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19 Jan 2018
How To Trim A Tree - Large or Small

How To Trim A Tree

This guide will teach you how to trim a tree properly, big or small! Learn why trees should be pruned, the best time of year to prune them and steps to prune your trees properly.

When Is The Best Time To Trim or Prune Your Trees?

Fall or winter time is the best time to trim, prune or cutback your trees.

One of the major reasons is because most of the leaves are already gone from the tree, so you can see the scaffolding branches of the tree and also visually inspect some of the non essential branches.

Fall or winter time weather also helps prevent spreading of pathogens and insect investigations in some of the pruning cuts you will be making in the tree.

Why Trim Your Trees?

The biggest reason to prune your trees is to eliminate dead, or diseased or broken branches on the tree. There are many other great reasons to prune your trees including:

  1. For the trees health
  2. Safety for people below the tree
  3. To allow wind and light to penetrate throught the canopy
  4. Create elevation or clearance around structures
  5. To allow for better flower or fruit production

Tree Pruning Safety Tips

  • Use a rope and saddle
  • Wear a hard hat & safety glasses
  • Do not try this at home
  • If the limbs you would like to have pruned cannot be reached from the ground, please call and hire a licensed arborist
  • If the tree limbs are within range of utility wires, please call your power company first and have them come out and do the work

Tools You will Need For This Tree Trimming Project

Tree Pruning Tools You Will Need For This Project

Here are a few tools you are going to need to start this project:

  • Hard Hat
  • Tree Trimming Saddle
  • Rope
  • Safety Glass
  • Tree Trimming Saw

Which Limbs or Branches Do I Need To Trim?

Trim tree limbs that have dead, diseased or broken branches. Also be sure to identify and remove and suckers and water spouts.

Tree Pruning Tips

  1. Look for a strong leader and examine the branch and structure of the tree
  2. Directional prune to tree to make sure it maintains a strong healthy shape

How To Trim A Tree Properly

*Important: Far too often people make only 1 cut up against the tree trunk which results in the heavy limb tearing or ripping the bark at the trunk.

Here is how to trim your tree properly using the best tree cutting method; the 3 point cut!

Step 1. Start By Undercutting The Tree

Come out a little further from the tree, about a 1 foot or so depending on how large the tree limb is, then make your undercut first.

Step 1 - Start By Undercutting The Tree

Step 2. Make Your 2nd Cut 3 Inches Away From The 1st

Then come out about 3 inches away from your 1st cut and make a top cut. This way the branch will fall off cleanly and there is no chance of ripping or tearing at the trunk.

Step 2 - Next Move 3 Inches Away And Make Your Top Cut

Step 3. Make Your Final Cut Near The Trunk

Finally, come back and cut off the remaining stub right next to the trunk to make you third and final cut. Hold on to the stub while you make the cut to avoid any other potential damage.

Step 3 - Make Your Final Cut Right Next To The Trunk

*Important: Make sure you make the cut in the area called the branch bark bridge to allow for optimum healing after the pruning cut has been made

Conclusion

Proper tree pruning is not as easy as it may seem so if you have any concerns or questions, feel free to contact a licensed arborist. Liberty Tree Experts is Phoenix Metropolitan’s premier tree trimming company offering professional services for residential and commercial tree service customers.

16 Aug 2017
Palm Tree Trimming Costs - Small Medium & Large

How Much Does Palm Tree Trimming Cost?

Palm Tree Trimming Costs - Small Medium & Large

If you are searching for “How Much Does Palm Tree Trimming Cost?“, this post should help.

How Much Does Palm Tree Trimming Cost?

The health, shape and size of the palm tree all have an impact on how much they cost to trim. Trees that are well managed and trimmed on a regular basis will cost less than a palm tree that never gets trimmed.

Small Palm Tree Trimming Cost

Small palm trees that are 30′ or shorter cost $75 to $400.

Medium Palm Tree Trimming Cost

Palm trees that are between 31′ to 59′ cost $130 to $800

Large Palm Tree Trimming Cost

Large palm trees that are 60′ or larger cost $200 to $1,200

Receive A Free Palm Tree Trimming Cost Quote

If you would like to receive a free palm tree trimming cost quote anywhere in the Phoenix Valley, Liberty Tree Experts can help! We offer affordable palm tree trimming services in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Glendale an more. Remove those sick or dead palm trees from your residential yard or commercial property.

06 Apr 2017
How To Choose A Tree Service

How To Choose a Tree Service

Being in this business for more than eight years, I have some of an insider’s perspective of the tree care industry. Besides our own little tree business being a success, we have been a climber for around twenty different companies. There are some that have said “we bounce.” We are sort of mercenary tree guys. I have had a great opportunity to travel and have gained my experience in climbing while in Arizona, Hawaii, and California. While Arizona has many huge trees, Hawaii and California have a lot more of them.

The following are some thoughts about choosing a tree company:

However, I would first like to clear-up the myth regarding ‘Certified Arborist’. I am also a Certified Arborist, and I take a bit of pride in that. However, it doesn’t mean much when it is merely a code word for a ‘salesman’. The lion has his share of tree work, which is accomplished without anyone being a Certified Arborist. Somebody may argue that the person with the clipboard, in this case, “the arborist,” who has had some training regarding the “non-arborist,” which is allowing them to produce a better product. However, this is not usually the case, and what’s more, difficult to verify. Furthermore, they may not have ever had any training. Of course, the end result is beneficial to having a Certified Arborist around during the time the job is being performed. Whether or not a company has a Certified Arborist does not matter if they are not made available to the customers.

The main point here is on whether or not a salesman (arborist) can speak in the same language as the non-arborist does. In some instances, the language barrier among the English and Spanish speaking is very devastating.

I can speak Spanish, but it is still difficult for me to communicate the technical details which are critical for safe tree work. I am on the side of the workers who speak Spanish on this issue for they would be the ones to get hurt when their training is not up to par. There should also be English speaking workers.

Picking up a phone book and deciding on calling a tree service just because they have an advertisement that is large and colorful could have hidden risks involved. In fact, most companies with strong ethics and good customer satisfaction will hardly ever advertise. This does not mean to rule out the larger ads, just to be certain they include more significant criteria that is used in which one tree service you decide on. The Better Business Bureau has been traditionally known as a resource for customers to find out if a business has a good or bad reputation, in fact, there is one member of the tree service that I am aware of that has shown up at the Better Business Bureau to have had 39 complaints in only the last 36 months. Now that is a lot of service calls, however, our company shows “0 complaints.”

Of course, there are many other companies that also have an excellent track record. At this time, the best available resource for consumers is Angieslist.com and Yelp. I also think that it is currently or temporarily free for you to join. They provide a ton of information regarding local services and service providers, which range from roofers to computer repair and tree services. Anyone that is lacking in ethics will not be able to outwit Yelp or Angieslist.com easily, and they are able to catch anyone who tries and make you pay dearly.

Here is where I am to take the time to cover hard sells

Everyone feels that car salesmen can be pushy. Should you invite someone into your home and they begin pressuring you to make a decision now, to sign now, and “we are only able to do this for you if it happens now,” this gives you the moral obligation to show them to your front door. In other words, never support a business which is only concerned is with their best interest. Do not rush when choosing a salesman (arborist), and when you find one that is concerned with your interests, never let’em go.

By listing the following steps, I will be recapping this essay:

  1. The estimates that you get need to be from the International Society of Arboriculture for an certified Arborist.
  2. Make certain that a Certified Arborist has been the one who has trained the one’s to perform work or you.
  3. Be certain that the Certified Arborist is able to communicate efficiently with the other workers.
  4. Take time to search with Angieslist.com, arizonabbb.org, and Yelp.

This type of research should not have to be performed often. Once you locate a company that you like, hang on to them.

Liberty Tree Care Offers tree services in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you are searching for tree service in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree service quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.

06 Apr 2017
Why Topping Trees Hurts

WHY TOPPING HURTS TREES

When it comes to trees, topping is considered the worst thing to do. While in Hawaii, companies that would top trees would have customers asking if the tree topping was necessary and if it had to be so drastic. Because of no longer working for this particular company, I have the ability of being more honest and less evasive by saying, no. While topping the beautiful trees, it never felt comfortable, because it was causing a bunch of irreparable damages.

The truth is, there is rarely a situation that requires a tree topping. For instance, one of the exceptions is when the tree has naturally died, such as with frost damages which is more common with ficus trees. There are many who are simply scared of the large growth of their trees, requesting them to be topped.

Living within shadows of a giant tree can be intimidating for some. However, trees that have been topped are the most dangerous trees. This is because topping a tree, suckers growing from the ends of a cut will grow quickly. Typically, a topped tree will recover its height in less than 5 years from the tree topping. Generally, faster growth means weaker growth, while the opposite is true too. Suckers that grow frantically, are much weaker.

There are other factors contributing to the tendency of a sucker shedding, such as new growth only being able to attach to the outer section of a branch. Therefore, normal branches have formed a type of root within the trunk.

The larger the branch and trunk, the larger this attachment will be. When suckers begin forming on the outer part of a trunk, it results in a poor attachment, increasing the risk of failure. Storm damage and a trees capacity to withstand it is one of the most over-estimated factors.

There have been situations where an 80-foot high Eucalyptus tree has directly fallen on a house, but caused no structural damages. Although, I have witnessed properly thinned trees never falling over. The tree height, in my opinion, is a small factor associated with the tendency of trees falling over during a micro burst. Usually, it is thicker, overgrown trees that create more surface area and fall over.

What can be done if a tree was already topped?

The term “Crown Restoration” should be an area a professional arborist should be familiar with in the tree industry. Once a tree has been topped, an arborist with experience can try to elevate or repair damages. Generally, after topping, between 5 to 8 suckers try to become the dominant sucker at the top of a tree topping. Certain trees will attempt to self-heal by causing weaker suckers to fall, leaving only the strongest. However, there are safer ways to go about it.

The full process for repairing topped trees can take between 3 to 5 years. It requires a selective thinning of the growing suckers. For instance, the first year two suckers are removed. Year two, remove another two suckers, etc.

When finished, a repaired tree will have a single sucker with a thicker trunk. With time, a stronger attachment will develop between trunk and sucker. The number of pruning’s required to reach the final result will depend on different factors.

Additionally, around the time the crown restoration feels like it is finished, the height may need to be reduced using proper cutting reduction. Therefore, you should not allow anyone to conduct a tree topping on your trees. It is necessary as a consumer to understand the appearance of a nice cut, allowing you to make an informed decision about who you have working on your trees. There are numerous companies advertising ‘Tree topping’ services, you should be cautious when seeing this.

Liberty Tree Care Offers Tree Trimming in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you are searching for tree trimming in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree trimming quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.

06 Apr 2017

How To Show Your Trees You Love Them

This happens to be an article that will outline some of the best ways that you can keep your trees growing, happy and healthy.

The first thing that needs to be understood is just how much water will be needed. To make it simpler let’s classify the trees into two categories: desert trees and everything else. In low desert environments, a desert tree like the Palo Verde or Mesquite will not really need additional water other than natural rainfall. When you first plant a desert tree, it is helpful to supplement the natural rainfall with irrigation for the first summer, as this helps them to recover from shock when being planted outside of the container. Beware of planting any desert trees into maintained, lush lawns as extremely chaotic and rapid growth can happen. I have had a client who had to have Mesquite trees trimmed 3 times a year because they were planted in her lawn area, which gets frequent shallow watering. Mesquites that are planted in a lawn area will be some of the fastest growing trees, but the rapid growth is brushy and weak.

For everything else that is not a desert tree, there will be a simple formula when it comes to planting an established tree: simply water them 2 to 3 times per month during the summer and 1 time during winter. If you will keep an eye on the tree, then you happen to notice wilted leaves then it is past time to water. Once or twice a month doesn’t really seem to be enough. It is as long as the trees are getting plenty of water each time. A really great way to water a tree is to turn your water hose on the lowest setting on an uphill part and walk away for about 4 to 6 hours. It will give enough water to soak into the ground around the tree for about 3 feet deep. This is vital as it helps to flush salts and other types of chemicals that can make poor soil, below the root level where the absorption happens. Deep watering also helps to encourage the roots to grow deeper. Roots will not grow there is barely any water, there will not be anything for them. The worth thing for a tree is daily, shallow watering like what happens to an average lawn. A tree that grows in a lawn that has constant access to shallow water is very likely to blow over during a storm because the roots are not deep enough to deal with heavy winds. Basically, the tree roots are like ropes that will anchor the heavy trunk and the canopy.

The next thing that you need to worry about is the quality of soil. There’s a myth that states that soil quality has to make up of the soil. For some cases this could be true, but just like with any case dealing with sandy soils it will not hold water. In most cases, all soil issues can be fixed with adding a magic ingredient. That is organic matter. Whenever a person takes a handful of black, rich soil and say, “this is the soil from the Gods” or something like that, what they are saying is that the dirt has a lot of decayed organic matter that will allow plants to grow really well. Good soil just doesn’t happen on accident. It is created through the constant addition of water which causes growth of microbes and the addition to organic materials which is a natural byproduct of decaying plant matter. So, if you happen to have bad soil, then you can fix it by adding some mulch and water. Another alternative or supplement to adding mulch is to plant some nitrogen fixing plants like clover, legumes or buckwheat. These are some magic bean type of plants that can absorb nitrogen from the air. Whenever they die, they are releasing nitrogen into the soil. A cheap source of organic material is that the wood chips from the tree services. Be prepared because if a tree service brings you a load of wood chips, it could be more than you expected or more than you can handle. You will need to spend Saturday hauling them into your backyard. It isn’t needed or advised to work the wood chips into the soil. Just adding 4 to 6 inches of wood chips is a great way to do it. Adding a surface layer of wood chips will be able to retain water. It is estimated that mulched trees will use less water than those trees that have their soil exposed to the air. It is amazing that when you dig under the mulch and find worms and water and even decaying matter, if the tree hasn’t been watered in a month with the Arizona heat blazing. You can be surprised at just how quickly that the mulch will disappear. There is an unproven theory that states worm castings that cover the chips are what will cause the wood chips to disappear and be added into the soil below. Whatever the reason is, you will need to reapply the wood chips yearly to get the best results.

If you can’t leave a lot of mulch on the ground, then the next best thing is to use fertilizer. There is a lot of hype about how awesome deep root fertilization is, but it doesn’t mean that shallow fertilization isn’t as effective. If the fertilizer is water soluble, which more are, then the fertilizer is carried to the roots through the water. It just makes sense that the fertilizer will dissolve in the water and then make its way to the roots. Deep root feeders are just a way to make fertilization cost effective as more trees can be fed this way instead of spreading fertilizer above ground.

The big debate of inorganic versus organic is a pretty tiring one and it is easy to admit that most people don’t feel strongly about it either way, especially when it comes to shade trees that are not producing edible fruit. Instinctually stating that organic is better and less harsh than something that comes from a pit mine, is true. Organic fertilizer has more of a variety of micronutrients and will tend to have a slow release when compared to the synthetic fertilizers which are easily available and rapidly washed out of the soil. Organic fertilizers are often what a person wants. There are not a lot of people out there that will ask for inorganic fertilizers where many people want organic and that is what they get.

The very last thing to say is that you need to keep an eye on your trees. Often times I will be asked to consult on trees that are really declining, but the change happened so slowly that the homeowner did not even notice it. A casual glace at it once a month or so can help to solve some of the issues before they get too serious. If you are noticing a lot of dead branches or notice that the leaves are turning yellow, it could be a sign that your tree needs to be fertilized or it is time to change your watering schedule.

Good Luck nursing your trees in growth.

Liberty Tree Care Offers Tree Services in Scottsdale, Mesa & Tempe

If you are searching for tree service in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree service quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.

06 Apr 2017

Fast Growing Trees of Arizona

The French author of ‘The Little Prince’ Antoine St. Exupery, notes: “It is too much to expect to sit in a shade of an oak this evening when you only planted the acorn this morning.”

As the manager of an Arizona tree company over the last several years, just the idea of a tree that grows rapidly gives off a little bit of a negative picture. Born and raised up in the Tempe/Mesa area, where my paternal family are natives of Arizona going back several generations. In learning more of the urban sprawl which has characterized this general area, and also by personally witnessing all of it during my lifetime still leaves my mouth with a bad taste. With that said, if I were asked which of the palm trees grows most rapidly, the first thing that would come to mind would if their main intention is in quickly boosting the value of their property. It’s natural that a landscaped yard that includes full grown trees is going to increase the value of one’s property. It seems that people never live in the same place as long as they once did, which makes it difficult to believe they ever devoted much time (if any) into the trees they had in their yard, not even to benefit from a future buyer. Now a day’s, it seems that having a “Heritage Tree” is now only a myth.

However, planting trees that will grow rapidly is not just motivated by the property’s value, it can also be for the gift of shade. It was Warren Buffet that once noted, “It has been noted by Warren Buffet that, “Today, someone was able to be under a shade due to another planting a tree in their past.” It is only natural that one would want to have a little shade when they live where there is only the climate a desert gives to you. It is also natural that they would want this shade as quickly as possible. As far as growth rate goes, there was this article about the ‘Arbor Day Foundation’ website which stated, “Species that tend to grow the slowest, also tend to live the longest.” There seems to be some sort of natural compromise in this saying. Below, there are several trees listed that were taken from the Houston Chronicle’s published article which the author warns people that, “It is crucial to gather as much information on the tree you are planning on planting beforehand, as many of these types of palms that are fast growers are later on going to be trouble later on. The wood could be weak, making them prone to getting diseases and infested with insects. However, there are a few exceptions, so be sure to gather all the information available before you plant.”

Below is a list of fast growing trees, with the first couple listed being the most appropriate for the Phoenix, Arizona’s climate and the areas soil conditions.

The following are examples for the trees which are known to be fast growers:

  • The varieties of Palo Verde, the (genus: Cercidium), the variety that is one off the faster to grow is the Sonoran Palo Verde, and also the Hybrid Palo Verde’s, like the desert museum or the Sonoran Emerald Palo Verde.
  • The different varieties of the Mesquite: With the one to grow the fastest being the Argentine Mesquite (Prosopis Alba).
  • The Desert Willow (Chilopsis Linearis).
  • The Chinese Elm (Ulmus Parvifolia).
  • The Drummond red maple (Acer Rubrum Drummondii).
  • The Montezuma cypress (Taxodium Mucronatum).
  • The Green ash (Fraxinus Pennsylvanica).
  • The Arizona ash (Fraxinus Velutina).
  • The Mexican sycamore (Platanus Mexicana).
  • The Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia Glyptostroboides).
  • The Monterrey oak (Quercus Polymorpha).
  • The Chinese Parasol tree (Firmiana Simplex).
  • The Paulownia varieties, which includes the Paulownia Tomentosa, Paulownia Kawakamii, etc., Other examples of the common names are: The Chinese Empress tree, Japanese Pagoda tree, Sapphire Dragon tree, and Miracle tree; all grow fast.
  • The Cherry Laurel (Prunus Caroliniana).

Alternatively, several examples of the slower growing trees grown around the Phoenix, Arizona area are as follows: The Live Oak, Mangosteen, Desert Ironwood, and the Chinese Pistache. In fact, there are many more, with all of them having their advantages and disadvantages, it all depends on what it is you have planned for your yard. I do hope that this article on Arizona’s fastest growing trees has been beneficial to you in one way or another. If you received nothing out of this article, at least hope that you now understand how important it is to research before buying a planting your new trees. It’s always best to know a head of time what it is your looking for and what your expecting from it, in order to be successful. Now that it has all been summed up, I will end with an old Chinese proverb: “The best time to have planted a tree would have been about twenty years before now. However, your second-best time would be now.”

Liberty Tree Care Offers Tree Services in Scottsdale, Mesa & Tempe

If you are searching for tree service in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree service quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.

06 Apr 2017

When & How to Trim Citrus Trees in Arizona

 was taught the Five C’s of Arizona when attending Elementary school in Tempe, AZ. These were: Cattle, Copper, Citrus, Climate, and Cotton. This article focuses on the fourth factor in the list, climate. While the climate in Arizona is great for citrus tree growing, not everyone understands how to properly care for these trees. One of the largest and most common mistakes made, is knowing when and how to prune a citrus tree. While many stress over ‘when’ to prune a citrus tree, this is not the most significant question. There are some citrus trees that may never need trimmed. The real question may be ‘why should citrus trees not be trimmed?”

Why Citrus Trees Should NOT Be Trimmed

A garden expert with The Arizona Republic was asked by a Valley resident at what time her citrus trees should be trimmed, part of the response included “Homeowners often trim for appearance, but do not realize citrus trees are actually a bush with naturally low growing branches. This is the natural method for protecting bark and fruit…”.

People that drive by the old groves in East Mesa may see old citrus trees and consider them to be overgrown shrubs. It is a common misconception that trimming citrus trees is the same as another tree type, and can cause a shorter citrus tree lifespan in Phoenix.

For this reason, I prefer readers to begin asking ‘why’. What is the reason for trimming the citrus tree? This should be asked prior to ‘when’ citrus trees should be pruned. The overall health of the citrus tree should be considered whether the goal is fruit production optimizing, or just making it appealing to the landscape.

How to Trim a Citrus Tree

When trimming/pruning citrus trees, even at the optimal periods, it should be minimal. It was stated by ‘The Garden Guy’, Dave Owens that “Citrus trees prefer to grow naturally without trimming. The more deadwood and foliage, the better protection from the sun.”

Also, John Begeman, also an Arizona garden expert indicated “The more leaves a citrus tree has, the more fruit and better taste.” In addition, he recommended only pruning “If you must, and only with correct technique”.

A 1987 article from Lowell F. True outlined that while some trimming could be required, but the best approach is to leave low hanging branches, referred to as a ‘skirt’. If trimmed, it should only be enough to provide easier fertilizing and watering. Trimming of errant branches can be done, especially when rubbing against other branches. Meanwhile, the tree’s silhouette created by outer foliage can be ‘shaped’ for appearances, but proper techniques and care should be taken to avoid allowing too much bark to be exposed to sunlight.

There is a single pruning technique that should be used, no matter the time of year, even more important if citrus trees are maintained for fruit. This technique is known as removal of sucker growth. Also referred to as ‘water sprouts’, these suckers sprout out the tree trunk and sometimes the roots. While a layman might find it necessary from desire or intuition towards making the citrus tree more appealing, there are good reasons behind this. It was said by True to “Ensure all suckers are eliminated when developing under the bud union (site of grafting). These are rootstock variety which do not bear an edible fruit. If allowed to develop, suckers take control it will cause your edible fruit to revert into an undesired variety.”

A significant ‘when’ associated with pruning includes limbs which were killed by frost. These should not be removed until after the spring growth has begun, this way you’re sure how bad damage is.

When to Trim Citrus Trees in Arizona

Spring is the optimal time for trimming citrus trees. If they are trimmed between the middle of March to early May, it reduces the risk of the tree being damaged by extreme temperatures. The citrus fruit is ripened during late fall, with most varieties coming in between November to February. It is acceptable to do minimal pruning through this period.

During summer there is risk of heat damage, while winter can cause danger from frost. Citrus trees a very sensitive when it comes to sun damage, especially in the hottest months and days in Arizona heat. If your citrus tree is not properly shaded through the afternoon, any bare branches or trunks will need wrapping or painted (aka. Whitewashed) to add protection from the sun. The areas exposed to direct sunlight in the afternoon are the most vulnerable, these will be on the Southwestern sides. This is the reason over pruning your citrus trees should be avoided. Any branches in direct sun will be burnt, while direct sunlight exposure to the trunk can fully kill the tree.

These are the reasons I emphasize the importance of knowing how and why to trim citrus trees, instead of when you should trim citrus trees. The key factor for when to trim, is the sunlight. The key factor for how to trim a citrus tree is keep it minimal. After all, they are all simply large bushes.

Liberty Tree Care Offers Tree Trimming in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you are searching for tree trimming in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree trimming quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.

06 Apr 2017

Preparing Arizona Trees For Monsoon Storms

Being an Arizona desert native, one familiar end of summer event is monsoon season. Usually, this season wills pan between mid-June throughout September. The monsoon storms exchange dry heat for high humidity, and they also create a large thunder and lightning display which may find spectacular. However, the downside to these storms are the number of trees that are badly damaged, at times causing property damages as well.

Monsoon is a term which originated from “mausim”, an Arabic word translating into “wind shift” or “season”. The meteorological events are literally a directional shift in the wind that causes the storms. Throughout winter in Arizona, wind direction blows in from Nevada and California. However, throughout summer, direction shifts, and wind comes from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, which changes the dry heat out for plenty of moisture. Monsoon season provides Arizona with up to a third of the annual rainfall.

This shift in wind not only creates the three-month season of rain, it can cause violent thunderstorms, dust storms, and in some rare cases tornadoes. The “downbursts” are particularly damaging, which are powerful vortex rings that are characterized as a circle of air rotating vertically. At the downburst base there are outward bursts of heavy wind, close to the ground. Based on the overall duration and size, downbursts may be referred to as a “microburst” or “microburst”.

If you are looking for more detailed information regarding Arizona monsoon storms, it is recommended that you read the ASU School of Geographical Science’s article “Basics of the Arizona Monsoon & Desert Meteorology”.

In Arizona, the majority of storm damages that occur to trees happen from monsoon storms and their powerful winds. In addition, when it rains heavily prior to heavy winds, trees can become more vulnerable due to soil being extremely saturated. This causes the tree, even with strong roots, to have a weaker hold. In situations such as this, a large portion of a tree’s root system can be exposed if a tree falls. The truth is, even our best efforts is not always enough to prepare trees for withstanding the strong winds of a powerful monsoon storm. Although, there are many preparations that can be taken, and should for greatly reducing potential damage to trees during monsoon storms. The most important is to ensure your trees are not ignored or neglected. You should check on them on occasion!

It was stated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security branch that: “Three-fourths of tree damages occurring during storms can be predicted and prevented.”

Tree Vulnerabilities

Below is a list of defects that you can look for which cause trees to be more vulnerable to wind and various other weather severities:

Cracking – This is a direct indicator there is a high risk of branch failure occurring sooner than later.

Dead wood – Due to bring brittle, it is unable to withstand pressures compared to a living tree and becomes unpredictable.

Poor branch structure – This can be a challenging aspect to identify, even for a layman. Signs can include long horizontal limbs, excessive leaning, narrow crotches (V-shapes rather than U-shapes), and branches that cross and rub each other creating wounds. In addition, trees with multiple trunks require special attention and maintained care. When there are two trunks (or leaders), with the same diameter and they have a narrow crotch, these are negative factors. To help prevent damage or splitting, you need to choose one main trunk to be dominant. The other trunk will need to have growth stunted by subordination (pruning).

Decay – This can be caught by hallow cavities or fungal growth. These are clear signs of weakness.

Root Issues – These problems can be a bit tougher to spot, such as stem-girdling roots, but they have the highest impact towards the three’s inability to withstand weather conditions, even stand straight. Remember, the tree’s root system is what anchors it down. If a mature tree’s root system is significantly cut, crushed or damaged, or root-bound within the original box it was in from the nursery prior to planting, you might want to consider having the tree removed prior to it being damaged and/or removed by mother nature first, with no warning. A tree with a thick canopy and weak root system make for the deadliest combination when it comes to storms.

Pests – There are many pests that can weaken a tree, like the palo verde borer. These pests are able to exacerbate the health issues of a tree. However, they tend to target tree’s which are already weak and/or sick.

Viewing sky through canopy – One of the more important factors to maintaining a “stormproof” tree, is keeping it thinned. Basically, the thicker the tree, the heavier and more vulnerable it will be to heavy storm winds. This includes trees which are otherwise healthy as can be. Foliage that is overly dense creates potential safety hazards during strong windy weather. Not only is it heavier, a thick, dense canopy does not allow wind to travel through easily, creating resistance that can result in breaking branches, or being uprooted and falling over. The extra weight on branches only increase this possibility, which is the reason thinning is needed. You need to do more than clip the lower hanging branches, which can also cause a lion tail appearance.

For additional details and information regarding storm damages, check out the article “Causes and ‘Cures’ for Tree Storm Damages” by Steven Nix.

When using a Certified Arborist, you will get the best care for your trees. These are professionals that were certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). These experts have the required experience for recognizing potential hazardous defects quickly, prior to developing into major teaches for your trees. If these things are not taken care of, it can result in splitting, branch failure, even full loss of the tree. Remember, the care of your trees is not only the responsibility of the arborist, but yours. There are many things you’re able to handle.

Below are some basic tips that can help you avoid damage from storms:

  • Fertilize, mulch and water trees properly and regularly to prevent soil compacting.
  • When planting new trees, remember their size at maturity. Avoid planting trees too close to wires, buildings or other objects, on steep banks or ins hallow soil. Certain types of trees will be more brittle and susceptible to breakage. Prior to planting, research the tree and avoid issues later.
  • Prune regularly. This is important, depending on the type of tree you have this could be needed annually, bi-annually or every three years. Trees may need pruning when young too. It is best to have a professional trim your trees to ensure proper structure and avoid issues.
  • Avoid messing with soil around the roots. If excavation around roots is necessary, ensure to minimize cutting of roots or impairing them.
  • Avoid topping trees. Although common, this practice should be avoided as it guarantees the branches will eventually fail.

Although storm intensity varies each monsoon season, Arizona residents can anticipate the arrival ahead of time to ensure protection is maximized. You should never wait until monsoon season is here to begin properly preparing trees for safety of your property, and family. You should always use proactive tree care practices, because money towards maintenance now can be much cheaper compared to unexpected damages from a falling tree. If the tree lands on buildings, fences, or cars the repair costs are even higher! Remember, paying for an ounce of prevention care is worth more than a pound of the cure. Typically, after trees have become damaged there is little that can be done to correct it.

A website of specialists in nova Scotia states: “When a tree is removed, it takes many years for regrowth. So many years, we may not see the tree mature during our life. Trees are our future investment.”

SOURCES: Eastwood, Steve. “Monsoon in Phoenix: What is the Arizona Monsoon?” http://www.About.com

Arizona State University: School of Geographical Sciences. “Basics of the Arizona Monsoon & Desert Meteorology”

“Prepare your Trees for Winter.” Seattle Department of Transportation: City Arborist’s Office: Urban Forestry

Nix, Steve. “Causes and “cures” for Tree Storm Damage.” http://www.About.com

“Simple Tips to Reduce High Wind, Tornado Damage.” www.FEMA.gov

“Storm-Proofing Trees.” Arbor Plant Health Care: Tree Pruning and Preservation Specialists.

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06 Apr 2017
Arizona Ash Tree

Arizona Ash Trees

The Arizona Ash tree, also known as Fraxinus velutina is a popular choice in the area because they can adapt well with the hot sunny environment. Because of this, there are a wide variety of ash trees commonly found throughout Arizona. There are more than 65 ash tree species, which can be found on Wikipedia listed in accordance with the region they are located. However, not all woody plants containing ‘ash’ are an actual ash tree, for example the prickly ash and mountain ash are not from genus Fraxinus (meaning, not a real ash tree).

Types Of Arizona Ash Trees

The following lists just some varieties of ash trees found in Arizona:

  • Chichuahua ash – Fraxinus papillosa
  • Goodding ash – Fraxinus gooddingii
  • Fragrant ash – Fraxinus cuspidate
  • Singleleaf ash – Fraxinus anomala
  • Littleleaf ash – Fraxinus greggii
  • Arizona ash – Fraxinus vulutina (also referred to as ‘modesto ash’ and ‘velvet ash’.
  • Shamel as – Fraxinus uhdei (also referred to as ‘tropical ash’)
  • Fantex ash –  Fraxinus velutina (also referred to as ‘Rio Grande ash’)
  • Green ash – Fraxinus pennsylvanica (also referred to as ‘water ash’ or ‘swamp ash’)
  • Raywood ash – Fraxinus oxycarpa

There are various positive features about the Arizona ash tree, but all things have a downside. The ash tree was labeled by Horticulturist Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D. as being ‘trash trees’ due to them being partly messy and only having a lifespan up to 30 years.

The Arizona ash tree sheds leaves after the growing season is over, making them deciduous. Of course, many tree varieties are considered to be a messy tree, but the positive side is that the majority of ash trees only shed leaves for a couple weeks. Additionally, the majority of ash tree varieties will produce seedlings one time per year (in large amounts), or throughout the year. This all depends on the gender of the tree, and which species it is. When it comes to having an ash tree, and you want your landscape looking clean you will need to rake on occasion.

Most ash trees grow very quickly, which is great for adding shade. However, this also has its downsides. The quicker trees grow, the more likely they are to have surface roots. Ash tree roots commonly grow near the surface anyway, but are more tolerant against rocky soil and alkaline. Watson and Gilman described green ash trees in a Fact Sheet, reporting the surface roots may “lift sidewalks, curbs, and be a nuisance when mowing”. Meanwhile, Finch quickly indicated the quick growth creates another downside, common with ash trees, “Unless they are pruned regularly, they can quickly grow into a tangled mess causing branch dieback.” You should prepare to have ash trees trimmed every few years, which promotes healthy canopy and branch structure growth.

If ash trees are not trimmed, it can lead to branches being weak and breaking when multiple trunks gather too close. This creates a hazard from structural failure. The best approach is to establish a single ‘central trunk’ during the tree’s youth. Prior to planting your new ash tree, you want to ensure the yard will be large enough to old it as well. Depending on the variety of ash tree, they can range from 40ft to 50ft when mature, with some reaching over 80ft high. All ash trees will provide a round, full canopy with great shade.

Similar to other plants, Arizona ash trees are also vulnerable to different types of disease and pests. These include different fungal infections, mildews, rust disease, leaf scorch, and many types of pests from carpenter worms and webworms to mites and borers. The Verticillium wilt is especially harmful as it is soil-borne fungus. There are regions around the country, especially in the Midwest, where thousands of ash trees have been killed off by emerald ash borer’s. However, Arizona ash trees have been lucky enough to evade this issue, so far. You can learn more regarding the emerald ash borer at Emerald Ash Borer. When trees have poor environmental conditions, it increases their vulnerability to these type of issues, making it important to maintain the tree’s defense with proper fertilizing and watering.

With your efforts of maintaining Arizona ash trees, it is encouraged that you research the species available, because each one has their own range of unique qualities. Dennis G. Watson and Edward F. Gilman have created a tree fact series including hundreds of tree and shrub species, both being University of Florida professors. This would be a great resource to learn the basic information on certain trees you’re interested in. They are partly provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forest Service.

If well maintained, ash trees are beautiful and lush. However, when ash trees are not properly cared for they can become a nasty sight, and increases the risk of tree disease and pests. Although there are ash tree varieties which are rather resistant to drought, the majority of them will require regular watering. The best setting would be flood irrigation systems. Therefore, if your landscape is not irrigated, you should use a garden hose to mimic this, and do a deep watering one or twice monthly.

If you are located within Arizona and you desire to have a healthy and great looking ash tree in your yard, you should prepare yourself for the increased water bill each month. You’ll also want to remember to regularly fertilize the ash tree(s), placing mulch down will also help. By applying mulch, you will increase the quality of the soil, as the organic matter will break down over time. However, mulch also assists with retaining the moisture, meaning watering less often.

Although Arizona ash trees are not the simplest tree varieties to care for, they can be well worth the extra work. When properly taken care of, ash trees will provide amazing shade, and enhance the overall landscape.

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06 Apr 2017
Mesquite Tree

Mesquite Trees In Arizona

Mesquite trees are a part of Arizona. Jay Sharp who is the editor and author for DesertUSA.com has stated that mesquite trees symbolize the Southwestern deserts just as much as scorpions, prickly pear cacti, the Saguaro, Western Diamondback, the Black tailed Jackrabbit and the Coyote do. It is true that the mesquite trees in Arizona are a part of life there just like tortillas and cornbread.

Perfectly Adapted to the Desert

Mesquite trees are a hardy desert tree that has adapted over centuries to live in desert landscapes around and in Arizona. The physical characteristics of these trees help to ensure survival which include the bean pods, root systems and foliage. They happen to grow well in high temperatures and full sun, but they do not tolerate the cold during the winter. They are often found within high elevation areas and can adapt to rocky, shallow soils. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forest Service has stated that mesquite trees can live for more than two centuries.

The mesquite trees that are in Arizona are able to survive where there will be hardly any type of rain due to their unique root system. The Mesquite tree’s lateral roots that is has can reach out much further than the canopy ever will. Not to mention they happen to have tap roots that go very deep to get water  well beyond 150 feet down, however 50 feet down is more typical. So, the mesquite tree will have access to water both at the bottom and top layers of soil.

The leaflets of the mesquite tree are tiny and waxy and they can retain moisture by minimizing the moisture that is lost through transpiration. The mesquite tree is deciduous which means that they give great shade during summer but will drop leaves and allow the sun to shine on it during the winter to keep warm. During times of extreme drought, they will lessen transpiration even more by prematurely dropping their leaves.

Mesquite trees are considered to be of the legume family which means that it is adapted to arid environments. They also have the ability to fertilize themselves and the surrounding plants using a symbiotic relationship with the soil bacteria colonies. The bacteria that will inhabit the roots of the mesquite tree will fix or convert atmospheric nitrogen which makes it available within the soil. It is a mineral that is essential for the germination and growth of plants. Most gardeners will use the same type of process to enrich their soil by actually using cover crops that are nitrogen fixing.

The mesquite trees that are within Arizona are very prolific. The beans from the tree are very durable when encased within their pods. If a seed has been undisturbed then it can be viable up to about 40 years. Animals will play a big part in the scarification of the seeds which is actually need for germination and the dispersal through their fecal matter.

The Appearance

A mesquite tree is really easy to idenfity, as they look like giant fern bushes. They are able to reach up to 30 feet tall, but the average tree that is growing in the wild are going to be half that size. Most will have multiple trunks and under the harshest conditions, the mesquite tree will look more like a bush than a tree. The branch structure will be jointed and twisted which adds to their uniqueness. During the early summer and spring, they will have finger shaped items that are covered in tiny little flowers. They happen before the formation of the bean pods which are a brown color, but it can vary based on the species. Most mesquite trees will have thorns which can be very long or short and very sharp.

The Arizona Mesquite Tree Natives and their Cousins

There are around 40 different mesquite varieties that are found all over the globe, but there are only 3 species that are native to Arizona. They not only grow in the Mojave Desert, but also in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts. The range of these trees is amazing as they span from California to western Texas, from southern Utah to Mexica. They are able to survive in a variety of areas that are found within this area.

The 3 mesquite tree species for Arizona are:

  • Prosopis pubescens: These are called screwbean mesquites which earned its name from the coiled or spiraled shape of the seed pods.
  • Prosopis glandulosa: Is called the Texas Mesquite or honey Mesquite. They are normally have a weeping form and is very pretty.
  • Prosopis velutina: Is called the native mesquite or Arizona mesquite. It is also called the velvet mesquite because of the soft hairs that cover the young. They are shaggy and snarled and are very popular in nurseries and will grow well on golf courses and lawns.

Besides these mesquite trees, there are a lot of other types of mesquite trees that happen to grow within Arizona. There are hybrids of Screwbean, honey and velvet mesquite, which happen mostly where the species happen to overlap. There are other nonnative species which originate from South America. There is the Chilean mesquite and Argentine mesquite as well as other hybrids and varieties. The nonnative species will be suited to the climate that is here just like the ones that are native to Arizona. For instance, the Chilean mesquite isn’t as tolerant of winter temperatures in Arizona.

Despite all of the positive qualities, mesquite trees are actually considered to be an invasive weed. In most countries outside of South and North American where they have been introduced, they are extremely invasive and a big issue especially in Australia.

Mesquite trees are also cursed by the inhabitants within the Arizona desert. Cattlemen especially hate them, but overgrazing by herds over the previous centuries have really made the problem that they complaint about, which is that the competition with the grass. In areas that are overgrazed, the cattle are not only threatening the population of natural grass that have often competed with mesquites for water, but it also helps the trees by eating as well as then dispersing mesquite seeds. All of the efforts that have been made to stop and control the mesquite tree have failed and it has been stated to be ineffective and impractical. Whether it be done by herbicide, physical removal, or fire, the costs and side effects to the environment by trying to control the population and spread has made it an issue without an easy solution.

Many arborists state that whether it is a welcomed thing or unwanted item, the mesquite tree belongs in the desert. They have evolved in the desert and they actually play a main role to the desert ecosystem.

Historical Significance and the modern uses

Over the centuries, there hasn’t been another plant that has played a vital role to the population within the southwestern United States than the mesquite tree. Mesquite trees that are all over the southwest have saved plenty of lives. The have provided nutrition for the men on the 1841 Texas Santa Fe Expedition as the beans from the mesquite tree were nutritious, sweet and protein rich.

Another type of food that will come from a mesquite tree within Arizona is honey. The swarms of bees that are attracted to the mesquite flower nectar will do more than just fill in as a role for pollinator. However, this doesn’t complete the list of foods that come from the mesquite tree. Even the sap has been used as black dye or sweet gum.

When the pods without or with the beans inside is called Pinole. It can be used as a flour or as a spice or condiment because of the sweetness. The flour is also considered to be quite healthy for those who are diabetic, as the flour is sweetened using fructose, which your body is able to process without having to use any insulin. That is just a single advantage that a mesquite tree has to offer.

There are also other parts of mesquite trees that have been used as a remedy for various illnesses by settlers and Indians in the frontier era. For instance, the mesquite tree was used to ease and heal colic, sore throat, ailing eyes, headaches, flesh wounds, dysentery, and diarrhea.

The pods, wood and bark of the mesquite trees are very popular to use for barbeques. The dry wood will burn slowly and hot with very little smoke. It has a very unique aroma. Some have insisted that burning the pods with the wood chips and charcoal can make the flavor much richer. Besides for cooking and for heat, the wood has also been used to construct Spanish missions, ranch fencing and houses, and colonial haciendas. The Native Americans have used the mesquite wood for arrowheads and spears, and the bark was used to make fabrics and baskets. The thorns from the tree were often used as a needle. Now the wood is valuable for sculptures making and furniture because of the gnarled patterns and dark colors.

The Arizona Mesquite trees are not only beneficial for humans but for wildlife as well. Animals will use the mesquite trees as food, shelter and habitat. During the fall and summer, the mesquite beans will make up about 80% of a coyote’s diet. The bean pods can even be used for fodder for livestock whenever the grass isn’t enough.

Maintenance, Treatments and Issues

Even though the mesquite tree doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, the ones that are growing around your home could use some extra care whenever there is a very hot summer or during extended droughts. Sun-scorch happens to be is one issue that could hurt a mesquite tree that has been planted within the landscape, however they aren’t as susceptible as a citrus tree. Deep watering every now and again and some occasional fertilization will help to make sure that the mesquite trees are around won’t decline in beauty of health.

During the times when there is plenty of rain, mesquite trees will not need any extra watering. However, when there is a drought, the leaves will become sparse and will allow more sun through the branches. This is caused by the need in cities to keep mesquites thinned out to survive heavy winds and storms, so that it won’t cause damage to structures and homes. If the bark is exposed to too much sun, sun-scorch can happen, especially in direct sunlight. Sun-scorch will cause permanent damage to the sapwood layer under the bark. The dead tissue and cracked bark can cause a secondary infection and infestations like sooty canker and bark beetles.

Sun-scorch can be prevented but it can’t be undone. Reflective paint when placed on vulnerable branches will help a mesquite from being sun damaged. The branches that are affected, need to be removed. The best way to prevent sun scorch is to encourage leaf growth to protect the tree during hot parts of the year by watering and fertilizing. If you give the tree ammonium sulfate once during spring, it helps. Unless it is fed by sprinklers or drippers, water the tree deeply every 2 months from early spring to fall. If monsoons bring plenty of water, then you will not need to deep water.

Mesquite trees that are planted in someone else’s property may not be as strong as the trees in the desert. Most likely they are nursery grown that was planted for use in landscaping and has spent time in a pot. The more time that the tree spends in a pot, the more likely it is to be root bound. Impaired root systems can make a tree struggle to receive what water they need to live, but also makes it prone to falling over because the anchoring isn’t very sturdy. You can try as hard as you want, but it is near impossible to make a wobbly tree anchor into the ground. Whenever you place stronger stakes and wires and putting the tree back in place when it falls, then you are just prolonging the inevitable. The absolute best thing that you can do for a severely unstable tree is to just remove it and then start all over using a healthy tree.

Check out this article that talks about wobbly mesquite trees to gather more information on how you can prevent it and even fix it: http://ag.arizona.edu/gardening/news/articles/17.29.html

If nothing else, we certainly do hope that this article about mesquite trees within Arizona can help to increase the appreciation for this wonderful native plant as a tree that certainly belongs in the desert that all Arizonan’s call home.

As J. Frank Dobie once stated, “Primroses burn their yellow fires, where grass and roadway meet; feathered and tasseled like a queen, is every old mesquite.”

Liberty Tree Care Offers Tree Services in Scottsdale, Mesa & Tempe

If you are searching for tree service in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree service quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.