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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?

WHAT ARE STRESS FACTORS FOR TREES?

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.

Temperature

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.

Moisture

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.

WHAT DOES TREE STRESS LOOKS LIKE?

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.

WHAT CAN I DO?

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.

Water

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 Crowning Tree Landscaping Tree Services Tree Trimming

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.