Month: November 2021

Crack In Your Tree Trunk?

Cracks in your tree bark after the winter season could cause severe damage to your tree

Have you noticed cracks and splitting in the trunk of your tree? Is your foliage located in a spot with exposure to frigid winters? If so, it could be a frost crack! These appear as a vertical crack along the trunk of your tree. This damage can be dangerous to a tree because it is severe enough to split through the tree.

Luckily, with a few extra care steps throughout the year, you can prevent these and help your trees stay healthy and in one piece! Read on for advice on how to prevent and treat frost cracks.

Frost Crack Causes

These vertical cracks form when a tree trunk is exposed to extreme changes in temperature between winter and summer. The repeated heating and cooling can cause the molecules to slightly expand and contract just enough that a bark crack can form as a reaction to the extreme changes. Below are ways of helping your tree survive the winter months.

Reversing the Damage

If you notice the cracking, should you do anything about it? Not necessarily, because in most cases, the tree will be able to recover on its own through the natural processes of healing.

However, you can help it recover, and prevent a split trunk, by sealing the crack with plastic. The plastic seal protects the opening from potential infections caused by bacteria and pests. Be careful, though! You should remove any wrapping you place on the tree before summer. Otherwise, it may foster infections instead of preventing them.

Frost Crack Prevention Methods

Insulation – Because frost cracks arise from the changing temperature, you can help prevent the tree trunk from cracking by insulating the base.

Insulation includes wrapping the trunk with a thick protective layer. Ideally, you’d want to use something that would keep warmth, like a tarp, burlap, or cloth.

You can also help insulate your tree’s trunk by planting evergreen plants and bushes around the base. Keeping the bottom of the tree lush with plants and bushes will help keep it warm during the winter and prevent deep freezing.

Keep Trees Healthy – A healthy and vigorous tree will be more capable of healing after a crack and more resistant to bark cracking in the first place. Read on to learn ways to keep your foliage healthy.

Every summer, make sure you give the soil a fresh layer of fertilized dirt to mix into the already present substrate. On top of that, layer some mulch or bark pieces to help pack in the new soil. This mulch technique will also work as a form of insulation during the wintertime.

Watering your tree during dry winter periods is very important too. Even when it’s cold out, your foliage will need to have an ample water supply to stay healthy.

Pruning or trimming the foliage can also encourage it to sprout new healthy growth, improving its overall health status. However, you should hire a professional, as it can be dangerous to do it on your own.

Be Careful Where You Put Your Tree – Location plays a massive role in the health of your foliage during wintertime! To avoid having a split trunk, be careful that your tree is not exposed to strong winter winds because this will cause the bark to become even colder and has a higher chance of cracking.

Winter damage occurs on unprotected trees due to winter wind

Shallow and porous soil/substrate is a bad idea because of how important hydration is for your foliage in winter. Stick to locations where the tree’s roots can extend very far downward for more support and a healthier root system.

Choosing a location with a proven water-retaining soil system always works best. These locations already help your tree stay healthy enough to avoid cracks and heal any cracks that it may have in the future!

Trees Prone to Frost Cracks

Like all organisms, trees have adapted to survive in various climates. Some have adapted better than others to areas with intense winters and are less likely to experience a split trunk.

If you are undecided on what tree species to use, here are a few that are less resistant to winters and more likely to experience bark cracks:

• linden

• sycamore

• oak

• walnut

• willow

• maple

As a rule of thumb, the thinner the bark on the tree, the less resistant it is to cracks. In cold climates, choose trees with thick bark like aspens!

Final Thoughts

Frost cracks result from trees going through extreme cold and heat. The slight expansion and contraction of the molecules inside the tree result in the bark cracking on the surface of the tree.

If you see this happening, it is good to prevent infections and pest infestations by wrapping them in plastic. Consider insulating your tree trunk with either burlap, a tarp, or evergreen shrubbery to avoid cracking in general. Keep your tree healthy by fertilizing, watering, pruning, and adding a mulch layer.

If you keep these tips in mind when placing and taking care of your tree, you will be set for it to resist vertical cracks even in the harshest winters!

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Best Types of Grass in Georgia

Grasses common to Georgia

When they’re getting a new lawn, people often don’t think hard enough about the type of grass they want to put down. There’s a wide range of grass types out there, varying in price, quality, and availability.

Whether you want something easy to maintain that the kids can play on, or a yard that looks great all year round, it’s important to know what landscaping options are available to you in Georgia. In this blog post, we’ll bring you a list of the top 7 types you can get in Georgia.

Georgia’s Climate

First, it’s essential to get a sense of the unique climate in Georgia to understand why not all types of grass in the US are suitable for landscaping here.

Situated in the South, Georgia is much better suited to what is known as warm-season grasses, that is, varieties that perform best when they are exposed to hotter temperatures with greater sunlight.

That’s why the majority of varieties on this list are warm-season grasses. advises against buying cool-season grasses for landscaping unless you’re adding them to a mix with warm-season varieties.

1. Bahia Grass

Bahia grass is a resilient, coarse grass that’s especially useful for soil conditions with a poor level of nutrients. This type can survive where other varieties might not.

Bahia grass doesn’t mind being in the shade, so long as it’s exposed to a regular dose of sunlight.  You can leave the grass to grow two or three inches, meaning you won’t have to mow it every week.

2. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is one of the oldest and most popular choices for lawns, thanks mainly to its resilience after heavy footfall. It’s especially ideal for sports fields. It’s fast-growing, though, so make sure you’ve got the time to mow it regularly.

Bermuda grass loves the sun, so it’s not the right choice for you if you have a lawn in a shady environment. And because it’s fast-growing, you’ve got to make sure you keep it in check by mowing regularly.

3. Centipede Grass

Centipede Grass has a moderate texture and is low-growing. It doesn’t even mind being in the shade for extended periods. Plus, this type is easy to manage and won’t grow out of control.

Don’t buy this variety if you’re looking for something that’ll grow fast – Centipede grass takes its time to reach its full potential. It’s also delicate and can’t withstand lots of activity.

4. St Augustine Grass

St Augustine Grass has a dark green color and a somewhat rough texture. Aside from being watered from time to time, this variety does not require lots of maintenance, and its blades can be left to grow. It doesn’t mind being left in the shade, either.

However, this isn’t the type of grass that can withstand lots of activity – it’s likely to get compacted and damaged if it’s trodden on regularly.

5. Zoysia Grass

Although it thrives best in hot, sunny conditions, Zoysia grass can also withstand cooler temperatures without any problems. This variety is soft to touch, and the blades usually grow together into densely-packed clusters.

However, don’t get Zoysia grass if you’re looking for something that’s low maintenance. This variety grows very quickly and is prone to spread into flowerbeds and other parts of your garden if it’s not carefully maintained.

6. Fescue Grass

fescue grass species is a popular lawn summer grass

Fescue Grass is best suited to areas deprived of shade, where other varieties might be unable to thrive. It has a smooth, thin shape which helps it grow quickly.

This variety is known for its resilience. It’s capable of surviving under a range of different temperatures and can withstand periods of drought. However, it does need regular watering in the summer, or it ends up receding and going dormant.

7. Blue Grama Grass

Blue Grama Grass is a bit of a wildcard on this list. It’s not a traditional type of grass used for lawns, and historically it was more likely to be found on unmanaged fields. However, it’s grown in popularity for garden landscaping in recent times due to its naturally unkempt appearance.

This grass type is not suitable to cover an entire lawn with, but it is useful as a decorative plant to surround the edges of a property or replace thin strips of grass in your garden. Best of all, it requires next to no maintenance, so you can let its long silky blades grow out to their full length.

Grasses In Georgia

Remember, the most critical factor in having an impressive, consistent lawn is the amount of time you spend on maintenance. Regardless of the grass type, no yard is going to look good if you neglect it.

That’s why when you choose a grass type for your landscaping, make sure you have a clear idea of how much time you’re able to commit to maintaining it, as some types require a lot more work than others.

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Fight Fire Blight with Pruning & Treatments

While tree diseases often thrive in spring, it is important to remember that proper care year-round can make a big difference in managing these issues. Some simple practices now can help combat disease. One good example is autumn and winter care to help control fire blight. Caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, fireblight commonly infects pear, apple, hawthorn and quince.

fire blight symptoms
The scorched leaves and “shepherd’s crook” that are telltale signs of fire blight.

Symptoms of Fire Blight

The disease gets the name “fire” blight because severely infected plants will have blackened or dark brown branches and foliage. Plant tissue can look as if it has been scorched or burned. The affected branches also often form a shepherd’s crook at the tip.

How Fire blight Spreads

Bees and wind-driven rain spread new infections during spring. These infections progress into the twigs and toward the main trunk. Once infected, cankers on trunks and branches can persist, where they serve as a source for future infections. Left untreated, cankers can completely girdle the cambium tissue. The result is the death of large branches or entire trees. The bacterium is active during the moist and humid weather of spring. After spring, the bacterium is normally dormant. However, symptoms in infected tissue can continue to worsen during this time.

Action to Combat Fire Blight

Management of fire blight requires sanitation and prevention. Pruning infected tissue should be performed when the bacterium is dormant and spread of disease has ceased. Please note that on highly susceptible trees and rapidly advancing infections, pruning below the branch cankers should be performed immediately to reduce severity – even when the disease is active.

Any leaves that have fallen from infected trees should be bagged and removed to help minimize re-infection.

Preventive treatments can also help protect healthy tissues from new infections. It is rare to get complete control over any plant disease but limiting infections through sanitation and prevention will limit dieback and avoid major infections that often lead to plant disfigurement or mortality. 

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Why Fall is a Smart Time to Prune Trees

There are a number of reasons for tree pruning; some are safety related, some are to lessen interference with buildings, and some protect the health of the tree. The need for pruning will depend on your own landscape goals as well as the trees themselves and surrounding property. Autumn is one of the best times to identify problem areas in a tree that could benefit from pruning.

autumn pruning

Stressed foliage often changes color earlier than foliage in the rest of a tree. Arborists can easily see the color change and help diagnose the cause. As the leaves fall, the structure of the tree will also become more visible. It becomes easier to see and identify structural defects that should be addressed. Any branches that are diseased or damaged may be good candidates for pruning.

Pruning Prepares Trees for Winter Weather

Winter storms, with or without snow and ice, all add stress to dead and broken branches in a tree. This can result in more of these branches falling during the winter. Dead and broken branch removal is one of the most common ways to prevent damage to houses or other objects beneath a tree.

Sometimes branches grow too close to roofs or siding, or they may grow too low over a sidewalk, driveway or lawn. As mentioned above, winter storms will certainly blow these branches around; no one wants a falling branch to injure someone or to damage a home or other building. Therefore, it is wise to have interfering branches removed, thinned, or reduced in length to lessen the problem.

Pruning at the Wrong Time can Attract Insects & Disease

Another factor to consider is that, in some areas, there are causal agents of disease spread by insects that are attracted to fresh pruning cuts. These insects are no longer flying in the late fall and winter, so this is the good time to prune susceptible species. If pruned now, trees including oak and elm will be less likely to contract diseases.

At Bartlett, we like to examine trees at this time of year and then apply our knowledge of tree structure, tree health, and pest problems to develop individual pruning plans to protect properties and improve the health and longevity of the trees.

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Bartlett Chairman Honored by Massachusetts Horticultural Society

The Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MHS) presented the George Robert White Medal of Honor to Robert A. Bartlett Jr., Chairman and CEO of Bartlett Tree Experts, on November 4, 2021 during the Society’s 119th Honorary Medals Dinner. During the ceremony, medals were awarded to individuals and organizations for their contributions to excellence in horticulture for the public good.

The George Robert White Medal of Honor was established in 1909 and is among the most distinguished horticultural awards in the United States. The first honoree was Charles Sprague Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum. Other recipients include Gertrude Jekyll, Jens Jensen, The Royal Horticultural Society, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Tasha Tudor. Joining these distinguished honorees, Bartlett represents the third generation of the F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company, the world’s leading scientific tree and shrub care company.

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Caring for Trees: From Autumn into Winter

As autumn settles in and winter approaches, it’s a good time consider the care your trees need now and throughout the coming season. Keep these things in mind and you’ll have happier trees this spring!

last leaf of autumn

Cultural Practices to Keep Trees Healthy

  • Pruning: Before winter arrives, prune out dead or broken branches. They may be at risk of falling with the added weight of snow or ice. In fact, pruning in general is a good thing to take care of in the winter. Most plants go dormant and fungi are less of a concern.
  • Mulching and Irrigation: It’s important to pay attention to mulching and irrigation year-round – not just during the growing season but also during winter. Even though plants may be dormant, many still require a minimum amount of water to meet their needs. Mulching helps to maintain soil moisture. Additionally, it provides a buffer against stress to the root zone.
  • Deicing Salt: Remember that while salt might be good for driveways, it can be terrible for trees. Increasing salt levels in the soil can damage and kill fine roots. This prevents healthy levels of nutrient uptake by the root system.

Managing Pests & Disease

  • Improve Airflow: Pruning trees and shrubs to increase airflow and sun penetration can be a great way to help reduce the likelihood of future fungal infection. If the foliage stays mostly dry then the plant is less likely to become infected.
  • Raking: If any fungal pathogens were found on the foliage throughout the growing season, you should rake up the fallen leaves. Raking and removing this material will help reduce the levels of infectious fungal inoculum that may be waiting over the winter to re-infect foliage the following spring.
  • Controlling Scale Insects: A new scale control technique we’ve found effective is to physically remove these tiny pests with a scrub brush! Now is a good time to take care of accessible scale populations that may be entering their overwintering period. Scraping away the protective covers and physically removing the insects can greatly reduce populations. Smaller populations are generally easier to control.
  • Deterring Wildlife: Wildlife can be a huge nuisance for landscape plantings. Deer and small mammals may munch on any available landscape plants. Products are available to help deter wildlife feeding. Protecting feature plants in the winter is especially important as fewer wild plants may be available for wildlife to feed on.

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How to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter

Winter LandscapeSome people take great care to winterize their landscape, because they know that if they don’t, their trees and bushes might not look right– or live– come Springtime.

Winter brings with it a host of challenges for landscaping. Besides the cold temperature, there’s ice, snow, wind, and even salt to deal with. It’s a tough season for any yard to take!

What are some ways you can winterize your landscaping? With evergreens, consider making a barrier of burlap to cover the windward side(s) of your trees and bushes. Leave the top open for light and air penetration. If you have new shrubs or trees in your yard, mulch them with about six inches of wood chips around the base. If possible, water your landscaping before the ground freezes for the season. Should you see any open spaces/cracks in the soil whereas roots are slightly exposed to the elements, fill those areas in with soil.

To protect against snow and ice damage, consider wrapping small trees up in cloth, carpeting or even nylon stockings to give them protection and support for the winter. For bigger trees, consider having a professional from Big Foot Tree Service cable together main branches, if needed, especially if you’re worried about a storm messing with an already less-than-stable tree in your yard.

What about pests? In the winter mice, rodents, rabbits and deer can mess with your landscaping. Deer, in particular, like to rub their antlers on trees, damaging them. So, find ways to put up barriers around trees and bushes that you don’t want animals bothering this winter. For example, you could add a cylinder of ¼-inch mesh hardware cloth around the trunk of a tree. The cylinder, ideally, would go about three inches below the ground line and about two feet above the snow line in order to protect the tree from pests. Plastic tree guards as well as chicken wire fences can also help keep pests away from your landscaping. Some people use store-bought pest repellents to make their landscaping taste or smell undesirable to critters. Regarding deer, a combination of repellent and fencing around landscaping seem to deter them.

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