Month: March 2022

White Fir

Evergreen trees are frequently associated with sparkling snow and the Christmas season. Indeed, these trees shine in the landscape during winter when other color is hard to find. But the real value of evergreens is in their true, four-season beauty and adaptability. The white fir (Abies concolor) tree is no exception. This hardy species has good looks to offer all year long!

foliage of white fir

White fir, also known as concolor fir, grows in a pleasing pyramidal shape. This shape offers a nice contrast to deciduous trees and is practical for keeping wet, heavy snow off the upper branches. The white fir’s blusih or silvery-green needles are also an attractive feature. Cones start out light green and turn purplish as they mature. Beyond its appearance, white fir also has a lovely citrus scent.

Growing White Fir

white fir

White fir is native to mountainous areas of the southwestern United States. The tree will grow in a wide range of zones. It is tolerant of drought conditions as well as cold temperatures. White fir prefers well-drained soil. Do not plant it in clay or on poorly-drained sites. This can lead to problems with the root system.

White fir grows slowly. Over 15 to 30 years, the average tree will reach between 30 and 40 feet tall. A large one can grow up to 50 feet with a 20-foot spread. The tree can also be planted in groups to make a nice privacy screen. Be sure to leave enough room for each individual plant to grow to its full size.


If you would like a white fir and don’t have the space, there are cultivars for even the smallest landscapes. For example, Abies concolor ‘Compacta’ is a dwarf cultivar that grows in an oval shape and reaches only five feet tall. Abies concolor ‘Blue Cloak’ is a weeping cultivar with powder blue needles that grows between eight and ten feet. Abies concolor ‘Candicans Nana’ is a shrublike cultivar that grows to only four feet tall with a spread of six to eight feet wide.


Naturalist Augustus Fendler first identified the species. During an expedition to the New Mexico area in 1846, he brought the tree back to Missouri. The tree was named after the Latin ‘concolor,’ which refers to the fact that the needles are the same color on both the top and bottom.

The tree has little value as a lumber product, but is nevertheless well-loved. Another naturalist, Donald Peattie, first recognized the utility of this species. in 1953 he wrote, “Rather does the future of this tree lie in its value as an ornamental.”

Today, of course, we know he was right. The white fir is a favorite in urban landscaping that enhances the site no matter the season.

The post White Fir first appeared on Tree Topics.

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Watch out for Hidden Ambrosia Beetles

What do you do as soon as a warm spring day arrives? Get outside of course! But you’re not the only one anxious for temperatures to rise. Many overwintering insects are just waiting for warmer weather so that they can wake up. With the spring season now upon us, one tree-dwelling denizen that’s important to watch out for is ambrosia beetles.

ambrosia beetles

Ambrosia beetles are actually a group of insects including several different species. They live their lives inside of trees. However, unlike bark beetles that inhabit the outer layers of a tree, ambrosia beetles burrow deep into the tree. They carry with them a fungus, called ambrosia fungi, that is rubbed off and deposited in the tree as the beetles tunnel. The larvae and adult females depend on this fungus as a food source. Trees can contain from one to hundreds of individual beetles.

Bark beetles are already known as some of the most damaging insect pests of trees. The way they create galleries inside trees prevents the flow of water and nutrients. Ambrosia beetles add insult to injury with the fungi that they introduce. In addition to the boring damage caused by these pests, the fungi clog the infested tree’s vascular tissue causing the tree to decline.

Signs of Infestation

Ambrosia beetles are tiny so it can be difficult to know if they’re in your trees. There is one sign that is hard to miss. Small, toothpick-like sticks can be seen protruding from the tree trunk. As the beetles tunnel, they push sawdust out through their entry hole. This sawdust clings together forming these “toothpicks.” The strands are fragile and break off in wind or rain leaving only pencil-lead sized holes. A pile of sawdust near the base is further evidence of this type of internal insect activity.

ambrosia beetle frass
Toothpick-like frass resulting from an ambrosia beetle infestation.

At-Risk Trees

Most ambrosia beetles prefer dead and dying trees though several exotic species attack healthy trees. The insects have a seemingly uncanny ability to find and attack trees that are already under stress. In fact, though, trees under stress produce ethanol, which in turn attracts the beetles. Stressed trees produce ethanol as an emergency energy source. While helpful for the survival of a tree, the ethanol is also a cue for ambrosia beetles looking for a host.

Major weather events like winter storms, droughts or flooding often result in widespread tree damage. When this occurs, beetle populations can quickly rise and establish the area as an ambrosia beetle habitat.

In addition to these natural factors, other stressors can leave trees prone to attack. Improper irrigation, either too much or too little watering, can stress trees. Compacted soil from construction or even just foot traffic can also put trees under unnecessary stress. Lastly, young and newly planted trees can experience transplant shock. Any of these situations increase the likelihood of an ambrosia beetle infestation. As such, reduce the stress on your trees and keep them healthy, and you’ll decrease the chance of infestation. Address compacted soil and any nutrient deficiencies and take steps to encourage healthy root growth. This will relieve stress on older trees and encourage a healthy head start for newly planted trees.

The post Watch out for Hidden Ambrosia Beetles first appeared on Tree Topics.

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DIY Dads, Beware: Red’s Tree Trimming and Removal Guide

DIY Dads, beware – planning to trim or remove a tree in your yard can be quite a tall task! While these two items on your to-do list may seem like they would fit in the same category, they are actually very different objectives with very different levels of responsibility. 

With 40 years of experience under our belt, however, the team at Red’s Tree Service knows the ins and outs of tree trimming and removal like the back of our hand. If you’ve been gearing up to tackle that magnolia or poplar in your yard, be sure to check out the guide below first – you may just end up calling Red’s Tree Service instead!

All About Tree Trimming

When it comes to trimming trees, there is a lot to take into consideration. The process may not be as cut and dry as you might think. 

Knowing When to Trim

There are three main reasons you might want to trim the tree in your yard: aesthetic, safety, and tree health. 

Aesthetic: You may be more inclined to use the familiar term “pruning” when it comes to the aesthetic side of tree trimming, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Selective pruning is often used to improve the appearance of the trees in your yard, much the same as trimming a bush or pulling back the weeds. This process helps influence the tree’s growth over time and can reduce the tree’s fullness for a more aesthetically pleasing front, back, or side-yard accent. 

Safety: A limb left hanging over your roof is likely the most obvious candidate for trimming. That’s because wind, rain, and winter weather can all cause unsecured limbs to fall, which could cause damage to your home or even injure people nearby. Stray limbs can also block street signs, obstruct driveways, or overhang public roads. While aesthetics are the “fun” reason to trim trees, safety is the main and most important reason and should be prioritized when considering which limbs to remove. 

Tree Health: If aesthetics and safety are the most talked-about reasons to prune, tree health is the hidden gem of tree trimming. Properly pruned trees may be healthier, more beautiful, and safer – the best bang for your buck if you will. Pruning can help to eliminate dead, diseased, or insect-infested limbs that harm your tree overall, allowing your tree to grow for years to come. 

The Basics of Tree Trimming

Now that you know why you should consider trimming your favorite tree, you may have a series of other questions running through your mind, like…

When is the best time to trim a tree? The best time to trim trees in your yard is during the tree’s dormant season, typically winter. However, the dormant season may depend on the species, so it is important to do your research for the best results.

How often do trees need to be pruned? Trees should be pruned about once per year. This allows for new growth later in the season!

How much does it cost to trim a tree? For a DIY tree-pruning project, you can expect to pay anywhere between $50-$200 dollars depending on the tools you decide to rent. Most people hire a professional team like Red’s Tree Service to take care of the trimming for them, and fortunately, you can contact us for a free estimate!

Safety Measures and Pruning Tips

Tree trimming is no joke. Depending on the size of the tree, the type of tree, and its location, trimming can be a very dangerous task. A good rule of thumb for any tree-related project is, if it requires a chainsaw and a ladder, hire a professional. It is by no means difficult to predict a series of potential wrong turns and drastic injuries when these two tools are mixed together, so it is important not to take the risk if it is not necessary. The same goes for trees that are within ten feet of power lines: don’t take the risk, hire Red’s Tree Service!

If it is safe enough to trim a tree on your own, be sure to prune during the tree’s dormant season and try to prune younger branches if you can. Try to only trim tree branches with V-shaped angles. The branches with U-shaped angles are more important to the tree’s structure. 

DIY Dads, Beware: Red's Tree Trimming and Removal Guide

Tree Removal

Tree removal is a very different game than tree trimming and should be handled with as much caution as possible or left to professionals altogether. Again, the golden rule of tree trimming and removal is that if you need a ladder, you need a professional. 

Removing smaller trees is possible on your own so long as you take an abundance of caution. This is because removing small trees means digging them out of the ground rather than cutting them down. The best course of action is to water the soil around the tree several days before you attempt to remove it to keep the ground pliable and make the job easier. Then, measure how many inches tall the tree is – you’ll want to dig 6 inches deep for every inch high the tree is. Once you’ve dug out the roots, move the tree back and forth until you can wrest it from the ground. 

DIY Dads, Beware: Red's Tree Trimming and Removal Guide

Come On Dad, Just Call Red’s Tree Service!

Although we have an enormous amount of respect for self-serving individuals and do-it-yourself mentalities in dads, moms, grandfathers, aunts, cousins, and particularly scrappy daughters, tree trimming and removal is a professional enterprise. Let Red’s Tree Service take over, and schedule us for a free estimate today! 

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5 Fragrant Shrubs for Your Yard and Garden

Fragrant shrubs for your yard and garden include the majestic honeysuckle

Avoid a barren and boring yard . Knowing which shrubs give off a delightful fragrance will help you plant a yard full of aromatic surprises. gathered the following list of fragrant shrubs to help you balance beauty with aroma when planting in your yard and garden.

1. Jasmine (Jasminum)

Fragrant shrubs for your yard and garden include jasmine

Jasmine is a large deciduous or evergreen vining shrub with a graceful look and an appealing sweet scent.

Sun Requirement – Jasmines need 6 or more hours of daily sun. For species requiring partial shade, they will require 2 to 4 hours of daily sun.
Soil Requirement – Jasmine shrubs need well-drained, moist, and moderately fertile sandy, loamy soil.
Size – Jasmine typically grows to a height of 10 to 15 feet as a tall, semi-vining shrub.
Blooming Season – This species blooms in clusters from spring until mid-fall. The sweet flowers are often cream, white, pink, or yellow.
Fragrance – Jasmine has a floral scent considered rich and sweet.
Hardiness Zone – This species thrives in zone 7 and can sometimes survive in zone 6.

2. Lilac (Syringa)

Fragrant shrubs for your yard and garden include lilac

Lilac is a deciduous shrub with an irregular, rounded outline. The shrub is fast-growing when young but slows considerably with age. Lilac stems are dark gray to brown, and the wood is strong. Leaves on this shrub are dark green to blue-green on top and pale green below.

Sun Requirement – Lilacs need 6 to 8 hours of daily sun. Any less, and they may not bloom.
Soil Requirement – This species grows best in slightly alkaline (6.5 to 7.0 pH), moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
Size – Lilac grows to a height of 8 to15 feet and a spread of 6 to 12 feet at maturity.
Blooming Season – Lilac typically blooms for 2 weeks in mid-spring. However, some varieties bloom in early and late spring.
Fragrance – Lilac is quite different from other species. Its scent is more deeply, and richly floral, similar to rose with subtle hints of vanilla. For those who prefer stronger perfumes, Lilac is a suitable choice.
Hardiness Zone – This species thrives in zones 3 through 7.

3. Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

Fragrant shrubs for your yard and garden include gardenias

Gardenias have glossy evergreen leaves typically arranged opposite each other. The shrub’s tubular flowers are white or yellow and bloom singly or in small clusters. This shrub produces large berry-like fruits with sticky orange pulp.

Sun Requirement – Gardenias need a minimum of four hours of daily sun.
Soil Requirement – This species grows best in acidic (5.0 to 6.0 pH), moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
Size – Gardenias grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide.
Blooming Season – This species blooms in from late spring until mid-fall. Gardenia flowers are known to last several weeks before wilting.
Fragrance – Gardenias produce significantly fragrant flowers that may change scents during the day. The aroma is often described as a spicy, zesty scent, sometimes with coconut or even peach undertones.
Hardiness Zone – Gardenias thrive in zone 6b.

4. Viburnum (Viburnum)

Fragrant shrubs for your yard and garden include viburnum

Viburnums are large-flowering shrubs, with some varieties reaching up to 20 feet. There are both evergreen and deciduous viburnum varieties.

Sun Requirement – Viburnums thrive in full sun but will grow as well in light to partial shade.
Soil Requirement – This species will do well in moderately fertile, moist, and well-drained soil with a 5.6 to 6.6 pH.
Size – Viburnum grows from 3 to 20 feet at maturity.
Blooming Season – Most viburnums flower in spring.
Fragrance – The flower’s scent is sweet and pervasive with clove-like notes.
Hardiness Zone – Viburnum is hardy to zones 2 through 9.

5. Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

Fragrant shrubs for your yard and garden include honeysuckle

Honeysuckle shrubs are deciduous perennials with oval leaves and clusters of tubular flowers at the branch tips.

Sun Requirement – Honeysuckles need 6 to 8 hours of daily sun. Any less, and they may not bloom as much.
Soil Requirement – This species requires organically rich and well-drained soil. It should be moist but not soggy and should be an acidic to moderately alkaline soil ranging from a 5.5 to 8.0 pH.
Size – A honeysuckle vine can reach an astounding 30 feet in height, while other varieties grow to only 10 feet. It can take 10 years for honeysuckle to reach these mature heights.
Blooming Season – Most varieties will bloom in the spring, but some continue to flower all through summer and into early fall.
Fragrance – Honeysuckle is a pungent, almost thick scent, but it’s fruity with hints of honey and citrus.
Hardiness Zone – Honeysuckle is hardy to zones 5 through 9.

Fragrant Shrubs

In this article, you discovered species and planting information about 5 fragrant shrubs to grow in and around your garden and yard.

Planting fragrant shrubs in your yard and garden adds another dimension to the pleasant experiences you are trying to create around your home.

By not planting fragrant shrubs in your yard and garden, you are squandering an opportunity to add diversity, pleasant aromas, and curb appeal to your home.


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5 Flowering Shrubs for Your Marietta Georgia Yard (Zone 7b)

Flowering shrubs hardy to zone 7b are perfect for your marietta georgia yard

Avoid an ugly and bland yard with dying shrubs in Marietta, Georgia. Knowing which flowering shrubs are hardy to zone 7b lets you plant and grow spectacular flowering shrubbery. gathered the following species and planting information about 5 beautiful flowering shrubs for your Marietta, Georgia yard and garden.

1. Azalea (Rhododendron)

Flowering shrubs like azaleas are perfect for your marietta georgia yard

Azalea is the popular name for a group of flowering shrubs in the Rhododendron genus. These shrubs are characterized by the absence of scales on the underside of the thin, soft, and pointed leaves. This shrub typically has terminal blooms – with one flower per stem.

Sun Requirements – Azaleas thrive in full sun (about 4 hours per day) or part shade.
Soil Requirements – This species requires well-drained, acidic soil. You should test the soil regularly and keep it below a 6.0 pH.
Size at Maturity – Some azalea species reach heights of 20 feet or more, dwarf azaleas only grow to 2 or 3 feet tall, while many garden azalea varieties average 4 to 6 feet in height.
Flowers – Azaleas tend to bloom from early February to September.

2. Forsythia (Forsythia)

Flowering shrubs like forsythia are perfect for your marietta georgia yard

Forsythia is a deciduous shrub with stems that start green but turn woody and display a rough gray bark. For most of the year, the shrub remains covered in dense, bright green foliage.

Sun Requirements – This species does best in full sun (about 4 hours per day) or part shade.
Soil Requirements – Forsythia shrubs will adapt to most soils. However, they prefer loose, well-draining soil and do best in soils with a pH ranging from 7.0 to 8.0.
Size at Maturity – The forsythia species grows to a mature height of 8 to 10 feet and a spread of 10 to 12 feet.
Flowers – Forsythia blooms overwhelming amounts of bright yellow flowers in the spring.

3. Rose (Rosa)

Flowering shrubs like rose are perfect for your marietta georgia yard

Roses are upright, climbing, or crawling shrubs. Rose’s stems are typically copiously covered in sharp, protective thorns. The shrub’s foliage is usually feather-formed and sharply toothed.

Sun Requirements – Rose shrubs perform best in full sun (about 4 hours per day).
Soil Requirements – Roses require good drainage and rich, moisture-retentive soil, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.
Size at Maturity – Roses varieties range from miniatures (8 inches tall) to tree-climbing vines that easily reach 50 feet or more.
Flowers – Most roses bloom in springtime, with some varieties flowering again in the fall.

4. Hydrangea (Hydrangea)

Flowering shrubs like hydrangea are perfect for your marietta georgia yard

Hydrangeas are popular as cut flowers and shrubs for the yard because of their oversized, beautiful blooms. The large flower clusters look like a cheerleader’s pom-poms growing on bushes that sometimes grow as tall as trees. The shrubs come in a variety of different colors (often determined by your soil’s mineral content) and shapes.

Sun Requirements – Hydrangeas thrive with morning sun and partial shade later in the day.
Soil Requirements – Most hydrangeas will do best in fertile, well-drained soils that get plenty of moisture. Consider adding compost to enrich poor soil.
Size at Maturity – Some species only grow to about 2 or 3 feet tall and wide, while others can reach 6 feet tall with a 6-foot spread.
Flowers – Most hydrangeas put on their buds in early summer to only bloom in the following spring, summer, and early fall seasons.

5. Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)

Flowering shrubs like tea olive are perfect for your marietta georgia yard

Tea olive is a broadleaf evergreen shrub (strikingly similar to hollies) from the Oleaceae (olive) family and is native to Asia. This plant species blooms extremely fragrant flowers.

Sun Requirements – Tea olive shrubs thrive in full sun (about 6 to 8 hours per day) or part shade.
Soil Requirements – This species requires well-drained, acidic soil.
Size at Maturity – This plant species typically grows to a mature height of 10 to 30 feet
Flowers – Tea olive blossoms appear in spring, continuously blooming heavily through early summer, then flowering intermittently through fall.

Blooming Shrubs

In this article, you discovered essential information about 5 magnificent flowering shrub species hardy to zone 7b.

Knowing which shrubs to plant in your Marietta, Georgia yard will help you grow a thriving yard full of beautiful seasonal flowers.

Haphazardly planting shrubs out of their respective zones will likely end in the species struggling to survive and prevent it from ever flowering.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

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

Analyze Before You Fertilize: Why Soil Analysis is Critical

Healthy soil is the basis for healthy trees and shrubs. But all soils are different. The characteristics of the soil as well as nutrient levels vary from site to site. With this in mind, the best way to fertilize your trees and shrubs is to do so on the basis of a soil analysis.

soil sample

What’s in the Soil?

Soil contains macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as micronutrients like iron and zinc. These nutrients are necessary for plant growth, but are not always present in the soil at appropriate levels. When you purchase over-the-counter fertilizer blends, most do contain the most commonly deficient macronutrients. However, secondary nutrients and micronutrients are often missing from store-bought options despite playing a critical role in growth, photosynthesis, and defense against disease and insect problems.

Iron, for example, is important in photosynthesis, but is quite often deficient in leaf tissue. This may even be the case when there is iron present in the soil because the pH of the soil (acidity or alkalinity) can influence nutrient availability. At high pH values (above neutral 7), iron is unavailable for uptake, whereas at more acidic soil pH (4.5-6.5), it is readily available. Often, an iron deficiency is actually a pH issue, identifiable only by soil analysis.

Beyond nutrients, organic matter in the soil is also important. Naturally, it comes from decomposition of things like plants, roots or or even animals. Its presence improves soil structure, helps with water retention and provides other benefits.

Amending the Soil

Soil management standards specify that there should be a goal in order to fertilize. Common goals are to enhance growth or improve appearance. You can achieve these goals by adding amendments to the soil to meet plant needs, adjust pH issues, or correct nutrient deficiencies. However, you can’t know what your soil needs without first knowing what it already has! Soil analysis helps identify the current make-up of the soil, identifying any deficiencies, specifying the pH level and determining the amount of organic matter present. This analysis ensures fertilization and soil amendments adequately address any issues while also reducing the potential for over-applying nutrients.

If over-the-counter fertilizers are applied in excess, a number of problems can develop. Misapplication can actually harm the soil and result in competition among nutrients for uptake. Further, excess nutrients can be a source of surface and ground water contamination. One well-known issue is associated with phosphorus run-off into fresh water. The excess nutrients promote algae growth that may then result in fish kills. Interestingly, our soil samples find that in most areas there is already ample phosphorus in the soil. Therefore, most Bartlett-developed treatments are phosphorus-free.

soil treatment
For best results, soil treatments should occur after the soil is analyzed.

Not all Fertilizers are Created Equal

Soil nutrient products with a slow-release nitrogen source help ensure nutrients stay in the root zone. This means nutrients are available for plant uptake rather than leaching through the soil into the water table. Further, for best results, the ideal fertilizer will be specific to the soil in question and the plants growing there. A blend based on soil analysis and plant species will result in maximum benefit and minimal environmental impact.

The post Analyze Before You Fertilize: Why Soil Analysis is Critical first appeared on Tree Topics.

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The Importance of Storm Damage Cleanup Services

Residents of New Jersey deal with coastal storms and heavy rain storms each year. Sometimes, they’re worse than others, especially if a hurricane hits the southeast coast of the country. The storm can weaken but travel up the coast to the tri-state area causing damages to landscapes and properties in certain areas.

It’s beneficial to have an emergency storm cleanup service ready by your side if you experience damages to your trees on your property after a storm.

Damaged tree caused by severe storm

Severe Storms Can Cause Dangerous Damage to Trees

If you have trees on your property, they are susceptible to severe storms. Storms that bring heavy winds, rainfall, and thunder can have a negative impact on the trees that are on your land. Branches can be broken and fall down on your property and even your house if the trees are close to it. One of the best things to do if you have tree damage after a storm is to hire a professional tree service to come and clean everything up.

How Can Big Foot Tree Service Help?

At Big Foot Tree Service, we’re in the business of tree care for residents in and around Wayne, NJ. We have several different service areas we cover to ensure that all of our customers feel at peace knowing we can help remove trees off properties after a storm.

Even after a harsh winter, you could end up finding damages to your trees. If this occurs, it’s important to reach out to us for our help.

We’re a tree service company you can trust to have your back when damages happen.

If you’re worried about your trees, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Contact Big Foot Tree Service at 973-885-8000 today or visit us online for more information!

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