Category Archives: News & Information

Complete Tree Care Services

Caring for trees is more than one size fits all approach. At Fannin Tree Farm, we are professional soil and plant scientist as well as Certified Arborist. In Fall of 2018, we are rolling out our Thrive Program – Advance.

The new Advance program is a holistic approach that is unique to your tree and shrub needs. This will allow us to develop a program that is tailored toward your specific needs and aesthetic goals. This program exceeds the standards of arboriculture (ANSI A300) and the Best Management Practices (BMPs).

We are utilizing an Integrated Pest Management approach to plant healthcare as well as our tailored fertilization program. Our program will require a full assessment by our professionals. This includes soil sampling and a condition assessment of the trees and shrubs. A prescription for proactive care will be provided after the assessment. Our team maintains photographic and field assessment records.

tree care service

Quarterly assessments are provided by our arborist. We maintain records for all treatments and closely review prior to an arborist visiting your property. Your program will include necessary treatments to prevent infections for common pest and diseases.

During the quarterly assessment, a health care report card is provided to the client. Our tree service coordinator will contact you to setup these quarterly assessments.

Thrive Program – Advance

  • Prescription Fertilization
  • Plant Pest and Disease Preventative Care Management
  • Quarterly Assessments and Recommendations
  • Winter Dormant Oil

Fannin Tree Farm is the largest tree contractor in the Dallas Fort Worth. We have been a staple in the community for over 40-years. Our tree care service team is ready to advance appropriate arboricultural care for the Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding cities.

Learn more about the Thrive Tree Program or to request a quote. Call us today at 972-747-9233 and ask to setup a consultation with our Certified Tree Care Team!

What is Cotton Root Rot and How Does It Impact North Texas Trees?

Less than a century ago, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was primarily agricultural land. This land was used to grow crops, hay, and raising cattle. The native tree species were much more limited. Now the land is used much differently. The old family farms are being developed into new shopping centers, homes, and other urban developments. The land use has changed and so has the landscape.

The DFW has added many new plant species to the pallet. As a landscape industry, we have integrated many plant species that have adapted to our area and climate. Some species were more successful than others. After many years of trial and error, plant diseases have found many suitable host species.

tree fungus mat
Photo 1: Fungal Mat ‘Phymatotrichopsis omnivora’

tree with cotton root rot
Photo 2: First Signs of Wilting

As new plant species were brought into our area, plant pathogens, whether native or not, have found their way in to our landscape as well. One disease that has over 2,300 host species (1,800 dicots), is known as, ‘Phymatotrichopsis omnivora’ (also referred to as, Cotton Root Rot, Texas Root Rot and Ozonia Root Rot). This is a soilborne fungus that lay dormant in the soil for many years.

As you may guess, cotton, a common crop that is grown in North Texas is very susceptible to this disease. Trees that are infected with Cotton Root Rot should be removed and only planted with tolerant or resistant plant species. Here’s a link to an online publication from Texas A&M University of Tolerant Plant Species: https://aggiehorticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/cottonrootrot/cotton.html

Diagnosis is very easy during the early and mid-summer. As the soil temperature exceeds 82 degrees, Fahrenheit, which is usually in the spring and early summer, the disease will develop in the plant. The first symptoms are wilting, followed by death. Often smaller plants are quickly killed by this disease. While larger trees may require more time for the disease to terminate the tree.

As a diagnostician, we are looking for key symptoms and signs out in the field. Common species, like Lace Bark Elms are very commonly killed by this disease. During the early summer, we look for fungal mats that develop on top of the soil as a key indicator that the pathogen is present. It has been demonstrated in research that the fungal mat does not spread the spores, so don’t worry about spreading this pathogen if you walk through a fungal mat or two.

The Boots on the Ground Approach by Tree Care Professionals

tree care professionals

Landscaping is a multi-billion-dollar industry within horticulture. Trees are one of the most valuable amenities in a landscape. These assets need to be adequately cared for to maintain safe and functional green spaces. Whether you have trees at your home, place of business, or if you’re responsible for a master-planned development, trees are a significant consideration on real estate value.

If you have considered purchasing real estate, especially in a neighborhood, the landscape is one of the first things that you see. If your first impression is unmaintained landscape with dead, or dying trees, it can be a real turnoff.

It’s our responsibility as homeowners, managers, and developers to contract professionals to take care of landscapes and trees. An industry as large as horticulture, there are many contractors for hire. When considering any engagement, there should be a standard of education, training, and performance.

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has built a certification program, for individuals to complete, to be certified as a tree care professional. A credentialed arborist should be an ISA Certified Arborist or an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist. Additional certifications and licensing is added-value and speaks mainly on their behalf. It is essential to contact a Certified Arborist to manage your trees.

Here is a link on “Why Hire a Certified Arborist”:
https://www.treesaregood.org/portals/0/docs/treecare/hire_arborist.pdf

After 20 years of managing trees and landscapes, I have found that time and continuity is the best value that I have provided my clients. I call this, “The Boots on the Ground Approach.” It requires many essential aspects:

  • An in-person meeting to discuss goals and objectives.
  • A thorough inspection of trees and landscape surroundings, to include potential hazards associated with recommended services.
  • Photo documentation and note-taking.
  • Follow up
    • Clearly written objectives in the form of a report or an estimate.
    • An email or phone call.
  • Services
    • Proper planning
    • Job briefings
    • Well executed performance
    • A service overview referred to as a debrief.

The Boots on the Ground Approach is like the old saying, “the best fertilizer is the farmer’s footsteps.”

Throughout my career, I have noticed one thing; clients are incredibly loyal. A good arborist listens to your needs and makes reasonable recommendations.

What should you be looking for in hiring a Certified Arborist?

  • They must be certified through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
  • I would ask about their experience. A good arborist has gone through the appropriate training and may still be in training, under the supervision of an experienced arborist.
  • It’s beneficial for them to have advanced education in horticulture, agronomy, or forestry.
  • A good arborist has a good knowledge of other plants and how to care for them.
  • They should follow industry standard of arboriculture (ANSI A300 and ANSI Z133.1)
  • The company should maintain commercial liability insurance.
  • Ask for client references.

At Fannin Tree Farm we have a great team of knowledgeable professionals that are ready to help you maintain safe and sustainable trees. If you are interested in meeting with one of our arborists, contact us at 972-747-9233.

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 benefit 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), develops 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 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.

 

I asked some of our kids here at the Tree Farm whose parents work here, what some of their favorite tree books were and here are some of the answers I got. I think a lot of these books are great reads and I encourage you to read them with your kids.

  • The Lorax – Garrett, age 11
  • The Giving Tree – Chase, age 14
  • Chica Chica Boom Boom – Miles age 4
  • Go Dog Go – Natalie age 6
  • Winnie the Poo – Eve age 14
  • Secrets of the Apple Tree – Finley age 1
  • One Tree – River age 3
  • The Magic Maple Tree – Kaitlyn age 13
  • The Tree Lady – Grey age 12

I also love the idea of creating a Reading-Friendly Environment. Barnes and Noble explains, 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 awhile 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.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/kids/8-books-about-trees-for-arbor-day/
https://www.longleaflumber.com/the-top-15-childrens-books-about-trees/
https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Childrens-Forest-Tree/zgbs/books/3270

Happy Reading…. Don’t forget the Tree Books….

Sources:

https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/reader/reader.pdf

https://bilingualkidspot.com/2017/10/19/benefits-importance-reading-young-children/

Summer Tree Care Checklist

Summer is here and our trees should be full of leaves this time of year. Now is the time to consider tree maintenance to prevent damages from storm events.
                                                

  1. Tree Pruning & Supplemental Support Systems
  2. Contact an arborist to evaluate your trees for pruning. A qualified arborist should be able to identify risk associated with structural defects. Prune to remove and/or reduce over extended branches that may fail or break off during a storm event. Install supplemental support systems (cabling, bracing, propping) to reduce branch or tree failure potential. Remember, this should only be conducted under the supervision of a qualified arborist.

  3. Fertilization
  4. Fertilizing trees is a good thing in most cases. We recommend fertilizing new trees and trees in poor vigor. If you have goals for a tree to grow into a large shade tree, fertilizing will improve growth.

  5. Pest Management
  6. Contact a qualified certified arborist to evaluate your trees for pest and diseases. Watch for harmful insects and pathogens that may attack your trees.

  7. Tree Removal
  8. Remove hazardous trees to mitigate risk associated with failure and impact.

  9. Irrigation Management
  10. Contact a licensed irrigator to inspect your irrigation system. Make sure that it is working properly. If you have poor coverage, broken heads or lateral lines, this could cause harm to your trees. Also, setup your controllers to properly water your tree. If you are concern about how often and how much you should water your tree, contact a certified arborist.

  11. Monitoring
  12. Walk around your garden on a weekly basis throughout the summer to ensure that you are trees and shrubs are healthy. If you see anything out of the ordinary, you should reach out to a professional.

If you have any questions about your trees, feel free to contact the professionals at Fannin Tree Farm. Our number is 972-747-9233 and we have a team of arborist ready to serve.

https://www.fannintreefarm.com/tree-pruning-supplemental-support-systems/

What is the Water Smart Tax Holiday?

​Established in 2016, the Lawn & Garden Water Smart Tax Holiday was created to encourage responsible water use in Texas. During the Memorial Day Weekend event, certain water saving products are tax-free!

When is the Water Smart Tax Holiday?

The tax-free holiday falls on Memorial Day Weekend from Saturday, May 26 to Monday, May 28.

What water smart item qualify for the tax-free exemption?

Here are the categories of products that qualify for the sales tax exemption

  • Watersense Products: Any product tax free that displays a WaterSense label or logo whether for personal or business purposes.
  • Water-Conserving Products: Consumers can also purchase certain water-conserving products tax free. Unlike WaterSense-labeled items, these items are only exempt when purchased for use at a residential property.
  • Water Conservation Items: These would include items used or planted to conserve or retain groundwater, recharge water tables, or to decrease the ambient air temperature, limiting water evaporation

Here are some examples of items that qualify for the exemption:

  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hoses
  • Moisture control for a sprinkler or irrigation system
  • Mulch
  • Rain barrels or an alternative rain and moisture collection systems
  • Permeable ground cover surfaces that allows water to reach underground basins, aquifers or water collection points
  • All plants, trees and grasses
  • Water-saving surfactants
  • Soil and compost

What items do not qualify for the tax-free exemption?

Examples of items that do not qualify for the exemption include:

  • Construction/building materials
  • Awnings and other items used to create shade
  • Air conditioners
  • Ceiling fans
  • Sprinklers

Fannin Tree Farm is proud to be part of this annual event and help conserve one of our most precious and limited resources in Texas: water.

Fannin Tree Farm – Holiday Weekend Hours:

Saturday 5/26/18: 9am – 5pm
Sunday 5/27/18: 1pm to 5 pm
Monday (Memorial Day) 5/28/18: 10am – 3pm

Powdery Mildew

Have you ever notice a white powdery substance on your leaves? This may be Powdery Mildew. This disease can impair the photosynthetic process, stunt leaf growth and cause early defoliation.

Powdery Mildew has fungal hyphae on the leaf surface in the spring and uses specialized absorption cells (haustoria) to obtain nutrition from the host plant. The pathogen uses enzymes to break down the structural components of leaves.

At Fannin Tree Farm we apply preventative fungicides to trees with a history of Powdery Mildew to prevent development of Asci Spores enclosed in these dark colored fruiting bodies known as Chasmothecium. This prevents the pathogen from overwintering in the bark of trees and may prevent future development.


Epiphytic hyphae and chasmothecia on leaf surface. (Courtesy W. Gärtel)


Ruptured chasmothecium showing several asci containing ascospores. Erysiphe (Section Uncinula sp.) (Courtesy B. Kendrick)

If you would like to have one our trained arborist evaluate your trees, call us to setup an appointment. We have the diagnostic skills to protect your trees!

Ground Breaking News! It’s Earth Day!

Earth Day is just around the corner, and as an arborist I want to take some time to reflect on the positive benefits of trees and share some things I like to do to care for our terrestrial home.

A tree is an incredible specimen of the earth. Large, stately oaks arise from small acorns often overlooked in the floors of forests and crunched by our feet on sidewalks all around us. Imagine what a summer in Texas would be like without these champions of the landscape! Trees provide shade, but also so much more. Retaining large trees in residential and commercial urbanized areas can reduce cooling costs and sequester carbon, filtering the air we breathe and reducing pollutants around us. Trees also intercept and slow down rainfall, allowing the ground and surrounding landscape to capture more water, reducing not only runoff and stormwater but assisting in lowering water bills.

Trees also provide emotional benefits. Many studies have shown that trees and greenspaces can assist with overall quality of life, improving health and happiness, reducing crime, and even providing gathering spaces for humans to fellowship under. Native American tribes would often use large trees as designated meeting areas, such as the Council Oaks and Treaty Oak in Austin. Specifically, the Comanches would even go so far as to modify young saplings to become “marker trees”. These trees would be bent and staked down with yucca rope, pointing out directions as a compass (due north) or even pointing towards important resources such as rivers for low water crossings and a water source. Trees are often a source of food. Here in Texas we know all about the delicious kernels of the pecan tree! In the tropics, the Coconut Palm tree is a source of food, drink, oil, fiber materials, and many other products of economic importance.

earth day trees 2018

Earth day is about more than just trees though. Trees are just one part of the equation. Earth Day is about what we can do to better care for our earth, our home. Planting a tree or two is certainly beneficial, but I consider the whole ecosystem and surrounding environment. Some simple ways to care for the earth include recycling your plastic waste, such as reusing plastic containers that are in good condition or reusing those plastic bags we all get from the grocery store. Also consider supporting local farmers and producers, which benefits those around you, as well as the local economy. Sourcing locally can also reduce our carbon footprints over time. If you cook often (as I do), you can save your fruit, vegetable, eggshell, and other scraps to make compost. Compost is a great way to reduce your input into landfill waste and improve the soil in your garden. Compost added to garden soils will provide something for native beneficial microbes to break down and over time improve soil structure. You may choose to start a simple pile in your backyard, or venture into other realms, such as vermicomposting, using every healthy soil’s favorite invertebrate: earthworms!

Consider what you can do for our terrestrial home. Plant a tree (we know some great folks who can help you with that…), reuse your plastic materials, start a compost pile, source food and beverages locally when possible, the list goes on! Happy Earth Day!

Sources:

Earth Day Network. “Restoring the Urban Tree Canopy”. 2018. https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/reforestation/restoring-urban-tree-canopy/ Accessed 05 April 2018.

Houser, Steve, et al. “Comanche Marker Trees of Texas”. College Station, Texas. Texas A&M Press. 2016.

Texas Forest Service. “Famous Trees of Texas”. 2012. http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/websites/FamousTreesOfTexas/TreeLayout.aspx?pageid=16138. Accessed 05 April 2018.

Thrive Advance – Evergreen Conifer Care Program

Now that spring is here, and the plants are lush and green, the new succulent foliage is prime for insects and diseases. When the weather is cool and moist, the disease pressure is highest. It’s important to maintain good sanitation and properly care for your trees. Our Thrive Advance – Evergreen Conifer Care Program is designed to prevent and manage populations of insects and diseases of Italian Cypresses, Pines, and other juniper like species.

Evergreen conifers make up a large group of trees. In North Texas this is primarily junipers, cypresses, and pines. The most common evergreen conifer trees planted in the DFW are Italian Cypress, Eldarica Pines, Arborvitae, and Eastern Redcedars. These trees host to many pathogens. I would say the most sensitive is the Italian Cypress, followed by the Eldarica Pines.

The Italian Cypresses have been in decline for the past couple of years. This is most likely due to the rapid fall in temperatures and prolonged winter freezing temperatures. These freezes can kill off living tissue, providing a site for the infection, also known as a disease court. Fungal spores can enter the plant through injuries and infect the plant. The damage is accelerated by other pests, such as spider mites and bagworms. Over time, cankers develop, spores are splashed to nearby infection courts, and diseases can spread like a wildfire.


Photo 1: Branch infected with Seiridium Canker

The Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic at Texas A&M University has not been able to isolate a single pathogen that contributed to the species decline. Seiridum canker, Botryosphearia canker, Cercospora blight, and Phomopsis blight were the most common diseases found killing cypresses and juniper species. The optimal temperatures for these pathogens are around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.



Photo 2 and 3: Flagging branches, visual symptom of Seiridum Canker

Pines in the DFW can be the host to a few pathogens as well. The two most common pine diseases in North Texas are Diplodia Tip Blight (Sphaeropsis sapinea) and Dothistroma needle blight (Dothistroma septosporum). Other diseases that we have identified include Pitch Canker (Fusarium circinatum).


Photo 4: Infected pine shoot and needles.

Regular applications of fungicides, insecticides, and miticides is the best chemical management of the pathogens listed above. These products should reduce the disease inoculum and lessen the amounts of infections that occur. Diseased branches should be removed back into living tissue. We sanitize our tools between each cut at Fannin Tree Farm.


Photo 5: Sanitation pruning is the most important management method

We find it helpful to get to know your tree species. Most of these evergreen conifers are dry climate species. This meaning they do not prefer prolong periods of soil saturation. Make sure that your irrigation controller is turned off before, during and after a rain event. Waterlogged soils can be favorable to Phytophthora, a root rot pathogen. If the soil has a foul odor, a soil applied fungicide with mefenoxam may be necessary.

Watering these Italian Cypresses and Pines can be tricky when you have a landscape with a mixed water requirement. Improving drainage and modifying irrigation systems may be necessary when you are growing these trees in your garden. Also seek advice from professionals like certified arborist, horticulturist, and licensed irrigators.

If you have evergreen-conifers, contact Fannin Tree Farm to see how we can develop a custom program for your trees. Our team of certified arborist is trained to identify these pests and prescribe treatments. Contact us today at 972-747-9233.

Soil Management – Assessment, Modification and Fertilization

Managing trees in urban areas is more than adding fertilizer and pruning. It requires an understanding of soil physical and chemical properties. This information is necessary to develop a plan for ongoing care and management. Available resources, such as certified arborist, professional agronomist, local extension specialist, soil web survey, and soil testing laboratories should be consulted with to develop soil maintenance programs.

Soil modification is the physical or chemical altering of soils to improve conditions for growing plants. Aerating, tilling, composting, mulching, and fertilizing, are a few practical ways to modify soil. Positive actions to modify soil will almost always lead to plant response. Managing trees in urban areas should be thought as a long-term commitment. This may require multiple applications of various fertilizers and organic residues, over many years.

The Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS), Soil Web Survey has one of the best resources on soil data, mapping, chemical and physical properties. Professionals use this resource to understand soil characteristics and limitations that may restrict growth. Large stature trees should be planted in areas that are suitable for long-term sustainability. Often tree growth is limited by soil quality and space.

Accredited soil testing laboratories can analyze soil chemical properties and provide detailed information and recommendations for plant nutrition. It is important to consult with a professional agronomist, or certified arborist who specializes in soil and plant nutrition, prior to modifying soils. A standard soil test is used to evaluate soil exchange capacity, pH and nutrient levels. Advance testing, such as saturated paste test is sometimes necessary to determine the availability of nutrients in soil solution.

It is very helpful to have a standard test and a saturated paste test for the same site, especially when dealing with poor site conditions. Landscapes that are highly disturbed, irrigated with well water, or in areas near recent road salt applications, would be candidates for both testing methods.
Interpreting soil test requires training. Some laboratories will provide fertilizer recommendations that may seem excessive. For this reason, it is best to consult with a local practitioner that can interpret the information provided by the laboratory, and make reasonable applications.

The American National Standard Institute (ANSI), A300-Part 2, Soil Management standard is a reference for professionals. An arborist with a good understanding of soil fertility is able to interpret the ANSI standards. It is important to follow the standard while making fertilizer recommendations. For instance, the ANSI standard states that fertilizers with 50% water insoluble nitrogen, should be preferred. Also, fertilizers with less than 50% salt index, should be preferred.

Prior to fertilizing trees, it is important to understand your soils and its limitations. Nutrient deficiencies should be addressed using products that are designed for the specific task. Applications using liquid humates, fluvic acids, seaweed extracts and other trending methods for fertilizing trees should only be used as an additive. In order to carry out biological processes, plants require appropriate amounts of specific nutrients. These trending methods have not been proven to correct nutrient deficiencies.

Always address site conditions that may inhibit plant growth. Tools such as a pneumatic air-spade can reduce soil compaction levels. Adding soil amendments, such as compost and peat moss will improve soil aggregation and biological activity. Mulching soils around trees will reduce further compaction and improve water retention.

It is preferable to use native compost and mulch. Native mulches have been demonstrated to increase populations of beneficial organisms (antagonistic pathogens). Many harmful plant pathogens are considered opportunistic. These beneficial microorganisms found in native mulches are effective in reducing populations of opportunistic pathogens.

Soil web survey can provide information about the soil depth and volume that is not easily seen from above ground. Soil depth may be the limiting factor for growing trees in a certain area. Large stature trees require more soil volume to reach its maximum potential. In shallow soils, where bedrock is within the top 10-15 inches, plant growth is greatly limited. Plant growth is reduced when root development is restricted (e.g., parking islands, street planters).