Category Archives: Ronny Nelson

Texas Arbor Day 2019

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  Not only is the weather cooling down and college football and tailgating is in full swing, but Texas Arbor Day is the first Friday of November in, which is prime time to buy and plant your favorite shade or ornamental trees. You might be thinking, “Isn’t Arbor Day in April?” Yes, if you live in most of the country.  The first Arbor Day in the United States was celebrated April 10, 1872, in Nebraska, and the idea of an official day promoting and planting trees quickly spread throughout the country.

Why does Texas have it’s own Arbor Day?

One hundred years after its first celebration, a National Arbor Day was declared as the last Friday in April. The only problem with this is that many times (including this past National Arbor Day), North Texas can see temperatures well into the 80’s with heat indexes into the 90s during late April. Although Fannin Tree Farm has a year-round 98% success rate planting trees, fall is most often a better time to establish trees. Cooler temperatures create more favorable conditions for a successful transition into the tree’s permanent home. This is why in 2013, Texas established Texas State Arbor Day, which falls on the first Friday of November.

What are some ways to celebrate Texas Arbor Day?

There are lots of things that you can do to celebrate Texas Arbor Day.  In Texas, the official state Arbor Day celebration is held in a different host city each year on the first Friday in November. On National Arbor Day, Texas A&M Forest Service announced that this year’s state celebration will be hosted in Plano, Texas.   “The idea is for everyone in Texas to take one day – the same day – to truly appreciate trees and plant one,” said Paul Johnson Texas A&M Forest Service urban and community forestry program coordinator. “Planting a tree leaves a legacy for future generations while beautifying the spaces where we live, work and play today.”

Plant the Seeds for the Next Generation

Today, above all, Arbor Day is for children, parents, and grandparents to strengthen the bond between generations by planting trees together. It presents a tremendous opportunity to teach fundamental lessons about stewardship of our natural resources and caring for our environment. There is no more powerful demonstration than helping children plant and care for trees that their own children and grandchildren will enjoy.

Here are some things you can do with your family, school or community for Texas Arbor Day:

  • Celebrate by planting a tree 
  • Take a class of students on a tree identification hike around campus or within your community
  • Plant trees on your school campus
  • Challenge schools within the local districts to create Tree Trails on their campuses
  • Have a contest for students to find the oldest trees in the community and research the history of the tree. For example, when the tree was 10 years old, what was going on in your community, the nation and/or the world
  • Hold an essay contest where students describe the importance of trees to their community
  • Select special trees to plant as a memorial or honorary trees (link to the celebration tree graphic with the tree types and meaning)
  • Invite a local arborist to give a tree-climbing demonstration
  • Ask an arborist or Tree Company to come out and give a talk on trees, how to maintain trees or other tree-related topics for your school, community group, church or scouts group.
  • Take a Family walk at a local park and talk about the trees and what trees provide to our world.

Fannin Tree Farm would love to spend part of your Arbor Day with you, come out the 1st to the 3rd  for our Texas Arbor Day Sale. All of our trees will be on sale and select inventory up to 30% off.  We will have Arbor Day Activity Books for the Kids, a food truck on Saturday and lots of great Texas Shade Tree’s to choose from.

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Tree Pruning & Supplemental Support Systems

Summertime is all about tree maintenance. First and foremost, we prune trees for health, safety and aesthetics. A well-maintained tree looks natural, while be managed. An overgrown, poorly maintained tree is pretty obvious. Mature tree pruning should only be conducted under the supervision of a certified arborist.

 

Structural Pruning

During any season, structural pruning is a great way to maintain balance and improve the structure of a tree. We have trained our arborist and technicians on how to identify structural defects, such as; codominant stems, included bark, and poor branch attachments. These defects may lead to tree failures if not corrected.

Mistletoe Removal

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that is often identified in Cedar Elms, Hackberries, and many other species of trees. While the trees are dormant, we suggest removing mistletoe, prior to blooming, to prevent further spread.

Oak Pruning

The window for pruning oaks is open again. We recommend pruning your oaks prior to the middle of February and after the middle of June in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This is to prevent an established disease known as Oak Wilt.

Supplemental Support Systems

During the summer months, the trees are weighted down. If you have not already taken the necessary steps to prevent limb failure, a supplemental support system may be a good way to mitigate branch failure potential. This may include extra-heavy strength cables, bracing rods, or even props for very old, low branching trees. Support systems help trees withstand the high winds and rain that occur throughout the year. Not all trees need supplemental support, but this should be determined by a trained arborist.

At Fannin Tree Farm, our tree services team offers comprehensive list of services. If you are interested in meeting with one of our arborist, give us a call at (972) 747-9233.

https://www.fannintreefarm.com/summer-tree-care-checklist/

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/

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!

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).

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.

Winter Pruning and Tree Care

WinterWinter is here and most of the deciduous trees have shed their leaves. The early January freeze reminded us what a winter is supposed to be like. Trees have an appreciation for a good freeze. For the first time in a couple of years, we have had a freeze that last more than a couple days. This slows down the biological processes of trees and allows them to go into full dormancy. As arborist, we love this time of year as well. We can better see structural defects, mistletoe and perform more invasive tree surgery that we have been holding off, until now. The winter is the perfect time to consider tree pruning and other ways to care for your trees.

Structural Tree Pruning

During the dormant season, we are better able to see and correct structural defects in trees. We have trained our arborist and technicians on how to identify structural defects such as: co-dominant stems, included bark, and poor branch attachments. These defects may lead to tree failures if not corrected.

Mistletoe Removal

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that is often identified in Cedar Elms, Hackberries, and many other species of trees. While the trees are dormant, we suggest removing mistletoe prior to blooming to prevent further spread.

Oak Pruning

The window for pruning oaks is closing soon. We recommend pruning your oaks prior to the middle of February and after the middle of June in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This is to prevent an established disease known as Oak Wilt.

Supplemental Support Systems in Trees

Since it is easier to see structural defects throughout the tree canopy in the winter, it is the best time to install a supplemental support system. This may include extra-heavy strength cables, bracing rods, or even props for very old, low branching trees. Support systems help trees withstand the high winds, ice and rain that occur throughout the year. Not all trees need supplemental support, but this should be determined by a trained arborist.

Winter Dormant Oil for Trees

Applying an organic winter dormant oil is an environmentally friendly way to reduce insect and mite populations in your garden. Dormant oils have been used for many years as a proactive method to reduce pest populations. These oils suffocate overwintering eggs of destructive pest. The eggs are laid in the cracks and crevices of your trees and shrubs. In the spring they emerge and feed on succulent plant tissue. This treatment greatly reduces plant injury caused by foliar and stem feeding pest.
At Fannin Tree Farm, our tree services team offers comprehensive list of services. If you are interested in meeting with one of our arborist, give us a call at (972) 747-9233.