Most of us associate wood chips with mulch, but there are many more potential uses for it. In this post, we will look and see what these potential uses are. There is one caveat when it comes to using wood chips. If you have a problem with ants in your garden, you should avoid them.
Let’s Start With Mulch
The reason that wood chips are so indelibly associated with mulch is that they work so well for this purpose. They can help protect your plants from icy temperatures and late cold snaps, help to prevent the soil from drying out too much and, when they break down, they add nutrients back into the soil.
All you have to do to get the full benefits is either dig them back in or remove them and add them to the compost.
It should be noted that they do not release much in the way of nitrogen so you will probably need to check the nitrogen levels in the soil.
Add it to the Compost
If you don’t need mulch, don’t automatically ditch the wood chips. They are great for use in creating the brown layer in your compost heap and adding carbon back into the soil. They also help keep the soil nice and friable.
Keep some on hand for your next barbeque – they work as well as standard fire lighters without the nasty chemicals. If you are really into reducing your carbon footprint, the chips can be used in a biomass reactor to fuel motors or to provide heat.
Creating a Walkway
Paving stones are not always everyone’s cup of tea. Wood chips can be used to define a pathway in a much more natural manner. You do, however, need to employ some weed suppressing measures to make it last longer.
It is also worth noting that the shifting, uneven surface may not be the best fit for those who have mobility issues.
Highlight a special bed in the garden using the chips, or use them inside to help fill out a vase of silk flowers and give them a more rustic feel. Or, alternatively, get your glue gun out and get creative at creating art for inside your house.
For Use on a Playground
These can replace crumb rubber on playgrounds and come with the added advantage that they create a non-slip and nicely padded surface.
Erosion can be a series issue. The chips will not provide a workable long-term solution, but they can help weight down the soil until you are able to find a better solution. They will help prevent the soil from blowing away or washing away too fast.
And, as a bonus, they help to improve drainage in those areas at the same time.
So, as you can see, there are a lot of potential uses for them. Enough, in fact, to make you consider getting a wood chipper. And the fact that it is so much fun to use is just an added bonus! Check us out if you are in need of a tree cutting service you can count on!
When it comes to having a tree removed, there could be serious safety implications. This is not somewhere that you want to chance accidents happening – a falling branch can be quite heavy and cause significant damage or injure someone.
And that is the kind of liability issue that no one wants to be responsible for. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to choose someone who is properly qualified and experienced when it comes to any sort of tree felling. In this post, we will look at what you should consider before you hire someone.
Is Their Insurance Up to Date?
You are entitled to ask to see their certificate of insurance as well as their work contract. Do this before you sign so that you know that you will not be held liable if something goes wrong.
What Credentials Do They Have?
Is anyone on the team a qualified arborist or a CTCSP? While we agree that experience is extremely important, you also need to know that they know what they are doing.
Can You Check Their References?
If you were hiring an employee for your business, would you check their references? Of course, you would. And make sure that you get references that are up to date and done in the last couple of months.
How Detailed Is the Quote They Will Give?
The more detailed the initial quote, the more likely it is to be accurate. A professional company will be completely transparent about what they plan to charge you. And, if they know what they are doing, the quote will be fairly accurate.
What Equipment Will be Brought In?
Are they using heavy machinery? If so, what are the ramifications for the rest of the garden?
How Long Will It Take?
This gives you something to work with. Find out when they will be able to start and how long they estimate that it will take.
What is Your Impression of Them?
Take a look at the state of the vehicle that they drive. How clean is it? Does it look like they take care of it? How they treat their own property is a good indication of how they will treat yours. Also, if the truck they are using is falling apart, how professional are they really going to be?
What Gear and Techniques Will They Be Using?
If they are just there to neaten up the trees, there is no reason for them to wear spikes. Spikes allow them to get a better grip, but they could damage the trees.
Are they suggesting topping a healthy tree? If so, look further afield as this can detrimentally impact the health of it.
It is also important to find out what safety gear they will use. If they are a reputable business, they will take the time to ensure that their workers have the right protection. If the company takes shortcuts with their worker’s safety, it really does not bode well. Read this post to learn a bit more about diseases that can take over your trees.
It is an important decision to make, so don’t just hire the company based on price – there is a lot more to consider before making the final hire.
Georgia is home to over 250 species of trees. Included on the list are some deciduous trees, like the Oak, Hickory, and Maple. The list also includes evergreen trees like the Pine, Myrtle, and Holly trees. What you decide to put in your garden will depend on how much space you have, and how much maintenance you want to do.
There is nothing that quite beats the show that most deciduous trees put on in the fall. The leaves change from green to fiery reds, yellows, and oranges and look amazing. Once the leaves fall off, however, the trees are bare until the spring again.
This means less garden maintenance over the winter period because you don’t have to rake leaves, but also less color in the garden during this time.
Consider these if you like your trees to give a spectacular show and don’t want to rake leaves in winter.
The advantage with evergreen trees is that they keep their leaves all year round. This makes them great for having in the garden during winter, especially if you need the trees to act as a windbreak. The green helps to relieve the deadness of winter but does also entail more raking of leaves year-round.
Consider evergreens in areas where you need a little more shelter from the wind and if you like splashes of green all year-round.
Which Should I Plant?
We would advise considering what your specific needs are first. Our recommendation would to be consider incorporating both types in your garden if you have the space to do so. That way, you get the benefit of both types.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Why not consider planting a tree or two in your garden this year? They are very undemanding once established and make wonderful additions to your home. Here at Brunswick Tree Service we highly recommend adding fresh trees to your landscape when possible.
For best results, check with your local nursery about the best options for your specific area and also what kind of care and maintenance might be required.
The life span of a palm tree
If you have stately palms in your garden, you might be wondering how long their lifespan usually is. The answer to that question is something that we will look at in this post.
First of all, it really depends on what type of palm tree you have and whereabouts you live. Palms typically prefer sub-tropical conditions but should be okay in temperate climes as well as long as the winters are mild enough.
Zones 6 and colder are not going to be any good for growing palms, so look at something else instead. If you are in a zone 7-8 cold, the following palms should be considered.
So How Long is Their Lifespan?
If looked after properly and in ideal growing conditions, a palm can live upwards of eighty years or more. There are subspecies of palms that can survive for almost seven hundred and fifty years. According to Scientific American, the way the cells develop could make palms the oldest living trees.
While a pine could grow for thousands of years, the cells in it go through different life stages, eventually, die off and are regenerated. This does not happen with the palm – the cells in a palm are one stage cells, meaning that they do not die off and get replaced.
Maybe a better description would be that palms have cells that live the longest? In any event, palms are very slow growers and, if firmly established in the right soil, can continue to be healthy well into old age.
How Do I Know How Old My Palm Is?
That is a tough one to answer because they age really gracefully. You can usually tell an immature tree from a fully grown one, but further than that a distinction becomes a lot harder to make.
How Do I Make Sure it Lives a Long Time?
The first step is to find the right palm. Choose a species that will do well in the area that you live in. The next space is to put it in the right location in your garden.
It is important to realize that the root systems of palms can be quite extensive so make sure that they have plenty of room to spread out.
The next step is to prepare the soil well for your palm, keeping in mind that the root system will spread out over time. Palms do better in soil that is slightly more acidic so it won’t hurt to check the acidity of the soil first and possibly add some sulfur in if it is very alkaline.
The next step would be to water the roots of the palm before you fill in the hole. Be careful when planting that the soil is not stacked up too high against the trunk or you could run the risk of it rotting.
The last stage when planting is to put mulch around it in quite a wide area. Also, consider this an exercise in preparing the soil for new root growth so cover a few free around the palm.
Once it is established, you need to replace the mulch every year or so, top up the nutrients and maybe trim some of the lower fronds. Call a tree removal company you can trust if you need some help with one that just won't stay healthy.
When it comes to storm season, you know what to look out for when it comes to your house. You keep an eye out for leaks, damaged shutters and windows ,and shingles or roof tiles that need replacing. But what do you need to look out for in the garden?
This is more difficult one to answer because storm damage in the garden might be obvious and it might not be. You can see very quickly if tree branches or leaves have been felled in a heavy storm, but what about trees that have been battered by the weather and that still look reasonably intact?
That is where things get tricky. Even when a tree has died, it will take a few days to start noticing the leaves withering and falling off. The tree itself can often stay upright for a lot longer, giving the illusion that it is stable. You might even think that there is no urgency in removing it.
That is, until the root ball withers and the tree starts to fall over or gets completelyuprooted when the next big storm hits. Hopefully, this will happen at a time that no one is nearby and hopefully it won’t damage part of your home.
So, what can you do to prevent this kind of thing from happening? Your best defense against this kind of damage is vigilance. When the storm is over ,and it is time to clean up, have a good look at the tree. Are there any cracks in it? Are there branches that look unsteady?
Check the weightier branches in particular. These might hold on during the storm and have very small cracks showing. Over time, the weight of the branch exacerbates the cracks until it comes crashing down.
Pay particular attention to branches that are near the house and get loose or damaged branches removed as soon as possible. Otherwise, they can become dangerous projectiles when torn off and hurled around by the wind.
The next thing to look out for is getting debris removed as quickly as possible. As the debris lies on the ground and rots, it provides the ideal breeding ground and nutrient source for fungus and a range of different insects and pests.
The longer you leave it there, the greater the chances are that the debris will become its own little microcosm. Which is great in a big forest, but not something that you want happening in your backyard.
If you are not sure what signs to look out for and you suspect that a tree is damaged, or the job of clearing the fallen branches is too big of a job for you, you should get a professional in to give you a quote.
It will cost a bit more than doing it yourself, but there are safety issues to consider as well. Do you have all the right gear to take down a tree? What if the tree could be saved? An expert has the knowledge, tools and experience to get the job done properly. Click here to get some more tips on tree maintenance.
Once a tree is well-established, it is relatively low maintenance. You do need to take good care of the tree just after it has been planted to ensure that it gets the very best start in life. In this post, we will look at ways to do that.
This is not something that you should do as a matter of course. If you stake a tree, it does not have to form as extensive a root system to support itself. However, sometimes you don’t have a choice. Like when you are planting trees as a windbreak, and there is the risk that they might blow away.
To get staking right, start with using the right materials and techniques. You want material that is not going to bite into the bark of the tree. An old t-shirt or piece of inner tube is ideal. Tie this lightly around the stake and tree so that the tree is still able to move at least an inch or two.
The stake should be removed at the latest after the first year so that the roots also get a chance to dig in and do their job.
Test the Soil
You want to make sure that your new tree has enough of the right nutrients and that the soil is at the optimal pH level. Testing the soil will tell you if you need to make adjustments as needed. This is a much more accurate way of ensuring that the plant gets what it needs.
The effects of the tree having access to too many nutrients can be just as serious as the effects of them not having enough nutrients.
Whether to mulch or not depends on the natural growing conditions of the tree. Mulching helps the soil to retain moisture for longer, but too much moisture in the soil is also not optimal. Soil that is too wet is at risk of developing root rot and or a fungal infection.
Find out from the nursery that you got the tree from what the best course of action is. If mulching is recommended, it is best to stick to wood chips, needles or leaves. These are what you would naturally find in nature around the base of a tree.
Put a layer of no more than two or three inches of mulch around the tree. In many cases, it is not necessary to mulch.
New trees do need watering, but you need to make sure that you do it properly. Here testing the soil moisture levels can be of good use. You also need to go deeper than just thumb-level like you would normally do when planting a flower or vegetable seedling.
A piece of doweling rod around a foot long could be helpful here. Otherwise, some similarly sized object would do as well. Use this to check the moisture levels deeper down in the soil.
Water when the soil needs it. You want the roots to stay moist but not to drown them or dry them out too much. Rather do a deep watering once or twice a week. This will do a lot more good than several bouts of shallow watering.
Looking after your new tree requires a bit more work to start off with, but the rewards, later on, are well worth the effort. If you need help, call the pros here at Brunswick Tree Service.
Trees are a magnificent addition to our yards. They provide the perfect spot to rest under on a hot summer’s day and then also give us something good to look at. But have you ever wondered what kind of pests might love your trees as much as you do?
The answer is many. In this post, we will cover the main ones to look out for because they might cause structural damage to your home.
Rats and Squirrels
Rodents of any type can cause havoc with the wiring and wooden structural elements of your home. They are great climbers and can squeeze into the smallest of spaces. If you are worried about things that go bump in the night in your attic, this could be your problem.
Reduce the potential risk by limiting access to your home. Make sure that any branches touching the house are trimmed back and take the time to get into the attic and stop up any holes that these critters could squeeze themselves into.
And here we want to stress the part about them being able to squeeze through the smallest of spaces. That potentially includes fitting through vent covers like those on the air conditioner.
If you have that kind of thing to allow more air into your attic, you might want to consider using chicken wire to close it off completely.
Ants and Termites
Ants and termites love to chomp down on damaged tree branches. They are just as happy to eat their way through any wood in your house as well. It is safest to keep them away from your home by making it a less attractive target.
That means clearing out dead wood that is near your house, and we are also referring to firewood here. You will also need to keep tree branches well away from the walls of your home, so it is a good idea to trim trees near the home regularly or consider having them removed.
Ants and termites also gravitate towards houses when there is a ready water source there. Make sure that there or no leaky pipes and that there is no moisture seepage to minimize this potential issue.
That is clearly not an exhaustive list – to write one of those would require a lot more time than we have today. The main takeaway here is to keep your trees and yard as neat as possible by removing any wood that has fallen and storing firewood away from the house. If you need an honest local tree service to help you out, give us a shout.
It is also a good idea to check the trees on a regular basis to see if there are any signs of insect or rodent infestation in the wood itself. Ants and termites will eventually end up killing a tree that they have infested, so this is a good preventative measure when it comes to keeping the trees healthy as well.
Is my tree dying?
The chances are that if you are at the stage where you have to ask that question, the answer could very easily be yes. We usually don’t notice disease in trees until it gets more advanced. In this post, we will go through the ways that you can help you determine if your tree is dying.
Damage to the Trunk
Examine the trunk of the tree. Has it been damaged? If it has been severely damaged, the tree is probably not going to survive it.
Look for cracks that extend quite far vertically. These are usually a good indication that the tree might be dying.
Bark Sloughing Off
Just like with our skins, the bark of a tree is the outer covering that protects it from the outside elements. And, also like our skins, the old bark will slough off and be replaced by new bark. That is natural.
What is not natural, however, is for the old bark not to be replaced. If there are areas where you just see plain wood, and no new bark, your tree could be sick.
Fungi often grow between the bark and the inside of the tree and this causes the bark to come off. Have a look at the tree where the bark has come off. Is there any fungus or mold growing there? What does the surface look like?
Take out a small piece of bark from the opposite side of the tree and see how this color and texture on that side corresponds to the other side. If they are quite different, then the tree is likely diseased. If a fungus has made it this far, it usually means that the tree cannot be saved.
Damaged or Bare Branches
Have the trees lost their leaves before they should have, or do they seem to have held on to them longer than they should have?
These could both indicate that the tree is in trouble.
You can also cut into one of the branches to check if the tree is alive or dead. Start by breaking off a twig or very small branch. Check the area where you made the break. Is the wood inside wet or dry? If it is wet, it means that the tree is still alive for the moment.
If it is dry inside, try moving on to a branch closer to the trunk and scratch some of the bark off so that you can see if there is any sap or green wood closer to the trunk. Dry wood is a sign that that branch is dead. If this is the case with most of the branches, the tree is probably dying.
This is one that is difficult to diagnose. But signs to look for include a tree that has started to lean significantly and small branches coming out of the base of it. If you need the best tree service Brunswick GA has to offer, give us a call.
Knowing for sure that the tree is dying might require the services of an expert in the field, but if the above signs are present, there is a good chance that your tree is either dying or dead already.
Diseases that effect trees
Georgia is home to a lot of beautiful types of trees. Unfortunately, that also means that there are a few different nasty diseases and bugs that can affect the health of the trees as well. In this post, we will look at what some of these might be.
The first sign of this disease is that the leaves wither and die. As the disease spreads, the twigs start to die off as well. You will usually be able to tell that this disease is present because the bark may take on a reddish or darker hue.
It is important to get this dealt with as soon as possible because the infection can spread to other trees through contact with branches, rain or irrigation systems.
If caught early enough, a good pruning should help to stamp out the problem. When the disease is advanced, the best choice is usually to remove the tree completely.
Again you will notice this first in the leaves of the tree. They will start to yellow and wilt. As the disease spreads, it creates fungal mats to form under the tree’s bark. Eventually, these mats push the bark of the tree off.
You can confirm the diagnosis by looking at one of the areas where the fungal mat is exposed. It has quite a hard surface and can range in color from a silvery gray to a tan. If you cut into the mat, it is black inside.
This disease can get a foothold when a tree is under stress. So keep your trees in good condition by having them trimmed regularly and ensuring that they have enough water and nutrients.
Armillaria Root Rot
This one is difficult to pick up at first because the symptoms start off with slower growth of the tree. The crown starts to die back, and leaves might drop prematurely as the disease progresses. The only outward sign that may become obvious is that it may produce mushrooms at the base of the tree.
If those are not present, the only real way to check for the disease in the earlier stages is to check the roots or to remove some of the bark. If you do this, you should see clear indications of the fungus between the tree and its bark. This is typically white in color and easy to see.
This is most common in trees that are stressed but can also be common when the soil does not drain properly or is not able to dry out properly between watering.
If you suspect that your tree is diseased, it is best to call in a pro to come in and check it for you. Getting them in early enough increases the chances of them being able to save the tree, rather than having to execute tree removal.
They will be able to advise you on measures to combat the problem and able to assist you when the only option is the removal of the tree itself.
Trees are simple to maintain if you know how. In this post, we will go through what you should do in order to maintain healthy trees.
Start Them Off Properly
If a tree can get a really good start, they will need a lot less maintenance later on. That means doing everything that you can to give the tree everything that it needs while its root systems are still forming. Start off by checking what the ideal soil conditions are for your tree and try to match these.
Don’t Stake Unless Necessary
It seems to make sense to give our trees a nice piece of support to lean on when they are still small. Staking should only be used as a last resort when there is a chance that the tree is going to be uprooted by the elements. The roots will develop better without support.
As your tree grows, it will need watering every now and again. But, unlike your flower beds, the roots of a tree go a lot deeper. That means that you have to check the soil for moisture further down. You will need to use a stick or something similar to help you punch a small hole in the soil, so that you can check the moisture content.
Pay Attention to Nutrients
The soil that your tree is growing in is not changed out at all. As a result, you will need to add nutrients to it from time to time.
Look at Acidity Levels
Some trees require a more acidic environment to grow in; some prefer a more alkaline environment. Make sure that you get this right by testing the acidity of the soil periodically throughout the lifespan of the tree and making adjustments as necessary.
Mulch If Necessary
Mulching is not always as helpful as we would like to think. Consider mulching during dry spells to help the roots retain as much water as possible, but don’t do it as a matter of course.
Trim the Trees
Cutting away the deadwood when the growing season is over allows the trees to focus on all their energy into growing luxurious new branches and leaves when it starts up again.
Clear Away Dead Wood
In theory, it shouldn’t make any difference to the tree if we leave fallen branches in place. After all, no one would clear them away in a forest. Trees in the forest are in their natural setting and so usually under less stress than those in an artificial setting. Clear away dead wood to prevent the spread of disease and insects.
Check the Bark
Get up close and personal with your tree on a regular basis and look for signs of disease – these will usually start off with minor symptoms like leaves falling when they are not meant to or bits of bark flaking off.
Get a Professional Opinion
It is worth considering getting someone in to trim your trees once a year because then they will deal with all the hassle of removing the dead wood, etc. They will also check out the trees for signs of trouble with an expert eye. If you call us, we can let you know if they require the tree removal Brunswick GA residents have come to know and trust.
Trees are very rewarding plants to grow and require surprisingly little care. With a few basic proactive measures, you can ensure that they are healthy for many years to come.