Category Archives: Our Blog

Tree Species that Produce Beautiful Autumn Views, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over a few of the tree species that produce the most beautiful leaves and foliage during the autumn season. This period of the year, a common favorite for many arborists and tree-lovers alike, produces some of the most stunning visuals available in nature.

At Reliable Tree Care, we offer a wide variety of tree care services for all your trees, from fertilization and disease control to tree trimming, removal and numerous others. In today’s part two, we’ll dig into a few other tree species that you should strongly consider if autumn aesthetics are at the top of your list of desires.
tree species autumn views

Shumard Oak

Not only do many tree owners and observers enjoy these trees, many wildlife species do as well. This is mostly due to acorn production, which takes place on the Shumard oak every two to four years and helps nourish squirrels, deer, birds and other small animals.

From an aesthetics perspective, Shumard oaks are also top fall options. Their leaves, which provide major shade over a possible spread of 60 feet, turn into sharp reds and red-orange shades during the autumn season, immediately drawing eyes wherever they are.

Maple Types

Many know maple trees as some of the most beautiful out there, and there are a couple varieties that produce beautiful results during fall in particular:

  • Sugar maple: One of the most well-known and popular tree species in the country, the sugar maple can reach up to 75 feet in height when mature, with a spread of up to 50 feet as well. Sugar maples produce beautiful orange and red leaves during the fall, and are also known for their production of syrup.
  • Red maple: Red maples are aptly named given their color schemes, but it’s important to note that this theme applies during the entire year, not just fall. While red maples will indeed turn into a gorgeous shade of burning crimson during the autumn, they’ll also go red during the winter, ruby in the spring and, only during the summer, a green shade. Red maples also produce a variety of fruits, shoots and leaves that are consumed by wildlife in the area, helping sustain the ecosystem.

Sourwood

For a slightly smaller tree that will produce gorgeous results during the fall, consider a sourwood tree. This tree blooms white during the summer, with flowers that attract bees and help them produce quality honey due to the nectar found in them. When fall hits, sourwood leaves change from their normal dark green into bright crimson and purple-red shades.

For more on the kinds of trees that will make your landscape stand out during fall, or to learn about any of our tree care services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Tree Species that Produce Beautiful Autumn Views, Part 1

For many who enjoy observing and spending time in nature, the autumn season is the best time of each year. Fall foliage around the country is a beautiful aesthetic, with colors like red, orange and gold gracing our landscapes.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re well aware that much of this splendor and beauty originates from trees. Whether you have a variety of trees that show off their qualities during fall or just a few, our team of arborists is here to help with branch structure pruning, tree spraying and insect control, deep root feeding and numerous other tree care services. We’re also on hand to assist if you’re looking to plant or import new trees that will improve your overall autumn aesthetic, plus provide other benefits during the rest of the year. This two-part blog will go over several species of tree that are known to produce beautiful foliage during the fall season, plus dig into some of their other beneficial qualities.
tree species beautiful autumn

Sumac Trees

Some hear the term “sumac” and think of poison sumac, but it’s important to understand that this is only one variety of this wide group of trees. There are several other sumac types out there, most with fern-like leaves that help control erosion and windbreaks on properties.

Sumac trees can reach up to 30 feet in some cases, and their leaves rotate from green to gold to red throughout the year. During the autumn period in particular, it’s common to see all three color varieties on the tree at the same time, a gorgeous visual for anyone in the area. In addition, sumac trees produce berries during the winter, which become food sources for nearby birds like bluebirds or robins.

Sweetgum

Sweetgum trees are large options that can grow up to 50 feet in some cases, and they’re known for large leaves that provide ample shade to the areas where they grow. These leaves are star-shaped in most cases, and they can rotate between yellow, red, orange and purple colors during the fall season. Sweetgum trees also produce thorny fruit in many cases.

Ginkgo

Ginkgo trees are strong, durable trees known for their ability to grow despite adverse conditions such as heat, limited space, pollution and other common urban issues. This is why they’re one of the longest-lasting tree types on the globe, with a history of roughly 200 million years.

During fall, ginkgo leaves move from green to gold. It’s at this time when you can often notice the splaying shape of these leaves, a distinctive quality.

Black Tupelo

Not only is the black tupelo tree a beautiful fall option, with dark green leaves that turn to yellow, orange, red and even scarlet or purple during the autumn, it holds several other major benefits as well. These trees provide blossoms for bees during spring and fruits for birds during the summer. For additional aesthetics, these trees also have maturing bark that will turn gray and develop grooves over time.

For more on the kinds of trees that that will produce beautiful results during the fall, or to learn about any of our arborist services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Important Themes for Trimming Fruit Trees

Tree trimming and pruning are vital areas for the health of a variety of tree types, particularly those that produce fruit. Important for everything from sunlight exposure to air circulation and structural integrity, trimming trees properly and in a timely fashion will make them healthier and cause greater production of quality fruit.

At Reliable Tree Care, we offer a wide range of tree trimming services, from basic tree shaping to branch structure pruning, crown restoration and even removal when needed. Let’s look at some of the major themes we’ll touch on when we discuss trimming your fruit trees with you, including the proper timing and areas for said trimming plus the best periods of a given year to consider these services.

themes trimming fruit trees

Early in Lifespan

Trimming becomes an important consideration for fruit trees early on in their lives, as they’re still developing branches and overall structure. It’s vital to trim properly and remove unhealthy limbs, plus any that might interfere with the growth of nearby sections.

Now, this trimming cannot begin right away. Most new fruit trees require at least a year of their own growth before we can begin trimming away their limbs – this is to allow them to draw enough nutrients and establish a proper root system. Once this time has passed, we’ll work with you to identify the limbs that are best-positioned and most healthy, then trim away others that might hinder their progress.

Areas Trimmed

There are a few general signs we’ll look for that indicate a possible need for trimming in a given area:

  • Forks: Tree forks are sections where branches have grown too close together. They can lead to an issue called bark inclusion, which can weaken the limbs and threaten the entire health of the tree. Removing these forks in a timely manner is important. These forks are often found in a V-shape.
  • Dead or damaged limbs: We’ll also look for dead or specifically damaged limbs to remove.
  • Crossing: Limbs that are crossed over each other should generally be removed also.
  • Fire mitigation: One other area we’ll pay attention to is fire risks. Limbs that are fewer than 10 feet from the ground should be removed, and canopies of nearby trees should have at least 10 feet between them.

Best Time of Year

Most fruit trees become dormant during the late fall period we’re about to enter, and trimming is often best done just after this dormancy hits. The tree will be less active overall, with limited sap flow that makes trimming simpler and more convenient. In addition, the lack of fruit and foliage due to seasonal dormancy makes it much easier for our experts to identify the right limbs to be trimmed. During spring and summer months, a previously-pruned fruit tree will have limited blight risks as well.

For more on the value of trimming for fruit trees, or to learn about any of our tree trimming or removal services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Tree Pruning Impact and Frequency Recommendations, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the basic impacts of pruning your trees, plus some seasonal tips on when this should be done. Tree pruning and trimming services are vital to the long-term healthy of your trees, helping them shed dead or dying branches and stay healthy in both their branch and root systems.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re here to offer branch structure pruning and several other tree trimming services at your convenience. How often should this be done? The answer depends on a few factors, including the tree species and your precise needs for it, but the most important factor here: The age of the tree. Mature trees tend to require a very different pruning routine than younger trees, and it’s important to understand these differences. With this in mind, here are some basics on pruning frequency based on tree age.

tree pruning impact frequency

New Trees

Young trees that are either new or just planted will be the neediest when it comes to pruning services – mainly because there’s no real way to “schedule” this out, per se. There’s no set time at which you should or shouldn’t prune young trees; rather, you should be pruning as necessary to remove broken or dying branches, plus any branches that have insect eggs or stings and are therefore enlarged.

One vital tip here: If at all possible, try to avoid pruning for the first few days or weeks to allow the tree to build a strong root system. Once this has happened, you can be a bit more liberal about when you prune.

3-to-4-Year-Old Trees

From planting up until about three years of age, observe the above when it comes to tree pruning. When the tree gets to about three or four years of age, however, it’s time to get a bit more serious about removing certain branch areas.

In particular, you’re looking for those areas that compete with general tree health. If the trunk is having trouble developing, for instance, this could be a sign that lower branches are taking too many nutrients – you may want to remove some to help the trunk grow properly. This is also a period where you can begin removing branches for future shaping or aesthetic reasons.

5-to-7-Year-Old Trees

If your tree has reached a height above your own head by this point, now is the time to begin cutting back or removing lower limbs that are above head height. Beyond this, most pruning at this stage is for aesthetic reasons.

Trees Over Age 15

Once trees reach age 15 or nearby, they’re considered mature and tend to require very little additional pruning. They should receive a visual inspection each spring, after which you should remove dead or damaged branches, but this is about the extent of it in most cases.

For more on how often you need to prune your trees based on their age, or to learn about any of our tree trimming or tree removal services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Tree Pruning Impact and Frequency Recommendations, Part 1

When it comes to long-term tree care, there are few areas more important than pruning. A type of trimming that involves strategically removing branches to benefit the health of the tree, pruning should be done at a few important times – and a lack of pruning can lead to several major developmental issues.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re happy to help with branch structure pruning and any other tree trimming services you require for your trees. In some cases, like when trees are growing improperly or a major weather event has damaged them, pruning may be necessary on a single-event basis. In others, namely for healthy trees, pruning should simply be done at regular intervals based on the tree species, age and other factors. This two-part blog will go over some of the major impact areas associated with pruning, plus some general frequency and timing recommendations for pruning your trees.

tree pruning frequency impact frequency

Areas Pruning Impacts

So, you might be asking, why do trees in the forest grow just fine without pruning? This is a fair question, but it’s important to remember that the trees in the wild aren’t there for many of the same reasons as the trees on your property. Here are several areas where pruning directly benefits trees on your property:

  • Root strength: When trees are properly pruned, they are healthier overall – and this trickles down to their root systems. This makes roots stronger and more capable of standing up to changing seasons or any major weather elements.
  • Disease prevention: While there are several tree spraying and disease control services available, one of the simplest methods here is regular pruning. Removing unhealthy branches limits the spread of disease, both to the rest of the tree and to others nearby.
  • Fruit production: For trees that produce fruit, pruning helps this process in multiple ways. Not only does it improve overall health, pruning also promotes spur growth, which will positively impact fruit in the next growing season.
  • Safety: From a human safety and hazards standpoint, pruning is absolutely vital. This is particularly true for trees near roofs or electrical lines, which need to be pruned to ensure no damage takes place.
  • Aesthetics: Finally, clearing dead or dying branches keeps the tree looking great and in the proper shape.

Spring Vs. Summer Pruning

As we get into the frequency of tree pruning you should observe, a quick note on spring versus summer pruning. If you’re pruning during spring, this is usually to promote flowering – spring-blooming trees should be pruned after blooming, while summer-blooming trees should be trimmed in winter or very early spring.

Summer pruning, on the other hand, is a more widely-used format. It can help redirect tree growth or slow a certain branch area, or to remove damaged or dying limbs. But the most common time of year for pruning? Winter, when the tree is dormant just before spring begins.

For more on tree pruning and the frequency with which to take part in it, or to learn about any of our tree trimming or tree removal services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Mitigating Tree and Property Fire Risks During Summer

The Utah summer is in full swing, and for those who have lived here for more than a year or two, you’re well aware this is peak wildfire season in dry climates like ours. And while we wish it were not the case, wildfires have been interfering with urban areas more and more often over recent years, meaning homeowners need to be particularly diligent.

At Reliable Tree Care, while we specialize in tree disease control, trimming, removal and other services, our experts are also well-educated on the tactics you should be taking to limit fire risks on your property – particularly risks that could be spread by larger trees. With this in mind, let’s go over some general fire prevention areas, terms to know, and approaches to take to ensure your home and property are safe from these risks.

tree property fire risks summer

General Fire Prevention Tactics

The simplest theme associated with fire prevention: Limiting any fuel source around the property that could help build a fire up. Most of these sources are easy to pick out: Dead or dying branches that have dried out, dead grass, large shrubs and bushes, and especially any firewood or related items left out in the yard.

Wherever possible, look to limit these potential fuel sources. Prune dead or dying tree branches so they aren’t left on the tree, making it more susceptible to fire in hot conditions.

“Fire Ladder” and Wildfire Risks

Through dead and dry vegetation, an element firefighters would call a “fire ladder” is created when wildfires get started. When this vegetation stays in place and is allowed to accumulate, it leads to fire contacting it and spreading more easily to elevated areas, such as taller trees or even structures like homes and commercial buildings.

Defensible Space Zones

To help limit the potential for a fire ladder, it’s important to create a barrier known as a defensible space zone. This is a buffer area where you’ve removed all potential fire fuel sources, one that will hopefully halt the progress of a fire if it reaches your home.

Now, it’s important to note that creating such a zone doesn’t simply mean you’re done here. Factors like wind and burning embers are a big part of fires spreading, meaning you should be taking additional precautions to fireproof your structures and limit these risks.

Local Ordinances and Fire Risks

Local ordinances tend to require endangered habitats be protected through defensible space zones, and these same themes apply to private homeowners in these areas as well. If your home is located within 400 feet of any wildland, you’re considered to be on a wildland-urban interface and will be allowed to dispose of any fire fuel risks in designated onsite locations. You should take advantage of this service if it applies to you.

For more on how tree owners and all Utah homeowners alike should protect their property in case of wildfire concerns, or to learn about any of our tree trimming or tree removal services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Tree Aphid Formation, Issues Caused and Control Methods, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the initial information you need to know about aphids. A highly common and potentially destructive pest for both trees and other plants alike, aphids may begin to show their signs during the spring or early summer period depending on your precise tree species and other property factors.

At Reliable Tree Care, our tree disease control services include treatments for aphids, along with spidermites, scale and several other possible concerns. In today’s blog, we’ll dig into the adult aphid types you should be most concerned with, how to identify the presence of aphids on your property and in your trees, and how we’ll help you permanently treat these areas and prevent aphids from becoming a future concern.

tree aphid issues control

Winged Aphid Concerns

Aphid infestations often build in reverse order compared to other pest types – you’ll actually tend to see the adults, or winged aphids, before you see wingless aphids, or young. Aphid colonies start with these winged aphids, which in turn give way to offspring that continue the cycle.

Now, there are absolutely cases where you may see winged aphids along with a population of wingless ones. This is a big negative, signaling that the colony has outgrown the plant population in a given area. This is a common concern in greenhouses that don’t get enough attention, but can also take place in outdoor plant areas as well.

Aphid Identification

As a home or property owner, part of your responsibility here is to inspect your trees and other plants for potential infestations, including aphids. Some general tips when it comes to identifying aphid presence include:

  • Areas to look: Aphids often first begin to show up on or around growing tips and flower buds, so check here early on.
  • Color: Most aphid species are green, but they also appear in several other colors, including yellow, red, gray, blue or black.
  • Physical features: Aphids don’t all look the same, but most species have horn-like structures near the back of their abdomens. Most also have antennae that are swept back and tucked along the sides of their bodies.
  • Other visual signs: In many cases, the presence of cast skins or ants in plant areas or greenhouses signals the early stages of an aphid infestation.

Aphid Treatment and Prevention

Luckily, you have options at your disposal for both treating and preventing aphid infestations. Much of what we recommend here will depend on the specific species of aphid found in your trees or plants, but there are several pest control agents meant specifically for aphids. Our staff will direct you toward the best option, including informing you of aphids that might develop resistances to certain chemicals over time and what you can do about them. We’ll ensure your trees are treated for any aphid infestation without risking their health or growth in any way.

For more on how our certified arborists will assist you with aphids, disease control or any area of tree care, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Tree Aphid Formation, Issues Caused and Control Methods, Part 1

As spring comes into full bloom and soon gives way to summer, those with trees on their property have to consider a few seasonal care areas. One such area is the prevention of several pests that may begin invading trees and other plant areas this time of year, and a top culprit here is the aphid.

At Reliable Tree Care, our certified arborist services include a wide range of tree disease control services, including treatment for aphids, spidermites and scale. Aphids are some of the most common tree-related pests out there, with over 4,000 known species that can create several issues – this two-part blog will dig into how they form and the issues they present to your trees and property, plus how you can go about spotting them and removing them safely.

tree aphid issues control

Aphid Formation

Aphids tend to form a little bit later in the life of a given tree or plant than certain other pests – they don’t attack first leaves in most cases, rather waiting until the stage of growth that comes after cotyledons. For this reason, they’re particularly common in greenhouses, though they can attack anywhere.

In many situations, however, aphid issues can date back to well before spring even begins. Winged adult aphids, which we’ll discuss more in part two of this blog, will shelter themselves in tree bark during the winter months, then begin to migrate to other areas of the tree plus other plants or shrubs during the early spring.

Primary Issues Caused by Aphids

Aphids can lead to several significant issues, the first of which is a residue they leave on tree and shrub leaves. This sticky, shiny substance is the result of excretion from aphids, and it’s both gross to the touch and dangerous to trees.

In addition, large quantities of aphids can lead to significant damage to several tree areas. They cause discoloration, curling of leaves, leaf drop and even plant dieback. They also lead to malformation on leaves and stems alike, which can cause an uptick in multiple different diseases. Finally, aphid excrement often attracts other pests to the area, such as ants.

Aphid Reproduction

Another major problem with aphids? Unlike many other pest types, they do not need to mate to reproduce. They’re able to give birth to living young, always females that are born carrying several additional aphids. This means they multiply at far higher rates than many other pest types, and can overwhelm your trees or other plant areas if they aren’t controlled early and forcefully. And again, all this is without even considering the other pests they attract to the area.

For more on aphids and how to control them on your trees or other plants, or to learn about any of our quality arborist services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Protecting Trees from the Hot, Dry Utah Summer

As those who have lived here for any significant period of time are well aware, summers in Utah are hot, dry affairs. For those with trees they care for on their property, helping them establish root systems and obtain proper water and other nutrients despite long drought periods is a vital task.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re here to help through several tree care services. We offer everything from tree fertilization to high-quality tree trimming and removal services when needed, plus numerous other areas of certified arborist expertise to keep your trees healthy and beautiful throughout the warm season. Let’s go over a few important areas for protecting trees during the hot, dry summer.

protecting trees Utah summe

Mulch Concerns

As some tree and shrub owners well know after years of use, mulch holds multiple benefits when used in the garden. For starters, it offers several potential nutrients and also allows for a solid receiving surface for water and other substances.

For another, however, mulch can be highly valuable for protecting root systems and other areas from the heat of the heavy summer sun – but it’s vital not to take this theme too far. Some tree owners hear that and think they need to pile up as much mulch as humanly possible around their smaller trees to protect them from the heat, but this may actually risk several other major issues. In particular, too much mulch around the base of your trees will risk several insects that will view this as a safe harbor.

All you really need is a four-foot diameter of mulch around your tree base to help with water retention. Just use a single layer of strong mulch, rather than several layers. If your mulch becomes piled up, try to spread it out evenly to prevent pest infestation.

Watering

Vital for all trees is the proper watering and nutrient nourishment they require. As you might expect, trees vary in terms of their watering needs, both by species and by their age and maturity – older, more mature trees require roughly five gallons of water once a week for each inch of tree diameter (at the broadest part of the tree). For younger, more vulnerable trees, the general recommendation is upped to twice a week, using this same basic math.

The best setup here, and one most property owners utilize, is a deep root feeder or a basic sprinkler system. Some also use irrigation systems, though these can be limited in how well they water many tree types and will not properly support all root systems.

Revitalizing Struggling Trees

In some cases, even with great care provided, some trees will struggle with water supply or other summer issues. Our pros are here to help in these cases, with services ranging from fall fertilization to several others that bring needed nutrients to trees that may be struggling.

For more on protecting your trees during summer, or to learn about any of our tree care services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.

Protecting Trees and Property From Wildfire Risks

As we move out of winter and into the warmer months of the year, those across many parts of the United States will have to be on greater alert for wildfires. These months see fire risks rise for most of the western US, with the kind of wildlife present that can promote the spread of fire if not properly checked.

At Reliable Tree Care, we’re dedicated to every area of care for your trees and property, from insect and disease control to physical safety areas. Trees are vital property areas to understand when it comes to fire mitigation and staying safe during this season – here are some general themes to understand when it comes to wildfire risks and limiting them on your property.

protecting trees property wildfire

Risks of Wildfire

Unfortunately, part of the reason wildfires are so common in this area of the country during the spring and summer is the amount of wildfire fuel that’s often present across properties. Fire can spread to a number of different materials, but it moves particularly quickly through elements like brush, grass, leaves, branches and other highly flammable materials.

In particular, dead or dry vegetation elements are a large risk. These can create what is known as a “fire ladder,” one where wildfire begins in dry vegetation areas and then spreads to elevated areas due to lack of a buffer area. When unchecked, these fires can spread and destroy entire properties and even ecosystems.

“Defensible Space Zone”

When it comes to protecting your trees and property from fire risks, the operative term to understand is “defensible space zone.” This is a term wildfire fighters commonly use to describe a recommended buffer area on your property, one between the property itself and any fire risk factors.

The goal is to create a space that will stop fire in its tracks if it gets going – vegetation reduction is a big part of this, but other factors like reducing flammable materials and factoring in wind directions can also play a role. In a case where a fire does happen, your defensible space zone should be one that helps limit the risks of the fire reaching your actual structures and burning down buildings.

Local Ordinances

One part of the defensible space zone is often defined by various local ordinances. These may cover a few specific areas:

  • Endangered species: Local laws will generally require specific defensible space zone setups for any endangered species habitats.
  • Green waste: In cases where green waste must be disposed of in wildlands, it should be done efficiently to limit fire spread risks.
  • Wildland-urban interface: Any home within 400 feet of wildlands is considered a wildland-urban interface property. These properties are at higher wildfire risk, and while there generally aren’t specific laws requiring fire mitigation here, these services are highly recommended if you’re on such a property.

For more on protecting your trees and property from wildfires during the warm season, or to learn about any of our tree trimming, tree removal or other arborist services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.