Snowy tree tops in Kentucky

Kentucky Winter Tree Care

Winter is Here!

The brilliant colors of autumn’s leaves have faded fast as cold temperatures come rushing in with the official start date of winter. Since most trees and shrubs become dormant during winter, it’s tempting to put off caring for them until the weather warms up. If you want lovely, healthy trees this upcoming spring that show off your home’s curb appeal, consider giving them a little extra care this winter, such as pruning, mulching, cable and bracing, and inspecting.

Pruning

When a tree is pruned, branches and limbs are selectively reduced or removed to improve structural characteristics, increase space for other objects, or address safety concerns as with dead or damaged branches. When done properly, a pruned tree will have a healthier form during the growing season and will also be more aesthetically pleasing when bare.  ISA Certified Arborists such as those of us here at Town Branch Tree Experts in Lexington KY are well-versed in proper pruning techniques to achieve the desired results. We can also identify the specific pruning techniques that various trees and shrubs need throughout the colder months. We prune trees year round.  Winter is as good a time as any, perhaps better in some cases since branches are bare. Your arborist can clearly see your tree’s structure and decide the best plan of action for winter pruning. In cases of extremely large canopies with lots of fine dead wood, this pruning is often better left for the spring due to the detail and attention that the work will likely require.

Mulching & Fertilization

While the tree tops are dormant, roots are actively growing.  Appropriately mulching trees and shrubs helps them to retain moisture and nutrients. Mulch also insulates tree roots and keeps the soil warmer. The right mulch maintains soil integrity and contributes to its fertility.  Adding mulch to your trees is one the simplest, most effective practices a homeowner can implement to improve overall health of the landscape.   Fertilization is also a great addition to your winter tree care regimen. We can help you to decide on the details of mulch and fertilization to provide the most benefit to your trees and get them ready for next spring and summer.

Cable and Bracing

Established trees look beautiful and support your family’s quality life in the form of summer shade and cleaner air. After enduring high winds and storms throughout the year, full branches can become weak. Rather than cutting large portions of branches or performing a complete tree removal, an arborist may recommend adding cables or brace rods for supplemental support to a weak branch union. If you’re concerned about any potential weaknesses in your tree, give the skilled arborists at Town Branch Tree Experts a call. We’ll do an inspection of your trees to find out if cable and bracing is an option for any of your trees.

Inspection Before and After Winter Storms

For particularly large or old trees, winter tree care should always include tree inspections by an ISA Certified Arborist annually and following any major winter storms. A close inspection of your trees uncovers potential issues that impact your safety and the tree’s continued health.  The declining or weakened limbs of any tree can break during a strong storm, whether wind, snow or ice.  This is critical if the tree is large and near a target, such as your home or driveway. We saw many examples of that this past summer! Branches can crash through window glass, damage roofs, or fall on other property or passersby.  While not every failure can be predicted or mitigated, it’s best to keep adequate clearance space between limbs and structures.  An inspection can help identify the most effective tactics to keep your trees and your home safe during the winter months.  After an inspection, we perform the necessary pruning or we will recommend removal when a tree poses significant risk or is past the point of restoration. The team of ISA Certified Arborists and tree care professionals at Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. bring the skill, knowledge and expertise to each job to safely and efficiently perform the work your trees need to be an asset your property.

 

As always, Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. is here for all of your tree care needs. Our professionals care deeply about the community and the overall health of the trees that comprise our collective urban canopy. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about any of your tree related needs!

Branches of oak trees covered in vibrant yellow leaves in the Fall

Autumn Tree Care

Autumn Tree Care

October heralds the full-fledged transition to autumn and, for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this season is characterized by cooler temperatures, changing leaf color and distinctly shorter days.  With this seasonal shift, trees shed their summer foliage in preparation for the cold winter ahead. For homeowners, the more temperate weather makes yard work, gardening, and even pruning a more pleasant prospect. To ensure that the trees in your yard remain happy and healthy throughout the fall and into the next growing season, there are a few important things to remember.

 

Practice Good Tree Care

As the hot, dry summer months have come to a close, many trees have been impacted by the summer’s lack of essential soil moisture. A lack of soil moisture at any time during the growing season can have a lasting effect on a tree’s overall health.  While trees typically do not require supplemental water late in the year, it is important to address any environmental stress that occurred during the growing season. Any environmental stress can impact a tree’s potential health in future growing seasons.  While the tree’s canopy is dormant in fall and winter, resources are directed to root development.  Fertilizing your trees during the dormant season provides your trees with supplemental soil nutrients, improves vigor and encourages a healthy response to challenging environmental conditions, such as drought or depleted soil.  A tree is only as healthy as its root system, thus a vibrant soil environment is vital to root function and helps to fortify trees against disease, pests, and ecological stressors.

Additional root-enhancing services include mulching your trees, applying growth regulator treatments, and performing soil remediation practices such as air-tilling, vertical trenching, and radial mulching.  These are all highly specialized services to address root and soil issues.  Talk to your arborist about them and stay tuned for a future blog dedicated to this category of tree care.

Watch for Fungi

Many trees are susceptible to highly injurious root rot diseases.  These are typically fungal in nature and can rarely be treated.  Root rot diseases can persist unseen, causing damage to the structural and feeder roots of a tree before becoming evident above ground in the form of a “mushroom” or fruiting body on the trunk flare or buttress roots.  This fall in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, we have seen an inordinate amount of root rot fungi manifesting as fruiting bodies on trees.  Some of the characteristic “mushrooms” take the shape of a shelf fungi while others appear more like giant marshmallows.  It is critical that an arborist trained in Tree Risk Assessment evaluate any tree exhibiting symptoms of fungal infection.  By the time the fungus can be seen above ground, extensive damage has likely occurred beneath the soil and the root system may be at risk to fail. Only a qualified professional can make this diagnosis. Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. staff includes three ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) arborists as well as multiple, additional ISA Certified Arborists who can identify pathogens and call for a risk assessment.  The first question we ask when assessing a tree’s risk: What will it land on if it fails? This simple question is always critical, even for homeowners, when addressing potential concerns.

Be Smart About Tree Pruning

Just because October is a more pleasant time to work outside doesn’t mean it’s good time to prune your trees. The cooler daytime temperatures may prompt the urge to start trimming your trees back, but we suggest you resist that urge.  Tree and shrub pruning can be performed at any time of the year but substantial reductions in canopy volume, over 20%, should only be done during the dormant season and undertaken with care and planning, generally to accomplish a very specific objective. Reductions greater than 20% can be permanently damaging to the overall health of a tree or shrub.  Complex pruning should really be left to professionals as we may take a different approach than a homeowner.  Pruning of dead, diseased, broken or interfering branches are fair game for homeowners, though, as long as doing so is safe (i.e., if a ladder is involved, it is not safe; chainsaws always require proper use of protective equipment, PPE).  Cosmetic pruning is generally best done in the spring when the tree begins to leaf out again.  Remember, the branches won’t be growing between now and mid to late March.  For strictly aesthetic pruning, be patient.  Spring will be here before we know it!

Consult the Experts

We don’t expect you to be an expert on trees and you shouldn’t expect it of yourself either. ISA Certified Arborists and tree care professionals make trees their life’s work. They should be your go-to experts for all aspects of tree maintenance. Arborists offer insights into fungi and pest treatment, soil care, watering regimens, and both necessary and cosmetic pruning. The team at Town Branch Tree Experts, led by an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist (our industry’s highest credential), includes five ISA Certified Arborists and multiple other professional tree care specialists.  Our standards dictate specific tools, techniques, and methods to ensure proper treatment and performance of our services. As always, we recommend consulting an arborist anytime that tree care is potentially hazardous or requires specialized equipment. After all, incorrect or poor pruning can cause lasting damage to your trees, or yourself– make sure that it’s done right the first time!

There’s a lot that a well-informed and handy homeowner can do to safeguard his or her trees, but if you need expert knowledge or skill, be sure to reach out to Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc.!

Split tree trunk after a storm

Tree Care: Before and After the Storm

Hand carved bowl made from woodwares from Town Branch Tree Experts.

Woodwares

It’s Our Anniversary!

My, How Time Flies!

Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. just celebrated our company’s seventh anniversary on May 10th, 2018. Having started with our two founders, Jesse and Sara Hesley, and three additional arborists, we have grown into quite the operation! Now with over a dozen tree experts on our staff, we have created something really great. Our amazing team is truly what sets us apart. Our staff includes native-plant enthusiasts, insect experts, a former forest firefighter, a bike polo competitor, a musician and even a well-known poet! This amazing field crew is led by Jesse, one of only five ISA Board Certified Master Arborists in Kentucky – the highest credential awarded by the ISA in our industry. Sara will be sitting for this credential later in 2018, which once achieved, will distinguish her as one of the few women BCMA’s in the world.

Community is Everything

2017 ended with the purchase of our own property in downtown Lexington –  a major milestone! We spent most of the winter renovating our new property and moved from our office on Limestone to our current headquarters at 734 Price Avenue in Lexington, KY on March 1st, 2018. It now includes a fully renovated 1910 craftsman house, a pollinator/rain garden to promote habitat for native pollinator insects and improves water quality, a permeable parking lot and plenty of space to move around. Our community in Lexington is one of the most important aspects of our business and being in the center of our urban core is essential to our business philosophy! We’re also on track to become the first gold-rated GreenCheck business in Lexington.

Wood Wares

We’ve recently started a new program collaborating with wood turners, saw-millers and artists to provide wood resources. This supports their craft and reduces the byproducts of our work from entering the waste stream. In addition to bulk wood, we also donate approximately 500 tons of woodchip mulch annually to gardens throughout Lexington. More on that next month!

Local Praise

Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. strives to provide customers with the best service we possibly can.

In our seven short years, we are incredibly proud to have been featured in several publications including the April 2017 edition of Chevy Chaser Magazine as well the January 2015 edition of Tree Care Industry Magazine. Both detail the dedication to our craft and skill sets that separate Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. from our colleagues. In 2014, we became the second company in Kentucky to achieve TCIA accreditation and the ONLY company with such accolades based in Lexington.

Happy Anniversary To Us, and You!

Overall, Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. is a business that’s in it for the beauty and sustainability of the trees and ecosystems that our Lexington and surrounding communities deserve. After providing seven years of excellent customer care and service, we are honored to continue to provide Lexington with the same quality care. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us at info@townbranchtreeexperts.com or give us a call at (859) 967-6907. We look forward to hearing from you!

And to all our staff, our clients and our friends, thank you for being on this journey with us! We celebrate our success because of you!