Tree Health

What Is a Tree Inspection? (And Why You Need One)

When it comes to living a safe and comfortable life, inspections are essential. Think about it. From buying a home to maintaining a car, inspections are a standard and widespread practice. Even restaurants, aircraft, and your own teeth require routine inspections.

While these things are extremely different, they all need regular checkups to stay safe. That’s because inspections are designed to detect existing and potential issues before they turn into bigger problems.

Your trees are no exception. Yes, that’s right: Trees need inspections, too. When performed by a professional tree expert, a tree inspection will help your trees thrive in the best way possible.

What is a Tree Inspection?

A tree inspection involves a careful examination of your trees. It’s done by arborists, like the ones at Friendly Tree.

During the inspection, your arborist will evaluate the tree’s structure and surrounding soil. They’ll also determine the tree’s overall health by inspecting its bark, branches, and more.

Why You Need Tree Inspections

A tree inspection is like a routine checkup with the doctor. It measures the most basic aspects of health, which can indicate bigger problems or risks. Specifically, a tree inspection can:

1. Diagnose Tree Infections Early

Like an annual doctor’s appointment, inspections look for signs of disease. This includes infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or insects.

A certified arborist knows precisely what to look for. They’ll consider regional diseases and pests, which can help them diagnose issues sooner rather than later.

2. Identify Structural Damage

Physical damage due to construction, storms, or incorrect tree pruning can be identified during an inspection. This is crucial for the tree’s health, as structural problems can make it difficult for the tree to take in oxygen and water.

3. Improve Safety

By identifying disease and damage, a tree inspection protects both humans and pets. A damaged tree, after all, is more likely to break or fall. This poses a hazard to residents and buildings alike.

4.Determine Watering Needs

If you’ve never consulted a tree arborist, or if you recently planted a new tree, a tree inspection will help you plan a proper watering routine.

An arborist can create a personalized watering guide based on the type of tree, its age, and upcoming seasons. Depending on your previous watering habits, this might involve more or less water, or a specific schedule.

4.Establish Soil Requirements

Likewise, a tree inspection helps you determine the best soil for your trees. Good soil is vital for healthy and happy trees. The examination can also shed light on the ideal fertilizer and mulch for your trees.

Friendly Tree Offers Comprehensive Tree Inspections in New Jersey

In a nutshell, tree inspections are essential for tree health and safety. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ll save you money in the long run, as each inspection allows you to fix issues while they’re still manageable.

After the inspection, the arborist will propose the next best steps. They can also provide guidelines for various tree care practices, such as pruning.

To schedule an inspection, contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888. Our professional New Jersey tree service is available throughout Essex, Morris, Union, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Middlesex, and Somerset counties.

What Are Air Spade Services?

Root excavation is one of the most important components of tree care. The tree’s root system, after all, can’t be seen above ground level. An arborist needs to remove the soil around the roots in order to properly examine the root tissue.

Fortunately, it’s possible to do this without injuring the roots. The answer is the Air Spade, a state-of-the-art tool that Friendly Tree is proud to use. Let’s look at how Air Spade services work and why they are so useful.

Air Spades for Root Excavation

The Air Spade is an excavation device that uses compressed air to remove soil. It’s powerful enough to handle heavy materials like hard clay or clumps of soil. At the same time, it’s gentle enough to safely use around sensitive roots.

The device is essentially a long stick, or wand, with an adjustable nozzle. The wand is connected to an air compressor, which sends high-pressure air through the wand. When the air is released from the nozzle, it breaks apart lumps of soil.

When is an Air Spade Used?

Air Spades are used for removing soil around the base of a tree. This exposes the tree’s complex root system, which is ideal for situations like: 

  • Preparation for root inspection
  • Diagnosis of tree concerns or diseases
  • Removal of excess soil after construction projects  
  • Preparation for various treatments (such as fungicides)
  • Excavation of trees that were planted too deeply (a common occurrence)
  • Digging trenches for gas, electric, utility, and sprinkler lines without cutting roots

How an Air Spade Protects a Tree

Since the root system is underground, it’s impossible to inspect or handle the roots without digging up the surrounding soil. This is traditionally done with a hand spade or another mechanical technique.

However, it can be a tedious process. It can also result in root damage and endanger the health of the tree.

Air Spades offer a safer, more efficient method. The high-pressure air breaks apart soil without harming the root tissue. As a bonus, the process is quick, so it saves time for both the arborist and property owner.

The only drawback is that the Air Spade is quite loud. The noise is caused by the air compressor and high-pressure air. Otherwise, an Air Spade will only benefit your tree in the long run.

Friendly Tree Offers Air Spade Services in New Jersey

If you’re in need of root excavation, contact Friendly Tree. Our New Jersey tree experts are skilled in professional Air Spade services. During the excavation process, we can also examine your tree’s health and diagnose any plant concerns.

Since 1989, Friendly Tree has offered tree services throughout northern New Jersey. Our team serves Essex, Morris, Union, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Middlesex, and Somerset counties. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation, contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888.

Why Are My Tree’s Leaves Turning Yellow?

It goes without saying that New Jersey autumns are beautiful. It’s all thanks to the gorgeous medley of yellow, orange, and red leaves. You might even spot a few purple ones if you’re lucky.

While we adore these amazing colors, it can be concerning to see them off-season. This is especially true with yellow leaves, which typically indicate a problem. Naturally, if it isn’t fall quite yet, you might wonder why your leaves are turning yellow.


Here are potential causes of those yellow leaves:

1. Lack of Water

Insufficient water is a common cause of yellowing leaves. This is likely if you have automated water sprinklers, which may not reach all of your plants.

A dehydrated tree might have yellow leaves or leaves with brown tips. The leaves might also be dry, wilted, or curling.

To determine if a tree is underwatered, check the soil six to eight inches deep. It should be moist and somewhat cool. But if the soil is dry and crumbly, the tree is thirsty.

2. Too Much Water

Likewise, overwatering can make leaves turn yellow or pale green. Too much water deprives the roots of oxygen, which suffocates and kills them. As a result, the damaged roots are unable to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the leaves.

You can tell a tree is overwatered if the area around is frequently wet. To remedy the problem, take a break from watering your tree. If you have an automated sprinkler, make sure most of the water isn’t falling onto one plant. An environmental factor like a small hill or gutter might also be directing water toward a single tree.

3. Fungal, Bacterial, Viral Disease

A tree with yellow leaves might have an infection. You can identify the pathogen at play by observing other signs and symptoms.

Generally, fungal diseases cause yellow leaves and/or brown spots. There might also be a powdery mildew substance on the leaves. Bacterial diseases, on the other hand, typically cause dark spots with yellow “halos.” Viral diseases cause yellow and crinkly leaves.

If you think your plant is infected, ask an expert tree provider to diagnose the problem.

4. Pest Infestation

Yellow, hole-ridden leaves are likely caused by a pest infestation.

Insects like aphids and mealybugs are notorious for attacking trees. These bugs feed on nutrient-rich sap, making it difficult for a tree to produce enough chlorophyll.

Again, like pathogenic diseases, tree pest infestations are best handled by professionals. It’s the best way to properly control the invasion and prevent it from spreading.

5. Nutrient Deficiency

Trees, like humans, need enough minerals to stay healthy. Specifically, trees need nutrients like:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Boron

If a tree doesn’t get enough of these nutrients, it will have difficulty making chlorophyll, the pigment that makes leaves green. This causes a condition called chlorosis, which turns leaves yellow or yellow-white.

But this isn’t just a superficial issue. A plant needs chlorophyll to turn sunlight into energy and food. Without sufficient chlorophyll, the tree will starve and die.

To identify chlorosis, look at the leaves’ veins. The area between the veins typically turn yellow first, while the actual veins stay green. If the chlorosis is severe, the leaves will be completely yellow with brown spots.

You can reverse the issue by mixing supplements into the soil. An expert tree provider like Friendly Tree can determine which supplements are necessary.

6. Herbicides

Finally, some herbicides lead to yellowing. These weed killers contain chemicals that can disrupt chlorophyll production. Consequently, the leaves turn yellow and the plant is unable to continue photosynthesis.

The yellowing might appear in streaks or spots. In some cases, the veins may also turn pink or purple.


Let Friendly Tree Diagnose All Your Tree Problems

If you’re not sure why your leaves are turning yellow, consult the professionals at Friendly Tree. As you can see, there are many potential causes, so it’s important to work with an expert.

We can examine your tree and diagnose the problem before it progresses. Most importantly, our tree technicians can explain how to prevent the issue from coming back.


Friendly Tree offers tree services in New Jersey. Since 1989, we’ve proudly served customers throughout northern New Jersey, including Montclair, Madison, Union, Morristown, and more.

Contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888 to get a quote or schedule a consultation.

How Trees Help Retain (and Reduce) Stormwater Runoff

Trees offer countless environmental benefits. For example, they cleanse the air by producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide. They also provide homes and food for animals like birds and squirrels. Needless to say, trees can bring immense value and advantages to a natural landscape.

But the benefits of trees don’t stop there. Trees also retain and reduce stormwater runoff, one of the biggest issues of urban and suburban areas. This means they can play a significant role in protecting the local environment.

Why Is Stormwater Runoff an Issue?

We all know rain is important. It replenishes our water sources, “feeds” rivers and lakes, and keeps our grass green and healthy. Rain also provides essential nutrients for agricultural crops and beautiful trees.

The problem is when rain becomes stormwater runoff. This happens when rainfall or melting snow flows over paved surfaces like roads, parking lots, and driveways. Since these surfaces are impermeable, they don’t soak up water. The result is a large volume of water flowing over ground surfaces.

Here’s why this can be bad news:

Flooding and Erosion

If rapid runoff flows into bodies of water, it can disrupt the natural flow and damage local animal habitats. It can also worsen the severity of flooding in urban and suburban neighborhoods.

Sewage Problems

Stormwater runoff can overwhelm local sewage systems, which are full of harmful pathogens and heavy metals. This presents serious public health concerns.


When stormwater passes over paved surfaces, it picks up pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, lawn fertilizer, and byproducts from construction sites. The water then pushes these pollutants into local streams and rivers.

Excess Sediment

Similarly, fast-moving runoff forces sediment and residue into bodies of water. This can destroy natural habitats and block sunlight from underwater plant life.

Trees and Stormwater Runoff

While paved surfaces don’t mix well with rainfall, they’re essential components of developed neighborhoods. It’d be difficult to travel around town without surfaces like roads and sidewalks.

The solution? Plant new trees and take care of existing ones. Aside from beautifying our properties and streets, trees can manage stormwater runoff.

They can:

Retain Water

A tree provides a surface for rain to land on. Specifically, its leaves and bark can “intercept” and retain rainfall. This water will then evaporate or end up in the soil.

Decrease Erosion

Likewise, tree canopies intercept rainfall and reduce the risk of erosion.

Absorb Moisture

Water can also collect on fallen leaves. Eventually, the moisture will permeate the soil instead of flowing over paved surfaces.

Roots also absorb the water and aerate the soil, which soaks up moisture. This reduces the accumulation of runoff after a storm.

Plant New Trees and Reduce Stormwater Runoff

You can’t control the weather, but you can control how your property handles heavy rainfall. That’s why it’s important to plant trees to retain and reduce stormwater runoff.

However, managing runoff doesn’t stop at planting new trees. It also involves taking care of the trees you already have. By keeping your existing trees healthy, you can do your part in reducing stormwater runoff.

Friendly Tree is here to help. As a team of certified arborists, we offer professional tree planting services in New Jersey. We also know what it takes to help trees thrive and flourish.

To get a quote or schedule a consultation, contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888.

How to Avoid Damaging Your Tree’s Roots

When you look at a tree, it’s easy to find something to admire: the robust trunk, the rustling leaves, and maybe even some dainty flowers. In the fall, the leaves morph into a spectacle of warm colors. In the winter, the branches become home to freshly fallen snow.

Needless to say, there’s a lot to appreciate when you look at a majestic tree.

But what about the roots?

While you can’t always see them, the roots are as admirable as the rest of the tree. The root system, which anchors the tree to the ground, supplies the tree with nutrients and water. It also helps drain and aerate the surrounding soil.

So, take the time to learn how to avoid damaging your tree’s roots. By following these safety precautions, you can help your beloved tree thrive for years to come.

Don’t Overwater

When it comes to watering, it can be tempting to literally “shower” a tree with love. After all, as a crucial component of tree care, water is essential for healthy roots.

Yet, it’s possible to overdo it. If a tree is overwatered, the roots will suffocate and fail to take up nutrients. The excess water can also promote the growth of dangerous microorganisms and cause root rot.

Overwatering is especially detrimental within the first two years of planting a tree. During this time, the root system is still establishing itself in the soil, so it’s important to go easy on the water.

If you’re not sure how often you should water your trees, talk to a certified arborist at Friendly Tree.

Add Mulch Properly

Mulch can do so much more than “prettify” your landscape. When used properly, mulch can insulate the soil and lock in root moisture. It also prevents soil compaction, ensuring that roots can efficiently absorb nutrients and water.

But like watering, there’s a wrong and right way to mulch. For example, piling a “mulch volcano” against the trunk will rob the bark and roots of oxygen. It also encourages the growth of disease-causing fungi and bacteria.

Instead, you should apply mulch from the tree’s root flare. Apply the mulch in a 3 to 10-foot circle around the base and use a rake to spread it out. Additionally, the layer of mulch should be no more than 2 to 4 inches deep.

Never Cut Roots Yourself

Whether you’re adding more plants or building near trees, you might consider snipping roots to make more space. However, much like pruning leaves, trimming roots should be left to the professionals.

Some roots are necessary for the tree’s water flow, nutrient delivery, and stability. If these roots are cut away, the tree can die or fall over.

A certified arborist can determine which roots are safe to trim. They can also consider other important factors, such as the best time of the year to cut roots. (Yes, it matters!)

Avoid Pouring Concrete

If you’re building a new structure or sprucing up your landscape, you might want to add concrete or stone near a tree. Unfortunately, this can severely damage your tree’s root system, even if it’s already established.

Concrete and stone will suffocate the roots, making it impossible to absorb oxygen, water, and nutrients.

If you must add concrete or stone, talk to a professional concrete company. They can work with an arborist to figure out the best way to add concrete without harming the roots.

Treat Your Roots Well with Friendly Tree

While every tree and property are different, these tips will help you avoid damaging your tree’s roots. If you have questions — or if you want personalized guidance — don’t hesitate to contact Friendly Tree.

Our New Jersey certified arborists can provide root safety tips based on the specific trees you own. We also offer a range of professional tree services, including tree pruning and tree planting.

To schedule a consultation or get a quote, contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888.

What Kind of Tree Should I Plant?

So, you decided to plant a new tree. Congratulations! This is the start of a beautiful landscape that will increase the aesthetics and value of your property.

But before you start mapping your dream garden, it’s important to know what kind of tree you should plant. This depends on the environment you’re planting in. Remember, every tree has different requirements, so it should be planted in an area that meets those needs.

Your climate isn’t the only factor, though. The characteristics of your property matter as well. From existing greenery to nearby pipes, there are many environmental aspects to consider.


Before buying a tree or digging a hole, take the time to do some research. By learning how to choose the best tree for your area, you can ensure it will thrive for years to come. Here are several factors to consider.



As you know, North America is a continent of extremely different climates. Therefore, in order to help folks choose the appropriate trees for their area, the USDA created The Plant Hardiness Zones.


Each zone represents an area in the United States or Canada. The zones are divided based on an area’s lowers annual average temperature. In each zone, there are specific trees that can endure the winters in that area.


Before buying and planting a new tree, find your plant hardiness zone. There are 11 zones in total. All you need to do is visit a hardiness zone map and enter your zip code.



When it comes to moisture, every type of tree has different needs. Some trees require constantly wet soil, while others prefer a dry environment. As a result, it’s vital to consider your area’s natural rain patterns throughout the year.


Be sure to acknowledge nearby bodies of water, too. Ponds, for example, will affect the level of moisture in the surrounding soil.



From clay to sand, soil isn’t a one-size-fits-all component. Every soil has different biological, chemical, and physical characteristics, so you must choose the appropriate trees for your soil type.

Granted, things like pH and draining can be altered with various substances. For instance, you can improve soil drainage by adding organic matter like compost. But for optimal results, it’s wise to pick the most appropriate plants for your property’s soil.


Available Space

Every property is unique, regardless of climate or state. So, be sure to acknowledge the different aspects of your land.

Think about your available space and nearby trees, shrubs, or plants. Over time, the tree’s root system will attempt to establish itself, so it’s essential to provide enough space for both new and existing plants. This will ensure that they don’t have to compete for water and nutrients.


Existing Constraints

Before choosing a tree, consider any existing underground pipes and power lines. Don’t forget about your driveway, sidewalk, and neighbors. Lastly, check any local ordinances and rules as to how far a tree must be planted from the street.

With these environmental aspects in mind, you can determine if you should get a small, medium, or large tree. You’ll also be able to figure out what kind of canopy and foliage will work well with the area.


We’re Here to Help You Choose the Best Trees for Your Property

If you’re not sure what kind of tree you should plant, consult the professionals at Friendly Tree. Since 1989, we’ve offered tree planting services throughout northern New Jersey. We’ll take the time to choose the best species for your property and needs.


This way, you don’t have to worry about all the details on this list. Leave it up to us! Our team of professional arborists knows exactly what to look for.

For a free quote, contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888.

I Just Planted a New Tree — Now What?

It’s no secret that planting trees has many benefits. For starters, trees are beautiful; they can improve the appearance and value of your property. Trees also produce oxygen, clean the air, control noise, and enhance mental wellness. And with strategic planning, trees can even reduce energy bills by offering shade in the summer and blocking wind in the winter. (Oh, and did we mention they’re beautiful?)

You can’t go wrong with tree planting in New Jersey. In fact, you might have already added several trees to your property. But have you thought about proper care and maintenance?

Compared to older trees, newly planted trees have different needs. So, if you just planted a new tree, keep the following tips in mind. By doing so, you can help it flourish for years to come.


Mind the Mulch

When done properly, mulching prevents soil compaction, maintains root moisture, and insulates soil. Mulch also benefits the appearance of your landscape.

Yet, mulching isn’t as simple as making a pile and calling it a day. Piling mulch around the trunk will suffocate the bark and roots. This “mulch volcano” can also promote fungal and bacterial growth, and eventually, kill your new tree.

That’s why it’s vital to mulch your trees correctly. First, the mulch should be applied away from the trunk and spread to a diameter of at least the three feet. You can use a rake to evenly spread it out. Additionally, the mulch should be no more than 3 to 4 inches deep.


Avoid Over Fertilizing

Unlike soil in the wild, soil in landscaped settings don’t contain enough essential nutrients and minerals. Therefore, fertilizing your trees is one of the best things you can do. Fertilizer contains vital nutrients that can support the growth and vitality of your tree.

However, it’s possible to over fertilize a tree. Doing so can strain a tree and disrupt its ability to absorb water.

Plus, if a new tree was properly planted, it won’t require much during the first two years. A newly planted tree requires nothing more than organic matter, water, sun, and mulch.

It’s advised to wait two years before using fertilizer. This will allow enough time for the root system to establish itself. Otherwise, if you add too much fertilizer too soon, the new tree will overproduce and become stressed.


Watch the Water

We all know trees need water to survive. And when you plant a new tree, you may be tempted to overdo it. But like mulch and fertilizer, using too much water can cause health issues.

Overwatering deprives the roots of oxygen. In turn, the roots won’t be able to supply enough nutrients to the tree. Overwatering also encourages the growth of harmful organisms, which can eventually lead to root rot.

To care for a newly planted tree, you need to keep the soil moist — not wet. All it takes is 30 seconds of a steady stream of water for each tree. For best results, use a garden hose with a diffuser nozzle attachment.

The root system will establish itself within the first two years. At this point, it will be able to handle more water.


Know the Tree’s Needs

New tree care isn’t limited to regular food and water. It’s crucial to think about your future plans, too.

Be mindful of the quantity and types of plants in each bed. Remember, every plant needs water, nutrients, and space to grow. But when there are multiple trees and shrubs in one bed, they will all compete with each other.

Do your research or consult an expert. By choosing a thoughtful combination of plants, you can ensure that every member of the bed will survive and thrive.


Call Friendly Tree for Professional Help

If you planted a tree and need assistance, contact Friendly Tree. We’re happy to take care of mulching and answer all your questions about trees.

Friendly Tree also offers tree planting services in New Jersey. We’ll choose the best specimens for your property, style, and preference. Most importantly, our team will plant your trees in a way that sets them up for long-term success.

To schedule a consultation or get a quote, contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888.

How to Prep Your Trees for Winter


The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, the days are already getting shorter and that means it’s time to prepare your yard for winter.


Freezing temperatures and winter storms can really do a number on your landscape, if it is not properly put to bed. So, while the trees are doing their part – shedding their leaves to conserve energy for the months ahead – take some time to do yours.


First, Clean Up the Yard

It can be tempting to stay inside where it’s warm, and just hope the leaves will all blow away. But allowing debris to build up on your yard can attract pests and fungal diseases, and prevent proper water absorption and drainage. Similarly, fallen fruit that is allowed to rot over the winter is asking for trouble.


Rake leaves, harvest fruit, pick up fallen branches and remove dead annuals from your yard. Mowing your yard one last time – with the blades on the lowest setting – is also a good idea. A clean, open landscape is less attractive to insects and diseases than one that is full of decaying debris.


Tidy Trees and Shrubs

Winter storms and weak or dying branches is a bad combination. Now is the time to take care of limbs that are hanging, look weak, are infested or dying, as well as give your trees and shrubs an all-over cleanup. A healthy tree is less likely to be damaged in a winter storm.


Remember to wait until after trees have gone dormant to prune them, and always consult a professional if you see anything worrisome, or don’t know how to properly prune.


Don’t Forget to Water

Just because the hoses are detached doesn’t mean your watering days are over until the summer. Trees and plants still need to be watered during dry spells throughout the fall and winter, and your lawn does, too. Even dormant plants need water to survive. Now is also the perfect time to add compost or fertilizer to feed your trees throughout the winter.


Protect Them With Mulch

Think of mulch like a blanket for your trees. A layer of organic mulch about two to three inches deep helps insulate trees from harsh temperatures and retain moisture in the soil. Just be sure not to mulch too deep, and always keep it away from the tree’s trunk.


Discourage Pests

While the bugs are winding down for the season, once spring hits the larvae will be back in full swing. Applying horticultural oils now will help prevent the larvae of common pests like aphids, mites and scale insects from hatching when temperatures rise.


Horticultural oils can usually be found at your local garden center and are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply. Properly removing leaves, dead branches and fallen fruit is also critical to preventing pests from taking over.


When to Winterize

Winterizing your yard should happen around the same time you would winterize your house or vehicle; in New Jersey, that’s usually in October or early November.


Fall Planting

Fall is the perfect time to plant new trees and shrubs. Planting now gives them time to develop a strong root system before the heat of summer hits. So before you put your yard to bed for the season, add some new life, and be rewarded in the spring.


Investing the time now to winterize your yard will mean less troubleshooting in the warmer months. Trees that are properly cared for react better to stress and generally have fewer problems the following season.

When Your Trees Need Some TLC

Are your trees looking not quite right? They may be crying out for help. The urban environment can take its toll on tree health, causing early tree decline and death.

Lucky for us, trees express themselves in different ways, giving us clues to what’s troubling them. It helps to know how your tree is communicating by recognizing some of the common signs of tree stress.

Take a few minutes to observe the trees on your property for red flags, starting at the top:


Take a look at the tree’s canopy. Does it look sparse compared to nearby trees, or compared to previous years? Are there dangling branches? These are signs your tree needs some help.


You can tell a lot about the health of a tree by looking at its leaves. Wilting, yellowing, brown, misshapen, curling, spotted or dropping leaves mean your tree is struggling.


Large, open wounds, splits, and cracks can all point to something going on internally with your tree. Also be on the lookout for exit holes from bark beetles and borers.


Mushrooms that repeatedly appear at the base of a tree point to a problem underground, usually root rot.

The best way to prevent stress from taking its toll on your trees is to give them what they need throughout the year. Here’s how to keep your trees healthy and resistant to many of the above problems.

Water Consistently and Deeply

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to caring for their trees is overwatering. It sounds hard to do, but it happens often. Too much water can lead to root rot and fungal issues; too little water causes dehydration and makes trees more susceptible to pests and diseases. Trees like their water slow and deep. Watering deeply at the drip line whenever the soil is dry is the best way to keep your trees happy.


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – mulch is a tree’s best friend! Mulch provides numerous benefits and is a simple way to help prevent many stressors.

Prune the Right Way

Although pruning is usually done with the best of intentions, it is often done incorrectly. Pruning the wrong way can do more damage than good. In fact, incorrect pruning is one of the major causes of insect and pest problems in trees. When in doubt, contact your local tree service professionals for advice on where and how much to prune.

Know How to Plant

It may seem simple, but the way you plant a young tree can really be a deal-breaker. Never dig the planting hole deeper than the height of the tree’s root ball, and always dig the hole two to three times wider than the root ball. These simple steps will help prevent your tree from getting unnecessarily stressed down the road.

Consult a Professional

What happens if your tree is already showing signs of stress? Is it too late? If you’re noticing warning signs, now is the time to give us a call.

Many problems can be corrected with proper treatment and care. At Friendly Tree, our inspections and assessments are always free. We pride ourselves on providing expert, reliable service, taking the utmost care of our customers and their trees.

Fertilizing Your Trees – The Basics

If you’ve ever dug into the forest floor, you’ve probably observed that the soil looks quite different than the dirt in your backyard.

That’s partly due to the large amounts of organic matter on the surface, and partly because the plentiful organisms in the soil break down that organic matter and incorporate it back into the soil.

Trees growing in the forest thrive without fertilizer because the rich soil gives them all the nutrients they need.


Why Fertilize?

Trees growing in their natural habitats rarely have nutrient deficiencies. In urban settings, however, this is not the case.

Soils in artificial habitats can be very different than native habitats, and they are often lacking in essential nutrients.

If you haven’t fed your trees this year, they may be hungry! Applying fertilizer at least once a year is usually necessary to replenish essential minerals and nutrients in the soil.


When to Fertilize

Although you can’t see them, a tree’s roots continue to take in nutrients well after it sheds its leaves for the year.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your trees in the fall, before it freezes. This way the fertilizer will be absorbed by the roots and ready to feed the tree once it begins to come out of dormancy in the spring. Nutrients at-the-ready allow for robust new growth as leaves emerge.

If fertilizing in the fall is not possible, you can also feed your trees in early spring, as soon as the ground thaws.


Types of Fertilizer

There are many different types of fertilizer; the type you use will depend on your trees, your landscape, and soil conditions.

Granular Fertilizer is applied at the soil’s surface either by hand or by the mechanical spreader. This is often the method of choice for homeowners because it is fast, easy, inexpensive and quite effective. This method is particularly beneficial for trees growing in mulched areas and lawns.

Liquid Injection Fertilizer involves high-pressure injection of liquid fertilizer, allowing for rapid uptake of nutrients, and is often the preferred method of professional arborists.

Fertilizer Spikes or stakes are less common today, as they have shown limited effectiveness. With this method, solid spikes of fertilizer are driven into the soil around trees at measured distances.

Foliar Spray is commonly used as a quick fix for nutrient deficiencies. With foliar feeding, liquid fertilizer is sprayed directly onto the tree’s leaves. Foliar fertilization is a helpful supplemental fertilizer, adding micronutrients just before the growth period, but it is not effective as the only source of fertilizer.

Tree Trunk Injections are primarily used to treat specific mineral deficiencies, such as iron or zinc deficiencies, and are not recommended as general, multi-purpose fertilizer.


What do the Numbers Mean?

On just about every bag of fertilizer, you’ll find, you will see three numbers. The first number indicates the percentage of nitrogen; the second number indicates the percentage of phosphorus, and the third number indicates the percentage of potassium.

These numbers are important because different plants need different ratios of these elements to stay healthy. Research has shown that high nitrogen fertilizers yield the greatest growth in woody plants, such as trees and shrubs.

Pay attention to the ratios, not just the numbers. Look for a high-nitrogen fertilizer with ratios of 3-1-1, 3-1-2 or 4-1-1. For example, an 8-2-2 fertilizer follows the 4-1-1 ratio.

Ask your local arborist or nursery for the best combination for your soil and region.

Slow-release nitrogen fertilizers are best for long-term growth because they allow for nutrient absorption throughout the season, and therefore more uniform growth.

Be careful to avoid lawn fertilizers containing herbicides, which can damage or even kill your trees.

When it comes to tree health, preventive maintenance is key. A vigorous and healthy tree is much less susceptible to disease and infestation.

With proper maintenance, your trees can add value to the landscape and stay healthy for a long time.