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4 Things Your Soil NEEDS This Summer

All dirt is created equally and there is no way to get good dirt or bad dirt, right? Wrong. Dirt – or soil as we prefer to call it – is among one of the most complex features that you have in your backyard. Soil is the most important feature in your yard as well – everything comes from the soil and is sustained by the soil.

When the dirt in your yard is missing out on one important element or product, you will certainly see that nothing is growing as tall or as strong as it should be growing. This could show up in different ways on your trees – they may not generate as much fruit, your leaves don’t look as healthy, or maybe you are having trouble getting flowers that are colorful.

When you are growing trees specifically, it is very important to recognize the genetic makeup of your soil, exactly what the pH of your soil is, and even what sort of soil you have.

So just what should be in your soil? Here are the most essential elements:

4. Air Space

  • Enables far better watering and water movement
  • Stops any type of compaction
  • Aerate your dirt for better air space

According to Deep Root, “Soil pore space is important for aeration, infiltration, and healthy root growth. An ideal soil has 50% pore space. The larger pores are filled with air, and the smaller ones with water. The remaining 50% of soil is 45% mineral materials and 5% organic matter. When a soil is compacted, soil particles are squeezed together, which reduces total soil pore space. Natural soils have pore spaces between individual soil particles and between clumps of soil particles. These clumps are called soil aggregates. Soil aggregates in natural soils are called peds. Activities which decrease pore spaces between soil particles, and activities which destroy soil ped structure and ped pore space, generally negatively impact trees. Activities that can cause compaction include, for example, loads from foot and vehicular traffic and equipment, other heavy loads, moving soil, stockpiling soil, and even tilling.”

So exactly how can you prohibit dirt compaction? You have to have air in your soil. The more air that your soil has, the better it will be for your plants. Water will move quickly and easily into that space to make sure that it permeates deep into the roots, however, space additionally permits your plants to dry so that there isn’t really any type of mold  or mildew development. Obviously, space also means that raw material, nutrients, and other valuable natural elements can move throughout the soil without delay.

Of course, you want to have air naturally, but that isn’t always possible depending on where you live and how water drains from your yard. You can buy dirt that has even more air in it or you can freshen your soil with aeration. One more technique is to obtain mulch because that practically guarantees a layer with a great deal of air – just make sure it is healthy mulch.

3. Nitrogen

  • Needed for root advancement
  • Helps with cell growth
  • Constructs strong, healthy proteins for growth

One of one of the most necessary components of your dirt is nitrogen. This is so important that if you do not have enough nitrogen in your soil, you might wind up with browned tips on your fallen leaves, poor fruit manufacturing, or even weak roots that will eventually stall the growth of your trees. Nitrogen, according to Hunker, aids your tree throughout the photosynthesis procedure – something that it needs a lot of help with in order to survive. Photosynthesis is the greatest single exporter of your tree’s power, so you want to provide it ample resources for that during the warmer months when your tree is generating the most power.

Trees that grow flowers (as well as fruits and nuts) require more nitrogen in the dirt than any other trees, yet it is required for all of them. From the root system of your trees on up, nitrogen aids with development.

Think you require more nitrogen in your dirt? You could include animal manure, especially chicken manure, to your gardening. Note that this can be a bit stinky, so you might want to plan it for a cooler day.

2. Phosphorous

  • Produces power for the tree throughout growth
  • Aids nutrient absorption
  • Maintains a healthy and balanced tree throughout the year

The University of Minnesota sustains the assertion that phosphorous is among one of the most essential components of your soil for many reasons, but the key one is that the roots will certainly be more powerful, thicker, and much deeper if your soil has phosphorous. You have to have soil that is rich in phosphorous throughout all phases of the tree’s growth, but it is specifically important during the primary development years for your trees– around the first decade or so.

If you have low levels of phosphorous, you can anticipate seeing a reduced fruit yield, dying leaves and branches, or even purple splotches on the fruits, leaves, and growths of the tree.

Phosphorous is a difficult element to add to your soil, however, it can be done utilizing high-quality additives that have not been treated with prescription antibiotics.

1. Potassium

  • Helps with liquid absorption
  • Triggers enzymes to work
  • Easy to include in your garden

According to the Northeast Farmer’s Association, “Potassium is the Great Regulator. It is active in numerous enzyme systems which control metabolic reactions, particularly in the synthesis of proteins and starches. Micronutrients, which have similar functions, are required only in minute amounts. In contrast, potassium must be present in large quantities, although it seems to be completely unsuited for its role. As tables show, some plants require more potassium than any other soil nutrient, even nitrogen.”

A great quantity of potassium in your dirt will certainly cause much better dampness retention, which can most definitely assist to stop damages from warm. Also much better, your more youthful trees will certainly have the ability to grow stronger roots.

If you do not have enough potassium in your dirt, you will see the signs almost immediately.  To add some potassium, you can begin composing your soil, paying special focus on include fruit and vegetable scraps. If you do not compost, you can include wood ash, but this will influence the pH levels of your soil.

Whatever in your lawn begins within the dirt, so you need to take note of just how it impacts development and also life in your yard – so make sure that you are taking care of it properly.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Redwood City, give Econo Tree Service a call today at (650) 200-2495. We will help you to better understand your trees and how to handle any watering, planting, pruning, or other tree issues that you may find – of course, we can also help you with other issues as well. We will provide you with the best possible tree service.

Header photo courtesy of Nick Ares on Flickr!
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Tree Tools All Homeowners Need

As a homeowner, you know that there are some tree care related projects that you might have to do – things that you don’t really need to call a tree care company for, but you do need to do for the health of your trees. We understand this and know that there are some tasks you want to handle on your own – but we also know that you can only do that if you have the right tools in your hands. That is why we compiled this list, to allow you to see what you should have in your garage or tool shed.

You do have to make sure of a few things: you know how to use the tools, they are high quality, and you only handle what you can handle. If you have any questions, it is better to err on the side of caution.

So what do you need? Let’s take a look:

5. Irrigation Systems

  • Helps with routine watering
  • Useful in all seasons
  • Invest in a timed system for better results

Dry summers are the biggest threat to healthy, happy trees. You want to have a yard that is nourished and hydrated all over, not just around your trees. When your yard looks a little crispy or crunchy, you might have to invest in an irrigation system, sprinkler, or at least a hose. While you do have to be conscious of the amount of water that you use, you should have something help our your trees – even if it is recycled water.

The Home Depot has a fantastic guide for buying a garden hose that will work with your yard and all legal regulations on using water. Make sure to put it to good use – this doesn’t have to be a huge investment.


4. Short Pruners

  • Be judicious when using
  • Do not cut into blisters
  • Always clean properly

This one is a more difficult tool to recommend because you do have to be extremely careful when you use them. Still, it is a necessary part of any yard maintenance plan. However, we recommend hand pruners because they cannot do any of the big cutting that can be really detrimental to your trees. You should still take care not to cut too much and never cut with dirty or rusty pruners.

You won’t be able to dramatically change your trees, but you can make some maintenance trims that will help with some of the bushiness or extra pieces.

Per Garden Products Review, “Pruners (also called clippers, pruning shears, or secateurs) are used to trim and shape plants, deadhead, prune out dead or damaged foliage and small branches, and cut back perennials. They’re one of the most-used gardening tools so it’s important to get a pair that works best for you.”

Once again – do not go overboard with this or you will do more harm than good.

3. Rakes

  • Helps in all seasons
  • Spread mulch or new soil
  • Expose roots

One of the most useful tools for all parts of your yard is the common yard rake. Many people have traded in the manual labor of the rake for a leaf blower, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all. Other than being great exercise, a manual rake can do so much more.

According to The Seattle Times, “Among landscaping rakes, metal bow rakes are used for moving soil around the garden, mounding dirt to create raised beds, picking up garden debris and tamping the soil. The sharp steel points can dig too deeply into a lawn, however, and, when used to rake leaves, those same points spear the leaves and get clogged easily.”

You can use a rake at any point of the year to clean your gardens, which will certainly keep your tree healthy. Of course, you want to be careful that you aren’t too rough or do too much damage. For this reason, you want to use a quality rake that won’t cause bruises to the roots.

2. Wheelbarrow

  • Lasts a lifetime
  • Always useful
  • Helps with all projects

Another tool that people have forsaken too soon is the wheelbarrow. It is something that we all need, even if we don’t’ want to admit it. They will help you to do a job that you might not want to do because it seems like too much work. While there is still work with a wheelbarrow, you are able to do just a little bit less.

Whether you are cleaning up after a storm or moving some landscaping items, it makes your job just a little easier. Even though they aren’t high tech or cutting edge, wheelbarrows are a good investment because they are always going to be useful and we can’t really see a way to improve upon them too much. In fact, according to research by the University of Houston, the first wheelbarrows may have had sails, and they have been around for a very, very long time.

Invest in a higher quality wheelbarrow and it will last you a long time.

1. Flashlights

  • Useful indoors and outdoors
  • Scare away pests
  • Check deep into trees

This might seem like a strange addition to the list, but it really isn’t. Flashlights are extremely useful for tree care. They help you to spot any problem areas where the tree isn’t accessible to your eyes.

The stronger the flashlight, the better for you. You will easily be able to spot damage from a distance.

According to The Flashlight Guide, you want to get a flashlight with an LED bulb instead of an older one so that you can see the true colors on your tree – which can help you with identifying problem areas.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Redwood City, give Econo Tree Service a call today at (650) 200-2495. We will help you to better understand your trees and how to handle any tree care issues that you might have, whether your tree is older or young. It is important that you don’t try to handle any tree-related care on your own that really should be left to a professional. We are always here to help, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Header photo courtesy of Piotr on Flickr!
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4 Things to Know About Deep Watering Trees

When should you water your trees and when should you allow nature to do what it wants to do? It can be very difficult to learn about the needs of your trees because they don’t talk like humans do and they don’t run around your feet in circles like a pet might do. Instead, a lot of the work you have to do is estimation, which can be troublesome for people who haven’t worked with trees before.

“Deep watering” isn’t really a new concept, but it is something that people are starting to learn about for the first time. Deep watering, or deep root watering as it may be known, is a tactic that quenches a deeper thirst of trees – usually when it is dry in the summer months. Still, there are many things people do not know about deep watering that might help you better understand why it is important in some cases, and why you might not always want to do it.

4. It Really Does Go Deep

  • You are watering the roots
  • 12-18″ deep in some cases
  • Some plants even need it deeper

When you water your plants on a regular basis, you are probably watering the leaves and dampening the soil around them. This is enough, you may think. The truth is that, according to Slate, most plants aren’t able to absorb water through their leaves. Instead, they get whatever tricks down into the roots of the plant over time. In the hot summer, this means that they might not get a third of what you used because most of it will evaporate.

Deep watering requires more water and more time because it is going to go really deep into the ground where it will meet the root systems. When the ground is wet already, that water will stick around. However, the water tends to dry up quickly in dry ground.

3. It Won’t Work for All Plants

  • Vegetables don’t need deep watering
  • Some grasses and ferns don’t either
  • Flowers are a case-by-case scenario

Many people think that deep watering will be the answer to all of their problems, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. The idea of deep watering isn’t useful for perennials, including ferns, grasses, and many flowers, because they tend to have shorter root systems that stay nearer to the surface. You do have to water these plants, and you should always look for signs that you are over watering or under watering, according to Gardeners.

You should water these plants and deep watering won’t really harm them unless you do it too often, but it is likely that this will be a waste of water anyway. Hand watering might seem laborious, but it really is the best approach for perennials and vegetables.

2. Soakers Are a Good Choice As Well

  • Help you to water regularly
  • Can be used in a system so everything gets what they need
  • Be careful about over watering, however

If you aren’t the type of person who really wants to be in the garden all that much, investing in an inexpensive soaker hose or system may work well. This is simple a black rubber hose that has small holes where the water comes out instead of at the end. You can put this onto your traditional garden hose and snake it through your garden. Then, you can simply turn it on every few days so that you can slowly, but deeply, water your gardens. Many people believe in this method more than others because it is easy, though once again you do have to keep water usage in mind. Still, they are better than the traditional sprinklers that many people use (and are even banned in some places) because they direct the water right where it needs to go. You can even DIY these for your own garden so that the water goes perfectly where it needs to go.

According to the DIY Network, you can even buy or make a system that has a computer control with it so that you do not need to be at your home – this is great for people with rental properties or those that go on vacation for long periods of time.

1. Trees and Shrubs Should Be Watered Deeply

  • Roots tend to go very deep into the ground
  • Also spread out like a fan
  • In a drought, trees are the most vulnerable

If there is one thing that you do deep water, it should be your shrubs and trees. These are the things in your yard that have to fight the hardest for the water, and they are probably the ones that have roots that sometimes don’t get water in the hottest time of the year.

According to the Morton Arboretum, “There is no reason to water the leaves of a plant. Water the soil, where the roots are. The Arboretum recommends watering within the drip line of a tree, from the trunk out to the end of the branches, to reach the roots most effectively. The water-absorbing roots are within the top two feet of soil; you want to keep these roots moist but not wet.”

This means you don’t want to completely saturate the ground, but you do want to put some water in there. Once again, it will help you are able to read the signs of over watering and under watering.

It might seem simplistic, but everything about watering really comes down to paying attention to your trees and trying to understand what they need. The same goes for almost all of the other living things inside and outside of your home. Tree care is important, and if you want your trees to be beautiful and provide you with shade, you want to do all you can to keep them healthy.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Redwood City, give Econo Tree Service a call today at (650) 200-2495. We will help you to better understand your trees and how to handle any watering issues that you may find – of course, we can also help you at other times of the year as well.

Header photo courtesy of Dirkus on Flickr!


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Is Your Yard Ready for Spring? 4 Can’t Miss Tips

Spring is a great time for you to get out of your house and do something to your yard. Why? Well, you have probably spent the last few months trapped inside throughout the elements, and as the weather gets warmer and nicer, you want to ensure that you are doing all that you can to keep your yard beautiful throughout the rest of the year. It can even help you to spot something that might go wrong throughout the most important growth time of the year.

Here are four can’t miss tips for your tree and yard  care this spring:

4. Tidy Up Around the Trunk

  • Remove winter wraps
  • Ensure that your tree can get water to the roots
  • Use best practices when cleaning up

According to This Old House, of the best things that you can do for your trees and yard in the spring months is to remove any debris that has accumulated over the winter months. This starts by removing the Christmas lights and winter tree wraps that you may have put up and didn’t take down. Those lights, in particular, can be extremely destructive if you keep them up year round. If you want to keep them up, you should at least move them somewhere else on the tree.

When that has finished, you want to clean up any of the twigs, leaves, fruit, nuts, or other debris that might have accumulated on the ground. These items, even if they are dead, can soak up the water that is meant for the roots of the tree. When you clean these up, you are giving them the best chance for survival.

3. Be Sure to Inspect Your Trees

  • Check from the trunks upwards to spot any problems
  • Know the signs of common tree diseases in California
  • Call a tree care professional if you think there are any problems that you can’t handle

Spring is a great time to take a walk around your yard and try to find any problem areas in anything – your gardens, your lawn, and yes, in your trees. Take some time to just inspect your trees. Look at the root systems, the trunk, the branches, the foliage, and everything around your tree to spot any issues. Doing this will enable you to contact a professional and get anything taken care of immediately – which can often save you effort and can save your tree’s life.

Spring also makes it easy to spot any issues that might pop up.

According to the University of California, you want to check for dead branches, multiple trunks, trees that won’t flower, cavities and decay, cracks, and any weak spots. These will make themselves apparent in the springtime, though it is important to watch the rest of the year as well.

If you notice any issues with your tree, you want to call a professional to handle the issues as soon as possible – waiting too long will certainly make any issues worse.

2. Mulch It Up

  • Use high quality mulch
  • Be careful not to put it too close to the trunk
  • Remove any old mulch first

Something else you can do to help your trees throughout the rest of the year? Better Homes and Gardens suggests mulching during the spring months. This will help your trees to fend off weeds that fight for nutrients and water as well as keep the soil wet through dry periods.

You want to be careful not to put mulch right up against your tree because it can invite sores and molds to form on the trunk. Instead, you want to put a 3″ layer around your tree. You should do this with younger trees (trees under 10 years of age) but it will also help trees that are a bit older.

Mulching is far more complicated than it might seem – make sure you do some research on the proper ways to choose mulch and how to lay it.

1. Water Water Water

  • No matter what the weather is
  • Water as deeply as you can
  • Ensure irrigation system is complete

Trees need water the grow strong and healthy, especially in the spring. One of the most important things that you can do for your trees is to water your cars deeply. If the spring is cold, ensure that you break up the soil so that it isn’t frozen together. If the spring is particularly warm, you might want to water even more to account for the heat. According to Colorado State University, this is a great time to test your soil for any problems – especially if you are planting any new trees.

If you don’t want to manually water all the time, you should set up your sprinkler system. If you already have one, make sure to double check it for any issues or clogs. Ensure that the sprinklers are aimed at the trunk of the tree – aiming it at the foliage can cause problems.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Redwood City, give Econo Tree Service a call today at (650) 200-2495. We will help you to better understand your trees and how to handle any springtime issues that you may find – of course, we can also help you at other times of the ear.

Header photo courtesy of Susanne Nilsson on Flickr!
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Transplanting a Tree: How to Do It

Regardless if you have paid for a tree or you want to move a tree from somewhere else in your grounds, resettling a tree is a difficult task that calls for concern. If you don’t do specifically the appropriate thing, you might end up losing the tree and wasting your time, money, and energy. In truth, moving a tree is too hazardous unless you absolutely need to do if for safety reasons or if the tree really means something to you.

The most effective opportunity to move a tree depends on the tree, where the tree is moving to, and the various tools that you have. Nevertheless, there are a few distinct guidelines that you may want to think about:

4. Prior to It Becoming Too Substantial

  • Needs to be sturdy
  • May need to eliminate some roots
  • Can take a long time

Certainly, you want to move the tree before it gets too great. Planting trees for the first time gives you more time, you can plant trees that are more considerable that way. However, it is exceptionally precarious to remove a tree from the ground and then move it to another place once the tree has established itself. You will need to snip away at the roots, which can absolutely do a number on the tree– parts of it may die, it might not be able to get nutrition and might reject everything that you do.

If your tree is quite substantial and you feel like you have to move it, reaching out to a specialist is the best thing you can do. Trying to work on the task by yourself will just result in you harming yourself.

According to Gardening Know How, you will be waiting quite some time to move your tree after you make a choice to do it. You have to go through quite a few different steps to get where you want to be– actions that can take up to six months.

3. Evergreens– Don’t Wait For the Warmth

  • Evergreens are durable and can stand up virtually anything
  • Make sure to observe the tree
  • Do not over water

Transplanting evergreen trees isn’t all that difficult, but there are a number of things you do want to consider. According to The Spruce, “While they do not grow as vigorously in winter as in other seasons, they do not undergo the kind of dormancy that deciduous plants do. Thankfully, though, evergreens tend to be tough customers, and this toughness gives you more leeway with them. You can generally undertake the operation earlier in the fall and later in the spring with evergreens than you can with their deciduous counterparts.”

More notably, you don’t want to do is transfer evergreens when it is too hot. This means you want to avoid all of the summer months. You also may want to keep away from months where we don’t get a lot of precipitation because evergreens tend to suck up water quite quickly.

2. When In Doubt, Fall

  • Tree will establish itself better
  • Land isn’t too hard
  • Source of nourishment are plentiful

Most professionals encourage planting in the fall because of the mild temperatures and that is when the land is still soft enough that you can finagle the tree if need be. Fall is a pretty wet period as well, so the tree will get enough moisture. You can also do it in the springtime, though that isn’t optimal.

According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, “Fall planting allows the carbohydrates produced during the previous growing season to be directed to root growth since there is little demand from the top. This additional growth may lessen the dependency of the plant on supplemental irrigation the following summers.”

1. When The Tree Is Dormant

  • Each tree has a different dormancy period
  • Make sure tree is completely dormant
  • Helps tree establish itself

The absolute best time to plant a tree or a shrub is when it has gone inactive. During this time, the vitality of the tree is completely focused on root growth, which of course will serve to help it establish itself.

Talk to a specialist to find out when your trees will be dormant. Though they tend to go dormant around the similar time, remember that trees are shipped out from all over the world so that can really influence the dormancy period.

Another thing you may want to take into consideration when transplanting? The USDA hardiness zone where you’re located will change the dormancy period as well, so talk to contractors at your local nursery when calculating a planting date.

It is important to remember that trees are different and each yard is unique as well. The growth of a tree transplant depends on many different things. First, your tree has to be fully healthy. Then, you have to use well-maintained tools and the best methods to move the tree. If it gets injured in transport, that could be the end of it. Ultimately, you have to take care of your tree for a long time afterward. Aftercare is so important, and you need to be able to act as soon as you see any problems with the tree.

It is exceedingly difficult to grow trees in California, especially within the last few years. It is your best bet to keep the trees that you already have alive and thriving, even if you want to move them. You have to be careful when transplanting any of your trees because one wrong cut can spell the end of a tree – or at least the start of some pretty severe problems that will require quite a bit of work.

If you are worried, have questions, or want professionals to handle your tree concerns or transplanting a tree, give Econo Tree Service a call at (650) 200-2495. Our team is filled with experienced arborists and tree care professionals who can work with your trees to have your yard looking beautiful and healthy.

Header photo courtesy of Deborah Mason on Flickr!
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Benefits of Leaf & Tree Composting

We live in a world where everyone is trying to do something that is just a little bit better for the people around us – and we hope that extends to the world around you as well. Composting was a popular activity that many homes did years ago, but it fell out of favor in the last thirty years or so. However, thanks to a reawakened concern for the environment, more and more people are interested in composting in their backyards again.

This is great news. For anyone who knows anything about landfills, it is pretty obvious that they aren’t doing us any good and we ought to do all that we can to avoid filling them with any more stuff, even if that stuff will eventually rot away. Composting is a fantastic way to not only help save the world, but it can actually help to make your yard look better.

Need a few reasons to compost? Let’s take a look at the benefits:

5. Reduces landfill waste

  • Less trash to throw away
  • Cleaner air around landfills
  • Helps keep trash bills low

Less landfill waste is one of the biggest reasons to compost your tree and shrub debris. In fact, it is a fantastic way to eliminate some of your kitchen garbage as well. Landfills are more than unsightly – they can reduce the value of homes in a neighborhood, hurt the air that you breathe, and can even be dangerous over an extended period of time.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency released a survey saying that that up to one-fourth of all landfill waste could have been thrown into the compost piles in a backyard – isn’t that an amazing number? You could be turning over a quarter of that heavy trash you haul onto the street into soil that keeps your gardens look lovely.

4. Reduces overall greenhouse emissions

  • Makes the air better to breathe
  • Keeps your other plants healthier
  • Lowers methane levels

When many people think about methane, they tend to think about the old standby: cow flatulence. However, cows aren’t the only reason we have warming gases in our air. They also come from organic material that goes into our landfills. Will the composting pile in your yard also emit methane? Yes, but they don’t do it nearly as much if they are properly composted in small quantities.

According to Scientific American, in just two decades, “In those short decades, methane warms the planet by 86 times as much as CO2, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

Composting will lower that overall amount quite a bit – and if everyone composted, we would see a great reduction, enough to create lasting change.

3. Deters garden pests

  • Reduces toxic runoff
  • Micronutrients act as natural pesticide
  • Better for health of delicate plants

If you have a lot of plants and trees in your yard, you know that you have to be careful about any pesticides that you use. If you have pets or young children, you know that you almost don’t want to use pesticides at all. That is why so many people are now composting – because the micronutrients you find in the soil from composting actually wards off pests.

To get these benefits, Gardening Know How suggests using a contained composting system.

Even better, you won’t have to use those chemicals that can hurt the other living things in your yard – your family, your pets, your plants, and even the bodies of water in and around your yard.

2. Creation of aggregates

  • Better for gardens
  • Makes it easier to garden
  • Helps support root systems

Love to garden? There is a lot to be said for using composted soil when you garden. While the nutrients and the cost-efficiency are no brainers, there is something else that helps with gardening – aggregates.

According to Soil Quality, “Changes in aggregate stability may serve as early indicators of recovery or degradation of soils. Aggregate stability is an indicator of organic matter content, biological activity, and nutrient cycling in soil. ”

Compost stimulates soil particle clusters, making the soil healthier and easier to work with for the most part. This is due to the amount of air pocks between individual soil structures – you get tunnels. This allows the soil to better hold air, nutrients, and water, meaning you have to do less work to keep your plants alive. Even better, it makes the soil easier to dig and move.

1. Promotes biodiversity

  • Healthier yards for everyone
  • Better for growing fruit trees
  • Brings new species into your yard

If you are interested in having a yard that is healthy and beautiful, you want to create more biodiversity in it. Everything needs to work in perfect synchronicity in order for your yard to be its best, from the birds and the work to the bacteria, trees, and soil. When you use composted soil, you have more nutrients to better support everything in your yard.

When you start with great soil, the plants are healthier which means the animals eat better, which means your gardens will flourish, and you will be much happier. According to the National Geographic Society, “With less biodiversity, these connections weaken and sometimes break, harming all the species in the ecosystem,” which might be why your garden sometimes looks rundown.

At Econo Tree Service, our principal concern is keeping your trees as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Composting and keeping your yard as natural as possible is a great way to keep your trees healthy. If something seems off or like it isn’t working properly, you need to get into contact with our Redwood City tree care specialists. We can also help you to better understand your trees so that you can compost more frequently into the future.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495 and our professionals will pay you (and your trees) a visit and help to determine how composting can help you.

Header photo courtesy of normanack on Flickr!

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5 Reasons Bark Is Falling Off Your Trees

Bark acts as a protective coating for your trees, sort of like how our skin acts for humans. When you look at someone’s skin and it looks dry, crackly, and like it is peeling, what do you think? Often, we think that the person is sick or doesn’t feel great – and the same thing can be said about your trees. If your trees have bark that is splitting or falling off, there is certainly something wrong. But what? Knowing how to read your trees can be a bit like learning how to read a foreign language.

It is bittersweet, but the bark falling off your trees can actually help you to identify a problem that may have gone undetected previously. Need some help determining the problem? Here are five possible reasons the bark is falling off of your trees:

5. Environmental Causes

  • Frost
  • Sun Scalding
  • Can affect lifespan of tree

One of the biggest reasons that we see bark peeling from a tree are the effects from the environment. Everything from the extreme cold to the extreme heat can make your trees start to peel. Sun scalding and frost, which often go hand in hand, can make the tree’s burns far more severe.

According to Gardening Know How, “Peeling tree bark is sometimes due to environmental factors. When peeling bark on trees is limited to the south or southwest side of the tree and bare wood is exposed, the problem may be sunscald [sic] or frost damage. This type of shedding affects the health and lifespan of the tree, and wider areas of exposed wood make it more likely that the tree will die.”

A way to prevent the burns and peeling from getting worse is to wrap the trees or, perhaps, painting them. It really depends on the kind of tree and the severity of the burn. Contact a professional to find the best option for your trees.

4. Thin bark

  • Not a problem for every tree
  • Sometimes happens naturally
  • Can be seasonal

If your tree bark starts to peel at a specific time of the year, it may just be that your trees peel because of thin bark. Doing a quick internet search or talking to a tree care professional can help you to determine if this is a normal reaction or if it something that you need to worry about. Peeling thin bark occurs naturally on many trees, including Sycamore trees.

According to NYC Parks, this type of shedding might be something that the trees do because they are preparing for a long photosynthesis, and they need to be able to absorb as much sunlight as possible.

3. Exfoliation

  • Happens regularly
  • May happen in stages
  • Happens with age

Another option is that the tree is simply exfoliating itself – just like we do with our skin. As we age, we need to exfoliate more and as trees age, they need to do the same thing.

Per Home Guides, “A tree grows by forming a new layer of fibrous tissues deep within its core. As it grows from the inside, its outer layers expand, and it sheds its old bark to make way for the new. The bark on a young tree is generally smooth and flexible and can withstand the inner growth without much effect. Old bark, however, is dry and has lost much of its elasticity, causing it to crack and split as the tree grows.”

Of course, this will vary by tree and species – white and paper birch trees are expected to shed their bark whereas other trees won’t do so. Sometimes, the peeling and exfoliation can be made worse by disease, drought, or insect damage.

2. Insects

  • Emerald ash borer
  • Ants
  • Generally starts toward the bottom

If the bark peels more toward the bottom, it could be because of infestations. Boring insects, such as pine beetles or Emerald Ash Borers, feed and make homes and colonies inside of the tree. This eventually disrupts the vascular system and can slowly start killing the tree. You’ll start to see signs of peeling bark around the holes where the insects bore into the tree and eventually it will take over the entire tree.

Common insects can cause the problem too, like bees and ants.

If you believe that this is the case, you absolutely need to do something as soon as possible. Call a tree care professional as soon as you can.

It isn’t unusual for this to happen on trees that were already sick, according to Texas A&M.

1. Tree is Dying

  • Extreme cases
  • Peeling has lasted a long time
  • Limbs are dropping

If the peeling is widespread or happens extremely quickly, it is likely that the worst has happened and your tree has died or is dying, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.  For many trees, this is the last cry for help and there is still time for you to do something, especially in young trees. However, this is the time to call in a professional who can do quite a bit of work in a short amount of time.

Remember, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to the health of your trees. If you see quite a bit of bark peeling or falling off of your trees, it is time to do something.

At Econo Tree Service, our principal concern is keeping your trees as healthy as possible, which means that we do have to do some research as to why your trees are peeling. If you are worried about the health of your trees or fear the worst, it is highly important to give us a call as soon as you can. In many cases, there is no time to waste.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495 and our professionals will pay you (and your trees) a visit and help to determine if the peeling bark is a problem we need to solve.

Header photo courtesy of art pear  on Flickr!
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How to Prevent Tree Roots from Growing Into Your Lawn

When you look at your yard, what do you discover? Most of us want to see a flourishing, green location without many interruptions and without any roots. (Of course, we similarly want to see grass that hasn’t grown at all since we last cut it, but the sad thing is that isn’t a reality.) What is a possibility, however, is the fact that you can help prevent tree roots from taking over your lawn. Although you can’t (and should never) stop some roots from growing, you don’t want them to entirely take over your yard.

4. Be Gentle – Don’t Cut Them Out

  • Many trees don’t respond well to easy fix tactics
  • Only use qualified professional grade instruments to remove roots
  • Connect with an expert before cutting too close to tree

One of the most vital things that you need to recognize about tree roots is that they are sturdy, but they are also the main source of nutrition for the tree. This signifies that you cannot simply cut the roots off and wish for the best. This will result in a tree that may not get ample water and nutrition, or it just may end up being unsteady. Think of it like cutting off the leg of a table – it might still stand, but it isn’t a good table anymore.

Gardens Alive explains, “Big trees have big, efficient roots that tend to take all the water in the area for themselves; and feeding a lawn overtop of those roots is perhaps the perfect way to deliver most of the food to the trees instead of the lawn.”

You may just have to recognize that if you want a bigger tree that supplies shade, you are going to have a few roots that move out into your grass. With professional help, they can be cut a little bit – it is really something that goes tree by tree.

3. Make Sure They Aren’t Taking Root

  • Sprouts can often times look like roots
  • These are fine to eliminate
  • Cut deliberately around actual roots

If you see something that comes up directly from the roots and you believe it is just roots that have lost their direction, you may be wrong. These could be sprouts that will sooner or later turn into tinier, weaker trees. These are dangerous and can be extremely bad for your healthy tree. They will battle with the tree’s existing root system and make the roots to come out of the ground, transfer into your lawn even more, and can even entirely cut them off from source of nourishment.

According to Home Guides, you just have to make sure that you are getting rid of the sprouts in a way that is harmless and smart. You don’t want to poison your tree, nor do you want to injure it any more than it is already injured. They say: “Treating a sucker growing out of a tree’s root system with herbicides can injure the tree. However, some commercially available products may specify that they are able to control suckering or are suitable for treatment of sprouts growing a minimum distance away from the parent tree.”

2. Consider Additional Approaches

  • All-natural techniques can be an alternative for some trees.
  • You may take into consideration rock salt or oils.
  • These options take much longer but don’t hurt your yard.

Most people want to stay clear of using harsher chemical substance in their yards, specifically close to their lawns. Using a rough chemical to kill the roots of a tree will only serve to make your yard look worse because of the dead grass. If you are stressed enough about the roots that you want to do away with them, skip the chemicals and talk to a specialist.

One choice, per Bob Villa, is to apply rock salt to dehydrate the roots slowly and gradually. This strategy does take quite some time, and you have to be extra mindful if you have pets, but it can work. The salt mixture has to sit on the trees for a while, so you may want to invest in a dog barricade if you like to give your dog roam of the yard.

1. Put the Health of Your Tree As the Top Worry

  • Older trees may become unsteady if roots are removed.
  • Youthful trees may still need to be re-tied in order to be sturdy.
  • Make sure to add added support for some time.

If you decide that, even though it may not be the best for the tree, you want to do away with the roots after all, you ought to know one thing: your tree will be unsteady after you cut the roots off. Just simply cutting off the roots is not the conclusion of the job – in fact, it is just the start. You have to monitor your trees and make sure that they are healthy enough to survive without your support. If you think they require help, give it to them.

Nevertheless, one more word of premonition from the Georgia Forestry Commission: “Understory planting of ground covers or foundation plants is not a solution. Covering the roots with a foot of soil is also not a solution.”

If you still do it, make sure to regularly take a look at the leaves and trunk of the tree in case problems start to show up. You need to be mindful of pests, ailments, and any breaks that occur.

At Econo Tree Service, our principal concern is keeping your trees (and roots) as healthy as possible for as long as possible. While it is natural to find some roots in your yard or in the flower beds, you don’t really want them to take up too much of your yard, or you will start to have complications with upkeep. If something seems off or like it isn’t working properly, you need to get into contact with our Redwood City tree care specialists.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495 and our professionals will pay you (and your trees) a visit and help to determine if removing your roots is an option.

Header photo courtesy of valentina (hvale) pellizzer on Flickr!
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Critical Signs and Symptoms of Tree Stress

Trees are incredibly sensitive, even though we often consider them to be signs of strength and perseverance. Like with humans, even just a little bit of stress can completely throw off trees of any size. You have to make sure you know to read your trees and make it so that they feel comfortable and safe in your yard – only then will you see how truly beautiful they can be.

Think your trees may be stressed? Sometimes, trees go through stages where they act a little strange and they are just moving into another phase. However, if your trees display any of these signs, you may want to get a professional to come take a look at them:

3. Your Trees Have Many Wounds

  • More wounds popping up regularly
  • Trees are discolored around the wounds
  • New wounds take a long time to heal

Tree wounds are all a part of being a responsible tree owner – getting your trees trimmed will result in a wound that will eventually grow shut and leave a scar, much like happens to humans when we get a bad cut or have surgery. Wounds by themselves aren’t a problem. However, how the wound heals can be a sign of tree stress – or a sign that your tree is completely healthy.

Trees that are stressed are more likely to grow fungi, and wounds have the perfect formula for fungal growth – dark, moist, and closed in. After a storm or a trimming, if your trees are weakened, fungi may start to develop. You can easily spot fungi in the wounds of your trees by looking for dark discoloration or “fuzzy” growth in and around the wounds.

Make sure to check your tree regularly for any growths, starting with the lower wounds and newer wounds and then working your way up the tree, according to the University of Kentucky, to check stress levels. Sometimes, smaller wounds will heal just fine, but larger wounds won’t. For truly stressed trees, the wound may reopen from time to time.

Remember that fungi can grow on trees that aren’t stressed as well. However, fungi tends to prosper the most on trees that have already been stressed out.

2. You Spot Powdery Mildew Disease

  • A powdery substance is along the root line of the trees
  • Stems and leaves eventually get powdery spots as well
  • The crown thins towards the top

Many of us believe that it is common to have powdery growths on trees. We attribute it to many things, from spiders making small, condensed webs to the trees themselves growing the mildew. In essence, the trees are growing it, but only because the mildew is feeding on the tree. Just like with the last option, many of the trees with Powdery Mildew Disease will have been stressed before getting it.

Mildew is a common sign of stress on catalpa, linden, chokeberry, and crabapple trees. Typically, the tree already has an infestation of some sort of pest on the lower part of the tree. As the tree is stressed from handling that, it makes for the perfect environment for the powdery substance to form.

Why did the pests stress out the tree? Pests steal from the nutrients and water of the tree, cutting off its source at the root. This is most common in the winter months and early spring when the ground is still solid. However, your trees may also experience high amounts of stress when it is extremely hot out – hot and humid or hot and dry. In both cases, the stress can lead to powdery mildew.

To prevent the disease in a tree that you already know has stress problems, Penn State suggests: “The spores are carried by air currents and germinate on the leaf surface. Liquid water on leaves inhibits spore germination.” Of course, talking to a tree care professional will also help you.

1. Ivy Is Stealing Nutrients From Your Trees

  • Your ivy and your tree are competing for the same foods
  • Tree won’t produce fruit at all
  • Ivy growing at an increased rate

The biggest cause of stress for trees of any kind is ivy. If you want a tree that is happy, healthy, and free from stress, you may have to kick the ivy. While it is beautiful, ivy is a bigger threat to a tree than pests are when it comes to water and nutrients.

Per the Royal Horticultural Society, “If the branch canopy becomes thin and allows sufficient light to enter, the ivy will develop into its arboreal form. Fraxinus(ash) and Larix (larch), are both trees with a naturally thin, open crown so they may suffer heavy infestation. For this reason, ivy on ash and larch trees is often controlled.”

Removing ivy from your tree is a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it to take away the stress from competing for everything – rain water, ground water, nutrients, sunshine, airflow, and more.

At Econo Tree Service, our team is here for you if you feel like your trees are stressed out and you need to do something about it. Whether you have an older tree that is showing some strange signs or a tree that is new and isn’t adjusting well, we are here for you.

Our team of professionals works extremely hard to meet your expectations and go above them – we will work until we get you the answers to your questions, even if they aren’t as obvious. Trees take a lot of work and to know how to truly read them, you have to have years of experience. Thankfully, our team has a lot of experience working with trees of all kinds.

Still, even the best teams are more effective when they are given the appropriate time – so give us a call today at (650) 200-2495. We offer a free estimate where we can tell you if your trees are stressed and then proceed to make a suggestion on how to fix the problem.

Header photo courtesy of megabanjo2017  on Flickr!
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4 Tips for Cleaning Your Yard of Trees & Debris After a California Storm

Storms can really take a lot out of you – they are stressful, annoying, and can put a damper on your plans. In California, we tend to have beautiful weather, but we pay for that when we have humungous storms that down trees, move around patio furniture, and even pull down power lines.

The storm itself is only a small part of your problems. After a storm, you have to start the cleanup process. This can be backbreaking work, depending on what happened in your yard during the storm. Debris is easy enough to remove, but it can take up a lot of time. Trees, on the other hand, are more cumbersome and can be dangerous for the common person to remove.

After a storm in California, you have to be careful about cleaning up trees and debris. Here are a few tips:

4. Check Entire Yard Next

  • Look for downed power lines
  • Take pictures
  • Check trees

After a storm that is severe, you want to walk around your yard when you know it is safe to be outside. This will allow you to survey the damage. Some people won’t see much damage other than some downed branches or a lot of leaves clogging up the gutters. Some of the things to look for include: broken windows, downed power lines, fallen trees, pooling water, and any damage to your hardscapes.

Troy Built reminds homeowners that taking pictures helps when contacting your home insurance company, if you feel like you need to do that because of the damage to your home or property.

3. Clear Any Glass First

  • Allows for inspection
  • Keeps everyone safe
  • Allows younger children to help later on

The most important thing you can do after a storm is to do a simple walk around the outside of your home and check for glass. You know your home extremely well, so you should be able to look fairly quickly. Windows, doors, and bird feeders are common parts of the yard that have glass. Gazing balls and other lawn ornaments may have glass as well.

Eliminating the glass from your yard makes it safer for everyone in your family to join in the clean-up party. This Old House suggests that you repair these problems first before worrying about the other debris in your yard. Remember to wear gloves when cleaning up any glass so that you don’t cut yourself. If you do get a cut, stop and clean the wound right away.

2. Trees are Tricky

  • You may not be able to touch your tree
  • Check where your tree has fallen
  • Contact a professional

If you have a tree that has fallen on your property, there are a few different things that you will want to do. The first is that you want to check if the tree has brought down any power lines. If it has, do not touch the tree, nor the lines. Call your electric company and wait for them to assess the damage.

If the tree has fallen over your property line, you should not touch it either. According to House Logic, “But if your tree falls over a neighbor’s property line, do nothing until their insurance company contacts you. You may not be liable unless you knew or should have known the tree was in a dangerous condition.”

Depending on the type and size of the tree that has fallen, you may be able to tackle it by yourself. However, it is recommended that you reach out to a professional so that you can ensure everything is as safe as it can be. Sometimes, danger lurks in your trees, especially once they have fallen.

Even better, sometimes you’ll be able to save your tree from the fall and put it upright again.

1. Hardscaping is Critical

  • Check retaining walls first
  • Contact professional for critical problems
  • Secure anything if possible

One of the biggest concerns after a storm (other than your trees) is your hardscaping, especially retaining walls. These walls and structures are usually made because they serve a purpose: help keep your yard in place and prevent any sliding. Hardscaping is usually hardy (hence the name), but it can’t always stand up against the force of nature.

The City of Glendale reminds residents of that city (and all of California): “Visually inspect all retaining wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.”

If you do have problems with your hardscaping, you need to call a professional to help you out. In many cases, hardscaping can be saved, it just has to be reassembled and put back together. If you have the chance to do that, it is an extremely cost-effective fix.

Once again, don’t be afraid to reach out to your homeowner’s insurance policy to see how they can help you repair your yard after a big storm – you’ll be surprised about what types of damage it covers.

At Econo Tree Service, our team is here for you after any big storm, earthquake, or event where you need yard clean up. Whether you have a lot of debris that needs to be removed, a fallen tree that you need help eliminating, trees that need some TLC, or a mixture of all of the above, we are here for you.

Our team of professionals works extremely hard to meet your expectations and go above them – we take great care in our work, cleaning up after a storm and then taking the debris with us so that you don’t have to worry about removing the debris from your yard. Storms come extremely quickly, so you don’t always have time to plan in advance, but you can keep us on cal so that your yard can get back to normal as soon as possible.

Still, even the best teams are more effective when they are given the appropriate time – so give us a call today at (650) 200-2495.

Header photo courtesy of Cherrysweetdeal on Flickr!
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