Boxwood Blight: What you need to know

Have you noticed something a little odd about how your Boxwood shrubs have been looking lately? They may be experiencing a condition that has become known as “Boxwood Blight.” This infection begins in mid to late summer with circular dark spots appearing on the newest growth. As the days go on, these spots will continue to grow and a form a ring-like pattern. It forms a lesion that eventually will engulf and kill the leaf causing it to drop to the ground. You may also see black streaks on the nearby twigs. You may also notice white fungal formations mainly under the leaves as well as on infected parts of the stems.



Unfortunately, when this popular landscape plant becomes infected with Boxwood Blight, the disease spreads rapidly to other Boxwoods and destroys them within a few weeks. The disease is so contagious it can even be spread by seemingly harmless activities such as gardening or your dog running through the bushes! The spores attach to clothes, shoes, tools, or an animal’s fur so it is best to reduce this type of contact. Another factor may be watering practices, such as sprinklers, because wet and humid conditions are also known to facilitate its spread as well.

So what can you do? There is currently no cure but there are several treatment options. Mulching, removing the infected plants, and some fungicides have shown varying levels of success in preventing the spread of the disease. However, the best thing to do is contact us at Westchester Tree Life, Inc. and we will have one of our certified arborists come and assess your current situation. Visit us at or call at 914-238-0069!

3 Gorgeous Trees for Privacy

Summer has finally arrived and it’s nice to step outside into our backyards and enjoy the fresh air. Our privacy is always an important topic so let’s look at some ways to gain the privacy you long for without installing unwanted fences. Besides, fencing can be too short to achieve the private feel and they can be quite expensive! Also, fences have an expensive up keep and usually run into situations where repairs are needed. Have you considered what a “natural border” can do for your property?

Planting trees as a privacy border has many benefits. It is also quite obvious that a fence doesn’t provide the same peaceful aesthetic as trees. Planting trees for privacy will help block noise, clean the air, and provide privacy for decades.  Also, watch your property value rise up as well!!  Once you’ve figured out the best layout for your privacy trees, it’s time to look at what trees will best suit your property. Certified tree experts recommend certain species of trees or shrubbery over others to create the perfect “privacy screen”. Let’s take a look at some of your options:


Emerald Green Arborvitae

Emerald Arborvitae is a brilliant choice due to its vibrant green foliage all year round. They are a selection of White Cedar and prosper in urban settings.  They even do well in clay soil and are very fast growing.

The Emerald Arborvitae makes the perfect natural border offering extensive privacy.  They are very space conscientious as well as they typically grow to 3-4’ wide which is great because they won’t take over your yard. Their coloring is unique compared to other Arborativae so this addition to your landscape design will be visually pleasing as well.  Tree experts have also noted that they typically retain their bold green color year round better than most trees of its kind. These gorgeous trees make a beautiful backdrop to a perennial garden while providing your family with the privacy that you are looking for. 


The Leyland Cypress

If you are looking for one of the fastest growing privacy trees then the Leyland Cypress is for you. It can grow 3-4ft per year and can surpass 50ft in 15 yrs. Its upright growth produces very soft foliage of mid hue greens. They can thrive in most soil conditions and even survive drought.  The Leyland Cypress remains attractive year round which is always a plus when picking out your trees.  Once planted, these trees will spring up into a beautiful solid privacy wall before you know it! 

The Spartan Juniper

If your are looking for more of a hardy evergreen then turn to the Spartan Juniper.  They will survive in most conditions and even thrive in times of drought. Even when left to grow naturally the Spartan Juniper grows into a visually pleasing shape. However you can easily clip them into hedges or trim them into columns. These trees can also thrive is decorative pots so they can accent your pool area or be used purely as decorative additions to your yard.  The Spartan Juniper is highly resistant to pests and common tree diseases which make them an extremely low-maintenance evergreen!

Be sure to contact Westchester Tree Life when making these decisions. A certified arborist is key to the success of your new landscape.  Take down the fences and plant some trees as they will quickly spring up into living walls. It’s time to get outside in the fresh summer air,and you deserve to enjoy it in privacy! Turn your yard into your own private sanctuary with a natural border and keep unwanted eyes out!

A Spot in the Shade: Summer Shade Trees

Summer is just around the corner  in Westchester County!  The summer months can surely bring unbearable heat at times which cause so many to run to their air conditioned houses. Let’s look at a way to escape the summer heat while still enjoying some fresh air. We waited all winter to get outside so let’s not lock ourselves back up indoors! An obvious escape from the high sun is to find a shady spot. When thinking about your landscape design, it is a good idea to incorporate some Shade Trees. Typically these are deciduous trees that produce a thick leaf coverage in the warmer months of summer then shed their leaves upon the arrival of the cooler seasons.

Let’s take a look at some of the shade trees that can help to offer a “cool spot in the shade” and also improve the overall appearance of your landscape design. This is definitely something to think about as you are designing the layout on your property. Maybe some of these trees are already on your property and now you can see them in a new light!

Weeping Willow Tree
Besides their obvious charm and elegance, Weeping Willows also serve as a fortress from the blazing sun during the summer months!  The weeping willow is a medium to large-sized deciduous tree that has the potential to grow up to 60 feet tall. They tend to grow rapidly, but unfortunately have a short lifespan. The beautiful shoots are a yellowish-brown, with very small buds. The leaves are patterned and spirally arranged. They are light green, with finely serrate margins and long tips. A cool summer breeze tends to animate these gorgeous trees and they are a very sought after addition to any landscape design!

White Birch
The White Birch Tree, also known as the European birch, can grow up to be 30 to 60 feet tall and features “drooping” branches. These trees have smaller leaves that offer a nice diffused shade.  Birch trees in general are tolerant of most soil and climate conditions. They do, however, like moisture during the dryer summer months. Birch trees grow very fast, which is a plus if you are planning a new layout design while the peeling white bark can stand out in a landscape.

Silver Maple
The Silver Maple is the fastest growing of the Maple trees.  Its branches spread out, producing a gorgeous canopy in the hot summer months! They can grow in upwards to 80ft and have a “wingspan” of up to 40ft! It is a very adaptable tree but it does require the most sunlight out of all the maples. The leaves are simple and palmately veined with deep angular notches between the five lobes. These trees are often planted for ornamental purposes because of their rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting. They are highly tolerant of urban situations and are frequently planted next to streets.

So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather that mother nature is serving up! Plan a picnic or grab your favorite book and find your spot in the shade under your shade tree of choice! Plus, by turning off the air conditioners we are saving money and energy which helps reduce your carbon footprint. Enjoy your summer!

Tree Removal? Hire a Professional!

Trees are very beneficial to the environment in many ways, such as cleaning the air, adding beauty to our communities, providing shelter to wildlife and more.  However, sometimes it is necessary to remove a tree from your property for a variety of reasons. The most common need for tree removal is that the tree has died and has become a safety threat to its surroundings. Other reasons for tree removal include pest infestation or change in landscape design. Tree removal is a technical skill that needs to be carried out by a licensed arborist.

If you find yourself in this situation, you should schedule an appointment immediately before disaster strikes. After the initial inspection, a crew will remove larger sections of limbs first, cut the trunk of the tree into sections, and then haul them away. The tree’s stump is chopped as close to the ground as possible.  Arrangements can then be made to grind the stump away and complete the job. Most of the branches are put through a wood chipper to create mulch.

Tree removal is a very dangerous undertaking.  Trees that have been damaged by insects or disease, are close to power lines, or are more than 20 feet tall require special equipment, skill, and experience to remove.  You should always hire a professional, certified arborist to ensure the highest level of safety.


At Westchester Tree Life, we take great care to plan for the safety of property and the safety of our crew.  Our expert tree removal specialists carefully assess each situation in order to remove a tree with minimal impact on the surrounding vegetation and without risk to nearby structures and power lines. If you have a tree on your property that you suspect is in need of removal, give us a call TODAY at 914-238-0069!

10 Considerations When Planting a Tree That You May Not Have Thought Of

Trees serve a number of obvious purposes in the landscape such as creating shade, blocking wind, reducing noise, defining boundaries, and focal points are just a few.

Deciding where to plant a tree goes beyond just creating a beautiful design. There are many other factors an arborist will take into consideration when making the best possible recommendations the types of trees to plant and how to maintain them for many years to come.

Here are 10 things to consider when you are deciding what and where to plant trees on your property to save you time and money.

Play Areas

You may want shade over designated play areas or sand boxes on your property to provide protection from the afternoon sun. However, you also may want to consider the mess that birds and other critters can cause if the canopy extends over the area.

One solution to this is to map out the line of the sun during the day and place trees strategically in the path, but a distance away from the play area. This will provide the needed shade, but also keep the area clean.


Keeping a pool clean can be hard enough without a tree hanging over it. And while most pools are built in sunny locations, you may want your pool to be in a spot where you can relax out of the sun.

Unlike play areas, you may not want to shade the entire pool area. In this case, do not plant trees in the direct line of the sun. You can plant your tree on one side or the other to create a shady spot. Evergreen types are a great option to plant around pools.

Footings and Foundations

Be sure that roots will not grow and seek water too close to concrete, footings, or foundations.
Roots can become very powerful and break foundations, sidewalks, paths, or walls. This can be a costly mistake.

Power Lines

Be sure you check what’s overhead. A tree that grows into power lines can wreak havoc for you and your neighbors!

Property Lines

Be aware of property lines and easements. This one can make enemies out of neighbors.

Underground Utilities, Sewers, and Septic Tanks

Not only can roots grow and break pipes or lines, you also want to plant your tree in a place where it won’t have to be moved should you need to replace or repair these lines. Locate these lines and plant away from to avoid any problems in the future.


Keep in mind the size of the tree. As a tree matures and reaches its full size, it should be in proportion to the size of your home. Small trees can look out of place next to a large home and large trees next to a small home can be overpowering.

Hiding or framing a home

You’ll want to consider whether you are looking to accent your home or hide it from neighbors or the street. This will help you decide upon the size and type of the tree you choose to plant.

Parking Areas

Like the play area, parking areas give birds and other critters to make a mess! Take a look at the areas the canopy will cover if this is a concern for you.


Trees will need to be cared for to maintain optimal health. This can include pruning, watering, and pest and disease prevention. An arborist can help you keep trees healthy, full, and strong so you can minimize your risk of damage and keep your property safe and enjoyable.

If you’d prefer to consult an arborist, we’d be happy to help you. Give us a call at 914-238-0069 and we’ll assist you in recommending the best locations to plant trees in your yard and how best to maintain them.

How to Plant a Young Tree

Besides water and essential nutrients, one of the most important things a young tree needs is support to grow. By helping the tree stand tall, you can prevent it from bending and growing crooked. Supporting the tree will help it grow tall and straight. 

One of the most popular methods of helping a young tree grow straight and tall is to place long stakes into the ground on either side of the tree and tying them together, making loops around the tree. The loops you make around the tree should be fairly loose to allow for the trunk of the tree to expand.

Staking a tree can help prevent wind and other forces from moving the ball of roots within the ground, giving the tree a chance to grow a stable base into the Earth. The most devastating thing that can happen to a young tree is to have movement before it has had a chance to properly plant its roots firmly in the soil.   

Before you stake a young tree, be completely sure that it needs it. You do not want to constrict the growth and movement too much, which could cause damage beyond repair. For example, the material you use to stake the tree could cause abrasion on the trunk. This may happen anyway in nature, but why have it happen needlessly?  

The process of staking your young tree is rather simple. Just take three stakes and tie each one separately near the base of the tree. An even better option is to use a sort of tether to prevent potential rope burn on your tree. Materials can be purchased at any gardening shop or home improvement store. The goal is to minimize the friction from the rope that the tree endures.

When the tree has been staked long enough to stand on its own and its roots are secure, you should remove the stakes. Keeping the tree constricted may cause it to lose some of its vitality. You may even want to check your local weather report to be sure there are no storms or high winds coming in that could harm the tree.

You should always be sure to stake a young tree that needs the extra support to give it the best chance to grow tall and strong. However, staking a tree that doesn’t need it can be just as damaging as not staking a tree that does need it.

If you’d prefer to consult an arborist, we’d be happy to help you. Give us a call at 914-238-0069 and we’ll assist you in recommending the best trees to plant in your yard and how best to maintain them.

3 Simple Tricks to Make Fall Cleanup Easier

It’s a beautiful time in New England where the trees give us a stunning show and the leaves change from a bright green to shades of red, orange, and yellow.

The views are spectacular, but after a week or two, they now cover your lawn! A covering of leaves can suffocate your lawn, causing mold and fungus to grow.

Here are 3 simple tricks to help the Fall cleanup go smoother:

1) Use a tarp.

Instead of picking up many piles of leaves and breaking your back, lay a large tarp down and rake or blow the leaves onto the tarp. Not only can you easily drag the tarp to the place you will keep your leaf piles (see the next tip!), you can make less trips depending upon the size of the tarp.

2) Mulch instead of rake.

The best way to do this is to first shred the leaves with a mower or compost shredder. This also saves your back from raking!

Begin a compost pile with the mulched leaves. You can simply pile up shredded leaves or build a small fenced in area to store the clippings. Over time, the mulch pile will turn into a nutrient rich soil to use in the garden.

3) Enlist the help of the family.

Children can help with the raking, especially when creating a pile of leaves to jump in (minus the sticks, of course). Make the Fall clean up a fun family activity and end the day with a cup of hot chocolate, blankets, and a movie.

If you don’t have the time, tools, or energy, to clean up your lawn, we’re happy to help! Call us at (914) 238-0069 to schedule a visit.

Ease Stress with Nature

After a long day, taking a walk may be the last thing on your mind, but maybe it should be the first.  Did you know you can ease stress with nature?  The benefits of surrounding yourself with trees and plants are endless.  Here are some ways to ease stress with nature.

Parks & Rec

If you are feeling overwhelmed, perhaps the answer lies in nature.  Take a walk in your local park, go for a hike on a favorite trail or plan an outing to a farm in Westchester county.  Exposing yourself to the serenity of nature is a great way to relax and reconnect with your inner peace.  A study by researchers at the University of Illinois found that “viewing tree canopy in communities can significantly aid stress recovery.”


Spending time in your local Westchester parks is also a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with your community.  The more you explore, the more you may become inspired to take action.  What are some ways you have found peace in a local Westchester park?


Plant an Indoor Garden

Give your home or office a touch of greenery with an indoor garden.  An indoor garden is a great way to incorporate a little bit of nature into your everyday life.  Maybe your indoor garden will help you explore the green thumb you never knew you had.

Read Green

Exercise your imagination with a great nature-themed book.  Simply imagining yourself in a natural environment is an awesome tool for relaxation, and reading makes this even easier!  American Forests shared this great list of nature-inspired books from Goodreads.

For more ways to ease stress with nature, check out this article from American Forests.

How Trees Fight Climate Change

Have you ever wondered how trees fight climate change?  Planting trees is a great way to leave a positive imprint on the Earth while helping in the fight against climate change.  Here are how trees fight climate change at your home and in your community.

How Trees Fight Climate Change

We only have one Earth, so we all have to do our part to make sure we minimize our carbon footprint.  Ensuring future generations have a comfortable climate, functional eco-system and enough natural resources to sustain them is vital.  Westchester Tree Life wants you to get involved in the fight against climate change by planting a tree.  By planting a single tree you are giving back to your community.  Learn more from Arbor Day here. 

Combat Climate Change from Your Home

Adding trees to your Westchester residence has many benefits.  The U.S. Department of Energy have reported that planting trees on the south and west sides of your house you can reduce heating and cooling costs.  This is a great way to cut costs while benefiting the environment.  The U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research has stated that you can save up to 30% of energy use simply by properly placing three trees around your home.  Read more about how trees can help fight climate change at home from the Arbor Day Foundation here.

Local Action:  Fighting Climate Change in Your Community

How can you take action to fight climate change in your community?  Stay knowledgeable about current climate change topics and statistics; if you’re looking to take action, think up a creative, effective way to get involved.  Not sure how to begin?  Try simply by getting a few neighbors together to discuss the benefits of planting some trees in your neighborhood!  The U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research has stated neighborhoods with well-shaded streets can be up to 6–10° F cooler than neighborhoods without street trees.  Though it seems small, that temperature difference can make a world of difference.  For more ideas and information on fighting climate change in your community, click here.

What is Dendrochronology?

Decode a tree’s life with the help of dendrochronology.  What is dendrochronology?  It’s the dating and study of a tree’s annual rings.

An unusual tree in Confederation Park, Fergus Ontario

Dendrochronology:  The Life of a Tree

via Trees Are Good

There is so much to learn from a tree.  Dendrochronology, or the study of a tree’s rings, can provide useful data from years past.  A tree’s rings can help us understand environmental factors of the past, therefore assisting us with making better decisions for the future.  Scientists and historians alike find the study of a tree’s rings useful for giving historical artifacts a timeline.

Counting the Rings:  A Myth?

You may have head you can find the age of a tree by counting it’s rings.  This is not completely true.  Through numerous studies, dendrochronologists have discovered that counting a tree’s rings can lead to inaccurate conclusions.  When searching for an accurate date, various techniques are required to “cross-date” artifacts and wood samples.  Learn more about gathering information from tree rings with the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research here.

What Trees Tell Us About Temperature

Trees are a great indicator of the Earth’s past climate and local environmental patterns.  Scientists can even gather information about climate and temperature pre-dating climate documentation with the help of a very mature tree’s rings.  Learn more about dendrochronology with this kid-friendly guide from NASA.

The color and width of tree rings can provide snapshots of past climate conditions; via

Did You Know:  Tree rings grow wider in warm, wet years and appear thin during cold, dry years.  If a tree has weathered stressful conditions like drought, a tree may have very limited growth during those years.

Fun Activity:  Listen to a Tree

Have you ever wondered what tree rings would sound like when played like a record?  You can listen on YouTube here.