Trees enhance the beauty of properties, provide a home for wildlife and clean our air. However, they can also pose a danger to people and property if not cared for properly.
Overgrown roots can cause damage to sidewalks, driveways, and foundations and even puncture septic tanks. An arborist can diagnose and solve root issues to keep everyone safe.
Insects & Diseases
Insects can cause a variety of problems to trees. They can defoliate trees, eat the foliage or roots or transmit disease. Insects are divided into four groups based on how they feed. Chewing insects, like caterpillars and beetles, eat the leaves, flowers, buds, fruits or stems of the plant. Boring insects eat under the bark or twigs while sucking insects inject plant juices into twigs, leaves, flower and fruit. Diseases are fungi that attack a tree’s tissue.
Fungi are often difficult to diagnose as they can affect different areas of the plant at varying times. Symptoms include mushrooms (called conks) on the trunk or branches, discolored bark and rots that can weaken the structure of a tree. A fungus that infects pine trees known as Phytophthora cinnamomi causes a blight that swells the needles and destroys branches. This disease can kill the tree if it is not treated.
The emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) is an invasive insect that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the United States. It has now been found in Texas and can wipe out a whole ecosystem if it spreads here. Our tree service experts are working hard to keep this pest away from your property.
Other diseases include leaf rusts, anthracnose and oak wilt. Leaves of the infected plant develop spots, typically yellowish and powdery with spores that can be spread by wind. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that attacks oaks and other hardwoods in the genus Quercus, while rusts can be seen on maples, birch, hickory and poplars.
Lastly, a fungus called Taphrina can form blisters and other abnormal growths on leaves, twigs and flowers. This disease thrives under cool wet conditions and can be very damaging to a forest.
Insect infestations are usually a symptom of a deeper problem. Environmental stressors like drought, construction damage, soil compaction and poor pruning make trees more vulnerable to insects and diseases. Our tree service professionals can help you treat the insect or disease as well as address the underlying cause. This will not only reduce the impact on your trees but help them become more resistant in the future.
When tree roots are damaged it can seriously affect their health and the health of your landscape. The root system is like a lifeline for the rest of the plant; it supplies water, nutrients, oxygen and support. Unless a tree can get these vital resources, it will quickly decline or die. Damaged roots are often a result of construction activities, pest and disease infestations and soil compaction.
Severing roots is one of the most common types of root damage. When this happens, the entire root zone (CRZ) is affected. This includes the main roots within the ring of roots, as well as all the surface roots. When these roots are severed, it reduces the uptake of water and nutrients and eliminates stored energy. It also cuts off the supply of oxygen to the roots, a crucial factor for survival.
Most of the root system’s nutrients are found in the upper 18 to 24 inches of the soil. This is why most trees and shrubs are planted here. Unfortunately, it is easy to damage these roots with excavation, trenching, roto-tilling or other construction activities near the CRZ of an established plant. Changing the grade of an area, adding sidewalks, footings or drains, digging for new construction and trenching can all severely impact the CRZ of a tree.
If a tree’s roots are smothered, their oxygen supply is cut off. This is most commonly caused by changing the grade of an area. Smothered roots are also created by adding fill dirt inside the root zone, or by ‘temporary piles’ of fill placed inside the ring of roots.
Soil compaction is the equivalent of a traffic jam, restricting air flow and nutrient uptake. Adding salt to an already saturated soil can further limit nutrient and oxygen uptake.
Surface roots are those that grow close to the ground’s surface. This type of root damage can occur due to foot or equipment traffic in the area, excessive lawnmower and weed trimmer activity or extreme soil erosion that strips away the fertile topsoil. To prevent this, always keep a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch covering the base of your plants and cover any exposed roots with sand or silt, if necessary.
Fertilization is vital to tree health and growth, but overdoing it can be a problem. When this happens, a plant absorbs more nutrients than it can use and the excess buildup forms a toxic salt in the soil that can burn roots and other plants as it leaches into watercourses. This is called fertilizer burn and can cause a host of problems, including weak branches, slow growth, and even death.
This is often caused by using liquid fertilizers without diluting them properly, but can also occur when the incorrect type of fertilizer is used for a particular plant or when granular fertilizers are placed too close to a tree’s roots. You can avoid this issue by always following the directions on a fertilizer label, and only adding the recommended amount. It’s also a good idea to have your soil tested to find out its pH, soil type, and nutrient make-up so you can select the right kind of fertilizer for your property.
Overfertilization is a major issue for trees because it leads to an overproduction of leaves and a reduction in fruit production, among other things. It can also lead to a nutrient imbalance that overpowers other essential nutrients, making it harder for your plants to absorb them. This can also affect the health of your soil, which in turn will impact the health of the surrounding ecosystem.
In addition, overfertilization is bad for the environment because it contributes to eutrophication, a process that occurs when nutrients run off into rivers, lakes and oceans. This is due to agriculture, traffic and other activities that create pollution and harm nature.
The best way to avoid overfertilization is by avoiding liquid fertilizers and instead using granular fertilizers that are slow to release. You can also use mulch, which helps retain moisture in the soil and reduces the risk of fertilizer runoff. We recommend creating a donut-shaped area of mulch around the base of your trees, and extending it several inches out to the edge of the branch spread. By taking these simple steps, you can protect your trees from overfertilization and keep them healthy for years to come.
Poor maintenance can lead to a number of problems for tree service operations. Trees need to be regularly inspected and mulched to keep the soil healthy, prevent root rot, and improve the appearance of the property. Keeping trees properly cared for can also help prevent insect infestations and disease outbreaks.
Sometimes trees can become too close to homes or businesses, leading to a number of issues including leaves falling on cars and limbs that overhang the roof. This is often why homeowners opt to remove the trees.
If the soil around a tree is too compact, it can interfere with root growth and prevent the tree from receiving the nutrients it needs. Adding in organic matter and mulch can also help amend the compacted soil and promote healthier roots. Another issue is when vehicles park under a tree’s canopy, which can damage and compact the soil, making it difficult for water to reach the roots. Keeping vehicles away from the canopy can be a simple solution to this problem. It’s also important to ensure that the dirt at a tree’s roots is moist all the time, dry clay-like or dusty dirt means that the soil is not soaking up enough water for the roots.