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Recent News

One of the most common diseases among Oak trees in New Jersey is Bacterial Leaf Scorch, here is more extensive information on Bacterial Leaf Scorch from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Type of Pruning Depends on Age of Tree

"Pruning is the single best 'investment' a property owner can make to ensure the survival and lengthen the life span of their trees," according to Peter Gerstenberger, a senior advisor for safety, standards and compliance for the Tree Care Industry Association. However, pruning performed incorrectly can damage or even kill your valuable tree.

"Older trees require more consideration before pruning, " cations Gerstenberger. "When you prune a tree, you need to take into account both the trees health and its stage in life. Older trees, or trees with health problems, cannot withstand pruning as easily as younger, vigorously growing trees."

When a pruning cut is made the tree has to both defend the newly exposed tissue from invading diseases and insects and somehow replace the lost living tissue that was pruned off. The life span of a tree is determined by a number of factors, including its pattern of tree growth, maintenance history, and environment. Because of these factors, age alone is not a good determination of a trees potential life span. Instead, arborists categorize trees by "life stages." After determining what life stage a tree is in, and its overall health, the professional arborist can then decide how to prune.

The first stage is establishment and includes seedlings and transplants. The key factor is that the tree concentrates growth in root system development and top growth. Often the tree is competing with other plants for space and resources. In this stage, pruning should be limited to crown cleaning. Little or no leaf tissue should be removed since they tree is relying on food produced in those leaves to fuel growth.

The next stage is juvenile. In this stage trees are established in their environment and grow at their most rapid pace. They have ample energy to run an active defensive system against invading diseases and insects, so they can withstand pruning well. They are also able to outgrow many of the invaders. This is the time that structural pruning to develop good branch structure should be done. This type of pruning will help eliminate major branch defects that will cause limb failure in the future.

The mature stage is next. Growth continues at a slower, steady pace. The tree may self-prune some of its branches that are no longer productive. The tree has a good balance of energy reserves, allowing it to fight diseases effectively. However, the option to outgrow diseases is diminished. Crown thinning can be done at this time to improve tree health and structure.

The post-mature stage is characterized by both a very slow growth rate and by intolerance to disturbances. Energy reserves in the post-mature tree become limited. The tree itself is healthy; however any disturbance resulting in the tree removal and/or death of living tissue will have adverse effects. The post-mature tree has limited energy reserves of fight invading diseases and insects, especially at pruning wounds. Because of these factors, post-mature tree pruning is usually limited to crown cleaning. Removal of live tissue is avoided. With proper maintenance economic, a post-mature tree can remain healthy for a long period of time.

Senescence (declining) is the final stage of a tree. The senescent tree has lost the ability to defend itself effectively from invading organisms. Senescence often begins as a result of trauma such as a lightning strike, over pruning, construction injuries, etc. the invading organisms overcome the trees defenses and cause tissue death and/or internal wood decays. Major limbs succumb to diseases, eventually breaking off the tree. The trunk usually becomes hollow. Hazard-reduction pruning removes hazardous and/or dead limbs. Senescent trees may have some useful life left in them, but there are no measures that can be taken to restore the health of the tree. The tree should be removed once the potential hazards and cost of maintaining the tree outweigh the benefits.

*This information is brought to you by the Tree Care Industry Association and the NJ Board of Tree Experts.

Storms Approaching - Will Your Landscape Survive?

Winter is the season for some of nature's most severe weather. Storms in all shapes and forms create havoc throughout the country. One of the greatest dangers posed by storms is presented by falling trees. Unsafe trees are a threat to lives and property.

"Many shade and ornamental trees are damaged throughout the year by windstorms, lightning or ice and snow accumulations," notes Tchukki Anderson, Board of Certified Master Arborist and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. "Damage usually consists of a few broken branches. However more severe damage - such as splitting or pulling apart of branch unions, removal of large areas of bark, twisting and splitting of the trunk, or even uprooting - pose possible dangers."

A few tree species, including Chinese elm, silver maple, boxelder and various poplars, have brittle wood that is easily broken. These rapidly growing trees cause a considerable amount of damage to homes, cares, buildings and utility lines each year. Homeowners should be aware of these characteristics and avoid planting them close to potential targets. If such trees are already growing in these location, preventive pruning, bracing or cabling may help reduce storm damage this winter. This is particularly true as the tree grows in size and the weight and surface of the leaf and branch area increases.

Over the years, growing trees with "catch" more wind and become heavier, so they are prone to increased mechanical stresses, thus increasing the chances of failure. Larger trees will also affect an increased area should they or their larger limbs fall. This means that power lines, homes and other structures that might not have been threatened a few years ago might suddenly be under threat by a tree that has grown. Preparing trees for these natural disaster is a must and should be done well in advance of the stormy season. To help ease these dangers, have a professional arborist evaluate your trees. Doing this will help you determine potential weaknesses and dangers.

Look at your trees for the following warning signs:

• Wires in contact with tree branches. Trees may become energized when they are contacted by electric wires.

• Dead or partially attached limbs hung up in the higher branches that could fall and cause damage or injury.

• Cracked stems and branch forks that could cause catastrophic failures of a tree section.

• Hollow or decayed areas on the trunk or main limbs, or mushrooms growing from the bark that indicate a decayed and weakened steam.

• Peeling bark or gaping wounds in the trunk also indicate structural weakness.

• Fallen or uprooted trees putting pressure on other trees beneath them.

• Tight, V-shaped forks which are much more prone to failure than open U-shaped ones.

• Heaving soil at the tree base is a potential indicator of an unsound root system.

Remember, too, that a tree is a living thing, and its integrity and stability change over time, so don't assume that a tree that has survived 10 severe storms will necessarily survive and eleventh.

*This information is brought to you by the Tree Care Industry Association and the NJ Board of Tree Experts.