Avoid Myrtle Murder: Learn to Properly Prune Your Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtle – also spelled crepe myrtle – is a flowering shrub that livens up any yard. It loves warm, sunny locations and brings a variety of color to your garden. Never heard of it?

My Name Is Crape Myrtle

If you haven’t yet met the gorgeous crape myrtle, you should consider putting this beautiful deciduous shrub into your yard. Its bright flowers range from white to red to brightest purple, and, depending on the species, it can grow anywhere from 2 to 30 feet. They love warmish, moist environments such as you find in the South, and they thrive in areas where summers are hot and winters are mild.

Chances are, though, if you’re wondering about how to prune it, you already have a crape myrtle with which you’re familiar, and are just wondering how best to prune it so it stays healthy and flowers beautifully year after year. Let’s take a look at some detailed pruning steps.

Timing Your Trim

The biggest concern when pruning crape myrtle is timing. Because the crape myrtle’s beautiful flowers appear on new growth, if you wait until after spring growth occurs to prune, you won’t get any flowers that year. Bummer, right? Instead, here’s what to do, according to Southern Living:

  1. Wait until late winter, when the crape myrtle is no longer susceptible to damage from cold snaps and infection, but before it begins to leaf out again.
  2. Use a pair of large lopping shears and a small pair of hand shears, as well as a ladder and pole pruners if needed.
  3. Remove all suckers coming up from the base of the shrub and side branches growing out of the tree’s natural formation.
  4. Also remove all branches that are crossing one another or rubbing, which can open a wound and cause infection.
  5. Adjust the prune job to match the tree’s natural form, using the hand shears to remove smaller branches.

Voila! You have just pruned without murdering Myrtle. Congratulations.

Premier Pruning: Help From the Pros

Not quite sure you’re up to the task of pruning on your own? Call  Premier Tree Solutions, a growing tree removal business based in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in a number of areas, including trimming and pruning, tree removal, storm damage control, and cleanup. If you want to prune your crape myrtle the right way, give us a call. We’re always here to help.

If you’d like help caring for your property, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 404-252-6448.

Go, Bug, Go: How to Apply Dormant Oils to Protect Trees From Parasitic Insects

Would you like beautiful trees all year round? Do you want to get rid of mites, scales and other insect pests? You can tell bugs to take a hike by using dormant oils, and protect those trees you love so dearly.

What Is Dormant Oil?

Dormant oil is usually fabricated from petroleum products although according to the University of Illinois Extension cottonseed oil is also sometimes used. The name comes from the fact that you are supposed to apply it while trees are dormant, though you should not confuse this with applying it in the depths of a cold snap as you must have temperatures above freezing for at least 24 hours to apply it. Otherwise, the oil can damage tree bark. Dormant oil is especially effective in orchards.

How Does It Control Insects?

Dormant oils typically kill pests by using oil to block the apertures through which they breathe, or by disrupting their metabolisms. It is especially effective during times when trees are dormant because insects are in egg or larval form and are particularly susceptible, though it is also effective against adult insects. Best of all, it doesn’t kill beneficial insects or harm birds, both of which can help contribute to natural pest control on your trees. Plus, the insect pests you’re targeting won’t build up a chemical resistance to these oils, so they’re considered very safe for continued use.

How Do You Apply It?

Typically, you apply dormant oil in the winter months (though you can use it at diluted rates in summer as well) from November through March. Use it after leaves have fallen and before trees leaf out again. Spray evenly on tree surfaces, ideally on a sunny, windless day when temperatures are expected to rise as the day goes on.

Need a little help? Premier Tree Solutions specializes in tree care in Atlanta, Georgia, and in the removal of dead, dying or infested tree limbs and specimens. We specialize in helping homeowners keep their trees and shrubs as healthy as they can possibly be. We also help with regular trimming and pruning, branch removal, storm cleanup, Bobcat work, stump grinding and debris removal. If you’d like help caring for your property, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 404-252-6448.

Tornado-Proof Your Treasured Trees

Whether you live in Tornado Alley or are just prone to some serious stormy weather come the spring and summer months, you don’t want Mother Nature wreaking havoc on the trees you value so much. Luckily you can avoid this fate by storm-proofing your trees and shrubs.

Plant Smart

There are several planting strategies you can use that will enable you to take the best possible care of your trees. These include planting trees young, planting them in clusters and removing stakes as soon as possible. However, beware planting so closely that each tree doesn’t have enough room to reach full root and canopy growth; check the tree’s full size before putting it in the ground.

Prune Smart

Helping the tree perfect its natural canopy will make it more resistant to damage from tornadoes and other storms. Follow the tree’s natural branching habit, remove limbs that grow at angles close to the trunk and encourage a strong branching structure. NEVER top trees, as this makes it more likely they will grow unstable, weakly attached limbs that may become dangerous projectiles when a storm hits.

Prep Smart

Even if you plant and prune intelligently, you may still miss some aspects of tree care that can help you save a tree in the case of a storm. One of the things you can do is to remove unstable limbs or branches that look dead or diseased, even if it isn’t the plant’s normal pruning time. These limbs are more likely to fall in high winds or bad weather, and can take other, healthy limbs with them. Be sure to use a disinfecting solution on all tools between cuts when pruning, otherwise you may make the tree even less healthy by spreading disease.

Call in the Experts

If you’re still not sure whether or not your trees will be safe from stormy weather, get help. Premier Tree Solutions is a quickly expanding tree-removal business based in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in multiple areas of tree care.

These include tree removal and stump grinding, tree pruning and trimming, Bobcat work, branch clearing and debris removal. Don’t forget we also help clients with storm damage, so if you didn’t prep for storms until it was too late, you may still be able to save those trees. Just give us a call at 404-252-6448.

Treat Your Trees to Perfect Placement

When deciding which trees best suit your home and garden, there are multiple factors to consider. Below we’ll walk through a few of the most important to help you ensure that your trees are happy now and for years to come.

Hardiness Zone

For one thing, you have to make sure those trees will grow in your climate. You can check this by looking at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine which zone you live in, then buying trees that will thrive there. If you’re not sure what a tree’s USDA hardiness zone is, you can look the information up using the Missouri Botanical Garden website. For instance, the Chinese dogwood grows to between 20 and 30 feet and thrives in the Georgian climate.

Height

It’s also crucial you determine the final height of a tree before planting. Many people put in trees that look good when they’re young, only to discover later that they’re too big for the space … sometimes long before they reach their full height. Take the tulip poplar, which is a gorgeous tree with giant lime-orange flowers in spring. While it’s beautiful, you can’t plant it just anywhere, as it can grow to more than 100 feet! Talk about tree trouble.

Rate of Growth

If you’re trying to dress up a commercial property or home before a sale or grand opening, sometimes you need a quick-growing tree. Sycamores grow quickly to 80-100 feet and provide lovely shade, while sweetbay magnolias offer beautiful cream-colored blooms in springtime.

Width

Though typically less a consideration than height, width is also important. Some trees stay short, but grow with considerable sideways branching. Consider a Japanese maple, for instance, or a crabapple tree. Both are beautiful, but if they extend into the house or walkway, they may be more of a pain than it’s worth. Always keep in mind that some trees litter, too, so if their branches are over trafficked spaces they may become seriously annoying.

Premier Tree Solutions is a growing tree care and removal business in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in tree, trimming and pruning, storm and debris cleanup, stump grinding, and branch removal. We also advise our clients about the health of their trees to ensure your garden is the loveliest and healthiest it can be. Get in touch to learn more about our services. Don’t hesitate to call us (404-252-6448) when you need help!

Leaf Us Alone! Tree Pests and Diseases to Watch for This Spring

No one wants to spend a bunch of time caring for and loving a tree, only to discover pests have compromised it. Boo, pests! Yay, solid tree care and minimizing disease!

In general, you can minimize diseases on plants by inspecting roots before planting nursery specimens, cutting off dead or diseased branches or foliage as soon as you notice them with properly disinfected pruning tools, and calling in experts to help you diagnose tree trouble.

It also helps, however, to know what to watch out for. Below are few of the most common problems.

Root Rot

Rot is usually the result of fungi that prey upon overwatered trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. If you think plants might be rotting, check for withered, brown or slimy roots. To avoid rot, plant trees in well-draining soil and pay close attention to watering instructions. If you notice a lot of standing water around trees or shrubs, you might consider moving the trees or working mulch or leaf litter into the soil for drainage.

Mildew

Whitish, fuzzy patches of mildew are usually the result of overwatering or allowing leaves to get wet. Keep water to the roots of the tree and away from the leaves, and remove diseased leaves when you find them.

Spots and Rusts

If your trees are displaying round brown spots or speckled patches, they could be suffering from spots or rusts. These are also generally caused by fungus, and can mean the death of the plant in series situations. The best response is simply removing affected leaves or, if damage is extensive, entire plants.

Insects

Holes, tears and boring in bark are all signs of insects. If you find these, you may need to call in experts to help you get rid of them.

Need to get a diseased tree out of there? Want an expert opinion on a pesky pest problem? Premier Tree Solutions is a growing tree service business based servicing the metro Atlanta area, and we would love to help you keep your trees and shrubs healthy and beautiful this spring … and all year round! Our experts specialists provide a range of services, including tree trimming and pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, storm and debris cleanup and more. Give us a call to find out more or make an appointment. Don’t hesitate to call us (404-252-6448) when you need help!

Get Some Re-Leaf This Spring: Four Springtime Tree Care Tips

With spring just around the corner, many homeowners are ready for fresher, better yards. This all starts with trees, the most impressive element of yard scenery. You can prepare for gardening and landscaping all through the summer and fall with these spring tree care tips.

Inspect Landscape Plants

Start by inspecting your plants, foremost among them trees and shrubs. Make sure spring rains aren’t causing water to pool around the base of plants, which can drown them. Check for signs of damage from pests or disease, and call a professional arborist if your trees or shrubs look sick, so you can take care of the problem right away.

Prune Trees and Shrubs

Depending on the specimen, trees and shrubs like to be pruned in spring or summer. You should remove dead branches and any that look diseased. Start by checking for new growth. Any branches that show no signs of development where others are blooming or leafing out are probably dead, and should be removed. Also check for holes, weeping sores or malformed leaves/twigs, which are signs of infection or pests.

Plant New Specimens

Spring is also the ideal time to plant new shrubs and trees. Do this early so the plants have time to get established before hot summer weather hits, which most plants find stressful. Mulch and fertilize your new plants to give them a fresh start. Now is also the time to fertilize trees and apply a new layer of mulch in the rest of the yard – but avoid mulch volcanoes!

Care for Your Lawn … Gently!

A well-tended lawn is important for healthy trees. Lawns with a lot of debris on them for many months can harbor disease, which can be passed to trees. Therefore when spring arrives, it’s time to clean up the green. Pick up sticks and branches, gently rake up leaves and, if it’s dry enough and grasses have started growing again, do a light mow. The key word here is gentle, because until the ground dries out and firms up, grasses are susceptible to being uprooted.

Need help? Premier Tree Solutions is a rapidly expanding tree-care business in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in a variety of services, including pruning and trimming trees, removing trees, cleaning up after storms, clearing debris, grinding stumps and Bobcat work. Don’t hesitate to call us (404-252-6448) when you need help!

Don’t Let Trees Become a Thorny Property Issue: Six Reasons to Prune Your Trees

Many business property owners aren’t sure whether this is necessary or if they should just leave trees to their own devices, but the truth is trees are much happier when pruned. Pruning has a host of other benefits as well. Let’s explore them below.

Sign Visibility

The ability to see signs can prevent accidents and vehicle blockages, help people avoid tickets, and streamline traffic in residential neighborhoods and in commercial parks. Always prune branches out of the way.

Building Clearance

People need to be able to get in and out of doorways, walkways or other entrances and exits safely and easily. Overgrown trees can crowd out entrances and make delivery of packages or other errands difficult, especially at commercial buildings. Trees near the roofs of buildings encourage growth of moss on dropped debris, and allow animals’ access to ventilation systems and chimneys via the roof. Keep branches well away from buildings to prevent this.

Parking

Parking cars and trucks is hampered when tree branches are hanging into driveways or parking lots. Branches must be trimmed to both stay out of parking spots’ horizontal space and allow enough room for cars to fit underneath them.

Storm Safety

Unpruned, overgrown trees can pose a hazard when winter weather or summer storms hit. Icy weather, for instance, makes trees heavy and more likely to crack at weak joints, while high winds may knock limbs down. Pruning trees helps remove limbs that are growing at improper angles and are most likely to fall off when stressed, especially when done by an expert.

Tree Health

Trees are happier when they have fewer branches to focus on. They can put their energy and resources toward fewer, healthier branches rather than trying to grow a bunch at once.

You Can Get Help

Not sure how to prune trees yourself? No worries! Premier Tree Solutions is fully equipped and experienced at serving both commercial and residential properties. You can trust us to assist you with all your tree needs, so call 404.252.6448 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to helping you!

How Icy Weather Affects Trees and How to Stay Safe

The winter months can be stressful for trees, just as they can be for people. Snow, ice, and wind all takes a toll on trees, weakening their structural integrity and sometimes putting more of a load on them than they can bear.

The good news is there are steps you can take to increase the ability of trees to withstand temperature, and to ensure the safety of you and the people you care about during wintry times.

1. Check & Prune Limbs Beforehand

Pruning trees correctly is one of the best ways you can help them withstand winter weather. Correct pruning involves many factors, including timing, proper disinfection of tools, proper pruning style (which usually depends on the type and shape of tree), and more.

If you’re a novice to pruning, you can either learn more about pruning timing and disinfection techniques online, or you can hire experts to come do it for you.

2. Never Shake Limbs

If you do have a rough storm that leaves your trees covered with ice and snow, never shake them to try to dislodge it. This can bring weak branches, already suffering from weight overload, down on you. It is best to let ice and snow melt naturally.

3. Brace Trees

If some of your trees have weak limbs, and you don’t want to see them break during storms (or in general), you can brace them. Prop 2x4s or 4x4s under weak branches to hold them upright and provide support before storms hit.

4. Do Not Approach Unstable Trees

If you aren’t sure whether or not a tree is safe, definitely do not approach it. Storms can weaken limbs or even split trees, and any movement may bring them down. If you don’t have the proper expertise to deal with storm-damaged trees – including the proper safety equipment – call in the experts rather than risking your safety or the safety of people and property around you.

5. Get Expert Help

Premier Tree Solutions is a rapidly expanding tree removal business in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in tree removal, tree trimming, tree pruning, Bobcat work, storm damage and clean up, stump grinding, branch clearing, and debris removal. If you’re looking for expert help cleaning up after a storm, assessing your trees for damage or generally caring for your yard, you can learn more by heading to our website.

The Dangers of Mulch Volcanoes

If you have trees in your yard, you most likely want to take good care of them and make sure they live long, healthy lives, right? Accordingly, you’ll definitely want to avoid the dreaded “mulch volcano.”

What Is a Mulch Volcano?

Just what is a mulch volcano? Essentially, it’s a pile of mulch that has been pushed up around a tree to form a volcano-like effect. You’ve most likely seen this effect in private yards and even at city parks or universities.

Keep in mind that a thin layer of mulch applied around a tree that grows with naturally mounded or raised roots is not a mulch volcano.

Why Is It Bad?

If mulch is supposed to be so good for plants – providing temperature consistency, suppressing weeds, and offering moisture and protection against pathogens and harsh weather – then why exactly is a mulch volcano bad for them?

The answer, explains the Washington Post, is that mulch mounds cause tree roots to grow above the ground into the mulch, rather than down into the soil. Unfortunately, this leaves the roots exposed and unable to get enough nutrition. Mulch piled high enough to rest against a tree’s trunk also softens its bark, which weakens the tree against rot, invaders and parasites.

Plus, mulch volcanoes are kind of pointless. Mulch is supposed to protect the tree’s root zone, but the root zone isn’t clustered right around the base of the tree like a mulch volcano. It actually extends out about as far as the tree’s crown, so a small pile of mulch isn’t doing much.

What Should You Do Instead?

First of all, you should leave several inches between the base of the tree and the layer of mulch to prevent rotting, weakening and parasites. Then, add a layer of mulch no more than 4 inches thick, advises the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. You can go out as far as you like, and use a garden hose laid in a circle to help you get a feel for a natural look.

Premier Tree Solutions is a growing tree removal business based in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in a number of areas, including tree removal, tree trimming, tree pruning, Bobcat work, storm damage, storm cleanup, stump grinding, and branch clearing and debris removal. You can find out more or set up an appointment to get help maintaining your trees, shrubs and yard by visiting the website.

O Christmas Tree: Taking Care of Your Christmas Trees During the Holidays

While they bring light and joy to the season before December 25, Christmas trees tend to be little more than a needle-dropping nuisance after the special day has passed. Most people are pretty ready to see their trees gone by New Year’s Eve, and wonder how to dispose of them properly.

Beforehand, while you’re still basking in the tree’s twinkly glow, it’s good to know how to maintain your tree so it remains as pretty and hassle-free as possible. Below, we’ll talk Christmas tree care during the holiday season, and the best ways to recycle your tree afterward.

Maintaining Your Tree

First and foremost, you’ve got to water your tree. If it gets thirsty, your tree is likely to drop needles and make a mess in your home, so don’t let that happen. Instead, place your tree in a stand large enough to hold a quart of water per inch of stem diameter, and water frequently, making sure the bottom of the tree is never above the water line.

Of course, some needle drop is natural. You can keep the base of the tree clear by sweeping or vacuuming, You can also decrease the number of lost needles by keeping your tree away from heat sources, and keeping only water in the tree stand. Despite some advice that says to add aspirin, soft drinks, honey or “other concoctions,” all you need to keep your tree healthy is nice, fresh water, says Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Recycling Your Tree

You can recycle or compost Christmas trees as well as natural wreaths or other swag, provided you remove all non-organic materials (lights, tinsel, etc.). You can either take them to a drop-off location, or have a tree service pick them up for you for a small fee.

Premier Tree Solutions is a growing tree removal business based in Atlanta, Georgia that offers tree recycling. We specialize in a variety of other tree-related services, including tree removal, trimming and pruning, Bobcat work, storm damage response and storm cleanup, stump grinding, branch clearing, debris removal and general tree and shrub cleanup.

If you would like to combine other services with our tree pickup service, all you have to do is let us know. We’ll be happy to help you get your yard ready for the coming gardening season. Call us at 404.252.6448 to set up an appointment or get a quote today.