Monthly Archives: February 2018

Selecting Trees and Ongoing Management

Planting a tree is more than digging a hole and setting a tree. It requires proper selection and planning. A tree that is planted in the correct location, can be one of the most valuable assets in your garden. If properly cared for, the tree will provide many benefits that could be shared from one generation to the next. When selecting trees, it’s important to know what you are trying to achieve.

The first thing to do, it to assess your site.

  • What type of soil do you have?
  • Do you have enough space to plant a tree in the location you are considering?
  • Does this location have good drainage?
  • How far away from the foundation am I am going to plant this tree?
  • How much sunlight does this location receive?
  • Are there any overhead utility lines that may limit your tree selection?
  • Are there any site restrictions?
  • If planting in the back garden, how wide are my gates? Can I remove my fence to allow for a larger tree?

Once you have assessed your site, consider what you are trying to achieve.

  • Privacy
  • Aesthetics
  • Flowering
  • Fall color
  • Shade
  • Wind break

When planting a tree in a specific location, ask a tree specialist about the size of the tree at maturity. If planting multiple trees, consider spacing the trees 25 to 30 feet apart. If you are planting a large stature tree, try to plant about 25-feet away from your foundation or more.

Now that you have assessed your site and know what you are trying to achieve, its time to take some photos of the planting location. Bring these photos into a nursery and discuss your objectives with a tree specialist.
While meeting with a tree specialist, ask them to show you trees that are best suited for your site, that also achieve your goal. We advise our clients to ask us about the species and watering requirements. It is good to know if the tree you are considering is a dry climate, moist environment, or moderate water-loving species? You may also ask if this tree will grow in my soils? Some trees prefer well-drained soils, so planting a dry climate species in a location that stays wet, might not be the best idea. If you have a soil with a high pH, consider a tree that will grow in alkaline soil.

While at the nursery, assess the tree before you make a decision. Look at the base of the tree to inspect the root collar. This is sometimes referred to as the root flare. It should resemble the base of a wine glass that tapers outward.

If you are looking for an upright tree, evaluate the tree for good branch structure. A tree with a central leading branch is a good indicator it will grow upright. Then assess the trunk to make sure there are no major scars or damages that jeopardize the health of the tree.

If you are looking to plant a tree for aesthetics, consider the orientation of the tree. Make sure the tree will fit the space. While trees like Live Oaks and Chinese Pistache, are naturally oriented to grow wide. Then there are trees like Red Oaks, Cedar Elms and Hybrid Maples that grow upright and provide height in your garden. Remember to look for overhead utility lines. If you have power lines that are located above the planting location, consider planting a small or medium size tree.

Sometimes we plant trees for shading a home to reduce energy bills. If this is the case, consider planting the tree on the west side of the home. You may consider a deciduous tree (drops its leaves in the winter) to reduce the amount of energy used to heat your home.

Last but not least ask the tree specialist for a watering and care guide. Thoroughly review the guide and discuss any areas of concern with the specialist. If you are confused about ongoing care for your tree, consider hiring a certified arborist for tree maintenance.

At Fannin Tree Farm we have a large inventory of trees of trees that grow well in the Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Come by and see our selection and meet with one of our tree specialists. We have a great team of knowledgeable experts that are ready to help you find trees that will last for generations, contact us at 972-747-9233.

Fire Blight on Ornamental Pears

February is here and we are fast approaching spring. Most of us are working hard to reach our new year goals. We may even be planning big things, such as Valentine’s day. This time of year, couldn’t be busier for families with school and extracurricular activities. In the midst of all of this busyness, Fannin Tree Farm wants to remind you to think about your trees.

In the month of February, some trees are preparing to bloom. Buds are swelling in preparation for spring. Ornamental Pears, which include Bradford, Cleveland, and Aristocrat Pears to name a few, are ready to flower. Around the third week of February, these pears will provide a floral display that is not easily match, especially for the time of year.

This display is short-lived, approximately 3-to-4 weeks long. While it is when the tree is most beautiful, it is also when the tree is most vulnerable. A bacterium referred to as Fire Blight (Erwinia amylovora) often infects the tree by entering the blooms. This floral infection is very destructive as it develops throughout the tree.

Luckily, there are management practices that have been demonstrated to be effective in suppressing these infections. Our best method for preventing Fire Blight is sanitation pruning.

At Fannin Tree Farm we use Lysol to clean our tools after removing infected plant parts. This reduces the inoculum and prevents further disease spread throughout different parts of the tree.

We also provide weekly spray treatments using antibiotics and bactericides. These treatments are very effective if applied weekly, during the flowering period.

After it’s all said and done, the flowers are gone, an untreated flowering pear, may now be infected. This pathogen over-winters, in canker sites on branches throughout the crown. It is spread by splashing water and facilitated by pollinating insects, such as honey bees. Time will tell if an untreated tree is infected.


In the late spring, early summer, an infected tree should show signs of this disease. Brown, blighted shoot tips will wilt rapidly. This blighted shoot is referred to as, “shepherd’s crook.” At the beginning of the disease development, leaves on the diseased shoots show a blackening along the midrib and veins.

Later, as the disease progresses in the plant, it develops in the water conducting tissue. The bacterium multiplies, reducing the translocation of water and nutrients, and causes cracks in the bark that appear to be sunken on the surface. An amber-colored bacterial ooze may be identified on the bark. A brown-to-black discoloration of the wood beneath the bark may help identify the disease.

You may ask, can an infected tree still be managed? The answer depends on the severity of the infection. A young, healthier, flowering pear may be able to live with this disease for a few years. While an older tree may see rapid decline.

We always recommend sanitation pruning to prevent the disease spread. Appropriate amounts of fertilizer will help the plant maintain vigorous growth and prevent susceptibility to branch cankers. Other treatments using antibiotics and bactericides have been demonstrated to suppress the expression of the disease. We recommend spray applications during the blooming period, but sometimes micro injection through the root flare, or lower trunk may be necessary.

The best way to manage this disease is through prevention. The best time to develop a plan is now. If you would like a free consultation with one of our Certified Arborist, please contact us today at 972-747-9233.