How to Prevent Tree Frost Cracks

frost cracks, tree cracksMost trees are resilient enough to withstand natural elements, including harsh winters. Nevertheless, some trees may experience signs of wear or injury. One common problem during the cold season is frost cracks. Learn what these are and how to recognize them.

What Are Frost Cracks?

Despite its name, a frost crack isn’t actually due to frost. It’s due to exposure to sudden temperature fluctuations. In this sense, winter frost plays a role, though it’s not the sole cause.

Frost cracks are common during cold sunny days. The afternoon sun causes the bark, and the wood underneath it, to expand. When the temperature drops at night, the bark cools and shrinks back down faster than the wood. This causes a vertical crack as the bark splits over the wood that remains expanded.

Implications of Frost Cracks

Frost cracks are rarely detrimental. In most cases, the tree self-heals by forming a scab over the crack. However, larger cracks may expose an opening for boring insects and fungus. While emergency tree service is usually not necessary, homeowners should err on the side of caution and enlist a tree care specialist. An arborist can determine whether remediation is necessary. Continue Reading →

How to Care for a Fir Tree

fir tree, fir tree careThe fir tree is what most people commonly refer to as a Christmas tree. Some homeowners also plant these trees on their property. This gives the home’s exterior a nice alpine look. If you go this route, it’s helpful to know the ins and outs of fir tree care and maintenance.

When to Plant Fir Trees

If planting a bare-root or balled fir tree, start in fall or winter. Before planting, rehydrate the tree for several hours by soaking the base of the trunk in a bucket of water.

If planting a container-grown fir tree, then you can plant anytime of the year. However, we advise against doing so during periods of excessive heat or drought. Unsurprisingly, we remove dead trees a lot more often during dry spells. Also, choose to plant in an area with adequate shade and away from direct sunlight. Continue Reading →

What Causes Holes in Tree Trunks?

tree trunk holesSome homeowners report small holes on one of their trees. These occurs especially on the trunk and extend past the layer of bark. What causes these tree trunk holes? Does an emergency tree service crew need to take a look? The holes can be attributed to a number of causes. You can determine the likely culprit by looking at the size and patterns of the holes.

Boring Insects

If the hole is small, about the diameter of a spaghetti noodle, then you probably have a problem with boring beetles. The Lake Stevens area is home to dozens of boring insect species that bore into trees to lay eggs. Beetles look for weaker trees to bore into. This is potentially a sign that your tree is undergoing stress. This may be from improper pruning, watering, etc. Bring in a tree care service for inspection.

Woodpeckers

If you see multiple holes close together, then this may be the cause of pecking from the yellow-bellied woodpecker. The bird pecks for the tree’s sugary sap and boring insects. You can dissuade woodpeckers by wrapping the trunk in burlap. Continue Reading →

Fall Tree Care: DIY Autumn Maintenance Tips

fall tree careThe blazing hot weather has come and gone. Now, the tree has to prepare itself for the impending winter cole. While trees are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, you can help to minimize the stress. These DIY fall tree care tips will ensure a seamless transition as the tree transitions through the changing seasons.

1. Don’t Be Conservative with the Mulch

While we provide mulch as part of our tree care service, homeowners can do this themselves. Mulch helps the roots retain water; it also shields it from temperature extremes. Think of mulch as insulation or a blanket for added protection.

See our post on tree mulching for the “how” and “what” of mulching.

2. Wrap the Tree

For younger and recently-planted trees, wrap the base of the trunk with burlap or paper wrap. While fall is known for mild weather, it’s still subject to temperature extremes. Wrapping the tree protects it from sunscald and frost cracking. Keep the wrap on until the beginning of spring. Continue Reading →

Can You Pressure Wash a Tree?

pressure wash a treeA pressure washer is an excellent garden tool. A few sprays here and there do wonders for removing age-old grime off the deck or fence. Some homeowners, though, have enquired whether it would be good to pressure wash a tree.

Pressure Washing a Tree Is Not a Good Idea

We don’t ever recommend using a pressure washer on a tree. They’re called pressure washers for a reason. Depending on the model, pressure washers deliver anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000-pounds of pressure per square inch. By comparison, the average garden hose produces 50 PSI, at most.

How Pressure Washers Harm a Tree

Just as a power washer spray strips away grime, it can just as easily strip bark away from a tree. Our tree removal crew can attest that bark loss is a huge cause of premature tree death. Even a small amount of bark loss leaves the tree vulnerable to disease and burrowing insects. In addition, the force of the spray can also shred leaves and snap off weaker branches. Continue Reading →

What Do Tree Burls Say About Your Tree?

tree burlsDo you notice unsightly bulges on your tree? What’s the deal with these tumor-like protrusions? These are called tree burls. Arborists know about the biology of burls. We will share with you what we know and whether their presence calls for emergency tree service.

Tree Burls at a Glance

Bark cover the burls just like the rest of the trunk. This may be a sign of disease; the tree produces the burl to isolate the infection. It may also produce the burls in response to physical stressors, such as trauma or frost damage.

The tree’s ability to produce a burl is a good sign that it has the defensive mechanisms to protect itself.

Are Burls a Cause for Concern?

For the most part, a burl or two isn’t a cause for alarm. However, some burls may start at the trunk and extend to the branches. This may cause undue stress, causing branches to break apart. When we remove a tree, we often spot signs of enlarged burls that encapsulate part of the branches.

Should You Remove a Burl?

If a burl appears on a prune-able part of the branch, then you can remove it by pruning the branch. Otherwise, we do not recommend any attempts at removing the burl. Doing so may create an open wound prone to infections. Continue Reading →

How to Minimize Tree Soil Compaction

tree soil compactionEven if a tree appears healthy, all may not be well with the roots and surrounding soil. Tree soil compaction is actually commonplace in the summer and can adversely affect tree growth. How do you prevent the soil from becoming compressed? Is soil aeration necessary?

How Tree Soil Compaction Occurs

Various factors are in play, though heavy traffic is a primary cause of soil compaction. With summer here, the kids are playing in the yard and stepping on  the soil around the tree. Too much weight crushes the soil.

How Soil Compaction Affects Trees

Our tree removal crew often reports abnormal compaction around a dead tree. While this alone doesn’t instantly lead to tree death, it does cause complications for a tree already in ill health. High winds can also uproot trees in this poor condition. When our emergency tree service removes uprooted trees, they often notice decayed roots.

Water can’t easily penetrate compacted soil and reach the roots. Trees that don’t receive sufficient water are also at greater risk of nutritional deficiency. In addition, the high soil density also leads to pockets of heat that can harm the base of the trunk. Continue Reading →

Is Your Tree Causing Sidewalk Damage?

sidewalk tree damageThe tree on your property makes for some good curb appeal. However, the roots underneath may be causing some visible destruction. Is the sidewalk outside your property cracked or bulging? Sidewalk damage caused by trees is actually quite commonplace in the Lake Stevens area.

The Implications of Sidewalk Tree Damage

Tree roots can break through sidewalks much the same way they can rupture house pipes. This can be especially problematic if the damage occurs just beyond your property and on the public sidewalk. You may receive a notice from the city requiring you to foot the cost for sidewalk repair.

If you just fix the sidewalk, the tree roots will continue to grow and cause similar damage down the road. For a permanent solution, you need to remove the tree. Yes, we know the tree is a nice aesthetic element. However, is the tree worth the cost of repairing the sidewalk every few years?

Just cutting down the tree is not enough. The roots of a cut tree may continue to grow. Our tree service includes uprooting of the entire stump. Continue Reading →

Why Is My Tree Shedding Leaves in Spring?

spring shedding leavesTrees typically shed in the fall. Spring is supposed to be when they grow vibrant new leaves. Should you be concerned if your tree is shedding leaves in the spring? We’ll explain the possible causes, and whether you might have reason to call for emergency tree service.

The Reason for Tree Leaf Shedding in Spring

Leavf shedding in spring is actually normal for some trees. This includes species, such as:

  • Live oak
  • Hickory
  • Southern magnolia
  • Hackberry
  • Holly

These trees shed in spring because they retain a portion of their leaves over the winter. Those leaves must drop sooner or later, and spring is usually the time when they do so. Rest assured that this is normal behavior. As long as the new sprouting leaves look bright and green, you do not have cause for alarm. Continue Reading →

How to Protect Your Trees from Deer

protect trees from deerSnohomish County has a fairly significant deer population. If you live more along the rural areas, expect to run into a buck or doe every now and then. Spotting one is a delightful experience. Unfortunately, if they wander into your property, they can cause significant damage to your trees. We’ll explain how you can protect your trees from deer.

Why Protect Your Trees from Deer?

Male deer rub their horns against the tree bark. They do this to remove the velvet on their antlers. Males may also do this to mark their territory, especially during mating season. This can damage the bark and low-hanging tree branches. Trees without their bark are prone to disease and damage from the elements. When we remove dead trees, we often find that much of its bark is gone. Continue Reading →