Tag Archives: new york tree care

All About Conifers

Conifers are a common plant which can be found across the globe.  Characterized by their unusual needle-like “leaves” and cones, conifers are easy to identify.  If you were to take a quick glance into a wooded area, you would most likely see various conifers, which have also survived the Jurassic period.

Leaf Structure

Conifer Leaf Shapes Westchester Tree Life

via ext.colostate.edu

Conifers can be identified by one of their three different leaf structures.  The Pinaceae family which includes pine, spruce and fir trees grow needle-like leaves, while conifers of the Cupressaceae family (such as junipers and arborvitaes) grow scale-like leaves.  Lastly the Taxaceae family has a flat, feather-like leaf structure.

Conifer Westchester Tree Life

via slideshare.net

A Conifer’s Cones

Conifer Cones Westchester Tree Life

via stillblog.net

The word “conifer” means cone bearing.  Within a conifer’s cones lies the secret for conifer reproduction.

Conifer Life Cycle Westchester Tree Life

via boundless.com

While other plants produce flowers, conifers produce cones.  A single conifer produces both the male and female cones necessary for reproduction.  Male cones produce pollen while female cones contain seeds necessary for reproduction hidden between the female cone’s scales.

Tree Care Westchester

A row of young conifers stand in front of a more mature conifer forest; via edbookphoto.photoshelter.com

 

 

 

The 5 Layers of a Tree Trunk

Understanding how to properly care for the trees on your property begins with knowing about the anatomy of a tree.  We’re going to walk you through the 5 layers of a tree trunk!

Anatomy of a Tree Westchester Tree Life

The Outer Bark

The outermost later of a tree trunk is the outer bark.  This insulating layer protects the tree’s innermost layers from cold while defending against insects.  A tree’s bark also maintains the tree’s moisture balance; it does this by keeping out unneeded moisture during rainstorms while holding onto moisture during drier seasons.

Inner Bark (Phloem)

Phloem Westchester Tree Life

The second later after the outer bark is the inner bark also known as the Phloem.  This layer serves as the pipeline through which food is passed.  The tree’s Phloem lives for a short period of time before it dies and turns into cork, becoming another layer to protect the tree.

The Cambium Cell Layer

Cambium Tree Westchester Tree Life

The green part of this tree’s branch is the Cambium layer.

The growing part of a tree trunk is the Cambium Cell Layer, which new bark and new wood annually in response to the tree’s hormones.  These hormones, also known as Auxins” stimulate growth in the tree’s cells, and are produced by the leaf buds at the ends of the branches during the spring.

Sapwood

Anatomy of a Tree Trunk Westchester Tree Life

Sapwood acts as the tree’s pipeline for moving water up to the leaves.  A tree’s sapwood is new wood; as new layers of sapwood are produced, the inner cells lose their vitality and become heartwood.

Heartwood

Tree Anatomy Westchester Tree Life

Heartwood lies at the center of the tree; it is the central pillar supporting the tree.  Heartwood is a composite of hollow, needle-like fibers bound by the tree’s natural chemical glue, lignin.  Although heartwood is as strong as steel, it is in fact dead.

Is your tree in need of professional inspection or care?  Call Westchester, New York’s best tree care professionals, Westchester Tree Life at (914) 238-0069 or visit us online at westchestertreelife.com!

 

A Warm Winter’s Effects on Plants

With December 2015’s warm weather keeping our area from freezing temperatures, some of us are wondering what a warm winter’s effects on plants will be come spring.  How are plants, trees and shrubs reacting to the unusually warm temperature and is there anything we can do about it?  Westchester Tree Life weighs in on a warm winter’s effects on plants.

Winter Outlook 2015 2016

Winter Outlook 2015 – 2016 via weather.com

Determining Your Plant’s Health

When attempting to determine whether your plants, trees and shrubs are reacting adversely to the unusually warm temperatures, take into consideration the type of plant, the plant’s needs and the location which they are rooted.  How quickly cold temperatures come and go, how low the temperature drops and other environmental factors also come into play when determining how your plants are affected by a warm winter in.

A Sudden Drop in Temperature

Warm Winter Plants Dying Westchester Tree Life

via gardeningknowhow.com

One of the most important factors to consider when attempting to determine your plant’s health in regards to a warm winter, are sudden temperature drops.  A sudden drop in temperature following warm weather can severely stress out plants.  Once usual winter temperatures begin to stabilize, most plants should acclimate fairly well.

Plants Budding During Winter

Mild winter temperatures and exposure to sun for a longer period of time may result in some of your plants budding during winter.  If this happens, it may yield deadly for your plant.

Have questions?  Need  professional plant health care?

Call Westchester Tree Life at  (914) 238-0069 or contact us here.

 

Hardiness Zones

At Westchester Tree Life, our goal is for your plants, trees and shrubs to maintain a constant peak of health!  To give your plants, shrubs and trees a healthy start, it is vital to select an area they would best thrive.  If you’ve ever browsed online for seeds or bulbs, you’ve probably seen a reference to hardiness zones.  Knowing all about hardiness zones is a great way to maximize the success of your plantings and to know which plants may be vulnerable during the harsher times of year.  If you have any questions or concerns about your plant’s health, ask a Westchester Tree Life professional!  Call Westchester Tree Life here:  (914) 238-0069

hardiness zones

Westchester Tree Life Explains Hardiness Zones:

So what does hardiness zone refer to?  To put it simply, the United States is divided into hardiness zones based on each region’s weather patterns.  There are 13 hardiness zones in the US.  The lower the number, the colder the winter.  For example, Louisiana is in Zone 9 while North Dakota is mainly in Zone 3.  If you’re considering planting a shrub best suited to hardiness zone 5-7, you want to make sure your location falls within that range.  Otherwise, your plants may not survive until spring.

It’s also important to know that some plants actually need a certain level of cold in order to survive.  A plant that is hardy enough to grow in northern Maine may not grow in Florida.  The hardiness zones in one state can vary widely.  Here in New York, you could be in zone 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7!  Our own local Westchester County area, as well as New York City, northern New Jersey, Rockland county, southern Connecticut, and parts of Long Island are in hardiness zone 6.  

New York State Hardiness Zone MapWhile hardiness zones can be a useful guide in knowing which plants can thrive in your yard, there are other factors to take into consideration.  Wind, rainfall, humidity, soil composition, and sunlight can all effect the health and growth of your plants.  When considering adding a new tree, shrub, or perennial to your existing greenery, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of an expert.

Trees and Deer Damage in Westchester

Deer damage in Westchester is not unheard of due to the high population in the area.  Westchester Tree Life’s tree care professionals are here to assist you in assessing the damage to your trees and providing a custom plant health care plan moving forward.  If you need immediate tree care, call Westchester Tree Life today:  (914) 238-0069

Deer Damage Westchester County

These seemingly innocuous visitors are more harmful than you may think!

Rutting SeasonDeer Rutting Damage 2 Westchester Tree Life

From early September throughout November, deer rub their antlers on trees to shed their summer velvet, mark their scent to attract doe (female deer) and claim their perimeter; this season is referred to as rutting season.  During the rutting season (also known as the mating season for deer), you may notice bark stripped from the perimeter of your tree.  Westchester County is known for having a high deer population and deer often revisit the same place each year to claim their territory; each rutting process lasts approximately 24 hours.

Deer Rutting Damage Westchester Tree Life

Trees in Danger of Deer Damage

Maple, Magnolia, Birch, and Bald Cypress trees are especially susceptible to deer damage, and can quickly be reduced to stubs.  Deer damage is especially stressful to young trees with smooth bark.  Deer damage to your trees can impact your landscape as well as decrease your property value.

Deer Damage Tree Westchester Tree Life

Identifying Factors of Deer Damage to Trees

When identifying deer damage to trees, look for a shredding of bark ranging from one foot above the ground to three or four feet high; underlying wood will be exposed.  When a deer has damaged the entire circumference of a tree, the tree is said to be “girdled”.  Trees which are girdled often die due to the inability to transport water and nutrients. Trees which have experienced vertical damage often survive, though the growth on that side may be stunted.  Due to the high rate of deer in Westchester, it is advised to check your trees often.

Deer Browsing

Deer Browsing Damage Westchester Tree Life

Deer also damage trees by browsing on tree seedlings, tree shrubs and climbers from late fall to early spring.  This reduces stem densities, limits height growth and reduces foliage density, which makes for a more open understorey.

Drought Stress and Watering

During a drought, your trees need special attention.  The trees in your yard are probably used to a regular water source.

Tip:  If your trees are looking distressed and unhealthy, call Westchester Tree Life for a personalized Plant Health Care Plan!  

To prevent stress, you’ll need to make sure your trees still receive enough water to stay in good health.  While a healthy tree should be able to survive a drought, the stress from lack of water can lead to secondary problems such as disease and susceptibility to pests.

caring for trees during drought 2If you’re affected by drought, it’s important to monitor the soil in yard for moisture.  Check the soil around your trees regularly; if the soil is dry and crumbly at a depth of 6 to 8 inches, you should water.  Water slowly to give the soil time to absorb the water.  If you are under water use restrictions, try to gradually reduce the water you supply to trees rather than suddenly stopping the water supply.

To water your trees without waste, use a soaker hose.  Place the hose in a spiral pattern around the tree, beginning a few feet from the trunk.  Check the soil often to see when it is saturated at a depth of 6 to 8 inches before turning off the water.  Rather than water trees on a schedule, use the moisture content of the soil as your guide an only water as needed.

soaker hose for treeIf you need to conserve water and can’t water your trees as often during a drought, slowly reduce the watering time over a period of weeks.  This will allow your trees to adjust to less water.  If possible, try to give your trees an inch of water when the surrounding soil becomes dry at that 6 to 8 inch depth.

From spring through fall, trees should be watered three times a month.  You don’t need to water your trees as often as you water your tomatoes!  To further conserve water, consider using wastewater to water your trees.  Cooking water, the water dispensed while you wait for the shower to warm up, water from your rain gutters, and water from the kiddie pool can be used to keep the soil around your trees well hydrated.

Signs of drought stress include wilting, curling, and yellowing of the leaves.  if you are concerned about the health of your trees during a drought or would like specific advice about responding to a drought, give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise you!

caring for trees during drought

 

Plant Health Care

At Westchester Tree Life, we are devoted to the care of all of the plants on your property, not just your trees.  Plant health care is our business and expertise.  When it comes to caring for the plants around your property, we can not only advise you on species choices and layout, but on landscaping and maintaining the overall beauty of your yard.

plant health care 3How does plant health care improve your entire property?  When you focus on all of the plantings in your yard, from shrubs and turf grass to flower beds and trees.  All of these elements are linked.  When you treat your lawn or your flower beds, it affects your trees.  When you apply a treatment to your trees, it can affect your lawn.  The spread of tree roots may impact a wide area of your yard including nearby flower beds.  Diseases and pests can spread from one plant to another.  It helps to look at your yard as its own ecosystem, rather than a series of different plants.

plant health careHaving an arborist address the care of all of your plants is smart idea for many reasons.  An arborist will advise you on how treatments for trees can affect the rest of your yard.  He or she can assist you with determining soil quality, fertilization, landscaping, pest control, and the planting of trees and shrubs.  Westchester Tree Life offers all of these services and more.

New life

If you have questions about how an arborist can assist with plant health care on your property, give us a call and we will be happy to set up a consultation!

About the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

How much do you know about the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid?

In New England, hemlock trees play an important ecological role.  They are important for limiting erosion along stream beds and provide food and shelter for deer and other wildlife.  The hemlock is valued as an ornamental tree as well as a source of lumber.  Unfortunately, hemlock trees are vulnerable to infestation by a pest called the Wooly Adelgid.

Wooly Adelgid

Wooly Adelgid

The Wooly Adelgid is a destructive insect that was accidentally introduced to the United States from Japan.  Wooly Adelgid infestations have been noted from Georgia to Massachusetts and can have drastic effects on hemlock populations.  Trees infested with the Wooly Adelgid become desiccated and typically die within ten years.  Specimens that survive the pest are often so weakened that they eventually die of secondary causes.  Westchester County’s tree care professionals, Westchester Tree Life want to keep your trees safe!

"Adelges tsugae 3225077" by Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Archive, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station / © Bugwood.org. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 us via Commons -

“Adelges tsugae 3225077” by Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Archive, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station / © Bugwood.org. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 us via Commons –

Wooly Adelgid infestations can be identified by the presence of the insect’s egg sacs.  These sacs look like fluffy tufts of cotton clinging to the underside of the hemlock’s branches.  Infested branches change from a healthy dark green color to a paler greyish-green shade.  This pest reproduces asexually and in North America can have two generations a year.  The Wooly Adelgid feeds on the hemlock’s sap and probably injects a toxin into the tree while feeding.  This results in a loss of needles and a lack of new growth.

There are a few options for addressing an infestation of the Wooly Adelgid.  Insectcides that are sprayed on the tree, injected into the tree, or applied to the soil around the tree can be effective in treating individual trees.  This sort of treatment will remain effective for two or three years.  However, such treatments can only be used when there is no risk of the insecticide contaminating nearby bodies of water.

Another option is use a non-toxic insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.  These products are applied to the hemlock’s affected foliage and work by smothering the pests.  Trees treated in this manner will need to be retreated annually.

When multiple hemlock trees are affected by the Wooly Adelgid, a biological approach to eradicating the pest may be best.  The Wooly Adelgid can be controlled by introducing a natural predator to the area.  There are two beetles that feed on the Wooly Adelgid and are highly effecting at keeping the pest’s numbers at a manageable level.  These are P. tsugae, a black lady beetle, and the larva of the L. nigrinus.  Releasing these beetles into areas where Wooly Adelgids threaten the health of hemlock trees has proven to be an effective and safe method of control.

P. tsugae and L. nigrinus

P. tsugae and L. nigrinus

If you have hemlock trees on your property and suspect they are infested by the Wooly Adedgid, contact Westchester Tree Life today for a consultation.  We can examine your trees and advise you on the best way to eradicate this pest in your unique situation.

 

Tree Care in Westchester County

A Guide to Tree Care in Westchester County

When you buy your first home, you may be so focused on the house itself that you don’t give much thought to the trees on your property.  Even if you quickly find a landscaper to cut the grass, mulch beds, and keep hedges looking tidy, odds are you won’t think about your trees until one of them has a problem.  Westchester Tree Life has all of the skills and services needed to care for every tree on your property.

Many of the services offered by Westchester Tree Life are probably obvious to most homeowners.  Yes, we prune trees and remove trees that are dead or pose a falling danger.  We grind stumps once a tree has been removed and can advise you on how to deal with tree pests and disease.  However, we can also help with issues such as tick control and prevention of damage from your local deer.  We are experts at cabling trees — installing steel cables to support the tree, reduce strain, and help prevent damage during storms.

cabling treesBeyond dealing with major tree issues, Westchester Tree Life offers a variety of services to keep your property looking its best.  You can count on us for species selection advice, planting, landscaping, organic fertilization, insect spraying, land clearing, wood chipping, managing the health of all of your plants in addition to trees.  Westchester Tree Life provides tree care in Chappaqua, New York, tree care in Rye, New York, tree care in Armonk, New York and tree care in the rest of Westchester County!

deer preventionWhether you have a large tree in need of pruning or a set of bushes being devoured by deer, Westchester Tree Life can help!  Give us a call to request a consultation to learn more about what we can do to keep all of the plants on your property in excellent health and condition.

 

Crown to Root Inspection

We often talk about the importance of having trees inspected by a qualified arborist in order to maintain their health and safety.  But what does this inspection involved, and what does the arborist look for?  A comprehensive tree inspection means carefully examining the state of the tree from the crown all the way down to the roots.  Today, we’ll discuss what an arborist looks for and evaluates during this crucial inspection.

Let’s start with the crown, or canopy, of the tree.  First, the arborist will assess the overall vigor of the tree.  Does the tree look like it is growing well, healthy, and free of stress factors?  Or, does the tree appear weak and seem to be growing more slowly than expected?  Additionally, the size and color of the foliage are indicators of the tree’s health.  Areas of the tree with dead or discolored foliage may be cause for concern.  The arborist will also assess the crown of the tree for pests, damage, and common problems associated with that particular species of tree.  A close assessment of the crown will also evaluate the health and condition of the branches, looking for dead, cracked, or broken limbs.

root crown tree inspection 1After a close inspection of the crown, the arborist will move on to an inspection of the trunk of the tree.  The trunk can tell us a lot about the overall health of the specimen.  The appearance of the bark will be examined for color and texture and any areas of dead or missing bark will be noted.  The arborist will also look for cracks, damage, decay, mushroom and other fungal growth, oozing sap, galls, and cavities.  Any lean to the the trunk is an important characteristic as it could indicate a risk of falling during extreme weather.

Finally, the arborist will inspect the root crown and roots of the tree.  This may require a small amount of digging or removal of  debris from around the base of the tree.  Again, signs of pests, fungal growth, and damage will be noted.  Additionally, the arborist will assess the condition of the soil around the roots to make sure it isn’t too weak to securely anchor the tree.  Any cracking or lifting of the soil, which indicate shifting of the tree in high wind, will also be taken into account.

root crown tree inspection 3Once the arborist has a complete picture of the overall health and status of the tree, he or she can give you an accurate idea of any risk factors associated with the tree.  How likely is it to fall or drop large limbs?  Is it at risk from disease or pests and does it need to be pruned or otherwise serviced?  Should it be removed?  A root to crown inspection will answer all of these questions and help guide you on the needs of your trees, including what you can expect down the road!