Thursday, April 11, 2019

Storm Damaged Tree


Photo Courtesy of George Hoden 

Storm damaged trees left standing after general storm clearance activities have been completed can become hazardous. Trees that could quickly develop into hazards need to be evaluated and treated or removed. Good storm damage management is much more cost-effective over the long run than cleaning up fallen materials now and reacting to tree problems in the future. Evaluations should be performed by a certified arborist before or at the time of initial storm damage service. The goal is to minimize risk and protect assets, including the tree itself. Always remember to take proper safety precautions when dealing with and fixing storm damaged trees.

Initially, the homeowner can review storm damage according to the following three categories:

Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
         Category I Damage

  • Dead tree
  • Snapped or twisted stem breaks
  • Roots Broken-tree can be pushed over
  • Leaning or bent pine
  • Pine Lighting strike
  • Branch damage leaving lopsided crown
  • Hardwood with >50% crown loss
  • Pine with >30% live crown damage or loss
  • Large stress crack or twists in main stem

         Treatment: Damage is not treatable and
         the tree should be removed.

Courtesy of The National Park Service

 Category II Damage
  • Hardwood top broken <50% live crown loss
  • Hardwood branches with <50% loss
  • Pine <30% of branches loss or damage

Treatment: Prune the damage (drop the crotch if needed). 
Water the tree as needed and watch for insect damage. 
A soil test is recommended ad fertilize the tree the following year according to the results.


          Category III Damage
  • Hardwood lighting strike
  • Twigs and small branches blown off
  • Foliage destroyed or stripped
  • Mechanical damage to main stem <30% of circumference effected
          Treatment:Minimize stress on the tree by watering as needed. 
          Have a soil test done and fertilize based on results the following year.
          Watch for insect damage while the tree is healing.


Additional Resource Links:

Ask a Certified Arborist: The Georgia Forestry Commission’s on-line service — “Ask the Arborist”. Complete a form and a certified arborist will answer questions and evaluate conditions.

Is My Tree Dying? Is a helpful general publication by the UGA Cooperative Extension Office which discusses signs of a tree in danger.

Certified Arborist List by The Georgia Forestry Commissions:

Managing Storm Damaged Trees Do’s and Dont’s:

Friday, February 1, 2019

Pansies and Johnny Jump Ups

September is the ideal time to plant violas such as pansies and Johnny jump ups.  With a seven-month growing season, and cold tolerance down to 20°F, these violas add color to mass plantings and containers.  The pansy plant is 8 inches across and 8 inches high with 1 - 4-inch blossoms. The Johnny jump up bloom is one inch across on a plant 12 - 15 inches tall.

Sun light
Full sun best; 4-6 hrs. minimum
Plant selection
Select dark green, compact plants with white roots that are not pot bound
Plants in 3”- 4” pots have better root ball
Bed Preparation
Plants require a soil temperature of 45°F to 65°F. Plants will not grow in compacted clay soil. Spread 3”- 4” of quality soil amendment or compost and till in 8”- 12” deep. Adding 1”- 2” composted cow manure adds slow release nutrients. Pansies do not like wet feet. A raised bed 3” - 6“above the original grade will improve drainage.
Make sure plants are well watered before laying out for planting. If they were purchased in advance, water daily to keep from wilting. Lay plants out to determine spacing. Space 7” - 12” apart. Ten inches apart is ideal.  Overcrowding will promote disease. Dig individual planting holes. Press soil firmly around plant. Water bed gently and thoroughly.
During first two to three weeks, keep new plants moist but not soggy. Thereafter, provide one inch of water per week if there is no rain. Keep plants on dry side as temperature cools.
When soil temperature is above 60°F, use a good balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) at 1 pound per 100 sq. ft. When temperatures cool, pansies must have a nitrate nitrogen. Check the label. Nitrate-based or time released formulations for pansies are fine.
Seasonal Care
Remove dead or fading flowers every two weeks to encourage more blossoms.
Remove weeds. They rob pansies of water and nutrients.
If air temperature is below 25°F plants foliage will wilt & turn gray green.
If soil freezes, plants may be damaged.
Special protection is required if air temperature is below 20°F for several days. Cover entire bed with 2” - 4” of pine straw.
End of Season
Pansies are cool weather plants. When the temperature rises the plants will elongate and flop over unattractively. Remove the plants during early May.


This viola does well in full sun and performs better in shade and cool conditions than the pansies.
These are the only exceptions, but all the above instructions are applicable.

References:  The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Christopher Brickell, Judith D. Zuh, 1997
Manual of Woody Herbaceous Ornamental Plants, Steven M. Stil,1994

Monday, January 14, 2019

Levels Of Shade


Photo By T. Engberg With NPS

Plants require certain light conditions to look their best. For example, purple heart (Tradescantia) needs full sun to retain its purple leaf color. If it is kept in the shade, the leaves will become green. On the other hand, Himalayan sweet box (Sarcococca hookeriania var. humilis) does well in dense shade and does not tolerate full sun.

Bob Westerfield, UGA Extension Horticulturist, defines levels of shade as follows.

Full sun
unfiltered sunshine all day (eight to ten hours)
Light shade
shaded two to four hours during the heat of the day
Partial shade
area receives four to five hours of shade
Filtered shade
may be shaded all day but shafts of sun light squeeze through the branches
Full shade
shade lasts all day, some reflective light present
Dense shade
day long dark shade with no reflective light

Sunshine abundance differs across every garden and landscape. It is important to determine how much sun each area of your garden gets before adding new plants or creating a landscape design. When you’re calculating the amount of light your garden gets, don’t forget shrubs, trees and structures will provide shade in different places at different times of day. It is also important to note that the afternoon sun is stronger than the morning sun and is often not tolerated well by plants needing partial shade, especially here in Georgia.  

The easiest way to determine how much light your garden gets is to spend a day monitoring light levels. Start at 10 AM and check every two hours to see what level of shade you see in your garden. If you don’t have time to calculate the light in your garden over a full year, just remember that the sun remains closer to the horizon during winter and will cause even small structures to cast large shadows.

Other Resources:

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

When & How To Prune

When is the best time to prune? Most people think it's in the Fall, but that generally isn't the case. Would you like to know more about pruning, when and how to do it while  getting hands on experience?  Call our office and register for our "Tree Pruning Class" this November.