Denver Tree Care Encyclopedia: The Hot Wings Tatarian Maple
americanarbor February 7, 2023

Trees come in all shapes and sizes, with unique characteristics that set them apart from the rest. The Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple is no exception. In fact, it’s quite the show-stopper. Read further to learn about what makes this tree so special, and how to spot one in Denver. With a name like that, it’s sure to be spicy.  They are available in a single stem or a clump variety.

What Does a Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple Look Like?

Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple trees are small, ornamental trees that are perfect for home landscaping. They have light brown bark and slender branches that form a lovely oval canopy. In the springtime, small greenish white flowers appear, but they are soon forgotten by July. In midsummer, samaras — or whirlybirds — appear in a vibrant red explosion of color, contrasting magnificently with the green leaves. This peppery red performance lasts for around six weeks, giving way to yellow, orange, and red foliage for fall.

Where Does it Grow?

Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple trees have a tenacity that allows them to grow in a variety of soil conditions and elevations. They can be found in hardiness zones 4 through 10, at elevations up to 7,000 feet, making them a popular choice for home landscapes throughout the Denver area. They’re also extremely cold hardy trees, withstanding temperatures as low as -40° F.

How Big Does it Get?

These spicy trees are small, but they pack a mighty punch. Typically, a Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple tree will grow to around 20 feet tall with a spread of about 18 feet. They’re perfect additions to home landscapes, and because of their short stature and loud display of color, they’re often used to line streets under power lines.

What Does it Need to Grow?

While they’re young, it’s best to prune the branches of your Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple tree, so the canopy makes a lovely oval as it matures. Beyond occasional pruning and occasional watering, these trees are happy to grow with very little maintenance. They’re hardy and strong, and can thrive in a variety of conditions.

What Type of Soil Does it Need?

Although they prefer moderate to dry soil, Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple trees aren’t particular about the type of soil for growth. They can thrive in clay, loam, or sandy soils, and are very tolerant of alkaline soils in Denver. 

How Much Light Does it Need?

They’re best planted in full sun or part shade, and the more sun they receive, the brighter the bursts of color will be in July. Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple trees have thick foliage that filters sunlight, making them the perfect shade tree in home landscapes. 

Are Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple Trees Native to Colorado?

Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple trees are not native to Colorado. They originated in Southeast Europe and Southwest Asia, and were later discovered in the U.S. It is believed that they were brought overseas during the 1900s when the U.S. Department of Agriculture was embarking on a world-wide plant exploration project. 

Interesting Facts

  • Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple trees first started appearing in Colorado nurseries in the 1980s. They’re relatively new to our state.
  • They were first cultivated by the Tatars of Russia, giving them their unique name. The United States added “Hot Wings®” to the title.
  • The first Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple tree was discovered at the Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery in 1993. An employee said it reminded him of Christmas in July, and the tree was closely observed, named,  and patented.
  • The samaras, (or whirlybirds, or helicopters) are edible, and many birds feast on them throughout the summer months. Humans could, in theory, eat them, but they won’t taste like hot wings, and the flavor likely isn’t improved with a side of blue cheese.

If you’d like to learn more about the Hot Wings® Tatarian Maple, contact us today. 

Trunk Wrapping Trees in The Winter: Why it’s Important
americanarbor January 3, 2024

If you’ve ever purchased a tree from a nursery, you were probably advised to wrap its tender trunk before winter hit. Northern states are prone to icy conditions, and young trees require a little bundling to weather the season. Let’s look at how trunk wrapping can help to protect young trees from winter damage and how to do it properly.

The Benefits of Trunk Wrapping Young Trees

Trunk wrapping should be performed in late fall and left on young trees until the last spring frost. This layer of protection keeps a vulnerable trunk from being exposed to the elements, which can quickly harm and even kill a tree. Some perks to trunk wrapping include:

  • It protects the bark from sunscald. This occurs when intense sunlight warms the bark of the tree and activates cells. When the temperature drops, these cells are damaged and killed, leading to sunken and discolored spots that flake away, leaving exposed flesh beneath.
  • It prevents frost cracks. These vertical cracks form when the temperature drastically flucuates and falls in the winter months. They can cause a tree to become vulnerable to pests and diseases.
  • It insulates the cambium. The cambium, or inner bark, has cells that can “wake up” when the warm sun shines on it in winter. Once awake, these cells begin to move water through the trunk. When temperatures plummet, they freeze and burst, leading to large cracks that damage the inner bark.
  • It reduces deer from browsing. Hungry deer look for quick snacks in the winter, and tender tree bark tastes delicious. This can lead to open wounds, which can cause a tree to be susceptible to pests and diseases.

How to Trunk Wrap Young Trees

To prevent unnecessary injury, it’s best to trunk wrap young trees. Follow these easy steps to keep them protected through the winter:

  1. Trunk wrap your young trees late in the fall, but before the first frost.
  2. Use trunk wrap material that is breathable, but pick a material that won’t damage the bark. Solid options include tree wrapping paper, burlap, and heavy fabric.
  3. Start at the base of the tree and begin wrapping the material around the trunk. Continue until you reach the branches at the bottom of the tree. Overlap each layer by at least 1/3 so that the trunk is protected. When finished, secure the trunk wrap with twine or heavy-duty tape.

How to Unwrap Young Trees in the Spring

Spring is a time for new growth and fresh starts, and it’s the perfect time to unwrap your young trees. The best time for unwrapping trees is in the early spring after the last frost. Simply remove the wrapping material, beginning at the top. Carefully unwrap the tree while paying attention to its bark. Work slowly so the tree’s trunk isn’t injured as its unwrapped.

Additional Tips

Here are a few additional tips to ensure that your young trees are wrapped properly through the winter months.

  • Never use plastic wrap or other non-breathable materials to wrap your trees. They will trap moisture inside which can quickly damage the bark underneath.
  • Wrap your tree firmly, but avoid wrapping it too tight. This can lead to a restriction of air and water flow throughout the trunk.
  • Check on your tree regularly. Make sure the wrapping material is still intact and make repairs as needed.
  • Don’t forget to remove the wrapping material in the spring. Otherwise, your tree can be susceptible to disease and insect damage.

Protect Your Young Trees Through the Winter Months

Properly wrapping your young tree trunks through the winter will give them the best shot at growing tall and healthy. If you’re worried about wrapping your tree trunks or if you have questions about the process, don’t hesitate to call your local arborist. At American Arbor Care, we’re here to help you keep your trees growing healthy and strong, all year long. Contact us today.

Denver Tree Encyclopedia – White Oak
americanarbor January 5, 2024

White oak trees are magnificent, stately, and large. If you’re looking for a wise, slow-growing tree that withstands harsh weather and a variety of soil conditions, you won’t find one as alluring as the white oak. Let’s look at what makes these trees so special, and whether you should incorporate them into your home landscape (spoiler: the answer is “yes!”)

What Does a White Oak Look Like?

White oaks are tall and strong deciduous trees, with a wide-spreading crown that’s filled with dark green leaves. Each leaf is four to eight inches long, with finger-like lobes on each side and at the top. During the fall, leaves turn to a wine-red or bright orange-red color that’s magnificently beautiful and slowly fall to the ground as the wind blows late in the season.

The bark of a white oak tree is light grey, with scaly plates and ridges. When a white oak tree has been established for around 20 years, it begins to produce acorns and continues to do so each year until the tree is around 100 years old.

Where Does it Grow?

White oak trees can grow in hardiness zones 3 through 9, which means they can thrive in most areas throughout Colorado. In fact, they grow well in many climates throughout North America. They can be found as far north as Minnesota and Canada, and as far south as Florida and Eastern Texas. Thanks to their adaptability and hardiness, white oak trees can grow in a variety of soil conditions and moisture levels.

How Big Does it Get?

These trees are known for their stately beauty, and at maturity, reach heights of 50 to 80 feet. Equally impressive, white oak trees have a spread that’s just as wide as they are tall, offering ample shade for your yard. They grow at a moderately slow rate, with height increases of around 12 to 24 inches per year.

White oak trees have a very long tap root, which ensures that the trunk is strong, but because of this, it’s best to transplant them as very young trees.

What Does it Need to Grow?

White oak trees are slow-growing and long-lasting, thanks to their incredible tolerance and adaptability. They are great for creating dense shade areas across your landscaping with the potential to keep your home cooler in the hot Colorado summer months. 

What Type of Soil Does it Need?

These trees can adapt to most soil types, but they grow best in slightly acidic soil that’s deep, moist, and well-drained. They tolerate moderate droughts and wet soil conditions but are intolerant of alkaline soil and soil that is disturbed by construction or other urban activities. In fact, alkaline soils with high pH levels in the soil can cause a white oak tree to develop chlorosis.

How Much Light Does it Need?

White oak trees grow best in places where they can receive direct sunlight throughout the day. They can also thrive in partial shade areas, as long as they receive at least four hours of unfiltered sunlight per day.

Are White Oak Trees Native to Colorado?

There is only one type of oak tree species that is a native tree to Colorado. White oak trees are native to eastern and central North America, but they can grow in hardiness zones 3 through 9. They can be found as far north as Canada and in southern states like Florida, and they span from East Texas to southern Maine.

Interesting Facts

  • White oak trees are massive, strong, and hardy, and they can grow to become very mature trees living for hundreds of years.
  • Their acorns provide food for birds, hoofed wildlife, and rodents alike.
  • The oak leaf buds of a white oak tree are eaten by several species of birds and deer.
  • Lumber from white oak trees was used to build the famous USS Constitution (also known as “Old Ironsides”).
  • White oak trees provide the best wood for barrels used to store wine and whiskey. That’s because it’s strong, long-lasting, and contains tiny tissues called tyloses to keep the liquid inside the barrel where it belongs.

If you want to know more about white oak trees or any other tree, contact us at American Arbor Care today!

Ash Anthracnose – What Is It & How To Get Rid Of It?
americanarbor January 9, 2024

Trees are hardy and strong, but it’s important to look out for diseases and pests that could affect them. Let’s take a look at ash anthracnose and how it can affect ash trees in Denver.

Understanding Ash Anthracnose

Ash Anthracnose is caused by a fungus that overwinters on twigs and fallen leaves. It thrives in cool, moist environments. When spring arrives, ash anthracnose appears as wet splotches on the leaves that quickly spread, and it causes young leaves to curl and pucker. The fungus can easily spread from an infected tree to other trees in the area, so it’s important to mitigate the problem quickly. 

Impact on Ash Trees

Ash trees that are infected with anthracnose can suffer from cankers on twigs and a dieback of small branches. It also causes trees to drop their leaves prematurely. If the disease progresses, a tree can experience dieback of the lower branches and complete defoliation. Without proper treatment, anthracnose leaves a tree weak and susceptible to other pests and diseases, and it can quickly spread to other trees in the area.

Ash Anthracnose Life Cycle

Ash anthracnose is a fungus that overwinters on twigs and the stems of leaves. In the wet spring weather, spores spread and infect the tree, leading to a variety of symptoms. Water-soaked spots appear on leaves, twigs develop cankers, and the tree experiences premature defoliation. As the spores spread and leaves fall, the fungus can quickly spread to nearby trees. Ash anthracnose thrives in cool, moist weather, much like the climate here, in Denver. When spring arrives, it quickly spreads.

Importance of Early Detection and Mitigation Strategies

Early detection is key, not only to save a tree from becoming weak and vulnerable, but to avoid further spread of the fungus. To avoid this fungal disease, keep your trees properly pruned, adequately watered, and in good health. A healthy tree is far less susceptible to pests and diseases like ash anthracnose. If you’re worried about ash anthracnose, we’re here to help. Contact the pros at American Arbor Care.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the early signs of Ash Anthracnose?

Anthracnose appears in the spring, as water-soaked spots on the leaves. Young leaves may also be curled, twisted, and puckered as they begin to grow.

How does Ash Anthracnose affect the structural integrity of trees?

A serious infection can lead to defoliation and dieback in the lower limbs.

Can Ash Anthracnose be transmitted to other tree species?

Ash anthracnose can be transmitted to most ash trees.

Are there specific ash tree varieties more resistant to Ash Anthracnose?

Yes, the green ash is fairly resistant to the fungus.

When is the best time to apply fungicides for Ash Anthracnose prevention?

During the spring when buds begin to appear and the weather is exceptionally wet.

What cultural practices can homeowners adopt to minimize the risk of Ash Anthracnose?

  • Don’t overwater your trees.
  • Never compost leaves that have been infected.
  • Prune away diseased branches and twigs.
  • Rake and destroy leaves that fall in autumn.

Are there any natural predators or biological controls for the Ash Anthracnose fungus?

No, the best way to mitigate anthracnose is by keeping the tree healthy, properly pruned, and watered sufficiently.

How frequently should I monitor my ash trees for potential Anthracnose infection?

Check your tree frequently for signs of stress, but especially in the early spring as buds and leaves begin to appear.

Can Ash Anthracnose spread through contaminated tools or equipment?

Yes, ash anthracnose can spread via wet hands, pruning tools, and even clothing.

What role does climate play in the prevalence of Ash Anthracnose?

Wet weather is a breeding ground for most fungi, including ash anthracnose.

The Best Trees For Providing Shade in Denver
americanarbor February 16, 2024

Shade trees provide both beauty and purpose for your property in Denver, and with so many different types of shade trees, it’s exciting to pick the right ones to plant in your soil. In this blog, we’ll discuss how shade trees can benefit your property, and what types grow best in our Colorado climate.

The Benefits of planting shade trees in Denver

Shade trees offer a number of benefits to humans, animals, and the surrounding environment. They’re large, and their canopies stretch across your yard, providing a home for all different types of animals throughout the year. They’re also great at keeping wind and rain at bay, so you can enjoy shelter underneath. Best of all, shade trees have been proven to cool the air that’s directly underneath their canopies by up to 25 degrees. If you plant shade trees over your home, you can enjoy energy savings throughout the hot, summer months.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Shade Trees

When purchasing shade trees for your yard, you’ll want to consider these factors:

  1. The Denver climate
  2. Your soil and site conditions
  3. Maintenance requirements

Select trees that can handle Denver’s high altitude, dry climate, and alkaline soil. Have your soil tested before you buy any trees, since yours may be different, and may need to be amended to give your tree a good start. It’s also important to research each type of tree so you know how much water, fertilizer, and attention it needs throughout the year. 

Deciduous Shade Trees

Deciduous trees shed their leaves in the fall. They’re best known for their brightly colored yellow, orange, and red leaves in autumn and new growth that occurs in the spring. There are several different types of deciduous shade trees that grow well in Denver.

Maple Trees

Autumn blaze and Norway maple trees are large deciduous trees that look lovely in home landscapes. Sugar maple trees sport an explosion of red, orange, and yellow colors in the fall before shedding their leaves, and silver maple trees can be identified by their beautiful silver-toned bark.

Oak Trees

Oak trees are solid, hardy, and massively beautiful. Their canopies will stretch far and wide to shade your entire lawn. Some great oak tree varieties include the northern red oak and the bur oak tree. Oak trees also grow as quickly as maple trees do here in Colorado.

Other Deciduous Shade Trees

The honeylocust and linden trees are also beautiful trees that provide plenty of shade. Honeylocusts offer filtered light through their small leaves, and linden trees grow tiny white flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds. Spring snow crabapples, Japanese tree lilac and other non-fruit bearing trees make good options as well. 

Evergreen Shade Trees 

Evergreen trees are known for their foliage that remains green all year. These trees require full sun.

Pine Trees

Pine trees like the Austrian pine and the ponderosa pine are low-maintenance shade trees that provide plenty of protection from the wind. Pine trees also provide privacy for your home. 

Spruce Trees

Colorado spruce and Engelmann spruce trees grow tall, and they’re excellent at providing a wall of protection from the wind and sun in your yard. 

Fir Trees

Fir trees prefer full sun and offer excellent shade for your home and property. Make sure you research how to keep them healthy, since they’re prone to root diseases and damage if exposed to cold temperatures and soil that is too alkaline.

Two other types of evergreen shade trees include junipers and cedar trees.

Native Shade Trees of Denver

Native trees grow best in Denver because they’ve grown accustomed to our climate, soil, and altitude. Some native shade trees include:

  • Rocky Mountain Juniper
  • Plains Cottonwood
  • Narrowleaf Cottonwood

Fast-Growing Shade Trees for Immediate Relief

If you want to plant shade trees that grow quickly, consider these fast-growing trees. With proper care, they’ll grow very quickly, so you can bask in their shade without having to wait years or even decades. They include:

  • Hybrid Poplar
  • Weeping Willow
  • Maples, Oaks, and Pear Trees

Best Shade Trees for Small Spaces

If you want to plant a shade tree, but you’re cramped for space, consider these petite varieties:

  • Amur Maple
  • Japanese Tree Lilac
  • Hot Wings Maple
  • Hornbeams 
  • Skyrocket Juniper
  • Spearmint Juniper

Successfully Plant and Grow Shade Trees in Your Yard with American Arbor Care

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect shade trees for your yard, contact us today. Our experts will be happy to help you find the right trees for your space.

Oak Leaf Blister | How To Identify & Mitigate
americanarbor March 6, 2024

Oak trees are known for being solid, strong and dependable, but they’re still susceptible to certain diseases. Oak leaf blister is one that needs to be understood, so you can mitigate the problem as soon as it appears.

Understanding Oak Leaf Blister

Also known as oak leaf curl, oak leaf blister is a fungal disease that causes raised areas on the leaves of oak trees. Red oak trees are especially susceptible to the disease, but most oak trees are vulnerable. If a tree is infected with oak leaf blister and the environment is right, it may lose its leaves before fall arrives. 

Identifying Oak Leaf Blister

Oak leaf blister appears as blister-like raised or depressed spots on the tops of leaves. The bottom of the leaves may turn gray, while the tops of the blisters may turn yellow and eventually, brown. The fungus usually only affects young leaves.

Causes and Contributing Factors

Oak leaf blister is a fungal disease. Spores spread in mid-spring through the wind and splashing raindrops onto buds and twigs. The fungus remains dormant until the following spring when cool, wet weather allows spores to germinate and the fungus to spread.

Impact on Oak Trees and Prevention Strategies

Although unsightly, oak leaf blister usually does not impact the health of the tree. Mature leaves are not generally susceptible to the fungus, and once young leaves fall, the tree can continue to grow healthy and strong.

Water your tree frequently, especially during seasons of drought. Fertilize appropriately and prune when needed. A healthy oak tree is far less susceptible to diseases and infestations.

Early Detection Techniques and Treatment Options

Oak leaf blister is easy to spot in the springtime as new leaves begin to grow. The large blisters may look alarming, but affected leaves will soon fall and the tree will be just fine. In cases where leaf drop occurs early in the season, your oak tree may grow new foliage before autumn begins.

Treatment options include regular tree maintenance and close observation. If necessary, your arborist may choose to apply a fungicide to the tree in the spring, when the buds are beginning to develop.

Hiring Professional Help

Professional arborists are tree experts who know how to identify and treat a variety of fungal diseases and infestations. If your trees seem weak or unhealthy, it’s always best to consult the pros. We can identify the problem and treat it quickly to avoid further deterioration of the tree and avoid the spread of disease. If you’d like to learn more about common tree disease or you’d like to schedule an inspection, contact us at American Arbor Care today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What causes Oak Leaf Blister?

Oak leaf blister is caused by the fungus Taphrina caerulescens.

How can I identify Oak Leaf Blister on my Oak tree?

Oak leaf blister is easy to spot by the raised and depressed spots on young leaves that develop in early spring. 

Are all Oak trees susceptible to Oak Leaf Blister?

Yes, all oak trees are susceptible to the disease, and red oak trees are especially vulnerable to this fungus.

What is the best time to apply fungicides for Oak Leaf Blister?

The best time to apply fungicides for oak leaf blister is in the early spring, as buds begin to appear.

Can Oak Leaf Blister be treated without chemicals?

Yes, oak leaf blister can typically run its course without the need for fungicides, but not always. In severe cases, a fungicide may be necessary to protect the tree.

Are there preventive measures to avoid Oak Leaf Blister?

The best way to prevent oak leaf blister is by keeping your tree in good health. Water it frequently, apply fertilizer as needed, and prune away dead branches when necessary.

What should I do if my Oak tree is already severely affected?

Call your local arborist. They’ll be able to address the problem quickly to save your tree.

Are there signs of resistance in certain Oak varieties?

Mature leaves are resistant to oak leaf blister, but all oak trees are vulnerable to the disease.

How often should I inspect my Oak trees for symptoms?

Check your oak trees in early spring, as new leaves begin to grow.

Can Oak Leaf Blister spread to other trees in the vicinity?

Yes, oak leaf blister can spread through raindrops and wind.

Are there community initiatives for Oak tree health?

There are plenty of initiatives for tree health. Your local arborist can provide you with the best resources.

How To Eliminate Two Spotted Mites and Banks Grass Mites In The Winter
americanarbor March 28, 2024

Twospotted spider mites and banks mites are tiny little pests that can be found eating plants and turfgrass throughout Colorado. Although they’re small, these little bugs can cause a lot of destruction, when left to their own devices.

Understanding Twospotted Spider Mites and Banks Grass Mites

Twospotted spider mites and banks grass mites are pests that are common in the Denver area. These tiny bugs are very destructive to turfgrass and many other plants. Severe infestation can lead to stunted growth and even the death of some plants. There are certain preventative measures for keeping them at bay and a few pesticides that will remove the problem completely.

Signs of Infestation

Twospotted spider mites and banks grass mites leave tiny white or yellow spots on leaves and blades of grass where they feed, and eventually, the leaves may drop and plants can die. Webbing is another sign that you’ve got an infestation on your hands.

Environmental Factors Contributing to Winter Infestations

Hot, dry summers are a breeding ground for twospotted spider mites and banks grass mites. The eggs overwinter on plants and, once hatched,  begin to feed in the spring and summer when temperatures get very warm.

Prevention Strategies

The best way to prevent mites from infesting your plants and turfgrass is by keeping them healthy, and properly watered. Pick drought-hardy plants for your yard, especially in seasons of drought. Twospotted spider mites and banks grass mites thrive on plants that are stressed, so your best defense is a healthy lawn and landscape.

If you find yourself dealing with a mite infestation, it’s best to call your local landscaping company. At American Arbor Care, we’ve got the training, tools, and pesticides to ensure that your plants and lawn are healthy and mite-free. Contact us for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I identify Twospotted Spider Mite and Banks Grass Mite?

Twospotted spider mites are about 1/50th of an inch long, yellow-orange in color, with a dark spot on each side of their bodies. Banks grass mites are similar in size, but they may appear green throughout the summer and red when food is scarce. 

What are the signs of mite infestation on plants?

Both twospotted spider mites and banks grass mites create webbing on plants and grass that have been infested. This is a telltale sign of the presence of mites.

Can mites survive in cold temperatures?

Mites lay eggs that survive the winter on plants. When temperatures rise again, the eggs hatch and new mites are released.

Are there natural predators that can help control mite populations?

Twospotted spider mites and bank grass mites have many natural enemies, including predatory mites, thrips, and pirate bugs.

What are the best organic methods for mite control in winter?

Keep plants well-watered, especially during periods of drought. Mites thrive in hot and dry conditions.

Is it possible to prevent mite infestations without using chemicals?

Selecting drought-resistant plants and/or watering them often is the best way to avoid a mite infestation. In many cases, that’s all you need to avoid problems. If a mite infestation does occur, you can use a high-pressured water sprayer to get rid of them.

Should I remove affected plants to prevent mite spread?

In most cases, this isn’t necessary. Simply wash mites from affected plants with a high-powered water sprayer and use chemical control if necessary. Your local landscaping company can help mitigate the problem and eliminate the mites from your property.

Aphids and Spider Mites: How to Identify and Get Rid of Them
americanarbor February 23, 2023

What are aphids and spider mites and what do they do?

Aphids and spider mites are very different pests, but they share some similarities. Aside from being very tiny and very destructive, they’re very different in terms of identifying characteristics and the type of damage they cause. Aphids are very tiny bugs that feed off of the sap in your plants’ leaves. Spider mites, on the other hand, are teeny little arachnids that chew on the leaves themselves. Aphids are about 1/4″ in length, and they can be black, brown, grey, yellow, white, or light green. Spider mites are even smaller, at around 1/50″ in length, and they’re typically a reddish brown hue.

What types of plants are at risk?

Since aphids and spider mites feed on a variety of plants, they’re happy to move from one plant to the next in your yard. They form colonies that cluster together on the underside of leaves, which causes your plants to become weakened. Nearly all plants are at risk of attracting aphids and spider mites, and these pests are most active during the spring and summer months.

How do you detect aphids and spider mites?

Since they’re so tiny, it can be difficult to see aphids and spider mites until your plants begin to show damage. If you suspect that these pests are present, grab a magnifying glass and closely inspect your plant’s leaves. Aphids usually hang out near the leaves, stems or buds of your plants, and they leave a sticky residue behind that’s called honeydew. Ants especially love to eat honeydew, so if ants are present, you’ve probably got an aphid problem.

Spider mites can be found on the underside of leaves, and they create webbing that can reach from the leaves to the stem of your plants. This webbing can also stretch from one plant to another as spider mites travel. Another sign of spider mites is small holes on the leaves of your plants.

If an infestation persists, leaves will begin to turn yellow, and they’ll eventually fall off.

What are the best treatment options?

Here are some of the most effective ways to get rid of aphids and spider mites.


  • Spray leaves with cold water several times a day.
  • Apply insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, or neem oil to the leaves of affected plants.
  • Spray leaves with a mixture of 1 quart water to 1 tsp dish soap several times a day for two weeks.
  • Use pesticides for severe infestations.

Spider Mites

  • Isolate the affected plants so they don’t spread.
  • Spray the leaves and stems with water several times a day.
  • Introduce neutral predators like ladybugs and other parasitic mites.
  • Apply neem oil or insecticidal oil to the leaves.
  • Apply insecticidal soaps that list potassium as the main ingredient.

Aphids and spider mites are very common pests that affect most plants and trees in the Denver area. They’re hard to spot, but without proper treatment, these tiny pests can wreak havoc on your plants. If you suspect an aphid or spider mite infestation, or if you’d like more information about how to keep your plants safe from pests, contact us today. Our experts at American Arbor Care would be happy to help.

Denver Tree Care Encyclopedia: Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
americanarbor February 23, 2023

What Does an Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry Look Like?

The Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry is a showstopper year-round, and it unveils a new surprise every season. In the spring, beautiful pink buds bloom to reveal delicate white flowers that cover the bare branches of the tree. Butterflies and other pollinators are especially attracted to these blooms. 

As summer arrives, juicy purple berries form, which is a food source for a number of native birds. They’re also delicious in pies, jams, and raw, straight from the tree. The only challenge is harvesting the berries before the birds snatch them from the tree’s branches.

The foliage is a lovely shade of blue-green, but when autumn arrives, it becomes brilliant orange and red. This contrasts beautifully with the tree’s smooth, gray bark, and it stands out among other trees in the Denver area.

Where Does it Grow?

The Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry grows in nearly every state in the country, and it’s incredibly adaptable to a wide range of climates and soil conditions. It grows best in zones three through nine, which includes most of the landscape in Colorado. They’re hardy, beautiful, and adaptable, which makes them an ideal choice for home landscaping in the Denver area.

How Big Does it Get?

Expect your Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry to reach a mature height of around 20 to 25 feet, with a spread of 15 to 20 feet. If you plant a young tree, it can fairly easily be pruned to grow as an ornamental shrub, as well. They grow at a moderate rate, so your tree will quickly provide shade, attract wildlife, and provide sweet fruit for harvesting, right in your own yard.

What Does it Need to Grow?

These trees are hardy, and they’re very adaptable to a number of climates and conditions. 

What Type of Soil Does it Need?

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry trees require well-drained soil in order to thrive and grow. It’s best to add compost when planting your tree, so it’s got the nutrients it needs to grow and produce fruit. It’s also important to ensure that your tree gets a moderate amount of water throughout the year.

How Much Light Does it Need?

Plant your tree in a place that receives full sun or partial shade. In order to produce bright, colorful leaves, lovely flowers, and juicy purple fruit, it’s important to ensure that your plant gets at least four hours of direct sunlight each day.

Are Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry Trees Native to Colorado?

Yes, the Serviceberry trees are native to North America, and thanks to their hardiness, they thrive in nearly every state in the US. You can find them throughout Colorado and on the east coast. In fact, George Washington planted these beautiful trees at his estate, Mount Vernon.

Interesting Facts

  • Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry trees are also called “Shadbush” and “Juneberry” trees.
  • The berries produced by these trees are referred to as “Sugarplums” and “Wild Plums.”
  • Native Americans and early settlers enjoyed eating the berries, and they believed they had medicinal properties.
  • The Autumn Brilliance is a natural hybrid of several different varieties of Serviceberry trees.

If you’d like to receive more information about the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry, or if you’d like help incorporating one into your home landscape, contact us at American Arbor Care today.

Winter Watering Plants in Denver
americanarbor January 12, 2023

Denver winters are known for being very cold, and most plants have adapted to snowy conditions. Although the temperatures typically remain below freezing from late fall to early spring, it’s not uncommon for the area to experience warm, dry periods as well. Although warm and sunny temps may feel fantastic, they can lead to winter droughts that are harmful to plants. Let’s look at how to water your plants throughout the winter months so they are healthy and strong in the spring.

When Should I Water Plants in the Winter?

Colorado winters have a reputation for being cold and snowy, but that’s not always the case. Dry spells are common, and temperatures can fluctuate from very cold to sunny and mild. Snow and ice will melt and water your plants, but when temperatures are dry for a number of weeks, it’s important to water them. Dry periods can quickly become droughts for plants, and irregular watering can lead to weakened root systems. If there has been no precipitation for at least three weeks, it’s best to water your plants thoroughly. This will prevent root damage from occurring as a result of winter drought conditions, and your plants will thank you when spring arrives.

Make sure that when you water your plants, the temperature is above 40° F and the ground is not snow-covered. Frozen soil can’t absorb water, so it’s best to wait for the temperatures to warm up a bit. Water at the warmest time of day to ensure that temperatures remain above 40° F as the water soaks into the soil.

How Should I Water Plants Effectively in the Winter?

Water trees at the drip line, where the farthest ends of the branches would drip onto the ground. That way, the entire root system will get the water it needs. It’s also important to water about halfway from the drip line to the trunk of the tree. Trees require about 10 gallons of water for each inch of the trunk’s diameter, and a shrub needs 5 to 18 gallons of water, depending on its size.

Water your plants early in the day, when the sun is warmest, so the moisture has enough time to fully soak into the soil. If you wait too long, nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing, making it difficult for water to reach the roots.

Additionally, waterin when temperatures dip too quickly, can result in frost/freeze cracking.

You can also add a layer of mulch around the base of your trees and shrubs, to encourage better watering, and to provide protection to the roots underneath the soil.

What Plants Need Water Most in Winter?

Most trees and shrubs go into dormancy during the winter, but their roots continue to grow. This means they still need water to survive, or they’ll be weakened when spring arrives. Trees and shrubs that need water the most in Denver winters include evergreens, conifers, and plants with shallow roots like lindens, birches, and Norway and silver maples. Recently transplanted plants should also be watered regularly.  Evergreens and broadleaf evergreens on warmer days also benefit from foliage baths to increase humidity.

A Few Precautions

Freezing temperatures can lead to burst pipes and broken attachments, so it’s important to take precaution when watering plants in the winter months. When you’re finished using the hose, disconnect it from the spigot and drain it thoroughly. Otherwise, water inside the hose can freeze, causing it to crack, and your pipes can freeze, leading to disaster.

It’s also best not to use your sprinkler system during the winter months. Frozen water expands, and it can easily break attachments and water lines, which can mean expensive repairs in the spring.

If you’d like to learn more about caring for your plants during the winter months, contact us today. Our experts at American Arbor Care would be happy to help you ensure that your plants are healthy year-round.

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