How to care for azalea bushes

Azalea bushes provide a vibrant display of colors in the late winter and early spring in Northeast Florida, but, if not pruned at the appropriate time, they can also become large and unmanageable bushes during the rest of the year.

The best time to trim azaleas is after all the blooms have faded, but before the buds emerge around July. If you prune an azalea after the new buds begin to grow you endanger next year’s bloom.

Don’t try to force a certain shape in an azalea bush. Instead, cut individual branches as far back as one third their original length.

You can also plant new azalea bushes in the spring. They do best in cool, lightly shaded areas. Too much sun can burn the leaves while heavy shade can deprive them of oxygen, resulting in poor blooming and weaker growth.

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How to take care of Crepe Myrtles

Crepe myrtle trees are easy to care for and flower from the late spring and into the fall. But, there are a few helpful hints to make sure you get the most out of your plant.

Plant new crepe myrtles in the spring in areas with full sun and well drained soil. There are several different varieties of crepe myrtles, from dwarfs to the most common varieties that grow 15 to 25 feet tall.

Each spring spread a layer of compost under the trees to the outmost branches. On top of that, add two inches of mulch to help retain moisture. Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches from the trunk, however.

Prune weak growth and dead, diseased and broken limbs.

Crepe myrtles will need to be water during the summer if the rainfall is less than one inch per week.

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How to avoid pecan scab fungus

If you happen to notice small black spore-like spots on your pecan tree’s young leafs this spring you might be dealing with a disease common to the pecan tree called pecan scab fungus.

In severe cases, the disease can defoliate the tree, and reduce nut production. The disease can also spread to neighboring pecan trees. Cases of pecan scab fungus are typically worse in wet years.

But, there is a way to help protect your pecan tree from the disease now, before the first spring leafs arrive.

Apply a dormant fruit spray to your pecan trees now, before the spring buds. Use a high pressure sprayer, if you have access to one, to reach the top of the trees easier.

Make sure to apply enough of the spray so that the leaves are dripping and make sure to spray the trunk.

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Early spring care of citrus trees

Caring for your citrus trees in the early spring will help them produce a more bountiful harvest next winter.

Start by fertilizing your trees. Make a circle around the tree about one foot from the longest branch. You don’t need to work the fertilizer into the soil, because citrus roots aren’t very deep.  Just spread it with a rake.

Prune off dead branches and remove any suckers that start growing below the graft union or are popping up from the roots.

Keep in mind that the lowest branches are the most productive.

Snails like to hang out on citrus tree branches. Make sure to pick them all off and throw them in the trash. You can place a copper cuff around the trunk of the tree to prevent future snail problems.

Early spring is also the best time to plant new citrus trees. Make sure to plant the trees  where there is plenty of sunlight and in well drained soil.

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Banana tree care in winter

Although they typically don’t bear fruit in Northeast Florida, banana trees do grow in our subtropical climate.

But, because our climate isn’t quite as warm as it is further south, extra care must be taken to avoid the plants dying off during our mild winters.

The first step is to stop watering your banana tree as often during the winter. Add just enough water to keep the ground moist. When freezing temperatures are expected, however, make sure to water the plant thoroughly and check it again after the freeze passes.

When temperatures drop below 55 degrees, stop fertilizing the plants as well and add additional soil around the trunk of the plant to help insulate it from freezing.

Also, make sure to cover your banana plant with a blanket or tarp during freezing weather and remove only the dead foliage after the freeze passes.

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The best time to trim live oak trees


Trees can be trimmed in Florida year-round, but the best time to trim live oaks is in the coldest and hottest months of the year.

Beetles that spread a fungus, often called oak wilt, can damage live oaks, or even kill the trees. The most obvious sign of oak wilt is that the area around the leaf vein turns brown will the rest of the leave remains green.

The disease spreads quickly to adjacent trees, and can kill a live oak in the matter of months. The trees do sometimes live for several more years, but once they are infected will eventually die.

The beetles that cause oak wilt are most active in the spring months, and are least active in the coldest months of the year, from November to February, and in the hottest months from June to August.

If you have a live oak tree that needs to be trimmed call Kevin at 904-928-3568 for a free estimate.

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Trimming palm trees

Unlike many other types of trees, palm trees tend to prune themselves when the dry yellow or brown fronds fall off.

When the fronds don’t fall by themselves, however, it’s important to get them trimmed up to keep the tree healthy.

Trimming palms can be tricky, however, as over trimming can make them more vulnerable to cold, wind and disease.

To avoid those issues, only the dry yellow or brown fronds should be removed. Only the loose boots on the truck should be removed.

The palm flowers and fruit stalks, which often attract pests like rats and mice, should also be removed.

Call Kevin at 904-928-3568 for a free estimate on trimming your palm trees.

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Keeping your trees trimmed keeps them healthy

Proper tree maintenance is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is keeping your trees attractive and healthy.

It’s important to have them trimmed once a year or every other year to control their size, keep them away from power lines and from your home.

Keeping trees trimmed also keeps them healthy by removing dead or dying branches, weak branches or diseased branches. For most trees, their natural form is best to keep them healthy, trying to trim trees into different shapes can cause them to weaken and prematurely die.

Trimming larger trees by yourself can be dangerous because it requires you to climb trees and use power tools.

In addition, once you get into a tree you may find that you are not alone, trees are home to raccoons and other critters.

If you have a tree that you think could use a trim give us a call for a free estimate at 904-928-3568.

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Tree roots can cost you money

Your trees’ roots may be competing for space with undergrown septic systems, pavement and even the foundation of your house - and the roots, given enough time, will ultimately win.

Most active tree roots are in the top three feet of soil, and they grow outward to about three times the branch width.

For some trees that grow large in Northeast Florida, such as live oaks, that means the root system could be permeating much of your yard.

As the roots grow out they will push against, and through whatever is in their way. The roots are strong and can push their way through steel and concrete.

Some of the damage they can cause include breaking through the lines in a septic system, which can cause leaks and clogging. They  can also cause your pavement to crack and break up, and, if they are too close to your house, they can also create cracks in your home’s foundation. That can eventually cause that portion of the foundation to be uneven.

In addition to those problems, although the roots tend to avoid each other when they are young, as they grow they may also be forced together, which can transfer diseases from one tree to another. 

In some cases you can grind the roots, but you take a chance of killing the tree. If the root system has caused too much damage, you should have the tree removed.

If you have questions about your roots, or would like to receive a free estimate, call Kevin at 904-928-3568 or email him at




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Problem Vines

Climbing vines, if not properly controlled, can choke out your tree’s roots.

There are a variety of climbing vines that grow in Northeast Florida, including English ivy, poison ivy and poison oak.

Although these vines are not parasitic, meaning they do not take nutrients from the tree, they can form a dense cover at the base of the tree, blocking moisture from the tree’s roots.  As vines grow up a tree, they can weigh heavy on limbs, making them more vulnerable to break off and fall.

In addition to the problems they create for the trees, the resin in poison ivy and oak can also give you an itchy rash.

Some ivy vines cause enough damage that the whole tree must be removed.

If you think you have a tree with out of control ivy email me at or call me at 904-928-3568.

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