything but a leisurely endeavor. Though routine maintenance is essential for picture-perfect palms, palm tree care is complicated. 

Most Palm Tree Species are Not Native to the Area

Despite the many varieties of palm trees in California, only the California fan palm – also known as the desert palm or Washingtonia filifera – is native. All other species are imported. Other non-native species, such as the date palm introduced by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century and other species brought here for palm gardens created by Europeans in the mid 19th century, are non-native, imported into the region as immigrants arrived in the US. 

Each Palm Tree Type is Suited to a Certain Climate

There are over 2,500 palm species worldwide. Only 11 are native to North America. They thrive in a range of climates from deserts to rain forests, each requiring specific growing conditions. Imported species, such as Mexican fan palms and Canary Island date palms, often lack essential nutrients common in their native growing environments. These deficiencies make the trees more prone to stress and disease. Even Native California fan palms present unique maintenance challenges in the current California climate. Fan palms need a great deal of water in the soil to thrive, which currently drought-prone regions across the state struggle to provide.

As many native fan palms, planted during regional beautification efforts in the 1930s, reach the end of their 75 to 100-year lifespan, some local governments are no longer replacing the trees. This is partly due to climate-related water shortages, and also to the threat of pests  such as the red palm weevil, which are making it difficult for palms to survive. For these reasons, there is a movement toward the re-introduction of native, drought-resistant plants and trees.

Palm Trees Present Many Maintenance Challenges

It may be tempting to tackle routine maintenance tasks yourself, until you consider the height of your trees. Palm tree maintenance is not for the faint of heart, including inexperienced property owners and uninsured lawn care services. Proper care requires a thorough knowledge of arboriculture and safety practices. With help from a trained arborist, you can avoid tree care injuries, alongside issues associated with improper pruning, such as:

  • Over-trimming that can weaken palms, making them more prone to storm damage
  • Improper landscaping around palms that can result in mechanical root damage from trimmers
  • Paving or using rocks around palms, which increases temperatures, burning roots, and reducing water/nutrient absorption
  • Delayed maintenance that increases fire risk and the risk of injury and damage from falling fronds and trunks
  • Suffocation by palm fronds due to improper pruning technique (pruning from below) and septic arthritis from palm tree thorn injuries
  • Excess germination of nuisance palm saplings on your commercial property

Prune your palms properly and safely with help from the Arborwell team. Contact us at 888-969-8733 to request an estimate for regular palm tree maintenance for your Hayward, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Livermore, Palo Alto, or Walnut Creek property today.

palm trees, tree maintenance, tree wellness

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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

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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

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