Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Why Do I Need a Tree Hazard Assessment

Hazard assessment to prevent tree damage or failure during severe weather

Don’t let your trees threaten your property or life as they destabilize during severe weather. Regular tree assessments and preventative measures can help your trees survive severe storm conditions intact. gathered information on why trees need regular hazard assessments, what is examined during an evaluation, the types of damages trees suffer in different storms, and preventative measures you can take.

Tree Hazard Assessments – Emergency and Storm Safety

Tree hazard (or tree risk) assessments provide crucial information to the surveyor and the homeowner about the health and stability of the trees being surveyed. These assessments are used in determining:

• The overall health and stability of a tree
• Whether a tree will remain stable during severe weather events
• If the tree poses an infestation or disease threat to surrounding trees
• If the tree is a threat to surrounding structures or people
• A course of action including pruning or removal

The older your trees become, the more they require hazard assessments. As trees age, they become more massive, less flexible, and in many cases, more susceptible to disease and infestations.

Just as necessary is the assessment of the soil where the tree is rooted, soil erosion can become a significant problem for a tree’s stability. This erosion can cause the root plate to lift during the slightest of winds resulting in an emergency, and the toppling of an otherwise healthy tree.

Without these assessments, your trees can develop irreversible damages from diseases, infestations, girdling, compacted soil, and many other conditions (detected in an assessment) that weaken the tree. All it takes is one severe storm to bring down a weakened tree and cause catastrophic damages.

Follow the link for signs and symptoms of a troubled tree

Hazard assessment for diseased or dying trees

What is a Tree Hazard Assessment?

Tree hazard assessments happen when a tree professional or certified arborist physically survey the overall health and stability of a tree. A typical assessment looks for the following:

• Signs of disease
• Signs of infestation
• Abnormal growth habits
• Leaning
• Dead, missing, or damaged bark
• Cracks
• Lightning damage
• Balance and density of the crown
• Dead twigs or branches
• Mushroom conks
• Cankers

These examinations are comprehensive and include assessments of:

• Cut or damaged surface roots
• Lifting of the root plate
• Soil conditions and/or erosion
• Soil compaction
• Pavement over roots
• Topography
• Surrounding structures (targets)
• Typical weather for the location
• Wind exposure
• Vines and other potentially harmful plant species

When a tree professional or arborist performs a tree hazard assessment, he is looking for anything about the tree, its root plate, or environment that could be alarming. Read for some warning signs and things to look for that indicate a potential tree emergency, and call an arborist or professional tree service if you suspect something is wrong.

Disaster Tree Damage Caused by Storms

Tree hazard assessments take into account the weather patterns common to the tree’s location. Different elements of weather impact trees differently and may require specific actions to prevent irreversible damages to the tree. The following are some of the weather conditions that can cause a weakened tree to topple and preventative measures:

Tree hazard assessment to prevent property damage during storms

Wind – When wind speeds are high, they can impose tremendous force on a tree. During hurricanes or tornadoes, trees may be stripped of their leaves and branches. These winds are capable of twisting, breaking, and uprooting trees. Also, during major storms, debris may debark the tree requiring its removal after the storm.

Course of action: Promote the health of the tree by fertilizing, mulching, and pruning. Provide deep watering to promote deep root growth, and hire a professional tree service to thin out the crown, reducing the tree’s wind-resistance.

You can also create wind diversions by planting shrubs upwind from your trees or by installing fences along your property line.

Flooding – Erosion caused by flooding can be devastating to all plant life. Floods typically result in the complete saturation of the ground and can quickly destabilize the roots of the oldest and strongest of trees.

Course of action: Plant trees on elevated land and reconfigure your landscaping to facilitate water runoff from your property.

Promote the health of your trees by fertilizing, mulching, and pruning. When floods are caused by storm surge, it is the health of your tree and the depth of its roots that will help determine whether it topples or not.

Lightning – By their height, trees are a common target for lightning. Your tree’s bark may be blown off or scars left on the trunk when the electricity is conducted along the outside of the tree. When the electrical charge penetrates the tree trunk, the moisture within the trunk may be converted to vapor and cause the tree to explode.

The most susceptible trees to lightning strikes are poplars, pines, oaks, and elms.

Course of action: Install lightning rods on your property and to the top of your home to divert lightning from your trees.

Ice – Winter snow or ice storms may deposit ice on the foliage and branches of your tree. The weight of accumulated ice on a tree together with wind can break branches or cause the tree to fall.

Hazard assessment to prevent tree damage or collapse under snow and ice weight

Trees resistant to ice damage include oaks, beech, birch, and American hornbeam.

Course of action: As always, maintain the health of your tree throughout its growing season. In the fall, have your trees pruned, and crowns thinned to reduce the potential of ice accumulation.

In some cases, storms can unleash tremendous amounts of rain, wind, flooding, etc. that can bring down weakened and healthy trees alike. However, annual hazard assessments allow you to take actions that minimize damages to your trees and property when they fall.

Tree Health and Hazard Assessments

In this article, you discovered the importance of tree hazard assessments, what tree professionals look for during an assessment, what damages are caused by storms, and what you can do to help your trees through storms.

By scheduling annual tree hazard assessments, you create the possibility to catch and reverse potential threats to your tree’s health. These assessments also enable you to remove trees that can cause catastrophic damages when toppling in storms.

If you neglect to have hazard assessments performed, infestations, soil compaction, or disease may weaken your tree to the point where it falls during a weather event. Thus, endangering your property, home, and life.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Originally published on:

Monday, September 23, 2019

How to Stake a Leaning Tree

Staking young trees to avoid weather damage

Your leaning tree can fall, causing catastrophic and life-threatening damages. By staking your tree, you can help it re-establish itself, prevent its death, and eliminate the danger of it falling. gathered information on why trees lean, how to properly stake them, and when tree removal may be necessary.

Why Trees Lean

Before taking action to stake or brace a tree, it’s helpful to understand the reasons why trees may lean in different stages of their growth.

The following require staking, bracing, or cabling and can be halted or reversed:

• The tree was planted off-center.
• The tree may be leaning towards the sun.
• The root ball has shifted in unsteady soil.
• Constant wind has shaped the tree to curve or has moved its center of gravity.
• The tree was struck by a vehicle or heavy machinery.
• Neighboring support trees were removed.
• The crown is off-center from poor pruning practices.

The following are irreversible and may require the immediate removal of the tree:

• An earthquake, floodwater, rockslide, or landslide has caused the root plate to destabilize and fail.
• Roots are failing due to rot from disease or poorly-drained soil.
• The tree trunk cracked.

As trees reach maturity, they can weigh from 2,000 to 20,000 pounds. When that weight becomes off-centered, and the tree begins to lean, quick action is required to prevent a fall with potentially deadly results.

Tree bracing and support for uneven crown or leaning tree

Read How to Identify a Tree Emergency, and if you have a mature tree threatening to fall, call a tree professional to evaluate the immediate risk and lay out a course of action.

Tree Support Systems to Prevent or Stop Their Leaning

Support systems for young and leaning trees change as trees mature. The following are different systems used at various stages of tree development:

Planted as a Seedling – For the first 6 months to one year, the tree should be protected from the elements and wildlife by a chickenwire encircling enclosure, lined with burlap on the upwind side.

Transplanted Trees – Bare root and rootball transplants are highly susceptible to the elements until their root system extends and forms a firm root plate. These trees should be staked for 1 to 2 years while this process takes place.

Young trees planted as seedlings should be staked once they outgrow their protective enclosures to prevent leaning or severe weather damage.

To accomplish this:

1. Drive two 8 foot stakes 2 feet into the ground on either side of the tree trunk (about 1 1/2 feet from the trunk on each side).
2. Tie or attach a piece of burlap or other soft material – looped around the trunk – to each of the stakes. There should be enough slack for the tree to sway 3 to 6 inches in all directions before the material tightens around the trunk.
3. If wildlife is an issue, surround the tree with chicken wire using the stakes as a harness.
4. While a tree is staked, check the bark where any contact is made frequently. If damage or wear is detected, move the material up or down on the stakes.

Tree stake tether with slack for natural trunk movement

Never tie or attach anything to trees being staked. Besides bark damage, the tree could end up girdled or sawed through if there is constant friction.

This staking method is highly effective until the trunk reaches a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 4.5 to 6 inches, at which point stronger measures are required.

Trees with a DBH >6 inches – When trees reach this size, they are heavy enough to cause severe to catastrophic damage if brought down during a storm or fall from their own weight. If they begin to lean, take the following actions immediately:

Leaning tree crown thinning to establish center of gravity

• Prune the tree to reset its balance or center of gravity.
• Cabling the tree can relieve pressure from branches, causing a redistribution of weight and stress within the crown.
• Anchor the tree to stop or reverse the lean by:

1. Driving a 5-foot heavy-duty iron stake into the ground 8 to 10 feet opposite the direction of the lean (this stake will be supporting tremendous weight).
2. Attach a cable rated for 1,400 to 1,960 pounds to the stake equipped with a turnbuckle or winching device, and loop the other end around the tree trunk above the first branches.
3. Use foam or rubber as a cushion to prevent the cable from directly contacting the tree’s bark.
4. Tighten the turnbuckle until the cable is firm. Then further tighten the cable every other day.
5. This process can last weeks and be successful provided there are no underlying issues with root rot or disease.
6. Call a professional to evaluate the state of the tree and offer guidance.

In all of the above situations, a tree professional should be called to evaluate the tree, determine why it is leaning, and what actions to take.

Staking Leaning Trees

Trees lean for different reasons, but there are various support systems to be used at different stages of the development of a tree.

In this article, you discovered why trees lean, how to stake or secure them properly, and when tree removal becomes necessary.

When your tree begins to lean, it is telling you something is wrong. Don’t procrastinate and allow a leaning tree to fall on your home or loved ones.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Originally published on:

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Mushrooms on a Tree Trunk Means Your Tree is Dying

Mushrooms growing on tree trunks from heart rot and root rot

Do you have mushroom conks growing out of your tree trunk? Don’t mistake these fungi as a regular thing, they are a grim sign that your tree is dying or already dead. gathered information on why mushrooms grow on tree trunks and the immense danger they represent.

Mushrooms Growing on a Tree

Mushrooms are a common sight in fertile garden soil, healthy landscapes, on outdoor woodpiles, and fallen trees. This may contribute to the misplaced sense of normalcy when you see them growing on tree trunks or root flares.

You should be alarmed when you see mushroom conks on a tree:

• Mushroom conks are the reproductive part of fungi.
• Fungi require rotting organic material to thrive.
• When mushroom conks grow on the trunk of a tree, it is a sign of rot within the tree.
• When mushrooms grow from a tree’s root flare or on surface roots, it is a sign of root rot.

Mushrooms growing on tree root flare indicate root rot

By the time mushroom conks appear on a tree trunk or root flare, the responsible fungus has already caused severe damage to the host tree.

Signs of a Fungal Tree Disease

Your tree may be succumbing to a fungal disease without the immediate appearance of mushroom conks. The following signs of disease may precede the presence of these reproductive bodies:

• Dieback occurring on one side or throughout the crown.
• Early leaf drop.
• Stunted leaf growth
• Severe wilting or drooping of the tree’s foliage.
• Chlorosis (leaves lose their vibrant green color) of the tree’s foliage.
• Branches and twigs die and become brittle.
• Cankers appear on branches and the trunk.
• The tree may begin to lean.
• Carpenter ants nesting in the trunk or limbs.
• Boring insects successfully attacking and infesting the tree.

Wilted tree foliage indicating severe fungal infection

If one or a combination of these symptoms are present in your tree, hire an arborist to evaluate the tree and recommend a course of action.

Tree Fungus Types and Identification

Many types of fungi grow on trees. Some of those fungi are harmless to a mature tree, while others signal certain decline and eventual death. Take the following fungi, for example:

Lichens – A lichen is a symbiotic relationship between algae and a fungus, and poses little to no threat to a tree. Lichens come in many shapes, sizes, and colors but appear most commonly as a low, flat, crusty, greenish substance branching out like a doily.

Lichens growing on tree trunk exterior

Lichens do not penetrate tree bark; they attach themselves and spread along the surface. This organism may grow on trees, cement pathways, park benches, brick structures, windows, etc.

Powdery mildew – This fungal disease affects the foliage of various trees and plants. Powdery mildew diseases can be caused by many different fungal species from the order Erysiphales. These fungi appears as a white powdery covering of foliage and stems. It is rarely fatal to mature trees unless widespread infection weakens the tree, allowing subsequent infections and insect infestations.

Powdery mildew growing on tree leaves

Polyporus Alveolaris – This is a species of fungus in the genus Polyporus, and poses a significant risk to trees. It causes white rot in dead and decaying hardwoods. Commonly growing on decaying logs and rotting trees, conks of this species have a yellowish to orange scaly cap and hexagonal or diamond-shaped pores. This species of fungus is widespread across North America.

Ganoderma Applanatum – Rot caused by this fungus may take several years to kill a tree but makes the tree very susceptible to secondary infections, infestations, and wind-throw. The shelf-like fruiting structure forms at or near the soil line. It appears brown to reddish-brown on top with a white-colored margin. The underside of the shelf contains millions of pores in which spores are formed.

Mushrooms on tree trunks ganoderma applanatum fruiting structure

Ganoderma Lucidum – This species causes root rot and forms a shelf-like structure on the wood similar to that of Ganoderma Applanatum. Fruiting structures occur singly or in clusters and have a varnished appearance.

Armillaria – Fungi from this genus cause Armillaria root rot on many species of conifers and hardwoods. The mushroom is a fleshy, firm, honey-colored conk growing in clusters of up to 100 or more. The cap of the mushroom can reach from 1.5 to 6 inches in diameter with a depressed center.

Mushrooms on tree trunks armillaria mellea

Laetiporus Sulfureus – Signs of this fungus include massive clusters of bright, yellow to salmon or bright orange shelf-like conks that turn white with and fall off as they age. The underside of the conk has millions of pores in which spores are formed. These conks appear long after the damage has occurred. Infected trees are prone to wind breakage long before the fungus forms its fruiting structures and should be removed when an infection is confirmed.

Laetiporus sulphureus mushrooms on dying tree trunk

How a Tree Fungus Spreads

Fungi are spread easily from tree to tree by the following means:

Spores – Millions of spores can be produced and released by a single fruiting structure or conk. These spores can be spread by:

• Wind
• Splashing Water
• Rain

Mushroom fruiting structure and spores on tree trunks

Human Activity – Handling diseased plants and trees with gardening tools and pruning equipment, then using those “infected” tools on healthy plants and trees.

Tree Fungus Treatment

The most recommended method of treatment for trees against fungal infections is prevention. By promoting the healthy growth and proper seasonal pruning of your trees, they can resist infections and infestations that can lead to disease.

However, once a fungus infects a tree, the tree cannot be fully cured. Treatments that stop the progression of the disease, allowing the tree to compartmentalize it, can be applied to restore your tree’s health.

Steps you can take to prevent fungal infections include:

• Ensuring proper drainage of the soil around your trees.
• Avoid overwatering your trees.
• Mulch your trees to maintain optimal levels of moisture and ground temperature.
• Apply fungicides like neem oil to tree bark and surface roots.
• Sanitize pruning and gardening tools between trees.
• Fertilize your trees in late winter or early spring as they enter the growing season.
• Have your trees and landscape inspected annually by an arborist.

Sanitized pruning equipment to avoid disease contamination

To avoid widespread infections or catastrophic tree falls, have your trees inspected at the first sign of trouble. The earlier you address fungal infections, the easier it is to treat them.

Tree Fungi and Conks on Trees

When mushroom conks grow on your tree trunk or root flare, there is a grave problem within your tree that must be addressed. Otherwise, a potentially catastrophic tree fall may occur.

In this article, you discovered the signs of fungal tree diseases, types, and identification of fungi, how they propagate and spread, and how to treat them.

Your slow reaction to the signs of fungal infections on your tree may result in the loss of the tree. The tree may eventually fall on your vehicle, home, or causing severe physical injury to people.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Originally published on:

Monday, July 22, 2019

Reasons Your Tree Changing Colors in Spring or Summer is a Bad Sign

Distressed tree changing colors and dying

Is your tree changing color when it should be green? Tree foliage will change color for several reasons. Some of those reasons may lead to the death of the tree, while others are merely seasonal. gathered information on why trees change color, and when a color change signals severe problems with trees.

Deciduous vs. Evergreen Trees

In a very general sense, trees may be classified in one of two categories; deciduous or evergreen. When their foliage changes color, it can be interpreted as:

Deciduous Trees – A deciduous tree keeps its green color throughout spring and summer. During autumn, its leaves will change from green to vibrant yellow, orange, red, or purple before falling to the ground.

This color change occurs as the days shorten and temperatures drop. As the leaves cease their food making process, the chlorophyll breaks down, the green color fades away, and so begins the fall color change and leaf drop spectacle.

Leaf color change on deciduous trees in fall

This process also enables the tree to conserve energy as it prepares to enter dormancy throughout late autumn and winter.

Evergreen Trees – As the name suggests, these trees remain green throughout the year. Typically, they will drop small amounts of foliage as new growth takes its place during the spring and summer months.

While healthy evergreen trees slow down considerably during autumn and winter months, they retain their foliage and green color.

Diseased, Infested, and Dying Trees

When a deciduous tree changes color during spring or summer months, or an evergreen changes color at any time, there is cause for concern. One or a combination of the following may be causing the tree to decline in health or die:

Drought – Drought conditions can happen any time throughout the year, and trees viscerally respond to hydraulic failure.

When there is a lack of water within a tree, the entire crown may be affected in the following ways:

• Chlorosis (loss of color) of the foliage
• Wilting
• Premature leaf drop
• Hardening of branches and twigs
• Self-pruning (shedding of entire branches)

If a regular water supply is not restored to the tree at the onset of drought symptoms, the tree will likely die.

Solution: Maintain a watering pattern throughout the year, increasing the frequency during dry stretches and decreasing during rainy seasons.

Root Rot – Excess water may deprive tree roots of getting the air that they need, leading to decay. To avoid root rot, it is best to only water trees when the soil becomes dry, and to plant the tree in well-drained soil.

Symptoms of root rot are very similar to those of drought, including chlorosis, and premature leaf drop, as both ailments cause hydraulic failure within the tree.

Tree leaf chlorosis and death from disease stress

One of the significant differences between drought and root rot is the destabilization of a tree affected by root rot. Without firm roots to anchor the tree, the lightest of storm activity may cause it to topple.

Solution: Avoid overwatering trees and plants located in poorly drained soil. If root rot has already occurred, contact a tree service professional to evaluate the situation and recommend a course of action.

Heart Rot – Trees are susceptible to heart-rotting fungi that produce a lightweight, soft, spongy, stringy, or powdery heart decay. Signs that a tree is rotting from the inside are:

• Leaf chlorosis
• Wilting
• Premature leaf drop
• Dead and brittle branches
• Mushroom conks growing from the trunk
• Bark abnormalities (swelling, deep cracks, or holes)

While trees are very good at compartmentalizing (isolating) damaged or diseased portions of themselves, some fungi can cause massive amounts of potentially fatal damage before the tree can react.

Solution: The following will help a tree avoid heart rot:

• Promote the tree’s health (watering, pruning, fertilizing, mulching)
• Prune in late fall or early winter
• Avoid bark damage
• Remove storm-damaged branches

Trees with symptoms of heart rot should be evaluated and treated or removed by a tree service professional, as soon as possible to avoid severe damages should the tree topple or collapse.

If your tree is dying, learn more about what you can do at

Anthracnose – Anthracnose can attack a tree (fruit trees are more susceptible) at any stage of its growth and can affect leaves, stems, pods, fruits, and roots. The symptoms of anthracnose are:

• Small irregular yellow, brown, or black spots that expand and merge together on foliage. Severe infections can affect entire portions of the crown.
• Cankers on stems and branches that cause extreme defoliation and rotting of fruit and roots.
• Fruits develop sunken circular spots that darken with age, eventually producing gelatinous pink spore masses.

Signs and symptoms of anthracnose tree disease

Solution: The following can help prevent an anthracnose infection:

• Promote your tree’s health (watering, pruning, fertilizing, mulching)
• Transplant only healthy seedlings
• Remove and destroy infected tree parts
• Harvest unripe but mature fruits
• Plants species that are resistant to anthracnose disease
• Keep the landscape free of weeds

If your tree has become severely infected with anthracnose, the best containment of the disease may be the complete removal and destruction of the tree. Hire a tree service professional to evaluate the tree’s situation, and risk to surrounding vegetation before deciding on a course of action.

You can learn more about tree diseases and treatment at

Insect Infestation – Severe infestations by honeydew-producing aphids, leaf-consuming caterpillars, trunk burrowing beetles, and other opportunistic insects can lead to a tree being overstressed and dying. Symptoms of an insect infestation may include:

• Chlorosis of the foliage of a portion of or the entire crown
• Wilting and leaf drop
• Damaged or eaten foliage
• The appearance of sooty mold on infested foliage
• The presence of ants (colonizing and tending to aphids)
• Severe premature leaf drop
• Burrowed circular holes in branch or trunk bark

Tree leaf damage from insect infestation

Solution: Upon detection of an insect infestation, the infected and surrounding trees should be treated and protected with:

• Insect traps (tree bands, ant traps, beetle traps, etc.)
• Neem oil spray
• Insecticide

In cases where beetles and other burrowing insects are involved, a tree service professional should be contracted to survey the tree, property, and surrounding landscape to attempt to gain full control over the infestation.

Climbing Vines – If left uncontrolled, climbing vines are capable of ascending to the top of a tree and spreading across its crown. As the vine spreads its foliage, it absorbs the sunlight otherwise intended for the tree, leading to the following:

• Leaf chlorosis
• Wilting
• Premature leaf drop
• Nutrient deficiency (weakened health)

Climbing vines can girdle and kill trees

When vines take over the canopy of a tree, you may see green, healthy foliage (from the vine) mixed with wilting or dying foliage (from the tree). As the tree weakens, it will become susceptible to insect infestation and disease, compounding its health decline and hastening its death.

Solution: Sever the vine from its root system near the ground and let it die off. However, don’t try to remove the vine from the tree. As the vine was climbing, it anchored to the tree’s bark, any attempt to pull the vine down may severely damage the bark, resulting in the girdling of the tree.

To learn more on how to save your tree from clinging vines, read

Trees Changing Colors

Is your tree turning yellow or brown when it’s supposed to be green? There are several reasons that trees will change color, and many of those reasons may indicate serious problems that can kill the tree.

In this article, you discovered why trees change color in the fall, and problems that may lead them to change color and suffer leaf drop in the spring or summer months.

While it is normal for deciduous trees to change color in the fall, ignoring an off-season color change or leaf drop can lead to the death of your tree.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Originally published on:

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Killing Carpenter Ants in Your Tree and What They Mean

Black carpenter ant represents decay when nesting in trees

Do you see big black ants crawling all over your tree? While carpenter ants need to be controlled, they are the least of your worries and indicators of potentially bigger problems.

Carpenter ants nesting in a tree are a sign of a more pressing problem that, if not addressed, will kill your tree, leaving the ants to move on to a new home. gathered information on how to eliminate carpenter ants from your tree and what an infestation means.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in a Tree

When carpenter ants invade a tree, there is a risk that they will also invade nearby structures. Within a typical carpenter ant colony, foragers continuously seek new sources of nutrition or a suitably sheltered location to either move the colony to or form satellite colonies.

The best time for controlling carpenter ants is when activity is at its height during the spring and summer months. During the winter, they will hibernate unless located near a constant source of heat.

When attempting to eliminate a carpenter ant infestation, you are searching for the following:

Parent Colony – The parent colony contains an egg-laying queen, workers, and numerous broods. These colonies can be found in:

• Rotting tree stumps
• Injured or dying trees
• Within the walls or wooden features of a structure frequently exposed to moisture

Carpenter ant colony nesting in decaying tree

As ants are capable of foraging and traveling great distances from a parent colony, your search for either a parent or satellite colony should be as broad as possible.

Satellite Colonies – A satellite colony may contain pupae, mature larvae, and workers.

Common places to find satellite colonies are:

• Within the rotted wood of old window frames.
• Shingles or wood siding exposed to constant moisture.
• Nearby trees with declining health or previous stressors.

Controlling an infestation of ants inside a tree is a difficult task which must be done to prevent the creation of satellite colonies and the invasion of surrounding structures.

Dust insecticides that contain pyrethroids or carbaryl designated for use on landscape trees are suggested for control:

• Apply the dust directly into and around the nest cavity.
• Watch for foraging ants and dust along the path they travel.
• Annual retreatment may be necessary, as carpenter ants are difficult to control in trees.

Liquid insecticides that contain a sugar based bait and borax as the killing agent are among the most effective long-term solutions available. For DIY or homemade insecticidal soap recipes, see then below outlines how to apply the solution:

Liquid insecticide for carpenter ant control in a diseased tree

• Spray the insecticide in and around the nest cavity.
• Follow the ants along their trail to find other holes, or entryways to satellite colonies and spray them.
• This is a slow acting insecticide which allows the ants to carry the poison back to the nest and feed it to others.

In either case, never disturb the nest before applying the dust or liquid insecticides. When ants get “spooked” or sense danger, they erratically and quickly leave their nest, will avoid consuming the poison, and may prompt some to stray off and begin another colony.

This picture shows a nest cavity before applying an insecticide.

Diseased and decaying tree with carpenter ant colony infestation

This picture shows the same nest cavity immediately after applying an insecticide.

Carpenter ant colony leaving insecticide treated tree

NOTE: Ants leave a pheromone trail behind them for others to follow and for them to return to their colony. By dusting or spraying along their path, you are increasing your chances for successful control.

What a Carpenter Ant Infestation Means

Carpenter ants are opportunistic in nature. They differ from termites in that they do not eat wood or pulp, rather they burrow through it. To accomplish this in trees, they take advantage of a preexisting condition that has weakened, killed, or caused decay within the tree.

Environmental issues, previous infestations, poor pruning habits, and disease can all contribute to the declining health of a tree, and the successful infestation of it by carpenter ants. Knots, old insect tunnels, holes, cracks, and poorly healed pruning cuts can all offer access to carpenter ants. For more info on common tree diseases, see

As a growing carpenter ant colony burrows into the heartwood of a tree, you are likely to notice the partial or complete dieback of branches and limbs.

Carpenter ant infested tree with branch dieback

Once a carpenter ant infestation is confirmed, have your tree inspected for signs of disease, other insect infestations, fungal infection, and rot. Again, carpenter ants are the least of your concerns. If they are present and thriving, it is due to other issues that have debilitated your tree’s defenses.

Avoid dressing or sealing wounds and cavities. This will not eliminate or prevent carpenter ant activity or the decay that made their presence possible.

The removal of your tree, based on an ant infestation, should only occur if absolutely required for the safety of your property.

Carpenter Ants and Tree Health

Black ants crawling all over your tree are signs of decay within the tree and represent an urgent need to identify the preexisting condition that gave them access in the first place.

Carpenter ants on a diseased tree

In this article, you discovered methods to control and eliminate carpenter ants from your tree, and what their presence means for its health.

Your delay in controlling a carpenter ant infestation allows the colony to burrow deeper into your tree while establishing satellite colonies in other trees and structures around the parent colony. The longer you wait, the larger, more invasive, and more damaging this species of ants will become.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Originally published on:

Thursday, May 23, 2019

How to Grow an Apple Tree in Marietta Georgia

Apple tree planting and harvest in Marietta Ga

So you want free apples for life? It’s as simple as planting a tree, but there are some things you must know before trying to grow an apple tree in your backyard.

Growing apple trees may seem easy, and it is when you know how to acclimate them and care for them as they mature. By using simple care techniques, you’ll be harvesting homegrown apples before you know it. gathered information on how to acclimate, plant, and care for apple trees until they begin to bear fruit.

Apple Trees from Seeds, Seedlings, or Saplings

If you want to grow and harvest your favorite apples, your first decisions are which species of apple and in what phase of growth to start. The following will help you decide:

Starting from Seeds – If you can create and maintain a controlled environment for seeds to sprout and flourish in, it is the longest but most engaging way to grow your apple trees.

Planting fertile apple tree seeds

Eating an apple and retrieving the seeds from the core may seem like a logical way to get started, but store-bought hybrid apples typically do not have viable seeds or seeds that will grow true to the species. Your best bet is to visit your local nursery or the plant and garden section of your local home improvement store for viable, fertile seeds.

Starting from Seedlings – Seedlings are a great way to start growing a tree. However, they are still fragile and require a controlled environment for the first few months of growth. Seedlings should be allowed to acclimate to their new environment for 5 to 10 days before being transplanted to a larger container.

Apple tree seedling growing in container

Once seedlings “get a feel” for their new location, they tend to grow fairly rapidly. However, seedlings will require several transplants before finally moving them outside for acclimation and to their permanent location.

Starting from Saplings – This is perhaps the easiest way to grow your apple tree. Besides circumventing all of the care and precaution needed for seeds and saplings, saplings are almost ready to be planted in their permanent location.

Saplings should be acclimated to the outside environment by leaving them in partial shade for 3 to 4 hours daily, for 7 to 10 days. Once a sapling has been acclimated, it can be transplanted to its permanent outside location.

Planted apple tree sapling in Marietta Ga

Apple Tree Needs

Before planting your apple tree in its permanent location in late winter or early spring, read, then consider these specific apple tree requirements:

Sun Requirements – For best growth and fruiting, your apple tree should get full sunlight (this is 6 or more hours of direct summertime sunlight daily).

Spacing Requirements – Regular apple trees require 25 to 30 feet between trees; semi-dwarf apple trees need 15 to 20 feet, and the dwarf species can be spaced 10 to 15 feet apart.

Regular sized mature apple tree spacing 30 feet between trees

Soil Requirements – Apple trees can thrive in soils ranging from medium textured clays to gravelly sands. However, the healthiest trees and best crops are found on well-drained fertile sandy soils and loams.

Apples do best in neutral to slightly acidic soil with a pH between 7.0 and 5.8. You can amend the pH level in acidic soil by incorporating lime before transplanting.

Crown rot (Phytophthora cactorum) is a common issue in poorly drained soil. Apple tree rooting is typically shallow, and wet soils tend to restrict root development. This subsequently results in poor anchorage and reduced extraction of nutrients for tree development.

Watering Requirements – Although apples contain high water content, apple trees do not need daily heavy watering. However, you should adjust your watering schedule to avoid dry soil and drought stress to your trees.

Water your trees in the early morning, or if your schedule doesn’t permit it, early evening watering will help your apple trees thrive.

Your watering schedule should increase in frequency as your apple trees begin to bear fruit, and return to normal after the harvesting period.

Pruning Requirements – Prune your apple trees in late winter, while the trees are in a state of dormancy. Remove any downward growing branches and dead or diseased branches; also remove any suckers growing from the base of the tree or within the root spread.

Suckers growing from tree trunk and roots

As pruning stimulates new growth, only emergency pruning (diseased branches, weather damage, etc.) should take place in late summer or fall. Any growth late in the season will not have time to harden in preparation for winter months dormancy and will die.

Pollination Requirements – On average, newly planted apple trees require 2 to 5 years to establish, mature, and bloom. Some species take 5 to 10 years to bloom and bear fruit. Like all fruit trees, pollination is required for apple trees to bear fruit.

Unless the species is self-fertile (Anna, Golden Dorsett, Gordon, etc.), cross-pollination is required. However, self-fertile species bear more heavy crops when cross-pollinated.

Proper pollination occurs when trees of different varieties bloom at the same time. Trees of the same variety won’t get the job done.

If you only have room for one apple tree and natural cross-pollination isn’t possible, you can purchase apple pollen from a local nursery and pollinate the tree by hand (be sure that the species are compatible for best results).

Watch this video to learn more about apple tree pollination.

Growing Apple Trees

With all the free apples after your first harvest, will you make apple pies, apple fritters, or apple sauce? By following these simple planting and care techniques, your apple trees will thrive and provide free apples for years to come.

In this article, you discovered how to acclimate your saplings, planting requirements, and care tips to give your apple trees their best chance to mature, thrive, and bear fruit.

It’s not enough to just plant an apple tree and hope it does well. For your apple tree to thrive, you must be knowledgable and pay attention to a host of easy to learn factors.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Originally published on:

Monday, April 29, 2019

5 Best Low-Maintenance Trees for Your Marietta Yard

low maintenance evergreen trees for your Marietta Ga yard

What if you could plant trees that take care of themselves, need little to no maintenance, and stay beautiful all year long?

Large deciduous trees can drop an overwhelming amount of leaves and leave you with hundreds of twigs, limbs, and branches to prune. By planting smaller evergreen trees, you’ll save time and energy that you can spend on other activities. gathered 5 of the best low-maintenance evergreen tree species to plant in your Marietta yard.

Marietta Georgia and the USDA Hardiness Zone Map

The city of Marietta, Ga is situated in zone 7b on the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. The city boasts a wide variety of deciduous and evergreen tree species comprising its incredibly robust canopy.

The following species were selected based on their ease of care, hardiness to zone 7b, and their flexibility of use in landscaping.

American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

This tall, pyramid-shaped elegant species is a common choice for windbreaks, accents for entryways, hedges, or single specimens. The American arborvitae requiring almost no care can reach heights of 20 to 30 feet with a spread of 10 to 15 feet.

American arborvitae low maintenance tree for your Marietta Ga yard

Thriving in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 7, this species grows at a rate of 12 to 24 inches per year and adapts well to most well-drained soil types including loamy, sandy, and clay.

Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)

This hybrid of Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Alaskan cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) is a valued landscape tree as well as being one of the most sought after Christmas trees in the southeastern states. The Leyland cypress is a fast-growing pyramid shaped species that can reach heights of more than 60 feet with a spread of 15 to 25 feet.

Leyland cypress low maintenance tree for your Marietta Ga yard

Thriving in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 10, this species can grow more than 24 inches per year until reaching maturity and adapts perfectly to well-drained, moist, rich, alkaline, acidic, loamy, sandy, and clay soils.

Fully mature Leyland cypress trees typically grow a shallow root system and when planted in unsheltered conditions may topple in severe weather conditions.

Green Velvet Boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Velvet’)

This broadleaf evergreen hybrid has the hardiness of Korean boxwood with the English boxwood’s deep green foliage. Commonly used as a low hedge, border, specimen, or accent, the green velvet boxwood is a slow growing, oval or round-shaped species that reaches 4 feet in height and width at maturity. This species is common in topiaries as it can be easily sheared into any form.

Green velvet boxwood low maintenance tree for your Marietta Ga yard

Well-adapted to USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9, this species grows at a rate of under 12 inches per year and can thrive in a wide range of soil types but is intolerant of wet soil conditions.

The green velvet boxwood requires a location with full sun or partial shade and protection from strong wind, heavy snowfall, and winter sun.

Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)

With ground-sweeping branches, this graceful species grows exceptionally well on landscapes with water features. The weeping willow is a fast-growing low-maintenance species requiring occasional pruning and reaching upwards of 40 feet in height and a 35-foot spread.

Weeping willow low maintenance tree for your Marietta Ga yard

This iconic species thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 8, the weeping willow is capable of growing at an annual rate of 2 feet and adapts to well-drained, moist, rich, alkaline, acidic, loamy, sandy, and clay soils.

While this species grows extremely well near water, it is drought tolerant and can be planted in most mid-sized and large landscapes.

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

An ideal windbreaker, the Norway spruce is the fastest growing of the spruces. This species requires little to no maintenance and is capable of reaching heights of over 60 feet with a 25-foot spread at maturity.

Norway spruce low maintenance tree for your Marietta Ga yard

The Norway spruce thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 7 and can grow at an incredible rate of up to 2 feet per year. This species prefers full sun and is well-adapted to acidic, loamy, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils. With some drought tolerance, the Norway spruce can survive extended dry seasons with little to no harm.

While the Norway spruce grows in a compact pyramidal shape, it can take on an unkempt appearance as it ages.

Low-Maintenance Evergreen Trees

Spend less time maintaining your yard and more time enjoying its beauty by planting low-maintenance trees.

In this article, you discovered the growing traits and characteristics for the American arborvitae, Leyland cypress, green velvet boxwood, weeping willow, and Norway spruce species.

If you want to spend less time raking leaves, pruning trees, and managing soil pH levels, plant trees that take care of themselves and require minimal care.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

Originally published on: