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Autumn Color and Tree Health

autumn color

Autumn color is a favorite part of the season. The changing and falling of leaves is also very important to tree survival. The same processes that lead to fall color also enable the dying leaves to return valuable nutrients to the tree.

As leaves fall and decompose over time, nature’s ‘recycling’ begins. In fact, more than half the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that leaves contain return to the tree. Appreciable amounts of magnesium and carbohydrates (sugars) are similarly reclaimed. Only calcium is lost in large quantity when the leaves drop. These processes keep trees alive and growing. The spectacular autumn foliage display is actually just a byproduct.

Dull Autumn Color

Some years the colors of fall are simply awe-inspiring. At other times, just ho-hum. So what gives? What makes autumn color so variable? It all starts with a good spring growing season.  When this is followed by sunny days and mild drought, leaf colors turn brilliantly red and yellow. However, the precise combination of environmental factors required for spectacular foliage does not always occur.  Depending on the growing and weather conditions, autumn trees can range from dramatic to dreary and anywhere in between. It will also vary from one geographic location to another.

Many factors impact autumn’s foliage. Extreme drought and early frosts can injure or kill foliage before the peak of color. Excessive autumn rainfall will slow chlorophyll loss and prolongs leaf retention. In this case, the leaves often succumbs to frost before color even has a chance to develop. Further, cloudy periods also alter the season’s hues, reducing the amount of sugars produced.  Prevailing warm night temperatures (above 45°F) increase sugar movement out of the leaves.

With all the possible variable outcomes, it is a truly a wonder that nature puts on such an amazing show for us!

Premature Coloration

There is obviously an annual cycle of color change. However,  the early appearance of fall color is frequently an indication that a tree is undergoing stress. Root damage from construction activity, excessive or deficient moisture, insect or disease attack, salt accumulation in the root zone, girdling roots and other factors are common tree stressors.

Watch these trees closely for signs of insects and disease. Providing optimal growing conditions can also help aid in recover for stressed trees. Proper irrigation and a layer of organic mulch are a great start. Build on this foundation by maintaining soil fertility with slow release fertilizers and ensuring adequate organic matter is present.

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How to Landscape My Front Yard

landscaping a front yard includes grass shrub and tree selection

Avoid the embarrassment of a poorly landscaped front yard. Knowing how to design and grow a hardy landscape will help you contribute to your neighborhood’s beauty and benefit the surrounding ecosystem. gathered the following information on landscape design, plant, shrub, and tree species to help you assemble a stunning and healthy front yard.

Front Yard Design

You can develop a rough preview of your front yard landscaping using the following:

Draw Your Front Yard – Your scale drawing should include measurements, garden and feature location, tree and shrub location, where you want walkways and driveways, and list any preferred grass, plant, shrub, and tree species.

Site analysis – Have soil tests performed to ensure that your yard contains the appropriate mineral content and pH level to help your selected plant and tree species thrive.

Tip: The most efficient way to test your soil is to send a sample to a Cooperative Extension Service (usually located at or affiliated with your state’s university) or a commercial soil laboratory (search online for commercial soil-testing labs near me).

Hardiness Zone Definition – The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the recognized standard gardeners and growers use to determine which grass, plant, shrub, and tree species are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is defined and segmented by the average annual minimum winter temperature. To define your hardiness zone, use the interactive map at

Prioritize Landscape Needs and Wants – You may “want” to have a lush green lawn with water features, but your neighborhood may require strict water usage policies leaving you “needing” a more water-conscious design.

Inform yourself about any water, land, or species restrictions by looking over your HOA agreement, city website, or municipal codes found at this interactive website

Note: Some cities or municipalities will list preferred and/or banned trees and plants to help avoid planting any invasive or damaging species.

Consider Yard Maintenance Requirements – Each type of landscape you install will require different levels of attention and maintenance. The more trees you install, the more seasonal pruning will be necessary. The more grass you have, the more mowing and trimming you’ll have to do. If you don’t plan on hiring a landscaping and tree service to help you with your yard’s upkeep, you must ask how much work and devotion you are willing to commit to it.

landscaping a front yard includes maintenance to keep it neat and fresh

Determine a Budget – Your ideas for a spectacular front yard will come with a price tag. For each of your yard’s components, you should quote the required material, individual trees and plants, fertilizer, mulch, gravel, concrete, lighting, etc.

Tip: When your front yard design is complete, use it to quote landscapers and tree services installation and eventual maintenance charges.

Identify Patio, Porch, and Sitting Areas – Take the time to map out the area around the home that can be used for lounging, container gardening, etc.

Plant Native Species

When planning your front yard landscaping, include as many native grasses, plants, shrubs, and tree species as possible. Some native species benefits include:

  • Being Low Maintenance
  • Requiring Less Water
  • Attracting Local Pollinators
  • Producing Beautiful Flowers
  • Serving as Food and Shelter for Native Wildlife

Native species are more robust and well-adapted to your environment, lending to a more attractive and engaging landscape.

Best Front Yard Trees

When selecting a tree as your front yard’s center of attention or specimen, consider the species, size at maturity, and hardiness zone. The following are popular front yard and specimen trees:

Serviceberry (Amelanchier) This species reaches 15 to 25 feet high and has a spread of 15 to 25 feet. This tree thrives in zones 2 through 9.

Crabapple (Malus) This fruiting species reaches 6 to 10 feet high and has a spread of 6 to 12 feet. The species thrives in zones 3 through 8.

Chinese Dogwood (Cornus kousa) This beautiful tree species reaches 15 to 25 feet high and has a spread of 25 feet. This tree thrives in zones 3 through 8.

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) This species reaches 15 to 25 feet high and has a spread of 20 feet. This maple variety thrives in zones 5 through 8.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) This stunning species reaches 20 to 30 feet high and has a spread of 25 to 35 feet. Redbud trees thrive in zones 5 through 9.

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) This impressive species reaches 60 to 80 feet high and has a spread of 40 feet. This popular specimen tree thrives in zones 5 through 9.

landscaping a front yard includes selecting tree species

Lemon Trees (Citrus limon) This fruiting species reaches 10 to 20 feet high and has a spread of 8 to 12 feet. This magnificent tree thrives in zones 8 through 11.

Tip: Consult your local nursery or arborist for planting and specific tree variety recommendations. They will also have information regarding potential disease threats and insect infestation warnings.

Front Yard Landscaping

In this article, you discovered information to help you design your front yard landscape and determine which grass, plant, shrub, and tree species to plant.

Planning your front yard landscape will help you visualize the finished product and develop an eco-friendly environment that blends in with your neighbors’ yards while expressing your unique style and taste.

Leaving your front yard as it is (in disarray) will leave you embarrassed and potentially lower your home’s curb appeal and value.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

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

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Japanese Blueberry Tree Problems and Solutions

Japanese blueberry evergreen trees can suffer from disease and infestation

Protect your Japanese blueberry tree from fungus, decline, and death. Knowing some of the more common problems your Elaeocarpus decipiens can go through will help you avoid losing your tree to poor health conditions. gathered the following information to help you identify and quickly treat some of the more frequent problems occurring with the Japanese blueberry species.

What is a Japanese Blueberry Tree?

The Japanese blueberry tree (Elaeocarpus decipiens) is a remarkably beautiful, broad-leaved evergreen tree originating from East Asia. Its compact form, lush appearance, and elegant branching pattern make this tree species a sought-after lawn, garden, or street tree with year-round appeal.

Japanese Blueberry trees grow up to 40 feet with a spread of about 30 feet. This allows tree owners to prune and shape the tree however they want. The tree is a fascinating topiary canvas, allowing growers to be creative and build their yards and gardens the way they like.

Note: This evergreen can be grown as a large shrub or tree.

Japanese Blueberry Tree Problems

When it comes to tree problems, Japanese blueberry trees are exceptionally resilient and disease-resistant. The tree’s troubles are minor, but they still require attention to keep them under control. If you’ve spotted any of the problems listed below, quickly take action, as they can all be solved with the appropriate care and attention.

1. Tree Tops Dying Back

There may be several reasons for this damage. Borers can cause mechanical damage to the trunk shutting off the water and nutrients going to the top. Diseases developing beneath the bark can do the same thing. Because the Japanese blueberry is relatively thin-barked, sunburn or sunscald from intense sunlight can kill the trunk in that location and cause this dieback. Human activities around the tree can cause similar bark damage as well.

Boring Insect Solution: For boring insects, the best treatment is prevention. There is little you can do to save the tree once they’ve infested it. You can protect un-infested trees from borer infestation and damage with an insecticide soil drench once a year and an annual checkup from an arborist or trusted tree service.

Sunburn or Sunscald Solution: Again, the best remedy is prevention. If your Japanese blueberry is thinning out or your pruning activities have exposed areas of the bark, you can use white wraps around the trunk, either paper or plastic, as well as white paint to reflect the sunlight and keep the bark from overheating. Avoid pruning your tree too thin.

Human Damage Solution: Avoid vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic beneath the canopy of your Japanese blueberry. Pruning activities should be done by a professional tree service, arborist, or landscaper (specialized in topiary cutting and care).

2. Chlorosis (Iron Deficiency)

Japanese Blueberry trees are susceptible to chlorosis. This condition occurs when the tree does not get enough iron from the soil. Iron is a mineral required by plants, shrubs, and trees to make chlorophyll. This substance gives leaves their green color and is essential for photosynthesis.

Chlorosis causes a lack of chlorophyll in the tree’s foliage, making it relatively easy to identify. Leaves will begin to lose their green color, turning yellow. Over time, these yellow leaves will fall, and the barren branches left behind will start to die.

Two primary reasons cause Iron deficiency in your Japanese Blueberry trees. The first is a lack of iron in the soil. This, however, is not common. The more likely cause is an inadequate soil pH level.

Japanese Blueberry trees grow best in neutral pH. These trees prefer a soil pH between 6.1 and 7.5. Any higher, and it would be too acidic for the roots to efficiently absorb any Iron from the soil.

Chlorosis Solution: A soil pH test can determine if the pH is the problem. In case it is the pH that is causing the chlorosis issue, the solution is simple. You may have to either increase or decrease your soil’s acidity:

• Use sulfur, compost, or mulch to increase soil acidity
• Apply a material containing a form of lime to decrease soil acidity

Tip: When in doubt about pH testing or adjusting your soil’s acidity, consult your landscaper or arborist on how to proceed.

3. Leaf Rust

Japanese blueberry trees can decline from leaf rust

Leaf Rust is not a lethal affliction and can be easily treated. Leaf rust is caused by the Naohidemyces Vaccinii fungus, this fungal growth results in yellow spots growing on the tree’s foliage. These “spurs” eventually develop into rust-colored blemishes. In addition, leaf rust can stunt your tree’s growth and make it unhealthy if not properly addressed.

Leaf Rust is formed when the fungus grows on the tree’s leaves. For the fungus to develop, it requires a moist environment, and wet leaves are ideal. This is why watering should occur at the soil level around your Japanese Blueberry trees.

Leaf Rust Solution: Once you have identified leaf rust spreading through your tree, you must treat it with an anti-fungal or a fungicide to avoid spreading the fungus any further.

4. Sooty Mold

Sooty mold does not directly harm the tree; this affliction is not too troublesome and can typically be easily resolved. The problem behind sooty mold is that it can make your tree an eye-sore with black patches all over the leaves, and as the black mold accumulates, it blocks sunlight from reaching the leaves and disrupts photosynthesis. Without photosynthesis, the tree will lose its vibrant color and wilt, eventually dying. 

To understand how to fix this affliction, you must first understand what causes sooty mold to form. Sooty mold will only develop on honeydew. Honeydew is a waste product deposited by aphids and other invasive insects that feed on your Japanese blueberry.

A sign that your tree has an aphid problem is the presence of ants trailing up and down the tree, tending to and protecting the honeydew-producing insects. Another sign is bees flying around the leaves for no apparent reason.

Sooty Mold Solution: A quick but temporary solution is to spray your trees with a garden hose, washing away the honeydew and sooty mold buildup.

Neem oil applied to affected areas serves as a natural pesticide, repelling the insects feeding on your tree’s foliage and the ants protecting them.

Ladybugs have a voracious appetite and are extremely effective in eliminating aphids and scale. Ladybugs can be purchased in bulk and released directly on your tree. They will naturally spread throughout your landscape, potentially eliminating the need for any chemical-based pesticide applications.

Japanese Blueberry Tree Care

In this article, you discovered how to identify and treat several commonly occurring problems with your Japanese blueberry trees.

Knowing how to identify tree problems and take swift measures to resolve them will help keep your Japanese blueberry trees flourishing on your property.

Ignoring Japanese blueberry tree problems can quickly lead to severe tree problems, diseases, and infestations that will kill your tree.


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Tree Lightning Protection Systems Safeguard Trees

Lightning strikes millions of trees each year. Though not many trees die immediately, strikes often cause serious structural weakness. This damage increases the risk of branches falling and predisposes the tree to insect and disease infestations. These trees are often a safety hazard and pose risks to nearby property. A lightning protection system can help minimize the potential of a lightning strike to a tree. Lightning protection systems use copper conductors connected to a ground rod to conduct the electrical charge to the earth where the energy is dispersed. They have an excellent record of protecting trees.

What is a Lightning Protection System

Lightning protection systems do not dissipate an electrical charge.  Rather, they offer a way to more safely conduct the strike to ground.  We will install a terminal near the top of the tree and a copper conductor that runs down the trunk to a grounding system.  Regular maintenance ensures the system remains in good working order.  Maintenance consists of annual visual inspections from the ground and a closer, in-tree inspection about every five years or whenever the tree is pruned.  The main elements of the system that need maintenance are: (1) drive fasteners which can be overgrown by the tree, (2) the air terminal which stays at a fixed height while the tree grows upward and (3) conductors which can deteriorate or be severed.

tree lightning protection system maintenance
Tree lightning protection systems need regular maintenance to ensure the drive fasteners, the air terminal and the conductors are in proper working order.

Some people wonder if having a system increases the chance of a lightning striking the tree. Systems do attract lightning, but in a relatively small area. A strike coming down within a 50- to 100-foot radius of a protected tree is likely to be diverted to the tree’s system. This is a positive. The system will help direct the charge into the ground and reduce the potential for damage to the tree.

Why Install Tree Lightning Protection

In addition to protecting trees from damage and even death, a lightning protection system can also be a safety precaution. Struck trees often incur torn bark, damaged branches, and other structural issues. These issues significantly increase the risk of falling branches, which can be hazardous, particularly on properties where people walk and congregate.

What Trees Are Susceptible

Susceptibility to lightning strikes varies by tree species. This is because of differing bark and internal electrical resistance characteristics. Two of the most susceptible are tulip poplar and black locust. Therefore, they are higher priorities for protection. Ash, catalpa, elm, hemlock, maple, oak, pine, and spruce are other species that display a susceptibility to strikes. However, species is not the only factor to consider. The location is also critical.

Large and highly visible trees are often more prone to strikes.  On a property, look for tall and open-grown trees, trees on hilltops or those close to water, and the tallest tree in a group.  Trees that are growing close to buildings may also benefit from a system. These trees can attract lightning which can then ‘side flash.’ This means that the lightning jumps from a tall tree to a more conductive building or structure nearby. Just keep in mind that if you are concerned about lightning strikes to a building, you should install a system specifically on that structure. You cannot count on a tree lightning protection system to protect an adjacent building.

lightning strike to trees
Large trees growing in open areas are a common target for lightning strikes.

When thinking about your trees, protection is also important for high value, memorial or historic trees.  Also consider any trees where people like to congregate. A knowledgeable arborist can provide guidance and information on proper installation of lightning protection systems.

What if Lightning Strikes an Unprotected Tree

Lightning affects every tree differently. Some are immediately shattered while others have no apparent damage. Regardless of what the external damage looks like, it is possible that the tree has suffered internally.  In some cases, trees suffer extreme root damage. Trees with lightning-damaged roots rarely survive.

If damage from a strike is not severe, there are steps you can take to improve the chances of survival.  Stressed trees attract several types of insects. An arborist should monitor for signs of these pests. Understand that it is not uncommon for struck trees to die a month or two after the strike so watch carefully as time progresses. Also, be sure to water damaged trees during droughts and fertilize to improve the growing environment.

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Top 6 Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Portland

Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Portland

When selecting the best fruit trees to grow in Portland, homeowners are opting for more natural-looking landscaping rather than the pristine trimmed grass that has long been a staple in landscaping across the United States. Instead, they’d rather diversify their landscaping by choosing plants and trees that are already local to the environment. The best way that homeowners have done this is by incorporating the natural beauty and bounty of Oregon’s fruit trees. Even adding one or two fruit trees to the front yard, back yard, or side yard can boost the aesthetic of the home easily, as well as provide fruits for the homeowner and their family to enjoy. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, simply adding a few trees to the landscaping surrounding a home can boost the home’s value by up to 15%. Additionally, they state that 5 years after planting a tree on the west side of the home, homeowners can expect to see their energy costs lower by about 3%. 

Not only do fruit trees provide a comfortable and warming ambiance to the outdoor spaces surrounding the home, but they are also very beneficial to the environment. The Arbor Day Foundation states that when trees are properly planted around a building, air conditioning needs can be lowered by 30%. It also saves money in the long run with an expected savings of up to 50% on heating and energy costs. Planting trees along the home is also a great way to prevent erosion and runoff. This is mainly due to the fact that trees improve water quality, which in turn helps deter erosion and lessen water runoff. 

Many homeowners wish to have more wildlife visit their yards, and fruit trees are the perfect attractant. A plethora of bird species, deer, bears, elk, and even moose love the opportunity to have a deliciously sweet meal. Wildlife in Portland will also utilize the nuts, buds, sap, rotten fruit, and bark as a source of nutrition when preparing for the winter months. Those who love wildlife will be thrilled to see the diversity in animals that choose to frequent their fruit trees. 

It’s easy to see how beneficial planting fruit trees are when looking at their economic and environmental benefits. The hardest part is choosing which fruit trees to plant, and which fruit trees will succeed in bearing fruit in your specific location. Our main goal at Urban Forest Pro is to provide all our clients with all the information our ISA Certified Arborists have to offer in the Portland area. Our high-quality tree services have made us one of the best with over 15 years of experience. Therefore we have compiled a list of the top six fruit trees to plant in Portland. Here are our picks!

6 Fruit Trees That Thrive in Portland, Oregon

When choosing fruit trees to add to a home’s landscaping, it’s important to choose fruit trees that will blossom in Portland’s unique climate. Fortunately, there are many types of fruits with varieties that flourish in Portland’s weather year-round. 

1. Apple Trees

Best Fruit Trees to Plant in Portland

Apple trees are one of the best fruit trees to grow in Portland. Many varieties of apple trees thrive in wet and mild climates, which makes Portland perfect. In fact, over 125 million pounds of apples are harvested every year in Oregon, mainly due to the perfect climate. There are over 2,500 varieties of apple trees to choose from, and most of them thrive in Portland’s climate. The best apple varieties to grow in Portland are:

  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp
  • Gala
  • Braeburn
  • Granny Smith
  • Many More

More often than not, homeowners only choose to incorporate two or three apple trees into their landscaping. This is because apple trees produce fruit in high quantities. However, compared to other fruit trees, apple trees are relatively easy to maintain. Yearly pruning will keep the tree in great health as well as ensure they are productive in producing quality fruits. Many homeowners love the ability to simply pick a few apples out of their own yard for a quick treat, to make a delicious dessert, or even a good cup of cider.

Apple trees flower in the spring and start to produce fruits by summer. The perfect time to pick apples is when they are ripe which can be anywhere from late summer to late fall, depending upon the individual tree and the weather conditions that year. 

2. Peach Trees

Peach trees are one of the most aesthetically pleasing trees to choose from for landscaping in Portland, which makes them one of the best fruit trees to grow in Portland. Their distinctly bright green leaves accompanied by rich reds and oranges will brightenBest Peach Trees to Grown in Portland, OR any yard, and bring warmth to any home. 

Many believe that peach trees need to heat and humidity of the south to produce sweet and juicy peaches. However, peaches are a very diverse type of tree and can thrive in many different places, including Portland. Peach trees are a little more difficult to maintain than apple trees, however, they are self-pollinating trees, meaning there only needs to be one tree to produce fruit. The best varieties of peach trees to grow in Portland are:

  • Avalon Pride
  • Frost
  • Salish Summer

Peaches in Portland are typically ready for harvest in July, as they flower in the spring and produce fruit quicker than apple trees do. These varieties of peaches are less susceptible to peach leaf curl, which is why they are recommended, especially for beginners. Peach leaf curl is a type of disease that trees can develop, which is caused by a specific type of fungus. This disease can cause the leaves to curl and can affect the integrity of the fruit. That is why it is important for Portland homeowners to choose peach tree varieties that are resistant to peach leaf curl. 

3. Cherry Trees

Best Cherry Trees to Grow in PortlandPortland, and the rest of the Pacific North West, are well known for their every lasting supply of cherries. In fact, the Pacific North West is one of the biggest producers and exporters of cherries in the entire world. Therefore, it’s safe to say that cherry trees not only can survive in Portland, but they almost always thrive with proper care.  With over 1,000 varieties of edible cherry trees to pick from, it’s easy to see why they are one of the best fruit trees to grow in the Pacific North West. 

Cherry trees require little to no maintenance and offer the widest variety of flavors and colors. Homeowners who love tart cherries can plant types of cherry trees such as:

  • Chokecherries
  • Morello
  • Montmorency
  • Early Richmond
  • Balaton
  • Many More

Homeowners who wish to plant sweet cherry trees can choose from varieties such as:

  • Bing
  • Lambert
  • Sweetheart
  • Tulare
  • Rainier
  • Many More

Cherry trees do not pollinate themselves, therefore homeowners will need to plant two or three trees to ensure there is an adequate and productive bounty every year. They flower in the spring and produce their fruit a lot quicker than other fruit trees. Typically, the perfect picking season for cherries starts in early June and extends until late August. 

4. Pear Trees

It’s hard to believe for those who do not live in Oregon, but the state fruit is actually the pear! In fact, around 84% of the pearsBest Pear Trees to Grow in Portland grown in the United States are produced in Oregon. The rich volcanic soil, warm days, and cool nights accompanied by plenty of water are the perfect climate and environment for pear trees to grow and be productive. 

Pear trees are one of the earliest fruit trees to flower, as they begin to flower in late February until around the middle of April. However, they are also one of the latest fruits to ripen as they do not do so until August or September. They are also low-maintenance fruit trees, meaning they only need to be pruned around once a year. 

Pear trees are self-pollinating, however, it is recommended that more than one pear tree be planted. This is to increase the chances of pollination, which will make the tree produce more fruit. The best varieties of pear trees to plant in Portland are:

  • Anjou
  • Bartlett
  • Bosc
  • Concorde
  • Many More

5. Plum Trees

Best Plum Trees to Plant in Portland, ORPlums are a very versatile fruit, and that is why so many Portland homeowners want to plant them in their yards. With over 400 varieties to choose from, a myriad of pastries and jams can be made with the fruit, and they make for the perfect on-the-go snack. Additionally, many homeowners love the robust colors that plums provide as they develop and begin to ripen on the tree. Deep purples accompanied by vibrant green leaves will boost the aesthetic of any home. 

Plum trees are relatively easy to maintain, and they are extremely hardy trees. Unlike the other types of fruit trees previously mentioned, plum trees are brilliantly resistant to almost all insects and every disease. This makes it the perfect fruit tree for first-timers, as well as homeowners who want fruit trees that are little to no maintenance. 

The best varieties of plum trees to plant in Portland are:

  • Italian Prunes
  • Empress
  • Santa Rosa
  • Shiro
  • Many More

6. Crabapple Trees

Crabapple tree fruit is a fruit that is seldom talked about. Out of all the types of crabapple trees, the pacific crabapple is the onlyBest Crabapple Trees to Grow in Portland, OR variety that is native to the Pacific North West. This small tree often looks like a shrub and produces oblong, round, and very tart fruit. 

Crabapple trees are not for every homeowner. Those who wish to invite all local birds and wildlife into their yard are sure to attract a vast array when they have a crabapple tree present in their yards. Birds love to feast on crabapple fruits, as they provide a vast amount of nutrients.  If a homeowner does not want an active bird population in their yard, they will want to refrain from planting a pacific crabapple tree. 

Many homeowners choose to let the animals feast on the crabapple tree fruit. However, there are plenty of delicious things to make for human consumption. Crabapple pie, jam, and tarts are all a favorite of those who enjoy the unique taste of crabapples. Crabapple trees typically begin to fruit in the summer and are ripe by the fall, but the best time to harvest them is during winter. The freezing temperatures make the crabapple tree fruit softer and sweeter, which is perfect for cooking with them. 

Fruit Tree Planting in Oregon

When should I plant fruit trees in Oregon? 

Fruit trees, just like other trees, go through stages of dormancy in the colder months. In fact, all fruit trees in the Pacific North West go dormant when the weather changes from fall to winter. When a tree is dormant, it loses its leaves and begins to conserve energy to make it through the winter months without dying off. Therefore, it is best to plant trees when they are dormant.

The perfect time of year to plant fruit trees is in the early spring, while they are still dormant. This will allow them to transfer and easily settle into their new environment before they start to pollinate and produce fruit. The tree’s roots will have time to spread out and the spring weather will allow them to do this easily as the ground will not be frozen anymore. This will allow the fruit tree to start photosynthesis without any stressors like frigid weather, dry weather, or extreme heat. 

If you are considering planting a fruit tree in Portland, Oregon, or need help with a current fruit tree on your property, we offer a number of services for our customers to help maintain and select trees.

Our Portland Fruit Tree Maintenance Reviews

“My trees are so happy! The arborists at Urban Forest Pro were knowledgeable, skilled, friendly, and efficient. I recently purchased a property with an old apple tree, large cedars, and some shrubs badly in need of pruning. One of my goals is to help these trees outlive me and I’m pretty confident that the work Urban Forest Pro did has set them on that course.The workers also performed a squirrel rescue! After their nest was disturbed, one of the guys found a baby squirrel hiding under my siding. He bravely and gently pulled it out by its tail and sent it scrambling on its way back up the cedar. Thank you for that act of kindness! Urban Forest Pro did a great job and I will definitely use them for my tree work in the future. Colette, SE Portland”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 Rating from Colette DeWitt on Google

“Urban Forest Pro is made up of wonderful folks…from the office greeters to the worker bees doing the tree work. Scaling up my massive false pear was no small feat. The crew not only trimmed her up beautifully but hauled away the evidence, down to the last leaf. Careful, thoughtful and efficient – I love those guys!!”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 Rating from Sharon Gaglia on Google

“The “Pros” at Urban Forest Pro were magnificent! This is our second year with this group, and everybody is fantastic. The home team schedules us in automatically, the crew who comes to prune our bartlett and asian pear trees are knowledgable and precise, and we’ve had the highest yield with our trees since Urban Forest Pro took over. I tell all of my friends about you guys, you’re the BEST!”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 Rating from Richard McConnell on Google

Find more of our reviews on Google here. We have a 4.8-star rating and 196+ reviews.

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How to Properly Care for Fruit Trees

Trees are beneficial in so many ways. One of the most direct ways we see their benefits is when they bear us fruit to eat. You not only save a little money by producing food, but there’s nothing tastier than produce fresh from your backyard.

Let’s take a look at some of the keys to caring for a fruit tree.

If you’re looking to plant a new tree, spring is the ideal time, so as of the writing of this blog, you may want to be a little patient. Planting them in spring gives your tree time to establish itself before the winter arrives.

Watering Fruit Treesfruit tree care

While you can water the tree less often when it has an established root system, early on make sure you provide water anytime you see the top couple inches of the surrounding soil is dry. We usually get a lot of help with rain here maintaining fruit trees in Portland, but you need to be extra vigilant in the summer months when we can go through some dry spells.

A juicy fruit crop will depend on regular watering, which means deep soaking. Providing mulch around the base of your tree will help retain moisture as well.

How much watering do you need to do? The water needs to reach about 18 inches below the surface around the drip line (where the branches end). So, shoot for about 30 to 45 minutes of watering, 2 to 3 times a month during growing season, taking into account how much rainfall we are getting.

Pruning Fruit Trees

For the first three years or so, your fruit tree needs to develop structurally. As it matures and you start to see fruit, pruning is all about striking a balance between encouraging fruit development and maintaining the structural integrity of the tree itself.

The optimal time to prune your deciduous fruit trees is in the winter when it’s dormant, which makes it less prone to stress. This should be done annually.

Fertilizing Fruit Trees

How you fertilize your fruit tree largely depends on what fruit it’s bearing. However, just before the buds break on your tree is the best time to fertilize. The amount of fertilizer and frequency of application depends on what tree you’re dealing with. Don’t overdo it, as excess fertilizer can stress your tree.

You can start by locating the previous year’s growth rings on the branches. Measure from that spot to the end of the branch, doing so on several different branches. Take the average length you come up with and compare it to the target growth for the species. The amount of fertilizer, if any, that will be applied depends on the annual growth and species.

This article from Colorado State University provides charts that help calculate the amount of fertilizer you need for your particular tree. If you prefer some personalized attention to your tree care needs or need help selecting the best fruit trees to grow in Portland, give us a call today, we’d be happy to help.

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Organic Pest Control for Your Fruit Trees

Apple tree

Do your fruit trees have holey leaves with discolored patches? Do you notice insect exit holes on fruit? If so, there’s a good chance your fruit trees are battling a pest invasion. Worms, squirrels, moths, and other pests can damage fruit trees and destroy crops.

While many homeowners resort to pesticide sprays for preventing/fighting fruit tree pest infestations, we do not recommend this approach. Pesticides kill multiple species, including important pollinators such as bees. They poison our natural resources while putting your family’s health at risk. Pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other health problems. For all these reasons, many Portlanders are prioritizing organic pest control solutions. Yes, it is possible to enjoy delicious, homegrown fruit without spraying pesticides.

Portland Certified Arborists’ Tips on Organic Pest Control for Fruit Trees
Get in contact with an arborist who specializes in diseases and pests. Urban Forest Pro’s arborists can recommend earth-friendly solutions for organic pest control, such as barriers around the base of trees to prevent squirrel entry. In our experience, the best squirrel prevention devices look like an upside down bowl; however, keep in mind that they will not work if squirrels can jump to the tree from a nearby fence or tree. Metallic streamers and hanging CDs can also deter squirrels, but they must be taken down after harvest season. Otherwise, the squirrels will become accustomed to these shiny objects, and their deterrence value will evaporate.
• Prune your fruit trees yearly. Annual Portland tree pruning is ideal. Trimming away dead wood prompts the growth of healthy new tissue and buds, while also decreasing the amount of food available for pests. Moreover, pruning increases light penetration through the tree’s canopy. The extra sunlight minimizes pest proliferation. Our arborists can expertly prune your fruit trees for a reasonable price.
• Keep the earth below fruit trees tidy. Rake regularly to remove leaves, which can harbor leaf-borne diseases.
Connect with Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP). This unique Portland non-profit organization is dedicated to increasing access to healthy food. They gather fruit that would otherwise rot and go wasted, and distribute it to those in need. PFTP also has knowledgeable volunteers who are educated on the best pesticide-free ways to grow great fruit. Finally, PFTP will prune your tree for a share of the fruit. Some of Urban Forest Pro’s ISA-certified arborists teach pruning classes for Portland Fruit Tree Project.

Each pest will require its own management approach, so identifying pests is a first step. For identification assistance and recommendations on how to eliminate problematic pests, call us. Our arborists have decades of experience with fruit trees in the Portland area. They can suggest the most effective approach for pests in your fruit trees.

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Why You Should Remove Leaves and Debris From Your Yard

Raking leavesIt’s that time of year again. Fall is right around the corner. Thankfully there will be some pretty leaves to look at on the trees. Oh wait– they’re falling off the trees. Now they’re on the ground. Your lawn is covered in them. Maybe the kids want to jump in them. Might the wind blow them all away? Or is it time to rake and mow?

Potential Mold Problems

Why is it important to remove fall leaves and debris from your yard? Well, if you leave that stuff on your lawn, guess what could form? Mold! Do you want a moldy lawn that’s ruined for next year? No, you do not.

Ensuring Your Grass Can “Breathe”

If you choose to not rake up and remove the leaves on your lawn, problems like snow mold and brown patch could happen. Meanwhile, your grass won’t be able to “breathe” as the layer of leaves blocks both water and air flow. The more matted down the lawn gets, thanks to heavy, wet, moldy leaves, the harder it is for grass blades to pop up in the spring. Furthermore, clumps of old leaves on the lawn invite pests and disease.

It’s Good For Your Soil

It’s a good idea to rake leaves because this helps aerate the lawn and soil. Think of it as a refreshing thing to do– kind of like running a comb through dirty hair. You can also use your lawn mower to shred leaves — and when the leaves are cut up into tiny little pieces, they’ll serve as free fertilizer for your lawn.

Tree services can be difficult to take care of when you have so many Fall chores to get done. Having Big Foot Tree Service come out to take care of tree and stump removal will allow you to eliminate any damages that your trees may cause.

If you have any questions about leaves and trees, contact New Jersey’s Big Foot Tree Service today at 973-885-8000.

The post Why You Should Remove Leaves and Debris From Your Yard appeared first on Big Foot Tree Service.

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Top Wood Boring Insects That Will Harm Your Trees

Wood-boring insects are among the most destructive pests of trees and shrubs. They can tunnel and feed under the bark in living wood, destroying important tissues. This causes girdling, branch dieback, structural weakness, and decline and eventual death of the tree. At Red’s Tree Service, we want to help you protect your trees from any critters that may pose a threat. To help you out, let’s take a look at common insects that may cause damage to your property’s greenery. 

Gypsy Moth 

The exotic gypsy moth is one of the most notorious pests of hardwood trees in the Eastern United States. The gypsy moth larvae have damaged nearly a million or more forested acres each year. The insect lays visible buff-colored egg masses as leaves emerge in the spring. These masses hatch into hungry larvae that quickly defoliate trees. Several deflorations can frequently kill trees under stress.

Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer is a wood-boring beetle discovered in Michigan in 2002. This insect is known for killing millions of ash trees annually and forcing regional quarantines on exporting firewood and tree nursery stock in several states. This ash borer could potentially decimate arboricultural ash plantings, and natural ash stands in the eastern United States. The larvae of this borer feed on the cambial bark. These S-shaped feeding groups will kill limbs and can ultimately girdle the tree.

This insect has several common symptoms in trees. You may see cracks on the canopy’s main branches in the early stages. As the infestation develops, you’ll find thin, 2-5-inch vertical slits in the bark and D-shaped holes in the bark, and the canopy will begin to thin.

Locust Borer

The locust borer can be found anywhere black locust trees are found. Black locusts are native to many eastern and southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

One indicator of a locust borer infestation is a swell on the trunk or a branch that looks like a knot. Other symptoms include:

  • Several broken branches.
  • Thinness in the top part of the tree.
  • Exit holes in the bark.
  • Sawdust at the base of the trunk.
Top Wood Boring Insects That Will Harm Your Trees

Longhorn Beetles

found around the world. One example is the invasive Asian longhorned beetle, which has destroyed trees in isolated populations in eastern states like Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio that have been subject to eradication. Other species like the red oak, linden, and redheaded ash borers are native to the United States. Longhorned beetles have a few common symptoms, including discolored leaves, sawdust at the base of the tree or on branches, and round holes throughout the tree’s trunk.

A variety of trees are susceptible to longhorned beetles, which generally colonize only severely stressed trees. Examples include oak, linden, maple, poplar, willow, elm, and ash.

Elm Bark Beetle

The native elm bark beetle, also known as the European elm bark beetle, is critical for the overland spread of Dutch elm disease (DED) and is worthy of being included in this “worst” list. This beetle does not harm a tree with its boring but by transporting a deadly tree disease.

The DED fungus is transmitted to healthy trees in two ways: First, this bark beetle sends spores from diseased to healthy trees. Secondly, root grafting can also spread the disease when elms are tightly spaced. None of the native North American elms are immune to DED but the American elm is especially susceptible.

Tent Caterpillars

Tent caterpillars are typically first seen in the spring in eastern U.S. forests. However, they can be found anywhere with plenty of greenery! Two common types are the eastern tent caterpillar and forest tent caterpillars. The eastern tent caterpillar makes its nest in the fork of branches. The forest tent caterpillar builds no tent but is the most destructive of the two. The common territory of tent caterpillars is wild cherry but oaks, maples, and many other shade and forest trees are attacked. The forest tent caterpillar can strip extensive stands of trees of all leaves. The attacked tree’s growth can be severely affected by this.

There are a few of the most common types of wood-boring insects that may threaten the health of your trees. When you need to inspect for pests, it helps to have the right experts to help you out. Red’s Tree Service has the experience and expertise to keep your trees and shrubs healthy and critter-free.

Top Wood Boring Insects That Will Harm Your Trees

Give your property the best with Red’s Tree Service

With Red’s Tree Service’s all-inclusive commercial tree service, your property will be safe from any potential threats. No matter what your trees and shrubs need to stay healthy and vibrant, our commercial tree service covers everything you need. 

With over forty years of experience, our family-owned and operated tree service delivers you the best results. We have the tools, experience, and equipment to take care of your trees and leave your yard safe, healthy, and beautiful for years to come. Contact Red’s Tree Service in Memphis, Collierville, and the Mid-South area for your free estimate today!

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Biocontrol: Leveraging Nature’s Best Defenses

Biocontrol, or biological control, might sounds like scary science fiction, but quite the opposite is true. It’s not science fiction, it’s just good science! Biocontrol relies on the use of living organisms to help manage damaging pest populations. In effect, it uses nature’s best defenses to protect against insect invaders that harm trees and shrubs.

Biocontrol uses natural enemies as a form of treatment. Natural enemies are organisms that kill, decrease the reproductive potential of, or otherwise reduce the numbers of another organism. Predators, parasitoids, and pathogens are all natural enemy groups that could be included in landscape biocontrol efforts as part of a comprehensive plant health care program.

Introducing New Species to Manage Exotic Pests

Classical biological control focuses on the management of exotic pests. When pests are introduced to a new geography, they often leave behind naturally occurring enemies. These enemies would have otherwise kept the pest in check in their native range, but are no longer present. Researchers sometimes identify the natural enemies from the pest’s home range and introduce them into the new area to assist with control. Some intentional introductions have been successful while others have resulted in further negative environmental side effects.

Increasing Populations of Existing Beneficial Organisms

When natural enemies of a certain pest are already present in an area, releasing additional ‘enemies’ can be highly effective in pest management. This is called augmentation biological control. Some common examples include the release of lacewing larvae, lady beetles and predatory mites, which are known to provide pest suppression.

releasing predatory mites
ladybug release

For this method to be effective, in-depth knowledge of the pest and its natural enemies is paramount. There must be an understanding of which enemy is appropriate for a given pest and environment. Careful monitoring of a landscape helps ensure natural enemies are released at an appropriate and effective time. Sometimes, repeatedly introducing small numbers of a natural enemy is better to boost pest regulation throughout the season. Alternatively, releasing a large number at one time may rapidly reduce a pest outbreak.

Creating Habitats that are Favorable for Natural Enemies

fiery searcher beetle
The fiery searcher beetle is native to most of North America and is a natural enemy of many caterpillars and other insect pests. Conservation biocontrol seeks to preserve insects like this.

While releasing natural enemies into a habitat provides additional control, it’s important to remember that these insects already exist within a landscape! Unfortunately, suburban landscapes may not be as conducive to these beneficial organisms. Conservation biological control seeks to preserve these insects and naturally encourage population growth. When natural enemies thrive, they are better able to continuously regulate pest populations.

The conservation of natural enemies involves adopting practices that support their existence while avoiding practices that would be considered harmful. Diverse landscapes that have a variety of flowering resources and vegetation layers that include ground cover, shrubs, understory and overstory trees are more likely to support a wider range of natural enemies. Other treatments used in the landscape should also be considered. Selective products targeted at specific pests should be used in place of those that are broad-spectrum.

Biocontrol and Integrated Pest Management

Biological control is one tool within an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for managing insects and diseases that impact woody plants. This type of sustainable care typically involves more than biocontrol. Practices including proper irrigation and mulching as well as the responsible use of other treatments are also important. This approach is a joint effort where an arborist works closely with the property owner so that problems can be identified early and treatments timed appropriately.

The post Biocontrol: Leveraging Nature’s Best Defenses appeared first on Tree Topics.

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