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Mulching in Winter

mulching junipers

Baby it’s getting cold outside! You’re heading in to cozy up by the fire, but your trees are not! In most managed landscapes, those trees won’t even have the benefit of a layer of fallen leaves to act as a winter coat protecting the soil.  With that in mind, winter is a good time to apply a fresh layer of mulch.

Why Mulching in Winter is Important

Mulch is highly effective practice for maintaining tree and shrub health with many benefits. During winter, mulch helps conserve soil moisture and moderate the soil temperature. Above all, this maintains a healthy environment for the root system. Further, it protects plants from fluctuating temperatures and the alternating freezing and thawing cycles common this time of year.

What Makes Good Mulch

Fresh woodchips, bark nuggets and composed leaves or pine needles make a desirable mix for mulching. Be careful to avoid woodchips from certain species that are allelopathic like redwood or walnut. Allelopathic plants produce biochemicals that are detrimental to other plants. There are some other important considerations. Do not mulch trees susceptible to insects that are attracted to fresh wounds with chips from the same species. Examples include pines in areas infested with pine bark beetles and oaks in areas with oak wilt. Also steer clear of any mixtures that contain plastic, stone, sawdust or grass clippings.

Tips for Applying Mulch

The best time to apply winter mulch is after the first hard freeze. When applying, mulch from near the trunk to the dripline. To clarify, this is the outermost edge of the tree’s canopy where water would drip from the tree onto the ground. If your mulch bed cannot be that large, make it as close as possible! Keep in mind that there is no requirement that the bed be round or symmetrical.  The mulch layer should be between two and four inches depending on the species. As old mulch decomposes, add more to maintain that depth. Near the trunk, it should taper down to a thin layer. Moreover, piling it against the trunk can actually be a big issue. This common practice is sometimes called volcano mulching and can harm trees.

Ultimately, mulching is one of the most beneficial, and simplest, things you can do for your trees and shrubs.

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Care for Conifers

It’s the time of year for conifers to shine! Most trees have lost their leaves by now so there’s nothing like a conifer for landscape color in late autumn and winter. Conifers are a favorite for the many benefits they provide. These trees are great for year-round screening, act as windbreaks and serve as ideal focal trees. Proper conifer care can help prevent decline in these majestic trees.

What is a Conifer?

Trees of this classification have needle-like or scale-like foliage. Common examples include spruce, pine, fir, cedar and hemlock. There are a few species that lose their leaves (needles) such as larch and dawn redwood. However, most do retain foliage. With that in mind, conifers are not scientifically classed by needle retention or being “evergreen,” but rather by how they fruit. Conifer means “cone bearer” and these trees reproduce by forming a cone that contains seeds. That means all conifers have cones. This includes some surprises. For example, the small blue ‘berries’ on junipers are actually reproductive cones.

Conifer cones come in many different forms and colors.

conifer cone
conifer cone cypress
conifer cone monterey pine
conifer cone juniper
conifer cone fir
conifer cone

Why Conifer Care is Important

We have seen conifers experiencing many issues that impact health, vigor, and resilience. While isolating a single cause is challenging, climate change and soil issues appear to be major contributors. Weather patterns have become less consistent and extreme weather events such as prolonged drought or excessive rainfall are becoming more common. Further, hardiness zones have changed. That means trees previously planted are now living in zones to which they are no longer suited. For example, Colorado blue spruce is ideally planted in zone 3. However, for many years these trees were planted in almost all of the northern United States, which is now in zone 5 or 6. This puts undue stress on trees, making  them more vulnerable to diseases, insect pests and other issues.

Common Conifer Problems

Needlecast diseases are a widespread concern for conifers. Caused by fungi, these diseases result in browning of foliage and needle drop as the name implies. Keep in mind that some browning and loss of needles is normal  on conifers. When needlecast is present, depending on the lifecycle of the specific disease, discoloration and needle loss symptoms may first appear on the current year’s growth (at the branch tips) or on older needles (while growth at the tips remains green). Other common diseases include tip blights such as Diplodia tip blight as well as canker and root rot diseases.

Insect infestations can also negatively impact conifers. A number of caterpillar and sawfly species commonly feed on conifer foliage. Sucking insects (aphids, scales, mites) that feed on chlorophyll and other plant nutrients also cause damage if populations are allowed to build unchecked.

As with all trees, planting and soil conditions are important components for robust growth. Well-rounded conifer care will always take into consideration the long-standing rule of planting: the right tree in the right place.

Maintaining the Health of Conifers

The first step in conifer care is to address any site and soil issues. A soil test is a good start.  This will identify deficient nutrients as well as any problems with the pH level or the amount of organic matter present. You should also apply a light layer of mulch to protect the roots and promote a healthy soil environment.

Monitor conifers frequently for indications of insects and disease. Early intervention is particularly critical when needlecast diseases and certain pests are present. Preventative treatments for wood-boring insects may be necessary during outbreaks or when environmental stress (like drought) is present.


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Why Is Tree Stump Removal Necessary?

Removing a tree from your yard is one thing, but removing the stump is another altogether. Although some smaller trees can be removed root and stem, most tree roots are too large to pull out alongside the tree, making cutting at the stump the safest and most efficient option. 

But now that you’ve removed the tree in your yard, removing the stump is the next logical step, and we’re here to help. If you’re wondering why tree removal is necessary, keep reading to hear what our experts at Red’s Tree Service have to say about the topic!


One of the biggest reasons to remove a tree stump following a tree removal is to keep your family and yard safe. Depending on how high the tree stump is, it could prove to be a hazard for anyone walking around or playing in the yard. 

Imagine your child is “going long” for a touchdown pass in a family football game and tripping backwards over the stump. When weeds and grass begin to cover the stump, you could accidentally run over it while cutting the grass, which could damage or break your lawn mower. 


Most people plant trees to increase their home’s curb appeal, but a tree stump can be a real eye sore. Not only do tree stumps take up space that could be used for other plant life, they could turn future buyers away from buying your home should you choose to sell, simply because of the aesthetics. 


Left following a tree removal, tree stumps can take nutrients from surrounding plants you actually do want to grow. What’s more is that decaying tree stumps breed fungus that infects nearby trees, which may then need to be chopped down too. Even worse, decaying stumps can house termites, ants, beetles, wood wasps, snakes and rodents, all of which can cause damage to your yard and your house. Ridding these tree pests of your property and repairing what they damaged can be costly and time consuming.

New Tree Growth

In the worst case scenario, leaving a tree stump behind could cause a new tree to grow back in the same place. A new tree can piggyback off of the nutrients supplied by the old roots, allowing it to produce a multi-trunked tree that will be an even bigger eyesore than the stump – and even more hazardous than the original tree. The new tree and the old stump also become harder to permanently kill and remove over time, so it’s easier to remove the stump initially, along with the original tree to make sure the change to your yard is permanent. 

How We Can Help

A professional tree service like Red’s will be able to diagnose and execute the best removal method for the type, size, age and health state of your stump. Our tree stump removal team has the heavy duty equipment necessary to perform stump grinding efficiently and the training to complete the task safely. 

We also have the knowledge and expertise to answer any questions you may have about surrounding pipes and wires, or what can grow in the remaining space. Additionally, a tree service like ours can recycle or dispose of the debris, so you don’t have to worry about taking it somewhere or arranging for the city to pick it up.

Why Is Tree Stump Removal Necessary?

Call Red’s Tree Service

Removing tree stumps can often be much more difficult than removing a tree itself, and that’s because of the massive root system they hide underground. Instead of attempting a hazardous and lengthy DIY removal, it’s time to turn to your local tree experts at Red’s Tree Service. Call our team for your free estimate today!

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Some Caterpillar Pests Emerge in Fall and Winter

We often think of spring and summer as prime time for insects — and it is. But, you know Mother Nature. She never follows the rules completely. With that, there are a few unwanted surprises even as the weather cools. Some caterpillar pests, like fall cankerworm and winter moth, emerge in fall and winter and can cause serious damage. This is especially true on properties that neglect autumn tree care, thinking the time for work in the landscape is done. These insects get busy right at that moment. Whether they’re munching on foliage or busy laying eggs, it’s an important time to undertake actions to manage pests populations.

Fall Cankerworm

cankerworm caterpillar
Cankerworm Caterpillar

Fall cankerworms emerge as adults after the first hard freeze in October through December. During this time, females crawl up the tree to lay eggs.  While you should apply treatments in early spring when young larvae are present, autumn is equally important in management. Cankerworms must crawl up tree trunks to lay their eggs on small branches in the crown. Tree banding, sticky bands around the trunk, prevents the caterpillars from ascending into the canopy.

Cankerworms are notoriously voracious feeders and their presence can result in complete loss of leaves, or defoliation. During spring, most trees are usually able to regrow leaves. However, repeated years of infestations will cause upper branches to begin dying and eventually contribute to the tree tree’s demise.

Winter Moth

winter moth caterpillar
Winter Moth Caterpillar

Winter moth feeds on species like oak, maple, ash and apple. Adults emerge from the soil in November. The females lay eggs on bark, under bark scales and in crevices. These eggs overwinter and then hatch in spring. Like with cankerworms, tree bands in fall are one piece of the puzzle in a comprehensive management plan. These bands help trap insects as they climb and prevent egg-laying activity. Massive numbers of individuals can be captured this way. Good culture practices and appropriately timed treatments, including foliage sprays, will provide a further and robust measure of control.

Unlike the cankerworm, which is a native pest, winter moth was introduced to North America from Europe. Adults are whitish and about one-inch in length. The pale green caterpillars that emerge in spring, often called inchworms, are small, but mighty. They can quickly defoliate trees, especially during outbreak years.

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Tree Services After a Severe Storm Causes Damage

Winter Storm It’s that time of the year again when we start to prepare for the winter weather approaching. Winter can be really tough on a person’s home and their yard. Winter storms, in particular, can be brutal, complete with ice, sleet, snow, rain, flooding, thunder, lightning, and whipping winds.

In New Jersey, you probably hear the local news stations issue “winter weather advisories.” This means you should watch out for freezing rain, sleet and snow. A “winter storm watch” warns people to expect heavy freezing rain or snow. Finally, a “winter storm warning” is issued when the storm is imminent. If the wind gusts are expected to be above 35 miles-per-hour for three hours or more, then it’s called a blizzard.

Damages to Your Property and Trees

Winter storms and blizzards can break the limbs off of trees. In some cases, trees may topple over due to high winds and freezing precipitation weighing them down.

Should you experience broken or downed trees in your yard this winter, Big Foot Tree Service handles emergency tree removals in New Jersey. Hanging limbs can be dangerous, and if a tree falls in the yard, especially close to a home or over a driveway, it needs to be taken care of promptly.

Professional Tree Removal Services in New Jersey

Big Foot Tree Service has the kind of workers who can handle tree removal even during the harsh winter weather conditions. With affordable prices, Big Foot Tree Service handles tree removals in several counties throughout Northern New Jersey. Call 973-885-8000 for emergency tree removal service.

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5 Specimen Trees for Your Marietta Georgia Yard

Hardy specimen trees for marietta georgia include flowering species like magnolia grandiflora

Don’t choose the wrong species when you are looking for that captivating tree and want to stand out from your neighbors. Knowing which specimen tree to plant in your Marietta, Georgia, yard will help you stand out from your neighbors and give you an enduring conversation topic with your friends and loved ones. gathered the following species, planting, and growing information about 5 incredible specimen trees for your Marietta, Georgia, yard.

What is a Specimen Tree?

A specimen tree is an unusual or impressive plant grown as a point of interest in a garden, yard, or landscape. Specimen trees provide beauty with their fragrant flowers, fall color foliage, or impressive size. Consider the following specimen tree species for your Marietta, Georgia yard:

1. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Hardy specimen trees for marietta georgia include japanese maple

This incredible maple displays bright green foliage in spring and summer, then turns a stunning golden yellow and red in the fall.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach 15 to 25 feet tall with a 15 to 20-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Japanese maples thrive when planted in well-drained, acidic soil high in organic matter.
Sun Exposure – Dappled or Afternoon Shade
Water Needs – Water this species heavily twice weekly during typical weather and increase waterings to three or four times during droughts.
Hardiness Zone – 5 through 8

2. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Hardy specimen trees for marietta georgia include flowering dogwood

The flowering dogwood is a small, showy, deciduous tree species. Young trees tend to be upright to rounded, and as they mature, they typically grow up to 50 percent wider than tall. The tree’s crown is typically round to flat-topped. Dogwoods are most recognized for their cross-shaped white or pink bracts.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach up to 25+ feet tall with a 25-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Dogwoods thrive in fertile, somewhat moisture-retentive, loamy soil high in organic matter.
Sun Exposure – This species can be planted in full sun or partial shade (partial shade is best)
Water Needs – Dogwood trees require about an inch of water weekly from rain or irrigation. If rainfall is insufficient, water your tree enough to soak several inches into the soil once weekly. For newly planted dogwoods, two gallons per week are adequate except in drier, sandier soils where 6 to 8 gallons weekly may be necessary.
Hardiness Zone – 5 through 9

3. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Hardy specimen trees for marietta georgia include magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia is a large, broadleaf, evergreen tree noted for its attractive glossy dark green leaves and massive, extremely fragrant flowers. Magnolias are believed to be among the earliest known flowering plants, with fossils dating back over 100 million years.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach 60 to 80 feet tall with a 40-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – This species thrives in moist, well-drained, acidic soils. Unlike other tree species, it is tolerant of high moisture levels and can be planted in areas prone to wet/dry fluctuations in soil moisture.
Sun Exposure – This species can be planted in full sun or partial shade.
Water Needs – For every 1-inch of trunk diameter, water a 1-foot radius from the tree’s base.
Hardiness Zone – 6 through 10

4. Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

Hardy specimen trees for marietta georgia include crape myrtle

Crape myrtles are deciduous, small to medium-sized trees with a variable, moderately dense habit, often multi-stemmed form. The species’ foliage is typically dark green changing to yellows, oranges, and reds in autumn. This species is considered a specimen due to its stunning flower clusters with wrinkled petals like crepe paper.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach 15 to 25 feet tall with a 6 to 15-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Crape Myrtles can be grown all over the USA in any soil type and will thrive in acidic to slightly acidic soil ranging from 5.0 to 6.5 pH.
Sun Exposure – Crape myrtles need full sun (6 or more hours per day) to thrive.
Water Needs – This species needs at least one inch of water per week.
Hardiness Zone – 7 through 10

5. Crabapple (Malus)

Hardy specimen trees for marietta georgia include crabapple

The crabapple is a beautiful, small, deciduous spring-flowering tree that is prized for its flowers, fruit, and variations in growth habit and size. Some crabapple varieties bloom heavily only every other year.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach 10 to 25 feet tall with a 10 to 25-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Crabapples thrive in rich loam-type soil (a combination of clay, silt, and sand). Good drainage is a must for tree health, and the soil should be moist, slightly acidic, and with a 5.0 to 6.5 pH.
Sun Exposure – This species needs at least six hours of sun a day to guarantee ample blossoming and fruiting.
Water Needs – Once established, crabapples are drought tolerant and should not need supplemental watering unless the season is considerably dry.
Hardiness Zone – 3 through 8

Specimen Trees

In this article, you discovered essential species information for 5 stunning specimen trees that you can plant in your Marietta, Georgia, yard.

Planting a stunning specimen tree makes your front yard stand out from your neighbors, gives you decades of conversation, and offers a visual delight as the tree matures.

Not knowing the specimen species best for your Marietta, Georgia yard can have you being a copycat of your neighbor, or plant the wrong tree and risk it dying.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

Marietta, GA
(678) 505-0266

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7 Beautiful Trees for Alpharetta Georgia Landscapes

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include flowering species like the weeping cherry

Avoid planting run-of-mill trees and having a basic landscape. Knowing the unique trees that can grow in your Alpharetta landscape will create a captivating aesthetic and curb appeal. gathered the following species and growing information about 7 of the most beautiful trees to plant in your Alpharetta, Georgia, landscape.

1. Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include live oak

Live oak grows to be a massive, picturesque, sprawling tree with magnificent horizontal and arching branches that form a broad, rounded, and majestic canopy. A squat, tapering trunk supports the massive, irregular limbs, often resting their “elbows” on the ground.

Size at Maturity – On average, this species reaches 50 feet in height with an 80+ foot spread.
Soil Requirements – The live oak thrives in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils.
Sun Exposure – Full sun to partial shade
Water Needs – While your oak tree establishes its root system and matures for the first 2 to 3 years, you should water it weekly. It will take about 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter to keep this species thriving.
Hardiness Zone – 7 through 10

2. Rhododendron (Rhododendron)

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include rhododendron

Rhododendron, or “red tree,” refers to the red flowers and woody growth of some species, but rhododendrons can range in habit from evergreen to deciduous and from low-growing shrubs to tall, stunning trees.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach 5 to 20 feet tall with a 3 to 8-foot spread (depending on the variety).
Soil Requirements – Rhododendrons thrive in well-draining soil with abundant organic matter.
Sun Exposure – Full sun
Water Needs – Water rhododendrons twice weekly during the first growing season. Once established, only water them during dry periods.
Hardiness Zone – 4 through 8

3. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include japanese maple

This incredible maple shows off bright green foliage in spring and summer, then turns golden yellow and red in the fall.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach from 15 to 25 feet tall with a 15 to 20-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Japanese maples thrive when planted in well-drained, acidic soil high in organic matter.
Sun Exposure – Dappled or Afternoon Shade
Water Needs – Water this species heavily twice weekly during normal weather and increase waterings to three or four times during droughts.
Hardiness Zone – 5 through 8

4. Weeping Cherry (Prunus subhirtella)

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include weeping cherry

This cherry tree variety generally features non-fragrant pale pink to white flowers in spring, pea-sized blackish (inedible) fruits in late summer, and ovate to lanceolate green leaves gently swaying on drooping branches and stems.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach from 20 to 25 feet tall with a 15 to 20-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Weeping cherry trees are highly-adaptable to a range of soil types but flourish in loose, well-drained, loamy soil.
Sun Exposure – Full sun
Water Needs – A weeping cherry tree should be watered two to three times weekly during its first year. Afterward, it should only be watered when the top three inches of soil are dry.
Hardiness Zone – 4 through 9

5. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include eastern redbud

This tree species displays a variety of colors throughout the year. Leaves emerge reddish, turning vibrant green as they expand. The tree’s foliage is dark green in summer and yellowish in autumn. The tree’s showy flowers are pea-like and rosy pink with a purplish tinge.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach from 20 to 30 feet tall with a 25 to 35-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Eastern redbud trees thrive in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, nutrient-rich, sandy, well-drained, and clay soil.
Sun Exposure – Full sun to partial shade
Water Needs – Water your eastern redbud two to three times weekly during its first year. Afterward, it should only be watered when the top three inches of soil are dry.
Hardiness Zone – 4 through 9

6. Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta)

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include rainbow eucalyptus

The rainbow eucalyptus is an evergreen tree with drooping spear-shaped, silvery-green leaves and curious clusters of tiny white flowers. The tree’s most stunning feature is the trunk, which grows rainbow bark in vibrant (nearly fluorescent) green, blue, orange, red, and purple shades. When planted in cooler areas, this tree species will require shelter from freezing wind and extremely low temperatures.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach 60 to 80 feet tall with a 20 to 30-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – This species thrives in sandy, loamy soils that are fertile, moist, and well-drained.
Sun Exposure – Full sun
Water Needs – Water your tree daily for best results, never flooding the tree with standing water.
Hardiness Zone – 9 through 11

7. Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Beautiful landscape trees for alpharetta georgia include red oak

Most red oak leaves fade to brilliant red or orange-red shades in fall and will hold their color longer than other deciduous trees. Some red oak trees have yellow fall foliage instead of red.

Size at Maturity – This species can reach 60 to 75 feet tall with a 45-foot spread.
Soil Requirements – Like other oak species, red oak thrives in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils.
Sun Exposure – Full sun to partial sun
Water Needs – While your oak tree establishes its root system and matures for the first 2 to 3 years, you should water it weekly. It will take about 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter to keep this species thriving.
Hardiness Zone – 3 through 8

Beautiful Landscape Trees

In this article, you discovered essential species and growing tips for seven of the most attractive tree species for Alpharetta, Georgia, landscapes.

Knowing which tree species possess beautiful features will help you add intrigue and stunning visuals to your Alpharetta, Ga, landscape.

Not knowing the tree species capable of enhancing your Alpharetta, Georgia yard will leave your landscape dull and impressive.


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Tree Root Collar Disorders

tree root collar

A tree’s root collar is the transition area from the roots to the trunk. It is usually noticeable because of the prominent flare leading to the major buttress roots. Trees should have this visible flare where the roots curve out of the ground. On the other hand, trees that seem to grow straight from the ground (like telephone poles) are a red flag of tree root collar disorders.

The root collar is considered ‘buried’ under soil or mulch when a tree is planted too deeply or when excessive mulch is piled against the trunk. Improper planting is a likely cause so be sure to follow proper tree planting tips. Volcano mulching, where mulch mounds surround the trunk, is another frequent culprit.

Buried root collars are a common and serious issue. The bark in this area is actually more trunk-like than root-like. While a tree’s roots are able to tolerate high levels of soil moisture, the root collar is not.  When buried, the root collar remains damp and moist inviting numerous problems.

Damage to the bark on the root call can interfere with the downward movement of food (photosynthates) to the roots and inhibit the movement of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Ultimately, this can lead to root dieback, reduced water uptake and, possibly, tree death.

Also, root collars with damaged bark are more susceptible to infection and disease. Moreover, for some tree species, a buried root collar can lead to girdling roots. This is when roots circle the trunk and eventually strangle the tree.

Symptoms of Tree Root Collar Disorders

When the root flare is not visible, it is important to excavate and examine the bark and and sapwood for signs of infection. Beyond the bark and sapwood in the root collar area, there are other symptoms. Foliage yellowing, early leaf coloration and drop, and dieback in the upper crown can indicate root collar disorders.

Treatments to Improve Tree Health

Remedial action can often be taken if the tree is not severely declining from a root collar disorder or root decay.

  • First: Remove excess soil or mulch that is covering the root collar. Root collar excavations should be done carefully with small digging tools and a brush. A high-pressure air tool such as the AirSpade is an excellent alternative to remove soil without causing further injury to the tree.
  • Second: Carefully prune out any stem girdling roots.
  • Third: Fertilize based on a soil analysis.
  • Fourth: Be sure to irrigate during dry periods. Do not apply water directly to the trunk or root collar area and be careful not to overwater.

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6 Trees to Plant in Portland to Attract Bees, Birds, and Butterflies

Small Trees That Attract Birds in Portland

Over time it has become no secret that bees, birds, and butterflies are essential to not only having a beautifully flourishing yard, but they are also essential to the ecosystems throughout the Portland area and the rest of the world. The rainy climate in Portland and the rest of the Pacific Northwest allow all plants and greenery to thrive here. Lush trees, blooming flowers, and mild summers are the perfect climate for birds, bees, and butterflies to thrive.

Birds, bees, and butterflies are essential to all ecosystems across the world. Pollination occurs when plant pollen grains from a male plant are transferred to a female plant. Through this process, the female plant is effectively fertilized and creates seeds. Pollination is possible due to bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, wasps, and a vast array of other insects and mammals. It is not uncommon for individuals to see bees and butterflies in their yards with legs chock-full of pollen. They take the pollen and collect it by sticking it to their legs, and as they travel from flower to flower they effectively help pollinate the plants in the yard and surrounding area. Birds, bees, and butterflies are some of the most effective at helping to create diverse landscapes throughout Portland. 

Best Trees in Portland to Attract Butterflies

Portland is home to many different species of feathered life, including Great Blue Herons, Western Tanagers, and Anna’s Hummingbirds, whether it be year-round or just for a couple of months. On top of that, over 500 species of bees live throughout Oregon, accompanied by Monarch butterflies, Red Admiral butterflies, and Painted lady butterflies. With such a high amount of diversity in not only species but colors and behaviors, it’s easy to see why so many homeowners wish to design their landscaping with the hopes that they will attract and provide sustenance for the local birds, bees, and butterflies. One way to do this is to plant trees that are a bird, bee, and butterfly friendly. Not only will these types of trees provide a unique and charming aesthetic to the landscaping, they will also provide shelter and sustenance to the gorgeous birds, bees, and butterflies that live in the area. 

The best way to determine which trees will work best with the landscaping and attract the most wildlife, hiring a certified arborist at Urban Forest Pro is the best choice. We have the ability to create a yard that is landscaped to invite and embrace all types of wildlife, including the vast array of birds, bees, and butterflies in Portland. 

What Should You Plant in Portland to Attract Bees, Butterflies, and Birds?

There are a plethora of trees and shrubs that thrive in Portland that will also attract bees, butterflies, and birds. Ultimately, the best choice for wildlife-attracting trees depends upon the homeowner’s landscaping needs and wants. Consulting our team of expert arborists and relaying wants and needs is the best way to determine the perfect plants and trees for each home. However, to give homeowners an idea of what some of their options are, we have compiled a list of trees that attract all kinds of wildlife, including bees, butterflies, and birds. 

1. Cherry Trees

Trees That Attract Butterflies in PortlandOregon is one of the top producers of cherries in the world. In fact, around $67 million of total cherry sales in the United States come from Oregon. Most varieties of cherry trees are commonly found in the Pacific Northwest and attract bees, birds, and butterflies in large quantities. One of the most commonly found is the Chokecherry tree.  Chokecherry trees are a great addition to any landscape designed to embrace wildlife. Chokecherry tree flowers bloom in small clusters and boast beautiful white flowers from early April to late May. These flowers provide more than an ample amount of pollen for butterflies and bees to harvest. They also provide opportunities for bees to build their homes and caterpillars to create cocoons to start their transformation process into butterflies. After the flowers have blossomed, dark purplish-black cherries take their place that attract all kinds of species of birds. Birds also love to use the cherry tree branches to create their nests and raise their young. 

It is recommended to refrain from planting cherry trees if cattle or sheep have access to them. Cherries are toxic to such animals, and when they ferment can cause the animal to essentially become drunk. Due to the immense quantity of cherries that are created, it is very likely that the cherry tree will spread throughout the landscaping as well. So if a homeowner does not want more than one cherry tree they will have to be effective and consistent about removing any growing sapling in their yard. 

2. Crabapple Trees

Attracting Birds with Crabapple Trees

The western crabapple tree is the only native crabapple tree in Portland and the rest of Oregon. Many bird species frequent crabapple trees as they provide edible fruit. The Cedar waxwing and American robin are two species of bird commonly seen around Portland that love to enjoy the fruits of crabapple trees. Robins like to visit fruit trees later in the day, and waxwings will eat fruit any time it is available. Waxwings are notoriously known for eating fermented fruit and becoming visibly under the influence. 

The flowers of the crab apple tree provide ample amounts of flowers for bees and butterflies to get their fill and contribute to pollinating the area. It provides safety for all sorts of animals including, bees, birds, and butterflies. Crab apple trees require little maintenance and only need pruning once a year. Not only do they provide sustenance and a home for birds, bees, and butterflies, but they also provide visually appealing pinks, reds, purples, yellows, and oranges to brighten up the landscape. 

3. Maple Trees

Maple Tree Sap to Attract BirdsMaple trees are a perfect example of how birds, bees, and butterflies work together. Since Maple trees do not produce flowers, bees must take a different approach to access the sugary sap that the Maple tree produces. In Portland, there are six species of woodpeckers that help the bees and butterflies find food. The Red Breasted Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, and the Downy Woodpecker are just a few of the bird species that create holes in Maple trees in an effort to extract beetles and other edible insects. Once the birds have moved on to find other sources of food, the bees and butterflies feast on the sugary sap that oozes from the holes made by the birds. 

Maple trees are an excellent addition to most landscapes. In the fall their colors provide an appealing and gorgeous array of yellows, reds, and oranges that will brighten up any yard. Those who wish can collect sap and create their own maple syrups if they wish to do so. Otherwise, Maple trees tend to be fairly low maintenance while still providing an abundance of food and safe space for birds, bees, and butterflies. 

4. Oak Trees

Trees to Attract Birds in Portland

Food is not the only thing that attracts birds to landscapes. Shelter and a safe place to raise their young is the ultimate decider where a bird will live and frequent. Oak trees not only provide ample amounts of cover with their branches, but they also provide safety with their great heights. Birds love living in Oak trees as it is harder for predators on the ground to reach the birds way up in the tree. It is also easy for birds to reach the acorns that fall on the ground around the Oak trees and quickly return to safety.

There are two species of Oak that are native to the Portland area: Oregon White Oak and California Black Oak. However, other species of Oak trees have been known to thrive in the Pacific Northwest. Some species are shorter than others, but they can range in size from 50ft to 100ft tall. They thrive in Portland’s moist climate as they do well in soil that is not too dry. Due to the sheer size of these trees, and the fact that they have the ability to live for over a century, these trees need more maintenance than others to ensure they thrive and provide the best habitat for attracting birds. 

5. Dogwood Trees

Top Trees to Attract Birds in OregonThere are several varieties of Dogwood trees that are native to the Portland area. They tend to do well in partial sun, but can still thrive in both heat and full sunshine. They grow up to 30 feet tall and provide the perfect environment for birds to build nests. These types of trees are usually inhabited by birds that prefer to be closer to the ground but are still tall enough to provide safety from ground predators. The various variety of Dogwood trees in Portland creates beautiful year-round additions to any landscape. Their deep purple or dark red colored berries are a staple for many different species of birds. 

6. Evergreen Trees

Best Trees for Attracting Birds in Portland

Nesting sites for birds such as chickadees should be covered with a high density of vegetation. A common habitat for them is theedges of Portland forests, but these trees can also be grown in Portland backyards. Homeowners can plant various Evergreen trees in their yards, from firs to pines, to cedars and hemlocks. Their seeds are a food source for a wide variety of birds and animals, and they maintain their dense greenery all year long, making them a safe home for many varieties of animals.

Warblers’ nests are often built within the branches of Evergreen trees, giving them the advantage of being high, nestled, and camouflaged within needled trees. Predators are less likely to catch them this way. There are many varieties of Evergreen trees, with dwarf varieties growing up to 10 feet tall, while others can reach 100 feet tall. 

Tips for Planting & Caring for Plants & Trees to Attract Pollinators

When thinking of planting pollinator plants and trees in a yard, in theory, it sounds easy and straightforward. However, there are a few things that homeowners must keep in mind when planting pollinator plants. The main objective of planting pollinator plants in Portland landscapes is to create healthy and nourishing sources of food and shelter for birds, bees, and butterflies. Here are a few tips on how to do so. 

When To Plant

When growing from seed, the best time to plant pollinator plants is in the fall or late winter. The seeds will need time to germinate, and when not sped up through human process, they will take more time to do so. In the fall, it is best to disperse seeds and cover them with soil. When the winter snow begins to thaw in the spring it will provide moisture to the seeds to help germinate them.  When planting in late winter, scatter the seeds over the top of the snow. Once the sun begins to heat up, the seeds will anchor to the snow and when it begins to melt it will provide moisture to help the seed germinate. 

When starting with pollinator plants instead of seeds, it’s important to follow the frost guidance for each plant. This will help prevent planting them too early and will give them the best chance at thriving. The holes for the pollinator plants should be dug just big enough to fit their root system, and then covered to reinforce the roots with soil or compost. Adding mulch will help reduce the amount of weed growth around the plants. 

Refrain From Using Chemicals

Many homeowners use chemicals, including pesticides in urban and agricultural areas to kill invertebrate pests, diseases, and weeds. However, these chemicals and pesticides are not biased when it comes to the types of insects and animals they kill. They will harm or kill massive populations of bees and butterflies if they are sprayed on or near pollinator plants. Additionally, birds who eat fruit or insects that have been sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or other chemicals can become sick and die as well. Other stressors, such as loss of habitat and disease exposure, can compound the effects of pesticide exposure on pollinator populations. 

Chemical contamination is not just local to the plant but can be spread throughout an ecosystem. In fact, more than 90% of pollen samples from beehives as well as stream samples are contaminated with at least one pesticide. This isn’t only just harmful to bees, birds, and butterflies, but it is also harmful to a homeowner’s landscaping. Without the necessary pollinators needed, flowers and trees won’t effectively be able to pollinate themselves and will therefore lack in appearance. 

Create Pollinator Nesting Areas

Unkempt areas, including tree and bush branches, are the perfect nesting habitat. Bee and butterfly sanctuaries can be created from old scrap wood pieces, hollow stems, and drilled bee blocks or nest boxes. Do not clear nests or cocoons out of trees and plants, as the nests will be reused year after year, and the cocoon holds what will eventually turn into a butterfly. 

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

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Helping Trees Recover from Drought

Many geographies had an extremely dry summer. How does drought impact trees? The lack of water adversely affects nearly all plant processes.  Plants are unable to to produce food, which results in weakness and limits growth. Drought stress also increases the chance of harmful insect and disease infestation. Long-term drought can eventually lead to branch dieback and tree decline.

drought symptoms rhododendron
A rhododendron shows symptoms of drought stress.

Steps to Help Trees Recover from Drought

  • Irrigation: Thoroughly water trees and shrubs during the summer and into autumn. Pause watering in early autumn but resume after leaves fall. Also be sure to water conifers.
  • Mulching: Mulch trees and shrubs with wood or bark chips to conserves soil moisture, suppress weeds, insulate soil to reduce winter injury, and improves soil conditions. You can apply organic mulch any time of year. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce drought injury.
  • Soils and Nutrient Management: Fertilize plants weakened by moisture stress in autumn or the next spring, following the drought. Avoid fertilization during droughts. When water is limited, fertilization is not effective.  Soil testing can help determine existing nutrient levels before adding amendments. If potassium is deficient, adding it is especially important to aid plants in overcoming drought damage. Undertake soil sampling and apply slow-release amendments when the soil is not frozen or dried too hard.
  • Insect and Disease Management: Drought-stressed plants are more susceptible to insect borers, mites, and foliage diseases. It is important to detect and treat insect problems before significant injury to a plant occurs. Also advisable is to assess trees for diseases and pests that weaken them by damaging leaves, branches, stems, or roots. These injuries impede absorption and translocation of water and nutrients, worsening the effects of drought. Timing is important when managing for pests and diseases.
  • Pruning: Pruning reduces the demands for water and nutrients. Take care when pruning. Excessive pruning weakens and will do more harm than good.



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