San Diego Tree Care

When the summer arrives in San Diego, some trees and plants may fare well, but others, unfortunately, succumb to the summer heat. While coastal San Diego communities have little to worry about with heat-related tree “fatalities,” inland neighborhoods such as El Cajon and Santee, typically have about four months of high temperatures in the 80’s, 90’s, and 100’s. Many people can shelter indoors to enjoy the cool AC or take a dip in the pool or beach — but what about the trees?

Trees and plants suffer in high temperatures for two short and simple main reasons:

  1. lack of water
  2. small root system

Which trees are most vulnerable in the summer?

NEW TRANSPLANTS. Trees that have just been planted into the ground have a smaller root system that is limited to the size of the container they came in. When you first plant a tree, you may notice…well nothing. No growth. Nothing during the first year. And nothing much in the second year. Nada! That is because the growing action is occurring underground with the roots. In order for the new tree to survive and thrive, its roots will need expand well beyond its current space. Roots are opportunistic and will grow where the nutrients and water are available. Please see the following section on how to properly water new trees.

POTTED TREES. The roots of these trees have the unfortunate disadvantage of not being able to travel past its borders. They’re stuck! So potted trees need extra love and care in the summer heat. Depending on the species, some trees need to be watered daily — sometimes even twice a day when the heat gets extreme. A general rule of thumb is to water when the first inch of soil is dry in the pot.

SICK OR INFESTED TREES. When a tree is inflicted with disease or pests, then high temperatures will just be added stress to an already struggling organism. Therefore, it’s important to make attempts to manage any tree infestation or infection before the summer heat arrives. If you suspect that your tree may be suffering from disease or pests, please contact LC Tree Service for information on our Tree Health Care treatments, so we can help you get your trees healthy again.

How can you help your trees in the heat?

PLANTING SEASON. First of all, if you are planting new trees onto your property, avoid doing so in the summer. The fall and the spring are the best times of the year to add any new additions to your landscape since they have less extreme temperatures. The ground also tends to be moister in the spring, thus aiding in root expansion. Remember, that roots will go where the nutrients and water supply are, so if a large expansion of the ground around the tree is damp, the roots will have an easier time growing outward.

WATER APPROPRIATELY. Make sure to provide plenty of water for your trees in high temperatures, especially new trees. You need to make sure that the roots do not dry out. The best time to water is in the morning to give the roots more time to soak up the water. As for the amount of water, there is a popular general rule-of-thumb among arborists of providing one gallon for every inch in trunk diameter in the tree’s drip zone. If you do the math, a 2-inch diameter tree will need 20 gallons of water. Yes, that’s a lot of water! At medium pressure, a hose will spray out roughly 10 gallons of water every five minutes. Therefore, to adequately water this tree, it would take 10 minutes! However, we have seen trees thrive without this amount of watering, and we recommend that you gauge how your tree is doing. If your tree appears to be suffering, then water more. But if it is green and healthy, then maintain your current watering amount and schedule. To keep it simple without having to do any trunk measurements and calculations — water deep. This is why slower is better. Rather than watering with a hose, we recommend setting up a drip line or soaker hose under the tree’s drip zone, which is the area under the tree’s canopy. This efficiently maximizes the amount of water that is soaked into the ground and made available for the roots. An excessive shower of water from a hose could just result in wasted runoff. Plus, who wants to hold a hose for an hour to water all of their trees?

Newly-planted trees should be watered daily for the first two weeks after being planted. Then 1-2 times a week for the next 10 weeks. It can take 2-3 growing seasons for a tree’s roots to expand outside of its “comfort zone,” so until then keep the water in fairly close proximity to the tree since the roots are clustered around its root ball. Mature trees only need to be watered twice a month, possibly more during extreme heat.

MULCH. Spreading mulch around trees can be very beneficial, especially for young trees. When a tree is well-mulched, the soil around the tree is slightly cooler in the summer. And since direct sunlight on the soil is prevented with a mulch cover, water retention is improved. When applying, overmulching is possible. A tree only needs about 2-3 inches of mulch. Anything more would absorb too much of the water that is meant for the tree and it could also choke the tree’s roots. However, a proper amount of mulch has many benefits including improving root growth, moderating soil temperature in the heat (as well as in the cold), increasing nutrient levels, and preventing soil compaction.

CAMBISTAT. Arborists nationwide have a brilliant trick up their sleeves. Its name — Cambistat. Primarily used as a growth regulator for mature trees and other plants, Cambistat can reduce tree growth by up to 70% over a 3-year timespan. It works by inhibiting the tree’s growth hormone called gibberellin. By doing so, the tree is able to focus its energy on other aspects, such as fine root growth, which aide the tree in water and nutrient absorption. Other effects include greener foliage, increased disease resistance, and greater heat and drought tolerance. While it seems counterintuitive to use a growth regulator on a young tree, as mentioned before, new transplants don’t grow much above ground anyways in the first couple of years so they can focus on root growth. So having Cambistat applied would only supercharge the much-needed root expansion.

LC Tree Service



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Trees can be a prized addition to any property, especially when they are large, mature, and well-maintained. Most people plant young, smaller trees on their property to save money and simply wait for the tree to grow to an ideal size, since transplanting a mature tree has a hefty price tag! Depending on the size of the tree, it can cost several $100,000. Yikes!

So when your cherished investment that you’ve been watching grow for the past 10 or 20 years starts to show signs of an infection or pest infestation, what should you do? IS there anything you can do to save your tree from further decline? The answer can be “yes” or “no.” The key is early detection. If an invading virus, bacteria, fungus, or pest has penetrated too deeply into the tree’s system, the extensive damage has been done and the only recommendation would be a tree removal. However, if the invaders are caught “red-handed” early on, then controlling, even eradicating them, is much more simple. Thankfully, there are several evident signs that you can look out for.



When a tree is struggling with sickness or infestation, one of first signs that a property owner will notice is the change in the tree’s leaves. Nutrients are being robbed or nutrient absorption is hindered by the damage that is inflicted by the invaders. As a result, the tree’s foliage starts to die back and lose its color. This can be a tricky indicator source for an untrained eye, however, during the fall and winter months, since that is the time of the year when the leaves from deciduous trees naturally die off. Occasionally, we’ve received an inquiry from someone wanting their “dying” tree removed for safety concerns—when really it was winter, and the tree was simply doing what trees do in the winter. When deciduous trees start to go into hibernation, the discoloration in their foliage tends to spread throughout the entire canopy fairly quickly compared to that of an infested or infected tree. You should also note that evergreen trees shouldn’t have patches of browning foliage, as they are meant to stay green all year round. Therefore, using this indicator for evergreens, like pine trees, is more clear-cut than it would be for deciduous trees.


Leakage from a tree is indicative of an injury, which could be a non-issue or a big issue. Anytime a tree loses a limb from a trimming or natural causes, it sustains an injury, which can cause it to bleed or leak sap. Typically, a tree will seal up its injuries—the same way our bodies heal up cuts. However, unlike the human body, trees do not heal—they seal. They do not repair the injury from the inside out, but instead compartmentalize the wound and form new callus tissue around and over the injury.

WETWOOD, or slime flux is a very common bacterial infection found in many trees. Oftentimes it can be found at the crotch of tree due to cracks in the wood or at a pruning site. But sometimes it be found just about anywhere on a tree. The bacteria makes its way into the heartwood and sapwood, typically through root injury. It, then, does its little thing, causing gas buildup. This increase in pressure pushes the sap out through any little crack or weak spot on the tree’s outer layers. Unfortunately, there are no known treatments for slime flux. But thankfully, it’s an infection that isn’t a big deal. Occasionally, it can have detrimental effects on an unhealthy tree—but for the majority of affected trees, it’s harmless.

BORING BEETLES are to blame for many sap leaks found in trees, especially in San Diego’s oaks and pines. Any tree that already has leaking sap is an easy target for these invaders, because it signals an easy entrance in, and it could also indicate that the tree has a weaker defense system. If beetles don’t enter through an already-existing wound, then they’ll eat their way through the bark to make a new home for their upcoming brood of cute little larva babies. Once the larvae are fully mature, they bore their way all the way out of the tree, leaving behind exit wounds or D-shaped holes. If the infestation is new, then the exist wounds may leak sap, which is still a good sign that the tree is still vivacious enough to try to defend itself. However, if a tree contains a number of dry holes that aren’t leaking, then it’s an unfortunate sign that the tree has been under attack for quite some time. The key to avoiding a beetle infestation from killing your tree is early detection. Spot a few holes, your tree may be okay. Spot more than a dozen, then contact LC Tree Service immediately for a consultation and possible treatment plan.


Mushrooms on a plate of spaghetti—a great addition! Mushrooms at the base of a tree trunk—BAD!

Mushrooms, or conks, are the fruiting body of a fungus. While not all mushrooms are equally damaging to a tree, most are an external sign that something detrimental has already been going on internally or underground within the tree’s roots. Some fungi go directly for the roots, while others enter the tree through exterior wounds on the trunk or limbs that are caused by any number of sources, including tree trimming, cracks in the bark, blades from a lawnmower, or any other means of damage. Then the real impairment begins as the fungus releases an enzyme that breaks down the tree’s tissue to begin eating away at a seemingly unending source of food.

If the tree’s roots and/or base have been under fungal attack, then it makes the tree a likely candidate for breaking and falling—or what is known as tree failure. While fungicide treatments can slow down the spread of the fungus, in most cases where mushrooms are present (especially at the base), the tree is beyond repair due to the extensive internal damage that has already been done. If the foundation of the tree has been compromised, then unfortunately, the safest measure would be a tree removal.


If you notice a white powdery substance on your tree’s leaves, have no fear—it is a common fungal disease that is easy to remedy. The powder is the result of airborne fungal spores that spread with the wind to look for new trees to inflict. When a tree has been infected, white to grey fuzzy blotches appear not only on the leaves, but also on the stems and buds. This is a tree infection that is unavoidable in many parts of the world and can strike almost any tree. However, the most preferred tree species include oaks, dogwood, magnolia, maple, azaleas, lilacs, and crape myrtle.

The fungus thrives in humidity and in temperatures above 60 degrees—although it can still be found in arid climates as well. In the winter, it lies dormant, and it is awakened by the warmer spring temperatures. Growing season! New spores are produced in the dampness of the night, which are then carried off during the day by the wind. This process continues as long as the humidity levels and temperatures are high enough.

While the fungi that cause powdery mildew are hard to avoid, there are steps that you can take to prevent your trees from being infected.

  • Plant trees in areas with plenty of sunshine to aide in keeping its foliage dry.
  • Avoid wetting the foliage in the late afternoon.
  • Keep trees well-trimmed to help increase air circulation and light penetration.
  • Plant trees with plenty of space in between trees to help avoid cross-infection.
  • If planting a new tree, consider a less-susceptible tree species.

Fortunately, this fungus is one that can be controlled with proper fungicide. Please contact us, if you notice leaf powder on your trees to avoid spread and leaf distortion.


All trees shed off their bark and crack to some degree. It’s simply their natural process of growing out of their skin. It could even just be the tree suffering from extreme elements, such as frost or extreme heat—in which some tender love and care to bring them back to a healthy state.

Some trees shed more than others, like the melaleuca tree that is so common to see in San Diego. This is a local tree that is ALWAYS shedding off its bark in a unique fashion that looks like paper peeling off, hence giving it its nickname—the paperbark tree. The various eucalyptus trees around the city are also notorious for molting. However, if a hardwood tree such as a pine has loose bark that comes off with a slight tug, then there is an underlying issue that should be inspected by a tree professional.

To better decipher whether your tree is going through its normal exfoliation process, look to see if there is a layer of fresh bark behind the shedding layer. If so, then that is a good sign that your is simply shedding. But if you see bare wood that has a fuzzy fungus or lighter-colered wiggly lines, then you have an issue. Your tree is suffering from either a fungal infection or a beetle infestation.

DISEASE. A common culprit for peeling bark on trees is a fungal disease called Hypoxylon canker. Its most popular victim is the oak tree, although different
Hypoxylon species will affect different host trees of choice. Being a fungus, it spreads through aerial spores, but will only cause harm to weak and stressed trees that are easy prey. Healthy trees typically have no issue defending themselves against Hypoxylon. In fact, many healthy trees already have the fungus on their outer bark, but they won’t be affected unless their natural defense mechanisms are compromised by factors such as malnutrition, drought, heat, insect attacks, etc.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Hypoxylon canker. Because the fungus lives in the interior of a tree, once the infection become evident from the outside, the irreversible damage has already been done. The typical protocol would be a removal of infected limbs or removal of the entire tree, especially if the fungus has affected the trunk.

BEETLE INFESTATIONS are a common cause for loose bark, especially with the pines in San Diego. The beetles feed mainly on the tree’s sapwood located just beneath the bark. This eventually causes the bark to loosen up and fall. Boring holes in the trunk are a tell-tale sign that the tree is infected with beetles, but for curiosity’s sake, if you wish to see their burrows, you can try peeling off a section of the bark—which will uncover a chaotic mess of the beetles’ burrowing lines. Take note though that if you are able to peel off the bark that easily, then the tree is beyond saving.

LC Tree Service




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Rain and wind in San Diego!  It’s that time of the year when the residents of San Diego either get excited about finally getting a change in the weather or they find it distressing that their “perfect” sunny weather is getting disrupted.  San Diego’s storm season typically occurs during the cooler months of December through March.  While our storms are mild and cannot compare to the blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tumultuous lightning storms that take place throughout much of the country, our winter weather is still capable of causing its share of damage.

Unfortunately when the rain and winds push through San Diego, it is common to see trees topple on top of homes and other structures and our city roads.   It doesn’t even take much for trees to start falling around our county.  Depending on the tree and its circumstances, sometimes a slight gust will give it just the right push to expose its weakness.  While some arborists disagree over whether some species are more prone to failure than others, the fact is that any tree has the potential to fall without any prior indication — even seemingly healthy trees.

The leading reason for tree failure lies in the combination of the tree’s weight and root structure.  The denser the canopy of the tree and/or the larger and heavier the trunk, then the more weight the roots are required to support.  The roots play a vital role in anchoring a tree, and when they are compromised by variables such as urban development, fungus, disease, and age, then a massive 70-ft tree per se will end up being more sensitive to the power of the wind.


If you are an unfortunate property owner with an unexpected fallen tree, the first step you should make is to ensure that everyone in the house or building is safe and take immediate medical action if any injuries were incurred.  If the breakage poses any harm, such as broken glass or broken electrical wiring, then everyone should keep their distance or evacuate until the damage is inspected by trained professionals.

Once necessary medical attention is taken, then the next step is to either contact your insurance company or LC Tree Service to have a professional come assess the situation.  We are available for emergency tree removals at all hours of the day or night.  We even welcome you to contact other tree service companies, just to ensure that your property is taken care of as soon as possible and that you receive the best quote and service in such a dire situation.


It is important to call a reputable company that has experience in emergency situations and in dealing with insurance companies.  Hiring a licensed and insured tree company is a necessity, since emergency tree removals tend to be more hazardous than typical tree removals.  Let’s face it — most tree projects don’t require safely cutting and discarding the trunk of a massive tree that has crashed through a roof and is currently hanging out in someone’s living room.  Different protocols need to be undertaken, which experienced tree companies know and can execute as safely as possible.

In an emergency tree situation, never choose a tree service company that requires an upfront payment.  These types of tree removals can be extremely difficult.  And shamefully, it is not unheard of for a tree contractor to give up and walk away from a job.  You shouldn’t be required to pay for the job until it is completed.  That way you can trust that even when the job gets tough, your tree trimmers will press on and do what it takes to get the job done.

Emergency tree removals tend to be more expensive than other tree projects.  This is due to multiple reasons.  Emergencies require quick and immediate action, so scheduled jobs need to be moved around in order to accommodate a more pressing job.  Occasionally, tree emergency calls come in the middle of the night, and depending the the urgency of the situation, we may come out to assess the scene immediately.  Then if the removal needs prompt action, our removal crew will reassemble during the night hours, if necessary, to start the job.  Otherwise, jobs that have high-alert status will be performed at the very start of the day.  Another factor that leads to higher pricing involves the more hazardous nature of the project.  The higher the risk, the higher the cost.  Certain scenarios also require the use of heavy machinery, such as cranes, which adds the to the final quote of the job.


People tend to act quickly during emergency tree situations.  Most tend to hire the first tree trimmer that they make contact with, while some gather multiple bids and go with the lowest bidder.  However, the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid.  It is helpful to do some background research on the tree company and ask questions.  While it doesn’t pertain to all, some tree service companies are able to charge lower rates because of the lack of proper insurance and worker’s compensation.  Others may the lack emergency tree experience, therefore resulting in an underbid.  In this scenario, they may either raise the quote in the middle of the project or just take a loss on the job (hashtag learning lesson).

Instead, we encourage you to go with the company that you trust the most to perform the job properly and professionally — one that is licensed, insured, experienced, and recommended by others.  Sometimes that may be the lowest bidder.  But sometimes — hopefully not — it may be the highest.   While our emergency tree removals are higher priced, LC Tree Service likes to stay on the competitive, yet reasonable, edge with our rates.



Contacting your insurance company is one the first steps you should make.  Most recommend that you contact them first, but in many of our emergency jobs, our customers chose to contact a tree company first.  We would imagine that removing an unwelcome tree guest out of their home would be first on someone’s mind before the need for placing an insurance claim.  Either way, whether you choose to call a tree service company first or your insurance company, it needs to be done immediately.  It is important to know what your insurance will cover and what their policy is regarding vendor payments.  You will need to know whether your insurance covers both the removal of the tree from structures and the ground or if it only covers removal from structures.  Then depending on your policy, payment will either be handled 1)directly from the consumer to vendor, 2)from the insurance company to consumer to vendor, or 3)directly to the vendor from the insurance company.


If your tree falls on your neighbor’s property, or vice-versa — your neighbor’s tree falls on your property, the same steps should be taken.  Both parties’ insurance companies need to be contacted and a tree service company needs to be contacted either by you or your neighbor.  Each homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage caused to their client’s property.  Then the neighbor’s insurance company (if your tree fell on their property) will later file a subrogation claim with your insurance company to recoup the cost caused by your tree failure.


It is important to keep your tree trimmed on a regular basis (every 1-2 years contingent on the species).  Unmaintained trees with a dense canopy have more surface area for wind push.  However, certain species, like the Ficus benjamina, usually possess dense canopies — but by nature, they also grow some of the sturdiest roots in San Diego.  Therefore in most cases, you would be okay having a dense ficus in your backyard, as long as it has sufficient growing room for its roots.  Other trees, like the eucaplytus, should be monitored regularly when they’re at a mature height and kept well-trimmed, as their roots are more shallow than other species.

If you have a large leaning tree, especially one that is situated on a slope, it is more important to monitor it and maintain a light canopy.  Having a leaning trunk with a heavy top only imposes more stress on the roots to keep it upright.  Some leaning trees fare just fine, however others with a weaker root system eventually fall under the pressure.  So if you have a tree that is leaning towards your home or building, or your neighbor’s property, then to stay on the safe side, it would even be wise to have it removed.

While it is easy to monitor how top-heavy a tree is, analyzing the roots is a bit trickier.  Thankfully, there are signs that you can look out for.

  • If mushrooms are visible at the base of the trunk or anywhere underneath the tree’s canopy, then this is a sign that fungal growth is rotting away the tree’s roots.
  • If your tree is diseased or old and nearing the end of its life cycle, then the entire framework is weakening, including its root system.
  • Make sure that your large mature tree has plenty of room for root growth.  If it is close to any development (i.e. roads, homes, buildings, pavement) then chances are that its anchoring system is compromised, therefore increasing its chances of failure.
LC Tree Service



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Flush Cuts – Improper Tree Trimming Techniques


Tree trimming is an essential component of tree care in an urban setting. Limbs need to be removed over streets and sidewalks, away from roofs and gutters, or even in the yard if the homeowner needs to be able to walk under the tree. Removing these limbs may seem straightforward, and one might be tempted to remove them in such a way that it appears the limb never existed, by way of cutting it completely flush with the trunk. This is what we call a “flush cut” and it is an improper pruning technique that can cause serious harm to your tree. 

Trees have a response to wounding, coined “Compartmentalization of Decay in Trees” or “CODIT.” A tree “walls” off decay in four layers of bark tissue, preventing decay from moving vertically, radially and tangentially. When a wound occurs naturally, the tree gets to work using its own defense mechanism to keep decay-causing fungi from spreading. When a wound occurs during routine tree pruning (yes – it’s a still a wound!), a trained arborist can take steps to ensure the tree is given its best shot at using its CODIT system.

Maintaining the branch collar is critical in tree pruning and allows the tree to form a proper callus around the wound. The illustration to the right shows a clear swelling of tissue at the branch collar as the tree is preparing to shed a dead limb naturally. Trees know what they’re doing! When we prune live limbs, we can use this as a model for where to make our cut – by not cutting into the branch collar. The branch bark ridge is not always obvious, and when it is not easy to identify the collar, we consider it best practice to come away from the trunk slightly. It would be better to leave more of a stub than it would be to cut into the branch collar. 

In general (and certainly not in all cases), a proper pruning cut will result in a circular wound or as close to a circle as possible. In the photos, you can see the elliptical shape of the cut where the flush cut was made parallel to the trunk, but not perpendicular to the branch, resulting in a vertical ellipse where we can see the branch collar was removed. 

If you are unsure where you make a proper pruning cut, it’s best to consult a certified arborist. You can read more about DIY Pruning in a previous blog post.


  • Compartmentalization of Decay in Trees, Bartlett Tree Experts
  • University of Iowa Extension & Outreach,collar%20and%20branch%20bark%20ridge.

Choosing the right tree pruning method for your tree

Proper maintenance is essential if you want healthy and happy trees growing in your backyard. There are many tasks you can do throughout the year to ensure your trees continue to thrive. Pest control and fertilising the soil are two options. But one task that tends to get neglected by tree owners is pruning.

Tree pruning is essential for improving your tree’s structure and encouraging newer and healthier growth. What you probably didn’t know is that there are different types of tree pruning methods that can be used for your tree. Each method has its pros and cons and it’s up to you or a professional tree care expert to choose the right one.

But before we go into the different methods of tree pruning let’s clarify the definition. Tree pruning involves selectively removing branches from a tree. This removal of branches is usually done for one of two reasons; hazard reduction and maintenance. Ultimately, tree pruning is done to support the health of the tree while protecting you and your property from any potential damage.

Knowing what your tree needs is crucial for keeping it in healthy shape. Here we’ll cover the essentials when it comes to choosing the right tree pruning method for your tree. It may need a prune for maintenance or some hazardous branches that pose a safety risk. Whatever the reason, we’ll cover them here so you can make a more informed decision about tree pruning techniques.

The different types of tree pruning

Professional arborists and tree surgeons classify their tree pruning techniques and methods by where they are removing the tree’s branches from. The area of the tree where all the main branches grow into is called the crown. The area of the crown where branches are being removed from is what professionals use to define the different types of tree pruning techniques they are doing.

Crown lifting

For this method of tree pruning, the lower branches of the crown are removed. This is a common choice for tree care professionals looking to remove branches that may be obstructing paths or roads. The lower branches of a tree tend to be bigger. So removing them results in larger wounds which can have an adverse effect on the health of the tree. The lower branches usually play a crucial role in preventing a tree from swaying in high winds. Large tree wounds can also make your tree more vulnerable to pests.

Crown thinning

This tree pruning method involves removing branches from all over the crown. There is no particular area of the crown with a heavy focus here. This method aims to increase light penetration and air circulation throughout the tree’s crown. It is important to ensure that not too many branches are removed in this process. Small diameter branches should be the main focus. Removing too many large branches from the centre of the tree can also result in poor structure. Over time, if you only have long thin branches remaining, the tree’s swaying won’t be dampened and this can put extra stress on it during windy weather.

Crown reduction

For a crown reduction, the aim is to reduce the overall size of the tree’s crown. All branches are shortened to help reduce the growth point of the tree. This is a popular option when a tree care professional is trying to reduce the space a tree stands in. For example, if a tree is growing in the corner of a backyard, there’s only a small perimeter it has for growth before the branches start obtruding over the fence and into the neighbour’s yard where they shouldn’t be. A crown reduction can help alleviate this issue.

Clearance tree pruning

Clearance pruning is another great option for trees that are physically obstructing objects around them. In some cases, a tree’s branches may be growing too close to electrical wires and other house features like the gutter. Some branches may simply be growing over the fence. This pruning method involves only removing the branches responsible for obstructing or growing over certain objects around them.

Dead wooding

This tree pruning method involves removing weak branches that are dead, dying or diseased. These branches not only affect the appearance of the tree but also can pose significant risks to safety. If these weak branches remain, they can severely affect the health of the tree. By removing these branches you enable more light to come in through the crown of the tree and support the more healthy growth of newer branches that need it the most.

Formative tree pruning

In a tree’s early years it’s important to do whatever you can to encourage healthier growth in the future. Formative pruning is one of the best ways to do this. During this process, specific branches are removed to prevent structural defects and encourage a healthier and more structurally sound form. By taking care of this process during the early stages of tree development you can help eliminate the need to carry out other tree pruning tasks in the future.

Selective tree pruning

This process of tree pruning is usually done purely for aesthetics. Some branches can have a negative effect on the look of a tree. When a large branch grows out further than others it can throw off the shape and balance of the tree. Ask a professional tree arborist to do this for you, and they will ensure the process is done in a way that won’t diminish your tree’s overall health.

Weight reduction

Throughout a tree’s life, it can start to grow branches that are over-extended, or very end-heavy. When a branch becomes too heavy it can become a safety issue. Weight reduction tree pruning is usually down for lateral branches. Lateral branches are those which grow off the main trunk of the tree. A weight reduction tree prune will help improve the safety of your tree and reduce the risk of weak branches falling off it.

Making the right choice for your tree

Now that you know of the most common tree pruning techniques, it’s time to diagnose your tree. Can you spot any structural issues? Look out for warning signs like dying or lateral branches that have outgrown their welcome. If you’re not confident about diagnosing your tree’s issues then why not call in the experts?

Here at Daryl’s Tree Care, we have a team of qualified and experienced tree arborists that can diagnose any issues your tree may have. With careful consideration, they will choose the right tree pruning techniques for your tree. They understand how important it is that your tree continues to thrive without being a safety risk to your or your neighbours. So if you’re concerned about the safety of your tree then why not give us a call? Our tree care experts can inspect your tree and provide you with a quote.

Call our professional arborists today for a tree pruning quote on 9897 4418.

The post Choosing the right tree pruning method for your tree appeared first on Daryl's Tree Care And Surgery.


How to know when a tree stump removal is necessary

Understanding the benefits of removing a tree stump

To some, a tree stump can be an eyesore. To others, it can be a safety hazard. Whatever you think about the tree stump in your backyard you’re probably wondering why it’s still there. The rest of the tree including the trunk and branches are generally easy to remove. Depending on the size, health and species of the tree, it can be very difficult to remove the stump. Some homeowners choose to leave the tree stump in due to the difficulty of removing it.

A tree stump could be in an awkward position such as the corner of the backyard where it’s right up against the fence. If this is the case it can be very challenging to remove the stump and its roots without damaging the fence in the process. Sometimes it’s more about the cost of removing a tree stump. The tree removal process can be cheaper when the removal of the stump isn’t included in the service fee.

So how do you know when a tree stump removal is necessary for your backyard? It can come down to your personal preferences for the way your backyard looks, pricing for tree removal, and the safety of your backyard. You have to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself when it comes to tree stump removal. To help you make the right decision, we’ll break down what the benefits and disadvantages are for keeping a tree stump or calling on a tree stump removal service.

The look of your garden

A tree stump on its own can become an instant eyesore in your backyard. Especially when it’s standing on its own in the middle of the lawn where everyone can see it. If your tree stump is in a dense, bushy area it may not be so obvious. One way to cover up your unsightly tree stump is to surround it with dense garden features like pot plants, shrubs, bushes, or features like a fountain or garden bench.

Another reason to be concerned with a tree stump is the effect it has on your property’s value. If you’re looking to sell your house then an unsightly tree stump is only going to hamper the look of it. Your backyard can look more unkempt with a tree stump in it. A front garden is often part of a prospective buyer’s first impression when they see a house. So when they spot an unsightly tree stump, it may give them the impression that the house hasn’t been maintained very well.

Causing a safety hazard in your backyard

Many parents appreciate the value of playtime for kids in the backyard. But safety should always be a top priority. As a parent, you want to rest assured that your kids have a backyard to play in that’s free from safety risks. Unfortunately, a tree stump can pose a significant threat to safety in your backyard. It’s easy for anyone to trip and stumble over the root or the tree stump itself.

A tree stump can also be a liability. Imagine a neighbour or local trips over a tree stump in your front yard. You could be deemed liable for the incident and may have to pay for a costly lawsuit if someone sustains injuries from tripping over your tree stump. All of this unnecessary stress can be avoided by simply organising a tree stump removal for your front yard.

A pest control issue waiting to happen

One of the unfortunate issues with dead plants and trees is that they can attract pests. That’s why it’s so important to regularly prune the trees and plants in your backyard. When there’s less dead plant matter, there’s less food for pests and diseases. Unfortunately, dead tree stumps can instantly become a haven for garden pests and diseases.

Carpenter ants, termites, and other insects that feed on the wood are naturally drawn to dead tree stumps. Once these insects make a meal of your tree stump it’s only a matter of time until they make their way over to the healthier plants and trees in your backyard. Their presence in the backyard can also spell bad news for your home. As you’re probably already aware, insects like termites can make the jump from trees to the timber frames of your home.

So without ordering a tree stump removal, you could be putting the structure of your home at risk. If your home is prone to pests like termites and carpenter ants then it’s best to eliminate anything that might attract them in the first place.

Order a tree stump removal from Daryl’s Tree Care today

If you want to avoid all the risks associated with having a tree trunk in your backyard there’s a simple solution you can rely on. Call a tree stump removal expert today. Here at Daryl’s Tree Care, we have the right equipment for carrying out a fast and effective tree stump removal. Our experienced and skilled arborists understand the safest and most effective ways to remove a tree stump without putting the rest of your backyard in harm’s way. Contact us today to get a free quote on a tree stump removal for your backyard.

The post How to know when a tree stump removal is necessary appeared first on Daryl's Tree Care And Surgery.

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Tree Pollarding 101

Tree Pollarding 101 – everything you need to know about pollarding.


If you are looking for ways to keep your landscape and trees looking their best, several key methods can make a huge impact on how your outdoor space looks.

A process called tree pollarding can help to create a lush, beautiful landscape that promotes healthy trees.

Read on to learn more about pollarding trees and what the process entails.


Tree Pollarding Defined

Most people likely have never heard of tree pollarding, but it is an important part of maintaining healthy trees. The process involves cutting young trees and shrubs to the main stem or trunk to control their height.

The plants are not cut at ground level but instead are cut much higher at an average height of around six feet. This process helps to maintain the desired height for your trees while reducing shade and giving the trees a defined silhouette.

Many people opt for tree pollarding to keep taller trees from getting in the way of phone lines or electrical wires. It is also done to trees located close to a home or place of business to reduce the risk of branches breaking and falling onto the roof.

While most typical tree pruning processes remove the lower and crossing limbs of a tree, the pollarding process is a bit different. Pollarding trees is often done when the tree is dormant rather than when it is actively growing. Doing this while a tree is still young or dormant promotes fuller, faster, and greener growth.

In addition to protecting wires, structures, and promoting better growth, tree pollarding may also reduce the risk of fungus and pests. It can also help to protect your trees from various diseases.


How to Pollard a Tree

To pollard a tree effectively, it is best to leave the job to the professionals. They will start by cutting off the central leader of the tree first, then proceed to cut all of the branches around it that are at the same height.

By cutting the top of the tree this way, it shortens the crown of the tree. The gardener will remove lower limbs and any crossing limbs to promote a thicker crown as it grows back.

The younger the tree, the faster the new growth will return, while older trees may take longer to regrow leaves and new branches. By pollarding large young deciduous trees, ensures that they sprout healthily to achieve fuller, greener, and lusher growth.

Once the procedure is complete, most trees will produce “waterspouts” at the various locations where it has been cut. These areas will produce sprouts that should be removed at least once per year or every other year. Eventually, knobs or knuckles will form at these locations and continue to regenerate each year.

The timing of tree pollarding is critical and should be performed during the tree’s dormant season. If the tree is pruned during its growing season, it can stunt the growth, remove its energy source, and inhibit the tree’s ability to re-sprout.

Most tree pollarding is done during the fall or winter months of the year when trees are losing their foliage. This is extremely important because most trees rely on their leaves to help produce energy for healthy growth during the warmer months of spring and summer. Removing sprouts and pollarding too early in the year can cause the tree to stop growing, or even worse – to perish.


A Tradition of Pollarding Trees

Tree pollarding originated in Europe centuries ago, and the original method was done to ensure that more abundant, smaller branches were produced. As a result, these smaller branches were removed and used as fuel or for making items such as woven baskets.

As the branches were consistently cut back, farmers would harvest the slender sprouts and use them as a food source for livestock. These slender sprouts were also utilized to help weave small fences and other structures.

Today, pollarding fruit trees is a popular method to ensure healthy growth. When the tree is pollarded correctly, it encourages more production of fruits for a bountiful harvest.

Many urban areas choose to pollard trees that line busy streets to help control their growth, preventing branches from falling onto power lines and roadways. Cutting trees back can keep them healthy while maintaining them at a smaller, more easily manageable size.

The difference between topping and pollarding trees is that tree pollarding produces large knuckles. These knuckles are the source of new growth each year and can help to ensure that the tree continues to grow healthy in the future. Imagine the knuckles on a tree as large scars that heal while new growth re-sprouts from dormant buds during the springtime.

Topping a tree does not lead to knuckle formation. This process cuts the entire top of the tree off, resulting in a large wound that can cause the tree to die. Ideally, pollarding fruit trees and other species is best to ensure a healthy outcome.


Pollarding: A Unique Technique

Whether you want to encourage healthy growth or remove threatening branches, tree pollarding is a wise way to go. This unique tree-pruning process will ensure that your trees look lush and beautiful for years to come.

Always consult with a professional arborist or landscaper if you are considering using tree pollarding as a method to ensure best results.

For more information about our services or to find out more, contact us today.


Article was written by Conner D.

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Western Hemlock Tree – Tsuga heterophylla

What the Western Hemlock Tree Looks Like

The Western Hemlock tree is a graceful, dense and handsome evergreen belonging to the Pinaceae family. It has soft needles on its drooping branches. Since it is so dense, it casts a heavy shade and there is not much that can live beneath.

Its shape is broadly conical and it has a narrow crown. When Western Hemlock trees are mature, they grow up to 45 metres in height. They grow taller when in their native habitat, however, and grow between 50 and 70 metres tall (165 to 239 ft). In terms of girth, the trunk usually has a diameter measuring up to 2.7 metres (9 ft), making it the largest of the hemlock species. The bark of the Western Hemlock is dark brown with thin and rugged ridges.

The needles of this tree smell similar to grapefruit when they are crushed. They have rounded tips and are flat and soft. The underside of the needles has two white stripes, and they are long when they are on the sides of the twigs than when they are on the top.

The Western Hemlock’s cones don’t have stalks. They are pendulous and small and their scales are flexible, thin and papery. When they are mature they are a grey-brown colour; immature cones are green.

The scientific name for this tree is the Tsuga heterophylla.

This tree is similar to other hemlock spruce trees. It has a similar smell to the herb hemlock, hence its name but it is not related to this highly toxic plant.


History of the Western Hemlock Tree

This species is not native to the United Kingdom; it was introduced here in the 19th century.

Symbolism and mythology associated with the Western Hemlock Tree

There has been an association of the Western Hemlock tree with women among some ancient traditions of North America. The female warriors of the Kwakwaka’wakw people made western hemlock headdresses for their ceremonial dances.

In the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria was a huge fan of Western Hemlock trees. She even asked for the name to be changed to honour her husband Albert. The name Tsuga albertiana was used for a while but now its scientific name is Tsuga heterophylla.

The Western Hemlock tree can live up to 500 years.


Where Can We find Western Hemlock Trees?

As previously mentioned, the Western Hemlock is not native to the UK.  This species originates in the North West of America. The north-western limit of its growth is the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska and its south-eastern limit is in California in northern Sonoma County. The Western Hemlock is associated with more temperate rainforests and most trees grow within 62 miles (100 km) of the Pacific Ocean. There does exist a population of Western Hemlocks further inland in the south-east of British Columbia, the west of Montana, the north of Idaho and in the Columbia Mountains.

The trees grow mostly at lower altitudes right from sea level up to 2,000 ft (600 m) but they grow up to 5,900 ft (1,800 m) in the range of trees in Idaho.

It’s thanks to the botanist David Douglas that Britain now has this species here. It is so popular that it is now the species of conifer that is most common in this country. The Western Hemlock is suited best to moist climates; it regenerates well in a huge variety of upland forests and grows rapidly.

These trees are integral components of forests in the Pacific Northwest and are an important tree for timber in this region.


What is the Western Hemlock’s Value to Wildlife?

Since this tree is very dense, it casts a heavy shade. This means that when there is a lot of Western Hemlocks in a plantation, there is not a lot of wildlife or plants able to live beneath them.


Uses of Western Hemlock

In the United Kingdom, Western Hemlock is mainly grown for wood pulp and timber. It is also used as an ornamental tree in gardens and parks too. The wood of the western hemlock is used commonly for boxes and roofing as it is capable of holding nails well and doesn’t split easily.

It is an important tree for other aspects of joinery too such as furniture making and doors.

If these trees are planted along riverbanks, they can help to reduce problematic erosion there.


Nutritional Uses of Western Hemlock

There is a part of the Western Hemlock’s bark that is edible: the cambium. This can be collected when slabs of bark are scraped. The shavings produced can be eaten straight away or they can be dried out and then pressed inside bread. This is what Native Americans would have done in the south-east of Alaska.

Other parts of the Western Hemlock can also be used in food production. New needles are tender and can be made into a tea that is rich in Vitamin C but also bitter. You can also chew these needles directly.


The Largest Western Hemlock Tree

The largest known Western Hemlock tree was discovered in 2018 and was added to the American National Register of Champion Trees. It has a circumference of 343 inches (8.71 metres) and is 190 feet (57.9 metres) tall. Its crown spread is 59 feet (15.24 metres).

In the United Kingdom, the largest known Western Hemlock tree is in Doune Park in Sterling, Scotland. The girth of the tree is 7.06 metres (23 feet), and it was 43 metres (141 foot) tall when it was last measured in 2009.


Final Thoughts

The Western Hemlock is an impressive species. It is well recognised by its size but it also provides valuable services in joinery, paper making, erosion prevention and food sources. What is more, it provides both shelter and food for wildlife and is also critical in the ecosystem for its role in CO2 absorption from the atmosphere as it stores carbon in the wood. Finally, it is great at purifying water too.


Article was written by Conner D.

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Hawthorn Trees – Crataegus monogyna

Hawthorn trees are commonly found in scrub, woodland, and hedgerows throughout the UK where it is native. They grow in the majority of soil types but they fruit and flower best when they are positioned in full sunlight.

Hawthorns have many common names including May tree, one-seed hawthorn, whitethorn and common hawthorn. Its Latin name is Crataegus monogyna and it belongs to the Rosacea family of trees.

The common name “May tree” is used as this is the month when the Hawthorn is in full bloom and is a sign that the seasons are changing from spring to summer. The hawthorn’s light green leaves are among the first to appear in springtime and explode with pretty white or light pink blossom during May. Hawthorns are often teeming with wildlife including many birds and bugs.

In winter, hawthorns can be identified by their spines that emerge at the same place as the buds. The blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is different as its buds are on the spines themselves.


What do Hawthorn trees look like?

Hawthorn leaves measure around 6 cm and have deeply toothed lobes that cut to halfway to the mid-rib. The leaves turn a shade of yellow in autumn before they fall. The hawthorn tree is hermaphrodite (meaning that both the female and male reproductive parts are inside the flowers). The flowers have a strong scent and are white or light pink. They grow in clusters that are flat on top and each flower has five petals.

When hawthorns are mature, they can measure up to 15 metres tall. They are often characterised by their thorny habit, which is dense but they sometimes grow with a single stem as a small tree. The bark of the hawthorn is a grey-brown colour and is full of knots and fissures.

The twigs are brown, slender, and thorny. Oftentimes, the hawthorn creates a hybrid with the Midland hawthorn which is also native in the United Kingdom (Crataegus laevigata). It can be difficult to tell the two species apart. One difference is that the Midland hawthorn has two stigmas in the flowers while the common hawthorn has only one.

Another difference is in the fruits: the common hawthorn fruit has one seed but the Midland hawthorn fruits bear two. Finally, the Midland hawthorn’s leaves are cut deeper.


Where else are Hawthorn Trees Found?

The hawthorn is not only native in this country. You can also find it in Asia and North America.


Hawthorn History

The hawthorn is a pioneer species, often forming a large area of scrub on land that is not in use or neglected. This tree is the original hedgerow and has been associated with enclosed spaces and boundaries throughout history. Hawthorn was so frequently used as a hedgerow that in Anglo Saxon times, the word ‘haga’ meant both hawthorn and hedge. Many hedges were grown to make enclosures for deer.

One reason for their popularity as a hedge is that they are fast-growing and hardy. In the one hundred years from 1750, two hundred thousand hawthorns were planted in the UK to enclose land for cattle and sheep grazing.

The hawthorn also has a history in myth, legend and folklore. It took on an important role in the Pagan rituals associated with May Day when the flowers are at their best. It is a symbol of fertility and was the Maypole’s ancestor with its flowers and leaves forming garlands for the day too.

Often, fields retain one single hawthorn tree to be kept as a ‘fairy thorn’. There are also superstitions associated with this tree with some people believing it is bad luck to bring the hawthorn’s flowers inside the home. Legend has it that if one was to bring the hawthorn blossom into the home, illness and death would follow. Also, in medieval times, it was said that hawthorn blossom had the smell of the Great Plague. This is not surprising to us nowadays however, as botanists have now discovered that hawthorn blossom contains trimethylamine, a chemical that is one of the first to form in animal tissue when it decays!


Uses of Hawthorn

Besides being used as a hedgerow there are many other uses of the hawthorn tree. The flowers, berries and leaves are all used to produce medicines and one main use is in the treatment of high blood pressure. The properties of the hawthorn widen the blood vessels and help to increase the flow of blood around the body. Another use is indigestion, stomach cramps and anxiety.

The timber of the common hawthorn has a light brown colour with a fine, hard grain. The hawthorn is used to make veneers, cabinets, tool handles, boat parts and boxes. It is also good as charcoal and firewood because it burns at a high temperature.

Finally, young hawthorn leaves, young flowers and flower buds can all be eaten. You can put them in root salads or green salads. It is also possible to eat raw haws but they can trigger mild upset stomachs. The haws are used to make kinds of ketchup, wine, and jellies.


Place names linked to the Hawthorn in the United Kingdom

There are many place names in the UK that are linked to the hawthorn tree. These include:

  • Hathern in Leicestershire (meaning ‘hawthorn’)
  • Hatherdene in Hampshire (meaning ‘hawthorn valley’)
  • Appleton Thorn in Cheshire
  • Woodmansterne in Surrey (meaning ‘thorn of the edge of a wood’)


Hawthorn Trees and Wildlife

The hawthorn is a great wildlife tree. It provides food for lots of different species including yellow-tail moths, Duke of Burgundy butterflies and hawthorn shield bugs. Lackey moths and magpies also use the hawthorn for food. Additionally, Small Eggar moth larvae develop webs on the hawthorn leaves and grow into caterpillars. The flowers’ sweet smell is attractive to flies too, which is notable during the spring. Finally, small animals like wood mice as well as many birds like thrushes will eat the hawthorn fruit during the winter. Small birds also like the safety of the protective thorny branches for their nests.


Good Points About Hawthorn Trees

  • Hawthorns are one of the few to tolerate being exposed.
  • A hawthorn hedge is impenetrable.
  • Hawthorns grow in well-drained soil and also even in a large tub.
  • As well as being a hedge, hawthorn can be grown into a standard tree.
  • The flowers are beautiful.


Negatives About Hawthorn Trees

If you have to say something bad about a hawthorn it would be that its spines are really sharp. Even when twigs are dead they keep hold of their thorns and they are strong enough to puncture car tyres.

In terms of conservation and threats, hawthorns are prone to the bacterial disease fireblight, gall mites and aphid attacks.


Article was written by Conner D.

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How to get rid of elm leaf beetles

Effective elm leaf beetle treatment options to consider

Over the warmer months of the year, there are all sorts of pests and creepy crawlies that come out to play in your backyard. Aside from gobbling up some of your favourite veggies, there isn’t too much you have to worry about when it comes to pests. Some are just a nuisance. But some insect and bug species can cause serious damage to your backyard if left unchecked.

Pests like citrus gall wasps can cause serious damage to all the citrus trees in your backyard before spreading into neighbouring backyards. There are many other invasive species that can cause damage to your trees. One species that’s been causing major issues with local backyards in Australia is elm leaf beetles. Ask your local arborist or tree care expert and they’ll tell you elm leaf beetles are one of the most common tree pests in Australia right now.

How to identify elm leaf beetles

Elm leaf beetles were originally native to Europe before they were introduced to countries like the United States and Australia. Today they are now a common pest for many elm tree species. So if you have an elm tree growing in your backyard it’s best to look out for signs of an elm leaf beetle infestation before it’s too late.

Identifying elm leaf beetles in your backyard can be easy when you know what signs to look for. When larvae (baby elm leaf beetles) start to hatch they begin feeding on leaves. They start off by chewing the underside of leaves. Usually, the only thing that’s left behind of the leaves is the veins. This gives the leaves a skeleton-like appearance. This is your first sign of an elm leaf infestation.

After young elm leaf beetles have gone through their initial feeding phase they go through a pupal phase. They remain dormant until they grow to full adult size. When they emerge as adults they move up the tree and leave circular holes in all the leaves. While leaf damage may not seem that costly, what it can do is jeopardise the health of the tree’s branches. Without healthy leaves attached, the branches of your tree become brittle, die off and can even fall off.

Elm leaf beetles rarely cause enough damage to kill a tree but they should still be cause for concern. The damage they cause can leave your tree susceptible to other pests which can quickly take over and kill your tree in the process. So when you see the first signs of an elm leaf beetle infestation it’s time to act before more pests damage your tree further.

How to prevent elm leaf beetles from coming in the first place

When you first notice the presence of elm leaf beetles it’s important to assess the condition of your tree first. Your elm tree needs to be healthier in order to withstand the effects of pests like elm leaf beetles. There are steps you can take like eliminating drought stress. This involves making sure that your tree is watered on during the dry seasons.

Another way to maximise tree health is to fertilise your elm tree in late winter. Doing this enables a slow release of nutrients. Eliminating dead tree limbs and suckers (new shoots) will help your tree to dedicate more of its energy towards growing a healthier trunk and branches throughout the year. So for an effective elm leaf beetle treatment don’t forget to look after the health of your trees throughout the year.

Effective treatments for elm leaf beetle

While it’s very difficult to completely eradicate elm beetles, there are effective methods for keeping them at bay and preventing further damage to your trees. The most effective treatments for elm leaf beetles usually involves chemical application. Purpose made chemical solutions can be injected into the trunk/stem of your tree or the soil at the roots of it.

Another chemical treatment that can be used to treat elm leaf beetles involves canopy spraying. This method is better utilised for smaller and younger trees during the end of winter and early spring. For treatments like these, it’s best to check in with your neighbour. It makes more sense to treat all trees that are within close proximity of each other. This approach can help to prevent elm leaf beetles jumping from one chemically treated tree to infest another.

There are also non-chemical treatments that some tree care specialists offer. One of these alternatives is called non-chemical control banding. This method works by trapping elm leaf beetle larvae that usually try and migrate down the tree trunk. Applying this banding will help to break the natural lifecycle of the elm beetle so they don’t continue to grow, breed, and invade your tree.

Call in the experts at Daryl’s tree care

One of the biggest challenges of eliminating elm leaf beetles is knowing what type of treatment to use. The type of tree you have, the time of year, and the surrounding environment can influence the decision you need to make. There are also the challenges of using elm leaf beetle treatments safely. Chemicals and equipment can be hazardous when not used correctly.

To safeguard yourself and others it’s best to call in the experts when it comes to elm leaf beetle prevention and treatment. Here at Daryl’s Tree Care, we offer a range of elm leaf beetle treatment options. Our arborists and tree care experts can visit your property and carry out a proper inspection of all the trees in your backyard. They can safely and efficiently identify the best elm leaf beetle treatments for your trees.

If you have any further questions about our elm leaf beetle treatment options then call us today on 9897 4418.

The post How to get rid of elm leaf beetles appeared first on Daryl's Tree Care And Surgery.