How To Relocate a Tree

How To Relocate a TreeWhen it comes to tree removal and relocating trees, Arbortek Trees has decades of wisdom to share. Before you decide to transplant a tree (or relocation of a tree), we urge you to first take a peek at the steps below to protect the health of your tree.

* Never attempt to move a large tree, trees near power lines, or a tree with roots in/under permanent structures. Call an expert arborist to help relocate the tree. Here’s our number to keep handy – 408-288-2942! *

Location is key! Determine whether the tree or shrub likes sun or shade, and what its spacing and watering requirements are. This is vital to the success of your transplanting a tree. For example, planting a tree that craves water next to a tree that prefers dry conditions, their needs will be incompatible.

Stop here! IMPORTANT: always make use of the Call Before You Dig number.

Dig the new hole before you dig up the tree or shrub (once you dig up the plant, the longer its roots go without a home, resulting in lower chance of transplant success).

Measure or estimate the width and depth of the root-ball (by doing a bit of exploratory digging around the plant). The width of the new hole should be twice that of the root-ball. The depth should be kept a bit shallower, to avoid puddling and consequent rotting (especially if your soil has a lot of clay in it).

Do not break up the soil in the bottom of the new hole. This could cause the tree or shrub to sink, inviting rot

Dig out the tree or shrub selected for transplanting. Start digging about 3 feet out from the base, all along the perimeter. Get a feel for where the main mass of roots lies. Also begin to judge what the weight will be of the plant plus the roots plus the soil clinging to roots. You may need someone to help you lift it.

Your goal now is to keep as much of the root-ball intact as possible. The larger the tree or shrub is, the chances of getting anything close to the entire root-ball is slim (you most likely couldn’t carry this size tree anyways, and should call an arborist to relocate the tree). Undoubtedly, you will have to cut through some roots on a mature tree. If you must cut, be sure to make a good, clean cut using a sharp shovel or pruners. Now that you’ve removed enough soil from around the sides of the root ball, you should be able to slip your shovel under and loosen the shrub’s grip on the soil below. After it is loose, lay a tarp on the ground nearby and move the tree or shrub onto the tarp.

Drag the tree over to the new hole using the tarp as your transporting “vehicle”. Gently slide it into the hole, and prop up straight. Shovel the excavated soil back into the hole. Press this soil down firmly and water it as you go, to eliminate air pockets – air pockets could cause the tree to shift after relocation.

Build up the soil in a ring around the newly transplanted tree or shrub, forming a berm to catch water. This will help keep the tree’s roots well watered, until they become more established. This steps seems small and insignificant, but skipping the soil berm may mean life or death for your newly relocated tree!

Spread a 4 – 5 inch layer of mulch around the newly transplant tree or shrub. Keep it a few inches away from the base of the tree or shrub, to promote air circulation and so as not to invite rodents from nibbling on the trunk.

Lastly, water, water, water. Did we mention WATER?. Watering is crucial to a successful shrub or tree relocation. The first summer is going to be extra tough on a newly transplanted tree!

Oh, one more thing…our customers regularly ask “when is best time of year to transplant a tree?” We always suggest late winter or early spring as the best times for transplanting (dormant season), followed second by fall. It is far too hot in summer!

Now you know the best tips for relocating a tree so you can enjoy it for the years to come! If you are afraid to “try this at home” – please call Arbortek Trees. Never put yourself, or surrounding structures at risk, if you are unsure of your skill level.

Featured Tree Series: The Coastal Silk Tassel

The Coast silk-tassel (formally known as Garrya elliptica – a species of flowering plant in the family Garryaceae) is a common Featured Tree Series: The Coastal Silk Tasselevergreen shrub native to the coastal ranges of California and Oregon, and stretching as far south to Los Angeles.

This plant is commonly referred to as a Silk Tassel Bush or Wavyleaf Silktassel. It has a multi-furcate branching structure yielding an almost spherical shape. The height of the silk tassel ranges from 2 to 5 meters, but more likely averages three meters in the wild!

Coast silk-tassel have opposite leaves that have a tough leathery feel, glossy green on top, but paler and duller on the underside. Its leaf blades are six to eight centimeters in length, and has petioles which range in length from six to twelve millimeters.

What’s even more remarkable about this drought tolerant plant, are the cascading flowers, producing a beautiful show for any landscape. The flowers are concentrated in inflorescences which cascade downward, about 4–6 cm in length. ‘James Roof’ is a very popular horticultural variety, known for its especially long tassels.

Separate male and female plants do exist in this species. The pendant male are taller and much more showy with gray/green leaves. The females are shorter and gray/silver. Although the flowers bloom in January and February, dried leaves remain on the tree well into summer, and still provide beautiful decoration after initial bloom.

Outdoor creatures such as deer and coyotes, don’t particularly like to graze on the Coast silk tassel. It is moderately drought tolerant, suitable for our Bay Area climate, but is happier with rainfall of about 25 inches per annum.

Coast silk-tassel species is usually found within the mountains of the Pacific Coast range, such as San Bruno Mountain and the coast range in Napa County – any elevations above 200 meters. This plant can tolerate moderately heavy clay soils and serpentine areas, but prefers soils pH in the range of six to eight. View our list of other drought tolerant trees for the Bay Area, here.

Ready to plant your Coastal Silk Tassel? Give the experts at tree care, Arbortek Trees, a call!

Featured Tree Series: The Crape Myrtle

Summer is upon us which means – patio time! Nothing ends the week better than good conversation and relaxing with friends and family on a nicely shaded outdoor patio. What will you use to shade your patio?

We’ve got the perfect patio tree suggestion – The Crape Myrtle

If you can’t get them in the ground this year, start thinking about a planting plan now! You have the patio that will be the envy of the neighborhood!

Arbortek Featured Tree: the Crape Myrtle

The Muskogee Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia hybrids ‘Natchez,’ ‘Tuscarora,’ ‘Muskogee’) is a decidious tree that grows up to 25 feet tall, with a 25 foot spread. The are perfect for the patio or property borders in the following ways:

  • Rounded crowns cast a wide circle of shade
  • Summer blooming
  • Fall foliage color
  • No messy fruit to tarnish paved surfaces
  • Hybrids are mildew resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Small, decidious tree

Plant a Muskogee Crape Myrtle and enjoy the summertime display of beautiful pink and lavender flowers. The showy flowers will make your patio stand out from the others and create a whimsical spot to relax and take in the beauty of this tree. The Crape Myrtle also has one of the longest blooming periods of all Lagerstroemia indica trees, so you can enjoy blooms for months on end, into fall as the glossy green foliage turns to red in the fall.

As an added bonus, this highly mildew resistant tree has a smooth, cinnamon-colored bark that peels to reveal a shiny light gray color. This is one of the only small delicious trees that we recommend highlighting the beauty of it’s bark. Our experts at Arbortek can offer numerous lighting ideas to light up these trees. Night lighting will take your landscape “wow” factor to a whole new level, shining light on an aesthetic not frequently seen to the human eye at first glance of this vibrant tree.

The Crape Myrtle is also very water-wise, important to our environment and climate here in the Bay Area. Once established, these trees have low watering needs. Plant them in a spot with full sun exposure, and they will thrive. Plant them in in rows to create a beautiful privacy hedge or a classic and colorful property border. These are the perfect trees for yards with limited space. Crape Myrtles are also suitable for urban gardens, as they have a high tolerance to urban conditions.

Contact Arbortek for more information on planting trees on your property. We are happy to help you choose trees and planting locations wisely!

How to Determine Where to Plant a Tree

How to Choose the Right Location to Plant A Tree

Trees that are carefully chosen add beauty to a home’s landscape and also provide a return on investment to your residential property. Trees planted around homes can also provide shade,  privacy, windbreaks, and an opportunity to create ecosystems for birds and other beneficial creatures and insects. While the distance between the home and where to plant a tree will vary on tree species and the function you intend for the tree, there are careful considerations you must take int0 account as a homeowner, that you may have not thought of otherwise…

How to Decide Where to Plant a Tree

Where to Plant a Shade Tree

Shade trees are planted where they will provide protection from the afternoon sun during summer (usually near the southwest corner of the property). Consider if you want shade protection over a patio or a certain corner of the home. Conversely, will the shade tree block sunlight from a large section of grass or garden bed? Consider the size when planting shade or other trees, because they vary in height and spread.

  1. Large trees, up to 70′ or more should be planted a minimum of 20 feet from the home
  2. Medium-sized trees, up to 70′ tall, 15′  from the home
  3. Small trees, 30’tall or less, 8 to 10′ from the home

The Do’s for Planting a Tree Near the Home

Choose trees that are to scale with the house and the yard. Medium and small trees are well-suited for small homes. Small trees will also make a tall or large houses seem even larger. Large trees work wonders for two-story or tall homes, but they make a small house appear even smaller. Choosing trees that are adapted (native) to the area will reduce the chances of insect infestations and tree disease. If you choose a tree that is prone to insects, take precautionary pest control measures for the home. Learn about treating tree disease or insect and tree prevention on our blog.

The Don’ts for Planting a Tree Near the Home

Don’t choose trees that create a lot of litter, such as trees that drop messy fruit or frequently shed seed pods. For example, unless you have a sprawling property or plan on committing lots of time to jarring homemade olive oil – olive trees can be a major headache. olive tree needs quite a bit of maintenance and will drop messy olives (read The Hard Facts About Growing and Spraying Olive Trees). If you have the space on a large property, check out our Fruit Tree Selection guide for our California climate.

Do not plant trees close to the home that can pose a hazard, such as trees that are susceptible to breaking in windy conditions, fall within the “ignition zone” for fires, or damage power lines. **Performing any work near power lines can be dangerous. Qualified and certified arborists (like ours) have special training and use insulated tools to avoid mistakes and damage when pruning. Without the proper training and tools, a person can be injured or even killed.**

Did you Consider the Tree Root System?

When deciding on a location to plant a tree, it’s vital to remember that roots spread underground. Roots will grow in the direction of where moisture and oxygen is available. Many times, the roots will grow beyond the spread of the tree’s crown (The tree crown is the top part of the tree, which features branches that grow out from the main trunk and support the various leaves used for photosynthesis). Trees with large or aggressive root systems, when planted to close, can cause structural damage to the foundation of your home, garage, underground pipes, and even sidewalks and pavers. It is imperative to consider the potential spread of the roots when deciding how far from the house, and other structures, to plant a tree.

Remember the Roof!

Limbs that overhang onto roofs can drop leaves, palms, or pine needles that need to be regularly removed, or else will they will clog gutters and even damage the roofing material over time. Clogged gutters is one of the most common and expensive homeowners make. If you aren’t going to regular clean your gutters, avoid planting trees that will drop leaves over your roof. Additionally, overhanging limbs allow for rodents such as rats, squirrels, or raccoons, easy access to the roof and possibly enter into the attic.

Ready to pick your location to plant a tree! Please remember, safety first! Please contact one of our arborists if you have concerns on choosing the best, and safest location to plant a tree.

Honeydew and You – How to Treat Tree Aphids

Is there a tree dripping sap on your property – possibly staining sidewalks or other areas with sticky residue? Unfortunately, that is generally a sign of tree aphids. There are thousands of types of aphids who live in relatively temperate climates worldwide. They can cause severe stress to trees and other plants (roses are a prime target on the West Coast) and sometimes introduce fungal diseases.


What exactly are Tree Aphids?Honey Dew and You - How to Treat Tree Aphids by Arbortek Trees

Aphids are fairly small (smaller than most ants), somewhat pear-shaped, and come in a variety of colors. They are most commonly green, but some species are white, brown, black, and many other colors. Aphids feed on tree or other plant sap by, essentially, sucking it out with their straw-like mouths. They often bunch up in clusters, feeding together on the underside of leaves, around stem joints, or on new shoots and flower buds.


Aphid Tree Damage

Infestations of aphids pose a number of risks to trees and other plants. To start, their feeding weakens the tree, draining the sap the tree needs to remain vital and healthy. In plants affected by aphids, you may observe slowed growth rates, spotted or yellowed leaves, curled leaves, browning, wilting, lower yields of fruit or flowers and potentially the death of the plant.

Aphids also spread plant-based diseases. Weakened trees become more likely to succumb to the infections they spread. Fungal infections are common, as well as plant viruses. These diseases are usually much more harmful than the aphids themselves, the viruses in particular. Because of these risks, it is important to actively control aphid populations.


What is Honeydew?

As aphids feed on a plant’s sap, they secrete a sugary fluid called honeydew from their abdomen. When an aphid population grows large enough, the honeydew begins dripping down from the tree (and potentially making a mess of your sidewalk).

The honeydew that aphids produce is collected by certain birds, wasps, stingless bees, and honey bees. Honey bees process the honeydew into a darker, stronger honey which is highly sought after in Europe and Asia due to its purported medicinal value.


Biological Aphid Control

Other insects also harvest the honeydew. Some types of ants actually protect aphids from their natural predators because the ants essentially “farm” the aphids for the honeydew they produce. Deploying ant traps to reduce tree ant populations may help reduce aphid populations once their defenders are gone. Ladybird beetles (ladybugs) and their larvae feed on aphids, so encouraging the beetles can help balance out the aphids.


Chemical Aphid Control

Prevention, especially the biological variety, is best done in late winter or early spring. However, if you missed that window, treatment can still be effectively applied.

A number of pesticides, including surface sprays as well as systemic pesticides (chemicals that are absorbed into the system of a plant) may be used to treat aphid infestations. The systemic pesticides circulate through the plant, reaching the aphids as they feed and leaving other beneficial fauna undisturbed. Sprays like neem oil or insecticidal soap may also be effective, but they have to coat the tree thoroughly to insure that they actually make contact with the aphids and may impact beneficial residents.

If it’s too late and your biological measures were missed (or didn’t work effectively) Arbortek Trees regularly provides safe and effective pesticide treatments for trees and garden plants. Contact us for an assessment today.

Small Trees for Small Spaces: Flowering Trees that Pack a Pretty Punch

It’s hard to imagine a complete landscape or garden without a tree or two. Trees provide comfortable shade for people as well as many smaller plants that can’t handle full sun. They also bring an aesthetic balance, adding height and depth to landscapes that might otherwise feel flat and empty.

But, not every yard has room for massive, seventy foot tall trees. Even when there is room, larger trees may create too much shade, leaving inadequate space for garden plants like tomatoes which require full sun. We’ve been helping San Jose property owners pick the right tree for their property for decades. We thought to share with you a simple guide to help you pick your next tree for planting in small spaces.

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of smaller, flowering trees which landscapers can employ to avoid size concerns while still enjoying the beauty and benefit that only trees can provide. The following list includes ten of our favorite small, flowering trees (be sure to check your growing zone against the zones noted for each tree to make sure it can survive in your area):

Arbortek Tree Service

Crape Myrtle – This deciduous shrub or tree requires full sun and moderate water. They bring wonderful summer flowers and many varieties provide brilliant fall color as well. Climate Zone: 6 – 10.

Cherry Laurel – These trees are quite resilient, and grow well in urban settings. Do to their potentially compact form, they can be grown as a hedge or shrub and they provide beautiful white flowers similar to typical cherry trees. Climate Zone: 7-10.

Chaste Tree – A wonderful garden or patio tree, Chaste trees bloom in bunches of fragrant lilac flowers, with gray-green foliage. They can be trained into shrubs or used as excellent accent trees. Climate Zone: 5 – 9.


Arbortek Trees PlantingAlmond Tree – Small and compact, the almond tree is a relative of the peach. Almond blossoms are fragrant and attractive to bees and other pollinators as a food source in the spring. The almonds that come later can also be harvested as a food source for your family. Climate Zone: 5 – 9.

Flowering Dogwood – White Dogwoods are a particularly attractive variety, since they bloom with white “flowers” in the spring time, their leaves shift colors to a bold reddish purple color in the fall, and their small red fruits attract birds through the winter months. Climate Zone 5 – 9.

Magnolia Tree – The Southern Magnolia may be more familiar to some, but Little Gem Magnolia trees are another excellent option, especially for smaller spaces since it has a more narrow, columned form. These trees have large, creamy white flowers much like their larger siblings, and the blooms can last half the year. Climate Zone: 7 – 9.

Lily Tree – Lily trees deliver an exciting midsummer show, filling with large, upward-facing flowers than come in a variety of beautiful colors. Some varieties offer a single color, like purple, others are multi-colored. Climate Zone: 3 – 10.

Flowering Quince – Quince tends toward a shrub shape, but can be trained into a taller tree. They bloom in late winter into early spring with salmon, pink, red, or white flowers. Climate Zone: 4 – 10.

Flowering Crabapple – Crabapples make wonderful ornamental trees, partly because there are so many options (more than 35 species and 700 cultivated varieties). Certain varieties can be very large (50 feet tall), so be sure to verify that before you plant. Prairifire crabapples may be a good choice, since they have good disease resistance and grow well in a variety of conditions. They shift colors from maroon in spring to dark green in summer and then bronze in the fall. Climate Zone: 3 – 8.

Western Redbud – An extraordinary ornamental option, these small trees bloom in spring with large numbers of small rose-purple flowers. In addition, their foliage and branches offer excellent fall and winter colors. Our blog offers more details on Western Redbud care. Climate Zone: 6 – 9.

As you can see, there are a great many excellent options when it comes to small, ornamental trees for compact spaces. Hopefully this list will help you make a selection that you can enjoy for years. Of course, Arbortek has helped many home and commercial property owners all around San Jose and the Greater Bay Area select and maintain ornamental treed, both small and large, and we would be happy to assist you with custom recommendations.