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Bartlett Tree Experts

Frequently Asked Questions

Topic: General Information

1. Question: Where can I find my customer account number?
Answer: Your customer account number can be found in the top, right-hand corner of your invoice. It can also be found in the yellow box to the left of your mailing address on the reply card sent with your current issue of Tree Tips.
2. Question: What is an Arborist?
Answer: An Arborist is a person who through education and professional experience is qualified in all aspects of landscape plant care and maintenance. States and associations also certify qualified individuals who meet specified criteria.
3. Question: Why can't my tree be topped?
Answer: Topping is considered unprofessional work. In fact, Standards for tree care published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), specifically prohibit topping. Topping promotes decay and produces rapid growth of "watersprouts" (limbs that are weakly attached). It decreases the tree's ability to produce energy (photosynthesis) due to leaf reduction, weakening its vigor and starving the tree.
4. Question: I'm moving to a new property. My neighbors report a tall Evergreen in my backyard died over a period of months without any explanation. This orange tree is next to two other similar sized Evergreens. A tall shrub adjacent to the orange tree has turned this same orange color. Also, on the other side, a beautiful green evergreen has several branches turning orange near the trunk. Can you help me figure out why my evergreens are dying?
Answer: This could be several things to do with the soil. You may have high levels of a soil fungus, which may have been the cause. It would be best to have your local arborist come by and take a look.
5. Question: We must top our ash tree in order to install solar panels on the roof. It feels right to install solar and heartbreaking to top the tree. Everyone says just cut it down but I love this tree and want to keep it. How can I care for the wound after it is topped? Most sites say no wound cover will help.
Answer: There are no known tree wound dressings that would retard decay or otherwise benefit tree health. However, there are tree growth regulators available that will help suppress regrowth following pruning. We can advise on reducing the crown to minimize impact on tree health and structure in lieu of topping. Click here to make an appointment with one of our certified arborists.
6. Question: The leaves on three of my maple trees have a black substance on them that I can brush off. It is on everything under the trees also. They have lost large branches in the past. I have other maples without this issue. Are my trees in trouble?
Answer: It sounds like you have a substance called Sooty Mold which is a fungus that grows from the "honeydew" waste of insects such as scale or aphids. We would be happy to get a look at the trees to give you a true diagnosis. Please, contact our office if you would like to schedule an appointment.
7. Question: What is wrong with my tree? What do you recommend? Does it need Pruning/Pest Management/Fertilization/Removal (hazardous)?
Answer: Sometimes tree care is a multiple-choice answer - the diagnosis may not be obvious. An Arborist will identify the problem area(s), recommend a program of treatment and perform the procedure(s) necessary. Bartlett believes in proactive (preventive) care programs - maintaining healthy andscapes - avoiding decline and damage rather than reactive tree care that is performed after problems occur.
8. Question: How often and how much should I water my trees?
Answer: Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered approximately twice each week when no rain occurs. Be sure to direct irrigation water on the root ball where most of the live roots are located. Most established plants should be irrigated thoroughly once a week during the growing season when no rain occurs. Moisture meters (tensiometers) can be installed by Bartlett Arborists to assess plant water needs.
9. Question: When is the best time of the year to prune?
Answer: Light pruning, which is generally all that should be needed in proactive tree management programs can be done at any time of the year. If major pruning is needed to compensate for structural defects or other reasons, winter is an ideal time because leaves don't obscure the crown structure. It also depends on the species.
10. Question: What causes those green clumps in my lawn?
Answer: It's a side effect of the fertilization process. When Bartlett BOOST® (or other products) add fertilizer to the root zone of a tree or shrub it can't help but fertilize the lawn a little bit as well. The increased nutrients cause the grass to grow in green clumps.
11. Question: How do I pay for the work?
Answer: The payment is due upon completion. An invoice will arrive a few days after completion.
12. Question: I have a 14 inch caliper tree that needs to be relocated. What are the pre-moving specifications for transplanting this size tree?
Answer: We would like to set up an appointment for an arborist to meet with you and go over the specifications for transplanting the tree. Click Here to schedule.
13. Question: The oak tree on our lot has many branches that have dark, long, hard cylinders around the smaller portions of the branches. They are four to six inches long and about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Is this something that should concern me?
Answer: What you are describing seems to indicate an infestation of a gouty oak gall. They are small wasps that lay eggs on new twigs in early spring, and when the latvae begin to pupate, the branches form a woody gall as a nest site. These can kill a branch. If this tree is not an oak, you may be seeing "black knot" on a wild cherry tree. You can click here to schedule a visit from one of our experts.
14. Question: We have many Soft Touch Holly bushes planted in front of our home. They were doing quite well, but now a few of the leaves are turning brown and a couple of them died. Why is this is happening?
Answer: Based on the symptoms you describe, several different pest and/or cultural problems could be to blame. Please contact our professionals by clicking here.
15. Question: Can I pay my bill online?
Answer: Yes you can. Log into the Your Account section of the site to view open invoices. From there, follow the onscreen directions to pay your bill online.
16. Question: Where would I find expert advice on what tree should replace the diseased crab apple that we are removing? It will play a prominent part in our landscape and I don't want to make a bad choice.Additionally, I might want to purchase a more mature specimen than what our local nursery would stock. We would have it professionally installed. Can Bartlett help in this endeavor or point me in the correct direction?
Answer: You will want to consider soil condition (pH, nutrient content, organic matter) before selecting a tree. It is always easier to select the proper tree/species for the soil condition rather then trying to adjust the soil in the future to promote a healthy tree. Their are certain cultivars that are less susceptible to specific diseases. This will allow you to choose from a wide selection of trees. You can also schedule an appointment for an in-person consultation by clicking here.
17. Question: One of my huge, decades-old maple trees still has last years seed pods hanging from bare branches, while the other maples near it are in full leaf and flower. Then I noticed while driving around the local area that many maples of varying ages are in the same state. Have they all been killed off by the lengthy frosts last autumn?
Answer: I am not aware of any problems that have been killing off mature maples. The frost shouldn't really cause a problem with these trees as they are generally hardy. In extreme cases, trees can die quite quickly with no real evidence of problems. These problems would generally relate to root problems that may have been causing less obvious problems for sometime. Contact our professionals at Bartlett Tree Experts to schdule a complimentary visit.
18. Question: Several Horse Chestnut trees grow on the perimiter of our garden, and the problem caused by the Cameraria ohridella is very evident this year. I've always collected the leaves in late autum for composting. Given the diseased nature of the leaves, is composting acceptable? Also, your article on this subject, "Halting the loss of a National Treasure" explains that treatment is possible. In the absence of treatment, how long before the tree decays to the point of being in danger of falling?
Answer: The contaminated leaves can contain the overwintering pupae so if you can, get them off site, or burn to reduce the level of reinfection. However, this may only have limited effect due to pupae ending up in the ground around the tree(depending on surface around the tree). Secondly, Cameraria does not directly decay the tree, it defoliates the tree early leading to potential stress in the longer term. Also the trees may be subject to 'Bleeding Canker' which can be the more major problem regarding stability. The best thing would be for us to have a look at the trees to assess their condition and make some recommendations from there. Click here to schedule an appointment.
19. Question: My Magnolia tree is roughly 30 feet tall and about 40 years old. As of late spring, some leaves are wilted and the newer leaves are a lighter green. The flowers are still blooming but quickly wilt and die. We had a dry winter but I've been giving plenty of water. Any suggestions?
Answer: The problem is likely due to a root or soil related problem- possibly a girdling root, excess soil over the root flare, or root disease. Contact a certified arborist to insepect the tree and the site to determine potential causes of the problem. Magnolia trees in Texas are relatively free of serious pest problems that would cause these symptoms so the problem is like due to a site or condition.
20. Question: In the past few days our landscape boxer bush, which is about five feet high and three feet around, seems to be beset with a disease. All the leaves are turning yellow. The rose bushes next to them seem to remain healthy. What is happening?
Answer: Click here to schedule an free consultation with one of our arborists, so we can better assess your issue.
21. Question: My Hemlock Tree is losing foliage. The branches are bare of needles, except for top of tree. There is new growth but bare branches still remain. Can the tree be salvaged?
Answer: There may be an insect problems affecting your Hemlock. It would be best to have one of our professionals come out for a free consultation. Click here to schedule your appointment.
22. Question: We have a tree that is 36 inches in diameter. It has lost or is losing leaves at the top very early. These leaves have brown spots. What is wrong and what can we do?
Answer: It sounds like your tree may have root strees or lower trunk stress. This kind of stress often shows up in the top of the tree. The brown spots may be occuring because the leaves are stressed or it may have a fungal problem.
23. Question: The top of our pine trees turned brown and died. They looked chewed on by what we think are beetles so we cut off the eaten branches. We'd like the trees sprayed with an organic insecticide as we have a dog in the yard and bird feeders/baths. You have been to our home a few times to do pruning. Can you do this and what is the cost?
Answer: What you are describing sounds like an insect called White Pine Weevil. They are active very early in the spring, and cause the new dominant lead at the top of White Pines to curl, brown, and die. They will not kill the tree. We would be glad to come by and assess your situation first-hand. Click here to schedule an appointment.
24. Question: I have a Rowan tree supplied by Bartlett Tree Experts. I noticed recently that it looked a bit tired. I have since watered it well. Other than bone meal is there anything else I should use?
Answer: Would you be able to provide us with some photos and a bit more information please? Or you can make an appointment by clicking here.
25. Question: My husband and I had an old house torn down and we saved a lot of 2-3 inch planks of wood. We think they are probably pine since it came from the late 1800's to early 1900's. We just planted a wide assortment of fruit trees and are planning on chipping up the old wood and using it for mulch around the trees. Will this poison or harm the trees?
Answer: I do not see that being an issue, assuming the boards are not treated with varnish or stain.
26. Question: What causes the bark to peel away from the trunk of a tree?
Answer: There are various reasons for bark peeling from the tree. Some trees peel naturally such as Whie Birch, Kousa Dogwood, or Paperbark Maple. This is only the outer layer of bark and not damaging. Generally, the loss of bark is a serious concern and may lead to the decline or even death of a tree. Physical injuries, lightning strikes, or certain diseases can cause bark to fall off also. You can click here to schedule an appointment with one of our experts if you would like us to come see your tree.
27. Question: The sewer authority will be digging a trench four feet wide and ten feet deep near my parents property. It will be only five feet from the trunk of their 60 year old Pin Oak tree. They are deciding whether to let the township take the tree or keep it. Will the root disturbance mean a sure death for this tree?
Answer: The general rule for root damage is to try to stay at least three times the trunk diameter away from the tree when removing or damaging roots. Since the trench will only be on one side of the tree's root system, there will still be over three-quarters of the root system undisturbed. This may result in some minor decline on the affected side but should not cause tree death or cause the tree to fall. We would feel more comfortable answering your question if we could actually see the tree and its present state of health. We would be glad to come take a look at no charge to your parents or you. You can click here to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.
28. Question: I have two acres that have 100 to 200 year old Post Oak trees with Spanish Moss on the branches. I would like to get them trimmed properly, so I don't lose the trees to disease. Neighbors have lost other trees from pruning at the wrong time. What is the cost of getting them pruned? Also, there is a Peach Bouganvilla tree I would like to plant on the land but have been unable to locate a nursery that carries the type. It has a thick trunk and it is at least 30-40 ft. tall. Could you direct me to a nursery that would carry such a tree?
Answer: Your intuition to proceed with caution regarding your Post Oak trees is correct as they are a very sensitive species. While I have not seen your neighbor's Post Oaks, improper pruning or over-pruning could certainly have killed the trees. The Spanish moss is not likely to be a factor. If you want a price to prune your trees, then we will have to come out and inspect. Please contact our experts at Bartlett to schedule an appointment. The Bougainvillea tree you describe sounds like the species Bougainvillea arborea, which is a rarity among nurseries these days.
29. Question: We have two silver maples approximately 22 years of age. We have a small yard and half of it is taken up by roots. We can not get grass to grow and soil erosion has become a problem. The trees are about 20 feet away from the house. What are some options for the roots that are on the surface? Can they be covered with top soil and grass planted, or can they be cut back without killing the trees?
Answer: Maples inherently grow their roots very close to the surface where it is more readily able to take up water and nutrients. The roots can be covered up with soil but only at a rate of one-quarter to one-half inch per year which can take years to get enough soil for turf. Putting more soil down than that any one year would have ill affect on your trees. Root pruning can be done in some cases but it is recommended you have an arborist look at the situation and detrmine what can and can not be cut. It becomes very easy to cut too much of the root system and lose your trees. The other option is to extend the mulch bed and abandon trying to grow grass in this area.

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