- FAX 215-438-1879
- Peter McFarland
- Locke Woodfin
- International Society of Arboriculture
- Professional Grounds Management Society
- Tree Care Industry Association
Spring Flowering Trees
Flowering trees are most dramatic in Spring because of their emerging buds and brilliant colors.
Flowering trees are most dramatic in Spring because of their emerging buds and brilliant colors. Two of our favorites are the native flowering dogwood (Cornus Florida) and the Kousa dogwood (Cornus Kousa).
The native dogwood is a classic beauty that everybody knows and loves. Cultivars come in white, dark, and light pink flower colors, which open in April and last into May.
The Kousa dogwood has dense layered displays of simple but elegant creamy yellow flowers. Kousas bloom later than the native dogwoods—June into August—and can create an impressive display of flowers and foliage for the summer months. They exhibit exfoliating, multi-colored bark that’s attractive year round, whereas the native dogwood has deep-notched bark.
Both are small to midsize and do well in sun or partial shade. Their
crown (branches and foliage) is wider than their height. Their reddish fruit in the fall attract birds and squirrels so there usually are not any messy berries to clean up.
Flowering cherry trees provide perhaps the most memorable feature of the spring landscape. Most of us are familiar with the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. No less spectacular is Philadelphia’s display along the Schuylkill River.
We like the Japanese flowering cherries, which produce a long-lasting, intense bloom, and come in many varieties. These trees do not produce berries, but their leaves do provide excellent fall color.
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First, if I leave you with one message, it is that you make a decision this year about your Ash trees, if you haven’t already—the sooner the better. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation is essentially everywhere in Pennsylvania, and it’s spreading fast.
First discovered near Detroit in 2002, EAB spread since into Canada and 21 states, including ours. Infestation was discovered in Warrington Township (lower Bucks County) in 2012. So far EAB has killed around 100 million Ash trees in North America, and threatens death to all Ash in the United States and Canada, unless homeowners take preventative measures.
The initial infestation in Michigan came all the way from China inside wood shipping crates. EAB spreads several ways:
The tiny male and female insect will fly on their own a mile or two to mate, and the female will lay her eggs on more Ash trees. That’s probably how EAB jumped from Warrington to Horsham Township (Montgomery County), where it was detected in 2013. The insect will fly further if the winds are strong. And when EAB is transported by truck or in the trunk of a car, in its larval stage imbedded in infested firewood, it can spread hundreds of miles.
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Tree Lightning Protection
Your trees should not be left to chance when it comes to lightning, You should consider installing a tree lightning protection system if you have trees which are taller than the roof of your house, overhang it, or are within 25 feet of the house.
If you have a historic, specimen or rare tree on your property, you should protect it with a lightning protection system.
A tree that has lightning protection will not attract lightning. The system allows a safe pathway for lightning to neutralize so the tree actually never gets hit.
We have installed many of these systems for over 30 years, and would be happy to discuss your situation with you.
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Ash trees start declining (canopy dieback and bark damage) in one year and will be dead soon after. Here’s how we will help you protect your Ash trees:
First, we will walk your property with you to identify all Ash trees and determine which trees to save, such as mature specimens or ones in prominent locations.
Then we will begin treatment of the trees you wish to save, with a systemic insecticide that is applied by soil injections. These treatments spread through the vascular system of the tree and kill the larvae. Treatments must be repeated yearly.
Now that Emerald Ash Borer is here, these treatments need to be done now or you will lose the tree.
— Peter McFarland
Managing your Mature Trees
Our goal is to prevent the onset of tree decline.
As trees reach maturity (50-100+ years), their energy expenditures shift. Annual growth slows. Carbohydrate reserves dwindle. They spend more of their energy maintaining a greater bulk, and do not recover from stress as readily as when they were younger.
Our goal for mature tree management is to encourage tree health through the following practices:
- Regular pruning
- Mulching or aerating the tree’s root zone to encourage root growth
- Managing pest and disease problems
- Watering deeply during droughts, and providing drainage in times of flooding.
- Cabling to stabilize weak branch angles
In woods or forests, trees grow tall but not wide because sunlight only reaches the top. In urban and suburban settings these same trees grow wider, producing broad heavy outer crowns.
By employing such techniques as outer crown thinning, limb reduction, and cabling, mature trees will not push the limits of their structural integrity, thereby preventing branch failure during winter snow, ice, and heavy winds.
Who Manages your Trees?
Who manages your trees, you or Mother Nature? Nature can be a brutal manager. If you have walked your property with your Arborist in the past twelve months, you are managing your trees. We need to walk your property with you once a year.
Plant Health Care
Sometimes a simple procedure at the right time can make the difference between the life and death of an irreplaceable mature tree.
The preservation of your trees and shrubs through plant health care is an essential part of our services. We closely monitor your trees and shrubs to keep them free of pest and disease problems, so they can use their energy and natural resources to grow healthy and strong,
When treatment is needed we use the least invasive practices, controlling common pests and diseases with the most scientifically advanced techniques. We inject antibiotics and fungicides directly into the trunk, insecticides and fertilizers into the
root zone, or we spray non-toxic horticultural oils onto the foliage that suffocate the predator.
Your McFarland representative is a certified arborist with advanced training in plant health care.
An integral part of our plant health care program is preparing for the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect, using insecticide applications on those trees you want to protect.
Each year we need to update your plant health care program to meet changing conditions.
Flowering Spring Trees
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(Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’), which is one of the most dazzling and showiest of all cherries, with twice as many blooms as other cherry trees. Its large clusters of carnation-like blossoms are double flowers and clear pink.
While still in bloom, its bronze leaves will start to grow. In Summer the leaves turn to a glossy light green with a slight red tinge. In Fall the Kwanzan’s foliage becomes a brilliant golden-orange.
Why We Fertilize Trees
When not in woods and forests, trees are absent of natural sources of nutrients.
In woods and forests, trees self-feed from a thick layer of decaying leaves, limbs and twigs on a nutrient-rich floor.
In urban and suburban settings, the absence of these natural sources of nutrients diminish a tree’s ability to stay healthy and fight off stress caused by insects, diseases, and extreme weather. These settings also experience soil compaction due to driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and foot traffic. Tree fertilization therefore is very important.
Our tree fertilization program mixes nutrients with water, injected into the soil, distributing nutrients throughout the root zone. This feeds the tree and relieves soil compaction.
Proper tree pruning is the first defense against winds and snowstorm damage.
Strong thunderstorms, heavy winds, ice and snow remind us of the power of Mother Nature.
Proper tree pruning is the first defense against damage from these storms. However, pruning cannot always correct for heavy, over-extended branches or for trees with certain structural problems, such as co-dominant branches and “V” crotches.
Tree bracing cables, when combined with regular pruning, will prevent the loss of limbs with these structural characteristics.
An inspection by your Arborist will reveal whether one of your trees needs cabling or bracing.
Newsletter Editor: Bill Hengst