Tree Care Tips
Since colonial days, North American residential landscapers traditionally organize their tree planning along two general themes.
Their first and most important task remains identifying the types of trees suited for any specific residential area. Now, as then, the identification of suitable residential trees is accompanied by tree care advice.
Utility often serves as a key concept for residential tree choice decisions. Generally local markets respond by offering a variety of food trees (fruit and nuts), ornamental trees and shelter trees (shade trees) to meet consumer demand.
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Tree care advice also generally addresses three issues, disease management, pest management and other annual care activities such as pruning.
Spruce trees, for example, popular residential ornamental trees in northern latitudes, provide year round color to the landscape.
Spruce tree care advice almost always begins with a discussion of gall wasps and abnormal tree growth.
The picture shows a Cooley Spruce Gall, an abnormal growth at the end of an otherwise healthy branch. They are caused by an aphid like insect called the Cooley Spruce Gall Adelgid (Adelges cooleyi).
Galls, a common tree problem caused by a variety other insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, and viruses, generally pose little harm to overall tree health. In most instances of gall formations, tree care experts recommend leaving them alone.
Pest management advice changes when the subject changes to fruit trees. Fruit flies, for example, rank as the major pest of concern for many homeowners with fruit trees.
While many fruit fly species evolved in relationship with specific trees, their life cycles affect all fruit trees in a similar manner. Generally, females lay eggs in ripening fruit, with the larvae using the fruit for nutrition.
In many instances, worms in apples or cherries from the back yard tree can be diagnosed as an indication of a fruit fly presence. Fruit fly remedies range from natural controls such as the use of baits and traps to pesticide applications applied prior to the annual start of the local fruit fly life cycle.
One need go no further than the story of the American Chestnut tree to understand the problems associated with tree fungal infections.
Once a dominant tree species of eastern North America, the American Chestnut tree practically disappeared from the landscape due to a fungal infection, Cryphonectria parasitica, transferred here through the importation of Asian Chestnut trees in the nineteenth century.
Today researchers are working on fungus resistant American Chestnut hybrids as the key for restoring this once hardy species.
Tree pruning often gets placed into the annual tree care category, with consumers advised to check their branches for signs of overgrowth, disease or pests.
The act of pruning consists of making straight cuts along weak branches, at an area almost flush with the trunk.
In a nutshell, basic tree care tips boil down to homeowners having the ability to pinpoint the pest and virus types with tree types.
Performing an internet search, using simple terms such as common pests and fruit trees (or apple or orange trees) normally brings us a wealth of information covering almost every potential residential tree care issue.
Fun Fact: Can You Eat Acorns?
Acorns, the common name given to the nuts grown on oak trees (Quercus), grow almost everywhere in North America.
Acorn abundance naturally leads many people to inquire about their edibility. Most responses begin by noting the presence of tannic acid in acorns, a bitter ingredient, that consumed in large quantities, causes health problems for humans.
After hearing that story, most people conclude acorn utility rests on its merit as squirrel food.
Because all acorns are not created equal, the ones with the least amount of tannic acid, typically the white oaks, become edible once the tannic acid is removed.
The removal process requires repetition. Most standard acorn preparation recipes start by choosing mature, brown nuts, then peeling, chopping and boiling them until the water turns brown.
As the water turns brown, change the water and boil again. The tannic acid is removed when the water no longer turns brown during boiling.
The dried acorns can then be placed in the food processor to transform them into a flour like paste amenable for bread or muffins.
The links in the box point to additional articles covering tree related topics.
© 2009-2012 Patricia A. Michaels