As Mardi Gras season is upon us so is pruning our Crape Myrtles. On a drive in to work you will see numerous ways crape myrtles are "pruned."
Sadly, most of these crape myrtles are improperly pruned. This is a copy cat horticultural crime. We see how our neighbors prune their trees and people copy that action. These trees turn out to be "crape murdered" with their tops being completely removed. Rule of thumb for all pruning is to not remove more than 1/3 of living tissue.
Pruning too much off our trees stresses them and encourages Powdery Mildew and Bark Scale pest infections.
The goal for any pruning is to open up the branches to encourage airflow, remove the crossing or dead/diseased branches. For crape myrtles, remove the suckers at the base ensuring a more tree like shape. Also, pruning can be done to lift the tree so it is easier to mow under as well as removing branches off of structures.
Contrary to popular belief the previous buds do not need to be removed for new blooms.
If you have any questions or would like assistance with pruning your crape myrtles give us a call. 318.455.4758.
With the colder temperatures impacting our area, firewood has become a premium. Everyone and their dog is selling firewood and saying that it's "seasoned." When it really is well seasoned, expect to pay more. Cutting trees down, transporting handing and working up wood is a risky, labor-intensive pursuit; any do-it-yourselfer will testify to that. The more times a supplier has to handle it and the longer she ties up space storing it, the more she’ll charge. And rightly so.
So how do you know if it's seasoned?
One telltale sign is that the bark has loosened its hold, or has already been knocked off with handling. Also, the log ends have darkened, dried out and started to crack. Seasoned wood contains more splits and cracks and makes a dull "thud" when knocked against another piece of wood. A well seasoned firelog will be lighter in weight than a partially-seasoned or “green” piece of the same size and species. The moisture content tends to be less than 25% in a seasoned log.
Almost all insects have some ability to withstand cold weather. One of the most common strategies is to bury themselves underground, beneath leaf litter, or to burrow under tree bark for protection and hibernate for the season. These protective maneuvers work pretty well most winters, allowing insect populations to remain relatively stable.
When winter temperatures never reach a truly deep freeze, bugs make it through to spring unscathed and ready to multiply. When temperatures drop well below 0° F, though, many individual insects die. The colder the temperature becomes, the fewer survive.
The actual temperature required to kill off pests varies across species. The emerald ash borer, for instance, can generally withstand temperatures as low as -20° F. Any colder than that, and about half of their population dies off. At -30° F, even more of the invasive pests are wiped out. So unfortunately for us the cold temperatures in our region will not impact the EAB.
Fortunately, beneficial insects, such as honey bees are not likely to be impacted by a cold winter. Bees hibernate in their hives for the winter and huddle together for warmth, emerging in the spring to resume their annual flower feast.
You can always contact a Certified Arborist with help of any of these steps.
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Tree Health Lady
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