What’s A Good Fall Fertilizer For Trees And Shrubs

Whenever the topic of fertilizer comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is probably your lawn. But your trees and shrubs need nourishment, too, especially before the snow starts flying. And there are many good fall fertilizers for trees and shrubs that you can try.

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Types of Trees In Michigan: Eastern Hemlock

The Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is one of the types of trees that are native to Michigan. Hemlocks are characterized by their flat, dark green needles with silvery undertones. Their bark is also deeply grooved their branches are typically described as “drooping”.

This evergreen conifer is not only beautiful, it’s home to many wildlife and can be found in many parts of the United States.

So, let’s take a closer look at the Eastern Hemlock tree, where it likes to grow, and what is threatening its existence.

Eastern Hemlock Facts

Although it’s a native tree to Michigan, the Department of Agriculture says you’ll find Eastern Hemlocks all over North America. It extends from eastern Minnesota to southern Quebec, then through Nova Scotia, before descending via the Appalachian Mountains to reach northern Georgia and Alabama. It grows in various national parks and is the state tree of Pennsylvania.

Local growing conditions determine the size of these trees, but in favorable conditions, they can reach up to 70 ft. in height and spread out up to 35 ft. A Hemlock can stand over 100 feet tall in some places, typically near the Atlantic coast and in the Appalachian Mountains where the trees often reach their greatest height.

It grows into the shape of a pyramid, but one of its most distinctive traits is the dropping nature of its branches. 

Hemlock prefers north-facing slopes of hills and mountains or tucked into ravines where there is more shade and cooler conditions. Mature hemlocks are shade tolerant. They also prefer acidic, well-drained soils that are moist. 

Its pinecones are very small and hang from the tips of new growth of twigs. Other common names of this evergreen include Canada hemlock and hemlock spruce.

Birds Love Hemlock Trees

Numerous bird species prefer hemlocks as nesting trees. They are protected by their tall branches and dense foliage. Kinglets and several other types of warblers, such as Blackburnians and black-throated greens, are among the birds that build their nests on hemlock trees.

type of tree in MichiganFor birds like crossbills and pine siskins, the seed cones are a source of food throughout the winter. Deer like to lie under the branches of hemlock, and porcupines eat its little twigs for breakfast. Where the snow isn’t too deep, they’ll use them as a refuge.

Pests That Threaten Eastern Hemlock

In recent years an invasive pest called woolly adelgid has been terrorizing Eastern Hemlocks. It’s wreaking havoc in areas of Canada and the northeastern United States where hemlock is the main forest tree as well as an ornamental. Researchers believe the wooly adelgid arrived in Michigan on infested nursery stock from northeastern states.

The wooly adelgid is an aphid-like insect that attacks the tree by inserting its long mouthparts at the base of needles. Once it’s attached, it begins to feed on the tree’s stored starches. They will remain in the same spot their whole life, growing into adulthood and continually feeding on the tree. This damages the canopy of the tree by disrupting the flow of nutrients to its twigs and needles. The tree will typically die within 4-10 years.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development continues to verify new detections of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid. They believe the spread occurs in a couple of different ways. The insects can be transported to new locations by wind, birds or mammals coming into contact with an infested branch, or by cars, boats or RVs parked under infested trees.

Protect Your Eastern Hemlock

The Safari Tree pest control package combines killing insects and their larvae by strengthening your tree. If your trees are stronger they’ll be able to survive the pests that do manage to attack. 

We start in the spring by spreading dormant oil on your trees. This will cut down on early insect infestations. We will also fertilize your tree’s deep roots later on in the season. This allows it to thrive all summer long.

In fact, our 7-step tree healthcare program is perfectly designed for Michigan’s four-season climate. If you’re interested in learning more about how Safari Tree can protect the trees in your yard, contact us today

What Causes Spruce Tree Diseases In Michigan?

Spruce tree diseases in Michigan are becoming all too common. From the newly identified fungus, we discovered last year, to an old nemesis like tip blight, it seems the spruce is always under attack. But knowing where these diseases come from, and how to treat your trees if they get sick, can help you keep them in tip-top shape. 

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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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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.

What’s The Best Fall Fertilizer For Trees?

It’s not just your grass that could use a boost this time of year. You often need to consider a fall fertilizer for trees and shrubs, too. 

Most soils in Michigan can typically provide an adequate nutrient reserve to meet the needs of trees and shrubs. Even those that are planted next to lawns can get some of their nutrients from lawn fertilizers. That being said, depending on the properties of your soil, nutrient deficiencies can occur. 

So, let’s take a look at why you should consider fertilizing your trees in the fall and what the best fall fertilizer is for them.

When To Apply A Fall Fertilizer For Trees

It used to be that trees and shrubs that needed a nutrient boost got their annual fertilizer application in early spring. It’s the time just before active growth begins for the year. Many experts accepted this timing for years. And although early spring is a good time, new research indicates there is an even better time.

Now a majority of arborists consider late September or October a great time to consider a fall fertilizer for trees and shrubs. They say to apply it then, or about a month after the first killing frost. Why? Because plants (including trees) will use the nutrients they need in different ways throughout the year.

Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies In Trees

Here are the three most common nutrient problems that homeowners in Michigan typically see in trees and shrubs. They are deficiencies of nitrogen, iron, or manganese. 

 fall fertilizer for treesNitrogen deficiencies may occur in trees since it is the element that is needed in the largest amounts. The reasons that trees become deficient in nitrogen include:

  • Most of them are located in mulch beds that use up nitrogen as they decompose. 
  • It is lost from the soil over time through leaching. 
  • Removing leaves each fall interrupts the natural recycling of nitrogen that occurs in native forests. 

Think about that last one the next time you’re raking leaves.

Iron and manganese deficiencies are common in certain landscape trees. These deficiencies are typically associated with alkaline soil pH. In both cases, soils may contain adequate amounts of the element, but availability and uptake are reduced by alkaline soil conditions.

The Best Fall Fertilizer For Trees

Most experts recommend applying 1 to 3 pounds of slow-release nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of tree bed and cultivating lightly. But to figure out the exact amount of fertilizer you’ll need, you’ll have to do some math. 

Start by calculating the square footage of your beds. Then take those measurements with you to your local garden center and determine how much you’ll need.   fall fertilizer for trees

Using a slow-release fertilizer is important. That’s because there will still be nutrients in the soil come spring when your plants start to grow. A slow-release fertilizer also ensures that your trees get the right amount of nitrogen and not too much at one time.

If you have a tree or shrub that does not flower well, a dose of superphosphate will help promote flower growth. However, if the plant is not located in the right spot, all the superphosphate in the world won’t make it flower.

When Not To Fertilize A Tree

And keep this in mind. Don’t fertilize newly planted or newly transplanted trees. These are trees that were planted or transplanted less than two years prior. 

Applying fertilizer to newly transplanted trees can excessively dry roots. This is called burning. Wait until after the third year before you consider fertilizing it. At that point, it will be considered an established tree.

Let Safari Tree Help

Safari Tree’s year-round applications include a fall deep-root-feeding that delivers nutrients straight to the root system of your trees. This helps your plants recover from the long hot summer and prepares them for the cold winter season ahead.

You’ll also get a fall anti-desiccant spray. It winterizes your evergreen trees and shrubs. 

If you’re going to need help winterizing your yard, contact us today. We’ll be happy to help.

What Types Of Trees In Michigan Do Beetles Infest?

There are many types of trees in Michigan, but the state is known for its variety of indigenous trees. They add beauty to the environment and serve as a source of our ecosystem. One species that stands out amongst the rest is the maple tree.

Among the various species of maple trees that are native to Michigan, the Sugar Maple tree clearly stands out. The beauty of the sugar maple entices you to want to plant one in your yard. It adds beauty instantly. But what exactly do you need to know before planting a sugar maple?

Well, the sugar maple tree, unfortunately, can become home to some common pests. Most notably,  the Asian long-horned beetle. These bugs may destroy the beauty of your trees, making them appear infected. But, you don’t have to worry. There are several ways to protect your trees from beetles and diseases. 

Here’s what you can do to keep them safe.

Use of Approved Pesticides to Eliminate the Asian Long-horned Beetle

Early identification is critical. If your tree is infested, you have to act right away.  The female Asian longhorned beetle will typically lay a single egg underneath the bark of the tree, making it hard to trace. Nonetheless, it is possible to use pesticides totree infested by the Asian longhorn beetle destroy the eggs before they hatch. This will allow you to effectively control the growth of the pests. At Safari Tree, we can help you protect your sugar maple trees through our pest control program.

It’s important that you spray a combination of insecticides and pesticides, to effectively kill eggs before they hatch. This combination works best during summer. It is also a great remedy to eliminate mature insects, which will reduce the possibility of the beetles laying more eggs in the future.

In addition to using an anti-desiccant spray, deep root feeding is necessary. It will provide maximum protection during winter. If the beetles have severely affected your trees, using chlorantraniliprole can be a great remedy as this method is known to paralyze the pests, thus rendering them unproductive and eventually killing them.

The Biological Methods

As a home or business owner, you’ll always want to maintain the natural beauty offered by the sugar maple tree. There are safer, more environment-friendly, and long-term methods to eradicate pests that slowly destroy your trees. Using some known biological methods, you can effectively control the spread of insects, as the efficacy of these methods has been tried and tested.

One of the most effective biological methods is the use of the Petch fungus. The method can effectively eliminate the Asian long-horned beetle in most parts of the United States. You can invite an expert to help you apply the fungus directly to your sugar maple tree and let the beetle consume it.

You can also use agar and oil formulations of the fungus.  The formulation will eliminate adult beetles, with minimal side effects.

The Quarantine Method

One of the best ways to ensure that the Asian long-horned beetle doesn’t get into the trees in your yard is by using the quarantine method. If you use firewood, make sure that you get your firewood locally to avoid transporting these wood-boring beetles into your yard.

The State of Michigan restricts the transporting of firewood from one region to another. This can help to curb the spread of pests, as insects don’t move on their own.  Their movement is facilitated by the transportation of infested trees. If this is to be achieved, Michigan would be better positioned to eliminate the beetles.

Having to destroy infested trees is the last thing you or any homeowner wants. But it may be necessary if the spread of these beetles gets to be uncontrollable. However, before we destroy more trees, it would be better to try out measures that can protect the sugar maple due to the economic value of these trees, and other countless benefits.

Contact Safari Tree

With the many tree species found in Michigan, you need a company that you can count on to protect all of them. At Safari Trees, we have what it takes to help you protect your trees from pests and diseases that pose a threat. 

Contact Safari Tree for all of your tree service needs, and our dedicated staff will guide you every step of the way.

What Is Tree Pruning?

An important part of tree care is proper pruning. It will contribute to the healthy growth of your trees, but it shouldn’t be confused with trimming tree branches. There is a difference between the two.  

So, let’s answer the question: “What is tree pruning?” and find out how it’s different from tree trimming. 

Why Trim Or Prune Your Trees?

Left alone, your trees can become unwieldy, with branches growing in various directions. This uneven growth can leave your trees looking scraggly, unbalanced, or misshapen. Overgrowth can also have an impact on the health of the tree and any adjoining plants. Extra branches can prevent them from getting the moisture, nutrients, and light they need to thrive.  

This is where trimming comes in.

What is Tree Trimming?

Tree trimming helps trees, shrubs, and hedges grow in a healthy manner. It’s focused primarily on aesthetics. You trim to maintain a tree’s desired shape and appearance.

what is tree pruning

When trimming, try not to remove more than 25% of a tree’s canopy at one time.

Clean out the clutter (like dead branches). You should also trim away growth coming from the roots or base of the trunk. 

But if your tree is really overgrown and out of shape, you may need to prune instead.

What Is Tree Pruning?

Pruning is when you selectively remove branches from a tree. The goal is to remove unwanted branches, improve the tree’s structure, and direct new, healthy growth. what is tree pruning

Pruning is a little more involved since it typically calls for making two types of cuts: heading cuts to shorten single branches and thinning cuts to remove branches. 

Heading cuts should be made at a 45-degree angle and placed just after a healthy bud. A thinning cut should occur as closely as possible to the location where a branch intersects with its primary limb.

But different tree species will call for different cuts. If you cut branches in the wrong direction or wrong spot, you can do more damage than good. 

When To Prune Your Trees

The best time to prune your trees is late fall or early spring. In both cases, it’s right on the cusp of the dormant seasons. 

This makes it easier to see the structure of your trees because they are either free of leaves or are about to be. This makes it easier to see what branches need trimming and makes it easier to make proper cuts outside the branch collar and in the direction of growth.

When Not To Trim Or Prune

In short, done correctly, trimming or pruning will help the structural integrity of your tree. But there are times when you should avoid it. 

If your canopy is high enough that it’s getting close to power lines, you may need to call in a company that offers pruning services. 

Safari Tree offers a 7-Step Tree Healthcare Program that’s perfectly designed for Michigan’s four-season climate. With 15 years of knowledge and expertise, the professionals at Safari Tree help maintain healthy trees and shrubs all year round. Contact us today.