Friday, May 27, 2011

Maintaining the Soil for Healthy Trees

Keeping a tree healthy is not just a matter of pruning, spraying and watering the soil needs to be maintained as well. Plants get most their nutrition from the ground through their roots so you will need to pay some attention to the dirt.

This means that you may need to fertilize the soil around the roots. Some species will require special fertilizers while others can benefit from a more general product. It is best to consult the experts at a nursery or garden center to see which products you will need to use in your area.

There are several ways to apply the fertilizer. In some cases it can simply be spread on the ground. Liquid products should be applied below the ground through a root feeder. This takes the nutrients directly to the roots. Such a device is attached to a hose and the water forces the nutrients down to root level.

Soil for Seedlings
When you plant a new tree or seedling it is often a good idea to add fertilizer to the soil around the roots. Try to find the specific product for the species that you are planting and follow the instructions. In some cases, richer soil should be added.

If the seedling comes in a pot it would be a good idea to mix the dirt from the pot with that you use to cover the roots with. This can add nutrition and make the new plant healthier.

Special Consideration 
Some species will require special care and additives to keep them healthy. Ash will require a special mycorrizae fungus to thrive, this can be purchased online and from garden centers or nurseries. Adding this to the soil increases the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients and make it healthier.

Persons who live in urban areas should definitely consider adding such fungi because the city environment can kill the naturally occurring fungus. Ash is in most need of this additive but others species could benefit from it as well.

Such additives can help reduce stress which can make trees less susceptible to insects and infections. This can help them live longer and stay healthier to enhance your property.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World’s Worst Palm Tree Pest Now in California

An insect described as the world’s “worst palm tree pest” has apparently been detected in Laguna Beach in Orange County, California. The Pest is the Red Palm Weevil and California state officials believe it is a threat to most ornamental palm trees. So far it has not been reported out of Laguna Beach but it could spread.

Officials are worried about the Red Palm Weevil because it can fly for up to a half mile. The pest then lays eggs in the bark of the palm, larvae hatch from eggs and eat the tree and kill it. People should be able to detect the beetle by looking for holes with brown ooze coming out of them on barks. Dead weevils and their larvae will be visible if there is a heavy infestation.

It is not just people in California who should worry about the Red Palm Weevil. It has also been reported on some islands in the Caribbean so it could soon spread to Texas, Arizona and Florida. Palms are very vulnerable to this kind of pest because they are not native to most parts of the US even though they have widely planted in many areas.

Since palms often add to the value of properties owners should definitely be on the look out for this and other palm killing pests. Persons who think they see this pest should contact their state’s department of agriculture.

The presence of this kind of pest shows why professional tree services are so important. Without proper tree care such bugs can easily get out of control and destroy all the palms on property. Most people will not be able to spot infestations or deal with them until it is too late.

Trained tree experts or arborists can do this and take the steps necessary to protect trees. They can also safely and professionally remove infested trees to contain the problem.

So it is definitely a good idea for persons with palms on their properties to have them checked by a professional tree service on a regular basis. Nobody can be too careful these days with all the different pests around.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The White House is Home to a Long Line of Serious Gardeners and Tree Lovers

In an article written by Melanie Choukas-Bradley, she describes the series of Presidents and First Ladies who have contributed to the beauty and essence of the national park known as President’s Park. This park, which is located on the grounds of the White House, has been considered a national park since 1933. The current collection of trees at the White House is comprised of 37 official commemorative tree plantings by presidents and first ladies. The collection of commemorative trees is mixed in with hundreds of other trees within the 18 fenced acres of the White House grounds. For many years it has been a tradition for presidents and their first ladies to add to President’s Park. Many of these additions were made to commemorate people or events, and others were planted out of shear appreciation for trees and gardens.

Thomas Jefferson was considered a passionate and highly accomplished horticulturist. According to White House Historical Association author Dr. William Seale, “The glory of the White House grounds would one day be its trees, and although none of Jefferson’s is known to survive, he started the tradition.” A quote from Jefferson states, “I wish I was a despot that I might save the noble, the beautiful trees that are daily falling sacrifices to the cupidity of their owners, or the necessity of the poor…The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder; it pains me to an unspeakable degree.”

In 1913 the first wife of Woodrow Wilson chose the site for America’s most historic garden when she planted roses outside of her husband’s West Wing office. However, John F. Kennedy was the one who inaugurated the modern-day Rose Garden and took a great interest in its growth. According to Wolf Von Eckardt, Washington Post architecture critic at the time, “He would always walk through it on his way to his office and back for lunch or dinner. …As his garden grew, so did his knowledge of its plants and wonders…It was the only thing he ever bragged about.” In 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy described the Rose Garden as the “brightest spot in the somber surroundings of the last few days.” During Johnson’s administration, First Lady Bird Johnson chose to honor Jacqueline Kennedy by dedicating to her the garden just opposite the Rose Garden.

When Laura Bush was asked which of the White House trees was her favorite she replied, “The most magnificent is the Andrew Jackson magnolia.” This tree, which is actually two trees growing very closely together, is the oldest commemorative presidential tree at the White House. Andrew Jackson is said to have brought these trees from his home near Nashville and planted them at the White House as a way to remember his late wife Rachel.

Here is a list of the 41 trees and gardens planted by presidents and first ladies:

1. Purple Beech - George Bush (1991)
2. White Dogwood - Bill and Hillary Clinton (1996)
3. White Dogwood - Bill and Hillary Clinton (1995)
4. Patmore Ash - George Bush (1989)
5. Northern Red Oak - Dwight D. Eisenhower (1959)
6. Eastern Redbud - George Bush (1990)
7. Little-Leafed Linden - George Bush & Queen Elizabeth II (1991)
8. Willow Oak - Ronald Reagan (1988)
9. Silver Linden - George W. and Laura Bush (2008)
10. Jacqueline Kennedy Garden 1965
11. Southern Magnolia (2) - Andrew Jackson (1830)
12. Saucer Magnolia (4) - John F. Kennedy (1962)
13. Rose Garden (1913)
14. Willow Oak - Lyndon B. Johnson (1964)
15. Little-Leafed Linden - Bill Clinton (1993)
16. Pin Oak - Dwight D. Eisenhower (1958)
17. Little-Leafed Linden - George W. and Laura Bush (2003)
18. White Oak - Herbert Hoover (1931)
19. Cedar of Lebanon - Jimmy Carter (1978)
20. Cutleaf Silver Maple - George W. and Laura Bush (2001)
21. White Dogwood (3) - Hillary Rodham Clinton (1994)
22. Children’s Garden (1969)
23. American Elm - Bill and Hillary Clinton (1993)
24. Japanese Maple - Frances Folsom Cleveland (1893)
25. White House Kitchen Garden (2009)
26. Japanese Maple - Rosalyn Carter (1978)
27. Willow Oak - Bill and Hillary Clinton (1993)
28.White Oak - Herbert Hoover (1931)
29. American Elm - John Q. Adams (1826, replaced B.Bush1991)
30. Southern Magnolia - Franklin D. Roosevelt (1942)
31. Southern Magnolia - Warren G. Harding (1922 replaced 1947)
32. White Oak - Franklin D. Roosevelt (1935)
33. Little-Leafed Linden - Barack Obama (2009)
34. Red Maple - Jimmy Carter (1977)
35. White Saucer Magnolia - Nancy Reagan (1982)
36. English and American Boxwood* - Harry S. Truman (1952)
37. Jefferson (American) Elm - George W. and Laura Bush (2006)
38. American Elm - Betty Ford (1975)
39. Fern Leaf Beech - Lady Bird Johnson (1968)
40. Fern Leaf Beech - Patricia Nixon (1972, replaced 2005)
41. Sugar Maple - Ronald Reagan (1984)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Eucalyptus Longhorned Borers

There are actually two different species of Eucalyptus Longhorned Borer beetles that attack trees in California. The problem is worst in Southern California, where the climate resembles that of the beetles’ homeland; Australia.

The beetles damage trees by boring holes into them and laying eggs. When the eggs’ hatch the larvae emerge and eat the bark. They also drill tunnels through the trees which can kill them.

These bugs only attack Eucalyptus trees which are quite common in California. They are most likely to attack sick trees and trees during droughts. In Southern California they do a lot of damage during the hot summer months when trees don’t get enough water.

Spotting Longhorned Borers
It is actually fairly easy to tell if borers are attacking your trees. If the damage is heavy you can actually hear their larvae inside the trees chomping away at the wood. This is a scraping sound similar to a saw or other tool hacking away at wood. If you hear strange sounds coming from a Eucalyptus it could be the borer.

Another way to spot them is to look for holes in the tree that ooze black liquid. There also can be dark black trails of gunk left on the tree’s bark. Spotting the borer is vital because they can kill a Eucalyptus if they girdle the tree or completely remove a strip of bark around its trunk.

Controlling the Borer
The best way to control Longhorned Eucalyptus borers is to keep trees healthy and well watered. Generally, the bugs leave trees that are well watered alone. A good way to do this is to use a hose root feeder especially during droughts and dry seasons. Put the feeder in the ground a few feet from the trunk to be the most effective.

Simply watering the tree without a sprinkler is a waste of time. You will have to apply water directly to the roots. This can be done with a hose root feeder which can be purchased at any hardware store.

Remove any dead or dying Eucalyptus trees as soon as you notice them because this is where the borer lives. If you use Eucalyptus as firewood cover it with plastic and keep it away from healthy trees because the borer can live in those logs as well. Try and dry the firewood out by covering it with clear plastic and put it in a place where it can get a lot of sunlight. This should kill any beetles in the wood.

There are also some insecticides that can control the borer. These will have to be applied as soon as an infestation is noticed to be effective.

Affected Species of Eucalyptus
Experts at the University of California at Davis have identified some species of Eucalyptus that are more susceptible to this pest than others these are the Blue Gum, Flooded gum, Kari gum, Manna gum, Round-Leaved or Red-Flowered eucalyptus and the Sydney Blue Gum.

There are also some species less likely to be attacked by the Eucalyptus Longhorned Borer. These are the Hybrid, Lemon Gum, Red Ironbank, Red River Gum, Sugar Gum and Swamp Mahogany. If you are planting new trees, it might be a good idea to plant these species especially in areas with water shortages.