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.
If you know your tree is sick - follow these steps:
Identify the disease. Are there options to correct the disease? Or will the plant have to be removed?
Determine why the disease occurred. What are the underlying health issues that led to this problem? Has something in the immediate environment changed that could have encouraged the disease?
Fix the underlying issues since this is probably why the disease occurred in the first place. Even if you have to remove the plant, this may save others from a similar fate. It may be a good idea to have the soil tested to make sure the disease was quarantined in the plant.
If it is possible to fix/suppress the disease, are there organic options you can use to do so? There are organic and non-organic compounds that will take care of diseases and pests. The system that we use is a closed system and focuses the chemical into the tree so there isn't overspray.
Continue practices that maintain and increase the health of your trees and shrubs, once the disease has been controlled or suppressed. Rake up diseased leaves or pick up infected limbs. If left to degrade these will reinfect the soil. Hydrate and fertilize your tree accordingly. Healthy trees are happy trees!
You can always contact a Certified Arborist with help of any of these steps.
Houses are inspected every time they are bought / sold. Even our roads and bridges are inspected periodically. Assessment is part of managing any large and valuable property both in structures and in landscape. Risk assessment evaluates the health of the tree, potential for failure and helps us to plan for its future. If you have a large tree of value, let us take an inventory of its condition.
Removing Bald Cypress Knees will stress the tree with mechanical damage to the tree. Knees occur in moist conditions. If you are not near a body of water, monitor your irrigation and watering practices. If you are on a body of water, Cypress Knees are in your past, present and future. Cutting them creates an open wound and could be an opening for infections or pests. Our recommendation is to not cut your Cypress Knees.
There are a few things you can do in the fall to reduce failures and encourage growth.
1. Fertilize Your Trees
By fertilizing in the fall, some of the nutrients will have a chance to be absorbed by the roots and will already be in the ground when the roots resume functioning in the spring.
Since we don't see the roots, we often don't realize that they continue growing and absorbing nutrients long after the leaves fall and begin work again in the spring before the leaves return. After all, they must be absorbing nutrients and water to enable the leaves to resume growth.
2. Plant New Trees
Fall is a great time to plant, less stress from the sun and cooler temperatures encourage growth. Newly planted trees have a greater chance of survival with increased root growth during the winter months.
3. Properly Prune Trees
Pruning during the fall reduces the failures that occur due to storms. Opening up the canopy allows for more wind to flow through cutting down on the wind sail effect on the canopy.