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Planting Cherry Trees

Planting cherry trees for their fruit or for their blossoms can be rewarding. The cherry tree comes in many colors, sizes and varieties. This is due to it having been cultivated for thousands of years, especially in regions like Japan.

The cherry tree’s blooming season is short, unfortunately. For Japanese cultures, the cherry tree and its blossoming patterns symbolizes the way of human life where rising, blossoming and falling are a part of the whole. In Japan it is called mono no aware and means an awareness mujo or the transience of things and a bittersweet sadness at their passing. For this reason, cherry blossoms are utilized quite often in Japanese art, film and for ambient effect.
The cherry blossom is also considered a good omen. For some it is a symbol of love and affection.

Choosing the type of cherry trees you want to plant may be the most difficult part of growing this beautiful specie. For flowering or ornamental trees, varieties that are popular for their beauty and resistance to disease include Okame, Kwanzan, Autumn and Yoshino. These varieties produce flowers that range from white to pink and have a very distinctive foliage. The Autumn cherry tree blooms twice a year, both in spring and autumn, making it a very popular species.

In regards to fruit-producing trees, these can be divided into two divisions – sweet cherries, also referred to as wild cherries, and sour cherries.

When planting cherry trees, one must plant more than one for cross-pollination purposes. While there are some varieties out there that are self-pollinating, to be sure, you may want to place a couple of trees in the ground.

Choosing the right variety and size of cherry tree will depend on the space you have available and your preferences. Cherry trees can range in size from 6 feet all the way up to 30 feet in height. There is also a variety of cherry that comes in a shrub, such as the Red Nanking.

If you are planning to grow cherries, you will need to be in a hardiness zone of between 4-9, more preferably a 5-9. Some bush cherries can survive the cold weather of a zone 3.

Cherry trees also prefer a soil that is well drained and has a pH balance of 6.0 to 6.8. As with many trees, they need good air circulation and shouldn’t be exposed to long-term frost. The good news about cherry trees is that they aren’t terribly high-maintenance in the mulching and fertilizing department, the less the better. One annual sprinkling of blood and bone or old poultry manure will do.

Cherry trees also need to be pruned regularly as they are fast growing. If you want to pick your cherries without ladders, then pruning them or heading then at 30-40 inches above the ground is ideal. If your tree is meant for flowering only and for practical reasons you need to get under the tree to mow, you can head these trees higher.

Cherry trees are typically trained to an open-center system – this is why it is important to retain the central leader. Trees are usually reduced to four well-spaced shoots. Developing a strong framework of branches will help the tree bear heavy crops without breaking the limbs.

To see cherry trees at their best, one can attend various annual Cherry Blossom Festivals around the United States. More popular festivals include; the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia, featuring over 300,000 cherry trees; Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Festival in April in Newark, New Jersey; The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.; and the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Popular Indoor Trees

Indoor trees can fill an empty space in a room, and bring a feeling of the outdoors into your home. There are several reasons why individuals and families choose to plant and care for indoor trees. Bringing a tree indoors does not necessarily require a tree growing in the middle of your living room. If you have a greenhouse or atrium, there are many additional options for indoor tree life. In these types of indoor spaces, natural light, humidity, temperature and water maintenance can all be controlled.

Indoor trees can also vary in size and maintenance level. Small trees such as the bonsai can rest upon a countertop or desk. The ficus or palm will require much more height for growing upright.

Ficus Trees – This classic indoor tree has several varieties. The fiddle leaf fig and the weeping fig are amongst the most popular. This tree is low maintenance after it has adjusted to its new indoor environment. Do not be discouraged if this tree loses leaves for a few days after being potted and placed indoors. The species is known for losing leaves after environmental changes occur.

The ficus can be placed in any sunny area, but will require consistent watering. If a ficus begins to lose leaves after its adjustment period, the roots may be too large for the potting system. It would be a good idea to re-pot the tree, so that its roots may expand and grow. When a ficus is properly cared for, it can produce beautiful leaf canopies that may live as long as twenty years.

Citrus Trees – Citrus trees, such as lemon, lime or kumquat, will require much more direct sunlight than other indoor trees. If these trees receive up to four hours of direct sunlight each day, they will produce wonderful fruits and flowers that can bring a blossoming smell into any room. Keeping a citrus tree in a greenhouse or sunroom will allow them to grow outward as well as upward. An avocado tree will also produce a fruit, which is wonderful for plucking before a festive dinner party.

Citrus trees grow better in a humid environment. Humidity can be obtained simply by placing a bowl full of water, or decoratively, a rock filled bowl of water in the room where the fruit tree is growing. This will produce a healthier set of blossoms, as well as fruit supply.

Bonsai Trees – There are several different varieties of the bonsai tree. Bonsai require regular trimming and a very specific water schedule. The Chinese Elm and the Zelcova are the two types of bonsai tree easiest to obtain from tree suppliers. These tiny trees fit on most any shelf, but will require sunlight, as would any other living plant. Some bonsai do not adapt well to extremely cold temperatures, so it may be best to check which bonsai would grow better in your home climate zone.

Palm Trees – The indoor palm tree can add a tropical feeling to any home. This type of tree also provides moisture to any household, and an exemplary amount of oxygen. Palms have proven to be the easiest indoor tree species in which to care for. Although they will require a healthy, well-draining soil and much water, the visual pay-off is worth the efforts.

Indoor trees tend to quickly become part of a home, and can create a healthier indoor environment. If your outdoor property is limited, but your green thumb is anxious, indoor trees may be the perfect solution.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Desert Trees

There are several considerations when caring for, and choosing a tree for a desert landscape.  The weather alone will not only play a role in this decision process.  Factors such as water, soil and wildlife will also become variables when deciding which desert tree is the right fit for your property.

Wildlife – If you are attempting to attract wildlife, such as lizards, rabbits, and/or other small creatures, it is pertinent to choose a variety of shade trees for your desert property.  Any creature will be attracted to the shade, especially when the sun is at its hottest temperatures of the day.  Birds such as:  pigeons, hawks and crows will prefer palms or willows, with larger leaf capacity.  While grounded animals will prefer trees such as pines, which will provide numerous branches with small hiding places.

Shade – It is not only the desert animals that will benefit from tree shade.  When choosing a desert tree for your property, shade value, and correct placement of that shade value, will be important.  If a large shade tree is hundreds of feet from your home, it may not be as beneficial with respects to the sun.  Although, if you are looking to shade a picnic area or workshop on your land, placement of the tree should respectively be considered.  When purchasing a tree, be sure to ask how much potential shade the tree will project at full maturity.  This shade can greatly cut down on your electrical costs, as well as the sun-wear on your home.

Water – Water is often scarcely available or of higher cost in open desert areas.  If you are trying to conserve water, it is best to check the prepared water schedule of your new desert tree choice.  Some trees require a more tedious watering schedule then as compared to others.  Before choosing a tree, ask which trees will require more or less water maintenance.  From here, you can then estimate the time and cost to water, within your means.

Planting – It is often best to plant desert trees in the fall season.  This will give your new desert tree time to acclimate to the hot weather, before the heat of summer reappears.  In winter, the roots will also have time to develop during a cooler temperature, with moist, vitamin-condensed soils.

When digging the hole for your new tree, you will hit a hard substance, just a few inches below the earth’s surface.  This substance is referred to as desert caliche.  Caliche is the Spanish term for calcium carbonate.  Be sure to break this substance up and/or remove it completely from your hole.  In doing so, water will be able to drain properly through the dirt and subsoils.  The roots of your tree will also have the ability to develop properly.

Desert trees carry very different needs and requirements as far as their overall care.  Although, the beauty and growing capacity of your tree will remain, regardless of the terrain.  When purchasing a desert tree, it is always beneficial to ask questions of your tree salesperson or care specialist.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Services That Arborists Can Provide

By definition, an arborist is a trained specialist who plants and cares for trees.  Arborists must continue their education to keep existing certifications, as well as update their knowledge bank on what is up and coming regarding the art and science of trees.  Such an individual can assist in the management of your tree appearance and health, as well as the proper selection of tree species for your property.  A weak or unhealthy tree can become a liability.  Additionally, choosing the wrong species of tree for your property can also become a liability.  In considering the time and cost of planting and caring for a tree, an arborist is a handy option.

There is much to know when caring for a new tree.  Arborists are trained in placing a tree in the healthiest position on your property.  A crowding of trees can cause harm to the new tree, as well as other trees surrounding it.  Watering and feeding a new tree is also an art.  If you have the means to hire an arborist, a watering and feeding schedule can be arranged for your assorted trees.

Arborists are additionally skilled in the overall maintenance of trees.  An arborist’s work includes:  the removal of dead or weakening limbs, elimination of limbs that interfere with your gutters or roof, as well as the elimination of branches that can obstruct public walkways or streets.  Arborists can also create bracing for weak branches, spray trees for insect control and fertilize.

As well as maintaining trees, an arborist can be called upon for emergency tree care.  Heavy storms that include rain, wind and lightning, can be detrimental to your trees.  Often times, the weight of the tree segments can be too awkward or heavy to move.  Arborists are trained in removal of large or broken limbs within a safe parameter.

Circumstances can arise when a tree must be removed.  Although, this is often a last resort, it is quite necessary for the health and growing efficiency of its surrounding trees.  Removal of your tree is recommended when the tree:

•    is dead

•    becomes hazardous or creates obstructions that cannot be corrected

•    is to be replaced with another tree

If you choose to hire an arborist:

•    check for professional memberships to organizations such as the:  International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), or the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).  If an individual shows you their memberships information, be sure the date of membership is still valid.

•    check for an ISA certification.  Certified arborists are professionals that have passed examinations that cover all aspects of tree care.

•    ask for references, to find out where the individual has previously worked.  Do not feel awkward calling the references.  Remember, tree care is a long-lasting investment!

•    get more than one estimate before hiring an arborist.  Also, do not feel the lowest bid is always the best deal.  Arborists are experienced professionals that should know to include additional materials and permit fees in their bids.

•    do not be afraid to ask questions!  Arborists are more than often excited for the work they perform.  A good arborist will appreciate your questions and be excited to answer them for you.

Choosing to have an arborist plant or care for your trees is your option.  Some individuals choose to take the task on themselves, working their green thumb.  Being educated about your choices is always in your favor!

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Caring For Trees During Drought

Many regions in the country have been suffering through a prolonged drought. Recognizing a drought can be difficult if you have just moved to an area or are unaware of the long-term conditions. For example, the pattern and frequency of rainfall is measured to determine drought above the total amount of rain. An area can receive more rainfall in a year that is above normal levels and still be in a drought.

Recognizing an area affected by drought can simply occur through the symptoms trees and plants exhibit. Immediate visible effects of drought damage include wilting, scorch, and some defoliation due to loss of turgor in plant cells, irreversible shrinkage of cell membranes, and increased synthesis of abscisic acid. Long-term symptoms of drought include dieback of branches and death of the plant as the plants capacity to absorb water is damaged. These are the primary or direct effects of drought.

Secondary effects of drought include a plant or tree’s heightened susceptibility to disease and insect invasion. Disease and insect invasion can occur with any conditions but during a drought disease such as root rot, cankers, wood rot and wilt do increase.

If your trees are showing the following symptoms, it could be due to drought injury:
•    Leaves that scorch and become brown on the outside edges or brown between veins.
•    Leaves that wilt, curl at edges and yellow.
•    Evergreens whose needles turn yellow, red or purple.

If your tree is suffering from drought there are some actions you can take to help keep it alive and healthy. The first includes proper watering. When watering your trees, water to a depth of twelve inches below the soil’s surface. This means you must saturate the soil within the dripline or the outer edges of the tree’s branches. For evergreens, water three to five feet beyond the dripline on all sides of the tree. You want to water your trees slowly, this allows the water to seep deep into the ground and not just run off the surface. Many people feel that if they dig holes in the ground, the water will seep deeper into it – when in fact, digging holes can just dry out your roots. Spraying your leaves is inefficient as well and should be avoided during a drought.

How much water do you give a tree during a drought? The rule of thumb is to use approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter, for each watering. Measure the tree’s trunk at knee height. The formula then follows – Tree Diameter x 5 minutes = Total Watering Time.

If you are using a hose, as most people do when watering, you may wonder how many gallons it will produce in a given amount of time. This can depend on your water pressure, but a hose at medium pressure will take approximately five minutes to produce ten gallons of water.

Trees should be watered year around with emphasis between April and September.  Mulching around your tree will also help reduce moisture loss. It is recommended to use four inches of mulch. You can use wood chips, shredded bark, leaves or evergreen needles. One should avoid using stone or rock as it increases air temperatures and can add to the moisture loss.  Place your mulch six inches from the trunk of the tree.

One should not fertilize a tree that is under drought stress.  Fertilizers stimulate growth, which can result in too much leaf area on the plant for the root system to maintain.

To help maintain your tree’s health during a drought you will want to treat it as a sick patient. Care is needed such as keeping it free from stresses, keeping it properly pruned, and cutting back on any applications of herbicide in the root zone.

Taking special care of your tree during a drought will save you the time and money of having to remove it and replace. With just a little time invested, your trees can remain healthy and happy in all conditions.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

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Spring Tree Care

Spring is upon us and it’s that time to take special care of your trees.
A tremendous amount of growth occurs during spring due to the stored nutrients the tree holds throughout winter. By the end of spring, the tree has used up most of these nutrients and will begin the process of photosynthesis or the making of new supplies of nutrients. In some cases, a tree may only have enough nutrients stored to begin leafing out but not enough to continue growing.  This is why it is critical not to do your heavy pruning after spring.

Most routine pruning can be done year around with little effect on the tree. You can prune to remove weak, diseased, or dead limbs. As a rule of thumb, growth is maximized and wound closure is fastest if pruning takes place before the spring growth flush. Some trees, such as maples and birches, tend to “bleed” if pruned early in the spring.  A few tree diseases, such as oak wilt, can be spread when pruning wounds allow spores access into the tree. Susceptible trees should not be pruned during active transmission periods.

Proper tree care of course occurs year around. So how can you care for your tree? Soil moisture is primary and yet not as easy as it may sound. Too much moisture or even too little can cause the tree to begin dying back. Tree soil needs to be moist between 12 to 18 inches of depth. You can check moisture depth by carefully digging or by using a soil probe after watering the root area.

Many people make the mistake in believing they are watering their tree when watering their yard. Trees do not typically get enough water this way. The lawn, which is competing with the tree, soaks up most of the moisture. Secondarily, thatch in the lawn will act as a water repellant. A better choice for watering your tree is to use soaker hoses or root waterers.  Water must be applied all year around, even in dry winter periods.

The type of soil your tree is planted in is also important. There may be a variety of soils beneath your trees, from clay and alkaline to sand and silt. Determining what type of soil is beneath your trees will help you take steps in improving it. If you have a lot of clay soil, you may need to aerate it often to provide it with enough oxygen.  If the soil is lacking nutrients you may have to fertilize it – not as much as you would in fertilizing the lawn.

To fertilize your trees, wait until the ground has completely thawed. This way the fertilizer will seep into the soil and not run off. As the weather warms, you can also begin removing tree wraps, if they have been used throughout the winter.

As for pruning your tree, you will want to do this in the spring as well, prior to the tree leafing out. To prune your tree, begin by removing damaged branches.

If you don’t have trees to care for yet, now is the time to put them in the ground.  Visit your local nurseries and greenhouses for suggestions and recommendations for your area.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

How Agroforestry Works For Everyone

It is a term not commonly heard, it is agroforestry. The word means to intentionally combine agriculture and forestry to create integrated and sustainable land-use systems. Agroforestry takes advantage of the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock. It is also defined as:

“Agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems and practices in which woody perennials are deliberately integrated with crops and/or animals on the same land management unit. The integration can be either in a spatial mixture or in a temporal sequence. There are normally both ecological and economic interactions between woody and non-woody components in agroforestry”. -World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) 1993″

How is agroforestry used? In many ways, they include:

1.    Alley Cropping – This is a form of cropping applied by farmers to combat soil erosion. This helps increase the diversity of farmland as a means for crop diversification. In this practice, crops are planted in strips in the alleys formed between rows of trees or shrubs.  With this type of planting, crops are given shade in hot, dry environments, thus reducing water loss. This also helps retain soil moisture and provides a wildlife habitat. The trees used in this system can produce fruit, fuelwood, fodder or trimmings that can be converted into mulch. Fine hardwoods such as walnut, oak, ash and pecan are favored species in alley cropping systems, which can give a potentially high-value in lumber.
2.    Forest Farming – This is also known as ‘shade systems’. This system integrates the cultivation of both timber and non-timber forest products in a forest setting. With forest farming, the farmer cultivates high value specialty crops under the protection of a forest canopy. These crops include ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, decorative ferns that are sold for medicinal, culinary and ornamental use.
3.    Riparian Buffer and Integrated Riparian Management – Riparian forest buffers are natural or re-established streamside forests made up of tree, shrub and grass plantings. These plantings are placed along lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands in order to enhance and protect aquatic and riparian resources as well as generate income from timber and non-timber forest products.  Plantings also buffer non-point source pollution of waterways from adjacent lands and reduce bank erosion.
4.    SilvoPasture – Silvopasture combines trees with forage and livestock production. Trees are managed for high-value sawlogs and shade for livestock and forage. Conifers or hardwoods for timber or Christmas trees are often planted. Some nut and fruit orchards may also be grazed.
5.    Windbreaks – Planting trees in a linear fashion helps enhance crop production, protect people and livestock while benefiting soil. Field windbreaks protect wind-sensitive crops and control erosion, and increase bee pollination and pesticide effectiveness. Livestock windbreaks help reduce animal stress and mortality, reduce feed consumption, and help reduce visual impacts and odors. Living snowfences keep roads clean of drifting snow and increase driving safety. They can also spread snow evenly across a field, increasing spring soil moisture.

Agroforesty is also used to keep down dust, odors, reduce noise, provide green space or visual aesthetics, enhance wildlife habitat and offers carbon sequestration.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Defining Hardiness Zones

When buying a tree or plant, you will notice an indicator on the tag of that tree or plant stating its hardiness zone. So what is a hardiness zone? It is defined as a geographic area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone. These zones were first developed by the United States Department of Agriculture and have been updated as late as 2006 to compensate for global warming.

The USDA first issued its standardized hardiness zone map in 1960, and revised it in 1965. A new map was issued in 1990, based on U.S. and Canadian data from 1974 through 1986 (and 1971-1984 for Mexico). The new 1990 map included divided temperature zones broken into five-degree a/b zones for greater accuracy.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States and Canada into 11 areas based on a 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in the average annual minimum temperature. (The United States falls within Zones 2 through 10). For example, the lowest average temperature in Zone 2 is -50 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the minimum average temperature in zone 10 is +30 to +40 degrees Fahrenheit. If a range of zones, for example, zones 4-9, is indicated, the tree or perennial is known to be hardy in zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Suitable hardiness means a plant can be expected to grow in the zone’s temperature extremes, as determined by the lowest average annual temperature.

There are many benefits as well as drawbacks to the hardiness zone system. One drawback is that the zones do not incorporate summer heat levels into their zone determination, which means places that have extreme heat and cold could be marked for its cold zone and neglect the heat factor. Hardiness zones also do not take into account the reliability of the snow cover. Snow can act as an insulator against extreme cold, protecting the root system of hiberating plants. If snow is consistently covering the ground, it can actually lower the temperature of what the roots are exposed to.

Many factors are taken into consideration when planting trees and plants that hardiness zones do not incorporate. Some of them are: soil moisture, humidity, the number of days of frost, and the risk of a rare catastrophic cold snap.  For farmers, the probability of getting a particularly severe low temperature could be very detrimental and the knowledge of this could be more useful than just average conditions.

The last drawback of the system is the fact that although a plant will survive under particular lower temperatures, it does not mean it will flower sufficiently. For a tree to flower it requires vernalization or a particular duration of low temperatures.  Some publications are integrating such information into their hardiness zone maps. This additional information can include precipitation, wind patterns, elevation and length and structure of the growing season.

The National Arbor Day Foundation in the United States recently completed an extensive updating of U.S. Hardiness Zones in 2006. The maps include the most recent 15 years of data from more than 5,000 National Climatic Data Centers across the United States.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

The Most Colorful Tree- Rainbow Eucalyptus

When we think of trees and color, we typically imagine the tree’s leaves. But there is a tree known for its colorful bark. And unlike any other tree, the bark is made up of brilliant fluorescent colors, giving the tree the name Rainbow Eucalyptus.

To first see the Rainbow Eucalyptus, you might think somebody vandalized the tree or poured paint all over it. How can a tree have so many bright, almost fluorescent colors on it? But the bark is authentic.  The Rainbow Eucalyptus, also called Eucalyptus deglupta, Mindanao Gum and Rainbow Gum, is naturally found in the Northern Hemisphere. It naturally grows in New Britain, New Guinea, Ceram, Sulawesi and Mindanoa. Others grow the tree and cultivate it now around the world for its pulpwood, which is used in paper.

Of course the tree is also grown for ornamental purposes. The bark, which is patchy and sheds at different times, is bright green, blue, purple, orange, yellow and then maroon, each colors showing its aging process.  The tree grows almost 100 feet tall.

This eucalyptus can be grown in the United States in warmer climates. The Hardiness Zone for these trees is 9-11, 26 to 28 degrees, but only for brief periods. The tree does require warmth, has a low tolerance for intense or prolonged frost and requires an abundance of water. If growing the E. Deglupta in a container NEVER let it dry out, as it can prove fatal – these trees do dry out quite quickly.  For landscaping purposes, many plant their rainbow eucalyptus near freshwater ponds, lakes or canals. Mature trees can survive in drier areas but they do their best when having access to abundant moisture.

The eucalyptus is an evergreen. It also requires full sun to light shade, but of course prefers full sun. The tree is easy to keep fertilized and is not fussy about food, fertilizing yearly is sufficient. The eucalyptus also is adaptable to different soils, but likes soils that are well drained.

The E. deglupta, like other eucalyptus, are mostly pest free. An occasional mealybug or aphid may appear or even a caterpillar or leafcutting bee, but these trees typically can be grown without pest damage.

The Eucalyptus tree on its own has been a valuable resource as it grows fast and under many conditions. There are over 600 species of Eucalypts. Many of these trees are good for fuelwood and pole production. Because the tree grows so fast, it can build up stresses and lead to distortion, which makes it difficult to cut into potential timber. Eucalyptus is also resistant to termites which means it doesn’t have to be treated, as other wood might – thus helping the environment. On the downside, these trees require a lot of water. It is suggested not to plant them near food crops and plants that also need a lot of light and water as they will compete with each other. The benefit of this tree being a water hog is that it is sometimes used to drain swamps, which in turn reduces the risk of malaria.

Eucalypts belong to the family Myrtaceae. The flowers tend to be groups into inflorescences (with the exception of E.globulus which has single flowers). Bark varies from ribbed to the smooth and can be distinctly deciduous.  The leaves are also variable in both shape and color.

The Eucalyptus tree is also known for its fragrant oil. The oil can be used for cleaning and functions as a natural insecticide.

Each Eucalyptus tree has its own look and offerings. As for the Rainbow Euclapytus, it is mostly known for just being quite unique.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Preparing Your Trees For Summer Storms

When it comes to protecting trees and plants, people often think winter takes the hardest toll. But summer and the storms that can come with it – from wind to strong rains, can be just as hard on trees as ice. Depending on your region, the wind and rain can actually be quite devastating to trees, if you are not prepared.

Most trees can biologically adapt themselves to wind and ice during an average annual growing season due to the fact trees can sway in the wind and these movements strengthen the woody material developing the stem and limbs. But, during the spring and summer months, many areas receive strong rainstorms, lightening and wind. The winds shift sometimes bringing in violent thunderstorms and occasionally tornados in some areas. Other areas have hail and flooding to deal with. Whatever the situation, it is most likely to make your trees vulnerable. Heavy rains cause healthy roots to weaken their hold. Winds can snap brittle branches.

There are typically six ways a tree is damaged by a storm. They include blowing down from the wind, stem failure, crown twist, root failure, branch failure and lightening strike.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, states that “Three-fourths of the damage that trees incur during storms is predictable and preventable.” Even one’s best efforts cannot prepare a tree to withstand the fiercest of winds, however, there is a lot of preparation you can and should do to greatly diminish potential storm damage to your trees. This usually requires watching for defects and vulnerabilities in trees and addressing them right away.

Here are some defects to watch out for that makes trees more vulnerable to wind and other severities of the weather:
•    Dead wood is number one. This kind of wood is unpredictable because it is brittle, and cannot give under pressure like living tree branches. What dead wood do you have in your trees that needs to be removed?
•    Cracks are clear indicators of potential branch failure, where there will be splitting sooner or later.
•    Poor tree composition (branch structure). This one is difficult for the average person to identify, but you can start by looking for excessive leaning, long horizontal limbs, crossing branches that rub against each other and create wounds, and narrow crotches (V-shaped instead of U-shaped). Trees with two trunks or leaders that are of identical diameter and have a narrow crotch need special care. To prevent splitting, choose one to be made dominant by stunting the growth of the other through pruning (called subordination).
•    Decay, as evidenced by fungal growth or hollow cavities, is a sign of weakness.
•    Pests can exacerbate a tree’s health problems, but they typically target trees that are already sickly.
•    Root problems, such as stem-girdling roots, while sometimes harder to detect, have the most impact on a tree’s inability to stay upright. Weak roots and a thick canopy is the deadliest combination during a storm.
•    A thick canopy. Can you see some sky through the tree? Keeping your trees thin is the single most important thing to do to “storm-proof” them. Quite simply put: the thicker a tree is, the more susceptible it is to damage in heavy winds. Even for a tree that is otherwise perfectly healthy, overly dense foliage poses a safety hazard during stormy weather. A dense canopy will not allow the wind to easily pass through, and the resistance to wind can cause branches to break or even bring the entire tree down. This especially applies to weight at the ends of branches, which is why stripping only the lower parts of the branches is not adequate (and leaves the tree with a funny lion-tailed look).

If you have identified problems in your trees such as the above, contact a professional arborist or tree specialist to help you detail out a plan in addressing your trees health and finding ways to strengthen them if possible, before storms cause more damage.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.