Category Archives: News & Information
Summer Reading and Trees
If your kids are like mine they are excited to escape far from the confines of the classroom, working hard to forget almost everything they learned. At least you can help them avoid the dreaded brain dump this summer by keeping them reading all summer long. I’m already making plans for my kids for this summer and that includes a summer reading list that has many books about trees on it. Yes, I know I am partial to trees and I love trees. It is one of the reasons I work on a tree farm. There are some great books out there about trees for every age child.
One of my favorite quotes about reading is from Laura Bush, “As parents, the most important thing we can do is read to our children early and often. Reading is the path to success in school and life. When children learn to love books, they learn to love learning.” There are many benefits to reading to your kids. Some of those benefits include setting your children up to succeed, reading develops language skills, it exercising your child’s brain, enhances concentration, encourages a thirst for knowledge, a range of books teaches children about different topics (like trees), developing a child’s imagination and creativity, books are a form of entertainment and can be read anywhere ( like under a tree)and my most favorite reason why reading to a child is so amazing, it helps create a bond. As a busy mom, it has always been a way for me to wind down with my son at night. I have always tried to remember, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” Emile Buchwald.
Over the years, here are some of the favorite tree books that the kids of Fannin have enjoyed. I think a lot of these books are great reads and I encourage you to read them with your kids.
- The Lorax
- The Giving Tree
- Chica Chica Boom Boom
- Go Dog Go
- Winnie the Poo
- Secrets of the Apple Tree
- One Tree
- The Magic Maple Tree
- The Tree Lady
I also love the idea of creating a Reading-Friendly Environment. Barns and Noble explains, that to keep kids reading, you need to remove as many barriers to reading as you can. That means having books at the ready for kids when they want one and having a comfortable, quiet place where they can lose themselves in a book. As summer starts, you can work with them to create a little reading nook, with stacks of books and comfy pillows. You can also designate a night as a “screen-free” night, in which everyone in the house (including you) must do an activity that doesn’t involve a screen. This took a while for my kids to get use to but once we started the screen-free activity night at our home, reading took off!
If you are looking for some great Tree book reading list, here are three places I recommend you go to find some great books to read.
Happy Reading…. Don’t forget the Tree Books….
2022 Earth Day
Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day, marked on April 22, is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities, and service projects. Earth Day is a time of the year to reflect on how your life impacts the planet. On this day, people think about new ways to reduce their carbon imprint and improve water quality. They get together to get their hands dirty and make earnest strides towards making the Earth a better, and healthier, place to live. Earth Day is an important day for people to take the time out of their busy lives to consider the impact that humanity has on the environment and for taking steps to minimize these impacts. As a result, we all can live happier and healthier lives in tune with nature. While it would be nice if we all lived as if every day was Earth Day, this holiday serves as a friendly reminder each year, to respect the Earth and to show a little gratitude to Mother Nature.
Started as a grassroots movement, Earth Day created public support for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and contributed to the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, and several other environmental laws. The idea for Earth Day was proposed by then-Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who died in 2005. The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, a monumental day that is widely credited for launching the modern environmental movement. 20 million Americans from all walks of life participated in the very first Earth Day. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.
Earth Day is a time to reflect and be thankful for everything the Earth does for us. It is also a time to strengthen our relationship with nature, to give back, and to think of ways we can work to better support the Earth for future generations. This year the theme for Earth Day is Protect Our Species. Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.
How Trees Can Help
This year, Earth Day hits especially close to home for Fannin Tree Farm as it is focused on investing in our planet, climate change, and restoring our earth. Trees are a great investment in our planet, curbing climate change directly by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Through the process of photosynthesis, forests offset 10 to 20 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions each year. Additionally, trees help protect against climate impacts such as flooding, which is getting worse with more locally heavy precipitation. By catching rainwater, reducing erosion, and creating more permeable soils, trees help prevent nearly 400 billion gallons of runoff annually in the continental U.S., which is enough water to fill about 600,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Trees are equally crucial for water and air quality, as over half of Americans depend on forests to capture and filter their drinking water. Tree leaves also absorb airborne pollutants and intercept particulate matter, helping reduce the throat irritation, asthma, and even premature death that these pollutants may cause. By annually removing over 35 billion pounds of these pollutants in the continental U.S., trees prevent over half a million cases of acute respiratory symptoms each year.
Not surprisingly, areas with more trees provide more benefits, like in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. However, some benefits are higher in urban areas, which often have higher air pollution and flood risks. Trees in urban areas can also reduce the urban heat island effect and lower air conditioning needs as much as 30 percent by providing a natural shade. Urban trees reduce U.S. energy bills by over $5 billion each year. And since lower energy consumption means fewer carbon dioxide emissions, planting trees can contribute to a healthier planet while improving our daily lives.
What Fannin Has Done
Here at Fannin, we are always looking for ways to lighten our carbon footprint. We re-use all of our plastic container buckets for growing trees. We stopped buying plastic water bottles for our staff and gave everyone a Fannin Tree Farm bottle. We installed a water cooler that purifies the tap water. We eliminated 100’s of plastic bottles a month. More great ideas about other things we can do on Earth Day and every day to support a healthy earth can be found here: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/different-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day.php
Earth Day Activities for Kids
Kids are a lot of fun on Earth Day: they have a natural instinct for conservation and preservation, they like to get their hands dirty, and they love any kind of celebration. Planning Earth Day activities for kids is easy; you should start by asking kids what they would want to do to help the Earth. This brainstorming session will help you decide what sorts of things you and your kids can do to help the Earth. Here are some suggestions:
- Plant a tree or a group of trees to beautify your neighborhood, provide shelter and food for birds, and prevent soil erosion. In honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day, you can pick up a tree to plant at your home for 40% off.
- Have a recycling party where friends and neighbors gather recyclable materials and turn them in for prizes.
- Gather a group of kids and clean up garbage at a local park, beach, or other public areas.
Earth Day Books for Kids
If you read enough of my blogs, you know I love books and reading and love finding books for kids that teach about trees and saving the earth. I found a few cool book lists about Earth Day and wanted to share them with you.
Why is my Live Oak losing its leaves?
As Spring is arriving, we are receiving quite a few questions about live oaks dropping their leaves. Our customers are worried their trees are dying. Fortunately, that is not the case. While live oaks are considered an evergreen tree, they do naturally shed their leaves March through early May in preparation for the onset of new growth. Sometimes the leaf drop is so severe that a tree appears almost leafless. Leaf drop in the spring is usually due to natural causes and is not generally a cause for concern. Usually, new leaves will appear shortly after leaves are shed. New leaves may also be appearing while old leaves are dropping.
Trees often vary in the amount or degree of defoliation they exhibit. Some live oaks drop almost all their leaves before new growth appears while others growing nearby may hold their leaves longer making the transition into the new growth more smoothly. It is important to remember each tree can be looked upon as an individual, with specific characteristics. Those trees may be different genetically, making one shed and producing new leaves quicker than another. It is also possible that there are environmental and/or physical factors that influence a particular plant to shed quicker.
This leaf drop phenomenon is NOT caused by a disease. It is part of the natural life cycle of the tree. However, if you are still concerned, Fannin Tree Farm suggests the following few things to verify the health of the tree.
How to Check the Health of Your Live Oak:
1. Bend and scratch the small branches or twigs.
a. If they are green and pliable, the tree is alive.
b. If it is brittle or brown and snaps easily, chances are that the branch is dead. Remember trees have dead branches and that is normal but if it does this on many branches, then you need to submit a work order on our website for us to evaluate the tree.
c. You can also scratch the trunk to see if it shows green. If it’s green the tree is alive.
2. Look for leaf buds or newly developing leaves. New swelling leaf buds should be clearly visible when trees are dropping leaves. Occasionally, you may see tiny new leaflets starting to form as leaves drop off.
Thank you to Texas A&M AgriLife for all their helpful information! https://plantclinic.tamu.edu
Click here or Call Fannin Tree Farm at (972) 747-9233 for a free quote on upgrading your outdoor space!
Windbreaks: Trees to Reduce Your Winter Heating Bills
Planting trees around homes is a tried and true concept used to conserve home energy use. Everyone knows that summer temperatures are cooler in the shade. But in winter, it is easy to forget that trees can help cut winter energy costs too. With some forethought, you can save money by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and northwest sides of your property.
Windbreaks, which consist of rows of trees placed perpendicular to prevailing winds, were greatly used in the Midwest to protect exposed houses, livestock, and crops from severe winds. The use of shade trees was especially emphasized during the 1970s to combat the energy crisis caused by Arab oil embargos. The recent concern over global warming has made tree planting and energy conservation important issues again.
“Planting evergreen trees and shrubs in certain areas around your house can create an effective windbreak,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). “Generally, most cold winds come from the north or west. An option for those sides of the building is to plant a dense row of evergreens. This will provide additional insulation for your building. Be sure to plant them far enough from the foundation to allow for growth.”
Creating a windbreak
The ultimate goal of planting a windbreak is temperature control. A landscape design that considers wind speed and direction can offer homeowners benefits ranging from reduced energy costs to more efficient landscape water management. “Wind barriers can channel winds away from your house and cut down on cold drafts getting in,” Andersen advises.
Choosing the best trees and shrubs for your situation is extremely important to ensure an effective, long-lasting windbreak.
- Trees or shrubs need to be winter hardy and should have a good history of being suitable for the site and soils.
- Select multiple species of trees and shrubs so, if there is a failure in a row, the windbreak is still effective.
- A mix of deciduous and coniferous plants is best and should be selected based on the purpose of the planting.
- Use native plants whenever possible.
Windbreak Tree Spacing
It might seem like planting trees close is the best way to keep the wind out. But tightly packed trees will become a problem once they mature. The more space you put between trees in the beginning, the longer your windbreaker does its job.
- If you’re planting rows of shorter trees, leave about 10 feet of space between each tree and 15-to-20 feet between each row.
- If you’re planting rows of taller trees, leave 15 feet between each tree and 25 feet of space between rows.
- Remember as these trees grow the space, they’ll fill in that space.
As the spring is coming, now is a great time to visit Fannin Tree Farm and look at some of our suggested trees for a windbreak in North Texas to be ready for next winter. These are just a few of the trees Fannin suggests for windbreaks.
Every location is different, and there is no perfect design that will be effective in all situations. Call Fannin Tree Farm and one of our tree experts can evaluate your planting sites and help plan an effective windbreak that will offer homeowners a variety of benefits for years to come.
Windbreaks are plantings of single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs that are planted for:
- Wind protection.
- Controlling blowing and drifting snow.
- Wildlife habitat.
- Energy saving.
- Living screens.
- Reducing livestock odor.
The effectiveness of a windbreak depends on choosing the right trees and shrubs and planting them at the right density and spacing.
Click here or Call Fannin Tree Farm at (972) 747-9233 for a free quote on creating a windbreak at your own home!
Time Out in a Treehouse
As we come through the winter freeze, I can’t help but look forward to spring and all the outside time that is on the horizon for me. As I look out at all our trees here on the sales lot, I can’t help but think about the majestic live oaks, Chinese pistache and Bur Oak’s that someday may make a treehouse come true for a little princess, a fierce pirate, or a book worm. As a kid, treehouses were so cool to me. A house in the trees with the birds, squirrels, butterflies and lightning bugs. A get-a-way from a stinky brother, a place a princess lived.
Growing up in the country with the trees all around me, I used to dream of a treetop treehouse I could live in forever and be the princess of. Who knew that would become a trend and a possibility! Not only are there kid treehouses but now there are adult treehouses, resorts that boast treehouses, and shows on TV where people build over the top treehouses. I never dreamed that treehouses would become so cool and chic not only for kids but for adults, too. In fact, I wish someone would send me to time out in a treehouse.
It brings a smile to my face that someday some little boy, girl or even an adult might get a treehouse in one of our trees and not only will the tree bring joy to them but they will provide years of special memories for a “no girls allowed,” a reading nook, a pirate hang out, a chic adult only treehouse, a weekend retreat or all the other many things a treehouse can be.
Take a look at some of the cool treehouses we have found. When you find a treehouse you are ready for, let Fannin Tree Farm know. We can provide a treehouse ready tree, or we can provide a treehouse tree for the kids or grandkids in years to come.
Click here or Call Fannin Tree Farm at (972) 747-9233 for a free quote on a treehouse-ready tree!
Your Trees Need Water!
Currently, over 80% of Texas is in drought conditions and North Texas is suffering from severe drought. The lack of proper deep watering can lead trees to decline quickly. To avoid this, trees need extra attention and care NOW.
How do I water my trees?
Please refer to our tree planting care guide for tips on watering your new trees and the amount of water your new trees need.
How much water does my tree require?
We recommend deep watering up to 5 gallons of water per trunk caliper inch per watering day. Drier climate species (i.e., Eldarica Pines) may require only about 3 gallons of water per trunk caliper inch per watering day. Your sprinkler system will not be enough unless on a drip system or bubblers.
|Container Size||Caliper Size||Gallons of Water (Per Watering)|
Helpful reminders for tree watering
- Sprinkler systems are not sufficient for watering trees. You need to use the slow soak method for your trees.
- A bubbler on the tree with its own zone
- A soaker hose around the entire root ball
- Hand watering with a garden hose
- If using a garden hose:
- Place the hose 1-2 feet from the root flare
- Root Flare are the exposed roots that should be showing around the base of your tree. If your tree looks like a telephone pole coming out of the ground it is likely planted too deep. You should see roots around the base of your tree where it meets the ground.
- General tip: Watering tree with a standard hose?
Measure the trunk diameter at knee height using a ruler or yardstick. Then follow this simple watering formula: tree diameter × five minutes = total watering time. For example, a tree with a 3″ diameter would be 3 × 5 = 15 minutes of watering on a slow trickle. Repeat 2-3 times a week.
- Move hose throughout entire canopy area, ensuring complete coverage
- Place the hose 1-2 feet from the root flare
- Remember to let the ground dry between waterings to avoid over-watering
What else can I do to help my trees during drought?
- After watering, mulching is the most beneficial treatment for all trees
- Mulch helps regulate soil temperature and moisture, prevents competition in the root zone, and adds beneficial nutrients to the soil
- To learn how to properly apply mulch to your trees, visit our post planting guide for how to mulch.
- Remove any dead or damaged branches before spring
- Dead wood is a magnet for insects and disease, and can become sites of rot and infestation
- Branches that are dead or dying present a hazard, as they are prone to falling during inclement weather
Click here or Call Fannin Tree Farm for a free quote for removing dead or damaged branches, resetting your tree well and mulching or for fertilization services at 972.747.9233.
Winter Tree Wrapping
There are some tree novices that think sunscald and sunburn mean the same, but they don’t.
Sunscald is caused by freezing temperatures preceding or following warm winter day temperature with high levels of sun exposure. The injury tends to happen on the southwest side of a tree with thin bark.
During the spring, as the tree begins to grow in trunk diameter the bark sloughs off and the injury becomes apparent. Wrapping sensitive thin bark trees, regardless of size, is advisable between November and March.
While many trees develop this condition, the Mature Red Oak is no longer considered to be sensitive to sunscald.
If you have any questions about sunscald, the importance of this preventative measure and other tree care related topics, contact Fannin Tree Farms to speak with one of our tree specialists.
Interested in having your tree wrapped for winter?
Top 5 Evergreen Trees in Texas
Evergreens are beneficial in many ways, such as providing full-year screening for privacy concerns and bringing a full dense tree all throughout the year. The term “evergreen” means that trees will keep growing leaves as other leaves fall off. Most people think of Pine and Christmas trees when they think of the word Evergreen. These trees are best known for being able to endure cold weather and dry seasons. Evergreen trees are perfect for planting as privacy screens and windbreaks. And there are many different types of evergreens, from tiny dwarf shrubs to massive trees. Evergreens can add character to your yard, offer year-round foliage, and will enhance your landscape for years to come.
1. Live Oak
Live Oaks are large stature trees that are commonly around 50 ft tall with a short stout trunk that casts a huge amount of canopy to create shade against the Texas heat. Their wood is very hardy making the tree easy to protect in stress. Live Oaks are some of the most popular and well-known landscape trees in Texas.
Magnolias are commonly known as “southern” trees and strive well in the more Eastern part of Texas. They have large, waxy, fragrant white flowers and large glossy, dark green, leathery leaves that appeal to the eye. Magnolias typically prefer full sun which Texas has no problem with providing and require deep well-drained soils to perform the best.
3. Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern Red Cedars are large stature tree, natively found full to the ground. However, can be pruned to have a raised canopy in more of a tree form. This native species is drought tolerant and can really found anywhere throughout North and Central Texas. It provides a dense evergreen canopy that can be used for screening purposes and can provide a beautiful blue fruit. The Eastern Red Cedar has a distinctive smell and aesthetically pleasing red wood.
4. Elderica Pine
Elderica Pine is more native to desert and arid climates in the Middle East, however, seems to be a promising species throughout a wide range of soils in Texas. Eldarica Pine is a tall, upright tree providing medium size needles and cones. It is a drought tolerant species and does very well in well-drained soils.
5. Carolina Sapphire
Carolina Sapphire is an evergreen that produces a beautiful sliver blue foliage and has a relatively fast growth rate. These trees along with Eastern Red Cedars can provide a wonderful screen for privacy purposes. It does very well in Central and North Texas, overall is a very well growing species that is aesthetically pleasing as well.
Where Fannin Has Been: Katy Trail Outpost
With fall around the corner, it is time to start thinking about patio time! Who does not love a fall afternoon or evening on the patio with a fire pit, good friends, family, good food, amazing cold drinks, and amazing trees? I know I do! I was delighted when Katy Trail Outpost in Plano, Texas asked us to help them install about 40 new trees in their patio area and surrounding the patio. We installed new Live Oaks to the patio for shade using a crane. Then we installed 34 new Eastern Red Cedar (ERC) to the surrounding of the patio.
An Ongoing Relationship
We have worked with Katy Trail in the past and love the creativity, shade, and ambience they put into their patios. This project was no different working with their general manager, Kyle. He was very hands on during the project. We could not be happier with the way the project turned out or had much fun we had installing the trees.
Stop by for a Visit
If you are ever in the area, stop by, grab a bite, and drink and check out the Katy Trail Outpost, Fannin Tree Farm’s trees and the patio. Tell Kyle we sent you! Don’t forget if you have any tree needs for your home or business, we would love to help you with your project or maybe a patio!
Request a Quote of your Own!
Five Common Mistakes for New Tree Owners
Here at Fannin Tree Farm, we enjoy helping our customers with any issues regarding their newly purchased trees. From providing expert tree care assistance on our sales lot to professional tree installation at their destinations, our tree specialists love lending our customers a helping hand because we want everybody’s Fannin trees to survive and thrive for many years to come. This being the case, our tree experts have compiled a list of five common mistakes new tree owners tend to make. To protect your tree investment and ensure its livability, be sure to not engage in the following mistakes.
One of the easiest ways to harm your new tree is to water it improperly, which includes under watering and over watering. To ensure you do not under water your tree, keep in mind that new trees need about five gallons of water for every caliper inch. For example, if your tree measures four caliper inches, it needs 20 gallons of water at least three times a week. As a general rule, newly planted trees need to be watered at least three times a week using a deep-watering method (e.g., hand watering, Gator Bags, soaker hoses and zoned drip systems). To keep from overwatering, check the dampness of the soil at the base of your tree. It should have about the same water content as that of a damp sponge – it should never be soggy.
It is essential to have the optimum soil conditions as your new tree strives to acclimate itself to its new environment. Compacting the soil at the base of a newly planted tree is a good way to strangle it and thus inhibit its growth and vitality. Soil compaction has two main effects. First, too much soil density will keep your tree’s root system from expanding and will stifle growth. Second, soil compaction prevents the flow of water and nutrients to the tree’s roots. To prevent soil compaction, do not walk near the base of your new tree or place anything heavy (like lawn equipment) anywhere under the tree’s canopy.
One of the most common, preventable mistakes people make with their new tree is damaging it with lawn mowers, weed eaters, bicycles or other pieces of equipment. Hitting or leaning these objects on your new tree injures its bark, which makes it harder for the tree to repair itself. Sometimes tree wounds are unable to heal if the tree sustains further injury, which makes the tree vulnerable to disease and hinders the proper flow of vital water and nutrients. Be sure to exercise caution when you maintain your yard to be sure you do not damage your new tree in the process.
Pruning a tree is essential for optimum growth and health. It ensures appropriate distribution of sunlight, prevents damage to vital limbs, strengthens trees’ structures and promotes long-term vitality. You should never prune haphazardly to keep branches in check, nor should you severely cut your tree’s topmost branches if they appear to be too tall. To prune your new tree, start with ridding it of dead or damaged branches, and then clear overgrown and smaller branches. The best time to prune your tree is in late winter before the spring flush.
Using chemicals to kill weeds in your yard or to control other non-tree related issues can be a real detriment to newly planted trees. Be very careful to not spray any chemicals on your tree’s foliage or root zone when you’re working in the yard.
If you have any questions about these five common tree care mistakes or how to care for your new tree, do not hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to help in any way we can!