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. 

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.

Denver Tree Care Encyclopedia: Eastern Redbuds
americanarbor December 22, 2022

What Does an Eastern Redbud Look Like?

Each spring, Eastern redbud trees burst with beautiful pinkish-purple flowers, followed by the growth of lovely reddish leaves. As spring turns into summer, the heart-shaped leaves slowly turn green, transforming into a bright yellow by autumn. The Eastern redbud is a small tree that has low branches, and they’re often found growing beneath much larger trees in forests. They’re delicate-looking, with thin branches, especially when the flowers bloom in the spring.

Each summer, seed pods, called legumes, grow on the branches of an Eastern redbud. These edible legumes grow to around two inches in length.

Where Does it Grow?

Native to New Jersey all the way to northern Florida, and as far west as Missouri and northern Mexico, the Eastern redbud grows well in all kinds of soil. They’re especially abundant in the mesic woodlands throughout Kentucky. Eastern redbuds prefer moist, well-drained soil, so they thrive in the front range. They’ve also learned to adapt to Denver’s alkaline and clay soil conditions.  

These delicate-looking trees grow best in zones four through nine, allowing them to withstand the climate in most areas of Colorado. They do prefer protection from extreme weather, but can withstand temperatures as low as -30°F at elevations below 6,000 feet. 

How Big Does it Get?

Eastern redbuds are small, delicate, and beautiful. They grow to about 20 feet tall, with a spread just as wide, and their branches give them a lovely, rounded shape. Their growth rate is slower than most trees, increasing about seven to ten feet every five to six years.

What Does it Need to Grow?

Eastern redbud trees are fairly easy to grow. They adapt well and can handle a variety of conditions.

What Type of Soil Does it Need?

Eastern redbuds prefer soil that is well-drained and moderately moist, with a pH that is acid or basic. If your soil does not have access to plenty of water, your tree may benefit from regular irrigation.

How Much Light Do They Need?

Plant Eastern redbuds in areas that see full sun or partial shade. These small trees thrive in plenty of sunlight, but they also grow well in areas that receive filtered sun as well.

Are They Native to Colorado?

Although they grow well in Colorado, Eastern redbuds are not native to our state. In fact, they’re native to areas east of the Mississippi River, while the Western redbud is native to California.

Interesting Facts

  • George Washington transplanted redbuds to his gardens at Mount Vernon in 1641.
  • Redbud flowers and the legumes that grow in summer are edible, and many birds, bees, and insects feed on them throughout the year. 
  • Native Americans boiled and roasted the legume seeds for food, and they ate the flowers raw.
  • Today, in some parts of Appalachia, people use the green twigs from Eastern redbuds to spice gave meat. They call it Spicewood.
  • Many years ago, people used extracts from the inside of the bark and roots of Eastern redbuds as medicine.

If you’d like to learn more about Eastern redbud trees, contact us today. Our tree experts at American Arbor Care would be happy to provide information about trees that grow best here in Denver.

Should You Plant Aspen Trees in Denver?
americanarbor December 2, 2022

Aspen trees are known for their beautiful trunks and magnificent foliage, and it’s no wonder that many people consider adding them to their home landscapes. However, before you head out to your nearest nursery, it’s important to learn about an aspen’s needs, so you can determine whether it will thrive in your unique yard, soil, and climate.

What Do Aspen Trees Look Like?

Aspens are easily identified by their bright white bark that’s dotted with black scars where branches have been self-pruned along its lower trunk. Golden heart-shaped leaves contrast with the white bark, making these trees a fan favorite for home landscaping purposes. Unfortunately, aspen trees don’t grow particularly well in every region.

Where Do They Grow?

Aspens have learned and adapted to grow in many regions, but they prefer gravelly soil that’s acidic, well-drained, and moist. This type of soil is most common in higher elevations. Here, in Denver, the soil is much different. Our soil is more alkaline (meaning it has a higher pH), and it contains more clay. This makes drainage more difficult, and fragile roots have more trouble reaching to find a water source. Denver’s climate is also drier and hotter than aspens prefer, making it more difficult for them to grow and thrive in our region. 

Although Denver’s soil and climate are not an ideal environment for aspen trees to grow, they can successfully thrive in our region — with a lot of help.

How Do They Grow?

Aspens are truly remarkable trees. In fact, one tree is just a small part of a larger organsim, called a stand. A stand of aspens is considered the world’s largest living organism, with a main life force of roots connecting all of the trees below ground. The stand of aspens in Utah’s Fishlake National Forest has been in existence for over 80,000 years, and it’s the world’s oldest — and heaviest — living organism. 

These stands (or clones) reproduce new aspen trees by sending up sprouts from the roots, and each new tree is a genetic replicate of all the growing nearby. 

How Long Do They Live?

In ideal climates, aspen trees can live for 150 to 200 years. In Denver, their life expectancies aren’t nearly as long. Since aspens are prone to disease and insect damage, they’re already fragile, and Denver’s soil and climate aren’t ideal for them to grow and thrive. Because of this, most aspen trees in Denver only live up to 25 years before they succumb to disease, insect infestation, or poor health.

How to Grow Aspen Trees in Denver

Although Denver is not the perfect location for aspen trees to grow, it’s still possible to have a healthy aspen in your landscape. In order to successfully grow this particular tree, you’ll have provide extra TLC, and you’ll have to amend your soil. When choosing the right spot to plant your aspen tree, make sure the soil is slightly acidic and well-drained. You may need to add gravel and the proper nutrients in order to achieve the right pH level. 

It’s also important to think about the root structure before planting your aspen. Will it have room to grow and spread out, without damaging the foundation of your home or other structures? Make sure you give your tree plenty of room to spread out, or else you’ll end up with problems several years down the road.

If you’d like to learn more about aspen trees, or if you’d like to know what trees to plant in Denver, we’d be happy to help. Contact us today.

<strong>Denver Tree Care Encyclopedia: The Colorado Blue Spruce</strong>
americanarbor November 18, 2022

The Colorado Blue Spruce can be found in home landscapes across the state, and its majestic blue-green hue makes it stand out among other, less showy trees. Known for its exceptional beauty, this common landscaping tree is worth learning about and caring for — especially since it’s Colorado’s official state tree. Let’s learn about the Colorado Blue Spruce and what it needs to grow healthy and strong.

What Does a Colorado Blue Spruce Look Like?

The Colorado Blue Spruce is a unique shade of silvery blue-green, and its color remains throughout the year. Its needles grow  to about an inch in length, and they’re quite stiff and prickly. The tree also produces light brown cones that are between three and four inches in length, hanging downward near the top. Typically, the Colorado Blue Spruce grows in the shape of a pyramid, with a pointed top and wide, thick base. 

Where Does it Grow?

The Colorado Blue Spruce is very hearty, and it can easily adapt to many different soil types and weather conditions. Additionally, the tree has an extensive root system that allows it to withstand high winds and harsh weather. The state of Colorado is in growing zones four through six, making it easy for the Blue Spruce to grow anywhere in the state, including in the mountains. In fact, the tree was first discovered in the Rocky Mountains over a century ago.

How Big Does it Get?

Growing at a slow to medium rate, the Colorado Blue Spruce reaches heights of 50 to 75 feet, with a spread of up to 20 feet in width. In the wild, this lovely tree can grow up to 135 feet tall, with a spread of 35 feet in width. If you have a young Colorado Blue Spruce in your home landscape, you can expect it to grow at a rate of up to 6-12″ per year.

What Does it Need to Grow?

The Colorado Blue Spruce is incredibly hearty, and it’s learned to adapt to all kinds of conditions. Let’s discuss its soil and sun needs.

What type of Soil Does it Need?

This hearty tree can thrive in all kinds of soil, including acidic, well-drained, clay, loamy, or moist conditions, and it can tolerate moderate flooding and droughts. Overall, it grows best in soil that receives normal moisture throughout the year.

How Much Light Does it Need?

The Colorado Blue Spruce thrives in full sun, with at least six hours of unfiltered sunlight. If you choose to plant one near your home, make sure it gets plenty of direct sunlight every day in order to grow properly.

Are Colorado Blue Spruce Trees Native to Colorado?

Not only is the Colorado Blue Spruce native to Colorado, but it was first discovered in the Rocky Mountains nearby. This tree is native to North America, and it can be found growing naturally in states like Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, and Idaho.

Interesting Facts:

  • Many animals find shelter in the Colorado Blue Spruce, including Pine siskins, crossbills, and nuthatches.
  • The Colorado Blue Spruce was discovered in 1862 in the Rocky Mountains.
  • The tips are edible, tart, and full of vitamin C.
  • It’s the most popular choice as a landscape tree in the United States.
  • They’re also the most popular tree to be chosen at Christmastime.
  • The Blue Spruce is Colorado’s official state tree.
  • These magnificent trees may live 600 to 800 years!

If you’d like to learn more about the Colorado Blue Spruce and how to properly care for them, we’re here to help. Contact us today at American Arbor Care.

How to Care For Your Tree After a Snow Storm
americanarbor November 10, 2022

Here in Denver, snow and ice are are winter staples, and most trees have learned to adapt to these harsh conditions. Even so, trees can be severely damaged by the weight of compacted snow and thick layers of ice, leading to dangerous conditions for the tree’s health — and your own. Let’s look at some things you can do in order to save your damaged tree after a snow storm.

What are the Signs of Snow and Ice Damage?

Some common signs that your tree has undergone damage from snow or ice include:

  • Bowed branches, reaching toward the ground
  • Snapped branches on the ground
  • Broken branches hanging in the tree
  • Torn pieces of bark or shattered branches
  • The tree is leaning abnormally

Assess the Damage to Your Tree

Before assessing your tree, make sure the conditions are safe enough for you to approach the area. From a distance, observe your tree and look for signs of bowing branches or a leaning tree. Look for downed power lines or broken branches that are leaning on power lines above. If you can safely approach the tree, and it’s small enough, you may be able to save it yourself. If, on the other hand, your tree is very tall, or if there are large, broken branches on the ground, it’s best to call a professional. Branches are heavy, and an arborist will have the equipment and knowledge to safely care for your injured tree.

Carefully Remove Snow From the Tree

If your tree is small, and if you feel comfortable approaching it safely, you can begin to remove snow from its branches. Use a broom or other object to carefully sweep snow off the tree, effectively removing excess weight from its branches. If the snow is compacted or has begun to melt, you can use a shovel to knock the snow off.  Use upward sweeping motions and take care not to break or injure branches in the process.

Remove Broken Branches 

Broken limbs that are small need to be pruned at the point where they join larger branches. This will lessen the chances that your tree can become sick from bacteria entering its wounds. To prune small branches, it’s important to make cuts in the correct places. You’ll need to make a partial cut on the bottom of the branch, several inches from where it meets the trunk. Then, make another cut on top of the branch, but several inches away. That way, when it falls, the branch will fall easily. Finally, make a cut near the branch collar, where it joins the trunk. 

Large branches that are broken will need to be pruned as well. In most cases, it’s best to call in the pros. They’ve got the tools and expertise to safely prune your tree, while ensuring that it will heal properly where cuts have been made.

Bracing and Staking Your Tree

If your tree is young and leaning significantly, it may be necessary to provide support so it will continue to grow vertically. To do this, use a mallet to drive two or three stakes into the ground around the outer perimeter of the tree’s root ball. Then, push the tree upright by carefully adding even pressure to its trunk. Use special straps to attach the stakes to the tree, and make sure the tree has enough slack to sway, but is thoroughly supported. 

A young, leaning tree may require bracing and staking for up to a year in order to ensure that it grows correctly.

Spring Fertilization 

As always, a healthy tree is most likely to weather storms with ease while avoiding disease and infestation. You can encourage your tree to stay healthy and strong by fertilizing it each spring.

If you’ve got questions about how to care for your trees after a snow storm, or if you’d like tips on how to keep it healthy, we’d be happy to help. Contact us at American Arbor Care today.

Ascochyta Leaf Blight: What is it and How Can You Get Rid of it?
americanarbor September 14, 2022

What is Ascochyta leaf blight?

Ascochyta leaf blight is very common disease that affects Kentucky bluegrass. It is also problematic for tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, among others, but it seems to affect Kentucky bluegrass most often. It can develop overnight, leaving your lawn looking drought-stressed and dead. Although it may seem intimidating, Ascochyta leaf blight isn’t as detrimental as it looks. Symptoms may begin to appear throughout the spring and early summer, and it’s especially common when rainy spring conditions lead to hot, drought-like summers.

What causes it?

Ascochyta leaf blight is caused by Ascomycete fungi. Although its development isn’t completely understood, it thrives in wet conditions in the springtime. Most often, Ascochyta leaf blight develops when soil conditions have not been properly maintained, and moisture levels have fluctuated greatly between very wet and drought-like periods.

Once it’s present in your lawn, you can exacerbate the problem by mowing frequently, especially with dull blades. This causes wounds to develop in your grass, allowing the disease to spread.

What does it look like?

Oftentimes, Ascochyta leaf blight resembles drought stress, leaving large, uniform patches of straw-like grass. It may look like your lawn is dead, but there may be healthy green blades of grass interspersed throughout. Ascochyta leaf blight can develop very quickly, beginning at the tips of each blade, and moving downward. Luckily, the roots are not usually affected.

What types of grass does it impact?

Most often, Ascochyta leaf blight affects Kentucky bluegrass, but it’s been known to be present in other types of grass, including tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. Since Kentucky bluegrass is prevalent throughout Colorado, Ascochyta leaf blight has become quite a nuisance.

Can it kill your lawn?

Although it may look like your lawn is quickly dying, Ascochyta leaf blight does not cause any permanent damage. This fungus affects the leaves of the plant, and it typically leaves the roots unaffected. While it’s not harmful, leaf blight can make your lawn look awful, and it can quickly ruin all the hard work you put into landscaping. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent and manage Ascochyta leaf blight, so your lawn will be lush and green again in no time.

How can you get rid of it?

The best way to manage Ascochyta leaf blight is by preventing its growth in the first place. To do this, water your lawn consistently and deeply. Aim for one to 12 – 20 minutes of deep watering per zone every other day to maintain steady moisture and keep leaf blight at bay. Avoid watering at night to prevent the spread of the disease. It’s also important to mow your lawn when the grass is dry. Avoid early mornings and evenings when dew is present since the water will spread the fungi throughout your lawn. Aim for your lawn to be around 3 to 3 ½ inches in length, and try to mow about 1/3 off the top each time.

If your lawn does show symptoms of blight, simply encourage it to grow quickly. Since there is no fungicide available for Ascochyta leaf blight, your best bet is to encourage healthy growth so the affected grass grows out. The best way to do this is by fertilizing frequently and aerating your lawn in the fall to keep it healthy. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to keep your lawn healthy, strong, and fungi-free, contact us. Our experts at American Arbor Care are happy to help.

How to Keep Trees Healthy During a Drought in Denver
americanarbor August 16, 2022

Droughts happen often in the Denver area, and current climate trends show evidence that we’ll face more severe drought-like conditions in the future. In fact, according to experts, Colorado has experienced the dryest 22 years in over 1,200 years. Without proper care, trees can quickly begin to suffer in a drought, causing stress, weakness, and premature leaf drop. Let’s look at the effects of drought on trees and what you can do to keep yours healthy.

What Happens to Trees During a Drought?

Trees need water in order to photosynthesize. During this process, a tree uses water,  sunlight, and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and energy in the form of sugar. When a tree doesn’t have enough water, it can go into dormancy, and will not photosynthesize properly. Trees without enough water will also stop growing. The effects can vary, depending on the type of tree, since some need more water than others. Burr oak trees and Kentucky coffee trees, for example, can tolerate drought-like conditions much better than trees that require a lot of water, like a weeping willow or birch tree.

How Can You Protect Your Trees?

Your trees depend on you to give them the water they need during drought-like conditions, so they can remain healthy and strong. Here are a few things you can do to take care of them properly.

Limit Pruning

During a drought, trees are already weakened, and you should avoid anything that will cause further stress. Don’t prune your trees when they’re not receiving adequate water. Wait until spring, and make sure they’ve got plenty of moisture around the roots so that they can withstand pruning and regrowth.

Skip Fertilizer

When trees aren’t getting enough water, they may stop growing. At this time, it may be tempting to add fertilizer to encourage growth. Not only will your efforts be fruitless — they may further injure your tree. Fertilizer adds excess nitrates to the soil, which can eliminate any moisture that’s around the tree’s roots. Trees are also very smart. When under stress, they go dormant so they can survive. Encouraging your trees to grow during a drought goes against nature’s method of helping them to survive.

Add Mulch

Mulch is tremendously beneficial to a tree’s base and root structure. When it’s hot and dry outside, add a thick layer of mulch around your tree’s base. The mulch contains all sorts of nutrients that can nourish your tree, and it locks in moisture and gives the roots a chance to soak up every drop. Mulch can also protect your tree’s roots from the hot, scorching sun, keeping them at a more comfortable temperature throughout the day and night.

Water Appropriately

When rain isn’t in the forecast, it’s up to you to give your trees the water they need. The amount of water your trees need depends on the type of tree and its age. Small, newly planted trees need two to three gallons of water per day, while large, mature trees may need 20 gallons a week or more. Use a soaker hose and place it under the tree. A good rule of thumb is to water your tree at a distance from its trunk which is 2/3 of its height. Water deeply, once a week, so moisture reaches several inches below the surface of the ground.

Seasons of drought, are unfortunately, here to stay, and it’s important to make sure you know how to prepare. These simple steps should ensure that your trees remain healthy and strong, so they can continue to grow and thrive, no matter what conditions Mother Nature decides to bring to Denver. If you’d like to learn more about how to care for your trees in Denver, contact us at American Arbor Care today.

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