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How to care for spring flowering trees

Flowering Trees: The Nature Show You Can’t See on Netflix

Have you noticed that nature is putting on a show for us right now? Some of our favorite flowering trees are coming alive with beautiful blooms! Here’s how to care for these spectacular trees.

Types of Spring Flowering Trees

In the Philadelphia area, there are many types of trees that burst open with vibrant colored blossoms in spring.

Magnolias have large, fragrant blossoms that come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, purple and yellow. There are many different kinds of Magnolia. They vary in the size of their flowers and the potency of their scent.

Dogwoods, especially American Dogwoods, are smaller flowering trees. But what they lack in size, they make up for in beauty with their pink and white blooms.

Cherry Trees are popular in our region. The most recognizable ones are the Kwanzan Cherry, the Weeping Cherry, and the Yoshino Cherry. Each of these are pink flowering trees, in shades ranging from light, pastel hues to deep, bright blush.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC is a popular annual event to showcase these beautiful trees which were gifted to the United States by Japan in 1912. Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, this year’s event has been cancelled. However, you can experience the Virtual Festival online here!

Apple, Crabapple and Pear Trees are fruiting flowering trees.  They bloom with white or pink flowers in springtime. Plus, these trees attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. One tree that’s very popular in Pennsylvania is the Bradford Pear.  Unfortunately, they suffer from structural problems that cause them to crack and split during high winds and icy winter weather.

Caring for your Flowering Trees

Flowering Trees are a great addition to your landscape! If you want to keep your tree healthy and blooming every year, it’s important to be on the lookout for some of their more common issues.

Insects that attack flowering trees borers eastern tent caterpillars scale

Insects that attack flowering trees

Scale are tiny insects that suck sap out of your flowering trees. They feed by piercing the leaves with their mouthparts.  As they suck the sap, a sugary secretion called “honeydew” drips down. That secretion will turn into black, sooty mold over time. Plus, honeydew attracts bees, wasps and ants! You may see black, sooty residue on leaves, white specks, cottony masses, and wart-like bumps on stems, twigs or branches.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars can severely defoliate a tree. They build their tent-like webs in the forks and crotches of tree branches in the Spring. From inside the web, the caterpillars feed on leaves with a voracious appetite.  They can defoliate large portions of the tree which can eventually kill it! Additionally, damage by Eastern Tent Caterpillar can weaken a tree making it more susceptible to invasion by other insects and diseases.

Borers are a highly destructive family of pests that prey on sick trees. They love flowering trees like Plums, Dogwoods and Cherries. These insects leave a trail of sawdust and tiny holes as they drill through a tree’s roots, trunk and branches. Infested trees usually need to be treated with a long lasting, systemic pesticide to get rid of borers.

Check out Giroud’s Video “Top 6 Damaging Insects for Trees and Shrubs in Spring”.

Diseases to watch for on flowering trees

Scab, including Apple Scab and flowering Crabapple Scab, are serious tree diseases. This fungus usually appears in the spring as gray to olive-green spots on the undersides of new leaves. As the infection progresses, lesions form on upper and lower leaf surfaces. Severe early leaf infection can result in dwarfed, twisted leaves, which might drop later in the season. Scab can also weaken a tree making it susceptible to other harmful diseases or insects.

Anthracnose is a disease that affects many trees including Dogwoods. If you have a Dogwood, you’ll want to start checking the lower and inner leaves and branches of the canopy for symptoms. You might see small, dead spots on leaves, twig die-back, and premature defoliation. Infected branches should be pruned out and, in some cases, your tree may need fungicide.

Now is a great time to Inspect Your Flowering Trees

Your flowering tree should already have buds and many are in full bloom right now. You can check your tree for deadwood, discolored leaves, branches without blooms, and signs of insect damage such as chewed or discolored leaves and borer holes.

However, scheduling a spring inspection with your Giroud ISA Certified Arborist is the best way to keep your trees healthy, vibrant, and blooming year after year. He may recommend pruning, which is ideally done soon after the tree finishes blooming for the season. He may also suggest preventative treatments or controls to keep your tree in the best health possible.

“Preventative measures, such as a deep root fertilizer feeding is the best way to keep a flowering tree healthy,” explains Giroud Vice President and ISA Certified Arborist, Drew Slousky. “A sick or stressed tree actually sends out a pheromone that attracts insects! Borers in particular, will go after trees that are stressed, and they can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.”

You might not notice that your flowering tree has an issue until it’s too late! Call 215-682-7704 to schedule an inspection with your Giroud Arborist.

How Giroud Can Continue to Serve You During the COVID-19 Crisis

If you are worried about your flowering tree, other trees, pests or your lawn, give us a call to schedule a FREE inspection with your ISA Certified Giroud Arborist.  During the outbreak, your Giroud Arborist will continue to be available for Property Evaluations.  And, our Crews will complete your services on time to ensure your trees and lawn stay healthy and safe.  The only difference will be that we won’t be able to meet with you face to face.  However, we are always happy to talk by phone.  This will keep you and our employees safe!

Click here to learn more about the steps we have taken to keep our employees and customers safe.

Author: Jeanne Hafner

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