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Answers to Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What can I do about my messy olive trees?
A. Trees that flower and produce fruit can be sprayed while they are flowering. You have about a two week window at this time. Spraying at the time of flowering sterilizes the flower and retards fruit production.

Q. My trees are getting too tall! Should I have them topped?
A. NO! NO! NO! Topping severely injures and infects trees. The new shoots, which grow after topping, are usually long, thin, brittle and improperly attached. Unseen, but no less important, is the damage done to the root system. Deprived of foods stored in the crown of the tree, the roots cannot obtain sufficient nutrients. In the long run, topping is very expensive and creates an unsafe and unattractive tree.

Q. What are the procedures for removing a stump from my yard?
A. Stump removal is performed using a stump grinding machine. These machines are available at equipment rental yards or you can hire a tree service company to take care of removing the stump for you. These machines actually dig out the stump as opposed to pulling it out.

Q. I want to transplant a 5 foot palm tree. How deep are the roots, and what is the best way to dig it up?
A. Transplanting palm trees is relatively easy. Success rates differ based on species, so you may want to check with a local arborist about any special considerations. To dig up the palm for transplanting, you will need to “trench ” around the tree approx. 6” away from the trunk and 12-15” deep. After this is done, the root ball should break free with a good push. Place it in its new location (make sure you dig and prepare the hole prior to digging up the palm), backfill, and water immediately. Make sure you water it regularly and it should take to its new home just fine.

Q. How long will it take a lilac tree to bloom after it has been transplanted?
A. It may take as long as two years for a newly transplanted lilac tree to resume blooming.

Q. I am growing bamboo and am looking for root barriers to slow the root spread. Any idea where I can find something?
A. There are many different types of root barriers available. You will want something that prevents root growth in a particular area, but still allow water and nutrients to move through the soil. Any landscape supply company should be able to offer you several choices. One that we have had good luck with is called Bio-Barrier. It is a mesh type material that has nodules of time release root prohibitor.

Q. I have heard that landscape companies buy full grown palm trees. Who should I contact about this?
A. Palm brokers and tree installation companies will often buy palms out of residential yards. Things that will be considered are: species of palm, condition, size, location, and demand for that species. Call your local arborist, landscape company or nursery for more information.

Q. What does a Eucalyptus tree prefer - sun or shade?
A. Most species of Eucalyptus prefer full sun.

Q. When transplanting a tree, what is the ratio of rootball diameter to height?
A. Generally, when you transplant a tree, the trunk diameter at breast height is used for the ratio you mentioned. The basic ratio is at least 1 foot of root ball diameter to 1 inch of trunk diameter.

Q. Is it true that a disease is killing sycamore trees across the country?
A. I think you may be referring to a fungus called anthracnose. It commonly causes irregular dieback of leaves in the form of shriveling. It has become quite common and we rarely see a sycamore tree locally that does not have it. If the problem is not widespread on the tree, you can prune out the infected area and dispose of it (make sure you don't use it as mulch or compost as you can spread the fungus this way). If it has spread further than can be pruned, you may opt to use a fungicidal spray. However, fungicides have not proven to be too effective in controlling this problem.

Of Special Interest

One question we seem to get over and over is how to plant / transplant trees. Hope this article gives you the information you need. Guide to Proper Tree Planting