How To Implement A Natural Mosquito Control Program At Your Home

If you’re wondering about natural mosquito control, you know it’s almost that time of year again when those biting bugs will be buzzing about your yard at dusk. Natural mosquito repellants are safe. And they’re a reliable way to chase away mosquitoes.

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When Should You Apply Tree And Shrub Fertilizer

The dawn of a new growing season is upon us. That means you should begin thinking about using a tree and shrub fertilizer, along with your typical lawn care to-do list. You don’t want to forget about your trees this time of the year.

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A Complete Tree Care Plan Starts In March

In general, most soils in Michigan can provide an adequate nutrient reserve to meet the needs of most trees and shrubs. But it doesn’t hurt to put together a complete tree care plan each year to ensure that they’ll continue to thrive all year round. 

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Types Of Trees In Michigan: Sugar Maple

Sugar maples are one of the most common types of trees in Michigan. It’s known under the scientific name Acer saccharum. It’s probably the most popular maple tree found in yards throughout Michigan. 

So, let’s get to know the Sugar Maple a little better. Let’s see if you’d like to maybe plant one in your yard, or if you have one already, how you can make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep it thriving.

Sugar Maple Facts

If you want a tall tree as part of your landscape, look no further. Sugar Maple trees grow to a mature height of 60 to 75 feet tall and 40 to 50 feet wide. Sugar maples, like most maples, have a naturally beautiful shape which makes them a very low-maintenance tree.

The leaf of a sugar maple tree is 3-5 inches wide and has 5 lobes, with a smooth, curved edge where the leaf of the red maple is jagged.

And the sugar maple tree is also the preferred maple for sap collection. In fact, only North America produces maple syrup, and Michigan ranks seventh in the country with around 82,000 gallons of syrup produced each year.

The Sugar Maple “Helicopters”

The fruit of a sugar maple tree is called a samara. But many people refer to types of trees in Michiganthem as “helicopters’. That’s because of the swirling motion they make as they fall to the ground.  

Maple Tree Diseases

Like many types of trees in Michigan, Maple trees are susceptible to disease. A few of the most common include:

Anthracnose is a common spring disease on maple trees. It can affect red (Acer rubrum), silver (Acer saccharinum), sugar (Acer saccharum), and Japanese (Acer palmatum) maples. Its symptoms include irregular spots and dead areas.

Maple leaf blister displays symptoms somewhat similar to maple anthracnose.

Sapstreak can be difficult to identify. It’s a fungus that infects a tree from the inside. It’s can also be difficult to notice symptoms (like stunted foliage and dieback) right away. The fungus typically enters the tree through damaged areas of the roots.

If you think your tree is suffering from any of these diseases, you should seek treatment right away.

Taking Care Of Your Trees

There are many reasons to want a maple tree in your yard. It’s the type of tree (in Michigan at least) that you want in your yard. Whether it’s the fall coloration, its size, or its uniquely shaped leaves this common tree in Michigan is anything but.

And taking care of them is no easy task. But Safari Tree offers a 7 step tree Healthcare program perfectly designed for Michigan’s four-season climate. Our combination of deep root feeding, fungal spray, and insect control will keep your trees thriving all year long.

What Are Some Common Injuries To Trees In Winter?

It’s not hard to overlook our trees in winter. Once they lose their leaves and the snow starts flying, they can easily be forgotten about. It’s especially true in January and February. But you may not realize that this is the time of year when our trees are susceptible to injury. 

Of course, we’re seeing our heavy snows, sub-zero lows, and high winds like we normally do. But severe weather events cause the biggest issues for trees and shrubs. And to make matters worse, they’re very difficult to capture in long-range forecasts.

So, to make sure that you’re prepared, let’s take a look at some of the things that damage trees in winter. 

Freeze Damage

Ironically, it’s typically when we’re nearing the end of the winter months when the danger really ramps up. One of the first things to worry about is extreme temperature changes.

The most common cause of freezing damage for trees in winter (in Michigan) typically happens in late winter/early spring. That’s when we often experience rapid warmups that increase dehardening followed by a sudden temperature drop. 

This is not only tough for trees to deal with, but shrubs can also feel the effects of rapidly changing temperatures. Just be sure to include your shrubs in your tree care plan to ensure that they survive winter, too.

Heavy Snow Can Break Branches

Those changing temperatures can also cause snowfall to get stickier and heavier, which is not good for tree limbs. Heavy snow causes trees and tree limbs to fall. All of the weight from the snow can cause branches to bend and eventually break. This can lead to power outages or property damage.

Your best defense is to use a broom to knock the snow off of the branches. Shaking the branches to get the snow off can do more harm than good.

Winter Drying

Winter winds can dry out evergreens and cause their needles to lose moisture. If you can’t water them as moisture is being drawn out from the trees living cells, it can result in permanent damage.  

The best way to prevent this from happening is by watering your trees and shrubs adequately in the fall. Mulching will insulate your soil and roots. This will protect them from severely cold weather. Or just get into the habit of planting only hardy species in areas of prolonged exposure, 

Safari Tree Can Help

The safest thing you can do is to hire a tree care professional. They’ll have the experience, expertise, and equipment to safely take down, prune and care for damaged trees. 

Safari Tree offers a 7-step tree and shrub healthcare program that’s designed for Michigan’s ever-changing climate. For more information on how Safari Tree can help keep your yard looking its best, contact us today.

Types Of Trees In Michigan: Eastern Cottonwood

One of the great things about living in Michigan is that we have a variety of trees to plant in our yards. But the Eastern Cottonwood probably isn’t one of them. And it’s not because it’s the fastest-growing tree in North America.

Fast growth and great shade are reasons enough to love cottonwoods. But these trees have many other endearing qualities that make them worth planting…not at your house, but in the wild.

So, let’s take a look at one of the many types of trees in Michigan, the Eastern Cottonwood, and why you may want to think twice before planting one near your home.

What Eastern Cottonwood Trees Look Like

The Eastern cottonwood is a large-canopied tree with upright limbs that arch at the tips, creating a vase-shaped outline. They’re common trees in Michigan and even up into Canada. The scientific name for cottonwood trees is Populus deltoids.

We already mentioned that it’s fast-growing. A young tree can add 6 feet or more in height each year. The trees can grow to well over 100 feet tall. In fact, some species climb to almost 190 feet. The canopy of a mature tree spreads about 75 feet wide, and the diameter of the trunk averages about 6 feet, once it matures.  

In the wild, cottonwood is one of the fastest trees to colonize unplanted areas. That makes them a good choice for areas prone to flooding and soil erosion. They’re also hardy trees. You’ll find them in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 9.

The leaves of the Cottonwood trees are simple and are about 3-5 inches long. They’re triangular-shaped leaves, with coarse, curved teeth and a flattened petiole. And because of their size, cottonwood trees make good shade trees when planted in the right location.

Should I Plant An Eastern Cottonwood Tree?

Planting cottonwood trees in home landscapes typically leads to issues. One of the problems with the rapid growth of the Eastern Cottonwood is that it leads to weak wood that is easily damaged. Cottonwood branches break off easily, especially during storms or periods of high wind.

In addition, their massive size makes them hard to fit in all but the largest landscapes. And their aggressive root system seeks out moisture. That means you’ll want to avoid planting near septic systems. That’s because the roots will seek it out and can damage the system. This can create an expensive repair for you. You also don’t want to plant the tree close to your home’s foundation or a sidewalk as the roots can lift the area and cause damage.

Another problem is cotton flying in the breeze. The winds can carry the cotton seeds right to window screens where they’ll stick. They can also block your AC unit, or end up floating in your swimming pool.

These messy trees not only have weak wood, but they’re also prone to disease. They include:

  • Slime Flux: This bacterial infection gets its name from the frothy slime that oozes out of the tree bark after infection.  
  • Canker: It’s easily identified by its sunken, discolored areas of bark. The disease causes dieback as the canker kills the bark and creates an oozing resin from the trunk.
  • Aphids, Scale & Mealybug: All three of these insect pests are sucking insects that feed on plant juices.  
  • Borers: There are a number of borers which are attack cottonwood.
  • Leaf Beetles: The cottonwood leaf beetle can completely defoliate a cottonwood tree.

Signs your tree is infected include:

  1. You notice that there are cracks in the trunk or peeling bark. 
  2. Your cottonwood has mushrooms growing near its roots.
  3. There are multiple branches that have no living buds.

If you notice one or more of these characteristics, your tree may be in trouble and need to be treated.

Safari Tree Can Help

As you can see, Eastern Cottonwood trees can be a little difficult to take care of. They’re beautiful, no doubt, but have to remain under your watchful eye. 

The good news is that Safari Tree has plenty of experience taking care of many types of trees in Michigan, including cottonwood. Our tree care and pest control services will keep your trees thriving all year long. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help to keep your yard looking beautiful, contact us today.

Which Tree Care Services Do You Really Need?

If you’re considering a professional tree care services company to help you with your yard, there are some things to consider. Tree care includes removal, cutting, pruning, shaping, tree trimming, replacing, planting, selecting, and fertilizing trees. It’s a wide range of responsibilities, but the focus should always be on the health and well-being of your trees.

It really comes down to developing a year-round treatment plan for your entire yard. 

That’s why it’s so important to understand the types of tree and shrub care the company offers. So, let’s take a look at what tree care services matter most to ensure you end up with healthy trees without breaking the bank.

Before You Decide…Consider This

Before you begin looking at the services a company may provide, you may want to see if their credentials include the International Society of Arborists. They’re experts on trees. To earn these credentials, you must be trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture. 

Types Of Tree Care Services

When it comes to the actual services a tree care company provides, here are some of the most popular.

  1. Tree fertilization: Tree services typically start with a company that offers a good support system for your yard care plan. This can include spraying and tree injections
  2. Insect Infestation: There are many different types of insects that damage trees in Michigan each year. From beetles to stink bugs to scale, a good pest control program is critical to the health of your tree.
  3. Bed Maintenance: Properly maintained beds are critical. Your trees and shrubs will enjoy a healthier, weed-reduced environment.

Other services could include tree risk assessment and maintenance services. But tree removal should be considered a last resort in caring for your landscape. Besides being costly compared to treating your tree, trees add significant value to a home and if large, cannot be easily replaced.

Safari Tree Services

Our treatment program begins in spring with a dormant oil and fertilizer application. It not only helps decrease the risk of early insect infestations, but the fertilizer will feed your tree’s roots, strengthening your tree. 

In the summer your trees will get three rounds of insecticide sprays.  They’re applied to kill EABs (and other hazardous insects). They could be dwelling in your trees before they are able to reproduce and spread.

The program ends with a fall fertilizer application and an anti-desiccant spray. These will help your trees stay healthy and strong throughout the winter. It will also make them less susceptible to EAB attacks in the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Safari Tree’s services can help keep your trees thriving, contact us today.

In Michigan, Winter Tree Protection Can Make A Difference

When the snow starts flying in Michigan, winter tree protection should be something you’re considering. While it’s important to think about your lawn and your shrubs when they’re buried beneath the snow, your trees are dealing with it, too. The cold and the snow can leave behind permanent damage.

So, let’s take a look at the type of winter damage your trees can endure. And how to protect trees from the winter weather.

Prepare Your Trees For Winter

One of the best ways to provide winter tree protection is to start planning for it in the fall. You can even start your winter-protection strategy with careful care during the growing season — it’s almost never too early. Some of the things you can do include:

  • No pruning after midsummer. Pruning stimulates tender, new growth and delays dormancy.
  • Stop fertilizing six weeks before the first fall frost to help plants harden off properly.
  • Water thoroughly throughout fall until the ground freezes; make sure the water penetrates 12″ to 18″ deep to reach the root zone.

You can also prevent frost from causing damage early in the season with some of these strategies and by covering your trees, especially if they’re new.

Don’t Shake Snow Off Trees

When trees are covered with snow, you may be tempted to shake the tree as hard as you can to get the snow off of it. But doing so can stress your tree in a time when it’s most susceptible to damage. So, don’t shake the snow off your trees.

winter tree protectionOnce the temperature drops, the winter winds start howling, and the ground freezes, branches can become brittle. In some cases, the branch can become so brittle that shaking causes it to snap off. Another thing that can happen is that when the weight of the snow is suddenly removed, it can create a snapback effect that might injure your tree’s entire circulatory system. And much like the human circulatory system, damage there can have irreversible effects.

You’re better off using a broom to gently brush the snow off the limbs. Or, if you decide to prune over the summer, your branches will be shorter and less snow will accumulate.  When weak and diseased branches are removed from trees before the winter season, the trees become more structurally sound as their root systems grow stronger and more extensive.

Just keep this in mind…The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages you to avoid cutting or trimming oak trees between April 15 and July 15 to curb the spread of oak wilt.

Thin-Barked Trees Are Susceptible To Temperature Changes

Cold temperatures can injure trees, especially if their bark is thin (like American Beech). And what’s surprising is that some of the damage can happen on the warmer days of the winter. It’s called Sunscald.

Sunscald is sometimes referred to as southwest injury and typically occurs on cold, sunny, winter days. It can happen when freezing temperatures are replaced by much warmer temperatures throughout the day.

Bark heats up to the point that cambial activity resumes. But if the temperature of the bark drops quickly, like when the sun is blocked by a cloud, or when it drops behind a barrier such as a hill, it can kill your tree’s active tissue. 

You can use some basic winter protection tactics to prevent sunscald. Just wrap the trunk of your trees with a commercial tree wrap. But if you are going to use a tree wrap, put it on in the fall and remove it in the spring after the last frost.

You can also use plastic tree guards to protect your tree trunks from the winter sun. Place them on either side of the tree.

One other thing you can do is to paint the trunks of your tree with white latex paint. The color will reflect the sun and keep the bark at a more constant temperature during the winter months.

Safari Tree Can Help

There’s no denying that evergreen foliage and other trees look great covered in snow. But all of that beauty could come with a price if you’re not careful. That’s why a winter tree protection plan is a must.   

If you need help preparing your trees for winter, the experts at Safari Tree are happy to help. Contact us today to learn more about our 7-step tree healthcare program perfectly designed for Michigan’s four-season climate.

Don’t Forget About Winter Shrub Protection Before The Snow Flies

Winter shrub protection may not be on your list of things to do before the snow starts flying each year, but it should be. Heavy snow, freezing temperatures, and cold blowing winds can wreak havoc on your woody plants. The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to protect your shrubs all winter long.

A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant. Unlike herbaceous plants, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground and can be deciduous (ones with flower buds) or evergreen. It’s their size that can make them more vulnerable to winter damage. Trees can typically take a little more punishment in the winter.

So, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to create a great winter shrub protection strategy for your yard.


One way to decrease the risk of cold damage is by planting shrubs that are native to Michigan like ninebark and viburnums. When selecting shrubs, trees, and other plants, check the Michigan hardiness zone map developed by the USDA. It divides growing zones into 10-degree F. (-12 C.) increments according to average winter low temperatures over a 30-year period.

Basing your shrub choices on where you live in the state will help you to pick the best possible shrubs for your location.

Watering Before Winter

Water shrubs deeply in fall, while soil temperatures are still warm. This is especially important to do if moisture has been scarce during the growing season. That water loss can hurt landscape plants during the winter months. 

For example, winter sun and wind cause the foliage of evergreen shrubs to lose moisture that is not replaced while the roots are frozen. But Alberta and Serbian spruce, hemlock, yew and arborvitae, and broadleaf evergreens, such as boxwood and rhododendrons are all susceptible.

Supplemental water will encourage strong root growth, which is the foundation of a strong, healthy plant, even after the stems have gone dormant. Try to apply enough water to moisten the soil 8 to 10 inches below the surface once a week until the ground freezes.

Make Sure You Mulch

This favorite spring pastime is something you may want to consider late in the fall. It will not only encourage root growth, but a layer of mulch can help protect your shrub’s root zone from frost penetration into the ground and extreme cold. 

And if you have newly planted shrubs (and trees), you should consider adding another 1-3 inches of mulch through the winter. This will give the roots a little added protection from the cold temperatures. You can remove the extra mulch layer in spring when growth resumes.

Burlap Screens For Better Protection

In this case, you may want to call them “brrrrrrrrrlap screens,” but all kidding aside, a burlap screen offers great winter shrub protection. winter shrub protection

A well-constructed burlap screen will not only help protect plants from winter winds but also those subject to salt spray from passing traffic. Simply wrap the screen around the potentially affected areas and secure it into place with a few garden stakes and bread ties. 

Safari Tree Can Help

Another way to make sure you’re providing the best winter shrub protection each year is by partnering with Safari Tree. Our 7-step tree healthcare program is designed for Michigan’s four-season climate. This care program gives you the maintenance that will allow your trees to flourish all year long. 

Contact us today to learn more about it.