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Bartlett Tree Experts

Frequently Asked Questions

Topic: Tree Issues

1. Question: We recently moved into a new home that has a Southern Magnolia. Now that spring is here, the leaves on the Magnolia seem to look yellowish & dried out. No new buds are emerging. The tree is about 20 years old and about 20 - 25 feet high. Does it sound like it's dying?
Answer: This sounds like typical winter damage for Southern Magnolia. This tree sometimes suffers during extreme winter conditions. These trees do better in warmer conditions. The tree should recover if it has access to sufficient nutrients. If you would like to have us come by and inspect the tree, please click here.
2. Question: We have been in our home for 24 years and for the first time, we are getting sap all over our backyard, deck, cars, etc.. The deck is turning black. We have a Maple tree in the front yard and four Oak trees in the back yard. Is it really sap? How do we treat?
Answer: It is entirely possible that aphids are a concern on your tree. Aphids are a pest of trees that suck plant juices from the tree and foliage. That can be quite damaging to the tree. They secrete a honeydew like substance with a high sugar content that attracts bacteria and creates the black sooty mold under the tree on decks, cars, houses, driveways, etc. It is also possible that the trees may have a soft shelled scale insect that can create a similar sooty mold on the deck. There are many natural predators of aphids including lady bird beetles and their larvae, lacewings, and other beneficial insects. If needed a soil injected treatment can be applied that is translocated throughout the tree to minimize the damaging level of the insect. Foliar spray applications could also be applied to the crown of the tree to reduce aphid populations. Please don't hesiate to contact us with any additional questions, comments, concerns, or to have the trees in question evaluated.
3. Question: Ants have excavated a huge cavity in my 30-year-old maple tree. What can I do about it?
Answer: Ants only excavate dead wood, so there is little concern the ants will affect the health of the tree. The bigger concern is the structural stability of the tree. If the hollow is large enough, that portion of the stem may be compromised and more susceptible to breaking in a storm. You can get a better idea about the likelihood of the stem breaking by having a risk assessment done on the tree. We do these regularly, so please please make an appointment for us to handle this for you. If you simply don't want the ants around, we can dispose of them as well.
4. Question: There is a web-type coating on the limbs of one of our Valley Oak trees. It has never happened in the 12 years we have lived here. It looks like a sleeve of webbing, thin and solid, starting at the trunk and going up several limbs. We have four trees spread out, and only one has this issue. It has been there for about two weeks and is starting to get less. What might it be, and is it bad for the tree?
Answer: This is likely an insect called a leafroller that created the webbing. If this is the case, it has probably completed it's life cycle. If you see this next year, you can treat with insecticides, including organic products, such as insecticidal soap. You can also click here to have one of our arborists come out and take a look.
5. Question: I have a large plum tree in our garden. A major branch (about a third of the whole tree) loaded with plums has torn two thirds of the way down and is now resting on the ground. What is the best course of action? Is there anything I can do to save the unripe plums as I had planned to make jam with them and have more plums on the tree this year than I have had in the three years since living at the property. I think the tree is fairly old, but I have no idea how old. I am also aware that Silver Leaf disease may get into the wound.
Answer: If the branch is still attached by the cambium, (the "skin" of the trunk), then leave it where it is for the time being, support it if necessary, and the plums should continue to ripen. If you would like one of our arborists to come and take a look at it to give further advice, then please contact us today.
6. Question: Can many years of accumulation of black oil sunflower seed hulls under a bird feeder hung on an old maple tree cause the top of the tree and some lower branches to die?
Answer: It is highly unlikely that the accumulated seed hulls would cause the maple tree to die back. There are probably other reasons for the decline of the tree. If you are in one of our service areas, we would be happy to come to your property to take a look and make a determination. Please make an appointment today.
7. Question: I have a question regarding the proper removal of branches extending from the base of a tree I have. These are much thinner branches that have grown from the base of the tree since spring and I was wondering if I should leave them alone or if possibly I could remove them with pruning shears to help with the overall look of the tree. I would say the branches are probably no thicker than half an inch around at most. Also, how can I prune them to prevent them from growing back later?
Answer: Certain species of trees, such as crab-apple, sprout profusely (sucker) from the root stock. This commonly happens on grafted plants so the shoots and foliage on suckers may appear different than the rest of the tree. You can simply prune these off at the junction at the base of the plant anytime they appear. They will grow back and often increase in number with time. Pruning these suckers are just a normal part of maintenance of such trees. There is a product called Sucker-Stopper RTU that contains the active ingredient Ethyl 1-napthaleneacetate, which is a plant growth regulator that suppresses sprout formation. It is sprayed on the base of the cut sprouts immediately after pruning. Sucker Stopper suppresses sprout growth for a year after application. It is not readily available in garden centers, but you may be able to buy it online if you search for Monterey Sucker-Stopper RTU.
8. Question: We cut branches improperly from three of our trees and at least five of the branches resulted in bark being ripped from the tree trunk. Is there any dressing that I can put on the trees to help them heal faster and keep out disease, such as Tree Kote? Or should I just leave them to heal on their own?
Answer: It would not be recommended to put any type of dressing on the rips. Some of those wound dressings can encourage decay. Let the wounds dry up and start producing callus growth, 2-3 months. Then, it is suggested to make an appointment with your local office to have an arborist explain how to bark trace the injury to correct, as much as possible, the damage. Feeding the tree will help increase callus tissue generation. Irrigation during drought can also improve plant health if you are in a position to water the trees.
9. Question: My snowball tree is being eaten badly by something. The leaves look like spider webs, I am thinking caterpillars but I don't see any. It's looking dreadful and I am wondering if its worth saving?
Answer: It is most likely caterpillars even though you may not see them. Any tree is worth saving and we can certainly do our very best. If anything, we would take either a soil sample or plant sample and send it to our lab to verify the problem. You can always make an appointment for one of our arborists to come down and have a look.
10. Question: We have two Silver Maple trees in our front yard. Last week when the tide was extremely high, we had salt water covering much of the base of the trees. We have been gone for several days and came home today to find most of the leaves from one tree on the ground and many from the other. Could the salt water during the high spring tide have impacted the trees?
Answer: It is possible that the salt could cause the problem. We would like to stop at your residence and check the trees. There may be other issues going on. Click here to make an appointment with us.
11. Question: In spring, I noticed some bare branches on my tree which is a mature specimen. Since then I have noticed more of these branches, but see no signs of infestation such as bag worms, borers, etc. The bark also seems to be peeling off in some of the areas. Any help will be appreciated.
Answer: There are many reasons this could happen such as insect infestation, root rot, construction damage, etc. Remedies, if appropriate, could run the gamut as well. We would be happy to take a look at it for you to determine the appropriate course of action. You can make an appointment by clicking here.
12. Question: There is a very large Oak tree between my neighbor and I. It appears healthy, but now there is an opening at the root base about a foot high, a half-foot across, and about five inches deep. Several years ago, a similar tree which was diseased, fell into and damaged our home. We are a bit paranoid. We were wondering what measures or precautions we should take?
Answer: As arborists, we evaluate tree health and tree structure independently. Often a tree that appears healthy may have a structural defect that predisposes it to failure and subsequent property damage. Evaluation of the cavity and the associated decay can put this in perspective. In some cases an extensive risk assessment is required, but usually our complimentary preliminary evaluation is sufficient to make a sound and well-informed decision about what needs to be done. You can make an appointment now by clicking here.
13. Question: We have a tree that might be about 30 years old. The bark on the upper limbs has always peeled, but this spring, it is also peeling in the trunk and no leaves have bloomed. I believe this is either an Elm or Ash tree. Neighbors say it's dying but no big branches have fallen nor are their any holes in the tree or mushrooms growing at the base. Woodpeckers put holes in the trunk, but I don't know if that would cause the bark to peel off. May it be due to the very cold weather this past winter?
Answer: If indeed it is an Elm or an Ash, then we're in trouble: the Elms and Ashes are leafing out in some areas. We would really have to look at it, or at least know what type of tree it is. For instance, if it's a Pecan, then they slough of plenty of bark, both in the canopy and on the trunk; they're also very late coming out in the spring. Regarding big branches breaking, cavities, and fungal fruiting structures: these occur on trees living and dead, and have nothing to do with whether the tree is alive, dead, or dying. I doubt the severe winter is a cause, unless the tree was already in severe decline before the winter. We would be glad to come out and look. Click here to schedule an appointment.
14. Question: When in Lancashire recently, we saw a prunus avium tree totally covered in a web, as if covered in clingfilm. Can you please advise us what would have caused this and also what is the cure because I have to advise the owners? Thanks.
Answer: This is classic caterpillar infestation. Many organic or synthetic insecticides exist that would eradicate this problem. Any good garden centre would be able to advise. I prefer to use a pyrethroid-based insecticide against caterpillars. There is also a bio-control agent (Bacillus thuringiensis) that would prove effective. Again, I am sure this product is available in good garden centres.
15. Question: My mulberry tree has what looks like a split/opening in the bark that runs almost down to the ground. At the top on the trunk, there is a rotten stump from a branch that was pruned in the past. There appears to be bore holes in it. Is it possible these are termites? Also, do you do treatments for affected trees?
Answer: Have you "Pollarded" your Mulberry annually to maintain the size? Do you know approximately how old your tree is? Pollarding, although an acceptable practice, can lead to decay from excessive wounding. Wood boring insects (including termites) are often secondary problems. We can apply preventative treatments for the pests however we are not licensed termite company. The amount of decay could have a bearing on the structural stability of the stem or branches. If there is a valuable target under or near the tree, removal may be recommended.
16. Question: A spruce tree is planted close to the corner of our house and a power line runs through it. We have been told it will double its height, which is now nearly 20 feet, and will create problems with our perimeter drains and perhaps our sanitary sewer. The suggestion was to have the tree removed. I have great resistance to removing a tree and am wondering if the tree could be pruned in a way that would mediate the potential problems with the power line and drains. Or, in your view, would it be best to remove it and plant something more suitable to the site?
Answer: As the tree grows, you might be able to prune the limbs near the wires to prevent contact. If the trunk of the tree grows in such a way that the wires are rubbing against it, you could put a protective guard on the wires. With the root issue, I'm afraid you won't be able to stop root growth. The tree will continue to develop and become larger so you might have to look at removing the tree and replant with another in a different location.
17. Question: We have a Stella Cherry Tree that had a lot of rotten cherries last year. It leans as well and is getting seemingly worse. How and when should it be pruned? Also, is there a way to make it straight by using cables or wires?
Answer: Cherry trees are typically pruned in the summer but deadwood cleaning, safety pruning, and thinning could be done in the winter. The rotten cherries are probably a result of wet, humid weather causing increased fungal disease infections. This can possibly be treated for by a preventative fungicide spraying in the spring. Secondly, it can be possible to straighten the tree using stakes and wires. It does depend on the size, condition, and location of the tree. We would be glad to come and inspect your situation in person. Click here to schedule an appointment.
18. Question: I have an autumn blaze maple that, over the past few weeks, shows small "bumps" of various colors on the leaves. Also, I have seen some cotton-like substance on the tree. What should be done?
Answer: What you are describing on the autumn blaze maple are likely two different pests. The bumps on the leaves are galls (swelling of the leaf tissue) most likely formed by mites. The galls typically do not adversely affect the health of the plant and the damage is cosmetic only.

The cotton-like substance is from the aptly named cottony maple scale. You might have some lecanium scale as well. Scale insects feed on the sap of stems. In small quantities, they are not much of an immediate threat. However, if their populations are not kept in check, they will lead to decline of the tree. There are several different methods for treatment. If you are in one of our service areas, make an appointment today for a recommended course of action.

19. Question: We planted a Chinese Pistache in our front yard about 15 years ago. It's done great, but this year quite a few branches are bare, and the leaves are pale green to almost yellow. There also is browning on some branches and a lot of sap is coming from the trunk. Our lawn is fine, so we are not sure what is wrong. Can you help us?
Answer: There are many different factors that could be negatively affecting your tree. The sap bleeding from the tree can be a bad sign related to stress or physical damaged associated with insects boring into this tree. The best option is to arrange an appointment by clicking here now.
20. Question: We have a tree that looks like a Hackberry, and even has pea-sized berries, but the leaves are larger. While all the other trees in the area are green from the recent rains, the leaves on this tree are turning yellow and falling off. Could our tree be sick?
Answer: This tree could be suffering from multiple issues. The best way to assess this tree with regard to health, is to set up an appointment. Click here to contact us for your assessment.
21. Question: Our Chanticleer pear tree has what appears to be a large amount of suckers. We cut it back weekly, but this year it doesn't look healthy and has small, undeveloped leaves on some branches. What would you recommend?
Answer: Suckering on trees in general is usually a sign of stress, which also sounds like what you are describing with the overall health of the tree. There are a number of issues that could be causing this to happen. To make an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment recommendations, a site visit would be necessary. If you are in one of our service areas, make an appointment for a consultation at your property.
22. Question: We have a very tall Red Oak standing in a bed of ivy 20 feet from our house. Until this year, it looked healthy. Now it is stressed and seems to be begging for help. The leaves nearer the top are shriveled up and yellow. Closer to the ground, we can see that the leaves are most brown at its distal portions. There is also some brown spotting. We wonder if this is a result of the drought, the ivy or, a blight of some sort?
Answer: There are many factors that go into a proper diagnosis of potential biological or environmental conditions which can cause stress on our trees. In order to create a pertinent recommendation for your particular tree and property, it is recommended you contact an ISA Certified Arborist for a full evaluation. You can do so by clicking here.
23. Question: We have large Leyland Cypress roots coming through an asphalt path. The trees are probably over 30 years old. The roots are a safety hazard for those using the path. We want to shave off the roots and redo the asphalt. How much will the roots come back?
Answer: It very much depends on how far the path is from the stem of the tree. You would not want to cut roots that are larger than 30% of the main stem. If they are smaller roots, you may have the option of cutting them and installing a root barrier which would help direct any new roots downward. You can click here if you would like us to come out and assess the situation.
24. Question: We have an Apricot tree that is about five years old now. We just started to notice that the leaves are turning yellow from the top down. We can't remember if this has happened in the past. Is this normal fall foliage? Also, should we be trimming back some of the branches this time of year?
Answer: You should expect your apricot tree to lose its leaves as it goes into dormancy for a couple months. Yellowing can also be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Apricots (as all fruit trees in some areas) need to be fertilized appropriately to compensate for the native soil deficiencies, if any. You can make an appointment with one of our arborists for inspection and pruning advice.
25. Question: My maples, viburnam, hydrangea, and others are getting rectangular, white raised spots on the back of the leaves. What is this and how do I treat it?
Answer: Those raised spots are likely to be scale. Scale populations are high all along the east coast. Scale is a deadly pest that is difficult to control. It would be prudent to meet with a certified arborist so that I might look at them.
26. Question: We planted a Monterrey Oak tree last year. It has split bark over a large part of the trunk and all the way to the ground. Some areas are deep and look like rot. We know that it had a fungal disease from too much water last summer. What could be the cause and how do we treat it?
Answer: It is difficult to make a determination on what caused this problem without seeing the tree first. It could be anything from borers to sun scald. We would be happy to come out to have a look. You can click here to schedule an appointment.
27. Question: Our neighbor has two camphor trees - one large and one smaller. The roots from these trees are causing our concrete driveway to rise. We are very concerned about the structural damage underground caused by these trees. How do we obtain a professional evaluation of the damage caused by these trees?
Answer: It may be possible to prune the offending roots and install root barriers to reduce the potential for a re-occurrence of this problem. It will depend on the proximity of the trees to the pavement and condition of the trees whether root pruning and barriers are possible. I suggest contacting a consulting arborist to evaluate the trees and site.
28. Question: Approximately 18 months ago, a utility company had our 45 year old Twin Maples trees pruned away from power lines. When we observed the first tree being severely cut back, we told the workmen to stop. The second tree was then cut back less severely under our supervision. After 18 months the first tree showed deterioration and the second is luxurious as the first used to be before the cut back. Shouldn't the tree crew have used a sealant on the cut branches to avoid deterioration?
Answer: We do not use sealant any more as of about a decade ago. The reason that we don't use it, is that it hinders the trees ability to form what is called Callus Tissue over the injury. The best way to make certain that your trees are not severely pruned by utility companies is to have an Arborist inspect. Click here to make an appointment.
29. Question: We have several blue spruce trees in our yard and one is dying, dropping green needles, and turning brown. I don't want it to spread to the others. The trees are about 20 to 25 years old and have always been beautiful. If there is a known problem this year, perhaps you could recommend a spray.
Answer: There are several pests that can cause needle browning and defoliation of blue spruce at this time of year. Spider mites and needlecast, a fungus disease, are two of the most common. Both pests are treatable, but neither are normally associated with death of the plant. I recommend contacting a certified arborist to evaluate the trees to determine the cause of the problem.
30. Question: We have two 20 year old Maple trees that stand next to each other. One of them is losing its leaves and looks like it's dying. I talked to a local tree service and they thought it sounded like a root fungus. They suggested we contact you. Can you help?
Answer: We would like to come and look at the trees and make recommendations. You can schedule an appointment by clicking here.
31. Question: I planted an ornamental cherry tree in my front lawn and have noticed bleeding around the bottom part of the trunk. This season it bloomed and I noticed a considerable reduction in the amount of leaves. Is there a problem?
Answer: The decline in leaves that you are experiencing is likely related to an organism that is inhibiting the flow of nutrient and water through the vascular system of the tree. Based on the observation of bleeding sap, it sounds like you have either a bacterial/fungal canker, such as Phytophthora or a boring insect, such as peach tree borer. Cherry trees are very susceptible to these types of pests. I would recommend having someone inspect the tree to determine what treatment course would best address you problems. Decline in leaves is typically a result of numerous stress factors which would be best identified in person.
32. Question: I have two mature Chinese Elms in my front yard. Suddenly during the last two weeks, large amounts of leaves are turning yellow and falling. Never had this problem before in May. (All leaves drop annually over three months from late October to early January.) I think watering is adequate. (Following similar schedule to previous years.) When leaves started dropping, I applied a long, slow soak and have done the same more frequently than usual.

Is there anything else I can do? Can it be determined if some branches are dead and if so, should they be removed to save the trees?

Answer: There are two main reasons the leaves on trees turn yellow and drop. First one is the tree could be lacking of nutrients needed. Have you fed the trees every year, every 6 months, or not at all? Second one is that the trees are getting too much water and not drying out in between watering. This could be because the soil is not draining properly or they are getting water too often. You can check this yourself by sticking a pencil down about 6 inches in the ground and seeing if the dirt is still wet.
33. Question: We lost one Birch, one Red Maple and now seem to be losing a Shady Bark Birch. It starts with the leaves getting black spots on them. Then they turn a lighter green, curl and the tree dies very quickly. What is happening?
Answer: There are many problems that can cause spotting, curling, and death of the leaves and/or tree. Without more extensive information and an on-site visit we cannot make a guess at this time as to the cause. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.
34. Question: My magnolia tree has a secretion. The secretion attracts mostly black wasps, but other insects are also attracted to it. The tree appears to be dying a slow death. The secretion catches fire when exposed to a lit match. The secretion stains anything it falls on. The secretion is sticky to the touch. Can you diagnose the problem and recommend a remedy?
Answer: What you're describing is Magnolia Scale, a very common problem for this species. Unfortunately, there is no way to control this pest until late this summer or into fall, when the current generation dies and the larvae emerge (if the tree is small enough, you can manually remove the feeding scales by gently scraping them off, or 'smushing' them). For severe infestations, we recommend a spring oil treatment, and a second year of fall treatments.
35. Question: I have a tree in my yard that has a dead branch, which I believe has termites. If it does have termites, does the whole tree need to be removed or just the dead section?
Answer: In order to answer your question, we would first need to have a Bartlett Tree Experts trained arborist evaluate the integrity of the tree in question. Contact us for an evaluation at your convenience.
36. Question: Last fall, one of my white pine trees turned a yellowish color and lost a lot more needles than usual. The other white pines nearby did a similar thing without the needle loss. The other white pines have recovered and are lush and green, but the original one appears to be dying, drying out, and showing more yellow. They are all approximately 10 years old. What can I do to save it?
Answer: It could be a root problem causing the decline of the one tree. White Pine are susceptible to root rot disease and/or the root collar could be buried causing vitality problems with this one individual plant. Treatment for root disease and fertilization may help if the tree is not too far gone.
37. Question: We have four Scotch Pines at the front of our house which about 20 years old. One has many brown needles and today I just noticed a patch of very bright yellow fungus at the base. I have also noticed some other "sick" looking pines in the neighborhood. What should we do?
Answer: The brown needles are likely caused by Diplodia Tip Blight. It can be treated, but is somewhat costly and perpetual. As for the fungus, we would need to take a look first-hand for a true assessment. Click here to schedule an appointment.
38. Question: I have a Heritage river birch that loses 75% of its leaves every year early in July and creates quit a mess. It also looks terrible once the leaves fall. Otherwise, it seems to be in good health. I planted it as an eight-foot sapling nine years ago. It is now twenty-five feet tall. Unless I can find a solution, I plan to cut it down and replace it with something else. I hesitate only because it is a beautiful specimen with its leaves on.
Answer: An arborist should visit your property to inspect the river birch to determine the options.
39. Question: We have a Walnut tree approximately six meters from our house. The height of it is approximately 35 feet and it was planted 35 years ago. The back patio is now starting to rise from the roots of the tree and I am concerned about the roots getting underneath the house (if they have not already done so). I want to know what I should do about this problem?
Answer: We can arrange to come and have a look at this and give you some advice on how you can resolve this. If you are interested, click here to schedule an appointment.
40. Question: When is the best time to have my peach tree and cherry tree pruned?
Answer: The best time to prune is when all the fruit is finished and the leaves are starting to fall. At the same time as pruning, it is a good idea to have us carry out a winter wash. If you would like us to have a look, please contact us for an inspection.
41. Question: I believe two of my large vine maples (planted two years ago) are dying of root rot. They both have collar lesions. There are three others in the vicinity. I have read up on Phytophthora and know the basics. Is it likely to spread to the other three? Is it important to remove the dying ones immediately? Is there an effective treatment for the remaining three?
Answer: Collar lesions on maples are often the result of Phytophthora infections, particularly those with soil or heavy mulch above the root collar. However, lesions alone are not diagnostic for this disease and may be caused by other factors. If a Phytophthora spp. is the cause, it may have directly infected the symptomatic area, or it could be the progression of a longer term root infection. The likelihood of infection in the healthy maples depends on several factors. The pathogen is soil borne and will move with water (downhill). If the healthy trees are uphill and planted in well drained soil, there is less chance of spread. Removal of infected trees may nominally reduce the presence of inoculum, but the soil is infested and the pathogen can survive in soil without a host for extended periods. In the Phytophthora species that are commonly found infecting maple, the infection usually takes place after rain or irrigation splashes spores from the soil on to the trunk. A proper layer of organic mulch will help to prevent this spore dispersal and has been shown to suppress the pathogen in the soil. There are materials registered for use in the landscape that can be used to treat and/or prevent Phytophthora lesions, but long term management should be based on managing drainage and soil moisture, and properly mulching the critical root zone. Vine maple is also a very common host for Verticilliium wilt and may produce similar symptoms. Phytophthora infection should be confirmed by a plant diagnostic laboratory.
42. Question: We have two oak trees that appear to be dying from the top down. The larger of the two is located in a group of large oaks with a couple of other species. Is this condition something that will spread to the other trees? Is there a cure?
Answer: Even though this could be something as simple as drought stress, it is possible for there to be another problem. We would be glad to come out and assess your situation in person. Click here to schedule an appointment today.
43. Question: We have two very large Pecan trees that seem to be dropping a lot of limbs. They are planted fairly close and hang over the back of the house. Just yesterday a very large limb fell and nearly hit the house. We are concerned that they will drop a huge limb and hit the house or cause other damage. Could the trees be diseased? What should we do?
Answer: Reduction pruning would be recommended in order to reduce the possibility of future limb failures. It is unlikely that the tree is diseased and the branch failures are most likely a result of heavy fruit production by the pecans this year. The best advice would be having a certified arborist assess the overall health of the tree and make the proper recommendations for the trees on your property. Click here to schedule your appointment with one of our professionals today.
44. Question: I have an elm tree (50 years old/approximately 30-40 feet tall) that has leaves that are wilting, partially turning brown, and falling off. What is it and what can be done to save it?
Answer: There are several thing that could be wrong here. It is very difficult to tell without seeing the tree, though. The two most likely causes are Dutch Elm Disease or a fungal leaf spot. The second cause requires applications of the proper fungicide, fertilization, and treatments to prevent boring insects from damaging the tree. Dutch Elm Disease is very severe and will require specialized applications to attempt to save the tree.
45. Question: My Lemon Tree, which has been in the conservatory through last winter and is still there, has developed a sticky substance on the leaves that then drops on to the floor. Is this anything to worry about and how can it be treated?
Answer: It sounds like the tree has either aphids or scale insects feeding on the plant. Look on the under sides of the leaves. The aphids or scale insects will be there. These can be treated with an insecticide.
46. Question: We are trying to save our Ash tree which is suffering from some kind of disease. The leaves are neither shriveling or falling and some branches appear dead. The tree is about 12 years old. Should we just get it cut down?
Answer: This may not necessarily mean the tree has to be removed. I can arrange for our Arborist to carry out a free site visit, identify the problem, and make recommendations for the Ash. Click here to make an appointment.
47. Question: We have a 20-foot Pine tree that is constantly dripping sap. The tree provides wonderful shade, but unfortunately, some of the branches overhang our driveway and the tree is dripping the sap all over our cars. Any ideas on what is causing it and ways to be able to help it not "bleed"?
Answer: There are a few reasons that could lead a tree to "bleed" sap. It could be from previous pruning wounds or insect damage for example. There may be something that we can do to prevent it from dripping onto your cars. We would prefer to come out and take a look at it in person however. Click here to make an appointment with one of our professionals.
48. Question: What are the black spots on the leaves of all the maple trees in our area?
Answer: The black spots are from a harmless fungus causing a disease known as tar spot. The fungus has been more prolific these last few years and is especially prevalent on maples. It causes no harm however. It is best to rake the leaves and dispose of them at the end of the season to hopefully lessen the re-occurrence but that is no guarantee.
49. Question: We have two Brazilian Pepper trees. One we have had for three years and is doing great. The other tree is two years old, and just recently, seems to have started dying, as only the lower branches remain green. We have tried to use a product that was purchased at the same nursery to revive the tree with no results. Should we try pruning the higher branches?
Answer: It sounds to me like the tree is root bound. This is very common in newly planted trees. You can either wait and see what happens by spring, or you can replace it if it's too far gone. If you do replace it, I would recommend finding a different nursery. If these suggestions are not helpful please contact our experts at Bartlett Tree Services.
50. Question: I have two horse chestnut trees, which are approx 25 years old. This year, the leaves started to discolour in the summer and now red liquid is coming from the bark. Is there any cure for this disease or do I have to destroy them?
Answer: The symptoms you describe indicate Chestnut Leaf Miner infestation and Phytophthora, a fungal infection. We are able to treat these ailments. Please book an appointment for Bartlett to assess the trees.
51. Question: We have an older avocado tree which has very little fruit most years. The tree seems healthy, but it seems like all the buds fall out in the spring. The avocados that do mature are good and do not fall. What can we do to get more fruit?
Answer: There could be many reasons why your avocado tree is not producing as much fruit as you would like. Soil fertility plays a major role in tree growth and fruit production. Soil moisture also plays a very important role in avocado fruit production. Too much water or too little water will cause fruit to be dropped. Flowers need to be fertilized for fruit to develop. Even if the tree has a lot of flowers they may not get fertilized. External environmental conditions also play a huge role. Wind, excess cold or heat, air pollution, etc. can contribute to fruit development. We can collect a soil sample and submit it for nutrient analysis. Click here to schedule an appointment.
52. Question: I was told you can start a linden tree from a branch. Is that correct? I started one in water a few days ago and so far it looks like it did when I cut it from the tree.
Answer: Linden trees (Tilia) are usually propagated from seed or from grafting. They are difficult to root from cuttings from the shoots or twigs.
53. Question: We are worried that our tree is diseased because we found a large amount of mushroom growth at the base. What does it cost to have an arborist check it out?
Answer: Our experts will gladly come out to assist you in a complimentary first time visit. Click here to make an appointment.
54. Question: With some severe wind this week, we had one of our nice, medium-sized Oak trees (probably about a foot in diameter) split almost in half. One of the larger branches broke right off. I'm especially concerned about the health of the tree now that temperatures have been below freezing several nights this week. Should I be sealing the wounded part of the trunk?
Answer: While it would be best to paint any of the tissue exposed by the injury, it sounds like this tree may have a severe structural defect that would need to be addressed in order to insure that the tree is safe. You may can click here to schedule an appointment.
55. Question: My tree is in terrible shape. The leaves have what looks like a lot of black mold on them. One side of the tree has lost all of it's leaves. My landscaper planted this tree last year and I'm wondering if the sprinkler is watering it too much. This tree looks like it could die.
Answer: Your intuition is correct on two points: it is indeed a type of mold, and it is indeed getting too much water. Your Japanese blueberry has sooty mold, but that's not the real problem. Sooty mold only grows on honeydew, which is a polite term for what comes out of the back-end of an aphid, scale or other sucking insect. (It is high in sugar: hence the name.) So if you get rid of the scale, then you remove the food source that the sooty mold grows on. Simple, right? Well, not always. Some scale insects are really difficult to control. There are organic solutions, and there are some that are derived from compounds found in nature but are actually synthesized in a lab. These work pretty well. You will not likely get control of scale on Japanese blueberry with something purchased over the counter. I espouse a nutritional/cultural approach. Cut off their irrigation almost completely, and incorporate organic matter into the soil (you can hire us to do this by our Root Invigoration procedure). Poor soil nutrition and wet feet make Japanese blueberry more susceptible to scale and other sucking insects. Mulching, root invigoration, taking steps to improve internal drainage--all these things can help, but you need these guys gone now! You could wipe each leaf clean, but it would be labor-intensive and the results would be disappointing. Horticultural oil helps, but you're too late to apply the more effective winter rate. If these corrections don't result in an improvement by early summer, then you might consider a systemic treatment. We'll be happy to provide you a quote to help take care of the problem. Chances are, it's not the only plant getting too much water.
56. Question: Last year I noticed masses of orange-coloured blobs on two large juniper shrubs in my garden. The shrubs seemed to be unaffected. This year I noticed in May that several of the leaves of hawthorn in my garden hedge were displaying yellow spots. Many leaves have since turned brown and died. Some of the twigs have brown, shriveled leaves, but also healthy green leaves. The reverse of the yellow spotted leaves have short spiky dry growths (which may be the shriveled remains of the jelly growths of the juniper). The problem occurs to the hawthorn close to the offending juniper. I found your article, 'Rust Diseases of Hawthorn' by Thomas R. Martin et. al., on the internet and as a consequence have removed the juniper shrubs. My garden lies on the boundary of common land, which is covered by trees, primarily oak, ash, blackthorn and hawthorn, and is also bounded by field hedges containing hawthorn. Your article lists chemical treatments, which should be applied in the spring. It is now too late to apply these and the junipers have been removed. Should I spray surrounding hawthorn nevertheless? There are fewer juniper than hawthorn in the area so it would therefore be easier to spray the juniper. Would this be successful? For what distance can this rust infection spread? I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to locate supplies of those chemicals listed in your technical report. Could you tell me how, if necessary, to obtain them?
Answer: On the positive side, rust on hawthorns is rarely associated with tree death. The article you refer to was written by my colleague who is based is the U.S. The problem we face is that there are no conventional synthetic fungicides that have approval for rust control in the UK. However, you may wish to visit your local garden centre. There may be one or two garden centre products (Fungus Fighter, Systhane) that have applicability. If so, you will need to spray every 7 to 10 days for any form of control. The other key to rust control is promotion of tree vitality by mulching, irrigation, and fertilisation. Make an appointment today for a free evaluation.
57. Question: We have a two year old tree which I believe is a Japanese Maple. The bark on the tree is splitting from the bottom to the top. Do I need to worry about the tree dying from this problem?
Answer: It is possible this problem could cause fatality of your tree. However, to diagnose the problem correctly, you should have one of our local arborist come evaluate your tree to offer remedial treatments which can help you preserve your tree. Click here to schedule an appointment.
58. Question: We have a 10 foot tall Dogwood that has had very little growth since we purchased it. The leaves are also changing color out of season. Is there something wrong with our tree?
Answer: If you are interested, we can have one our arborists stop by and take a look at your Dogwood tree. This seems to be a problem better assessed in person. We can prepare recommendations for the tree based on our observations. This would be at no charge. Click here to schedule an appointment.

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