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If Trees & Shrubs Need Water​

Your Trees & Shrubs Need Water

Signs Your Trees And Shrubs Need Water

The Soil Is Dry At The Tree’s Base

The simplest, most effective way to tell if your trees and shrubs are getting enough water is to test the soil. For established trees, test the root zone. For a new tree, test a soil sample at its base. Using a screwdriver, push it 6 inches into the soil. If it’s hard to do, your trees need water. Dig 6 to 8 inches deep and grab a handful of the soil. The soil should be cool and moist. If it’s soaking wet or muddy, you’re over-watering. Roll it into the ball if the soil is drenched or sandy. If it crumbles, your tree needs more water. Poke the soil ball. If it doesn’t budge, you have clay soil. 

Wilted, Drooping, Discolored, Dry, Curling Leaves

Inspect the leaves for signs of dehydration, such as:

  • Wilting
  • Drooping
  • Turning yellow
  • Showing fall colors prematurely
  • Turning brown on the edges
  • Curling

If your trees show any of all of these signs, they likely need watering. If the soil test indicates that your trees are receiving adequate moisture, have a local arborist or tree care company inspect your tree for pests and disease.

Shrinking Fruit, Leaves, Roots Or Stems

Green leaves, fruits, stems, and roots may shrink if your tree needs watering.

Radial Cracks In The Trunk Of The Tree

Shrinking due to dehydration can cause radial cracks in the tree trunk.

Yellowing And Early Dropping Of Leaves

Leaves of ash, linden, hickory and black locust trees will yellow and drop when they do not get enough water.

Bent Or Drooping Needles

Coniferous trees like pine, spruce, and fir show signs of dehydration in the needles. Bent or drooping needles is the first sign. Eventually, the needles fade, turn brown or remain green but permanently bent. If you identify any of these issues in your trees and shrubs, they need watering. 

How To Water Your Trees And Shrubs

The best way to water your trees is by setting your hose (without a nozzle) to a drizzle, placing it at the base or between the roots in the above-ground root zone, and leaving it there 2 to 3 hours. Move it to a new location and leave it there for 2 to 3 hours. Repeat this 2 more times. The City of Seattle recommends giving your tree about 5 gallons of water per inch of tree trunk diameter. Young trees require more frequent watering than mature trees and cannot withstand drought or heavy rain as well as established trees can. For help caring for your young trees, talk to a tree care service near you.

How To Fix An Over-Watered Tree Or Shrub

Excess watering can cause root rot, harmful fungi development and long-term stress for your tree.

  1. Stop watering. Don’t water your tree for a week or longer. Before you get out your garden hose, do the screwdriver test. If the soil is still moist, leave it for another week or two.
  2. Fix the soil. If you have clay soil, mix compost into the soil to help it drain better.
  3. Inspect for drainage issues. After it rains, check for water pooling around your tree and identify where it’s coming from. Is the water flowing downhill and collecting at the base of your tree? Does your drain spout empty too close to your tree?

If any of those issues are causing water to pool around your tree’s base, do what you can to remedy the problem. If you cannot fix the issue, you may need to move your tree or shrub to a better location.

A tree care specialist near you can help you determine whether the pooling issue can be fixed and offer recommendations for the best way to help your tree. If removing and transplanting your trees or shrubs is the best option, they can provide that tree service for you.

Mulching To Prevent Over-Watering And Dehydration

Mulch is your tree’s best friend. Applying a 2 to 3 inch layer of organic mulch around the base of your tree can absorb excess moisture to prevent root rot and protect the soil from drying out during drought.

Another Way To Tell If Your Trees Are Getting Enough Water

Another way to tell if your trees are getting enough water is to install a rain gauge on your property where it won’t be sheltered. Mature trees need 1 inch of water every week. If you’re not getting enough natural precipitation, you need to supplement by watering your trees.

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When Trimming Your Trees​

When Trimming Your Trees

A single tree is provides enough oxygen for four people. So planting them in a highly urbanized city is beneficial for its residents. Trees are the perfect solution to increase privacy and provide a visually appealing garden layout. However, just like other plants, trees need care and maintenance. Specifically, trimming them is essential for healthy growth and to avoid accidents from falling branches. So, if you’re a tree owner, here are some things to remember when trimming your trees:

Tree owners often neglect the state of their tree. Unknowingly, diseases and pest infestations already penetrate the tree trunk. If ignored, they can be a hazard and cause property damages and accidents. Trimming trees is one solution to keep them healthy. To spot tree diseases look for:

  • Vertical cracks and seams on the trunk
  • Discoloration and deformation of leaves
  • Seeping fluid from the trunk or branches
  • Peeling/broken bark
  • Reduced foliage
  • Presence of termites
  • Changes on the soil around the tree
  • Remove dead tree parts
  • Avoid improper trim cuts
  • Trim trees at the right time

It is best to call for emergency arborists for a full tree checkup and they might provide solutions right away.

You cannot trim a tree with just scissors. Tree trimming requires cutting off branches, twigs and leaves. Thus, you need the right tools and equipment, such as shears, pruners and loppers, to finish the task. Moreover, it is vital to have a ladder for climbing and safety gears for protection.

Also, note that low quality and dirty tools can bring diseases on trees. They can be bearers of infectious fungi and bacteria. Meanwhile, improper cutting from unpolished and low-quality tools results in rough marks and wounds that attract tree diseases.

Local councils don’t permit irresponsible cutting of trees or their parts. So, depending on the kind of work, you need to get necessary permits. Different cities have different regulations. 

Trimming trees is not only limited to their foliage. It also involves cutting unwanted and dead branches and twigs. Fungi and bacteria are attracted to them. Moreover, they can potentially fall in your property and cause harm to you, your family, or passersby.

To remove dead limbs and twigs safely, cut them not more than 6mm from the bud to prevent dieback. However, large branches need more than one cut. For the first cut, make a partial cut on the bottom part, a few millimeters away from the branch origin. Then, make a second cut on top, few millimeters away from the first cut. After that, the branch will freely fall.

Trimming too close to the trunk or branch produces a flush cut. It destroys the trees natural defense mechanisms that lead to wound compartmentalization and callus formation.

On the other hand, trimming too far from a branch can leave a dead part on the tree. It invites disease organisms and becomes a passageway to enter the trunk, affecting the tree as a whole. Eventually, it could lead to decay or death of the tree.

The trimming volume for trees depends on their age. Young trees can lose 25% of their overall foliage. Meanwhile, mature trees can only withstand 15% of their foliage removed. As young trees have more energy and strength for recovery, that is not the case for old ones.

Trimming more than 15% of a mature tree’s foliage will lessen food and nutrient production within its system. Moreover, if mature trees get sick, losing their foliage may eventually lead to their death.

For more efficient growth, trimming trees at the right time is crucial. In particular, evergreen trees that don’t drop their leaves during autumn need shaving during their dormant season.

The perfect time for tree trimming is late winter/early spring:

In case trimming produces wounds, some recommend applying a dressing to them. They claim that it prevents decay, speeds up healing and enhances the appearance of the cut. But in reality, they hinder healing and invite rot organisms and pest infestations. So from now on, it is best to avoid putting dressing on tree wounds.

After trimming, remember to clean tree debris and green waste right away. These can become tripping hazards and cause accidents. Furthermore, leaving them for several days in the backyard can invite pests and rodents. These are threats to human health and the community’s sanitation system.

Let’s be honest. Most home owners don’t know the right procedures for tree trimming. Most of the time, they create more harm than good. Thus, getting in touch with expert arborists is crucial to maintain and keep your backyard trees healthy. From trivial methods of foliage trimming to extensive tasks such as chopping large and heavy branches, they have the right tools and equipment.

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How To Identify And Treat Stress In Your Trees

How To Identify And Treat Stress In Your Trees

Stress is as bad for trees as it is for people. Call (631) 212-8250 and let Long Island Lumberjack handle your tree stress early! Don’t wait!

Humans have something in common with trees. From how we use water and nutrients to keeping ourselves cool, we share more health systems than you might think. However, there is one significant thing that we both need to ward off as much as possible: stress. Most of us are aware of what causes stress in the human body. Overbooked schedules, not enough time, insufficient sleep. These stress-inducing factors take their toll on the body over time: aches and pains, headaches, disrupted sleep, weight fluctuations and a compromised immune system.

But were you aware that trees also perceive stress?


Air Pollution: Particulates (granules) and dust in the air block photosynthesis in the leaves. Trees also “sweat” similarly to humans (transpirational cooling). Trapped particulates will prevent water from being released by the leaves, which in turn will cause the tree to overheat. Acid rain and ozone can also damage bark and cause an imbalance in the soil’s pH levels. Did you know that stressed trees release volatile carbon compounds, thus contributing to air pollution?

Excessive Pruning: This is a multifaceted situation

Eliminating too many limbs at once causes stress. The cuts made during the pruning process are, after all, wounds. Cutting out too many leaves at once means removing a significant energy source for the tree. Bold pruning can expose the tree to far more light than before, damaging the bark.

Soil Condition

Compaction due to construction and heavy foot traffic compacts the soil, making it difficult for tree roots to access oxygen. Poor topsoil is also commonly used in new housing developments. Compost is a bonus! Quality soil matters.


Very often, trees don’t thrive in urban environments. Think of cities as “hot islands,” where concrete and metal don’t absorb heat the way turf does.

Light Pollution

Light pollution impacts a tree’s growth response. If trees are near artificial light sources that are perpetually on, they get confused! Think of it this way: with few exceptions, even most people can’t sleep with the lights on.

Storm Damage

While we can’t always prepare trees for storms, there are corrective actions we can take immediately after the damage has been done. For example, if a tree branch has been broken in half, knowing where to make a clean cut will affect the long-term health of your tree and ward off rot. It’s always best to call a professional if your tree has suffered damage. Long Island Lumberjack not only takes care of the damage after the storm, but we will also come out and check your trees to ensure they’re as stable as possible before an incident.


Too much or too little water stresses your trees. Not unlike us humans, trees are made up mostly of water – 75%. The leaves are a whopping 99% water. This water is necessary to carry nutrients from the roots to the canopy. A tree’s water needs vary with the seasons, but in the spring, at its peak, a mature red oak may use up to 200 gallons of water per day.


Canopy Dieback

You might notice that the tree blooms later than usual, or the leaves come down earlier than expected in the autumn. Compare the top of your tree to trees of the same species. Fewer leaves may be smaller, paler, and more sparse.

Water Sprouts

Sprouting new shoots from the trunk or main trunk is a sign of stress. These limbs are often weak and unsightly. The photo above is an excellent example of a tree under pressure. The stems are covered in unattractive new sprouts and leaves. You can almost see the tree “gasping for air” as a stress response.

Wilting Leaves

Turgor pressure” refers to the process that helps the needles and leaves on trees hold their shape. Just like good hydration makes your skin look dewy and youthful, proper moisture helps keep leaves looking healthy and “plump.”

Early Fall Color

Trees displaying their fall color early in the season are undoubtedly stressed. Low iron or manganese absorption could also be causing early fall color.


Right tree, Right place

Selecting a genetically specific tree for your region is very important. And set your tree up for success from the start. Choose a good location with room for growth, access to water and adequate light, and little pedestrian traffic. The tree should also be able to thrive in the type of soil and water-drainage qualities in the area you have chosen for planting. Some trees do better than others with different kinds of soil.


Frequently, we overlook watering in the winter. Winter watering is essential – particularly during dry spells. Wait until a warm day when you can safely connect your hose and give your tree a good soak.

Avoid compaction

Soil compaction reduces oxygen and water availability to the roots. You can reduce compaction by eliminating heavy traffic zones around the trunk of your tree and within the drip-line zone. You should also be mindful of heavy construction equipment driving over these areas if you plan to have construction nearby.

Prune conservatively

Never remove more than 1/3 of a tree’s biomass in a single season – and you could probably be even more conservative. A licensed tree care specialist like Long Island Lumberjack will know how much is too much. Eliminating many of the tree’s resources will send the tree into a stress response.

It never hurts to call us if you’re concerned that your tree is stressed. We have many solutions to encourage healthy root growth, proper nutrient absorption, and more. Long Island Lumberjack is your best resource for tree care and preventative health maintenance. Our phone number is (631) 212-8250.

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Tree Topping Crown Reduction What’s Better

Tree Topping Crown Reduction What’s Better

If you’ve recently looked at your property, perhaps you’ve noticed that some trees are taller than what’s acceptable to you and your neighborhood or HOA. It’s time to do something about them before they outgrow their allotted space. Your primary question is, how will you be able to safely cut down the tree to an acceptable size?

Tree Trimming & Pruning

Most tree owners usually turn to tree trimming (also known as pruning) to reduce the size of their trees and keep them in shape. Trimming a tree holds excessive growth in check. Trimming can also reduce leaf diseases by increasing airflow through the tree’s canopy.

A tree service professional should maintain large trees. We may prune mature shade trees to thin the canopy and create an open tree; this increases air circulation and light penetration. The best time to prune shade trees is during the dormant period, just before seasonal growth (March to April). Do not remove over one-quarter to one-third of the total growth. If you must remove over one-third of the canopy, remove a bit of the growth over a few seasons.

Methods of Pruning

There are many pruning types, but tree topping or crown reduction is the most common. Which of these two will keep your tree healthy and beautiful? Which tree service professionals recommend? Read on for all you need to know about these two choices.

What Is Tree Topping?

We also know tree topping as rounding over, hat-racking, or tipping. This technique involves removing the large branches from the treetop and leaving only lateral branches and stumps on the tree.

Is Topping Trees Good or Bad?

Tree service professionals like Long Island Lumberjack agree you should never use tree topping as a primary pruning method. Unfortunately, tree topping is not an advisable option for controlling tree size. Someone should only implement this method when you are removing an unwanted tree.

Effects of Tree Topping

Tree topping leaves the tree with lateral branches and stubs that are still too small to take on the role of producing and delivering food throughout the entire tree. It, therefore, causes many problems for the tree. Topping also triggers the regrowth of unappealing and vertical branches, which will scar the tree with awful water sprouts and branches.

Branch wounds sustained by the tree during topping heal slowly. The tree is susceptible to insects and fungal decay during the healing process. Because topping leaves the tree uncovered without its branches and foliage, it can also cause intense bark damage.

Benefits Of Topping Trees

Topping comes in handy when a tree has undergone extreme damage from a natural disaster. In such an event, tree topping may be your only alternative to repairing the tree. In other cases, however, you should fully know that the price of tree topping exceeds the benefits. Tree topping can leave a tree in shock, unable to nourish itself. This inability to create energy can cause disease and even sudden tree death. Tree topping can also generate risky conditions for its locations, so you should steer clear of topping.

What Is Crown Reduction?

Crown reduction is one of the most prevalent methods that Long Island Lumberjack uses to manage the size of a tree and keep its shape. It’s also more ideal and better for the tree than tree topping. Crown reduction involves reducing the foliage of the tree while still keeping the general framework of the crown; doing this trims the overall shape of the tree and controls its size. In a general sense, we cut limbs on the uppermost portion of the tree canopy shorter to decrease the tree’s height. However, we only remove them to the subsequent lateral growth to ensure that they heal faster and grow again correctly.

We strongly suggest that you only cut 20% or less of the tree’s canopy at once to prevent the tree from suffering.

Effects of Crown Reduction

Unlike tree topping, crown reduction on trees is not harmful. You improved the health of the trees since you have had them appropriately trimmed and eliminated limbs or branches suffering from pests or disease. Crown reduction also provides satisfying results where aesthetics are concerned. Having your trees trimmed can also increase the production of fruit-bearing trees and ensure better quality fruit. Crown reduction also helps increase sun exposure and air circulation on trees.

And The Winner Is…

The best choice is crown reduction rather than tree topping when dealing with large trees. Crown reduction keeps the tree’s size balanced; it preserves the plant’s natural shape and ensures good tree health. Tree topping is a harmful procedure.

Hire a Professional For Your Tree Services

Tree topping, crown reduction; which is better? You finally know the answer. But pruning large trees can be dangerous. If pruning involves working above the ground or using power equipment, hiring a professional tree service is best. The pros at Long Island Lumberjack can determine the pruning necessary to improve your trees’ health, appearance, and safety. The professional tree service team at Long Island Lumberjack can also provide the services of a trained crew with the required safety equipment and liability insurance.