Pa. arborist shares tips and tricks for caring for trees

To celebrate Arbor Day, Action News spoke with a tree expert about what you should know to keep your plants healthy.

Video Transcript

JASON PARKER: Trees are very unique. I mean, in a lot of ways they're like people. They need nutrients, they need water to survive. Like people, they can get hurt, you know.

They can catch diseases, they can have insect-related problems. And they get old. And when they get old, they need more care than when they're young.

So I'm going to say this one's 30 years, something like that. Today is Arbor Day. It's a day to kind of celebrate trees in our urban environment. Typically, what we like to do around Arbor Day is go to a school or a park or something like that to help educate people as to exactly the right way to plant a tree. But also, what trees need, how they function, so that their first instinct isn't just to come in and cut them down.

The best way to protect your trees is to make sure that they're healthy. You can do that through soil testing to find out what nutrients are already in the soil and find out what they might be lacking. Then you want to make sure that insects and diseases are not going to overcome the tree.

You can see a little bit of leaf spot starting there. That's a fungus. So here you can see the white spots. That's two separate insects. So you've got adelgid, and then these little kind of browny lines are their scale.

It's a slow kill with this specific insect. It would start to look worse and worse and worse every season and eventually, it would die. So lanternfly is definitely a tough one. So they're going to get on just about any of your trees.

I would recommend that if you are putting a sticky trap up, something to cover it like a metal grate or some sort of cone to make sure that you don't catch things that you don't want to catch. The cicadas are not as big of an issue. They can hurt things like ornamentals and fruit trees. You can put netting over them to keep the adults away.

They're not going to be super damaging to mature trees. Going to be more annoying for us than anything. We have a lot of people who are very interested in preserving all of their trees, whether it's because they planted it when the dog died, when a child was born, something like that. Sometimes you reach a point where the tree, even if it is your favorite tree, just isn't safe anymore. And you have to help them make that decision to take it down. Those decisions are tough.

A tree out here in the woods is not a big deal, because you don't have a whole lot of targets around. Something that's right next to the foundation of your house, that's going to be something that you want to really keep an eye on and make sure it's super healthy. Another scenario that a tree can become hazardous that may have otherwise been in great shape is in a storm we'll often have damage that's up in the canopy that you don't even notice necessarily from the ground. Having someone inspect a tree after a storm is also a really good idea.

So it's definitely not too late to start gardening. You're typically past all of your hard frosts so you shouldn't have any risk of your new plants dying on you. Probably don't want to start much from seed at this point. You know, start with an actual grown plant.

People in their gardens are constantly going, what's that, I didn't plan it? Bird or squirrel most likely helped them out. Sun is shining and the rain is coming, so great time to start gardening.

Having people out there and interested in taking care of their landscapes, paying a little more attention than they normally do, it has absolutely helped our business. We've been around since 1880. We do have a lot of history, goes back a long time. We're sort of the original tree preservation company in the United States.

Services that we provide that we could help you out with would be tree pruning and removal, planting, or replacement, pest management services, fertilization services for both your trees and your turf. We'd like to come out and just give you an idea of what's going on with your property.

There's a lot that I love about what I do. Certainly being outside, I get to see beautiful trees, a lot of which have a ton of history behind them. I really can't think of anything that I'd rather do. And it makes it easy to get up and come to work.