Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tree Services: Low Price Doesn’t Mean Low Quality

Homeowners often do everything in their power to avoid it, but there are inevitable circumstances in which man is no match for nature, and a tree service professional is the only solution. Let’s face it: no matter how well we care for our trees, gardens, and landscapes, a strong storm or freak accident can wipe out our hard work in seconds flat. Nothing is more disappointing than finding a mess of our yards – except maybe realizing that the mess is too big for one person to fix. 

When shopping for the best tree service, consumers commonly face the same dilemma: we want top quality service, but not sky high prices. You would think that a great service will cost a pretty penny, but did you know that the best companies out there are never the most expensive? In fact, many of those top dollar businesses need to charge high prices just to cover their own costly mistakes! It may seem counterintuitive, but quality tree care professionals do not have to charge huge rates: efficiency, excellence, and experience lead directly to savings for the consumer. 

How They Save and You Win

An experienced tree care professional already knows the ins and outs of the business: they do not have to waste time making mistakes and correcting them. They get in there, get the job done, clean up, and scoot out. It sounds simple – especially if you have ever invested in amateur services before. Since these quality professionals get the job done quickly and correctly, less man hours are being spent which translates directly into savings for the customer.

Why Experience Matters

There are certain jobs such as stump grinding and land clearing that can be completed by an amateur – provided they have the proper tools and plenty of hours, days, or even weeks. We all know that every hour of work is going to cost us money, so avoid this nightmare situation and go with a tree service professional that already has the proper tools. This heavy-duty equipment is not cheap, and if you choose an inexperienced amateur there is a good chance that the fee reflects the cost of the tools that have yet to be paid off. Established service providers own their own tools – saving you money again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Forcing Branches for Beautiful Winter Blooms!

The wintertime can be rather boring for those with a green thumb: no luscious blooms of vibrant color, no weeds to pull or plants to water, nothing to occupy our hands until the frosts ease up and Spring pops in for a welcome visit. Are you itching to pull out your shears yet? Many gardeners forget that we can “trick” plants to give up their flowers – as early as late January! If you want to fill your home with fragrant blossoms without paying flower shop prices, consider forcing a few branches from trees that bloom early! With the proper technique, you can coax the most beautiful floral display even in the dead of winter!

Selecting Branches

Trees and shrubs that bloom early in the springtime develop flowering buds in the previous autumn before dormancy. We will be forcing these types of samples into bloom. By mid-January, many types of early-blooming trees will have already received enough hours of cold temperature and are technically no longer dormant. This stage is often called “quiescence”, or a period of quiet. Select young, vigorous branches that have a large number of flower buds. These buds are often larger than regular leaf buds – but if you have trouble telling them apart, do not be afraid to split a few open and take a look inside. Choose branches that are over twelve inches long, and prune them flush with the trunk or main branch to avoid tree damage.

Forcing the Branches
Once branches have been pruned from the flowering tree or shrub they should be put into water immediately. If you have a large tub available, it may be better to totally submerge the selection in room-temperature water overnight. After the buds have softened, move the branches to bucket of water and frequently mist for the next few days.

Now it is time to recreate the conditions of springtime, which will bring these babies into full, spectacular bloom. Move your selected branches to a relatively cold location (around 60 degrees). Warmer temperatures will create a smaller quantity of flowers, but the blooms will develop rapidly with diminished size and color. Branches will need plenty of natural sunlight, but they should not be placed directly in the sun. Mist occasionally, and wait for the results!

Luscious Winter Blooms!

Once the buds are beginning to show a bit of color, remove them from the buckets, and arrange them in your choice of containers. Your beautiful bounty will unfold right before your very eyes! To make them last even longer, move the branches to cooler temperatures (around 40 degrees) overnight. Send them as gifts to surprise a friend with a fresh winter bloom, or place the flowering branches throughout the home to introduce an early touch of spring. Beware: your friends my begin begging you for the secret to fresh winter flowers!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Peach Tree Diseases

Delicious fruit is something that many gardeners look forward to all year round, but winter peach tree diseases can put a quick end to the fun. Quality peaches are extremely rewarding to enjoy, but often difficult to grow. Preventative care and regular tree maintenance are an absolute necessary – take the following action steps to prevent the most common peach tree problems:

Powdery Mildew

The sphaerotheca pannosa fungus goes dormant in buds and shoots of peach trees during the winter. This nasty infestation manifests as powdery white mildew on the host surface, causing new foliage to grow in damaged and distorted. The problem becomes noticeable as green peach fruit begin developing circular white spots, turning infected areas of fruit brown. Proper pruning leads to good air circulation, which can play a major role in the prevention of mildew attacks. The chances of an infestation increases greatly when rose buses are planted nearby.

Brown Rot

One of the most widely spread and serious peach tree diseases is brown rot, caused by the monilinia fructicola fungus. Although it is not a “true” winter disease, the fungus survives the winter in fruit that has been “mummified” by the infection. To prevent this unfortunate and damaging disease, collect and remove all affected fruit as it appears – both from the tree and off the ground.

Perennial Canker

Perennial canker occurs when sudden temperature changes damages a part of the tree, generally after a harsh winter. These cankers are caused when cytospora fungi attacks exposed areas, creating cankers that secrete foul purple sap. Cytospora can survive year-round, even on dead wood. Young infected trees can face a rather sudden death, while hardier specimens may slowly fade out of life as the canker grows. Annual pruning and protection from sudden changes in temperature can prevent perennial canker, and many other winter peach tree diseases. In special cases, a trustworthy tree service professional may be able to remove the infected portion to save the tree.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to Buy a Healthy Sapling

We are getting closer to planting season every single day. Soon, the shopping for bulbs, seeds plants and sapling will be in full swing – it is so exciting! Do you want to make sure that your new investments will grow up to be happy and hardy? A healthy tree starts as a healthy sapling, so be discriminating when picking out the perfect specimen for planting! Make sure that you are getting the most viable option available by covering the bases of RIF: roots, injury, and form.


When buying trees, the roots usually come in one of three forms: bare root, root ball, and container grown. Bare roots should not be torn or crushed, with the ends being clean cut. Damaged roots can be repaired with a clean cut directly before planting and watering.

Roots balls need to be around twelve inches times the diameter of the trunk, measured from 6 inches above the trunk flare (where the trunk meets the roots). Trunk flare should be visible – if not, gently expose the buried portion before planting.

Container grown roots should not twist or circle, but should be growing straight down with plenty of space. Circling roots can eventually girdle and kill other roots, leading to noticeable growth issues as the years pass.Tree removal services are a lifesaver, but can be costly, so it is best to save the trouble and inspect roots before a major purchase!


Inspect trees for insect damage and trunk wounds before making a purchase. The most common cause of sapling injury is incorrect pruning - ensure that no cracks, cankers, or decay surround pruning cuts. Trees with “stubs” left over are typically more prone to disease and defection. Saplings that are wrapped in burlap should be uncovered and inspected completely.


Strong form as a sapling often indicates that the tree will be easy to maintain throughout its life. Strong architecture starts with branches that are firmly attached and evenly spaced along the length of the trunk. Branches that are too closely spaced, whether vertically or horizontally, may squeeze together during growth increasing the chances of cracks and splitting.

If your favorite sapling has a few minor defects here and there, corrective pruning may remedy the problems if caught early. The best time to do this is one full year after planting – patience is necessary. Starting with a hardy sapling saves future headaches, tree maintenance, and repair. Our trees are not only an investment for ourselves, but also an investment for generations to come. Choose a healthy sapling to represent the Earth’s healthy future.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Attracting Georgia Wildlife with Native Fruit Trees

Although every state has a variety of interesting wildlife, Georgia remains one of the most versatile planting regions for attracting beautiful and beneficial birds, insects, and mammals. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting quietly by a window and enjoying the free entertainment of thriving animals enjoying a harvest of fresh fruits.

The benefits are obviously mutual – you can support your local habitat while still having plenty of produce left for yourself. Ask your local tree service professional about the following varieties of fruit trees that act as wildlife magnets:


The diospyros virginiana variety of wild persimmon is native to Georgia and can even be found growing uncultivated in many areas around the state. Although the fruit is not very desirable for human consumption, many animals especially enjoy the taste. Female trees must be planted near a male to achieve fruit.


Okay, so blueberries don’t really grow on trees – they grow on shrubs. The berries are so delicious though that the distinction will not matter for the purpose of this article. Blue jays, brown thrashers, and mockingbirds will all be eager to split your crop. Climax, Triumph, and Tifblue blueberries are readily available, though any edible variety will be well appreciated by local wildlife.


Prunus Americana is Georgia’s native plum tree. Showy white flowers will beautify your property in the springtime, which will later produce fruits that are valued for nutritional value to many species of animal. If your home is positioned on the outskirts of town, even wild deer may stop by to graze on this tree’s foliage.

Dogwood, serviceberry, red buckeye, sumac, mulberry, and oak are all great trees that attract wildlife for different reasons and may make a great alternative if edible fruit is not what you are after. Planting native Georgia trees is always recommended, but now you have even more reason to get out there and start spreading the good Earth love. Good luck and happy planting!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Value of Emergency Tree Services

Although trees present many benefits to a homeowner in regards to property value, aesthetic tastes, and environmental health, there are still many ways that an improperly cared for investment can turn into an expensive headache. Keeping the number of a professional emergency tree service may save you time, money, and structural damage with nothing more than a simple phone call. The DIY types, like myself, often cringe at the thought of hiring a helping hand – but regardless, adding another entry into your address book is a small step compared to the inconvenience of lawsuits that can ensue from improperly cared for trees.

When the Going Gets Rough

Tree collapse and storm damage can take a devastating toll on property, creating a time consuming and costly hassle. While proper pruning and routine maintenance can generally prevent these issues, there are situations like hurricanes, tornadoes, and undetected disease that can wreak havoc with little to no prior notice. Removing and disposing trees is no small task – especially if there are power lines or damaged pipes to worry about. Homeowners need to have a backup plan at all times, one that includes everything from emergency utility shutoff to transportation to manual labor. This can become overwhelming for the most experienced property owners.

Choosing a Service

Instead of spending money and time on equipment and dangerous work, smart homeowners typically have the number of a trusted local tree care professional. Going local ensures that the professionals will have the specialized knowledge of local tree varieties, which is a must for those accident-prone ornamentals. Emergency specialists already have the high-tech equipment necessary for a quick and safe removal, saving you the huge expenses of investing in tools you may only need once in your life. Be sure to pick a  tree care service that offers environmentally responsible cleanup – that way you can feel good about keeping your property safe.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Before the Best Season to Plant Trees Approaches - Considerations

The perfect time to begin planning for a new tree is fast approaching. Homeowners who may have attempted and failed to raise a healthy tree from sapling to maturity have learned the hard way; while it may seem as simple as digging a hole and inserting a sapling, there are actually just as many wrong ways to plant a tree as there are right. Tree service professionals see the same thing, year after year - simple mistakes lead to dead saplings. To avoid the need for a removal expert any time in the near future, make sure to take into account the following factors before making any major decisions:

The Basics

First things first: check with city regulations. There are often specifications about how far trees must be planted from power lines, roads, homes, property lines, gas lines, etc. Really, the list can go on forever. It is important to figure these things out even before picking a species of tree – there should be resources on your state. The last thing a homeowner wants is a fine for damages to city property. After the legal restrictions are out of the way, consider the available planting space left in your yard. Now you are ready to get down to the more enjoyable aspects of this beautiful home improvement.


We always recommend native trees for their hardiness and bountiful environmental benefits. Although this does not necessarily narrow your selection, your options may be somewhat limited by certain attributes of each type of tree. Size, growth rate, required maintenance, and of course, aesthetics often play a major role when a homeowner is shopping for a tree. None of these should be ignored, because they can take up a lot of your time and affect property value a great deal.


This is where the basics and the species come together in the final decision. Consider current and future arrangements of vegetation near the planting area. Will the tree canopy obscure light once the tree is mature? Will the final root length interfere with a home’s foundation or any other permanent fixtures? Does the root structure form deep enough as to not interfere with other nearby trees or plants? These are all questions that a tree service professional would have no trouble answering, but the homebrew solution is to research, research, research!

Have fun, and happy planning!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beautiful Winter Treescapes and Scenic Drives

Sure, the holidays are over, but why end the winter fun now? It’s still January, and there are plenty of wonderful winter destinations that make for an exciting family adventure. Scenic drives are one of the most popular cold-weather activities because of the fact that the grandeur of the outdoors may be enjoyed from the warm comfort of a vehicle. The only thing more fascinating than lush greenery is miles and miles of snow topped trees, a commodity which none of the following destinations are lacking!

Zion Park Scenic Byway – Utah

This byway consists of the main highway through the famous Zion National Park. Many people consider Utah to be a place full of jutting canyons and desert landscapes, but the upper elevations actually get more than one hundred inches of snow per year! Besides the breathtaking winter photography opportunities provided by trees that keep their leaves year-round, the park is a haven for wildlife like eagles and majestic elk.

Payette River Scenic Byway – Idaho

Payette River Scenic Byway takes winter sightseers on an icy and exciting drive along the river from Boise to McCall. Those who would like to take their adventures to the next level will find hundreds of miles of snowmobile and ski trails. Beginning in sage-covered foothills of Boise, visitors will be treated to sights of pines, tamaracks, aspen trees, and wild birds as the road gains more than 2,000 feet of elevation before reaching the cozy town of McCall. 

General’s Highway – California

Although Sequoia and King’s Canyon national parks see most of their 1.5 million visitors in the summer and spring, the winter remains one of the most intriguing times to capture the beauty of General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, in all the glory of quiet and gentle snow. The other giant sequoias are just as magnificent and humbling to behold. It is simply unfair to categorize California as a summer destination when there is so much to check out in the cooler months as well.

Always call ahead of time to make sure that no fallen trees or icy conditions will delay your trip through any of these spectacular scenic drives. Take the same safety cautions you would when driving in any other inclement conditions. Many parks will suggest bringing traction devices, flashlights, blankets, and other emergency provisions. Remember- the best way to get the most out of a scenic byway or treescape adventure is to prepare for it!