Proper Methods To Mulch Around Your Trees

Proper Ways to Mulch Your Trees

There are multiple benefits for applying mulch around your trees. Some of these will be for the health of the tree, such as reducing root competition, while other advantages will be for the aesthetics of your property. Whatever your reason for mulching your trees, it’s essential for the longevity of the tree that you do so properly. Here are a few basic steps to help get you started.

Step 1: Choose the Mulch

When it comes to the mulch you choose, you have a few things to factor in, like how available it is in your area, the texture and nutrients, and how attractive the color is. A lot of this will come down to personal preference and expectations. You can start doing your research about the best mulch for you and you can always talk to a professional to get a better idea of what mulch material is made of.

Step 2: Create a Space to Apply It

 Before you put the mulch around the tree, take the time to remove any grass or weeds that are surrounding it. The size of the circle you create around the base of the tree will depend on the size of the tree. Circles can be as small as three inches and expand much larger, depending on where the branches’ drip lines are and what you prefer aesthetically.

Step 3: Use the Proper Techniques

Once you’ve created a space to apply the mulch, be sure that you’re using the proper techniques. You want to avoid what’s called “volcano” mulching which is when the mulch is higher at the top of the trunk and gradually declines outward to the ground. This can cause decay and rot among other things that you want to avoid.

The best technique is to make sure that the mulch doesn’t touch the trunk, and it should be about two to four inches deep. However, it’s important to note trees will have different attributes that need attention so before you get started, do some research on the type of roots you’re mulching over.

Plant A Tree For Earth Day

Why Plant a Tree For Earth Day?

When Earth Day comes around, a lot of us are reminded that we need to do our part to protect the environment. We finally get that extra recycling bin we’ve needed, we repurpose an old item that would have otherwise gone to a landfill, and we plant a tree in our local community or in our yard. If you’re thinking about skipping planting a tree this year for Earth Day, we’ve got a few reasons why you should put it at the top of your list.

Increase Your Property Value with Curb Appeal

Healthy trees that are strategically placed to enhance your landscape will add value to your home and improve your curb appeal. Curb appeal adds a significant amount of aesthetics to your property that will add value to it whether you’re leasing office space or selling your home. Beyond that, your curb appeal can affect the value of the properties around you, increasing the overall value of your neighborhood and community.

Give Back to Mother Nature

Planting a tree for Earth Day will add beauty to your property, as well as give back to the environment. When you want to honor Mother Nature and thank her for all of the majestic gifts she’s given you, planting a tree is a wonderful way to express yourself. It also teaches your children how to give back to the environment in a way that is positive and meaningful. Earth Day is a wonderful opportunity to spend time in your outdoor areas with your family and work to enhance the look of your home and community.

Give Back to Your Community

Every tree that is planted is going to benefit your community by improving the quality of air and health of the surroundings. If you want to get your neighbors even more involved, you can plan an event around Earth Day and give everyone a tree to plant in their yard, or you can plant a single tree somewhere in the community to benefit everyone.

Death By Mulch..

Why Too Much Mulch Can Damage Your Trees

As Texans in the Tree Service Industry, we’ve seen it all. Homeowners see spring around the corner and want to start mulching and planting as soon as possible. But when you take a closer look at the newly mulched tree bed, keep an eye out for volcano mulching!

The term “volcano mulch” is used to describe excessive mulch along the root flare and base of a tree, which ends up looking very much like a volcano.

When gardeners, landscape artists or your yard guy help you to begin beautifying your lawn, it’s important to be educated on the do’s and don’ts of mulching.

Too much mulch against your tree bark holds in a ton of moisture. This moisture can suffocate and rot the inside layers of tissue cells that transfer food up and down the plant. If not careful, too much mulch can actually do even more damage such as:

  • Infestation of insects, fungi and bacteria.
  • Increased growth of unwanted suckers which will weaken structural development.
  • Water is prevented from penetrating to the tree’s roots and weak secondary roots will cause strangulation.

How Do I Fix My Mulch Problem?

If your trees have been “volcano mulched” you may have already caused damage. Luckily, we do have a solution called Air Spading. This is the best way to remove excess amounts of mulch without harming your tree. Air spading will reduce soil compaction and help expose the root flare as nature intended. Your tree will no longer be stressed or look like a “volcano.”

Request a free estimate if your trees have been “volcano mulched” and an Arbor Care, Inc. Certified Arborist will be able to assess the damage and develop a plan for bringing the tree back to health.

Winter Planting – To Do or Not To Do?

A lot of homeowners we meet ask us about tree planting in the winter versus the spring. Our advice is to always go ahead and plant them. While it is late in the season to plant them, your trees  will be happier once placed in the ground. You do want to keep an eye on the weather while considering planting. Trees really do need time to establish roots before a heavy freeze. The plantings might look pitiful now but once the weather warms up, they will start looking happy!

Some things to remember while late-season planting:

  1. Don’t stimulate growth: You can add a little compost but hold off on fertilizer until spring.
  2. Don’t bug your plants: The gentler you are while planting, the better. Trees don’t have time to recover from damage in winter so don’t stress it out more.
  3. Keep plants watered: The worst part of cold damage is caused by drying out. Keep new trees watered every week or two until the ground freezes, and especially right before a heavy freeze.
  4. Apply Mulch: Adding mulch to your newly planted trees will help keep them insulated. If the trees you’ve chosen are cold-sensitive, you may want to try wrapping them at night.

If the ground is too hard due to the cold, you can place your trees in a sheltered spot and continue to water every few days. When the plant growth starts in spring, they should be ready for planting!

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!

While Santa Claus makes his way to town, he brings with him the temperatures that Texas rarely sees. Though most homeowners throughout the state are aware of winter, most are not aware of ways to protect their plants from the dropping temps.

“Low temperatures in and around Houston have been near-freezing, so it’s an important time for homeowners to be aware of the steps to take to ensure plants aren’t damaged or killed as winter progresses,” said Johnny Dailey of Arborcare Houston. “Most of us don’t realize that plants can still be damaged even at temperatures above freezing.”

There are a number of steps Texas residents can do to help “winterize” their plants, Dailey said.

These include:

• Try to bring plants indoors or move them into a protected outdoor area, such as a covered patio, or near the base of a large tree.

• Cover plants with plastic film only if an added layer to other wrapping materials such as burlap or cloth. During cold weather, plant tissue can “burn” wherever it comes in direct contact with plastic.

• Make sure plant coverings fall to the ground and are adequately secured with a heavier item to keep wind out and the plant to stay warm.

• Water plants thoroughly before freezing temperatures occur as moist ground stays warmer than dry ground.

• Mulch to protect lower stems and roots from getting cold. The extra layer helps plants retain moisture and stay warmer.

In addition to winterizing your plants, homeowners should consider planting more cold-tolerant plants even though our “winter” is not as cold as other states. For cold tolerance it’s best to use plants native to the high desert region as these places have colder nights and freezing winters.

If you are looking to plant some more cold-tolerant winter annuals for color, you may want to consider pansies and cyclamen. However these probably won’t be able to handle the Texas heat when summer rolls around.

The team of certified arborists here at Arbor Care Houston has made our life’s work caring for and learning about plant and tree care. We enjoy sharing our knowledge with our clients and finding the best ways to advise to help meet your needs. Call us anytime!

Fall Is The Best Time To Plant New Trees in Houston

Arbor Care Houston is here with a friendly reminder, October is a great time to plant new trees! Taking care of your yard so it looks good for the upcoming holiday season is something you should start doing now!  Planting new trees during the fall is a way to help your yard look great. If you had a tree removal or tree pruning done during the last few years, you have the opportunity to fill in the spaces with an attractive new tree or two!

New trees can add a new vitality to your yard that will just grow bigger and better in the trees lifespan. Tree service professionals recommend tree planting in the fall because good timing is important to help a growing seedling thrive.

Newly planted trees do best in the fall. They can get established during the cool, mild months which gives them  the opportunity to grow and begin integrating itself the landscape well before the harsh heat of the next Houston summer takes effect.

At Arbor Care Houston, we are always here for Houston residents tree care needs. We enjoy discussing tree selection, proper tree care and lots of fall planting ideas. Our ISA Certified Arborists can guide you in choosing the right tree for your yard and we can even help you choose trees that will add a little seasonal color to your yard. Talk to us about which tree species will thrive in our area, and which trees beatify your fall and look good year-round! Call Arbor Care Houston today to discuss your trees!

Prepare Your Yard For Fall

It may not seem like it’s time yet, with temperatures in Houston still hitting the 90 degree mark, but it is time to start thinking about the upcoming fall season! We think September is a great time to plan and prepare your yard for a fall refresh.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, with a little preparation and some easy maintenance your property can be looking great throughout all seasons!

If you’re thinking about adding a new batch of perennials, shrubs or want to plant a tree or two, fall is the best time to do it.  Planting your new plants in the fall gives them time to establish a good root system and get stronger in preparation for colder winter temperatures.

When planting new trees or shrubs, be mindful of any twine, wires, labels or other materials that might hinder the stems or trunks of your new plants. If you have tree stakes or wraps there to help your new tree get established, make sure you talk to an arborist about the right timing and technique of removing these items.

Prepare your flower beds and the areas around your trees for fall by adding a fresh layer of mulch.  Mulch can help your plants retain moisture, provide nourishment and insulate tree roots from upcoming cold weather.  When mulching, remember not to stack up the mulch against tree trunks or covering the base of your shrubs.

Fall is also a good time to clear out weeds and plant debris from your flower beds and around your tree roots.  This type of clean-up may seem like a pain, but in the long run it will help you keep your yard looking beautiful and well-maintained when you’re not out in your garden as often.

Starting a small fall garden in your yard can also be a relaxing and rewarding experience.   Whether you want to bring some color to your landscape with fall-colored florals or try your hand at growing some winter veggies, now is the time to start planning.

Here in Houston we are lucky to have mild fall and winter months that do not typically freeze the ground or cover your lawn and garden in snow. Take advantage of our mild weather and get out in your garden and among the trees in your yard this fall!

Arbor Care Houston is here to answer any of your fall tree care or landscaping questions. Give us a call and prepare for fall!

Caring For Your Palm Trees in Houston

When we mention palm trees, the first things that might come to your mind are deserts, sunny beaches and vacation scenery. But when we talk about palm trees, it is usually with a customer or friend here in Houston who is asking how to take care of a palm tree on their property.

Palm trees are unique tree species and do take special care and consideration. But they’re worth it because of the sunny energy and year-round attractiveness they can offer to your landscaping.   Today we’re going to talk about ways to take care of your palm trees here in Houston.

Just like any other tree in your yard, you want to pay attention to how much or how little you water your palm trees.  Just because you may picture a palm tree as a desert plant doesn’t mean that they can actually thrive in low water conditions.  Palm trees are a tropical plant species that does best in warm and humid climates, like ours in Houston, where they can stay hydrated year around.

Keep an eye on soil conditions and the amount of rain you’ve been getting in your area. If it seems dry, it’s always a good idea to do some watering to bring some moisture back to your palm tree.  Adding some mulch in your beds and around your palm tree can also help your maintain moisture levels so you can do less watering.

Palm trees also need periodic fertilization to stay healthy and promote growth. Just like humans, your trees need to be fed with vitamins and minerals in order to thrive. Palm trees need special fertilizer that is formulated for their specific needs.  Your local garden center or home improvement store should have palm tree fertilizer. If you’re having a hard time finding it or if you aren’t sure if you’re getting the right one for your palm tree species, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and ask!

Trimming and pruning a palm tree is another way to promote healthy growth and keep your palm looking great.  We’d recommend speaking to an arborist for some guidance on how to trim your palm trees.  If you’ve never done it before, you can easily do more damage than good when trimming up a palm tree.

Palm trees are an attractive asset to your landscape, and just like other trees on your property they can thrive for a long time when they are cared for properly.  Talk to one of our friendly tree care specialists here at Arbor Care Houston and we’ll be glad to help you with your palm tree questions.

Protect From Pests and Disease

Now that the warm weather is starting to settle in on Houston, you, your friends and your neighbors will be paying more attention to the great outdoors. We love this time of year, getting to see neighborhoods burst with azaleas, magnolia trees flowering, flower beds bursting with color and of course, the beautiful trees of Houston glowing with bright green leaves. It’s also a great time for the pests and tree diseases that feed and thrive on our growing landscapes.
At Arbor Care Houston, we take the threat of pests and tree diseases seriously so we can help our customers fight the good fight. Our ISA-Certified Arborists are constantly seeking out education programs and collaborating to find the best treatments and techniques in the tree care industry.
Pests and Tree Diseases Native To Houston
Every region has its own bugs and diseases to worry about and at Arbor Care Houston we have studied and learned the most effective treatments for our native trees. If you are noticing pests on you trees and shrubs, it’s time to call an arborist.

Houston has a number of diseases and bugs native to the area including:
• Scale
• Mildew
• Iron Deficiency
• Aphids
• Spider Mites
• Southern Pine Beetles
Have an experienced arborist come out to do a comprehensive on-site consultation and diagnosis. If you have pests and bugs destroying your trees, they should have a treatment plan ready to go and in some cases we can offer some DIY solutions that can be just as effective. IN cases of tree disease, the causes and treatments can be more complex and you need the guidance of an experienced tree care technician to help save your tree. No matter what the season, don’t let tree diseases and pests get the better of your landscape. Fight back with proper tree disease care and tree pest control!

Protect Your Trees From Storm Damage This Spring!

Once you’ve lived in Houston for a while, you get used to the occasional big storm rolling through causing everything from flash flooding to unexpected property damage. Even the strongest trees can take a beating from heavy winds and rain and lightning strikes, causing serious tree storm damage.

The good news is that if you’ve kept up with your tree maintenance and pruning program, the damage could be minimized. Over the years, your arborist has already been at work, promoting stronger growth by removing dead or weak branches and limbs.

After a big storm, it’s important to contact your arborist to come get a good look at what damage has been done. It is also best to call a tree care company because we have the training and equipment to safely haul away large tree debris and cut off damaged limbs or high branches.  We understand the proper way to cut off broken limbs and branches in a way that mitigates later insect damage or decay.  If we find that a tree has been weakened by the storm, we have the expertise to perform cabling and bracing work to help strengthen the tree and keep it from being damaged in a future storm.

Your trees will take some time to recover, but it’s best to help them along at first with the guided hand of an experienced local arborist like Arbor Care Houston.  Storm damage does not have to mean losing your valuable and beautiful trees. Talk to us when the storm has cleared and we’ll help your trees grow stronger and healthier than ever.