We here at Oak Bros hope you were able to receive everything you wanted this holiday season. But if you didn’t, hopefully you can sit down, grab some snacks (or leftovers), with an adult beverage (responsibly of course) and enjoy the inaugural Oak Bros Newsletter. (We may or may not be enjoying while writing this).
This particular newsletter will focus on Plant Health Care (PHC), and some tips and tricks for the winter season, as well as moving into early spring. If you have any questions regarding anything in this newsletter, please give our office a call at (309) 392-4127 and talk to any of our 3 ISA Certified Arborists, any of our 3 TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professionals (CTSPs), or any of our amazing staff here at Oak Bros.
Winter sucks. Don’t let it suck for your trees.
See that tree out in your yard? See those shrubs and flowers you spent so much time and effort to plant / have planted? Ever wonder why you do these things just to have the inevitable ice storm or heavy snow destroy all your hard work? These things need help. They can’t come inside and warm up their roots or have a Fireball Hot Toddy to keep warm (please do not do a Fireball soil drench around the roots). It sounds weird, but imagine the stress they go through on a seasonal basis. If you care for your landscape (which let’s face it, we all do), you want it to look great. Trees, shrubs, flowers, turf, and the rest of your landscape provide more benefits than you might realize:
- social benefits: trees help people feel peaceful and more relaxed, as well as having the ability to aid in recovery after medical procedures.
- economic benefits: healthy trees can add to your property’s value (while unhealthy can detract, but more on that later), lower air conditioning costs in the summer, and providing a windbreak in the winter months.
- environmental benefits: trees sequester carbon (this should be reason enough to protect/maintain/plant trees), providing shade for homeowners as well as your roof, reducing urban heat islands (see image below for more info on this), reducing stormwater runoff, and again, acting as a windbreak.
Ok Brian, why am I reading this and what does this have to do with PHC and this winter season??? - I’m about to stop reading this if you don’t keep me interested.
Ok so here it is - the meat and the potatoes of the newsletter - we need to protect our trees for many reasons (see above if you skipped past that part), especially during the winter. What can you do to protect your trees, landscape, community, and overall environment during these winter months? Here are some quick tips that should help you retain your growing property and increase the health of your landscape this coming growing season:
1. Snow and mulch act as insulators around your trees (yes snow sucks so come get some mulch from the Oak Bros TreeCycle facility at 14658 E. 925 North Rd. Bloomington, IL 61705). Mulch should be around 2-4 inches thick and away from the base of your tree. Call ISA Certified Arborist, local legend, and mulch king Jon Berry at (309) 392-4127 to schedule your pickup (or potential delivery) of locally produced mulch.
2. If you recently planted a tree this past growing season, be sure to look at the soil around the base of the trunk. If the soil is cracked, chances are the roots could be affected by cold air and ice (think of it as a hole in your boots). Fill those holes with soil and cover with mulch.
3. If you are fortunate enough to read this before we have a hard freeze, water the area surrounding your tree to give it a drink to reduce frost penetration into the root zone.
4. For those of you homeowners out there with Arborvitae and other evergreen shrubs that turn light brown in the late winter, consider a burlap covering for the shrubs, creating a wind barrier and to regulate temperature. Please contact our office if you need further direction on this process.
5. I’m sure most of us remember the ice storm from New Year’s Day 2021. Lots of ice and weight on branches. Trees in the area took a beating. We can’t stop mother nature, but we can proactively prune weak branches, install cabling and bracing systems, and offer advice on options for you, the homeowner.
6. We live in central Illinois. We use a lot of salt. Consider using alternative methods of de icing your driveway and sidewalk if you have seen issues in the past. Also, certain species of trees have an uncanny ability to process and are salt tolerant. Bald Cypress is an awesome example (and is my second favorite tree).
Finally getting to the Plant Health Care part, I promise.
Plant Health Care is awesome. I enjoy protecting assets. I DO NOT enjoy replacing boxwoods after leaf miners and psyllids destroy them, removing susceptible trees because Japanese Beetles are a scurge on this earth, wasting planted material because it has been the subject of an all you can eat buffet from our local pest populations, or seeing anymore girdling roots on 20 year old Red Maples in front yard landscapes, and so on. You name it, I have probably seen it in town. Have something I have never seen before? Schedule an appointment and prove it!
Rough and brutally honest? I know. Sorry.
Good news is that we can help! Hope is not lost. I can spray that Crab Apple that always somehow has brown spots on it’s leaves and drops the foliage in July. Easy. I can help those trees that insects love. Easy. I can help girdling roots around trees. Fun and dirty. Tree need constant pruning to keep it away from your house and roof? We have growth regulators for that. I can help. Just give us a call.
I love trees and want you to love them just as much as I do. I know you can do it. Am I passionate about trees and benefits they provide, and wish there were more? Of course. Do I look at trees around town, annoy my wife pointing out issues and diseases along the way and wishing I could help them? Ask her, but her answer would be yes.