Summertime in New Jersey often evokes images of backyard barbecues, baseball games and weekends at the Jersey Shore. But with every summer also comes the less idealistic but very real summer thunderstorms, which can really do a number on your landscape.
Many of us remember last year around this time when one particularly strong storm left over 250,000 people in South Jersey without power, damaging buildings and tearing down trees. There’s not much you can do about an approaching storm, but did you know there are simple preventative steps you can take now to give your trees a fighting chance?
The arborists at Friendly Tree have put together a list of five things you can do to minimize summer storm damage:
Thinning the Canopy
Thinning the top of a tree reduces wind sail, allowing wind to blow through the tree. This type of pruning should only be done by a certified arborist experienced with correct and safe pruning methods.
Installing support cables for large trees can also provide strength and minimize storm damage. Arborists use cables and bracing rods to help to redistribute the tree’s structural weight and provide extra support to weak spots. We can help you determine if your tree could benefit from cabling and bracing.
Pruning Dead Branches
Diseased or dead branches break easily, and your car could be the perfect target. Pruning will minimize falling branches during a storm causing damage to people or property.
Trees provide a great pathway for lightning to strike the ground. A lightning protection system is a reliable and inconspicuous way to protect valuable trees or those close to a home or other structure.
It’s not just for the dentist’s office! Cavities are weak spots in the trunk of a tree that can compromise its overall strength. If you notice a cavity in your tree, give us a call and we can help you fill it correctly.
Losing large trees is a costly problem – thankfully, these preventative measures can keep your trees at their best when Mother Nature is at her worst.
Give Friendly Tree a call if you need help with tree pruning, trimming or any other tree care services. For over 25 years we’ve been helping New Jersey residents with their tree care needs, and we’ll be there to help your trees weather the storm.
It usually happens while walking through the yard one day – you notice leafless limbs or dead branches lying on the ground. But how do you know when a tree needs a good pruning or when it should be removed?
In this article, we’ll explain when a tree is considered a safety hazard and when it just needs a good, healthy trim.
Signs Your Tree Needs Pruning
Tree Pruning is essential for the healthy maintenance of trees, but improper pruning can cause damage and in some cases the tree’s death. That’s why trees should only be pruned by Certified Tree Care Safety Professionals, like the experts at Friendly Tree, who practice safe, proven and effective methods.
Damaged, Diseased or Dead Branches
Besides the danger of falling, broken or damaged limbs can serve as an entry point for insects and disease. In general, a tree has a good chance of survival if less than 25% of its branches are damaged.
A tree canopy that is too dense is a problem, as restricted sunlight and airflow can lead to disease.
Sometimes, weak or troublesome limbs must be removed in order to benefit the health of the entire tree. Suckers and water sprouts steal a tree’s resources and should be removed. Crossing branches can damage each other and should also be pruned. Co-dominant leaders (two branches of similar size growing up from the top of the tree) are prone to splitting and tearing during strong winds. Eliminating one of these branches provides the tree with more stability.
Weak or Split Crotch
As a tree ages, its crotch (where two branches come together) may grow weak and split apart; removing split crotches helps keep the tree healthy and strong.
Approaching Power Lines or Structures
A more obvious reason for pruning is a tree’s proximity to power lines or other structures. Unfortunately, people sometimes plant trees under power lines not knowing how tall they will get at maturity. Be sure to hire a professional for these kinds of jobs, as there is significant risk to people and property if the job is not done correctly.
The best time to prune your trees is when they are dormant in late winter or early spring, which encourages healthy spring growth. Dead, damaged or hazardous branches should be trimmed as soon as possible.
Signs Your Tree Should be Removed
Not all dead or dying trees need to be removed. Those that don’t pose a risk to people or structures can be left alone and serve the neighborhood birds as a shelter and food source. Here’s how to tell when tree removal is necessary:
Large Number of Dead or Damaged Limbs
If 50% or more of the tree is damaged, and falling limbs pose a hazard, it’s time to say goodbye. If the dead branches are all on one side of the tree, it’s typically a sign of root or trunk problems and the tree should be evaluated by one of our arborists.
Severe Trunk Damage
Severe damage to the tree’s main trunk (more than 25% of the trunk’s circumference), including large cracks and seams, indicate decay.
A tree can live for many years with a hollow trunk, but it will eventually come down. If a third of the trunk is hollow (or rotted), consult an arborist about getting it removed.
Root Damage or Weakness
It may be hard to tell if a tree has substantial root damage, but if the ground nearby has been excavated or you suspect any damage to the root system, consider removing the tree. Also look for trees with shallow root systems as a result of their growing environment. Trees near ledges, large rocks or right next to a water source often have shallow roots.
If your tree is suddenly leaning in one direction, it could mean root damage or weakening. A tree that is noticeably leaning in any direction is unsafe and should probably be removed.
Need help determining if your tree needs pruning or removal? Friendly Tree can help. For over 25 years we’ve been helping New Jersey residents with their tree care needs. Our certified arborists adhere to ANSI standards for tree care practices, with the expertise to help you assess what your trees need to stay happy and healthy.
As summer approaches, it’s up to us to protect the trees on our property. Trees that are exposed to extreme heat and dry conditions during the summer can be stressed and more prone to health issues the following winter.
Young trees, especially, need extra care and diligent watering in hot, dry weather. Older, more established trees may not require extra watering, but there are steps you can take to ensure the tree and root system remains healthy.
Summer Watering Tips
Follow a regular, consistent watering schedule that mimics natural rainfall. Give each tree one gallon of water (the equivalent to one inch of rain) every week or so.
Take Extra Care.
For newly planted or young trees, water more frequently during hot, dry weather. They are still establishing their root systems and need extra care during drought, otherwise they will become stressed.
Choose the Right Time.
Avoid watering trees during the afternoon, when evaporation is at its peak. The best time to water is early in the morning, before the heat of the day.
Deep watering is the best kind of watering. If possible, install a drip system and bury it at least a feet below the ground.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Mulch.
Keep trees well mulched (2-4 inches) to retain moisture and regulate the soil temperature. If you have a drip system, make sure to apply mulch beyond the drip line for maximum water uptake. Read how to properly apply mulch to your trees here.
Keep Your Trees Happy Year-Round.
Keeping trees happy and healthy throughout the year goes a long way toward keeping them protected during the harsh summer months. Fertilize regularly and apply compost to the soil twice a year to improve the soil structure and reduce water runoff.
How to be Firewise
Going into the summer season, there has been a flurry of news articles highlighting wildfire danger in New Jersey’s Pinelands, with Rolling Stone Magazine going so far as to report headlines like “Apocalypse in the Garden State.”
Since the last major blaze in 1963 – known as Black Saturday – the population in the Pinelands has tripled. According to the article, “If a series of blazes starts on the right dry and windy day, it could take out a large chunk of the Jersey coastline.”
Although most city dwellers don’t think much about wildfire danger, the 720% population increase in wildland/urban interface areas across the U.S. (since 1960) has put more homes and lives in jeopardy than ever before. Because embers from wildfires can travel up to 14 miles, home ignitions can happen anywhere.
What Does That Mean for New Jersey Homeowners?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “When it comes to wildfire risk, it is not a geographical location, but a set of conditions that determine the home’s ignition potential in any community.”
There are simple, proven steps you can take to protect your home or property from fire, like:
- Pruning trees on the property so that the lowest branches are no lower than 6 feet from the ground
- Keeping grass, trees and shrubs on the property well watered and maintained
- Clearing leaves and dead vegetation from gutters, porches, and decks within 10 feet from the home or building
- Removing flammable items like firewood and propane tanks within 30 feet from the home or building
For more tips on how to protect your home, download NFPA’s Firewise Toolkit.
If you need help getting your trees ready for summer, give us a call. The tree care experts at Friendly Tree are here to provide skilled, reliable service, taking the utmost care of our customers and their trees.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to apply mulch to the trees on your property. As with everything in life, spending a little extra time to do it the right way will give you much better results.
The New Jersey certified arborists here at Friendly Tree understand the issues urban trees face, and we work diligently to mitigate these issues for a healthy, happy landscape.
Lessons From Nature
Next time you take a stroll through your favorite wooded trail, take a moment to look at the forest floor. Trees are naturally blanketed by a layer of leaves and other organic material which help to retain moisture, suppress weeds, regulate soil temperature and replenish essential nutrients.
The best way to mulch trees in an urban landscape is to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Mulching
- Apply mulch in the Spring once the ground has thawed, or after planting.
- Ensure proper soil drainage before mulching. Use less mulch if the tree is in a poorly drained area.
- Clear a 3-10 foot circle around the base of the tree, free from grass, rocks or debris. DO NOT spray an herbicide, like Roundup, to kill the grass.
- Before mulching, spread compost within the circle and water thoroughly.
- Choose a natural mulch material such as hardwood chips, hardwood or softwood bark, composted leaves, straw or pine needles. Inorganic mulch (such as pulverized rubber) won’t supply nutrients or improve soil structure.
- Layer mulch 2-4 inches deep above the compost.
- Use a rake to spread the mulch evenly out to the edge of the circle, making sure excess mulch isn’t piled up against the trunk of the tree.
- Spread mulch up to the tree’s trunk; this is known as volcano mulching and can eventually kill your tree! Keep mulch away from the tree’s root flare, which is where the roots begin and the trunk ends.
- Use compost or mulch that is too “hot,” which simply means it hasn’t had adequate time to break down and decompose (like fresh manure or fresh grass clippings).
- Apply mulch too deep, which can cause root rot in wet soils.
- Use fine mulch, which can limit the penetration of air and water as it becomes compacted.
- Mulch right before the ground freezes, which creates an ideal shelter for rodents and pests looking for a warm winter hideaway.
Mulch is a Tree’s Best Friend
Mulch is essential to the health and vitality of the trees on your property, and the benefits far outweigh the cost and time invested. In fact, it’s one of the most important practices for optimal tree health. In urban landscapes, where trees may not naturally grow, it’s important to provide a rich, protected soil environment similar to their natural growing conditions.
- Helps trees conserve moisture, which also means less watering and lower water bills.
- Prevents weed growth and competition.
- Regulates and insulates soil temperature, protecting roots from extreme heat and cold.
- Reduces trees’ susceptibility to diseases.
- Helps to prevent soil compaction around tree roots.
- Protects trees from lawn mower or weed whacker damage.
- Improves soil structure, aeration and drainage.
- Enhances soil fertility, providing nutrients and microorganisms essential to tree growth.
- Provides a uniform, aesthetically pleasing look to the landscape.
How Much Mulch Do You Need?
Now that you know the proper way to mulch your trees, exactly how much mulch will you need?
The easiest way to determine that is to use our mulch calculator, which tells you how many cubic yards of mulch you will need per tree (or garden bed).
Or, simply give us a call and we can help you determine what kind and how much mulch you need for your property. With 26 years in the business, there is no other company in New Jersey that knows more about tree health. At Friendly Tree, we pride ourselves on providing expert, reliable service, taking the utmost care of our customers and their trees.
Friendly Tree is your New Jersey tree care service of choice for many reasons. The most important reason is that our team members are actual certified arborists recognized for our education and experience in the art and science of arboriculture. We are craftsmen, scientists, detectives, artists, engineers and have the needed knowledge base to be thorough in their craft of tree care. The New Jersey arborist is faced with complex issues and many potential environmental stresses on our trees. Tree health and tree safety inspections that we do look at how weather, chemicals (lawn treatments, pool water etc.) effect our NJ trees past present and future. Arborists with field experience are true detectives in that we have to look for clues in past damage to the tree and the surrounding areas. We see a lot of construction damage or at least the effects of it. Certified arborists in New Jersey do not always know the history of the property or if there was damage to the root zone of a tree during construction. We can see the signs, not with x-ray vision but through experience and knowing the queues given by the tree and the overall site condition.
We also see potential issues and stress on trees in urban areas. Traffic and congestion pose a threat to trees because of emissions and chemical particulates in the air. Urban arborists must understand the physiology of a specific type of tree and how to impact the negatives done by pollution and high carbon impact.
Arborists in New Jersey must be aware of the appropriate times and manners in which trees are to be pruned to accomplish the goal of pruning with minimal negative impact on the trees in question. Tree identification is critical in deciphering the most appropriate means to treat a specific type of tree. We also have faced unique fungal, bacterial and insect issues recently. The Emerald Ash Borer or EAB is afflicting our Ash trees and if introduced assure sudden death this combined with the blight on Ash we are losing these precious trees by the thousands.
An arborist has many tools to combat many issues that can harm trees but unfortunately there are many of mother nature’s whims that we cannot prevent or correct. We have been faced with extreme weather (hurricanes, super storms, drought and wind storms) extreme weather is the leading cause for tree damage and has created hazards that we must work hard to remedy and or simply and sadly clean up the mess of a fallen or severely damaged tree to avoid damage or injury. Even expertly pruned trees can only handle so must stress and extremes in weather before succumbing.
Friendly Tree Service works diligently to stay on top of the most up to date technology and research to help offer the most appropriate course of action to safeguard your trees and shrubs. We are mandated to perform continuing education to maintain certification. This is not limited to the science of arboriculture but also to safe work practices, OSHA and ANSI standard changes and the knowledge of new procedures in pruning and fertilization etc. that are less invasive and more effective.
Quality organic top soil is rich with bio-available nutrients and “alive”. The best quality is dark in color ( dark drown or black) which is key to show high levels of organic matter. Your product should have little odor but be on the sweet side not bitter or manure like. This bad smell is a show of dead, rotting organics which will likely steal nitrogen and nutrients from your planting beds. It should be free of large rocks and not have too high of a clay content. Quality soil should perk or drain well so rain/ water gets to the roots of your plants. If it has too much clay the water will not get to the root zone easily. Test it by grabbing a handful and making a ball out of it. Premium topsoil will crumble apart but if it is high in clay it will retain its shape.
Top soil delivery in essex county, morris county, Passaic county , Hudson and union counties is available generally same day or next day. Our product is premium screened high organic matter which is what you need for healthy planting beds. Start out with high quality product delivered by Friendly Tree to assure your new plants thrive not just survive. A base of topsoil added to existing planting beds or existing lawns can add a natural boost to the performance of your landscapes.
If you see topsoil that is tan or grey be leary. Likely the organic matter is very low and likely this is dirt fill being passed off as quality product, but it is not. Color, smell and texture are the best ways to make sure you are getting quality product delivered to your home or office.
Bulk top soil delivery is our specialty. Friendly Tree can delivery as little as 1 cubic yard of soil all the way up to 50 cubic yards in a single truck load. Use our handy yardage calculator at www.friendlytree.com to figure out how much product you need? If there are still questions about how much topsoil is needed for a garden bed please don’t hesitate to call.
Friendly Tree Service offers delivery to Montclair, glen ridge and surrounding areas as well as topsoil delivery to Morristown and Madison as well as surrounding towns. Friendly Tree also offers delivery to union, springfield and short hills and surrounding towns as well as Rutherford and all of Bergen and Passaic counties.
Did you know that one tree creates enough oxygen each year to support two human beings? And that more than 5, 000 unique products are made from trees? It’s true! Additionally, each year the average person uses the equivalent of a 100-foot tall, 18-inch wide tree, in wood and paper products. Beyond these fun facts, healthy trees can also increase property values — a statistic appreciated by 100% of homeowners.
So keep your trees maintained and healthy. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the environment. And if you like trees, feel free to share this post with your friends!
Removing a tree seems like a big, yet relatively simple job, but that is not necessarily so. While is can be done by anyone with a little willpower and strength, it is best to leave it to the professionals because there are so many mistakes that can be made in the removal process.
- Not removing the stumps: Leaving the stump after removing a tree is asking for an infestation of insects, and potentially the worst kind – Termites. Termites can move from the stump into your home causing inconvenience and potential detriment to your home.
- Not wearing the right protective gear: At the minimum, hard hats, goggles, and gloves should be worn at all times. A hard hat will protect your head in the event that a branch falls or the tree happens to go in the wrong direction. Goggles will protect the eyes from debris falling from the tree or spit out by the chainsaw. Tree surfaces are rough and gloves are vital to protecting your hands against the trunk and the right gloves can even help save your hand if you get too close to a saw.
- Lack of awareness: Someone removing a tree should always be aware of their surroundings. There may be roots, cords, rocks, etc. that can be tripped over. When operating a chainsaw, you most certainly don’t want an unexpected fall with a running chainsaw landing on you. Always make sure that you have the chain locked when not cutting or when walking around because a split second of forgetfulness or becoming unaware of what is around you, could be life-threatening.
- Removing the “wrong” trees: Homeowners should consider the state and location of the tree they are hoping to remove. Dead and dying trees, or trees with sickness should be properly removed. However, some trees could leave a negative and expensive effect on your overall landscape. Consider how much work and money you want to put into your landscaping after removal.
- Not planning and escape: When felling a tree, it’s best to do so in the direction it is leaning, because that is likely the way it will fall. There are times when a tree doesn’t fall the way that you expect it to and you must be alert and aware of how to get out of danger. Find an escape in either direction that the tree may fall and be prepared to use it.
Tree removal can be beneficial to the health and beauty of a landscape, but it’s important to consider that there are times that things go wrong. If removing a tree yourself, consider the risks and common mistakes that are made before you move forward. Professionals are well-equipped, experienced, and prepared to handle almost any situation.
Friendly Tree Experts are here for all of your tree removal needs. Contact us today for an assessment.
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