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Spruce Decline: Why Are My Spruces Looking Thin?

Cankers on blue spruce in michigan

Blue Spruce are a staple ornamental tree for Michigan homeowners due to their fast growth rate and lush blue foliage that lasts year round. But in recent years it has been discovered that they are susceptible to a wide range of insects and diseases.

 

The Symptoms Of Spruce Decline

The spruce decline has increased in recent years and trees are dying rapidly in many areas. The symptoms of spruce decline are progressing branch dieback which starts on the inner needles and works its way out over several years. To identify the fungus look closely at the infected needles. You will be able to see lines of small black dots along the surface. These black dots are where the spores live and are released by moisture.

 

Why Blue Spruces?

Blue Spruces are native to the mountains of Colorado but have been found to flourish in Michigan’s climate as well. But because Michigan’s climate is more dynamic than the Rocky Mountains this makes them susceptible to slight changes in the environment and diseases.

There are three diseases that affect blue spruce trees:

 

1. Needlecast: Is caused by a fungus that often infects needles on the current year’s shoots. As it progresses, the needles die, usually the year following the infection. Trees affected by needle cast have healthy outer branches but the inner branches are bare.

 

Pruning infected branches of blue spruce2. Tip blight: Tip blights are fungal diseases that typically cause dieback to new, emerging shoots. Tip blight is common on pines, but can also occur on spruces.

3. Cankers: Cankers are caused by fungi that infect branches or the main stem of trees. Symptoms of cankers are sores that ooze sap or resin. Cankers can prevent water and other nutrients from being transported up the tree.

 

How To Prevent Spreading

Prune infected branches and sweep up needles that have dropped off. Destroy or store the infected needles and limbs far from other spruces to reduce the risk of infecting other trees. There are some commercial fungicides that can protect the needles from getting infected but you must cover the entire tree and it only lasts for one season. If the disease has spread too far the best option is to remove the tree entirely.

 

If you have a declining spruce tree call PPM so we can remove the tree before it spreads to your other spruces.

10 Michigan Plants Native Americans Used Every Day

Michigan Plants With Homeopathic Remedies

Native Americans have a centuries-long tradition of using plants for medicinal purposes. Here in Michigan, entire tribes relied on what they found in nature to cure sicknesses, heal wounds, and promote health and wellness amongst its people. Here are 10 Michigan plants that Native Americans used every day to create homeopathic remedies.

Yarrow

Also known as Achillea Millefolium, yarrow is a highly aromatic plant that is often used in ornamental landscapes. Native American tribes used the beautiful flowering tops of yarrow in their traditional herbal medicine practices as a means to stop excess bleeding. Applying the buds directly to cuts and wounds promotes blood clotting. Additionally, some tribes created a drink from yarrow juice and water to cure an upset stomach and other intestinal discomforts.

Blackberries

Speaking of upset stomachs, many Native Americans used deliciously sweet blackberries to treat a range of stomach issues. Additionally, blackberries were used to relieve inflammation throughout the body. The berry was often mixed with honey or maple syrup to soothe sore throats. Tribes even used the plant to treat bleeding gums and give immune systems an all-natural boost.

Mint

Beyond standard digestive issues, mint leaves were often made into an ointment and applied to irritated skin. Once applied, the pulverized mint would sooth rashes and itchy patches.

Rosemary

This fragrantly savory herb was revered as a sacred plant by many Native American tribes. They tapped into its medicinal properties to reduce joint pain.

Sage

Sage is another popular herb today that was hailed as sacred by indigenous Native Americans. Various tribes believed that sage had purifying properties and could effectively eliminate unwanted energies from the body. Sage was also used for more tangible physical relief on cuts, bruises, cramps, and even cold and flu symptoms.

Mullein

Mullein bears a strong resemblance to tobacco and, ironically, was used as a primary ingredient to treat respiratory disorders. Additionally, mullein roots were made into salves to reduce swelling in joints and extremities.

Lavender

Lavender is a staple here in Michigan and throughout the Midwest. Today, we love this plant’s fragrance and beautiful blooms. However, Native Americans used lavender to treat a range of conditions including headaches, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Lavender oil contains a potent anti-inflammatory agent, making it an excellent option for bites and burns.

Black Gum Bark

The black gum tree is one of the loveliest trees found in the U.S. Native Americans saw beyond its beauty and recognized that the bark of this tree had healing energies. They would make a tea from the bark to help with chest pains.

Wild Rose

honeysuckle in michigan
Wild rose was used in several traditional treatments. Many tribes believed in the healing power of wild rose as both a preventative and cure for the common cold. When made into a tea, the petals also healed sore throats. Some even used wild rose as a mild diuretic.

Honeysuckle

Many Native Americans used honeysuckle to treat multiple ailments such as hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even mumps. It was also used to help with asthmatic symptoms and upper respiratory tract infections.

What are some of your favorite homeopathic remedies using plants and herbs? Tell us about it in the comments below!

6 Signs Your Tree Is About to Fall

Trees seem to have a bad habit of falling over in the worst places and times. We’ve all seen an unlucky car that’s taken the weight of a fallen branch during an overnight storm or even roofs that were collapsed by giant limbs snapping off.

With summer here it brings high winds and heavy rain, a duo for destruction and risk for trees which may not have what it takes to withstand a good storm. Sometimes we’re just unlucky, and a tree that’s fallen may have never been expected to collapse; however, most of the time you can determine which trees are at higher risks of falling and doing some severe damage.

Before you find yourself dealing with your tree’s untimely fate to crumple your car in your driveway or wake you up with water coming through an open roof, pay attention to these signs to help determine if your trees are safe or if you should take affirmative action to prevent an accident early.

1. The trunk has an open holeTree with hollow trunk could snap easier you may have a dying tree

When trees naturally prune themselves and drop a branch, a cavity can develop inside the trunk itself. Decay can start inside this hole and become more and more hollow. If it gets big enough, your tree’s structure will become at risk, and a heavy wind could cause a top-heavy trunk to sway enough to snap right at the cavity.

2. Tree is missing its bark

The bark on your tree plays an integral part in maintaining the integrity of the structure. Missing bark and deep cracks in a tree are referred to as ‘cankers.’ Having cankers in your tree makes it more susceptible to breaking in that particular area.

3. It’s dropping branches and looks dead

If you have an idea that your tree may be dying you should be cautious. When they begin to die, they’ll drop their branches which is a definite sign that something’s not right. When trees lose their limbs, they’re attempting to cut off areas that they aren’t able to provide enough nutrients for. Dead branches can cause just as much damage when they fall as a whole structure falling, depending on size and height.

4. Structure is starting to lean

You should have a decent idea of how your trees are shaped in your yard. If you have a tree that’s naturally grown at an angle, then you don’t need to be too worried. If you have a tree that’s grown straight and has started to slant upwards of 15 degrees over time, then it’s cause for worry. This could be due to wind or root damage and could be barely hanging on underground and just waiting for the right wind to send it toppling.

5. The branches are growing tight togetherBranches with a V shape can easily split apart

Even if your tree is healthy, the way its branches grow naturally could lead to a falling limb. Branches that grow close together and in the shape of a “V” are weaker than those that grow in the shape of a “U.” With a strong wind, those “V” shaped unions can easily snap and send a limb falling. This is where the importance of pruning each year comes to play to prevent weaker unions.

6. Leaves are dying from the center to the outside

Leaves start to die from the center of the tree and move out when the root system is diseased. When the roots are unhealthy, their nutrients cannot be appropriately sent up the trunk to the leaves that need them. The leaves in the center would react to a root issue first, so catching this early can be important in the aspect of preventing damage from it falling. Without healthy roots, you’re at risk for a fall due to the tree not having an anchor to hold itself up.

 

 

Think you’ve got a risky tree?

Contact one of our trained professionals for quality and trustworthy advice.

Request a Free Quote or Call Now at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care LLC.

5 Beautiful Flowering Trees that Thrive in Michigan

Everyone wants beautiful landscaping, but most have no idea how to go about it. While you can go to a nursery and pick out plants that look nice, you’re essentially shooting in the dark. Do you know what it takes to care for those plants? Will they survive the harsh weather in Michigan?

Amazing landscaping begins with clever planning. Flowering trees are an excellent way to beautify your outdoor spaces, but you need to go with the right kinds. PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC has put together this guide to help you choose trees that will not only survive the brutality of the weather in Michigan but will thrive, staying healthy and strong for years.

Hophornbeam

These medium-sized trees grow naturally in Michigan, so you know they’re able to survive the harsh winters and boiling heat of summer. They grow to about 40 feet in height. The male catkins flower in the middle of spring, turning a yellow-brown. In about the middle of the summer, the catkins turn green and resemble hops clusters.

 

These trees aren’t easy to establish in your soil. But, once they’re acclimated to your outdoor space, you can count on them lasting for a long time.

Serviceberry

A beautiful serviceberry tree! A common sight throughout Michigan!

This naturally-growing tree is a somewhat common sight in Michigan, demonstrating it will thrive through all four seasons. They typically grow to be about 25 feet in height, with an overall rounded and attractive look. The leaves are oval and can be up to three inches wide, providing great shade in the summer.

 

Late each spring, you’ll be treated to the buds bursting into five-petaled white flowers that feature bright pink anthers. This will make you look forward even more to the end of winter and the beginning of the growing season. The small fruit starts off green, then transforms to red and finally deep purple.

Kentucky Coffeetree

This tree grows naturally in Michigan, but it needs an area with full sun, plus moist, well-drained, and rich soil. Once established, it’s quite drought-resistant. Full-grown, this is a large tree, reaching upwards of 80 feet in height. The compound leaves are also large, measuring upwards of two feet wide and three feet long, making this an excellent shade tree.

 

In late spring, this tree really puts on a show. Greenish-white flowers form in pyramidal clusters you can’t miss, even from far away. Flowers on female trees produce a scent like roses.

Alternate Leaved Dogwood

An alternative dog wood tree would make an awesome addition to your backyard!

People usually don’t even consider this small native tree for their landscaping. It typically grows to about 15 or 20 feet tall, allowing you to place this tree where others might not normally fit. This species likes to grow in partial shade, but it will still do well in an area with full sun.

 

The branches grow out horizontally, with the leaves clustered toward the ends. Tiny four-petaled white flowers that are arranged in flat-topped bunches look amazing during May or June when they’re in full bloom. Small fruits turn blue when they mature, adding to the visual appeal of this tree.

Native Plants

You’ll notice all these trees are native to Michigan. They require less care because such trees are well-adapted to the climate. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need watering, pruning, fertilization, and other maintenance to thrive.

 

To keep these trees in excellent health and looking amazing, contact us at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC.

Is Your Tree Service Company Licensed, Bonded, & Insured?

The last thing you need when hiring a tree service company is to experience problems. Hiring a professional to take care of an issue isn’t supposed to complicate things. But, if you’re not careful, that could be exactly what happens.

Licensing

The state of Michigan does not require a license for any tree service companies. That means you can’t pull up that information on the state’s website.

Tree care can be risky business, make sure your tree service company is insured!

However, you can check with the local county clerk of the city for licensing information. Many cities and counties do require it, and any company you hire should have a current license, if necessary. Any business that lacks licensing should be avoided for obvious reasons.

Bonded

Just like when you hire any contractor, a tree service should be bonded. With a surety bond, you have extra assurance that the company will fulfill its obligations. Everyone’s heard that horror story from a contractor who left a job half-done.

The best thing to do is follow the Better Business Bureau recommendation and ask if a business is bonded. Then ask for the bond number, as well as the company used for the surety bonding services. With that info, you can verify that the tree service is indeed bonded correctly before you hand over any money or the work begins.

Insured

Just like the surety bond, any tree service you hire should also carry insurance. Rather than just take the company’s word for it, ask for the insurance information. Contact the insurance company and verify that coverage is in place.

Without proper insurance, if the tree service were to damage your property, including your trees, house, car, etc. and isn’t insured, you might not have much recourse for remedying the situation. You could make a claim on your homeowner’s insurance, but that could affect your situation negatively, and honestly, you shouldn’t have to cover a contractor’s mistake.

For a reputable tree service company, contact us at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care and we will gladly come to your house.

Want to Plant a Fruit Tree? Try These in Michigan!

There’s nothing quite like growing fresh fruit in your own yard. It can liven up any meal, plus you’re not constantly needing to run to the store. If you’re so inclined, you can even can or freeze fruits for use all year long, making for a great resource. That’s why you should consider adding a fruit tree to your property.

Many people in Michigan wonder what fruit trees will do well with the frigid temperatures and other unique conditions here. After all, something like an orange or lemon tree isn’t exactly well-suited for Michigan yards.

Allow our expertise at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care guide you in making an informed decision. Fruit trees can be planted fairly easily.

Viable Fruit Trees

While citrus trees aren’t a good choice, quite a few different fruit trees will do well in Michigan’s climate. There’s a wide variety of each type, so ensure what you buy is compatible with the USDA climate zone for your area of the state.

Among the options are:

  • Apple
  • Mulberry
  • Cherry
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Apricot
  • Fig

Of course, you should choose fruit trees that produce what you like to eat. After all, a tree can bear an abundance of fruit, so you need something that you can stand eating a lot.

Soil Testing

Fruit trees can be a reliable source of food throughout the year.

Long before you plant a fruit tree in your yard, test the soil to see what nutrients are lacking. Soil test kits are available from many sources, or we can test it for you.

You might struggle to really make sense of the results of your soil test. Knowing what nutrients different fruit trees need is a fine science, one most people don’t understand. Again, our expertise can guide you in identifying what’s lacking. We can help you select the right fertilizers to add to the soil, fully preparing it for planting before you get a tree.

Planting and Care

You need to choose a good site for your tree. Consider the following:

  • At least 8 hours of direct sunlight is necessary.
  • Clean water must be accessible at the site.
  • Water must not pool around the tree, so ensure proper drainage during rainstorms.
  • Protection against animal damage, such as fencing and netting, often is needed.

In Michigan, the ideal time to plant a fruit tree is usually late April or in May. The soil needs to be defrosted enough that you can work it properly. If it’s not ready yet and you have a tree, you can temporarily place it in a pot, or heel it into the ground. You should try to get the tree into the ground properly within two weeks, so keep checking the soil.

A fruit tree can beautify your yard and provide fresh produce for your table!

 

Contact PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care to get professional care, ensuring your trees are properly planted and thrive for the long term.

Dutch Elm Disease is Still Attacking Michigan Trees

You might have heard about the problem of Dutch elm disease in Michigan. Some people mistakenly believe that the problem has been eliminated. Sadly, that’s not the case. While the number of American elms that have been lost to this disease throughout the United States is staggering, any tree is still at risk of falling victim.
By gaining knowledge about this condition, you can better manage your trees’ health, hopefully avoiding the loss of any. Dutch elm disease can cut off the nutrients to the trees branches.

What is Dutch Elm Disease?

Essentially, Dutch elm disease is a condition that can kill portions of an elm or even the entire tree. Scientists have tracked it to Asia, and believe it was accidentally spread to Europe and North America. Since its introduction to this area, Dutch elm disease has absolutely devastated the elm population in cities, suburbs, and even nature areas.
Originally, the disease was identified by two Dutch phytopathologists in 1921, which is how the name came about. It is a fungus that, when introduced, will spread through a tree. The natural response of a tree to stop the spread of the fungus actually cuts off water and nutrients to the branches, which is what kills it.
Signs which can indicate a tree has Dutch elm disease included:

  • Leaves on a certain branch yellowing or withering before the fall season
  • Dark discoloration on the branches and stems

How it Spreads

While Dutch elm disease mostly affects American elms, it can hurt other elm species to one extent or another. Often, one branch shows signs of infection and will die. Within a year to seven years, the rest of the tree will also die off.
One of the most common modes of this fungus spreading is through bark beetles. These insects carry the fungus, and as they burrow into the bark, it can infect the tree. Dying, dead, or stressed elm wood is an attractant to bark beetles.

Bark beetles is the most common way that dutch elm disease can spread through the tree.

Another way Dutch elm disease spread is through root grafts. As the same tree species or those that are closely related spread out their roots in the ground, they come in contact with each other. Over time, those roots from different trees can graft or fuse together. As the fungus reaches the roots of one tree, it can move through the graft to the roots of another elm.

Curing the Disease

Obviously, the ideal thing is to keep your trees in good repair, so they don’t become infected with Dutch elm disease. You can spray for bark beetles, as well as identify and break root grafts.
But even with precise caution, you might notice one or more of your trees displaying symptoms of this condition. Your best bet at saving a tree is to interrupt the Dutch elm disease cycle. This can be done by injecting fungicides into the tree and pruning out the infection in the early stages.
Dutch elm disease is a serious condition.

Get professional help by contacting PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC here. We have the experience and training necessary to properly manage the situation.

Should You Prune Your Oak and American Elm This Winter?

If you’re like most property owners, you consider mature trees to be a huge asset. Many highly favor oak and American elm, since these two species look amazing, perfectly complementing any building.

Oak trees are a beautiful addition to your home!

What’s more, buying a new mature tree is quite expensive. Not only that, they provide shade in the summer, lowering building cooling costs and giving you somewhere to enjoy the outdoors, even when the sun is full and intense.

 

With how much you have invested in your oak and American elm trees, the last thing you want is to hurt them. When you trim these trees very much affects their health. Read More

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