Tree And Shrub Fertilization

Each function that occurs in your plant requires nutrients for normal growth.  Due to certain environmental causes, such as temperature and soil quality, all plants need supplemental nutrients which can easily be found in what are know as complete formulated fertilizers.

A complete fertilizer contains a ratio of Nutrients including:  Nitrogen(N), Phosophorous (P), and Potassium (K). Nitrogen is required for healthy, vigorous lush foliage. Phosophorous aids in strong active root systems, fruit and flower development.  Potassium will ensure the hardiness of plant tissue, many colourful flowers and reproductive fruit. These three Macronutrients, along with micronutrients, are essential for the healthy development and physiological processes in your trees and shrubs.

Fertilization applications can be applied by a root probe which is injected directly into the root zones.  These slow- release applications, which are suspended in water when applied, break down in the soil, and become available for absorption by the plants roots.  Applications in Spring and Summer, as well as a lower Nitrogen Application in the Late Fall can aid the plant in winter hardiness of the plant tissues. Fall applications will also allow the available residual nutrients to be available to the plant into the Spring, as the plant may need them.  Remember, that fertilizer, like water, is often not able to bypass  grass roots sufficiently to reach the tree roots below the turf surface.  The absorbing roots of the tree are usually within the top 12” inches of the soil.  The specialized tree and shrub root probe injection system for fertilization is the most optimal way to ensure tree root accessibility. Often this system will water the plant simultaneously, and will allow immediate uptake by the root system.

To ensure the health and vibrancy of your trees and shrubs in Edmonton, contact your Certified Arborist to consult and plan an appropriate Fertilization Program.

Benefits Of Mulching

“Mulching” is a term that refers to providing a protective layer of material over the rootzone area of your trees and shrubs.  There are many types of “mulching” materials available.   Mulching provides many benefits for your trees and shrubs, especially in our Edmonton climate.

Appearance – Mulch can improve the overall appearance and aesthetics of your trees and shrubs, by improving your curb appeal and can help to increase your property value by beautifying your landscape.

Moderates Temperature Fluctuations – Here in Alberta within a single day, the temperatures can vary substantially. Mulching the rootzone can help to keep roots protected from extreme cold in the Winter, and from extreme heat in the Summer.  Mulching can help to mediate these great temperature fluctuations at the root zones and will aid in keeping the soil temperatures more constant.

Retains Moisture – Organic mulches, such as wood chips or bark will absorb water and keep it stored at the rootzone area.  This will aid trees and shrubs, from the negative effects of drought stress and can reduce the frequency  for watering.

Controls Weeds  Reduces germination of unsightly weeds, that can use up needed water and nutrients from the soil around your trees and shrubs.

Protects Tree Trunks and Roots – Physically protects the tree roots from mechanical injury such as, lawnmower scalping or weed trimmer damage.  Provides a buffer to reduce tripping on exposed tree roots that may be at the surface of the soil.

Prevents Soil Erosion  Mulching creates a physical barrier, reducing the impacts of hard splashing rainwater from eroding or washing away the soil at the root zones of your trees and shrubs. The weight of the mulching material will hold the soil down from wind erosion as well.

Maintains Soil Nutrients – Organic mulches such as bark or wood chips will aid in adding improved nutrient availability to the soil at the root zones.   Over time, the material will break down and decompose, giving the soil improved structure and added organic nutrients and minerals. This process will continue to improve the overall health and vigour of your trees.

These are some reasons why “mulching” your trees and shrubs are beneficial.  The benefits of mulching will help to enhance and improve the overall health of your trees and shrubs, while improving your overall landscape.  Your Arborist in Edmonton can consult with you to choose your best mulching options.

Hiring The Best Edmonton Arborist

Hiring the best Edmonton Arborist can be a tricky decision, and is not one to take lightly.  There are many local tree service companies that claim to be Arborists, however it is important to do your homework, and ensure that these individuals, truly are what they claim to be.

An Arborist is a specialist in all aspects of the care, health, maintenance and science of trees. When choosing an arborist, you should ensure that you are selecting an individual that will provide their proof of their International Society of Arboriculture Certification.

An ISA Certified Arborist is equipped with the experience, knowledge and expertise to determine the correct tree maintenance and tree care required. They can perform accurate tree assessments, and identify tree diseases, insect problems, and tree hazards that may be of concern. They will also, only perform industry acceptable and ethical tree care practices. The Arborist you select should always have Proof of Insurance, WCB coverage, and the appropriate permits and licences required to legally operate.  Always ask for references from previous, recent clients that will verify the Arborist’s quality of work, efficiency and integrity.

The best Arborists in Edmonton are honest, transparent and thorough, providing you with a very detailed quotation or estimate. Your quotation or estimate should include a detailed site diagram, a tree and shrub identification inventory, an accurate description of the work required, and   the appropriate timelines to complete the work.  Your final, written pricing, with applicable taxes, should be very clear and precise. The Arborist you select should also have your specific approvals for the proposed work, prior to any work commencing.

Keep in mind that the most reputable and professional Edmonton Arborists are often very busy. Prepare yourself to sometimes be booking your required work weeks to even months in advance.  In most cases, great caution should be given to companies that can be available immediately or provide same-day services.

Hiring the best Edmonton Arborist, will be an obvious decision once the potential candidates have proven themselves and your investigation and research have been completed.

Why not to “TOP” Trees

“Topping” a tree is not an acceptable, ethical pruning practice, and a reputable tree care company will not recommend this as an appropriate tree care option.

“Topping” is the indiscriminate cutting of a tree by removing branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role for proper growth.  The most common requests for topping a tree are to attempt to contain its size. “Topping” is not the answer!  In fact, the opposite outcome will occur.  The “Topped” tree will become stressed and begin to starve due to the excessive removal of too much leaf surface area. (The food-factories of the tree).  This results in the reduction of the photosynthesis capabilities of the tree, and it will suffer.  In response to this shock, and to replace what has been removed, the tree will activate latent buds, forcing multiple shoots to grow far more rapidly than normal.  The accelerated   growth rate of these new branches, does not allow for proper structural development, therefore becoming weakly attached.  Decay will also set into these sites.   Your tree as become more hazardous!    Your topped tree will be more costly to maintain, as regular breaks, and wind damage may occur.  A “topped” tree will likely reduce your property value as well.  Another potential cost of a “topped” tree is that of a potential liability.  Since this is an unacceptable practice, any damages or injury caused by a hazardous tree, may lead to a finding of “negligence” in a court of law. A “topped “tree is also more attractive to some insect and/ or disease problems.

These are some of the reasons why NOT to top your tree!  A correctly pruned tree enhances the natural forms and beauty of your landscape!

A healthy, well-maintained, properly pruned tree can increase your property’s overall curb appeal, and value.  A Professional, Certified Arborist can provide you with Tree Pruning Services in Edmonton and Area, and will suggest correct options or alternatives for the care of your trees.

Types of Mulch

There are many types of mediums and materials, that can be used for mulch, which are available to the Edmonton homeowner. Mulching can be very beneficial for your trees and shrubs, and can improve the overall appearance of your landscape.   

Mulch can come in many different forms and from many different sources.

Mulch materials can be divided into 2 main categories:   Inorganic and Organic.

Inorganic mulch can consist of rocks, gravel, stone, shale, plastic, or rubber and are often applied, primarily, for decorative purposes. Inorganic mulches do not provide the same benefits as Organic mulch as they do not aid in adding soil nutrients and structure, as they do not break down in the soil.  These materials also can be detrimental to your tree or landscape, due to the temperatures that they absorb during extreme weather.

Organic Mulch can consist of materials such as bark or wood chips, and leaf mulch, to name a few. These organic mulches will break down, or decompose over time, which will add tremendously to the soil nutrients. There are many more benefits to organic mulches over inorganic, from the tree’s perspective.

When choosing a mulching medium, you will need to consider the availability of what you choose, and the attributes they provide.  Your Certified Arborist can discuss with you about the benefits of mulch and what mulch may work best in your environment.

Your Edmonton Arborist can provide you with clean, disease-free wood chips and bark material, as they are easily accessible.  These organic Mulches are an excellent choice for your trees, shrubs and landscape!

Value of Trees

There are many reasons why trees add value to your landscapes.

A primary reason, is that your trees and shrubs add great monetary value to your property and can increase your curb appeal substantially!  Trees can provide us with a variety of colourful fruits and foliage, as well as flowering.  In the hot months of Summer, a tree can substantially reduce the heat on your house and yard, by the shade it provides. Trees can act as wind barriers to help reduce the turbulence in your yard and encourage comfort in the microclimate of your space.   All trees provide a habitat, protection, nesting and migration area for birds, insects and other wildlife.  This keeps our flora and fauna diverse, and our environment healthy.   

As sound barriers for traffic, and as filters to reduce air pollution, all healthy trees, aid in the improvement, and safety of our environment.  It is estimated that one mature tree, through the process of photosynthesis, can filter approximately 10 pounds of harmful toxins per year.  This includes carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide, as well as other greenhouse gases.  Just one large, healthy tree can provide over 250 pounds of Oxygen per year into the environment!

Along with the many other reasons, you can see why trees in our environment are so valuable!

Contact your Edmonton Arborist to aid you in the selection and tree species that may be the most beneficial to your landscape and your environment.

CODIT: How Trees Heal Themselves

Compartmentalization Of Decay In Trees” or CODIT for short, is a concept that was created by Dr. Alex Shigo, an American biologist and Plant Pathologist, in the 1970s.  The concept is now widely referred by, and used within the Arboriculture Industry, and referenced in other publications.  It is, in a nutshell, the concept that when trees are wounded or injured, many organisms decay the wood, in different ways and timeframes.  Further, It is how the tree responds through chemical and physiological changes and “Compartmentalizes” the wounded or injured area to prevent ongoing decay and spread to the rest of the tree. The cells in the area of the injury, in essence, form “protection” to isolate the decay from the rest of the tree.

The tree does this by the process of activating specific cells to form 4 “Walls” of protection.  The first “Wall” is the weakest, but it forms to stop the vertical spread of the decay, up through the tree’s trunk or branch.  “Wall” 2   stops the outward or horizontal spread of the decay.  The 3rd “Wall” is the second strongest wall, and creates a “maze-like” barrier internally near the injured area.  The 4th and final “wall” is the strongest barrier which is produced on the exterior of the tree, by closing the wound with new wood.

By understanding how your tree “heals”, a deeper comprehension and connection can be made when discussing your trees’ health with your Tree Care Professional.  Your Edmonton Arborist can help you further understand the information regarding CODIT, with full understanding of this healing concept and how your tree will respond to protect itself.   

Tree Growth Rings: The Story They Can Tell

“Growth Rings” of trees or “Annual Growth Rings” are concentric circles of new cells which a tree produces during one growing season.  A tree gets larger in diameter because it manufactures new cells around it’s circumference.  The tree’s annual rings are biological indicators which can reveal environmental events that have occurred, over a tree’s lifespan.

By looking at a cross-section of a tree’s stump or log, one can visibly see rings that can tell a story of what the growing season was like many years in the past.  A good growing year, with warm, wet weather, will produce wider concentric circles, while dry, cooler years will produce narrower ones.

Forest fires, insect infestations and even distant volcanic eruptions, have been recorded within the rings of ancient trees.  In Canada, which has a distinct winter dormancy season, growth rings are used to calculate an accurate age, of trees.  The scientific method of dating tree rings, is known as “Dendrochronology”, which has been used to date some of Canada’s oldest trees.

Tree Stress Due to Ice-melter and Salt Use

It is common, for Edmonton Arborists, to see signs of tree stress directly caused by the use of ice-melter and salt in our urban environment. Trees planted and growing closest to walkways and roadways are usually ones that are most affected.

During the winter months, Ice-melter and salt are common products used on walkways, roadways and parking lots, to reduce snow and ice build up in these areas.  Although these products have their purpose and place in our urban landscapes, they do have the potential to cause harm if not applied correctly in moderation.  Over time the use and applications of ice-melter and salt, can create a toxic environment, within the soil, potentially poisoning the tree or even damaging tree roots.   

The harm is done when the chemicals, such as sodium or calcium chloride leach into the soil, and are absorbed by the tree. These chemicals are toxic to the tree, and may cause immediate stress.  In many cases, it can take several seasons of salt buildup in the soil, to show tree stress.  In extreme cases, these chemicals can “burn off” the absorbing root hairs, which are essential for water and nutrient uptake.  Plants will be weakened by the interrupted balance of essential micro and macro nutrients internally, and will begin to show stress and rapid decline. Toxic amounts of salt in the soil eventually can hinder the trees’ ability to absorb enough water to survive.

Use of abrasive material such as sand or gravel for these areas, can be effective.   If an ice-melting product is required for safety reasons and to prevent injury for pedestrians or to aid in vehicle traction, then moderation should be practiced when the product is applied. Watering trees extra well in the spring and throughout the summer growing months, can be of help to leach salt away from the tree root areas.

Your Best Arborist in Edmonton, can consult with you regarding your trees and shrubs.  And as always, can guide you for the health and maintenance to beautify your landscape.

What Is Fireblight

Fireblight is a tree disease that can affect many varieties of landscape trees and shrubs in your yard.  Correctly identifying this disease, and others, can be accurately diagnosed by your Best Edmonton Arborist.

Fireblight is a systemic, contagious bacterial tree disease that can destroy trees and shrubs that are in the Rosacea (Rose) family.  These include common specimens such as Apples, Crabapples, Mountain Ash, Hawthornes, Cotoneaster and Saskatoons in urban landscapes and commercial nurseries.    It is caused by the bacterial disease pathogen named Erwinia amylovora. 

The symptoms of this disease are quite typically easy to recognise, and usually can be identified on the newest fresh growth.  Spring flowers appear to be soggy and water-soaked, with new leaves wilted, appearing blackened along the veins. Branch tips start to hook over which is known as “flagging” or “shepherd’s crook”.  As the infection spreads and as the tissues further decline on the branches, the bark begins to appear sunken, water soaked and blackened.  Advanced infection develops into cracked, and entirely blackened branches, with the appearance of being “fire-scorched”.  Bacterial ooze may come from lesions on the bark, which can further spread infection.  This can be transmitted and spread by insects, birds, rain and wind distribution, as well as infected pruning tools. Plant tissue that has been damaged or injured, can also be susceptible to infection at these locations.

Fireblight Disease is spread most quickly during hot and wet weather.  It is mostly dormant during the coldest winter months, when the trees and bacteria are dormant.  The infection is carried from the point of infection through the tree’s vascular system and then systemically causes the demise of the tree.

Pruning, and removing to destroy all “infected” branches off your tree or shrub, with cleaned pruning tools, is crucial.  A sanitation solution of bleach and water, or bacteria-killing sanitizers, will be effective for cleaning your tools, between each pruning cut.   Always make sure that the diseased branches, and wood are disposed of correctly at the local landfill, and never use diseased mulch or wood chips in your landscape.

To aid in correct disease diagnosis and identification of the plants and trees in your yard, contact your Edmonton Arborist.