Premier Tree Solutions Experts Featured on WSB Radio’s “Green and Growing” Program

Rafael Santiago, Arborist at Premier Tree Solutions

Premier Tree Solutions Founder, Jeff Roth, and Arborist, Rafael Santiago, had the pleasure of being recent guests on 95.5 WSB Radio’s “Green and Growing” program hosted by Ashley Frassca.

Jeff Roth, Founder of Premier Tree Solutions

The two will be regular guests moving forward, joining the program to discuss the art of arboriculture, landscaping, and all things tree care. Tune into 95.5 WSB Radio Saturdays from 6 to 9 AM to learn more!

Jeff and Rafael talking to Ashley Frassca, the host of 95.5 WSB Radio's "Green and Growing" program.

Need a helping hand with your trees? Contact us today by calling 404.252.6448 for a consultation. For emergencies, please call 404.569.8897.

How Trees Help Us Keep Cool

Though this summer’s heat dome in the Pacfic Northwest came as a surprise, in a great deal of the United States — especially here in the Southeast — the rising temperatures and increased humidity during the summer months drive pretty much anyone in search of cooler climes. On some days, even just a shady spot will do. 

But there’s more than just one way in which a tree can provide relief.

Planet

You may already be familiar with the process of transpiration, but for those who need a reminder, it’s how the evaporation of water from trees cools the air around them. “Trees in parking lots,” for example, “have been shown to reduce asphalt temperatures by 36 degrees Fahrenheit and car interiors by up to 47 degrees Fahrenheit,” the National Wildlife Federation reports.

But you don’t have to be stranded in the middle of a treeless parking lot to know that shaded areas give off less heat than those without it, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency details.

While a brand-new study by Christopher A. Williams (an environmental scientist and professor in Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography) indicates that simply planting more trees may not equal a cooler planet, we encourage a closer read. “It is all about putting the right trees in the right place,” Williams asserts, “and studies like ours can help identify where the potential for cooling is greatest.”

Just last summer, we indicated something similar in our own blog. Even if continued study may be necessary, what we do know is that trees make a difference when it comes to outdoor temperatures. Therefore, thoughtful conservation and cultivation is vital. 

Home

Trees aren’t just helpful when it comes to cooling your home planet. They can keep down the temperature of your home (and your electric bill), too.

A 2009 study in California explained how. “Everyone knows that shade trees cool a house. No one is going to get a Nobel Prize for that conclusion,” the study co-author, Geoffrey Donovan acknowledged in a post by the U.S. Forest Service. “But this study gets at the details: Where should a tree be placed to get the most benefits? And how exactly do shade trees impact our carbon footprint?”

Results showed that shade trees growing on the west and south sides of a house on these properties may reduce the annual summer electric bill by approximately $25.00. Those on the west side of a house can also help lower net carbon emissions from summertime electricity use.

Personal

Stepping into the shade won’t just cool down your body temp, either. It may also improve your sense of overall chill, as well. A 2018 study conducted in Japan, for example, found that a stroll through the forest “decreased the negative moods of ‘depression-dejection,’ ‘tension-anxiety,’ ‘anger-hostility,’ ‘fatigue,’ and ‘confusion,’ and improved the participants’ positive mood of ‘vigor’ compared with walking through city areas.”

Besides their cooling effects, there are many other reasons to take care of the trees in your yard, neighborhood, and state. Call us at 404.252.6448 or book an appointment online for our expert assistance.  

Why it’s Important to Hire a Certified Arborist for Tree Work

Nobody became a dentist just because they had teeth, right? And you wouldn’t trust your pearly whites to just anyone with a pair of pliers. 

We recommend your trees get the same consideration when it comes to a specialist. 

Though hiring a certified arborist may feel just as intimidating as dropping into the dental chair, there are many reasons why you’ll want to get one. (And be smiling after you do.)

Higher (Up) Education

First and foremost, an arborist is a tree expert. Their job is to study every aspect of tree health. This includes conducting major branch or trunk surgery when necessary, as well as practicing proper pruning, understanding root health, plus disease control, and more. 

Gaining certification is no quick walk in the woods, either. According to the International Society of Arboriculture, certificate recipients must meet all the requirements of an exam, “which includes three or more years of full-time, eligible, practical work experience in arboriculture and/or a degree in the field of arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry from a regionally accredited educational institute.” 

This means hiring a certified arborist will give your trees far more knowledgeable care than you could provide just by watching a few YouTube videos on trimming branches. 

Damage (and Danger) Control

Knowing how to correct tree damage (either from weather, power lines, or disease) — and how to prevent property damage — requires more skill and bravery than you might expect. Arborists need to understand how gravity can be used for or against them. They must be vigilant about the threats electricity and decayed wood may cause. And they need to wield their power tools with safety and precision at all times. 

Though your friendly neighborhood arborist may not be performing exactly the same everyday tasks, a June 2020 INSIDER report listed logging as the number one most deadly occupation in America (with grounds maintenance workers listed at number twelve) — which may give you an idea of the kinds of danger arborists could be up against. 

An Eye for the Future

A certified arborist’s expertise will do more than help you maintain the trees you currently have. Their service will also take future health and growth into consideration. Based on the condition of your soil and the spacing of other trees, structures, or power lines on your property, they can offer advice on what new trees to plant, and where. They’ll also know which trees are native to your area, and therefore which ones will withstand local weather and pests. When pruning, they’ll work to optimize your trees’ thriving growth, and flourishing beauty too. 

Building a relationship with a certified arborist means you’ll have an expert looking out for the health of your trees in the same way your dentist looks out for your oral health.

We’ve spelled out a few more reasons why a certified arborist is a smart hire here, but don’t just take our blog’s word for it.  We’d love to talk to you in person about what Premier Tree Solutions’ certified arborists can specifically do for you.  Reach out to us online or give us a call at 404.252.6448. 

Be a Georgia Tree Know-It-All: American Yellowwood

Get to know Georgia’s beautiful array of trees and how you can take care of your own! Each month, we feature some of the most popular trees in the state, with past features including the Callaway Crabapple, Green Ash, and Ogeechee Lime Tree

For the month of June, we are showcasing this fetching tree with very little to be afraid of —  the American Yellowwood!

Characteristics

The Yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea) is a medium to large-sized tree which grows between 30 to 50 feet high, with a branch width of equal footage. This exceptional shade tree provides beauty throughout the year, particularly due to the distinctive bark that the Chicago Botanic Garden describes as “handsome, silvery, sinuous . . . [becoming] prominent in the winter and as it matures.” 

Bark is not the Yellowwood’s only becoming feature, however. In the fall, its leaves turn a clear, yellow color before dropping. And in alternating springs, you can expect large, hanging clusters of pea-like fragrant white flowers — similar to a wisteria bloom.

Though native to Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee (and also found in Illinois, Indiana, and southern states), the Yellowwood does not respond well to being transplanted. As a result, they may be difficult to locate in nurseries. But they do produce a papery, brown pod containing 4 to 6 seeds, so you may try your luck with your own germination!

Growing Conditions

Though thriving in rich, well-drained limestone soils such as those found in river valleys, the Yellowwood is moderately tolerant of drought and poor drainage. Clay and alkaline soils are also well tolerated. Six hours daily of full sun is ideal, and the Yellowwood grows best in hardiness zones 4 – 8. (Atlanta and North Georgia are in zone 7.)

Tree Care

Careful pruning is the main ingredient for a healthy Yellowwood. “It has an upright branching habit that makes for tight branch angles,” explains Sandy Feather from the PennState Extension, “so one liability is its susceptibility to breaking under heavy loads of snow and/or ice. Other than that, yellowwood is problem-free.” 

The University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture recommends this pruning be done in the summertime, to prevent tree bleeding and access for pests. Guide pruning to encourage a U-shaped crotch, and wide-spaced branches with wide angles to the trunk. Because of the Yellowwood’s delicate bark, you may want our professional assistance.

Signs of Distress

Beyond susceptibility to limb breakage, crotch splitting, and ice damage, the Yellowwood may also fall prey to verticillium wilt.  Look for one or more branches (usually on the same side of the tree) that rapidly wilt. Yellow or brown streaking may indicate the disease, but only laboratory examination can clearly diagnose this problem.

 

Tree borers can be a problem for trees of many types. This group of insects lay their eggs inside trees, where the hatched larvae then eat through the living tissue to escape to adulthood. Whether from beetles or clearwing moths, the clearest signs these insects leave behind are the tiny holes they cut into trunks and branches. Because the Yellowwood is already somewhat fragile, pest prevention may be the best way to assist them! Here are some methods we can recommend.  


For pruning and trimming service — for your Yellowwood or any other tree — reach out to us online or give us a call at 404.252.6448. 

Prepare Your Yard and Trees for Summer Heat

The Southeast often enjoys relatively temperate weather in May and June, but we all know that when July and August roll around, it’s gonna get hot in here. Since your landscaping doesn’t have the option of sipping iced tea on a shady porch, or plunging into a room blessed with arctic air conditioning, here are a few things we recommend to help them beat the heat. 

Water, Water Everywhere

Last month we shared some tips to help prepare your trees for drought, including advice for mulching and deep watering for trees. (Two great methods for providing and retaining penetrative moisture.) But careful — and correct — watering methods are important even when drought is not a danger.

Not watering at all may in fact be better for your lawn than being inconsistent about it. Unless your county has watering restrictions, water no more than twice a week, and be sure to maximize moisture absorption whenever you do. Avoid watering during the brightest and hottest parts of the day (5:00 – 9:00 AM is ideal), but also in the evening. You may think the cooler, darker hours may provide the perfect watering conditions, but they actually can breed disease, including brown patch. 

Seek Stress Reduction

Playing outdoors is a long-loved summer pastime, but believe it or not all that running around on the grass (even under the sprinkler) may tire your lawn out. Consider stepping stones in high-traffic areas, and giving your grass a break. Raising the blades on your mower — and keeping blades sharp — can also help, according to lawn care advisors at HGTV

Even absorbing fertilizer may add stress to your plants. Stick to organic mulch, plant compost, or grass clippings until the weeks of most challenging heat have fully come to a close.

Pruning can be another source of strain on your trees and shrubs. We’ve advised in the past to keep your shears sheathed this time of year, and we stand by that advice today. Pruning essentially creates a wound in the tree, allowing pests to invade and cause infection. Unless absolutely necessary to remove a weakened branch or pest problem, hold off with any pruning until cooler temperatures prevail.

Remember too that trees native to your area will be more able to withstand the summer weather naturally. Learn more from experts like Trees Atlanta, or from our own Be A Georgia Tree Know-It All series! 

Sling Some Shade

Your younger trees, and certain flowering bushes, may need extra coverage in extreme heat. While propping an umbrella over your live oaks may prove impossible, saplings and shrubs can benefit from a break in the heat wave with a little extra shade. Cardboard, bed sheets, tarps, and cheesecloth may make for strange lawn ornaments, but your plants are not particular. “The key is to make sure your shade props allow air to circulate freely around the plants,” advise the heat pros at The Los Angeles Times. 

No matter how high the mercury gets this summer, taking these things into consideration now will help your plants survive and thrive. At Premier Tree Solutions, we’re here to provide advice and service to your trees in all seasons. Call us at 404.252.6448 or book an appointment with our arborists online.

How Droughts Can Affect Your Trees

Though the April U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook report from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center doesn’t forecast much drought in the Southeast this summer, it’s something we should all remain prepared for.

The National Integrated Drought Information System asserts that “Drought’s consequences are far-reaching, impacting water quality, public health, the economy, the natural environment, public infrastructure, and more.”

At Premier Tree Solutions, we care about the impact drought can have on the entire community, but here are a few particular ways it may affect your trees.

Loss of Foliage & Lack of Photosynthesis

One of the first things you’ll notice if your tree is suffering from lack of water is wilting and shedding of leaves. This is a form of defense when the tree is fighting to retain as much moisture for survival as possible.

But leaves are the primary vehicle for photosynthesis — how the tree absorbs sunlight to synthesize food — so it isn’t just the beautiful green canopy that’s being damaged. Imagine if you lost the function of your digestive system, and could no longer process food for energy. The same complex problems arise for trees that are losing leaves because of drought.

Susceptible to Insects and Disease

The negative effect of leaf loss during drought is visually obvious, but because of it, trees also become more vulnerable to insects and disease. When the amount of available moisture in surrounding soil declines significantly, it can cause the root hairs (and sometimes more established roots) to die back.

“Root loss leads to tree stress, and dramatically increased susceptibility to a number of insects and diseases,” reports Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities Extension. While fighting to hold on to as much moisture possible, your trees may also be losing the battle against other intruders.

Growth Lag

Even if the rains return and your tree is able to recover in the short term, the effects of drought may reverberate longer than you think. A 2015 study by the U.S. Forest Service found that “Trees do not recover to normal growth rates immediately following drought; growth rates may take up to four years to recover.” This could mean that they remain in a weaker state for a longer period, and continue to struggle fighting pests, disease, or damage from storms or other extreme weather.

Caring for Your Tree During Drought

There are several things you can do to help your trees through a drought:

  • Limit pruning to only dead limbs and branches, so that your tree does not have to expend energy healing unnecessary wounds.
  • Apply organic mulch around the base of the tree to help it retain water.
  • Hand water your tree with strategic deep waterings to help sustain the roots. The Georgia Gardener Walter Reeves has specific advice about how much, and how often to water during drought. 

Concerned about your trees during drought (or any other time of the year)? Our Certified Arborists are ready and eager to give you a hand. Call us at 404.252.6448 or book an appointment online.

Flowering Trees to Plant and Enjoy Next Spring

Was it just us? Or did it seem like an unusually beautiful spring this year? Perhaps it’s simply because so many of us were finally able to emerge from a winter of seclusion and social distancing, but we noticed exceptionally gorgeous weather — and blossoms — all around.

So as the pollen clears and the petals drop away to be replaced by the lush green of summer, what can you do to hang on to the beauty, and give yourself something to look forward to next year?

We’re here to provide some suggestions that will bring some pleasure next spring — and all year round.

Forsythia

The bright flowers of forsythia serve as little yellow flags signaling the oncoming of winter’s end, as forsythia is often among the first to bloom. They are also tough, reliable plants that can withstand several types of soil. While the Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests planting in the fall, getting them in the ground now will give buds and roots a chance to develop during the summer before the plant goes dormant in the cooler months. Be sure to plan ahead and leave plenty of room, however, as forsythia can grow as large as twelve feet high and ten feet wide, at a rate of as much as 24 inches in a year!

Flowering Dogwood

Possibly one of the most commonly enjoyed flowering trees of the South, well-cared-for dogwoods can provide a canopy of beautiful blossoms. According to the University of Georgia Extension, flowering dogwoods are adaptable to several types of soils, though in the wild they flourish in moist, fertile ground that is high in organic matter. Be sure to place them in a well-drained area, and protect them from drought, but you can plant with confidence from now until the early fall.

Bridal Wreath Spirea

For another plant that will provide a shower of white blossoms invoking the beauty and delight of a blushing bride, try the Bridal Wreath Spirea. Plant experts at The Spruce assert this is another adaptable plant well suited for Georgia’s plant hardiness zone (6a – 9a), and is easy to grow in average soil with full sun. Planting now in the early growing season will allow the root system to become well established before winter.

Common Hawthorn

Perhaps a somewhat uncommon suggestion, the Common Hawthorn is a lesser-known tree that you won’t want to overlook. Resistant to other diseases that may affect other hawthorn types, The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends this tree for its multi-seasonal beauty in spring, summer and fall. It also comes with some interesting folklore behind it — and may even attract fairies for those of you who believe! 

Though the southern region is famous for other flowering trees (such as the redbud, crepe myrtle, and saucer magnolia), fall may be a better time for planting those before winter dormancy. Read here for more planting advice from us.

Regardless of whether you’re establishing new trees, or tending to those you’ve had for years, we care about your tree health. For pruning and trimming service, or just a general assessment, reach out to us online or give us a call at 404.252.6448. 

Storm Season Is Here! Here’s How You Can Prepare Your Trees

March winds, April showers, bring forth … thunderstorms, wind, and heavy rain in the Southeast throughout the summer that can be potentially damaging to your trees!

Luckily there are several things you can do in advance of storm season to help shore up your saplings and tend to all the trunks in your yard.

Be Vigilant About the Basics
General care throughout the year will help keep your trees strong and healthy — the best way to help them survive severe weather.

Watering
Trees usually get the water they need from natural rainfall. But as the University of Georgia Extension reminds us, “Periodic droughts can be devastating. Going weeks without moisture can create problems for trees, especially those with small soil moisture reservoirs (i.e., limited root zones).” If your lawn looks puny during a time of dryness, most likely your trees will need a healthy drink, too. We have more specific watering advice for you here.

Mulching
Mulching is another way to help the soil around your trees retain not only moisture, but also important nutrients. Whether composed of wood chips, shredded leaves, and/or pine straw, make sure your mulch is spread to the edges of a tree’s drip canopy, but never — as Georgia Gardening expert Walter Reeves cautions — piled up high around a tree’s trunk.

Weeding
Another benefit of mulch is that it can help prevent the growth of weeds and other small ground plants or saplings that might compete with your tree for moisture and other nutrients. If you decide not to mulch around your trees, make sure to keep the area around the base clear by pulling up weeds regularly.

The Importance of Trimming & Pruning
Proper trimming and pruning removes unwanted dead, decaying, or dying branches. A regular trim can also reduce any potential hazards such as low-hanging branches, or damaged limbs that could fall during a storm. For smaller and easy to reach branches, you may be able to do the work yourself, but we recommend hiring an expert for anything beyond that.

Similar to trimming, pruning gets rid of parts of the tree that may be dead or damaged,
but proper pruning can also keep a tree healthy by:
● Controlling or directing new growth
● Preventing the spread of disease
● Correcting weak or narrow crotches in the tree
● Improving air circulation and allowing light to shine through

If you’re unsure about your trees’ overall health, or what trimming might be necessary, we recommend you have them inspected by an arborist or other tree professional.

To Brace and Cable (or Not): A Careful Question
A specialized process used only to protect mature trees, cabling and bracing should always be prescribed and installed by an expert, as improper installation can lead to tree destruction. The process involves installing cables, metal rods, or both, in order to hold branches together or upright, to keep the crown together, or to prevent tree splitting. The University of Georgia Extension recommends that cabling or bracing should be seen and utilized only as a final attempt to save a tree.

If Damage Does Occur
Even after the best precautions, storm damage can and may still happen. The Georgia Arborist Association provides some advice on how to handle damaged trees, and we at Premier Tree Solutions are also at the ready to keep your trees — and your home and family — safe.

If you have any questions about the potential risk for any storm damage to your trees, we have three Certified Arborists on staff, and would be happy for you to reach out to us online or give us a call at 404.252.6448.

Trees That Actually Make Great House Plants

While few of us are able to live in a treehouse, so long as you have the height and space, your home can be a great place for a variety of trees. According to a 2020 Healthline article, there’s even science-backed evidence that growing trees indoors could be good for your health!

So we wanted to pull together some recommendations that go above and beyond the standard ferns, palms, and bamboo you might see — offering you a veritable forest of interesting choices.

Rubber Tree
Perhaps one of the more commonly recommended trees on our list, exotic rubber trees are actually native to the rain forests of the Amazon region of South America. They can grow to over 100 feet tall in the wild, but you can raise them to the height that suits you and your environment best. A careful balance of light and water may be necessary, but experts at The Spruce assert, “When it comes to caring for a rubber plant, your job is pretty straight-forward.”

Triangle Ficus
Ficus Triangularis Variegata is both beautiful and, according to Gardening It, relatively easy to tend! The thick, triangular leaves set this ficus apart. Under the right conditions it may grow to provide up to six feet of lush loveliness. Likes include humidity and plenty of light. Dislikes: too much bright, direct light, and extreme temperature changes.

Panama Orange
As evidenced in the 1987 Citrus Propagation Manual, propagating citrus can require careful specifics when it comes to soil chemistry and weather climate. This means growing citrus directly from seed could potentially try your patience. But fear not — Calamondin Orange plants bought and cultivated from reputable growers produced from cuttings can result in 2-4’ tall trees that add some nice color (and fragrance) to your home. You’ll need to regulate moisture and temperature year-round, provide some pruning in the spring, and even execute hand-pollinating if you want to see flowers and fruit, but by following some of the careful care guidelines recommended by sources like Guide to Houseplants, your labors will produce fruits with a sweet-tart flavor combination between a kumquat and a tangerine. Panama Orange will add zest to your life that we think is worthwhile!

Weeping Fig
Not only is the weeping fig good-looking, a NASA Clean Air Study also revealed it may help purify the air in your home! Pet owners take careful note, however, that its leaves may be toxic to dogs and cats. If you decide to take on this distinctive tree, House Plants Expert advises choosing one spot that receives both sun and shade, and sticking to it. Otherwise, it may be “weeping” leaves left and right.

Guiana Chestnut
For our final recommendation, we’re gonna “show you the money” with the Pachira Aquatica, also known as Guiana Chestnut, or “Money tree.” This “virtually-unkillable” tree needs sufficient light, plus warmth and humidity, but Balcony Garden Web points out that it tends to stop growing in the winter due to colder temperatures. We definitely think it will make a good investment!

Questions about your trees, either inside or out? Reach out to us online or give us a call at 404.252.6448.

BE A GEORGIA TREE KNOW-IT-ALL: CALLAWAY CRABAPPLE

Get to know Georgia’s beautiful array of trees and how you can take care of your own! Each month, we feature some of the most popular trees in the state. This month, we are showcasing the Callaway Crabapple. Learn all about the Callaway Crabapple!