Do I Really Need to Prune My Trees?
As a home or property owner, you’ve probably heard that you should prune your trees. It’s a common practice that’s part of tree care. But when you’ve got a lawn to mow and seeds to plant, tree pruning might seem like an unnecessary task.
This is far from the truth. Unlike wild trees, which are pruned by Mother Nature, landscaped trees need a higher level of maintenance. And without regular and proper tree pruning, the structure and health of a tree can greatly diminish.
In short: Yes, you need to prune your trees. Here’s why.
Why Is Tree Pruning Important?
Tree pruning is often associated with visual aesthetics. When done properly, it can bring out the natural beauty of a tree. This can help your property appear more welcoming and attractive.
It’s so much more than that, though. Regular tree pruning will keep your tree healthy and happy. After all, when dead and dying branches are removed, insects and disease can’t take over the tree.
Pruning also promotes air circulation. Additionally, when the canopy is thinned out, the tree can easily soak up the sun. With enough air and sunshine, your tree can achieve optimal structure and health.
Routine pruning also keeps your family safe. Dead, damaged, and broken branches can easily fall during a storm, but pruning minimizes the risk.
When Should I Prune My Trees?
Generally, a tree needs to be pruned when it has dead, dying, diseased, or broken branches. Other signs your tree needs pruning includes a dense canopy, a split or weak crotch, or growth near power lines or structures.
However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Every tree has different requirements and needs.
Some trees should only be pruned during certain times of the year, while others can be pruned at any time. Some might also need more frequent pruning than others.
Older, mature trees may require a different pruning schedule than younger trees.
The best way to know is to work with a certified arborist. This will ensure that your tree is pruned in a correct and timely manner.
Who Should Prune My Trees?
If you’re the DIY type, it might be tempting to remove dead branches yourself. This approach, however, can actually do more harm than good.
When done improperly, pruning may damage the tree and create open “wounds.” These wounds can allow insects to enter (and attack) the tree. In other cases, sap might leak out and deprive the tree of nutrients.
You might mean well, but DIY pruning isn’t a smart idea. Leave it to the experts instead. A certified arborist will know how and when to properly prune each tree.
Let Friendly Tree Take Care of Your Tree Pruning Needs
Since 1989, Friendly Tree has offered tree pruning services for northern New Jersey residents. And now that you’re aware that you should prune your tree, we’re ready to help you, too.
Our team of New Jersey tree experts have the experience and knowledge to care for your trees. As certified arborists, we can determine exactly what your trees need to stay healthy, strong, and beautiful.
Friendly Tree is available in Essex, Morris, Union, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Middlesex, and Somerset counties. To schedule a consultation, contact Friendly Tree today. You can also call us at (973) 678-8888.
Why Fall is the Best Time for Tree Planting in New Jersey
As we wave goodbye to summer and welcome the colorful days of autumn, it’s not quite time to put away the garden tools. In addition to cleaning up the yard – removing debris and raking up spent leaves – you might want to add tree planting to your to-do list this fall.
Here at Friendly Tree, we talk a lot about the benefits trees provide to a home or property – including reducing energy bills and increasing property value. One of the most important factors in determining when to plant trees is the climate (in addition to the tree planting site).
Trees need the right combination of temperature and moisture to establish a healthy root system for proper growth.
What Makes Fall a Good Time to Plant?
Newly planted trees need a little extra attention to get them off to a good start. Remember – in many cases, your tree has lost a good amount of its root system during transplanting.
In most areas of the U.S., the dry days of summer have passed but freezing temperatures have not yet arrived. The moderate daytime temperatures, cool nights, warm soil and increased rainfall means right now is the perfect time for tree planting in New Jersey.
Leaves prefer cooler, more moderate temperatures because the summer sun can drain energy from the leaves as well as the rest of the tree. Underground, the warm soil accelerates new root growth for a healthy root system before the tree goes dormant.
With the cold months ahead, your new tree can shift its resources into developing its root system and storing nutrients instead of producing new foliage. Once spring arrives, your new tree’s roots will be vigorous and well-established, giving it a better chance of getting through the summer months.
Just don’t wait too long – your trees need time to acclimate to their new location. Sudden frigid temperatures soon after planting can stress a young tree. We recommend getting your new tree in the ground before mid-October.
What About Summer?
Some homeowners make the mistake of thinking that all landscaping tasks should happen in the summer, when the grass is green and trees have fully leafed out.
While it is possible to plant in the summer, trees will require extra watering and may show signs of stress from the heat and intense sun. In fact, trees can actually get sunburned (known as phototoxic burn)! When trees are stressed, they are more susceptible to pests, diseases and overall poor growth.
Can I Plant in the Spring?
Yes, you can. In fact, spring is the second best time of year for tree planting. In the springtime, when the risk of a hard frost has passed, temperatures are generally mild and trees have a chance to grow all spring, summer and fall before settling down for the winter.
At this time, however, they must produce a flush of new leaves and develop their roots at the same time. This intense growth can be taxing on a young tree and also requires extra watering, especially during dry spells.
How do I Choose a Tree Species?
Friendly Tree can help! Give us a call and we can help you determine which trees will do best in our area of New Jersey and in your specific planting site.
You can also visit the Arbor Day Foundation website and try out their helpful Tree Wizard tool, which gives you recommendations based on your property’s growing conditions, hardiness zone and personal preferences.
When deciding on tree species, it’s important to think about how much space (vertically and horizontally) your tree will have and how much water it will receive in that particular location. Choosing a tree based on the site requirements will give you a better chance at success.
Regardless of tree type, don’t forget to water during the winter! Some winters can turn out to be very dry, so keep an eye on soil conditions and water your new tree when needed. Even though the tree is dormant, its roots still need moisture to continue to grow.
Need help with tree planting? Call the New Jersey tree planting experts at Friendly Tree.
We also invite you to explore more of our blog for arborist advice on watering, mulching and pruning your new tree.
Tree Pruning and Removal: Why You Should Hire a Certified Arborist
As a home or property owner, you’re familiar with the seemingly never ending expenses that crop up throughout the year. While it is certainly wise to learn a few skills and accomplish some of these tasks on your own, tree pruning and removal should not be on your DIY list.
Tree trimming and removal are dangerous tasks. In fact, the chance of injury for tree care professionals is three times higher than for those in the police or fire industries. (Source) When it comes to the trees on your property, play it safe and hire a professional.
Four Reasons to Hire a Certified Arborist
1. Improper pruning causes more harm than good and can even kill your tree.
We have a saying here at Friendly Tree Service: “Pruning is a science as much as it is an art.” In fact, it’s better not to prune at all than to prune incorrectly. Every year, more trees are killed or damaged from improper pruning than from insects and pests.
Each individual tree has its own requirements as far as which cuts need to be made, and where. A skilled arborist knows which limbs are weak or diseased, and how they should be trimmed. He knows how to make training cuts to develop the tree’s natural shape or fill in an open area, and he knows how to eliminate weak spots so that the rest of the tree grows healthy and strong.
Trained arborists also understand when minor trimming or aggressive pruning is needed, and they know how to properly remove dead or diseased trees safely – without endangering themselves, other people or the property.
2. Tree pruning and removal is more dangerous than you think.
Unfortunately, many well-meaning people think as long as you have a good saw, anyone can prune a tree. This line of thinking can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities from falls, falling trees or branches, contact with power lines and injuries from cutting equipment.
Still not convinced? Here are some statistics provided by ArborGlobal.com:
- The risk of serious accident for a tree worker is 1:120
- Tree workers experience 6 deaths per 100 accidents
- The fatality rate in Arboriculture is 35 deaths per 100,000 workers per year, compared to the average fatality rate for all industries of 4 deaths/100,000 workers per year
Sometimes trees only show minimal signs of damage; it takes a highly trained eye to know if the tree is hazardous and poses a serious risk. A trained professional understands how to recognize a hazardous tree and the safest method to remove it. Certified arborists, like those at Friendly Tree, have been trained in safe tree pruning and removal practices and know how to limit the impact to your property.
3. Arborists have the necessary equipment and training.
Professional arborists have tree cranes that allow them to reach large or difficult to access trees and branches. At Friendly Tree, our crane can reach more than 150 feet away and can lift up to 42 tons! Our arborists have the necessary training and experience to handle our advanced tree care equipment without injuring themselves or others.
At Friendly Tree, we follow the highest ANSI Z133 and OSHA standards for workplace safety, which are recognized in the U.S. as the primary safety standards for pruning, repairing, maintaining or removing trees or brush. These standards are reviewed and updated every five years and ensure that trees and equipment are handled in the safest way possible.
4. A certified arborist will have liability and insurance that protect you and your assets.
Imagine if a large, heavy branch crashed down on your roof – or your neighbors’ – during tree pruning. Are you protected?
A reputable tree care service will carry liability insurance, which protects you and your property from damage, and workers compensation insurance, which protects tree care professionals in the field. Any arborist you hire should have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability and workers compensation insurance. Check to make sure your name and address are added to the Certificate of Insurance before any work has begun.
At Friendly Tree, we don’t cut corners – our certified arborists put the safety of you, your home and your property first, not our bottom line. Our stringent adherence to ANSI standards and our crew’s combined 239 years of experience means we can guarantee our work is safe and of the highest quality.
Need help with tree pruning or removal? Give us a call. We can recommend the most appropriate action for the trees in your landscape, and our inspections and assessments are always free.
Your Tree Care Checklist for Summer
There’s a lot to enjoy in the summer ? but there’s also a lot of work to do. When it comes to your trees, there are a few jobs you can do now to ensure a vibrant and healthy growing season and keep your trees strong going into the upcoming winter.
First things first ? inspect your trees.
Winter frosts and heavy snows can do a number on your trees. Inspect all of the trees on your property for damage, like winter burn. This happens when a tree does not receive enough moisture in the fall and cold winter winds dry out the leaf tissue. If you notice vertical cracks in the tree’s bark, you may be looking at sun scald, which can eventually lead to decay. Sun scald is more likely to be a problem with younger, thin-barked trees and occurs in the winter and spring months.
Additional signs of damage include abnormal leaf size, off-color bark and oozing sap. Any severely damaged or dead branches or trees should be removed.
Check for pests and diseases.
Unfortunately, trees are not immune from getting sick or overrun with pests. Insects tend to target vulnerable trees which are already weak from stress. Aphids are a common issue, notable for the sticky residue they leave behind after munching on tree leaves and stems.
The Emerald Ash Borer has caused devastating damage throughout most of the country. If you have Ash trees on your property, look for signs of dead branches starting at the top of the tree, and small D-shaped holes in the tree’s bark where the beetles exit in June. Trees with bad infestations may lose a third to a half of their branches in one year. The U.S. Forest Service operates an informative website on the Emerald Ash Borer, which you can find here.
Proactive care goes a long way in keeping your trees free from pests and diseases. If your tree has a bad infestation, it may need to be removed by a professional. Look for a certified arborist who meets the criteria of the International Society of Aboriculture.
Pick up the rubble.
Take advantage of the warm weather to pick up old leaves and twigs, fallen branches, or anything else that may be littering the floor of your landscape. Be especially careful to remove diseased material, and DON’T compost it; throw it in the trash.
Get out the pruning shears.
Now is the time to prune those dead or diseased branches you noticed in your inspection. Trees don’t try to repair or regrow injured or diseased wood; instead, they stop sending resources to the damaged tissue.
Pruning allows the tree to put energy into its healthy branches, it improves airflow and it can even lower the risk of insect infestation. If you are dealing with very large or very high dead branches, or branches that pose a risk to structures, vehicles or people, make sure you consult a professional first.
Feed your trees.
After a long, hard winter, trees are often desperate for nutrients. Help them recover and put their energy into new growth with a slow-release fertilizer. Healthy trees have the best defense against disease and insects.
Know how to water.
As the days become longer and hotter, it’s important to give your trees adequate moisture. Following a consistent watering schedule that mimics rainfall (a slow, deep soak) is the best bet. Established trees need one gallon (or one inch) of water each week and younger trees may need twice as much. Consider installing a drip line below ground and don’t water in the afternoon, when moisture can be lost to evaporation.
Apply new mulch.
Mulch provides so many benefits to your trees and can be a lifesaver in the hot summer. Add two to four inches of mulch around the base of each tree, being careful not to pile it up around the trunk (this is called “volcano mulching” and can kill your tree). In addition to retaining moisture and keeping soil temperatures cool, mulch provides added nutrients to the soil.
If the warm weather is calling to you, go ahead and answer. Dust off those gardening gloves and give your trees the attention they need to make it through the long summer.
Arborist Advice: Protecting Your Trees from Summer Storms
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.
Tree Pruning and Removal – How to Tell When It’s Time
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.
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