Licensed & Insured ISA Certified Arborists (PN-8224A)
Portland, Oregon
18 Aug 2018

More Than a Funeral: What To Do When a Tree Dies

It happens more quickly than you think: one day you are looking out your window or mowing your lawn and you notice it, that your beautiful tree has died. Unfortunately, even if you have the best tree care and you always make certain that your tree is healthy, trees will eventually die. This is just a fact of life and something that all homeowners, gardeners, and even tree care professionals need to understand.

How you handle the situation will determine whether the other trees in your garden will be far behind, however. Dead trees need to be treated properly so that you can continue to have a healthy ecosystem in your yard.

So, what should you do?

Start here:

4. Check for Infestations

dead tree
Credit: Bobu
  • One of the most common killers
  • Can spread to other trees or plant life in your yard
  • Might require professional help of some kind

If you have trees, there is a chance that you have pests. Sometimes, the pests aren’t bad enough to really cause any problems. Over the years, if left untreated, however, you might start to notice that your tree is slowly dying. This is because the pests (most often they are insects) are feeding off of the tree, absorbing the water and nutrients that it needs to survive.

According to Gardener’s Path, infestations can kill trees extremely quickly. This is because once they find something that provides them with nourishment or protection, they spread the news to their friends. Once the tree is dead, it can no longer provide the sustenance. These aren’t hospitable pests, however, and they don’t just move onto someone else’s tree – they will move onto the next live source of nourishment they can find. Most often, this is something else in your yard.

If your tree is dying, look to see if there are insects or the remnants of insects or pests (holes, excrement, nests, or shells). This means you have a huge problem and you should probably reach out to a professional of some sort – either a tree care professional or a pest management company.

3. Consider Replanting

creepy dead tree
Credit: Joan Sorolla
  • Be careful when purchasing new trees or greens
  • Make sure the soil is prepared for a new tree
  • Consider new types of trees – or the same kind in some cases

After a tree has died and has been removed properly (meaning the stump has been removed) the next thing to think about is how to fill the hole left behind.

According to the Royal Horticulture Society, “Plants that have died of physical causes such as waterlogging, poor establishment or underwatering can be replaced with the same type of plant. Remedy any site problems such as poor drainage prior to replanting.

Plants that have been killed by a disease, in particular a soil borne disease (e.g. honey fungus, Phytophthora root rot or Verticillium wilt) or difficult to control foliage/stem disease (e.g. box blight) are best replaced with something that shows resistance. Lists of resistant plants or those not affected can be found on our advice pages of common garden plant diseases. Plants that suffer from replant disease (e.g. roses) should not be replaced with the same type of plant.”

If you know why your tree died, you will better be able to figure out what to do with that empty space in your garden.

2. Root Rot

dead tree
Credit: Josh Giuliano
  • Common problem during spring seasons
  • If tree is healthy, leave it be
  • Talk to a professional if you have questions

One of the bright spots for people who think their trees are dead might actually come if it has been raining more often than normal – that rain could have caused symptoms of tree death, but it might not actually be dead.

According to Gardenerdy, “Sometimes, trees start dying due to root rot on account of over-watering. Water the tree only when the soil around it appears to be dry and fragmented. If there is a water-logging at the foot of the tree, make sure to devise a proper drainage system for the same. You may opt for removing soil from water-logged area and exposing the roots to fresh air for a few days.”

If your tree looks otherwise healthy, you might be able to keep it around for a few months to see if it will come around. Still, you have to think about the dangers that come along with unhealthy trees, so make sure that everything is secured.

1. Call a Tree Care Professional

Credit: Alan Levine
  • There is a chance to save your trees
  • Only professionals can handle some removals
  • Will make suggestions for other trees in your yard if the underlying cause could kill them as well

According to the Tree Care Industry Association, no matter when your tree dies, you want to always have your tree inspected by a tree care professional who will be able to make a diagnosis on the death. This is so vitally important because we are able to get a deeper look at your tree and help you to figure out just why the tree died. Sometimes, it will just be because of old age – this happens to many trees. Other times, however, and sometimes more commonly, it is because of a particular disease or nasty infestation. In these cases, you want to ensure that dead tree removal is treated properly and that the correct tools are used and cleaned properly. As a traditional homeowner, you probably do not have these tools at your disposal.

Many tree care professionals have the tools to help you remove stumps and the resulting debris from your yard and garden. At the same time, we can also help you turn that tree into something new and beautiful – fire burning logs, decorative logs, and/or mulch.

Whatever you do, don’t try to take tall trees (or any trees at all) down by yourself as it can be extremely hazardous and you will probably hurt yourself, another structure in your yard, or even your other trees.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Matthew Dillon on Flickr!
19 Jul 2018
Lichen on a tree

Just What Are Those Green Spots on My Trees?

Do you have green spots on your trees? This is something that many people have been noticing in their yards lately, and it is quite curious. There are many many reasons why you may have more green spots this year than ever before – and a lot of it has to do with the changing climate. However, it also has to do with the fact that many more trees are coming from the same places, which means that the funguses that cause some of the problems spread much more easily.

Some of the green spots that you have on your tree aren’t any problem at all – they are just natural. In fact, this is probably the greatest majority of the green spots that there are in our area.

Still, there are some problematic green spots that you can have as well. If you think this might be your tree, it is best to reach out to a professional to have them help you determine whether or not you have an issue.

So why are there green spots on your tree – and more importantly, do you need that professional intervention? Let’s have a look:

3. I Have Green Spots on My Trees – What Are They?

Tree with green spots
Credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli
  • Many things manifest as green spots
  • All look similar and some are safe – some aren’t
  • Algae, moss, and lichens are the most common in our area

If you do happen to have green spots on your trees or shrubs, there are three primary culprits: algae, moss, and lichens. These green spots will all grow on the branches of your trees, the trunks, and maybe onto the leaves and roots. It is difficult to tell these three blights apart, but there are some distinct differences in the way they look, how they come to be, and what you have to do with them.

The Royal Horticulture Society provides an outline on how to tell them apart:

Algae: On tree trunks and leaves of evergreen trees and shrubs, algae can be seen as a green, powdery deposit. It is not unattractive on trunks but can make leaves dull and unsightly. The alga Trentepohlia is seen as a vivid orange powdery deposit on tree trunks and branches.

Lichens: Lichens growing on trees and shrubs are mainly grey to green in colour. They may form as crusty patches, leafy mats, or upright branching or hanging growths on the bark or wood.

Moss: Various mosses can grow on the trunks or branches of trees and shrubs. These mosses may form large, coarse, loose, green or yellowish-green tufts, densely matted tufts, or compact green cushions.

If that seems complicated, a professional can help you to determine what you have, and even more importantly, what you can do. Sometimes, you won’t have to do anything unless you do not like the look of the green spots.

2. Why Are There Green Spots on the Trunk of My Tree?

Lichen on a tree
Credit: John Rusk
  • The climate or placement of the tree helps it
  • The weather has allowed it to grow
  • There is a transfer of fungus

If you have green spots on your tree and you can’t tell them apart using the listing above, don’t worry – you aren’t alone. Each of those green organisms can look different, depending on the tree or the yard. You may need to look at the surroundings to narrow down the list even more.

If you have algae on your trees, you have to know that it is rare and could be the sign of an underlying problem. Your tree’s bark may be too moist and that can lead to deeper problems within the tree. Sometimes, the tree will be able to adapt and grow regardless, but it is still something to look at with a professional.

Moss is far more common and can grow in almost any part of the world. Most often, it will grow on trees that have a lot of shade – so trees that have a thicker canopy, trees that are tightly packed together, or trees that are in the shade from other structures like a house or pool. Most often, moss does grow on the north side of the tree, so you can use it for navigation, but not all the time.

According to North Carolina State University, “Lichens increase over time. So older tree have more lichens. Often the lichens will multiply when the tree slows down it’s growth and the canopy becomes less dense. Slow growth and few leaves are not good signs. But it doesn’t mean the lichen is causing the death of the plant. The increase in lichens happens because the tree is dying. Sometimes a cherry tree, apple tree, or azalea becomes covered with lichens. When this happens the tree may be a few years away from death. Of course, every lichen doesn’t mean the plant is declining. Lichens are common on the trunks of large healthy oaks and maples.”

1. Can I Treat Green Spots On My Tree?

Green spots on bark
Credit: Paul VanDerWerf
  • Depends on what causes the green spots
  • If it doesn’t cause harm, don’t do anything
  • Consult with a professional before taking matters into your own hands

Most often, the best thing you can do with your green spots is just to let them be. By trying to do something by yourself, you could be causing more damage. There are some ways to scrape off the green spots, but this often opens the tree up to other infections that are going to harm your tree. If you do have to do something, the best thing you can do is consult a professional.

According to Hunker, “There are also commercial sprays that can be used on the trunk, the leaves and roots of an infected tree. These products are best used at the first signs of an infection and sprayed directly into some of the discoloration that’s found on the affected tree. This may help prevent the infection from spreading further and may help save the tree. However, if a bark is fully rotted through and if the fungus has spread throughout its entire internal system, the tree will not be able to take in water or sprays.”

Tree care is difficult, nor is planting a tree, but it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself without at least some help from a professional. For daily maintenance and maybe even planting trees, you can do most of it. However, when it comes to the health of your trees, it is best to talk to professionals who can help you out.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Joshua Mayer on Flickr!
27 Jun 2018

Want to Add Trees To Your Yard? 4 New Ways To Do It

We all want to have yards that have beautiful trees that make spending time outside all the better. Whether you want to add trees that are tall and strong or you want to add trees for beauty, you have to be judicious about where you will put your trees and how you will use them in the design of your yard.

Before you even think about planting a tree in your yard, you have to think about what kinds of trees you want, how much maintenance you are willing to do with your trees, what function you want those trees to have in your yard, any structures that might interfere with your trees, and even how much those trees cost to maintain and plant.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into planting a tree – it isn’t just digging a hole. You have to think about the ways in which you will use your tree – and how everyone in your family will interact with it.

Interested in getting started? Here are four new tree landscaping designs to consider:

4. Think About Adding Value to Your Home

house with a tree
Credit: Roger W
  • Trees take a long time to grow – people value already grown trees
  • Think about getting rare trees that you don’t see elsewhere
  • Do not go overboard or you will have the opposite effect

A mature tree that has been planted and taken care of by professionals can add between $1,000 and $10,000, according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. If you are looking to get this increase in value, remember that it takes years for trees to reach their mature size, so plant your trees as early as possible to get the best results.

When planting a tree to help add value to your home, you will need to think about the types of trees that people really want in their yards. People aren’t looking to add to their yard maintenance, for example, but they might appreciate a fruit tree. The best type of tree for your yard will depend on your home – trees that are tall and strong (and could maybe support a tree house or swing) might be great for a home with many bedrooms. On the other hand, a ranch home with one bedroom will probably have a person or couple that doesn’t want the backbreaking yardwork associated with many trees.

3. Create an Extra Room

hammock
Credit: Cory Doctorow
  • Gives you privacy
  • Extends your living space
  • Makes you want to spend time outside

If you aren’t the type of person who likes to spend all of your time indoors, but you have a lot to do outside, you may want to consider using trees to help create an extra room outside. This will give you privacy when you are outside and still make it possible to keep yourself hidden from your neighbors. You can really do this in many ways, but the best bet is to plant trees and then fill in any open space with taller plants and shrubs.

According to Better Homes and Gardens: “If you don’t want to work on making your entire yard a private paradise, take one corner and transform it into a secluded getaway. A simple way to do this is to carefully place a couple of trees to form a pocket. Here, for example, two pines make a hammock feel tucked away. A redbud just behind the hammock enhances the effect.”

2. Garden Shape Matters

tree in garden
Credit: Harry Lawford
  • Consider getting professional planning
  • Think about plants, walkways, water features, and your trees
  • Remember you have to mow your lawn

When planning when and where to plant your tree, you want to think about what will be around your tree. Most people plant trees in a garden – but should you for your yard? Lifehacker recommends looking at your space from above to really plan out the shape and scope of your garden. You will want to consider whether or not your tree and other greenery will compete for nutrients, water, and sunlight.

You can even get the tape out and map out things like where your tree will go, what the garden shape will be, how much shade there will be, and even where the root system will go. With a bit of online research, you should be able to find the answers to all of these questions and more.

1. Look From the Inside

tree through a window
Credit: BurnAway
  • Think about safety and security
  • You probably spend more time inside than outside
  • Determines type of tree that you want

HGTV says that one of the biggest landscaping mistakes that people make is the fact that they don’t think about what their yards will look like from the inside of your home. This is important because we do tend to spend a lot more time inside of our homes looking out than we do outside of it enjoying the shade, fragrance, or aesthetic appeal.

Stand inside your home and look out the windows in the rooms you occupy the most. What do you want to see? You’ll have to answer these questions before you can think about putting a tree in your yard. Do you want to be able to see the road? How about your driveway? Will you have kids that play outside or nosy neighbors that want to look inside? Each of these concerns can impact whether or not you want to plant a large tree or a small tree.

Tree care is difficult, nor is planting a tree, but it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself without at least some help from a professional. For daily maintenance and maybe even planting the tree, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional. If you aren’t sure what kind of tree you want in your yard, you should also reach out to a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Olin Gilbert on Flickr!
18 May 2018

Why Deep Watering is Necessary in Your Yard

Over the years, we have heard of a lot of different tree care fads – from rubbing essential oils on your tree (can be effective) to talking to your trees (probably not great for them, but good for you). So, how can you tell when one fad is effective and one isn’t?

Have you heard about the hottest tree care fad, deep watering? It is a query that pops up more and more as we get toward the summer months. This isn’t really a unique concept, but it has popped up on online resources like Facebook and Pinterest, so a lot of people want to know more about it. Deep watering, or deep root watering, gives your tree the kind of watering that it certainly needs, even more so during the summer months when it is very hot and Mother Nature doesn’t deliver on the rain.

These are the times when your trees are withered and are displaying signs that they may possibly need some support, but you can’t necessarily read them. By the time you can look at them, it is typically too late and you have to do something more than just water them.

Still, there are a number of things you need to realize about deep watering before you do it.

4. How Deep The Water Actually Goes

irrigation system
Credit: Ian Sane
  • The roots receive the water, not the leaves
  • 12″ to 18″ deep, depending on the plant
  • Some gardens might not really need it that deep, some require deeper

When you water your plants consistently, you likely allow your hose to spray some water onto the leaves of your plants and the soil all around the plants. Having said that, most plants don’t have leaves or stems that can consume the water. Instead, it has to make its way into the soil and ultimately get to the root system.

The problem is that, when it is sweltering outside, the water vanishes almost immediately and ends up not getting to the plants. According to Slate, this is why many plants and trees still die, even if you have already watered them often. It is also why people think they are overwatering their plants.

The reality is that they aren’t watering them carefully. Deep watering goes deeper into the dirt so that the roots get the water.

3. Use a Soaker For More Convenient Watering

old fashioned irrigation in green grass
Credit: USDA
  • Good for people who aren’t home all the time
  • Can be DIY ‘d by a number of people
  • Do not over water with this technique

Don’t like to be out in the scorching sunlight all the time? You aren’t by yourself, and that is why there are so many possibilities for ways to water your gardens and lawn that don’t mandate you to remain outside for too long. If this sounds like you, you might want to invest in a soaker hose or soaker system. A soaker hose is simply an addition to your basic garden hose. This add-on has perforations every so often, holes that are much smaller than a hose entrance, but still substantial enough to let out water. Once you install this onto your hose, you can then situate it throughout your flower gardens and set up it where you need it to be. This works really well, but, according to the DIY Network, you can make your own so you get a definite direction of where the water goes.

These still use a bit of water, but they are deemed to be better than the conventional sprinkler systems because they put the water exactly where it needs to be, not up into the atmosphere before anything else.

This type of system is great for people who don’t or can’t take care of their yards, people who are regularly away from their properties, and those who simply have too much to keep up with when it comes to taking care of their yards.

2. Trees and Bushes Should Be Watered Deeply

watering system
Credit: Ian Sane
  • Tree branches tend to go deep
  • They will also spread far and wide around the tree
  • Trees are the most vulnerable in a drought

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 is why it is so essential to deep water your trees and bushes. These are some of the most defenseless parts of your yard and they also tend to be the worst to water. They are probably the ones that need the most water too because their deep roots often don’t get the water that you do use– plants and weeds will get it first. During the hottest part of the summer, they are extremely susceptible.

You don’t want to utterly soak the ground so that the dirt starts to move, but you do want to do some deep watering.

1. It Isn’t Necessary for All Plants

Watering system
Credit: Kevin Dooley
  • Deep watering won’t work for plants with shallower roots
  • Most won’t be damaged by it either
  • Helpful for annuals and bigger plants

One normal misstep that people make is that they assume that deep watering will work for all of the plants in their yard– this isn’t legitimate. In fact, perennials and vegetables don’t need deep watering because they do not have roots that go too deep into the earth, according to Gardeners. Instead, their root systems are closer to the top. You will want to spend maybe a couple seconds more over them with the hose, but you don’t really need to look into deep watering at all.

As always, you want to look at your plants to see if there are marks of over watering or under watering.

In fact, the best technique here is to hand water your perennials and vegetables so that you know exactly how much water they are getting at any given time.

At times, it can seem silly to think so much about watering your trees. However, they do need it and you have a responsibility to take care of them.

Tree care is difficult, and it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself. For daily maintenance and watering possibilities, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Sheila Sund on Flickr!
16 Apr 2018

Tree Care Tool Kit: The 5 Tools You Absolutely Need

As a homeowner, there will be times when you want to take the care of your trees into your own hands. While it might seem strange, we understand that – you want to be able to do some things by yourself. It is important to remember that tree care is dangerous and you do want to call a professional for some of the bigger jobs. Still, there are some things you can do by yourself.

Doing some basic maintenance to your trees helps you to better understand them and know when there is something you might need help handling.

However, you do have to make sure that you are using your tools properly, storing them properly, and only using them for what they were intended to do.

So what are some of the tools that should be in your shed? Here are a few:

5. Hand Pruners

Hand pruners
Credit: Thomas
  • Help with basic maintenance
  • Be careful when using them – use eye protection
  • Make sure to clean pruners regularly

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.”

It might come as a surprise, but you shouldn’t prune your bigger trees. Instead, you can use it to keep up with some routine maintenance on your plants and bushes, especially vegetable plants. You don’t want to cut anything that is thicker than an inch, or you will be doing too much damage.

You have to be extremely judicious with your cutting, and this definitely isn’t something you can do to actually prune your tree, but it can help with maintenance between professional sessions.

4. Wheelbarrow

Wheelbarrow
Credit: Seabamirum
  • Never goes out of style
  • Helps with all jobs
  • Inspires you to work

What is one of your tools actually encouraged you to do the work? That is what wheelbarrows do. They make most jobs so much easier, even jobs that have nothing to do with trees. Still, from clearing out the leaves from around the base of the tree to picking up after a storm, having a wheelbarrow will make all jobs much, much easier.

One of the reasons you may want a wheelbarrow is because they have been a standard in all tool sheds for years – they go back to about 1220 AD, and the the first wheelbarrows may have had sails, and you have probably used an older one that is still good.

You may want to do some research and purchase your wheelbarrow in person so that you can really get one that fits your style.

3. Sprinkler or Hose

hose
Credit: Brittany Girl 94
  • Regular watering helps trees
  • Can be used throughout the year
  • Timed systems are helpful

When you have trees that are watered, you have happy trees. One of the most important tools that you can use is a sprinkler or hose. When you have a summer with little precipitation, winters where the ground freezes, or just times when everything looks a little parched, a hose comes in handy.

While most of us have hoses in our yards, few people actually have the right kinds of hoses. The Home Depot has a great guide to buying a garden hose that is really great at helping you choose the right one. Remember that everyone has different needs, but you should be able to find a hose that you enjoy using.

2. Rakes

Rake
Credit: Shelton Dunning
  • Useful in many parts of your yard
  • Leaf blowers won’t always do the job
  • Help to keep your gardens clear

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.”

A rake is another somewhat primitive tool, but sometimes those are the best ones. Many people have moved on from the rake to the leaf blower, but a rake does many things that a leaf blower never will be able to do. A rake forces you to get some physical exercise and get closer to your trees. Use it to clear the base of your tree and allow your roots to get some air and water..

1. Flashlights

flashlight
Credit: David DeHetre
  • Help check out damage after storms
  • Use the light to inspect trees
  • Can help to chase pests away

Another somewhat strange suggestion, but something that you absolutely need, is a flashlight with a fairly long reach. You can use a flashlight to help you inspect your trees from afar, which can be helpful if you are looking at storm damage or you think there is an animal in your tree. You can even use that light to scare animals out of your trees.

Now, for actual tree care, you can use a flashlight to look into the tree when there is a lot of foliage or densely populated branches, because it can be difficult to see when there isn’t any light. This can be extremely helpful when you are looking for diseases or infestations.

According to The Flashlight Guide, you should get a flashlight that has an LED bulb so that you can see the true colors on your tree. If you use an older one, everything takes on a more yellow tint, which can make it hard to spot any problems.

Tree care is difficult, and it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself. For daily maintenance, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Abby Lanes on Flickr!