Girdling Root

Girdling Root strikes again!

The winter storms of early 2018 did a number on New Jersey's treescape.  Pictured above is the removal of one of the casualties.  Only this one could've been prevented.

This white pine tree met its early demise by way of a nor'easter's powerful winds which snapped it at its roots, toppling it onto the homeowner's garage.  Luckily the damage was minimal, but due to the roots growing around the base of the tree (instead of outward), it held itself in a stranglehold.  Rather than uprooting, the trunk snapped at the point of weakness (the stranglehold) and fell.

With Tarzan's efficient work, the whole mess was cleared away in just a day thanks to our reliable hands and equipment.

Have us check your trees' health for free!

Root Flare

The root flare of a tree is the transition point between the trunk and the roots.  It is a good sign when the root flare is exposed as that generally means the roots are spreading closely enough to the surface to obtain nutrients and oxygen.  Most natural-grown trees (as in trees that aren't transplanted from a nursery) grow with the right amount of root flare.

However, many landscaping services fail to take into account the depth they're planting at when they're planting trees.  More often than not they plant a tree too deep, which can lead to sometimes fatal health problems such as Root Collar Disorder.  

If you don't see a root flare on your tree, it might be planted too deep, and on its way to an early death.  Call us to discuss solutions!

Root behavior and Root Collar Disorder

This property owner called with concerns about the browning tree pictured above.

Call us if your trees are browning unseasonably!  There are many causes, so let us help you figure out what's wrong.

The browning evergreen above is suffering from Root Collar Disorder, or "girdling root".  The simple explanation is that due to improper planting practice, the tree's roots grew around its trunk and unknowingly strangled itself as they expanded.  Causes of the disorder in the tree are likely:

-Tree was planted about a foot too deep.  Look closely, and you'll see a dark ring around the trunk.  That ring is the dirt line before we dug it out.  The root system should start just a few inches below the top of the soil in order to absorb oxygen and nutrients, which are most densely located in the top few inches of soil.  The roots grew upward in search for those nutrients, and subsequently around their own trunk.

-Irrigation system was integrated too high in the soil relative to the roots.  This gave further reason for the roots to grow up and around the collar.  While roots do need to grow close to the surface for oxygen, subsystems of roots also need to chase ground water down to establish a firm hold.

Consider When Landscaping...


Soil Texture

Do you know what type of soil is in your yard?  One reason your shrubs may not be taking as they should be is that they may not be native to your type of soil.  New Jersey soil has a lot of thick clay in it, which makes it a poor environment for any shrub that was grown in looser sandy soil.  Shrubs have a favorite type of soil, just like you have a favorite snack!

Tree Placement

Where you want to put a tree or shrub may help define what type of tree you get.  Some trees may not survive in the temperament of your location.  Soil texture, wind damage, access to water (or too much thereof), and warmth requirements are all concerns to keep in mind.


Mowing and Watering- When and how much

As an average homeowner, especially a first time homeowner, the lawn is completely new territory with a lot of guesswork. I spend a lot of my time correcting issues that could have been easily prevented with the right advice so I'm going to tackle some of these issues starting with grass: cutting and watering. 

These tips focus on our cooler northern location with grasses like bluegrass and fescue but this information can also apply to warmer climates as well. 

1. Use a sharp blade and adjust your cutting height to the time of year.

During the spring use a lower blade height. This allows more sunlight to reach grass and seeds. When it heats up and summer arrives, switch to a higher blade height to prevent weed growth. The taller grass keeps the sunlight from reaching weeds that are trying to grow. 

2. Be careful not to stress your grass. 

In a cool climate like ours your grass should be allowed to grow at least 3-4 inches and your target for cutting should only be the top 1/3 of the blade. This top 1/3 of the blade is thin and quick to decompose which means you can also leave these clippings. Leaving the clippings of the top 1/3 of the grass behind is actually good for your lawn because it helps slow water evaporation. Cutting any further will result in thicker grass clippings that will cause more harm than good by trapping instead of slowing evaporation

3. Give your lawn a good watering and do it early in the morning

Waiting until the afternoon or evening to water your lawn is a bad idea because it makes your lawn susceptible to problems caused by mold and fungi. You'll want to water early and long enough so that the soil is moist at least 4 inches under the grass. Wait until the soil has dried at least one inch below the grass to water again. 

Your yard serves a very important purpose. It cools your home and releases oxygen to keep you and your family healthy so keep it up. Hopefully these tips for a healthy yard will get you off to a good start in the direction of a lush green yard. 




Bugs- The ladybug


It's a fact, your lawn is full of bugs. Sure they are gross and creepy to some but in reality, not all insects are bad, in fact most are either good or behnine.  Very often, if not monitored correctly, spraying the shrubs and trees can be more harmful than good because spraying also kills the beneficial insects that keep the population of bad insects under control. Spraying should only be done when the population of bad insects is so great that they're doing damage to the plant. In my bug posts I will introduce different bugs, how they can help or harm your yard and measures you should take to keep the populations of the bad bugs under control. 

First up, the Lady Beetle

Also known as the ladybug or ladybird, the lady beetle is a good bug that can benefit your yard especially if you have a garden. Lady Beatles eat aphids and scale, soft bodied insects that are harmful to vegetable crops and other plants. Lady beetles will help keep the population of these pesky insects under control. You can actually purchase lady beetles for this purpose. 

The only time Lady Beatles can be pesky is if they get in your house, they won't hurt anything, they just seem to come in flocks. You can easily prevent lady beetles from coming inside by sealing any cracks and make sure there's a tight seal on doors and windows.