DIY Yards and Health

DIY Yards and Health
Helping the Do It Yourself home owner in making themselves and surroundings healthy

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Trees need help this year

This long dry winter warming up so early and pushing trees into bud means we need to take a little better care of our trees this year.
A Tree Fertilizer Program using a formulation specifically for feeding trees is simple and not expensive.
However your soil type, tree species and your yards specific micro-environment needs to be taken into account before you grab a so called "do all" product and dump it indiscriminately on your trees roots.
Conifers have different needs than hardwood deciduous trees and too much nitrogen will actually damage and stress your trees.
Contact your arborist or you can email me at for details, or if you are in my area I can help with a tree evaluation and a planned out program you can use to have healthy trees for years to come.
Trees never do anything fast, including their death. Calling someone to help a tree when it is looking sick is often too late. The real way to have healthy trees is preventive measures and care.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rush to spray dormant oil on trees?

Question that has been emailed in: "Should you be in a rush to spray Dormant Oil on your trees before the warm weather sparks leaf break out?"

Answer: The warm weather in our East Washington through South Idaho area has created bud swell in many of the trees; however there are other factors that make leaf push happen such as Phototropism or length of day. Trees protect themselves from this type of odd occurrence by not forming leaves until the daylight hours have reached a point that will sustain the chlorophyll production. So there is no need to get in a panic.
If you can get your dormant oil done (great inexpensive organic way to control damaging insects that we will go over next week) go ahead but keep in mind the bark must be dry before freezing to prevent the bark from cracking.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tempted to get started
I am getting contacted from folks wanting to get started with Spring projects
such as fertilizing or preemergence weed control; even weed and feed.
It is surprisingly warm and we are seeing weeds break through near sidewalks and curbs where the cement is absorbing the heat and raising the ambient temperature in the nearby ground promoting some weed break through. However the temperatures are still freezing at night.
The problem with doing preemergence weed control now is that it only has a certain number of days it will work which means we won't have control long enough to go through the season. The other issue is most preemergence products need to be watered in.
The Answer is to get a small one gallon sprayer with a liquid preemergence and broad leaf selective weed control in it to just spray near the sidewalks and curbs where you are seeing the weeds break through.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Evergreen Tree trouble this winter

From Boise to Pasco we are seeing the beginning of trouble from the lack of snow this winter. Evergreen trees depend on snow melt during the winter as they continue to transpire throughout the winter. This tree pictured is a typical example of what we are seeing. Slight yellowing and a dull green becoming more and more obvious.
The answer: You need to do a deep soak (soaker hose if possible) around the tree until you have saturated the root system.
Problem: Your hose is going to freeze tonight if you leave it out - so you are probably going to have to improvise by either bringing the hose into the garage at night or lift it and drain the water out (take the cap off the soaker hose) each night.
It's a pain, but you try and go without anything to drink for the next month. Your trees will thank you for caring by surviving when your neighbors is stunted or worse... dies...!

Friday, February 3, 2012

What will this lack of winter mean?

Freezing temperatures and snow are an important part of our environments cycle.

The deeper the freeze and the longer the time it remains at 20 degrees or lower affect the insect population especially the bore problems we've been battling that live just in the cambium layer on trees. Without that deep sustained freeze expect pest population to be at an all time high.

Falling snow actually attaches to the nitrogen molecules in the air and slow releases with the snow melt water moving it into the root system. Conifers and Evergreens especially depend on this slow release of moisture and nitrogen so we will need to do tree fertilization and don't hesitate to water your evergreens now so long as you drain the hose and remove it from the faucet before the evening freeze.

If we have a warm spring with rain; we are going to see fungus like we've never had to battle before. Fungus is best treated before the outbreak so consider applications soon. Your leaves harbor fungal spores so make sure they are removed - reminds me, I need to get my Sycamore leaves cleaned up...guess I know what I'm doing this weekend.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


What is going on?????????This weather from Spokane through Pasco and into Boise has been way too warm for this time of year. What does this mean to our yards?
Well I was on a property two weeks ago in Richland that had all the pear trees in full bud. I haven't been back to see if they were nipped by the cold last week but this is going to change a lot of our typical maintenance practices.
I think the key things to be thinking about are doing drenches on your trees so they systemically pick up the imidicloprid ai and I if you had crab grass problems around your walk ways last would be a good idea to treat that with a pre-emergent just 12 inches off the cement. The reason why is the cement will warm up the ambient temperature in the soil and we could see weed break though earlier than normal.
as always, email me if you have any questions