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5 Reasons Bark Is Falling Off Your Trees

Bark acts as a protective coating for your trees, sort of like how our skin acts for humans. When you look at someone’s skin and it looks dry, crackly, and like it is peeling, what do you think? Often, we think that the person is sick or doesn’t feel great – and the same thing can be said about your trees. If your trees have bark that is splitting or falling off, there is certainly something wrong. But what? Knowing how to read your trees can be a bit like learning how to read a foreign language.

It is bittersweet, but the bark falling off your trees can actually help you to identify a problem that may have gone undetected previously. Need some help determining the problem? Here are five possible reasons the bark is falling off of your trees:

5. Environmental Causes

  • Frost
  • Sun Scalding
  • Can affect lifespan of tree

One of the biggest reasons that we see bark peeling from a tree are the effects from the environment. Everything from the extreme cold to the extreme heat can make your trees start to peel. Sun scalding and frost, which often go hand in hand, can make the tree’s burns far more severe.

According to Gardening Know How, “Peeling tree bark is sometimes due to environmental factors. When peeling bark on trees is limited to the south or southwest side of the tree and bare wood is exposed, the problem may be sunscald [sic] or frost damage. This type of shedding affects the health and lifespan of the tree, and wider areas of exposed wood make it more likely that the tree will die.”

A way to prevent the burns and peeling from getting worse is to wrap the trees or, perhaps, painting them. It really depends on the kind of tree and the severity of the burn. Contact a professional to find the best option for your trees.

4. Thin bark

  • Not a problem for every tree
  • Sometimes happens naturally
  • Can be seasonal

If your tree bark starts to peel at a specific time of the year, it may just be that your trees peel because of thin bark. Doing a quick internet search or talking to a tree care professional can help you to determine if this is a normal reaction or if it something that you need to worry about. Peeling thin bark occurs naturally on many trees, including Sycamore trees.

According to NYC Parks, this type of shedding might be something that the trees do because they are preparing for a long photosynthesis, and they need to be able to absorb as much sunlight as possible.

3. Exfoliation

  • Happens regularly
  • May happen in stages
  • Happens with age

Another option is that the tree is simply exfoliating itself – just like we do with our skin. As we age, we need to exfoliate more and as trees age, they need to do the same thing.

Per Home Guides, “A tree grows by forming a new layer of fibrous tissues deep within its core. As it grows from the inside, its outer layers expand, and it sheds its old bark to make way for the new. The bark on a young tree is generally smooth and flexible and can withstand the inner growth without much effect. Old bark, however, is dry and has lost much of its elasticity, causing it to crack and split as the tree grows.”

Of course, this will vary by tree and species – white and paper birch trees are expected to shed their bark whereas other trees won’t do so. Sometimes, the peeling and exfoliation can be made worse by disease, drought, or insect damage.

2. Insects

  • Emerald ash borer
  • Ants
  • Generally starts toward the bottom

If the bark peels more toward the bottom, it could be because of infestations. Boring insects, such as pine beetles or Emerald Ash Borers, feed and make homes and colonies inside of the tree. This eventually disrupts the vascular system and can slowly start killing the tree. You’ll start to see signs of peeling bark around the holes where the insects bore into the tree and eventually it will take over the entire tree.

Common insects can cause the problem too, like bees and ants.

If you believe that this is the case, you absolutely need to do something as soon as possible. Call a tree care professional as soon as you can.

It isn’t unusual for this to happen on trees that were already sick, according to Texas A&M.

1. Tree is Dying

  • Extreme cases
  • Peeling has lasted a long time
  • Limbs are dropping

If the peeling is widespread or happens extremely quickly, it is likely that the worst has happened and your tree has died or is dying, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.  For many trees, this is the last cry for help and there is still time for you to do something, especially in young trees. However, this is the time to call in a professional who can do quite a bit of work in a short amount of time.

Remember, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to the health of your trees. If you see quite a bit of bark peeling or falling off of your trees, it is time to do something.

At Econo Tree Service, our principal concern is keeping your trees as healthy as possible, which means that we do have to do some research as to why your trees are peeling. If you are worried about the health of your trees or fear the worst, it is highly important to give us a call as soon as you can. In many cases, there is no time to waste.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495 and our professionals will pay you (and your trees) a visit and help to determine if the peeling bark is a problem we need to solve.

Header photo courtesy of art pear  on Flickr!
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How to Prevent Tree Roots from Growing Into Your Lawn

When you look at your yard, what do you discover? Most of us want to see a flourishing, green location without many interruptions and without any roots. (Of course, we similarly want to see grass that hasn’t grown at all since we last cut it, but the sad thing is that isn’t a reality.) What is a possibility, however, is the fact that you can help prevent tree roots from taking over your lawn. Although you can’t (and should never) stop some roots from growing, you don’t want them to entirely take over your yard.

4. Be Gentle – Don’t Cut Them Out

  • Many trees don’t respond well to easy fix tactics
  • Only use qualified professional grade instruments to remove roots
  • Connect with an expert before cutting too close to tree

One of the most vital things that you need to recognize about tree roots is that they are sturdy, but they are also the main source of nutrition for the tree. This signifies that you cannot simply cut the roots off and wish for the best. This will result in a tree that may not get ample water and nutrition, or it just may end up being unsteady. Think of it like cutting off the leg of a table – it might still stand, but it isn’t a good table anymore.

Gardens Alive explains, “Big trees have big, efficient roots that tend to take all the water in the area for themselves; and feeding a lawn overtop of those roots is perhaps the perfect way to deliver most of the food to the trees instead of the lawn.”

You may just have to recognize that if you want a bigger tree that supplies shade, you are going to have a few roots that move out into your grass. With professional help, they can be cut a little bit – it is really something that goes tree by tree.

3. Make Sure They Aren’t Taking Root

  • Sprouts can often times look like roots
  • These are fine to eliminate
  • Cut deliberately around actual roots

If you see something that comes up directly from the roots and you believe it is just roots that have lost their direction, you may be wrong. These could be sprouts that will sooner or later turn into tinier, weaker trees. These are dangerous and can be extremely bad for your healthy tree. They will battle with the tree’s existing root system and make the roots to come out of the ground, transfer into your lawn even more, and can even entirely cut them off from source of nourishment.

According to Home Guides, you just have to make sure that you are getting rid of the sprouts in a way that is harmless and smart. You don’t want to poison your tree, nor do you want to injure it any more than it is already injured. They say: “Treating a sucker growing out of a tree’s root system with herbicides can injure the tree. However, some commercially available products may specify that they are able to control suckering or are suitable for treatment of sprouts growing a minimum distance away from the parent tree.”

2. Consider Additional Approaches

  • All-natural techniques can be an alternative for some trees.
  • You may take into consideration rock salt or oils.
  • These options take much longer but don’t hurt your yard.

Most people want to stay clear of using harsher chemical substance in their yards, specifically close to their lawns. Using a rough chemical to kill the roots of a tree will only serve to make your yard look worse because of the dead grass. If you are stressed enough about the roots that you want to do away with them, skip the chemicals and talk to a specialist.

One choice, per Bob Villa, is to apply rock salt to dehydrate the roots slowly and gradually. This strategy does take quite some time, and you have to be extra mindful if you have pets, but it can work. The salt mixture has to sit on the trees for a while, so you may want to invest in a dog barricade if you like to give your dog roam of the yard.

1. Put the Health of Your Tree As the Top Worry

  • Older trees may become unsteady if roots are removed.
  • Youthful trees may still need to be re-tied in order to be sturdy.
  • Make sure to add added support for some time.

If you decide that, even though it may not be the best for the tree, you want to do away with the roots after all, you ought to know one thing: your tree will be unsteady after you cut the roots off. Just simply cutting off the roots is not the conclusion of the job – in fact, it is just the start. You have to monitor your trees and make sure that they are healthy enough to survive without your support. If you think they require help, give it to them.

Nevertheless, one more word of premonition from the Georgia Forestry Commission: “Understory planting of ground covers or foundation plants is not a solution. Covering the roots with a foot of soil is also not a solution.”

If you still do it, make sure to regularly take a look at the leaves and trunk of the tree in case problems start to show up. You need to be mindful of pests, ailments, and any breaks that occur.

At Econo Tree Service, our principal concern is keeping your trees (and roots) as healthy as possible for as long as possible. While it is natural to find some roots in your yard or in the flower beds, you don’t really want them to take up too much of your yard, or you will start to have complications with upkeep. If something seems off or like it isn’t working properly, you need to get into contact with our Redwood City tree care specialists.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495 and our professionals will pay you (and your trees) a visit and help to determine if removing your roots is an option. You can contact us at

Header photo courtesy of valentina (hvale) pellizzer on Flickr!
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Critical Signs and Symptoms of Tree Stress

Trees are incredibly sensitive, even though we often consider them to be signs of strength and perseverance. Like with humans, even just a little bit of stress can completely throw off trees of any size. You have to make sure you know to read your trees and make it so that they feel comfortable and safe in your yard – only then will you see how truly beautiful they can be.

Think your trees may be stressed? Sometimes, trees go through stages where they act a little strange and they are just moving into another phase. However, if your trees display any of these signs, you may want to get a professional to come take a look at them:

3. Your Trees Have Many Wounds

  • More wounds popping up regularly
  • Trees are discolored around the wounds
  • New wounds take a long time to heal

Tree wounds are all a part of being a responsible tree owner – getting your trees trimmed will result in a wound that will eventually grow shut and leave a scar, much like happens to humans when we get a bad cut or have surgery. Wounds by themselves aren’t a problem. However, how the wound heals can be a sign of tree stress – or a sign that your tree is completely healthy.

Trees that are stressed are more likely to grow fungi, and wounds have the perfect formula for fungal growth – dark, moist, and closed in. After a storm or a trimming, if your trees are weakened, fungi may start to develop. You can easily spot fungi in the wounds of your trees by looking for dark discoloration or “fuzzy” growth in and around the wounds.

Make sure to check your tree regularly for any growths, starting with the lower wounds and newer wounds and then working your way up the tree, according to the University of Kentucky, to check stress levels. Sometimes, smaller wounds will heal just fine, but larger wounds won’t. For truly stressed trees, the wound may reopen from time to time.

Remember that fungi can grow on trees that aren’t stressed as well. However, fungi tends to prosper the most on trees that have already been stressed out.

2. You Spot Powdery Mildew Disease

  • A powdery substance is along the root line of the trees
  • Stems and leaves eventually get powdery spots as well
  • The crown thins towards the top

Many of us believe that it is common to have powdery growths on trees. We attribute it to many things, from spiders making small, condensed webs to the trees themselves growing the mildew. In essence, the trees are growing it, but only because the mildew is feeding on the tree. Just like with the last option, many of the trees with Powdery Mildew Disease will have been stressed before getting it.

Mildew is a common sign of stress on catalpa, linden, chokeberry, and crabapple trees. Typically, the tree already has an infestation of some sort of pest on the lower part of the tree. As the tree is stressed from handling that, it makes for the perfect environment for the powdery substance to form.

Why did the pests stress out the tree? Pests steal from the nutrients and water of the tree, cutting off its source at the root. This is most common in the winter months and early spring when the ground is still solid. However, your trees may also experience high amounts of stress when it is extremely hot out – hot and humid or hot and dry. In both cases, the stress can lead to powdery mildew.

To prevent the disease in a tree that you already know has stress problems, Penn State suggests: “The spores are carried by air currents and germinate on the leaf surface. Liquid water on leaves inhibits spore germination.” Of course, talking to a tree care professional will also help you.

1. Ivy Is Stealing Nutrients From Your Trees

  • Your ivy and your tree are competing for the same foods
  • Tree won’t produce fruit at all
  • Ivy growing at an increased rate

The biggest cause of stress for trees of any kind is ivy. If you want a tree that is happy, healthy, and free from stress, you may have to kick the ivy. While it is beautiful, ivy is a bigger threat to a tree than pests are when it comes to water and nutrients.

Per the Royal Horticultural Society, “If the branch canopy becomes thin and allows sufficient light to enter, the ivy will develop into its arboreal form. Fraxinus(ash) and Larix (larch), are both trees with a naturally thin, open crown so they may suffer heavy infestation. For this reason, ivy on ash and larch trees is often controlled.”

Removing ivy from your tree is a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it to take away the stress from competing for everything – rain water, ground water, nutrients, sunshine, airflow, and more.

At Econo Tree Service, our team is here for you if you feel like your trees are stressed out and you need to do something about it. Whether you have an older tree that is showing some strange signs or a tree that is new and isn’t adjusting well, we are here for you.

Our team of professionals works extremely hard to meet your expectations and go above them – we will work until we get you the answers to your questions, even if they aren’t as obvious. Trees take a lot of work and to know how to truly read them, you have to have years of experience. Thankfully, our team has a lot of experience working with trees of all kinds.

Still, even the best teams are more effective when they are given the appropriate time – so give us a call today at (650) 200-2495. We offer a free estimate where we can tell you if your trees are stressed and then proceed to make a suggestion on how to fix the problem.

Header photo courtesy of megabanjo2017  on Flickr!
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4 Tips for Cleaning Your Yard of Trees & Debris After a California Storm

Storms can really take a lot out of you – they are stressful, annoying, and can put a damper on your plans. In California, we tend to have beautiful weather, but we pay for that when we have humungous storms that down trees, move around patio furniture, and even pull down power lines.

The storm itself is only a small part of your problems. After a storm, you have to start the cleanup process. This can be backbreaking work, depending on what happened in your yard during the storm. Debris is easy enough to remove, but it can take up a lot of time. Trees, on the other hand, are more cumbersome and can be dangerous for the common person to remove.

After a storm in California, you have to be careful about cleaning up trees and debris. Here are a few tips:

4. Check Entire Yard Next

  • Look for downed power lines
  • Take pictures
  • Check trees

After a storm that is severe, you want to walk around your yard when you know it is safe to be outside. This will allow you to survey the damage. Some people won’t see much damage other than some downed branches or a lot of leaves clogging up the gutters. Some of the things to look for include: broken windows, downed power lines, fallen trees, pooling water, and any damage to your hardscapes.

Troy Built reminds homeowners that taking pictures helps when contacting your home insurance company, if you feel like you need to do that because of the damage to your home or property.

3. Clear Any Glass First

  • Allows for inspection
  • Keeps everyone safe
  • Allows younger children to help later on

The most important thing you can do after a storm is to do a simple walk around the outside of your home and check for glass. You know your home extremely well, so you should be able to look fairly quickly. Windows, doors, and bird feeders are common parts of the yard that have glass. Gazing balls and other lawn ornaments may have glass as well.

Eliminating the glass from your yard makes it safer for everyone in your family to join in the clean-up party. This Old House suggests that you repair these problems first before worrying about the other debris in your yard. Remember to wear gloves when cleaning up any glass so that you don’t cut yourself. If you do get a cut, stop and clean the wound right away.

2. Trees are Tricky

  • You may not be able to touch your tree
  • Check where your tree has fallen
  • Contact a professional

If you have a tree that has fallen on your property, there are a few different things that you will want to do. The first is that you want to check if the tree has brought down any power lines. If it has, do not touch the tree, nor the lines. Call your electric company and wait for them to assess the damage.

If the tree has fallen over your property line, you should not touch it either. According to House Logic, “But if your tree falls over a neighbor’s property line, do nothing until their insurance company contacts you. You may not be liable unless you knew or should have known the tree was in a dangerous condition.”

Depending on the type and size of the tree that has fallen, you may be able to tackle it by yourself. However, it is recommended that you reach out to a professional so that you can ensure everything is as safe as it can be. Sometimes, danger lurks in your trees, especially once they have fallen.

Even better, sometimes you’ll be able to save your tree from the fall and put it upright again.

1. Hardscaping is Critical

  • Check retaining walls first
  • Contact professional for critical problems
  • Secure anything if possible

One of the biggest concerns after a storm (other than your trees) is your hardscaping, especially retaining walls. These walls and structures are usually made because they serve a purpose: help keep your yard in place and prevent any sliding. Hardscaping is usually hardy (hence the name), but it can’t always stand up against the force of nature.

The City of Glendale reminds residents of that city (and all of California): “Visually inspect all retaining wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.”

If you do have problems with your hardscaping, you need to call a professional to help you out. In many cases, hardscaping can be saved, it just has to be reassembled and put back together. If you have the chance to do that, it is an extremely cost-effective fix.

Once again, don’t be afraid to reach out to your homeowner’s insurance policy to see how they can help you repair your yard after a big storm – you’ll be surprised about what types of damage it covers.

At Econo Tree Service, our team is here for you after any big storm, earthquake, or event where you need yard clean up. Whether you have a lot of debris that needs to be removed, a fallen tree that you need help eliminating, trees that need some TLC, or a mixture of all of the above, we are here for you.

Our team of professionals works extremely hard to meet your expectations and go above them – we take great care in our work, cleaning up after a storm and then taking the debris with us so that you don’t have to worry about removing the debris from your yard. Storms come extremely quickly, so you don’t always have time to plan in advance, but you can keep us on cal so that your yard can get back to normal as soon as possible.

Still, even the best teams are more effective when they are given the appropriate time – so give us a call today at (650) 200-2495.

Header photo courtesy of Cherrysweetdeal on Flickr!
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Try These 4 Tips if Your New Tree’s Leaves Are Turning Brown or Wilting

If you have recently planted a tree, you know that it will likely go through some sort of “ugly” period – a time when the tree doesn’t look its best because it has just gone through something truly traumatic. While this is fairly normal, there are some things that you have to be on the lookout for once your tree has been established. The biggest things you need to look at to tell the health of the tree are the color of the leaves and how healthy they appear. If the leaves are turning brown or they are wilting, it is a sign that something may be wrong with your new tree.

Don’t be alarmed – this doesn’t mean that your tree isn’t healthy or that it won’t make it. Instead, it could just be a sign that something isn’t going quite right to make your tree happy in its new home. Acting quickly and with the appropriate response should have your tree looking as good as new.

If you notice that your newly planted tree is wilting and/or turning brown, here are some tips to make it better:

4. It Could Be Transplant Shock

  • “Wait and see” approach
  • Do not over or under water the tree
  • Check daily for any other signs of distress

If your tree is freshly planted, this is just a sign of transplant shock. This is a normal occurrence because your tree has just gone through something quite stressful. The best thing you can do during this time is to just wait it out, according to Thought Co. The more you play around with the tree or poke at it, the deeper in shock it can go.

Instead, follow all of the care methodology steps and let your tree have some time to adjust. Just like a freshman in college or someone learning how to drive, eventually the tree will settle down and everything will feel normal.

However, transplant shock really shouldn’t last all that long. Each tree will have a different time, but it should look better as the weeks go by – if it doesn’t, call a professional.

3. Stop Watering So Much

  • Do not saturate the ground
  • Take rainfall into account
  • Back off if you notice situation getting worse

Many people water their trees thinking that there is no such thing as overwatering, but they’d be wrong. Especially when you have a new tree, putting too much water into the ground can almost waterlog the tree and cause it to stop getting the nutrients it needs.

Den Garden explains: “The roots wick up the water to the plant body. The plant cells fill up, one by one, and attempt to pass the liquid on to the next cell by osmosis. This system works wonderfully until the moisture reaches the cells located at the end of the line. These cells have no place to pass excessive moisture on to, so they continue to fill until they burst, creating crusty brown tips on the edges of the leaves.”

Examine your leaves to see if this could possibly be the problem with your tree. If it is, step away from watering for a few weeks and see if you see a change in the leaves.

2. Check Your Soil

  • Ensure soil is healthy enough to grow trees
  • Acidity levels are important
  • Fertilizer MAY help

As your tree is moved, it can go through a different adjustment period. One of the reasons your tree doesn’t adjust well is because it isn’t used to the soil in you have planted it. Soil conditions have been known to make transplant shock worse.

If the soil around a tree is too soggy, it won’t be able to get oxygen to the roots, according to Teleflora. The roots either don’t grow at all or they aren’t allowed to grow strong enough to really support your tree in its new home. Eventually, the root systems will start to fail. Even worse, it can lead to another problem called leaf scorch.

Other problems with the soil include too much heat, over tilling, over watering, and bad fertilizer.

1. It May Have a Disease

  • Look for common symptoms of problems
  • Make sure to buy from reputable sources
  • Make sure your yard is safe before planting

When you buy a new tree, even if it is from a reputable source, there is a chance that you are going to introduce a new disease or pest into your yard. No nursery or tree center is perfect and sometimes the trees do get sick. If your tree is having problems with browning leaves or wilting, it might just be that you picked a bum tree.

Make sure to give your tree some time to establish itself, but always be on the lookout for other signs of problems. If you brought an infestation into your yard, it won’t be long before it spreads to other trees. The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control has some great tips on how to prevent diseases from spreading.

In some cases, getting the opinion of a professional may help you to determine whether your tree is struggling because of something in your yard or because it was sick when you purchased it. Most reputable nurseries do have a warranty on their products.

At Econo Tree Service, our goal is to help people put more trees into their yard AND to keep those trees as healthy as can be. We work to ensure that your trees have a great transition process so that they can grow tall and strong. If you have any questions about selecting, planting, or taking care of a new tree for your yard, give us a call today.

Our team is prepared to handle any stage of the tree growing process, from the very first days to the very last. No matter what you need or what questions you have, we are here to answer them.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495.

Header photo courtesy of Davide Restivo on Flickr!

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4 Ways to Identify Tree Fungi in Southern CA

“There’s a fungus among us” might be one of your favorite party jokes, but it isn’t something you want to joke about when it comes to your Southern CA yard. Most of us don’t pay attention to our trees all that much, unless something goes wrong. However, tree fungi is a sign that something may be going seriously wrong inside your tree, or it can start outside of your tree and cause something to go wrong on the inside. If you don’t treat tree fungi, the tree will eventually succumb to either a problem related to the fungus or something that is able to take hold because of the weakened tree.

Fungi is such a problem because it can cut off the flow of water and nutrients and invite pests and other diseases into the tree. Even if your tree appears healthy, it can still be a huge problem.

While all tree care professionals can spot tree fungus quite easily, most homeowners don’t think to know the signs and symptoms of tree fungi. This is something one needs to know, however, if you want to keep your home and family safe. If you live in Southern California, these are some warning signs of tree fungi:

4. Yard Moisture

  • Moisture Monitors Available
  • Avoid Watering Infected Plants
  • Beware of Rain Runoff

One of the most important things to understand about your yard is the level of moisture in the air. If you have a pool, a pond, or live by the water, the moisture levels in your yard are going to be higher. This could mean that you have an increased chance of fungal diseases on your trees and plants. In California, since there isn’t as much moisture in the air, anywhere moisture lingers is a target area for fungi.

According to Planet Natural, “During the summer months, especially if plants are watered by overhead sprinklers, sufficient moisture may be present for infection when the bacteria are splashed or blown on to leaves.” This means you do have to be careful if you suspect that your trees or plants have a fungal problem. It is quite easy to spread the disease simply the taking care of your yard.

3. Beware Soft Spots

  • Touch Wounds Carefully
  • Wash Hands Between Trees
  • Use Finger Tips

If there is something soft on the bark of your trees, or if the bark itself is soft, it is a sign that there is a big problem. Use your fingertips to go over the bark of the tree, gently applying pressure to find any signs of damage or issues. As you are supposed to check your trees at least twice a year for problems, take a few extra minutes to just touch your tree.

Make sure to look for areas that appear darker or discolored from the rest of the tree. See if that area is soft. Michigan State University hastens to warn people that soft bark isn’t always an issue, in fact, some trees are softer than others. However, it is a common problem that you will find with some trees in California.

Remember to be gentle and never use your fingernails to puncture the tree, or you will just be doing more damage than good.

2. Check Wounds

  • Beware of Soft Spots Near Wounds
  • Check Discoloration or Any Growths
  • Canker Diseases Can Be Found in Wounds

Just like in humans, the rate at which our trees heal themselves and their wounds is a sign of how healthy they are. Make sure to look around the wounds that develop on your tree as they grow. All wounds need to be checked, including those that come from cutting, breaking, animal damage, and infestations. According to the University of Kentucky, wood decay fungi are common in wounds.

There are quite a few different types of fungi out there and they don’t all have a lot in common. However, they all go after the weakest spots on the tree, which tends to be where our trees have been wounded. They are able to quickly infiltrate the tree here, sucking up the nutrients and water. Tree fungi move faster here, and it is likely that it will become a bigger problem much more quickly than if you don’t have wounds.

1. Mushrooms

  • Biggest Sign of Tree Fungi
  • Requires Action ASAP
  • Do Not Remove

Mushrooms are a huge sign that there is something going on with your Southern CA yard and tree. While most people think about mushrooms and don’t believe they are a problem, they are actually a fungus. It shows that there is something in the chemistry of your yard. While mushrooms aren’t always a sign that something is going wrong with your trees, they are something you want to get checked. One or two mushrooms may not be a problem, but note that the mushrooms don’t have to even be on your tree to be a symbol of problems in the root system.

Mushrooms almost always symbolize something, according to Fine Gardening, so if you see them, make sure to investigate your trees even further.

Tree fungus doesn’t always mean that there is a huge problem with your tree. However, it isn’t something that you want to ignore either. Be safe and contact a tree care professional immediately if you find any of the above problems on your trees. Most professionals will be able to solve the issue without eliminating your tree. However, if the fungal infection is too far along, then there may be a need to remove the tree so that it doesn’t spread to other plant life.

At Econo Tree Service, our team aims to prevent fungi and enable your trees to grow happily and healthily. We try to eliminate fungus if it is present, and we will then show you methods to keep the amount of fungus in your yard down. Our team is prepared to handle many different types of tree diseases, including fungus. Still, even the best teams are more effective when they are given the appropriate time – so give us a call today at (650) 200-2495.

Header Photo Courtesy of otfrom on Flickr!
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Best Time to Prune 5 Common Trees in Southern CA

We’ve all seen it through our windows: our neighbor is pruning his trees at a random time of the year, and we aren’t sure, but we don’t think that what he’s doing is actually best for the tree. Then you’ve seen someone trying to prune their trees using a chair, a saw that is dull, or even a kitchen knife (we’ve seen it all!). Pruning your trees isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either.

Instead, you can learn about how to prune your trees and, sometimes more importantly, when to prune your trees. Each tree will have a different time that is appropriate to prune, especially in California where the climate and weather dictate a lot about our pruning and tree care habits.

While every tree will have a different base time, let’s look at some of the most common trees in Southern California and when you should prune them:

5. Arizona Ash: Late February

  • Remove Dead or Dying Branches First
  • Use Professional Grade Tools
  • Remove Cross Branches

Pruning an Arizona Ash tree properly will result in a longer lifespan for these trees, which don’t live all that long. It can nearly double the lifetime of your tree if done regularly and by someone who knows what to do.

According to Garden Guides, “Removal of a large amount of unnecessary branches every year will prevent the Arizona ash tree from breaking when fully grown.” It will also help to improve airflow in your tree, which can keep it free from pests and infections.

Make sure to be aware of the animals that can make nests in this tree – try to avoid ruining their homes, if at all possible.

If you maintain the health of this tree, you will be able to do less and less pruning as the years grow by. You’ll still want to check for leaders and sprouts on a regular basis.

4. Catalina Cherry Tree: Varies Depending on Growth

  • Prune Frequently Early
  • Prune At Different Times of the Year
  • Prune Less and Less As Tree Ages

Pruning your Catalina Cherry Tree early will help you to establish a healthy tree with a single leader, something very important if you want high production levels and a tree that lasts a long time. As the tree ages, you’ll have to prune less and less.

Cloud Mountain Farm Center explains how and when to prune: “As these main leaders grow in early summer, make a heading cut into the main leaders every 2 or 2 1/2 feet . Or if the branches have grown this distance by August 1 (or any time before then), pinch out the terminal bud. Continue to do this until the shoot produces several side shoots. Then let the shoot grow another 2 feet or so and repeat the process. If these shoots are not growing vigorously then it is better to wait and dormant prune these shoots. You don’t want any more than four uprights.”

3. Western Redbud: Winter or After Blooming

  • Try Not to Prune First Few Years
  • Fifth Year is the Best Time to Prune
  • Sterilize Tools if Possible

If you can at all avoid it, allow your Western Redbud to go wild for the first few years until it has been established. Most people advise five years, but if you can go longer than that, try to. You really don’t need to prune much off this tree even when you do prune it in the early years.

However, you do have a very small window of time in which you can prune these trees – in the winter or right after the trees bloom. Other than that, the only reason to prune is diseased. Even if you see dead wood, do not prune the tree until the appropriate time.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, prune only to “remove suckers, crossed branches that may injure others and to maintain a rounded shape on a mature tree.”

2. California Box Elder: Summer

  • Be Careful About Pruning Too Much
  • Do Not Prune in the Winter

If you do plant a Box Elder tree, you know all of the risks that come along with it – including the pests. You cannot prune to remove these pests most of the time. Instead, you should prune to keep your tree in shape and to remove any dead branches.

Pruning this tree early can allow you to shape the tree for the rest of its life. You can train it into a single or a double trunk through pruning. As it gets older, you will have to do fewer trims, but make sure to remove any low hanging branches.

A variegated Box Elder needs to be pruned more than any other, because any green branches that aren’t pruned will revert the tree to its green self, according to The Garden Lady.

One of the most common reasons people do prune this tree is to move the limbs away from power lines, but it is recommended that you allow professionals to do this.

1. Saucer Magnolia: After Flowering

  • Only Prune When Necessary
  • Completely Disinfect Tools
  • Do Not Rip Branches

Pruning branches of the Magnolia tree is a difficult task. You have to use the right tools and prune exactly right. Never rip or pull the bark, as this will damage the tree, sometimes permanently.

The Spruce points out that you absolutely have to be careful when you prune Magnolia trees because they don’t heal nearly as well as other types of trees. If you do trim, be careful that you don’t do any damage.

If you love the flowers on the Magnolia tree, be careful about pruning, especially if the flowers bloomed late. You may completely eliminate blooms for the next year, blooms you can’t get back.

It is difficult to grow trees in California, especially within the last few years. It is your best bet to keep the trees that you already have alive and thriving. You have to be careful when pruning because one wrong cut can spell the end of a tree – or at least the start of some pretty severe problems.


If you are worried, have questions, or want professionals to handle your tree concerns, give Econo Tree Service a call at (650) 200-2495. Our team is filled with experienced arborists and tree care professionals who can work with your trees to have your yard looking shapely and beautiful.

Header photo courtesy of Dru Bloomfield on Flickr!
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5 Common Tree Diseases in the San Francisco Area

The sometimes strange and wet weather of the Bay Area can really do a number on trees and shrubs in our yards. Humidity, fog, and general wetness can really impact the way our trees grow and how they flourish, but it can also be a hindrance. Since trees are living things, they can susceptible not only to weather patterns but what we put them through – from damage due to human error to pollution from cars – can make diseases worse.

So what can you do? The first thing is to stay vigilant about looking at your trees. By looking at everything from the root line to the tips of the leaves, you will be able to know what ‘normal’ looks like, and then be able to determine what looks suspicious. In particular, you have to be on the lookout for these five tree diseases common in the San Francisco area:

5. Sudden Oak Death

  • Cankers form along the bottom of trees
  • Sudden uptick in production of sap
  • Trees die within a few weeks

One of the most serious tree diseases, Sudden Oak Death sounds like it only impacts oak trees, but that isn’t true. It is true that oak trees have been the most affected by the disease, however. This problem can (and has) killed millions of trees in California alone.

Sudden Oak Death starts with water mold and eventually a canker forms. This canker will actually bleed sap out of the tree, eliminating nutrients and everything the tree needs to survive. Naturally, it is also extremely contagious among trees.

If that isn’t scary enough, U.C. Berkeley says that the disease is actually related to the Irish Potato Famine.

4.  Shot Hole Fungus

  • Small holes on the leaves of a tree or shrub
  • Eventual browning of the leaves between the holes
  • Yellowing stems toward the center of the shrub or tree

Shot Hole Fungus is a disease that targets Prunus species, which typically includes stone fruit and almond trees. It is particularly a problem for trees in San Francisco because of the warm, wet winters that we have. Even worse, the disease is exasperated by urban pollutants.

Thankfully, this disease isn’t deadly, just merely cosmetic. Characterized by the holes that make it look like someone shot them, the trees do have some degraded performance from trees without the disease.

According to the Center for Urban Agriculture, it can also open up your tree to other diseases because it weakens it.

3. Chinese Elm Anthracnose

  • Branches dying from the tips
  • Cankers near the base of the tree
  • Black, tarlike spots on leaves

There are quite a few Chinese Elm trees in San Francisco, and there should be because there are great trees. However, they are one of the trees that has a specific disease that impacts them. Of course, other trees can get anthracnose. This disease is actually a fungus that can cause individual branches to die starting with the tips. It has been said to give the tree a “frizzy hair” look.

If you have been impacted before, it may seem like your tree has recovered. However, “Severe defoliation year after year, however, may weaken the tree and increase its susceptibility to insects, other diseases, and stressful environmental conditions,” according to the University of California Extension.

The best way to prevent this disease is to have your trees professional pruned during the fall or winter months.

2. Sooty Mold

  • Presence of aphids in your garden
  • Black sappy covering on the bark or leaves
  • Yellow, curling leaves in summer or spring

Sooty Mold is terrible for many reasons, but the most terrifying part is probably that it tends to bring pests with it – Aphids. Mostly commonly found during the spring and summer months, this problem very quickly spreads to all kinds of trees. Even worse, they reproduce extremely quickly so there will be many of them in about two weeks.

This is an interesting disease because it doesn’t actually kill your tree – it will just make it ugly. Yellow, curling leaves and a furry mold growth on the bark can make it an eyesore in your yard. It is quite dangerous for young or weak trees.

Since the disease often targets fruit trees, it is important to note that the University of California says that, “Fruits or vegetables covered with sooty molds are edible. Simply remove the mold with a solution of mild soap and warm water.”

1. Fire Blight

  • “Scorched” look of the stems, bark, and leaves
  • Blossoms turn brown or wilt very quickly
  • Tree oozing amber colored bacteria

Fire Blight is a somewhat disgusting, contagious bacterial disease. It quickly attacks your trees in the early spring, making trees look like they have just been burnt. It takes about 1-2 weeks for everything to look awful, not quite giving you enough time to take care of it.

Unfortunately, Fire Blight spreads quickly through many different means, including birds, insects, bees, rain, and the wind. If one tree or neighbor has the problem, it isn’t rare to see many trees with the same symptoms. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to impact many tree types; the most commonly affected are apple and pear trees, according to the University of Minnesota. However, it can hit rose bushes and raspberry plants.

At the end of the day, you have to pay attention to your trees and inspect them regularly. Skipping even a week or two or checking can really impact their health. If you want to know what to look for on your tree or you find something that seems a bit strange to you, consider calling a professional for help.

The team at Econo Tree Service is here for you. We will inspect your trees and if we do find something that needs to be remedied, we can help you take care of it. Whether your tree is in danger of a disease or actively impacted by something, we will try our hardest to save your tree. If it can’t be saved, we can help you to safely eliminate it from your yard.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495.



Header Photo Courtesy of Michael Fraley on Flickr!


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5 Best Trees to Plant in California

In California, we face an entirely different garden and yard situation than a majority of the country does. We have to think about out water usage, the amount of work we have to do for the health of our trees, and what trees will even grow in these conditions. One of the best ways to avoid problems? Going native. Trees that are native to California tend to take less water than other trees and will grow without many problems. Trees that you find in other parts of the country or world won’t do that. Instead, you’ll make problems worse by using too much water to keep them alive, only to face disease or infestation.

All of the trees on our list of the best trees for a California yard are drought tolerant. While this doesn’t mean that can ignore them, it does mean that you don’t have to worry as much. Note that this is only after a tree has been established. While they are still a seedling and connecting with the yard, you do have to give them plenty of water. You can only start tapering back once they flourish. For the first three years, you should water them once a week. After that, you should play by ear to see when they need watering, if they do at all.

For less maintenance and a greener yard, consider these trees:

5. Velvet Ash

The flowers of a Velvet Ash tree.

Credit: Miwasatoshi

  •  Requires very little water once established
  • Grows quickly and is hardy
  • Prefers partial to full sun

A Velvet Ash tree is one of the best trees to plant in an area where you think it will come into contact with a lot of abuse – from people, animals, or vehicles. According to the Department of Agriculture, a Velvet Ash tree is “recommended for buffer strips around parking lots or for median strip plantings in the highway; reclamation plant; shade tree; sidewalk cutout (tree pit); residential street tree.” They are also recommended for urban areas because pollution doesn’t seem to stop them.

These trees are beautiful, growing 50 feet high and 60 feet wide, meaning they take up quite a bit of space. They do drop some debris, but it tends to be easy to clean up and it doesn’t stain.

4. Catalina Cherry Tree

The cherries from the Catalina Cherry Tree.

Credit: Noah Elhardt

  • Very low water requirement
  • Partial sunlight required
  • Lives a long time once established

The Catalina Cherry tree is the perfect option for a smaller yard that wants a tree that looks more like a shrub. It is extremely easy to take care of and doesn’t require much watering at all. In fact, once established it is extremely hardy and will live for decades. Sometimes described as a shrub, they grow anywhere between 15 feet tall to 40 feet tall. It has white flowers and edible cherries, attracting butterflies and birds. In the right wind, it has a delicate scent that travels.

Most people choose the Catalina Cherry as a shade tree, according to the California Native Plant Society.

Note that if you want to buy this tree, you’ll have to go to the right nursery because you want to get the trees that haven’t been mixed with another type of tree, which is quite common.

3. Western Redbud

The flowers of the Western Redbud.

Credit: Stan Shebs

  • Limited water requirements
  • Grows best in partly sunny spots
  • Doesn’t grow that tall

If you want a pop of spectacular color in your yard, the Western Redbud is going to be your best bet. With magenta-colored blossoms that stand out amidst the darker green of the leaves, this tree captures everyone’s hearts. The leaves themselves are “cute’ as well because they have rounded edges that make them look like hearts. They age to a unique blue-green color. During colder times, the long seed pods ripen to a purple brown color, according to Monrovia.

The flowers have a unique way of capturing the attention of rare butterflies and hummingbirds, making them great for seeing species you wouldn’t typically see. The trees grow between 10 to 20 feet and 10 to 15 feet wide, though it takes a few years to get that large.

2. California Box Elder

A fully grown California box elder.

Credit: Herman, D.E.

  • Requires little watering after being established
  • Plant in spot that gets sun and shade almost equally
  • Can grow in clay soil

Another local favorite is the California Box Elder tree. This could be because it grows up to 50 feet high and does especially well on mountains and can even grow in deserts. Once it has been established, it can live on less than five inches of water per summer.

As with many trees local to California, the pink flowers are the reason many people want to know more about it. To get those flowers, you want to look up the “flamingo” version.

While this tree sometimes gets a bit of a cold shoulder from locals because of the box elder bug, according to Trees of North America, it really isn’t that big of a deal. Many would love it though because it provides a lot of shade, gives a lot of visual interest and color, and stands up against almost any weather you throw at it.

1. Saucer Magnolia

Close up of the flowers on a Magnolia Saucer tree.

Credit: ZP

  • Requires moderate watering at first
  • Loves sunny, warm spots to grow
  • Beautiful flowers with different color options

Finally, the Saucer Magnolia is a little-known tree that is gorgeous. It has large blooms that come in colors of white, pink, and purple. The blooms start to appear in the middle of spring and last through summer, depending on the amount of rain.

The Saucer Magnolia tree grows to about 20 feet tall and wide. It does require some pruning and you have to shape it, especially once it has been established. As the tree ages, it will grow more slowly and you won’t have to do it as much.

Note that according to the Arbor Day Foundation, it does have a “thin bark that is easily damaged by lawnmowers and weed cutters,” so you’ll have to be careful.

California has a particularly difficult climate to grow trees in, especially for people who want flowering or shade trees that you see on the east coast. You have to be careful about which trees you select, where you plant them, and how you take care of them.

If you are worried, have questions, or want professionals to handle your tree concerns, give Econo Tree Service a call at (650) 200-2495.

Header photo courtesy of Charles Willgren on Flickr!
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Where to Complete Your Taxes in Redwood City

Tax season can be a nightmare. You feel like you’re just a number and while you appreciate the fact that you’re likely to get a huge return, it can feel a little bit like you’re stumbling through the steps instead of feeling confident about what you’re submitting, especially if you are doing it by yourself.  Many people try to save time or money by doing their taxes by themselves, but that isn’t always the best route to go. You could be setting yourself up to lose thousands of dollars either now, or in the future when you have to pay fines.

Instead of resorting to hours and hours of sitting at your computer or kitchen table and wanting to rip your hair out, consider one of these local Redwood City tax preparers:

1. Diaz Consulting

Credit: Diaz Consulting

A local Redwood City Certified Public Accountant, Peter Diaz is the founder of Diaz Consulting. He works with businesses of all sizes to help them with their tax return preparation as well as financial planning.

He says on his website: “I’ve served over 25 years in public accounting and private industry providing innovative strategic tax planning and tax services to large multinational corporations and their officers. I want to offer that same professional service to the general public and make it available at affordable prices.”

He has carefully cultivated a team to help him that will ensure success in all of your financial dealings, and an easy tax season ahead of you.

2. Robert’s Tax Service

Robert’s Tax Service is a local company that has a team of experts who are helpful in all

Credit: Robert’s

areas of taxation. They stay on top of their training and work to learn the newest tax laws, deductions, and tools that they can use to help you. If you want to understand something, this is the team to ask.

If you are an individual, a small business, or a non-profit organization, Robert’s Tax Service can help you. Robert is an “Enrolled Agent licensed to Practice Before the IRS, an authorized e-file provider and use a number of tools to transmit secure financial communication over the internet.”

This team can also help you with bookkeeping, payroll, tax planning, and other financial services.

3. King & Associates

Credit: King’s

Called the “Tax King,” the team at King & Associates, led by David King, is another great tax consulting team in Redwood City. You get to sit in the comfort of their office as they do all of the work for you, preparing your taxes and filing them so that you get your return as quickly as possible. It might seem like you are the King and not this team, which is the way they want it to be.

Whatever questions or concerns you have about your taxes, they will be able to handle it quickly and easily. They are more than willing to help you out with things that seem a little out of the ordinary or things that just don’t quite make sense to you – and they will explain it in ways that you’ll understand.

4. Martinez and Walker

For over 30 years, the team at Martinez and Walker have been helping Redwood City

Credit: Martinez and Walker

families with their tax preparation, immigration needs, and other financial planning. They are one of the most compassionate and understanding teams around, willing to help you work through the muck of the US tax system.

According to their website, every year this team attends “attends the IRS yearly seminar, California Franchise Tax  Board and Spidell Tax seminars in order to stay current on new tax laws, new credits and deductions available.” They do this so that they can serve you better and keep the amount of time that you need to take on this at an all time low.

5. Key Financial Solutions

Credit: Key Financial

Tax prep from Key Financial Solutions is a “no muss, no fuss” kind of event. They will work quickly and diligently to get you the best possible return without all of the “hoopla” and the wondering about whether or not your returns are correct. If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to your taxes, this is one team to consider.

According to their website, “Your tax return will be checked and rechecked by our computer software identifying potential problems the IRS may look at more closely and reviewing the math to limit IRS contacts.” This means that you are more likely to get a higher return and you’ll get it much sooner.

Even if you feel like you’re a mess, they’ll have your taxes submitted and you back to your life as soon as possible.

6. Jeffrey Anton Tax & Business Services

Jeffrey Anton Tax & Business Services is a full-service tax preparation firm in Redwood

Credit: Jeffrey Anton

City that is dedicated to providing you with some of the most personalized service around, perfect for people who have interesting cases or need a lot of help.

The team is composed of Megan, Molly, and Jeff. According to their website, “Megan and Molly are California Registered Tax Preparers, and Jeff is a CPA.” Together, their team has created one of the best teams around. They will work with you to settle any problems that you face and learn how you can get more back OR how you can earn more throughout the year by adjusting your taxes.

7. Golden State Tax & Bookkeeping

Credit: Golden State

The team at Golden State Tax & Bookkeeping have two specialties: taxes and bookkeeping. They work with small businesses, individuals, and non-profit tax returns. You can have your taxes e-filed or they can file them in another way, if you prefer. However, it is important to note that they are an authorized e-file provider.

Even better, they are able to do a lot of the work before you even go in if you establish a relationship with them.

Give them a call for service that will work with you and allow you to understand the tax code and the what makes it tick.

Make Your Tax Return Work for You

Too often we are likely to just spend our tax returns frivolously. This year, make your tax return work for you by getting some work done in your backyard. From getting trees removed to make way for a new pool to removing limbs that are getting just a little too close to your home, Econo Tree Service is a full-service tree care company that will help to make your yard a little safer, a little nicer, and a better place for your entire family to relax and just breathe.

Give us a call today and we can walk you through whatever you need done to your back yard and we can give you estimates – we’re here to help make the moments where you aren’t working restful and easy.

Header Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012
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