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
Though many people are aware that an
arborist takes care of trees, they may not know that arborists are people who
have studied the science of arboriculture. Arboriculture refers to the careful
selection, planting and management of trees and shrubs. An arboriculturist,
also known as an arborist, is a professional tree carer who utilizes specific
methods to ensure that the trees in their care are happy and healthy.
Arborwell Professional Tree Management
employs certified arborists who use arboriculture practices when caring for the
trees on your commercial property. Our experts use these scientifically sound practices
to ensure that your trees are cared for through every stage of their long
What does an arboriculturist do?
An arboriculturist adheres to key values
when it comes to taking care of trees. They are important factors in creating an
environment in which your trees can thrive. When an arboriculturist cares for
your trees, they will follow these values:
- Choose a healthy sapling. An arboriculturist doesn’t want to start on the wrong foot. They will help to select the healthiest sapling that will grow into a strong tree. An unhealthy sapling may grow to be an unhealthy tree and lead to future headaches for you.
- Be aware of the
environment the tree is living in. Selecting the right tree for your
environment can be the difference between life and death for that tree. An
arboriculturist must be aware of the climate challenges that make up the
environment and carefully select the right type of tree to thrive in those
- Change the type of care as
the tree grows. A young tree requires vastly different care than a well-established tree.
Saplings grow at an intense pace and need help with maintaining a strong
structure, while older trees require less hands-on care and more preventative
- Have a strong base of tree
biology knowledge. If arboriculture was easy, everyone would be doing it. An
arboriculturist must have extensive knowledge of the biological functions and
requirements of trees in order to create wellness and management plans.
- Employ preventative care. An established tree with
a strong base looks as though it can survive any challenge. But trees are very
sensitive to change, whether it be because of disease, pests, or weather
changes. Arboriculturists use wellness plans as preventative measures to
ensure that a tree is as stress-free as possible.
Arborwell can help your trees thrive
at Arborwell use these arboriculture methods when taking care of your trees.
Our experts can explain what an
arboriculturist does and share their knowledge to the benefit of your
commercial property. Click here to request an arborist
assessment with one of our experts or call us at 888-969-8733 today.
arborculturist, plant health, tree care, tree management
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 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
Weather in the Seattle area plays a crucial role in the health of its
trees and as it continues to grow warmer it is negatively affecting the tree
population. Over the past few years climate change has begun to drastically
change weather patterns that have been around for hundreds of years. Our
experts at Arborwell can help you understand how these weather fluctuations are
affecting your trees.
Weather in the Seattle area is trending towards hotter, drier, and
longer summers, while the winters are becoming warmer and wetter. These
conditions are unfavorable to many of the trees that grow in the Seattle area,
leading to new problems regarding tree health.
Hot and Dry Summers
The biggest concern of hotter summers is the worsening drought
conditions. The Seattle area is accustomed to experiencing some summer drought,
but over the past few summers the droughts have become longer and drier. There
isn’t enough rainfall to properly sustain the trees and many are sick or dying
because of it.
Young trees are especially at risk. They have shorter roots and can’t
reach as far into the ground as mature trees to soak up water. Our arborists
have plenty of tips and tricks to help your trees survive drought conditions.
Warm and Wet Winters
Winters in the Seattle area have become wetter over recent years.
While the increase in rainfall may seem beneficial, what the trees really need
is snowfall. That snow becomes lifesaving snowmelt in the summer, helping to
keep trees nourished when rainfall is scarce. The decrease in snowmelt over the
past few years has exasperated drought conditions in the summer.
Insect populations have also been flourishing as the warm winters allow
more to survive. Many pest populations that otherwise would have died off are
surviving the winter and attacking already weakened or dying trees, sapping
them of the nutrients they need to survive. Winters are also seeing more severe
storms. These rough storms are causing excessive damage to already crippled
trees. All these factors are culminating in creating poor conditions for trees
in the Seattle area.
Our Tree Experts Know How to Help
These new weather conditions in the Seattle area
are significantly affecting its trees and are creating a need for different
strategies for tree care. Arborwell Professional Tree Management has ISA-certified
arborists who can create a plan to keep your trees healthy and looking their
best, no matter the weather. Call today or click here to make an appointment
with an arborist in the Seattle area.
seattle, tree care, weather
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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