Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost to take down a tree?

Costs to remove a tree depend on the size, location, access and difficulty to remove the tree related to structures, improvements or valuable landscaping directly beneath the crown of the tree.

What is the green stuff growing on the bark of my tree?

Lichens are associations of a fungus and an algae or bacterium that can produce food for the fungus. Usually the Lichens are green colored and growing on the bark of a tree, or sometimes surrounding rocks and soil. Lichens are not harmful to trees. It is sometimes said that Lichens always grow on the north side of a tree so that you might find your way if you were lost. There are more reliable methods to find your way.

What about the white stuff on the bark of my tree?

The reproductive parts of wood decay fungus sometimes shows up as white, brown or tan colored growths on the bark. Usually by the time you see this growth, the woody tissue it is growing on is dead tissue. The treatment recommended is removal of the infected part of the tree. When the stem or base of the tree is involved it might be wise to remove the whole tree as much of the tree is either dead or soon will be. There is no known treatment to remove fungus successfully from the stem of a tree.

What is the shiny sticky stuff on my leaves, and awning and car?

Trees will normally transpire during hot summer days, sometimes dripping sap as they try to cool off. This sometimes leaves a residue on surfaces beneath the tree. Excess amounts of sap can occur when aphids or other insects with sucking/piercing mouthparts are at work on your tree. These insects will draw sap out of the tree and pass excess sap through their bodies leaving anything below covered in stick sap. This sap often draws other insects, including wasps and bees who are eager for an easy meal. In addition, molds can grow on this sugary substrate making awnings and cars not only sticky but discolored and hard to clean.

What are those little brown dots on my car and house?

Artillery fungus is responsible for depositing small brown dots on anything near enough to be peppered by this nuisance fungus. The fungus is associated with hardwood mulch. It is hard to predict if the mulch is going to be a problem or not, but once the ‘dots appear

Can I have work done on my tree without a permit?

Some municipalities have zoning ordinances that require owners of trees to take out a permit before having any work done. Often the jurisdiction is limited to street trees, but in some cases can include trees beyond rights of way. It’s best to check as zoning ordinances are frequently updated and changed.

I see ants. Are they hurting my tree?

No. Ants are generally present when there is a cavity in a tree and it is a suitable place to make a home. Ants if they are present are not going to damage live tissue, although they might hollow out a spot where fungus has already decayed the wood.

Why are my leaves curling up?

Leaves can curl on a tree for a number of reasons. Aphids and other insects will cause leaves to curl if they are sucking sap out of the leaf. Certain fungus diseases will curl leaves, as will droughty conditions. Broadleaf weed killers often used on lawns to kill weeds can curl leaves as they are forming if there is an application that was applied nearby.

Why are my needles turning brown?

Browning needles on evergreens can be caused by disease or insect and mite damage. Normally there will be a pattern of browning that will indicate whether it id a fungus or an insect. The time of year when symptoms show up can also be an indicator. This kind of damage can usually be controlled, but should be controlled as soon as it is spotted.

What about the hole in my tree?

Cavities in trees are generally a result of mechanical damage or tissue death with subsequent fungal infestation and decay of woody tissue. Treatments that are no longer recommended included so called surgery (hence the name ‘tree surgeons’) to remove suspected pathogens in surrounding tissue. This is no longer done because the fungus that is responsible includes vegetative growth that has grown far past observable decayed tissue. Cavities are best left untreated. If the cavity is too large and has weakened a tree creating a hazardous condition, the tree or branch affected should be removed.

Is my tree too tall?

Trees have evolved over many eons and generally grow in a manner that is safe. Although some trees are affected with conditions that create hazards, being too tall is not one of them. While any tree has some risk associated with it, cutting the tree, or topping it, to make it a shorter tree is not recommended.

Is it bad for water to be getting into my tree?

No. Water often found in crotch formations where a cavity has formed is not harmful to the tree. Most wood decay fungi are aerobic and need air. Water acts as to prevent decay. In addition, your tree if it is alive is a conduit for water as the living cells in the tree need water to stay alive.

Shouldn’t the pruning cuts made when you remove a limb be painted with something?

No. That is old technology that has not been practiced since the 1970’s. Dr. Alex Shigo, who was chief scientist for the U.S. Forest Service, concluded after studying tree response to wounding, that the wound dressings available were ineffective in preventing infection from decay fungi.

What is the right time of year to have my tree pruned?

Most trees can be pruned at any time of the year. Certain ornamental species require pruning during periods of time when they will not be susceptible to fireblight. Fruit bearing and flowering species require pruning at particular times of the year that will optimize fruit or flower production.

How often should my tree be pruned?

Recommendations for maintenance pruning for shade trees will generally be approximately every four years. Pruning is a health maintenance treatment, and as such will help the tree in conserving energy and lessen the probability of insect and disease infestation. In addition a well pruned tree will be more aesthetically pleasing and be less of a hazard in the landscape. Of course some tree owners will prune more frequently while others less frequently, depending on budget and personal preference.

Ornamental trees should be pruned more frequently to maintain their appearance and maximize flowering.

Should my hedge be trimmed every year?

Yearly trimming of a hedge is best to keep it properly sized, protect it from winter damage and to optimize fullness. Every two years is alright but going beyond two years will begin to affect the appearance and jeopardize the longevity.

 

What are those little bags that look like pine cones hanging on my tree?

Bagworms will form a cocoon that is made from the host plant and when the host plant is an evergreen the cocoons can be mistaken for cones. Bagworms are potentially damaging insects to many trees but especially to evergreens, most frequently spruces and Arborvitae. They can be controlled with the properly timed application of a pesticide. If not they can seriously damage an evergreen in one season.

Do I need to spray my tree every year to keep pests from damaging it?

To best protect your tree from damage the answer is yes. Trees and pests have evolved together and have life cycles that coincide and are recurring on an annual basis.

How should my tree be pruned?

Properly. Your best guarantee of proper pruning is to contract the service with qualified, certified arborists who are also fully insured. At Wolf Tree Specialists you can be assured that your trees will always be treated professionally. See the Credentials section of this website.

Why should my tree be pruned?

Trees in nature often are never pruned. Some trees will be ok and have long lives. But, all trees are not equal. Some landscape trees , especially when it is yours will look better and be much healthier when cared for regularly. Your trees when properly cared for will be an asset in your landscape and will contribute significantly to the value of your real estate.

What are the holes in my leaves?

Do trees heal?

No. Trees do not have a healing process as found in animals and humans. Trees are generating systems, producing new tissue each year from the cambium layer and animals are regenerating systems, regenerating tissue at the wound site in the same spatial location as before the wound occurred. This fact is the guiding principle in choosing how and where to prune a branch on a tree.

 

Does my tree need to be fertilized?

Trees need certain macro and micronutrients to be healthy. When trees grow in natural environments nutrients are usually replenished each year through decomposition of organic matter. Trees located in our landscapes are usually growing in sites that include grassy areas where leaves and other organic materials are routinely raked and disposed. Adding fertilizer will stimulate growth and vitality. This is best accomplished using a procedure that injects the nutrient mix below the surface to avoid burning the turf and when applied with the proper amount of pressure will restructure compacted soil providing an improved root zone for the tree. Fertilizing is normally recommended on an annual basis as nitrogen, the primary nutrient is leached from the soil each year.

Grass grows in Kansas?

Yes, grass grows in Kansas, and trees grow in Pennsylvania. When you try to combine the two in one landscape there will be some conflicts. This is one of the main reasons that trees need care. Grass needs special soil and growing conditions. Often those conditions are different from what our landscape trees need. Understanding this fact forms the basis for Wolf Tree Specialists tree health recommendations.

If a tree expert says he has insurance, does that mean he does?

Not necessarily. It’s always better to ask for a ‘certificate of insurance’, which will tell you if a contractor has proper insurance (workers compensation and liability) as of the date of the certificate. Seeing a policy only tells you that at some time in the past the contractor had insurance but doesn’t tell you if the insurance is still in effect.

What kind of background and training should an arborist have?

ISA Certification is a great starting point. At least the contractor has been through the testing procedure and has demonstrated a minimum level of knowledge regarding proper tree care. Formal education at a college or university with a degree in Horticulture, Arboriculture or Forestry is preferred and demonstrates knowledge, ability, and commitment to the science and study of trees.

Does it matter how my tree is pruned?

Yes. Without a doubt, tree pruning can be the best thing that happens to your tree or the worst. An amateur can quickly ruin what nature has taken a long time to form. Having your tree professionally pruned by a trained arborist is the best way to be sure your tree is being pruned properly.

Should my tree be topped?

No. Topping hurts trees. It permanently disfigures the crown and introduces many wounds which will cause much unnecessary damage to the tree. Most trees do not need to be reduced in size and it is usually a waste of money to top a tree. Proper pruning will cost less and have much better results.

What is wrong with topping trees?

Topping is the indiscriminate cutting back of a tree’s branches with regard only to the amount of reduction to be done. The wounds created by topping introduce decay at the wounding site, which will permanently weaken the branch, increasing the possibility of failure in the future. In addition, when the crown of the tree is dramatically reduced, the tree loses much energy-making ability, which will affect tree vitality, the tree’s ability to defend itself from pathogens and root growth. Topping also normally costs more than proper pruning. So you pay more money to ruin your tree. That’s why you shouldn’t top your tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolf Tree Specialists  |  575 Blandon Road  |  Fleetwood, PA 19522  |  ph 610.944.5644  |  fx 610.944.8856  |