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    Tree Care Tips

    STOP topping trees!

    Is your tree trying to tell you something?

    Trees need our help!

    Have you dressed up your tree for that storm?

    Watering schedules for Southern Arizona landscape plants

    Watering Schedual Chart

    STOP topping trees!

    Millions of trees have been hacked with little or no consideration to their health and structural integrity. People who top trees have yet to recognize that pruning trees, following established industry standards of professionalism, can improve their health, growth and appearance.

    What happens when trees are topped?
    Trees maintain a delicate crown-to-root ratio. Topping removes the crown, upsetting this ratio and limiting the trees ability to sustain its own roots. This makes them more susceptible to insects and disease, and particularly decay.

    Limbs weakened by decay cannot handle the weight of rapid re-growth. In a few years, if the tree servies, it may become a bigger safety hazard than it was prior to topping.

    What is the alternative?
    Our professional Certified Tree Workers have the ability to make the tree look more attractive, safer, and even smaller, with appropriate corrective pruning.

    The principles of proper pruning are to restrict growth in one area and encourage it in others, as well as to remove damaged or dead limbs. Pruning encourages growth, improves flower and fruit production, improves plant health, repairs damage and helps add aesthetic appeal to a tree.

    Pruning at the right time.
    “Timing of pruning is very important to health of your trees,” says Robert Rouse, staff arborist for the National Arborist Association. “Pruning some trees at the wrong time of the year can be detrimental to their health.

    On the other hand, many trees can be pruned year-round. Certain operations, such as deadwood removal, have no detrimental effect on the health of the tree no matter when they are carried out. This is so because the wood is already dead and has been walled-off from the rest of the tree by the plant’s defense mechanisms,” he says.

    If you are unsure whether you should prune your trees or if your tree has been topped, call Urban Forest Tree Care, Inc., we can offer advice and perform proper pruning.


    Is your tree trying to tell you something?

    Even though trees can’t talk, they can tell you a lot. Spring and early Summer are especially good times to “read your trees”. Here are some tree characteristics you’ll want to look for:

    Color of the leaves:

    • · Off color leaves may be an indication a nutrient deficiency in the soil, or they may be a sign that, for some reason, the tree’s root system is incapable of extracting the necessary nutrients, even though the nutrients are present. For instance, iron chlorosis causes progressive yellowing of newly emerging leaves in oaks and other species. Nitrogen deficiency also causes yellowing, but affects the oldest leaves the most.
    • Certain trees are susceptible to diseases that cause a distinctive change of leaf color.
    • Premature fall coloration during the simmer is generally an indication of a problem below ground that is creating stress conditions for the tree.

    Misshapen leaves
    An upward curling of the leaf margin – kind of a cupping effect – is the classic symptom of damage from herbicides. Has your lawn, or a neighbor’s, been sprayed for weeds recently?

    Distorted leaves may be evidence of sucking insect damage, or the presence of a disease organism.

    Thinness of the canopy
    Typically, when the uppermost part of the tree’s canopy begins to thin, the condition is characterized as decline. However, decline can have several causes, sometimes acting in combination, that are treatable.

    Does your tree look like a telephone pole – that is straight – where it enters the ground, or does it have a natural root flair? The combination of a thin crown and telephone pole appearance usually indicate that the tree’s roots have been covered with fill. Have a professional evaluate the tree’s chances and prescribe treatment.

    The combination of thin crown and flat trunk on one side are the symptoms of a root that is literally strangling the tree.

    No leaves, or losing leaves
    If your favorite tree has failed to produce leaves this season, you have reason to be concerned, especially if you have other trees of the same species in your yard. Sometimes, quick action is required to keep a serious problem from spreading.

    If your tree loses all or most of its leaves during the growing season, again, sound the alarms! This may be a sign of a very serious disease or a leaf-eating insect. Either way, trees cannot survive for long if they are repeatedly defoliated.

    If you are unsure about your tree’s health, call Urban Forest Tree Care, Inc., who will identify and remove hazards as well as treat the causes of tree health problems.

    Trees need our help!

    The most common misconception is that trees take care of themselves. The truth is that most trees in yards across America are growing in somewhat unnatural environments, and could use our help to service and flourish. The National Arborist Association identifies the following key practices for optimal tree health.

    Fertilization: Just because you fertilize your yard does not mean that you fertilized your trees. When trees require extra nutrition, they should be fertilized in specific ways to assure they receive the maximum benefit from the treatment. Over-fertilization can create tree health problems, so the need for fertilization should be determined by the measuring annual growth, checking visual symptoms and chemically analyzing the soil or tree leaves. Timing of fertilization is important in some cases to avoid a late flush of growth.

    Watering: Once established, trees generally don’t need regular watering. However, they may need extra water in long dry spells. Be careful – too much water can be just as harmful as not enough!

    Pruning: Trees are pruned for various reasons, but in most cases, proper pruning is a tree health treatment. Removing dead or dying branches discourages the spread of decay or insect infestations and removes safety hazards while improving the tree’s appearance. Proper pruning can also help prevent storm damage. By contrast, topping and lion’s tailing, while sometimes touted as ways to “make trees safe”, instead cause severe and permanent damage to trees.

    Mulching: A two to four-inch mulch layer over the tree’s root system has many benefits. It protects the base of the tree from mower damage and reduces competition with turf or weeds. Mulch tends to stabilize soil temperatures and increase the soil’s water-holding capacity, which translates into less watering. Finally, mulch can increase soil microbial activity and loosen the soil, which can reduce the need for aeration and fertilization. In short, mulch emulates the tree’s natural habitat. Mulch can be applied any time of year.

    Check your tree: You may be able to carry out most tree maintenance yourself, especially for small trees, but it is best to have a professional evaluate their needs first. Remember, a tree is a living thing, and its health and stability changes over time.

    Have you dressed up your tree for that storm?
    It is that time of the year when storms in all shapes and forms are ready to create havoc throughout the country. A big loss is of the tree itself, which was the pride of your garden. One of the greatest dangers posed by storms are presented by trees. Unsafe trees are a threat to lives and property.

    Preparing trees for these natural disasters is a must and should be done well in advance of the stormy season. To help ease these dangers, have a professional evaluate your trees. Doing this will help you determine potential weaknesses and dangers.

    Over the years, growing trees will “catch” more wind and become heavier, so they are prone to increase mechanical stresses, thus increasing the chances of failure. Larger trees will also affect an increased area should they or their limbs fall. This means that power lines, homes and other structures that might not have been threatened a few years ago, might suddenly be under threat by a tree that has grown.

    What can you do?
    * * *Consult a Tree Care Professional: Ask them to evaluate problems you have found and prioritize treatment. You should also ask them to look for signs of potential hazards, such as stress cracks, weak branches and other subtle or hidden indicators of potential hazards.

    Look at your trees for the following warning signs:

    • Wires in contact with tree branches. Trees may become energized when they are contacted by electric wires.
    • Dead or partially attached limbs hung up in the higher branches that could fall and cause damage or injury.
    • Cracked stems and branches forks that could cause catastrophic failure of a tree section.
    • Hollow or decaying areas on the trunk or main limbs, or mushrooms growing from the bark that indicate a decayed and weakened stem.
    • Peeling bark or gaping wounds in the trunk, also indicated structural weakness.
    • Fallen or uprooted trees putting pressure on other trees beneath them.
    • Tight, V-shaped forks which are much more prone to failure than open U-shaped ones.
    • Heaving soil at the tree base, is a potential indicator of an unsound root system.

    Remember, too, that a tree is a living thing, and its integrity and stability changes over time, so don’t assume that a tree that has survived 10 severe storms will necessarily survive an eleventh.

    If you are unsure about your tree’s health, call Urban Forest Tree Care, Inc. and one of our trained consultants will identify and remove hazards as well as treat the causes of tree health problems

    Watering schedules for
    Southern Arizona landscape plants

    Irrigation is an artificial application of water to soil to enable satisfactory plant growth. It’s essential for successful gardening in the desert. The purpose of irrigating is to maintain soil moisture in much manner that normal root development and their vital function is facilitated and water is efficiently and conservatively utilized.

    Irrigate the entire rooting zone
    To maintain good growth, plants must root at least an extensively am they foliate. And feeder roots are generally most prolific under the outer 2/3 of their branch spread. Consequently, water should be applied under the entire foliage spread of trees, shrubs, etc.

    Irrigate at the rate the soil will absorb it 
    Wasteful run-off can result if the water is applied too fast, and insufficient infiltration through root zones may occur if it’s applied too slow. Level ground and mulched surfaces facilitate water infiltration and retention.

    Irrigate long enough to allow penetration through normal rooting depths
    Grasses and flowers root at least a foot deep, established shrubs 2 to 3 feet, and most mature trees as much as 5 feet or more. It takes at least ½ hour for water to infiltrate the upper root of our average soils; 1 to 2 hours for 2 feet; 3 to 4 hours for 3 feet; and 6 to 8 hours to reach 4 to 5 foot depths. Dense silt and clay loam soils absorbs water slower but hold more and retain it much longer than the porous sandy or gravely loam. Remember, irrigate sufficiently each time – brief irrigation cause weak, shallow rooting and accumulate salts within root zones.

    Irrigate no more frequently than necessary to sustan good growth
    If you are attentive observer, the first signs of midday wilt on tender-foliage plants can be your clue to irrigate. But, symptoms may not be apparent early enough on some plants, or to novice gardeners. And prolonged dehydration of leaves worsens desiccation, the browning of their tips and edges. Frequent watering provokes limited rooting and increases wasteful evaporation loss. Excessive, deep watering excludes vital air from the soil and drowns roots.

    Adjust irrigation
    Morning watering is best for plant health, sprinkler efficiency and water conservation. Appropriate adjust rate, duration and frequencies to minimize wasteful erosive runoff due to ground slopes, slow warming of spring and gradually decreased with the cooling of fall. Whenever changing irrigation practices, be attentive to plant response, particularly during hot weather and with older planting. To get seedlings and transplants started, keep soils moist, then, reduce frequencies and lengthen irrigation as roots establish.

    Attentive supplemental irrigation is necessary in most landscapes. Although trees, shrubs, and flowers may be watered with lawn grass, they usually need longer watering to satisfy their deeper rooting needs. Trees especially, need occasional prolonged irrigation.

    If evaporation cooler or swimming pool water is used for irrigation, make certain it doesn’t contain phytotoxic amounts of salts or other potential harmful chemicals. And only intermittent use can be safely recommended.