Everyone loves having a palm tree in their yard, and in South Carolina there's none better than the palmetto, but no one seems to know how to trim them when they become covered in overgrowth. Not only is this unsightly, but it could wind up doing some significant amounts of harm to your trees. Thick patches of dead or overgrown palm fronds can leave a huge impact on the overall health of your plants, either from blocking the main parts of the trees from collecting sunlight to becoming too heavy and uprooting itself, to even creating the perfect conditions for birds, rodents, and other animals to begin nesting.
Obviously, these are all things that no homeowner wants to see. So how do you begin keeping your trees looking clean shaven and free from harm? The obvious answer is to hire a professional company, but not everyone will be able to afford professional arborist services. Also, not everyone who owns their home lives in it year round, making it difficult to schedule a landscaper or other tree care team to help them.
Some palm tree species are easier to trim than others, most notably by how tall or short that they happen to be. Some taller palm trees simply are not worth the risk of putting yourself in danger; these trees should certainly be handled by a professional, especially as they require specialized safety harnesses and cutting tools to help reduce the risk of injury, or worse.
A good rule of thumb is if you have a ladder that can safely get you to the top (and that means without standing on the top where it says to not stand), give it the old college try if you feel comfortable. Again, trimming palms is dangerous work, and it is not worth harming yourself trying to trim it. The good news is that most palm tree trimming tools have a way to extend the handle or even the blade, allowing you to control it from further below.
Simply steady the saw teeth in position, and slowly saw away at the overgrowth like you would any other limb. Be careful not to stand directly underneath, as dead palm tree fronds are surprisingly heavy. Keep going around until you remove all the dead pieces first, and only remove living fronds if it is necessary to do so. Trimming live growth off of a plant is similar to stabbing it; you are actively damaging the plant, and each time you trim is another area that the tree has to now heal.
Other palms that are closer to the ground, such as a palmetto palm, may be just as tricky to trim. All palm fronds have prickly ends for defense, and most contain some form of pollen or another allergen to further protect them from becoming eaten. You will definitely want to wear thick landscaping gloves, preferably hide or leather. Nylon or other fabrics can work as well, but they will not be any match for the sharp ends.
Next, carefully use your pruning tool of choice, be it a palm tree cutting tool as mentioned before or a pair of shears. Carefully cut away at the dead growth first, and then ensure that the live fronds are even.
Trimming palms are fairly easy; the hardest part is keeping yourself safe. Considering that the tallest species of palm trees can reach almost 200 feet, it is always best to hire a professional when it is apparent that you will not be able to reach the top. Finally, ensure that your trees are going to pose a fire hazard and keep them away from power lines and other obstacles.
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Many people know that tree and plant trimming is something that they should do, but more often than not they avoid this chore when they can. However, what they may not realize is that by ignoring the need to trim, they may be doing far more harm than good. Proper tree trimming is not just important, but necessary for a plant to grow healthier and stronger than it could on its own.
Trimming is more than just a hair cut for plants. While cosmetically these two actions seem similar, trimming goes beyond the superficial. Trimming is crucial to protecting plants from harsh weather, as well as ensuring that nutrients are properly distributed throughout the plant.
Trimming, believe it or not, does carry risks, and if not done properly, could leave your plants severely damaged, or worse. However, proper trimming will leave your plants with better air flow, as well as better protection against strong winds and storms.
What is the proper way to trim trees and other plants? First, begin by cutting away entire limbs that appear diseased or dead. These are often obvious with discolored, yellowed, or otherwise strange looking leaves and even bark. Branches that are already dead or on their way to dying are simply draining the healthy portions of the plants of nutrients.
The next stage is removing any branches that appear to be in immediate danger of obstacles or even the elements. The biggest concern of most homeowners is trees that are growing too close to power lines. Trees are obviously rooted to the ground, but touching power lines is almost guaranteed to kill them. Not only will the surge of electricity act like a lightning bolt, but trees easily catch fire from electrical hazards. If a tree is located next to power lines and your home, or a neighbor’s, it is a huge potential hazard that could set at least one home ablaze.
If you notice that certain trees seem to take the brunt of harsh weather, it would be best to start with them. By removing outlying branches, you can reduce the risk of them flying off in a storm, or even the tree becoming uprooted.
Once you are left with only healthy branches, it is time to focus on any wildly growing ones; ones that are nowhere near the rest of the plant, or those that just seem out of place. While mostly cosmetic, this does help the plant as a whole grow better, as well as look better.
It is recommended that you only remove a few branches at any one time. By cutting branches off, you are damaging the plant. While these will eventually recover and even grow back, it does put a lot of strain on the plant in the meantime. For most homeowners, time is typically on their side, and even if the trimming process takes a few weeks with a wait and see attitude, it will achieve better results and reduce the risk of killing the plant.
Have you taken a good look at your tree lately? Standing back to look at it, it may look fine, but what about up close? Are its leaves healthy and green? Do you notice any unusual growths, or weakness in your tree’s limbs? We know that keeping an eye out for symptoms of poor health in your tree can make all the difference in saving it from the cause of its health issues, but to do that you first need to know what to look for!
So, what can cause a tree to suffer bad health? The main culprits are drought, disease, and pests.
Drought According to the Arbor Day Foundation, drought is one of the most common and serious threats to a tree’s health, especially since drought can actually make your tree more vulnerable to pests and disease. Young trees, typically those under two years old, are especially susceptible to drought damage because their root system is still developing.
There are a few dehydration symptoms to watch out for, showing up mostly in your tree’s leaves. The foliage may appear to be wilted, yellowed, or turning brown at the outer edges. A tree that is experiencing drought stress might also grow fewer leaves than usual, be losing the leaves it has, or grow leaves that are smaller than normal.
Fortunately, drought has a simple solution, and if your tree hasn’t been suffering too long, it should be able to bounce back with proper watering. Don’t water too much—the soil should be damp rather than soggy—but make sure that the water is reaching the deeper roots by creating a small trench with your garden spade and using your finger to check that the soil a few inches deep is also getting water. In addition to watering, you can help your tree stay hydrated by applying an even layer of mulch to keep the moisture from evaporating, giving your tree plenty of time to soak it all up.
Diseases and Pests The diseases that can affect your tree will vary based on the species of tree as well as the region where it is planted. Look for symptoms such as discolored spots on the leaves, browned or blackened foliage and ends of limbs hanging down, white and powdery mildew coating the leaves, or cankers (isolated dead areas on limbs or trunk).
Insect infestations are likewise dependent on the type of tree and the area, but symptoms can be different. With a pest problem, you might see galls (unsightly, swollen growths on leaves or limbs), large holes in leaves or flower petals where insects have eaten through them, thinning crowns, and holes in the trunk where they’ve dug in or out.
Some insect pests can completely kill a tree within 2-4 years of the initial infestation, so it’s important to watch for these signs and act fast. However, it’s also vital that you don’t get carried away with fungicides and pesticides that might cause damage to your tree. It’s best to seek help from a certified arborist that can identify exactly what’s causing the problem and the best way to solve it.
With these resources, you can hopefully restore your tree to full health. However, in the sad event that it’s too late to save your tree, hiring a tree removal service, like Southeastern Tree Removal, can ensure that your tree is safely and completely removed, helping to prevent disease and infestation from spreading across your landscape.
Spring is here but summer is coming quickly! With South Carolina's weather patterns being so unpredictable, we get extreme cold and heat in short spans of time. We need to be prepared for heat early on in the spring, especially with our landscapes. During the dry summer months, you’re unlikely to forget to make sure your grass gets plenty of water—a brown, brittle lawn will be enough to remind you to turn on the sprinklers. But the signs of drought damage take longer to show up in trees, and the effects can be more far-reaching.
Water is vital to your tree’s ability to manufacture food, so when it doesn’t get enough, the tree will begin to weaken, and its growth will slow. While the soil remains dry, the fine feeder roots that spread out just below the surface begin to die, meaning they no longer carry water to support the rest of the tree. Finally, the drought damage will become apparent as the tree’s foliage begins to die.
Some visual symptoms of a dehydrated tree include: • wilted foliage • a sparse canopy of leaves that are small or off-color • scorched leaves • yellowing • premature leaf drop • premature fall coloration
Rain will return, and the tree may eventually regain some of its health, but with many of its roots gone, it won’t be able to get all the water it needs.
So how can you help your tree survive?
• Know when the dry months are in your area and begin watering early on. • Follow our tips for mulching to help your tree hold moisture. • After the rain returns, apply fertilizer to encourage growth. • Watch out for pests and disease, as drought-weakened trees are more vulnerable. Of course, during a severe drought, you don’t want to over-use water, but do what you can and watch your tree’s foliage for signs of drought damage. If you’re not sure whether these steps are doing enough to protect your tree, contact a certified arborist for help in keeping your tree hydrated all season long.
If you have a tree that is already gone too far and can't recover, it may need to come down in order to help prevent the spread of disease and wood boring insects. It's also a danger to any buildings within it's reach. Call Southeastern Tree Removal to help you with removal or to help you figure out if the tree is salvegable.
You may look at trees in nature and wonder, “Why do the trees on my property need regular care? Can’t I just let them grow as if they were in the forest?” The answer is that trees in the forest often fall or lose branches due to their unchecked growth. Plant a tree next to a home or business, and it becomes much more important to make sure its roots, trunk, and branches are healthy and strong.
In our last blog post we told you the importance of planting trees, but there is more you need to know. Here are a few routine tree care practices that will help your tree grow properly:
Water Your tree needs plenty of water—but not too much. Get online and do some research to find out just how much and how often your species of tree needs to be watered. With just the right amount of hydration, your tree will be able to focus on healthy growth.
Mulch A layer of mulch around your tree can help to insulate it against extreme temperatures, hold water in to help it stay hydrated longer, and keep grass and weeds from getting too close and competing for nutrients. With so many benefits, it’s a good idea not to skip this easy tree care step.
Prune Pruning is the strategic removal of limbs from a tree or shrub. It can make your tree look better, but even more importantly, it can help your tree to grow sturdier, healthier branches. For example, when two limbs branch off from each other in a sort of “V” shape, they create a weak point on the tree that is prone to breaking. Pruning away one of those branches allows the other to receive more nutrients and strengthens it over time. Pruning is as important to your tree as watering, but just like over-watering, over-pruning can be dangerous. Removing too many limbs means removing the leaves that your tree uses to absorb sunlight and create the nourishment that it needs to grow. There are plenty of internet tutorials out there to help you do it yourself, but make sure you take care to prune as little as you can to still get the job done. Figuring out exactly how to care for your specific trees can be intimidating. What if you over-water, or prune too much? Consider a certified arborist like Southeastern Tree Removal to take the guesswork out of it and give your trees exactly the care they need.
Stay tuned for more golden nuggets of tree knowledge!
We all know trees need water to survive, but when floods or overwatering occur, water can become surprisingly dangerous to a tree’s health. If this season’s heavy rainfall has left your soil soggy, your trees and shrubs should be checked for these serious health concerns.
pH Imbalance Excess water on the ground can dilute the soil’s natural mineral content, which can make the soil either too alkaline or too acidic. While some trees are able to survive changes in pH levels, others are more sensitive and could start to experience stunted growth or yellow spots on their leaves, among other symptoms.
Root Damage Flood waters can harm your tree’s root system in many ways. Too much water among the roots can basically drown the tree by impairing its ability to absorb oxygen, while foreign sediment that floods wash into the area can compact the soil and make it difficult for roots to grow. The extra wet soil also creates an ideal growing environment for fungus and disease that could contribute to root rot. And of course, if the soil is really saturated, it may no longer be able to provide the stability needed to keep your tree’s roots anchored to the ground.
Once the flood waters have abated, you might think your tree is safe, but the ground beneath your tree can hold onto excess water for a long time after the surface starts to look dry. Applying a thin layer of mulch around your tree can help to absorb some of the excess water and pull it to the surface where it can dry, and an application of potassium phosphite can help to fight off disease and rot.
But when the ground is really wet, this may not be enough! To save and protect your tree, it’s important to contact an experienced arborist that can:
evaluate and correct your tree’s drainage
aerate the soil to help it dry
determine pH levels and soil conditions, then make corrections based on findings
Did you find that some of the trees on your property were damaged when the last storm rolled through? It’s important to take care of any cracked and broken limbs quickly so that you don’t risk the damaged branches falling and causing harm to other property, vehicles, and people. We have a few tips for figuring out whether your tree needs to be removed or can be nursed back to health.
Assess the Damage You’ll need to take a look at your tree’s condition after the storm passes, but be very cautious around storm-damaged trees as broken branches could fall at any moment. Look for major limbs that are cracked, dead, or broken. These will likely need to be removed to avoid future disasters. Is there extensive damage to the tree’s crown, or did it lose most of its limbs? Without enough branches and foliage to collect sunlight, the tree will not be able to get enough nourishment to thrive and may eventually die. If you’re uncertain, a professional arborist will be able to tell you if your tree can be saved. Check the roots of your tree too. If the roots were pulled up even a little bit, the tree’s foundation could be weakened enough to put it at risk of falling over.
Remove Broken Branches Damaged or dead parts of your tree should be removed as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of accidents occurring as well as give your tree room to recover from the abuse of a heavy storm. Make sure you remove the limbs properly. Even if a branch is barely hanging on, it should be cut rather than simply yanked off the tree in order to avoid stripping the tree’s bark.
Avoid Over-pruning Once the damaged branches have been removed, your tree may appear uneven or misshapen. Resist the urge to keep cutting branches to achieve a more pleasing shape. Your tree has suffered some serious injuries and needs all the help it can get to recover. Every healthy branch that remains will help to provide your tree with the nourishment it needs to return to its former health and beauty.
Use a Trusted Arborist Service After a storm, the affected area will often be visited with “door-knockers” offering their services to clean up your damaged trees. There is usually no way to tell if these workers are qualified, and the convenience of door-to-door tree service could end up really costing you when a tree that should have been removed later falls, or you end up losing a tree that could have been saved. If you feel uncertain about caring for your trees yourself, then a certified, insured arborist will be best suited to care for the trees on your property while giving you peace of mind.
Many of us have childhood memories associated with trees—climbing in them, swinging from their branches, or diving into piles of their leaves. With these activities in mind, it should be easy to imagine how the death of a tree could not only be a sad event, but also a dangerous situation!
We see it all too often. When decay spreads within a tree, it causes the tree to drop heavy branches or even lean precariously to one side as it pulls up its roots and eventually falls to the ground. Suddenly, the same limbs that once offered shade and protection come crashing through windows, walls, and rooftops, endangering not only your property, but also anyone who happens to be there!
Fortunately, trees have a few ways of telling us that they’re in poor health, which means you can stop these kinds of disasters before they happen. We came up with five easy-to- spot symptoms that may mean your tree is dead or dying:
Tilted or Leaning Trunk Some trees grow at a natural slant, and that’s OK. But if your once tall and straight tree is suddenly leaning hard to one side, there is a chance that its trunk and/or root system has been damaged. Disease, infestation, and inclement weather are all possible causes, but whatever’s behind your tree’s new angle, it could mean the tree needs to be propped back up or even removed.
Fallen Branches Been picking up a lot of dead branches under your tree lately? Falling limbs are pretty strong evidence that a tree is dying—and a warning that bigger branches might start falling soon.
Patches, Cracks, and Holes The bark of a tree can tell you a lot about what’s going on underneath. Take a walk around the trunk of your tree, looking it up and down. Do you see patches of bare wood with no bark? Deep cracks in the bark, or holes left where branches have broken off? These symptoms might indicate that your tree is no longer thriving.
Not Enough Leaves—Or Too Many If some or all of your tree’s limbs are missing their new, green leaves come spring and summer, it’s safe to assume that those limbs are dead. If it hasn’t already, the rest of the tree will soon follow. However, dying can actually make a tree fail to drop its leaves in the fall, so your tree’s habit of holding on to dead, brown leaves well into the winter is also cause to consider having it evaluated for treatment or removal.
Rotting Roots and Trunk It can be hard to tell from the outside, but any type of fungi on your tree is a sure sign that your tree is rotting from within. Check for any mushrooms or other types of fungi growing on the trunk, roots, or soil immediately surrounding the tree. Their presence means that they are feeding on the rot that has taken over beneath the bark.
So, check out your tree. Do you see any of these symptoms? Don’t despair! There’s a chance that proper treatment could still return your tree to its former health.
Your run-of-the-mill yard service is unlikely to know how to recognize and treat disease in trees, but Southeastern Tree Removal is trained and experienced in tree care. In the event that your tree is beyond saving, we can remove it with the greatest care, leaving your property clean and safe from falling branches. But, if you spotted these symptoms early enough, we will develop a care plan to rescue your tree, so you can swing from its branches for many years to come!
This is what can happen to a tree given some winter conditions and neglect. This tree had never been pruned and had an extremely full canopy. This storm also hit when our area's trees hadn't dropped their leaves yet so this tree was even heavier than it would have been post fall. However, it is very important that your larger trees remain pruned and ready for any strong storms no matter what time of year.
Light pruning and removal of dead branches can be done anytime of year but heavy pruning is best during dormancy. Pruning in the winter can result in a huge growth spurt during spring. If this is your wish, then prune this winter. Pruning is also easiest in the winter months because the foliage is gone, making it easier to see the tree's shape. It is usually best to wait until the worst of winter has past to do the major pruning, but here in South Carolina winter is usually pretty mild so just about anytime will do. You'll notice that some trees will "bleed" when the sap begins to flow but don't worry, this isn't harmful to the tree. When blooming begins, the sap bleeding will cease.
If you want to prune smaller trees and shrubs yourself, there are many places to get how-to guides online that will walk you through it. However, for the larger trees, it's best that you call a professional tree service company. Winter months bring discounts on tree services as they are the slower months in the industry. If you're thinking of hiring a tree service company in the midlands, call Southeastern Tree Removal. We love what we do and it shows!