Archive for the ‘Arbor / Tree Care’ Category

Tree Selection for Limited Spaces

Professionals may be called to manage properties for clients who have limited room for installing trees. Though your palette may be limited there is still the opportunity to install a tree by taking the following into consideration:

  • Be sure to match the mature size and shape of the tree to the space where it will be installed.
  • Conduct research in choosing a tree that doesn’t require pruning to reduce the size or significantly change the shape of the tree. Trimming should be limited to maintaining the health and the natural formation of the tree. This approach is also applicable to shrubs and groundcovers intended for installation.
  • Allow proper spacing for the tree’s roots to develop naturally so they do not grow into the foundation of structures, utilities, and hardscapes.
  • When deciding on shrubs and groundcovers for installation conduct research as to the mature, full size of the plant for the space where it will be installed. In tight planting areas it’s best to utilize smaller, slow growing and upright plants that position themselves better in these areas.
  • Consider using an alternative to sod in a limited planting area. This can reduce the amount of water being used and allows for the possibility of less maintenance.

Some recommended trees for small planting areas:

Dahoon Holly, East Palatka Holly, Lignum-vitae, Geiger Tree, Silver Buttonwood, Wax Myrtle, Jamaican Caper, Simpson’s Stopper, Spanish Stopper, Hibiscus, Crape Myrtle, Desert Cassia, Glaucous Cassia, Jatropha, Wax Privet and Solitaire Palms.

For information about these and other trees and shrubs trees visit: Florida-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design

Post-Storm Tree and Palm Considerations

Green industry professionals are dealing with the aftermath of last week’s tropical storm force winds.  Here are some tips for responding to customer concerns over wind-damaged trees:

Palm fronds that are damaged or hanging should remain on the palm.  This will help the palm to maintain critical nutrition as it recovers and could make the difference between a palm surviving or not.  It may be 6 months or more until you can make a determination whether severely damaged palms will survive.  Water is critical right now – irrigate as needed.

Trees should generally be saved and restored when: Some major limb(s) are broken but intact lower limbs are available to cut back to, the canopy is only defoliated, only some large limbs are broken, trees which are in reasonably healthy condition and have relatively  SMALL (<6” diameter) trunk diameters are fallen or leaning, and when major anchoring roots have not been fractured.

Trees should generally be removed when: a large co-dominant leader has split out of the lower trunk (such as in the photo above), the lower trunk is cracked or broken, major roots are severed or broken, the tree is leaning towards a target, the remaining tree structure is highly susceptible to breakage, the tree is a nuisance tree or in poor health.

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of this post with further detail and more references: Hurricanes Deciding What to Do.

Mangrove Pruning and Local Pruning Codes

Has a customer ever asked you to prune mangroves? Did you know the specifics regarding pruning these trees? An upcoming workshop on October 15 at 6:00pm will cover the requirements for pruning and trimming mangroves and seagrapes. We will briefly look at the three species of mangroves found in South Florida and examine the particularities of each. This workshop will also examine local requirements with regard to pruning and why hiring a certified arborist is beneficial not only to a tree owner but to the tree itself. Knowledge of these items is important to the professional because of regulations that dictate the requirements, procedures, and guidelines regarding pruning and trimming.

Mangrove pruning follows unique rules. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

Mangroves provide habitat to various species of wildlife and aid in the marine food web support. They also serve as a natural protection from storms, stabilize shorelines, and maintain water quality. Mangroves are also important commercially and recreationally, providing opportune fishing areas. Due to detrimental effects of improper pruning, the 1996 Mangrove Preservation and Trimming Act was established by the Florida Legislature to establish guidelines and regulations regarding the pruning of mangroves.The seagrape also provides habitat and serves as a stabilizer for beach dunes. Seagrapes play an important role in the nesting habitat of sea turtles serving as a natural barrier to artificial lighting. Improper trimming of seagrapes can have an adverse affect on nesting resulting in the establishment of regulations under the Florida Statutes to provide guidelines on trimming and pruning.

The pruning of trees and palms should be conducted in a correct manner and in PBC all pruning should abide by the Unified Land Development Code, Section 6. The code provides general pruning requirements and guidelines that promote proper maintenance of trees and palms and assist in preserving their aesthetic and ecological value.

(Too many rules? Join us as we discuss these regulations at 6:00pm on October 15, in the Mounts auditorium. This program is the sixth of eight in the 2012 Strengthening our Community Tree Canopy Series’ for professionals, a project supported by FDACS and the Florida Forest Service through a 2011 Urban and Community Forestry Grant.  To learn more about upcoming topics in this series, Download the 2012 Urban Forestry Brochure here.  CEUs available for ISA, FNGLA, and LIAF).

Trees and Turf

Trees and palms in high-management turf areas may experience decline due to excess water and high nitrogen fertilizers. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski.

INTRODUCTION ~ Trees and ornamentals don’t always fare well in areas where heavily managed turf is present, such as sports fields, golf courses, and institutional environments.  This is generally a result of our man-made landscapes.  In nature, grasses and trees do not generally grow in the same areas.  Trees block grass from sunlight; turf and tree roots compete for moisture and nutrients.  In urban environments, the plant that was established first generally fares better.  It should be a goal to keep both turf and trees healthy, as stressed plants are more prone to the feeding of sucking insects, such as aphids and whiteflies, and pathogen development, such as trunk and root rots.Turf fertilizers have high levels of nitrogen.  Since turf and ornamental roots share the same space, the high nitrogen turf fertilizers reach the all plants in a landscaped area.  Nitrogen is associated with forced rapid growth which may encourage feeding of sucking insects and increase of disease pathogens.  Further, if potassium and magnesium (or other elements) are limited in the soil (as always in FL soils), existing reserves spread out over larger number of leaves.  This results in a fertilizer-induced deficiency which is sometimes called the “dilution effect”.  These deficiencies can be severe in all ornamentals and trees, but may be most noticeable in palms, which are very sensitive to nutritional deficiencies.  In fact, high nitrogen fertilizers applied to turfgrass over 30’ away from a palm on one side only have been known to kill palms from induced potassium deficiency (Broschat, 2005).

Potassium deficiency may be induced by high nitrogen fertilizers applied to nearby turf. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski.

RECOMMENDATIONS ~   To reduce the amount of water applied to ornamentals and trees in turf areas, evaluate irrigation systems and methods.  Use zones where possible to reduce overwatering.  If possible, establish separate zones for ornamentals and trees so they receive irrigation only as needed.  Adjust turf spray heads to reduce spray directly to foliage and irrigation timing so majority of watering takes place in the early morning.

Keep any fertilizer except the 8-2-12-4Mg palm fertilizer a minimum of 50 ft from ornamentals (especially palms).  A deflector shield can help to control where fertilizer is applied.  In an ideal situation, we recommend applying a palm fertilizer (8N-2P2O5-12K2O+4Mg with micronutrients) to the entire landscape, turf included. **However, not all fertilizers having an analysis of 8N-2P2O5-12K2O+4Mg with micronutrients are effective, and if improperly formulated, may be worse for palm and tree health than no fertilizer at all.  100% of the N, K, and Mg must be in controlled release form.**  Turf has been shown to perform equally when this is applied to the entire landscape as compared with high nitrogen turf fertilizers.  Alternatively, when a palm fertilizer cannot be applied to the entire landscape, we recommend fertilizing the area under palm and tree canopies with 0-0-16-6Mg palm fertilizer to offset higher nitrogen applied to turf in root zone.  This will mitigate some of the problems caused by the turf fertilizer but won’t address forced new growth that can encourage pest feeding and disease development.

Consider the different needs of ornamental plants and trees; by reducing stress in the landscape, occurrences of disease and pest disorders will be reduced, aesthetics of the landscape will be preserved, and costs associated with managing the landscape will be minimized.

<<Download a printable form of this article: Trees and Turf>>

References and Further Reading ~

Broschat, T.K. (2005).  Fertilization of Field-grown and Landscape Palms in Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep261

Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industry.  Available at: http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/grn-ind-bmp-en-12-2008.pdf

Gilman, E.F.  (2011) Dispelling Misperceptions About Trees.  Available at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg089

Trenholm, L.E., Gilman, E.F., Denny, G., & J. Bryan Unruh. (2009)  Fertilization and Irrigation Needs for Florida Lawns and Landscapes.   Available at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep110

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Don’t Forget to Register! Right Tree, Right Place Seminar: September 25th

Don’t forget to register!! On September 25th, UF / IFAS Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension and the Florida Urban Forestry Council will present a Right Tree, Right Place Seminar.  This workshop will apply the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principle of Right Plant, Right Place to trees in the urban environment.

Right Tree, Right Place?

Topics Include:

  • Right Tree, Right Place: Using Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles to Understand the Planting Site
  • Planting Trees in an Urban Area – Knowing Your Landscape and Tree Codes
  • Power Lines and Tree Planting
  • Tree Selection for South Florida
  • Mounts Botanical Gardens Tour

Lunch will be provided and CEUs have been approved for ISA, FNGLA, and LIAF.  Download the Right Tree Right Place Seminar brochure for more details and to register!!

Save the Date! Right Tree, Right Place Seminar: September 25th

On September 25th, UF / IFAS Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension and the Florida Urban Forestry Council will present a Right Tree, Right Place Seminar.  This workshop will apply the Florida-Friendly Landscaping  principle of Right Plant, Right Place to trees in the urban environment.

Right Tree, Right Place?

Topics to Include:

  • Right Tree, Right Place: Using Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles to Understand the Planting Site
  • Planting Trees in an Urban Area – Knowing Your Landscape and Tree Codes
  • Power Lines and Tree Planting
  • Tree Selection for South Florida
  • Mounts Botanical Gardens Tour

CEUs have been approved for ISA, FNGLA, and LIAF.  Mark this date on your calendar and download the Right Tree Right Place Seminar brochure for more details!!

Root Barriers

We’ll be talking about transplanting trees, root pruning, and root barriers on Monday, July 16th, 2012*.

Root barriers can be used to protect underground utilities in locations where space is limited. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

Large trees in Palm Beach County provide beauty, habitat for wildlife, and shade to keep residents cool and utility bills low. A downside to managing large trees in urban areas is that sometimes we see root conflict with utilities, sidewalks, and other fixtures in the landscape.

Root barriers are a useful solution to root conflicts with sidewalks and utilities. They are often installed vertically to prevent root penetration and redirect root growth. Palm Beach County horticultural professional who do not provide this service may consider adding it to their list of offerings.  For professionals who wish to subcontract root barrier installation, certified arborists can be located with the International Society of Arboriculture’s search function at treesaregood.com.

Root pruning is conducted and a narrow trench dug between the tree(s) and the sidewalk, driveway, or utility conflict. It is important that care be taken with this step, as major root pruning can compromise the structural integrity of a tree.  After the trench is dug, either a chemical or physical root barrier is installed. A chemical root barrier is a piece of fabric embedded with an herbicide that stops root growth (often trifluralin). A physical root barrier deflects and redirects root growth. Prefabricated models are generally made of an interlocking hard plastic with ridges that direct growth downward. Both types of root barrier are available from one foot to four feet in depth. Root barriers can be installed using a linear or circular configuration. Linear installations are most common and may run along a sidewalk or utility trench. Circular configurations are used to contain the root balls of newly planted trees.

Conflict between root sand hardscapes is common in urban areas. Root barriers may be a solution. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

Conflict between roots and hardscapes is common in urban areas. Root barriers may be a solution. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

A final type of root barrier is sometimes referred to as three-dimensional, and is made of gravel. A layer of gravel under a sidewalk can be used to stop root growth and protect sidewalks. The gravel ensures that air pockets remain under the sidewalk. Since roots cannot grow through air pockets, sidewalks remain intact, and roots continue growing below. Research has found each of the types of root barrier to be effective, but some preference has been shown to gravel, three-dimensional root barriers.

It is important to remember to strive to plant the right plant in the right place to avoid major root and hardscape conflicts, although this isn’t always an option. By choosing trees that can reach their full size in the space available, we can avoid future conflicts.

*(This program is the third of eight in the 2012 Strengthening our Community Tree Canopy Series‘ for professionals, a project supported by FDACS and the Florida Forest Service through a 2011 Urban and Community Forestry Grant.  To learn more about upcoming topics in this series, Download the 2012 Urban Forestry Brochure here.  CEUs available for  ISA, pesticide applicators, FNGLA, and LIAF).