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Top 10 Things to do This Spring for your Trees, Shrubs & Plants

Spring is here, and while many people focus on spring cleaning their homes, the trees, shrubs, and other plants that make up your landscape also need some TLC. The end of winter is the best time of the year to think about how you want your yard to look in the coming spring and summer. With that thought in mind, Stein recommends some winter cleanup activities and spring preparation to aid the landscape’s overall tree and plant health care. We have compiled a list of the top 10 things you must do this spring to keep your landscape beautiful and valuable.

1. Trimming and Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Dead or broken branches on your trees and shrubs are future breeding grounds for disease and pests, and one way to prevent this problem is pruning and trimming. Pruning and trimming involve selective, precise cuts on certain branches that enhance plants’ health while maintaining their appearance.

Dead, broken, or weak branches pose safety hazards for people and any surrounding property. For example, we have worked with some local customers who saw that strong winds have caused trees to fall in their yards or into their neighbors’ yards. To mitigate these risks, trimming dead branches or thinning them when necessary can help reduce friction when wind storms occur and also allow better airflow.

Pruning can create beautiful visuals, stimulating lush foliage and plentiful blooms. However, when done incorrectly, pruning can severely damage the tree, reducing its ability to acquire proper nutrients. Professionals will be able to evaluate each tree and provide experienced pruning to improve tree health and safety.

2. Monitor for Pests

In spring, a variety of pests come into action and pose a threat to your landscape. One such common pest is the emerald ash borer, which causes significant damage to ash trees. These pests feed on a tree’s bark, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport vital nutrients and water, eventually leading to death. Other common pests in Pennsylvania and Delaware include spotted lanternfly, which leaves oozing, weeping wounds in the trees as the eggs are laid and hatched within the trunk.

To help prevent any damage from these pests, keep a close eye on your landscape for early signs of pest infestation. These pests leave signs on trees or shrubs, such as tiny holes in the bark, sawdust at the base of the tree, dead branches, and thinning canopy that can alert you to their presence. If you notice any of these signs, contact an arborist who can inspect your trees and diagnose any issues. The arborist can suggest various treatment options, including insecticides or pruning of the affected branches, depending on the severity of the infestation.

3. Beware of Brown Leaves

Spring is the season of growth and renewal. For trees, this means the emergence of fresh green leaves. If you have trees on your property, keep an eye on the color of their leaves during this time. If you observe any brown or curled leaves, they may indicate a problem with the tree’s health. An arborist can inspect your tree, identify the underlying issue, and determine the best action to remedy the situation.

4. Fix Winter Damage

After the winter season, inspecting your trees for any damage caused by winter storms, ice, and cold temperatures is essential. Look for signs of damage, such as broken branches, bark splitting, and sun scald.

    plant and tree health care
    Top 10 Things You Need to Do This Spring for Your Trees and Shrubs

    • Broken branches can be pruned to prevent further damage.
    • Bark splitting can be repaired with a tree wrap.
    • Sun scalds, caused by the sun warming up the bark during the day and then cooling down at night, can be prevented by wrapping the trunk with light-colored tree wrap.

    By taking these steps, you can help ensure the health and longevity of your trees.

    5. Ensure Proper Soil Composition

    As with most vegetation types, trees require a special blend of soil nutrients, PH levels, and moisture retention for optimum health. A certified arborist can test your soil and make recommendations based on their findings. You may want to fertilize if you see signs such as dead branches and tips (once the tree blooms), abnormal leaf color, or fewer leaves than usual.

    In addition to fertilizing, changing watering routines or addressing pH levels are two other tasks that can go a long way to ensure your soil composition is conducive to healthy tree growth.

    6. Properly Mulch

    Mulch helps trees retain moisture and also reduces the growth of weeds. Take the time to carefully remove any old mulch and debris that may have accumulated over the winter months. Adding a 3-inch layer around the tree’s base will help promote proper growth. Avoid piling mulch too high or too close to the tree trunk. Too much mulch can reduce airflow, and mulch touching the tree can contribute to fungal growth.

    7. Water When Dry

    After a dry spring, keep your trees and plants healthy by regularly watering your landscape. While a tree needs enough water, too much can also be harmful. Have your arborist check for signs of possible rotting in tree roots if your tree health seems less than optimal.

    Root rot is a condition that can occur when a tree’s roots are damaged or decayed due to overwatering, poor drainage, or other factors. If left untreated, root rot can cause the tree to die and even pose a risk to nearby plants and structures.

    8. Don’t Prune Prunes

    Winter is the ideal time for pruning fruit trees. Pruning fruit trees in winter (when fruit trees are dormant) helps to promote healthier growth, encourage better fruit production, and prevent disease and pest infestations. On the other hand, some trees benefit from spring pruning, which can help shape the tree and remove any dead or damaged branches after the winter season.

    9. Get an Inspection

    You want your landscape to bloom and look beautiful throughout spring and summer, right? Spring is a great time to call us for a landscape inspection to ensure your trees are healthy and present no potential risks. Some things your arborist might see that a non-professional could miss are insect infestation, such as emerald ash borer, signs of diseases, or weak branches that will likely fall.

    10. Schedule Your Preventive Maintenance

    Be sure to schedule maintenance for trees that are susceptible to insects and disease or that seem to be struggling. The following pests can be caught early and prevented with proper maintenance:

    • Emerald Ash Borer
    • Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
    • Sycamore Anthracnose
    • Bacterial Leaf Scorch
    • Japanese Beetles

    Spotted lanternfly is also a common pest, and we are certified to work in all areas of spotted lanternfly infestation.

    Why Choose Stein Tree Service?

    Our staff of tree care specialists is dedicated and has hundreds of years of combined experience.

    Our equipment is state-of-the-art, and radio dispatched for immediate response. The company fleet is comprised of several aerial lift trucks, a spider lift, chippers, chipper trucks, stump grinding machines, and machinery for right-of-way work.

    We have provided tree care and tree stump removal service to thousands of customers throughout the Delaware Valley and parts of Pennsylvania and maintain the highest customer satisfaction. Most of our business comes to us via referrals from past customers. Be sure to contact us with any questions or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Tree Care Specialists.

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    Featured Programs

    Inspect for Emerald Ash Borer infestation - Stein Tree Service - 1000

    Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Areas

    Stein has a permit to work in spotted lanternfly quarantine areas in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Tree Service Companies have to be trained in proper moving and disposal of materials to avoid spread of the spotted lanternfly and Stein has completed the training courses.

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    Inspect for Emerald Ash Borer infestation - Stein Tree Service - 1000

    Emerald Ash Borer Inspection

    In the spring, destructive ash borer (EAB) adult beetles begin to emerge.  These invasive pests can destroy your ash trees.  Our specialists are certified to treat for EAB in Pennsylvania and Delaware.  For A free consultation, contact us today.

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    Tree Care 101: Keeping Your Trees Healthy

    Your trees are likely the most eye-catching, valuable part of your landscape. As such, trees need to receive the proper amount of care to keep them healthy. Tree care can involve many different tasks and goals. So to help your keep your trees healthy, Stein is offering a few tree care 101 tips for residents.


    tree care in Newark DE - Stein

    Mulching is an integral part of tree care, and proper mulching goes a long way to keep your trees strong. Organic mulch is ideal because the added nutrients aid in tree health. Apply the mulch in the form of a doughnut around the tree, rather than a volcano covering the trunk. A good rule is the “3-3-3” rule: a 3-inch deep ring, in a 3-foot radius around the trunk, leaving a 3-inch space around the trunk.

    Tree Trimming and Pruning

    Regular trimming and pruning is important. Generally, the best time to trim and prune trees is during dormancy in the fall and winter to encourage the next flowering. However, some trees should be pruned right after their flowering period ends, such as flowering dogwood or eastern redbud. In addition, light trimming and pruning may be done safely during most seasons, and if a tree has dangerously hanging branches, pruning must be done when needed for safety. Tree trimming and pruning are vital if a tree is at risk of falling or has damaged, dead, or weak branches, so always keep a close eye on the tree condition. Being vigilant about your tree’s health will help prevent damage to both the tree and anything surrounding it.

    Take A Look at Our Tree Trimming and Pruning Services


    As with any other plant, watering is an essential part of tree care 101. If you are planting new trees, focus on watering the root ball area. You can water more of the tree once the roots spread out. If you have more mature trees in your yard, you may be able to water less often. But be proactive and water when your area has gotten less rainfall than usual, or the tree shows signs of distress. Water thoroughly once a week (or more in summer) instead of small amounts frequently, about 5 minutes of hose watering at medium water pressure. With proper watering, your trees can remain vigorous even during the hot summers.

    Regular Inspections

    One final piece of advice, and an often overlooked aspect of tree care 101 is routine inspections. Tree care is a long-term process, so regular inspections are an essential part. Hiring a professional, certified arborist to inspect your tree means that any issues such as new signs of disease or damage are spotted and resolved earlier.

    Contact Stein for Professional Tree Care Services

    Give your trees the care and nurturing they need to thrive with Stein Tree Service. Stein’s staff of certified arborists and tree care professionals have hundreds of years of combined experience. We have provided quality plant and tree care services to Delaware and Pennsylvania communities for over 35 years. Our equipment is state-of-the-art and can be radio dispatched for immediate response. For more information on our tree care 101 tips, or our services, contact us today.

    Your trees are likely the most eye-catching, valuable part of your landscape. As such, trees need to receive the proper amount of care to keep them healthy. Tree care can involve many different tasks and goals. So to help your keep your trees healthy, Stein is offering a few tree care 101 tips for residents.

    What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

    Every landscape and home face the problem of pests. Usually, the solution for most is to eliminate a pest problem when the issue is discovered. But this is a short-term solution that can lead to damaging an affected area and its surroundings without careful consideration. Stein certified arborists and plant health care management specialists emphasize and promote Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, for any pest-related issues. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a process that pest control specialists use to eliminate pests while minimizing any risk to people and the environment. This process can be used in any environment, too: urban, suburban, rural, agricultural, natural areas, and more.

    The Goal of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

    The purpose of having an integrated pest management system is to focus on long-term prevention of any damage caused by pests. The specific plan is based on the ecosystem of the affected area and uses a combination of biological control, habitat manipulation, cultural control, and using resistant varieties of plants and/or crops. Rather than a single method of eliminating a pest infestation, integrated pest management (IPM) is a whole system of comprehensive pest management practices.

    Reducing risks to both humans and the environment is a major goal of IPM practices. Preserving the sustainability of the local habitat and environment while managing pests is what separates IPM from other (often short term) pest control methods. Resolving the root cause of pests also provides economic benefits in the long-run.

    What Are Pests?

    Wine leaf with mite and smallpox infestation – Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – Stein Tree

    When an arborist is developing an integrated pest management plan for you, what constitutes pests is vital. Generally speaking, a pest is any organism that interferes with or damages our desirable plants and homes, as well as human and animal health. Some pests may carry diseases that can affect you or your plants, while others may just be annoying to deal with. Usually, people think of pests as insects such as termites or ticks, but even organisms as big as birds and rodents, and as small as weeds and bacteria, can be pests.

    Every environment deals with unique pests, and plant health care specialists need to be aware of how the environment allows these pests to thrive. Knowing pest populations, life cycles, and more, is crucial to creating effective, sustainable IPM programs.

    How Does Integrated Pest Management Work?

    As we mentioned, IPM is about finding long-term solutions to pests, and that involves creating and modifying the environment to be unfavorable for those pests. Growing healthy crops, using disease-resistant plants, or sealing cracks in a building are all ways that prevent pests from thriving and can help control the issue.

    Farmer on tractor using pesticides - Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - Stein Tree

    Monitoring the environment, including identification of the pests and the damage caused is the first step in determining what level of action is necessary. Knowing about the pests and the conditions that allow them to thrive gives pest control specialists the information to create the best plan for your needs.

    After the initial monitoring of the environment and the pests, the issue needs to be evaluated as either tolerable or a problem needing to be solved. A few weeds scattered throughout a garden may be a small issue that can be solved by simply pulling them out from the ground, while a large infestation of disease-carrying insects is a major problem.

    IPM and other pest control methods should be used in conjunction with one another, as opposed to being used separately. Some of the methods involved in integrated pest management (IPM) include the following:

    • Biological control – Using natural enemies, such as predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors, to control pests.
    • Cultural controls – Reducing pest establishment, reproduction, dispersal, and survival. An example of a cultural control would be changing irrigation practices because too much water can increase root disease and weeds.
    • Mechanical and physical controls – Killing pests directly, blocking pests out, or making the environment unsuitable for pests. Examples of mechanical or physical controls include traps for rodents or some type of barrier or screen to keep birds and/or insects out.
    • Chemical control – Using pesticides and other chemical-based solutions.

    We all know about farmers using pesticides on their fields, and while pesticides are effective, some cause health and environmental concerns. Usually, pesticides are used only in combination with other methods, chosen carefully, and used conservatively. Examples of pesticide applications in IPM would be using a selective pesticide to only target organisms that are causing the issue, or spraying pesticides in selected areas rather than a whole field.

    Call Stein Tree Service for Pest, Plant, and Other Tree Services

    If you are having issues with pests and need integrated pest management (IPM) in areas such as Wilmington or Philadelphia, call Stein Tree Service. Our certified arborists have decades of experience, our equipment is state-of-the-art, and we have been dedicated to quality service for over 30 years. For a free consultation, contact us at 610-723-8056 today!

    What is Plant Health Care (PHC) and Why Is PHC Important?

    When an arborist is tasked with removing or trimming a tree, he needs to evaluate the health of the tree first. And he does this through a thorough assessment, followed by the creation of personalized Plant Health Care (PHC) programs. What is plant health care? Plant health care is both a proactive approach and a holistic approach to maintaining tree, shrub, bush, and general landscaping health. Certified arborists and plant health care specialists focus on preventive care to increase the plant’s ability to thrive. But plant health care is about more than simply making sure your trees are healthy. Many factors go into caring for and maintaining plant health.

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    Understanding Insect & Disease Problems With Your Trees

    Insects and diseases can threaten tree health. As soon as you notice any abnormality in your tree’s appearance, you should begin a careful examination of the problem. By identifying the specific symptoms of damage and understanding their causes, you may be able to diagnose the problem and select an appropriate treatment.


    Basic elements that influence plant health include sufficient water and light, and a proper balance of nutrients. Too much or too little of any of these environmental conditions may cause plant stress.

    Environmental stress weakens plants and makes them more susceptible to insect and disease attack.

    Trees deal with environmental stresses, such as shading and competition for water and nutrients in their native environment, by adjusting their growth and development patterns to reflect the availability of the resources. Although trees are adapted to living in stressful conditions in nature, many times the stresses they experience in the landscape are more than they can handle and may make them more susceptible to insects and diseases.


    Correct diagnosis of plant health problems requires a careful examination of the situation.

    1. Accurately identify the plant. Because many insects and diseases are plant-specific, this information can quickly limit the number of suspected diseases and disorders.
    2. Look for a pattern of abnormality. It may be helpful to compare the affected plant with other plants on the site, especially those of the same species. Differences in color or growth may present clues as to the source of the problem. Non-uniform damage patterns may indicate insects or diseases. Uniform damage over a large area (perhaps several plant species) usually indicates disorders caused by such factors as physical injury, poor drainage, or weather.
    3. Carefully examine the landscape. The history of the property and adjacent land may reveal many problems. The number of species affected may also help distinguish between infectious pathogens that are more plant-specific as compared to chemical or environmental factors that affect many different species. Most living pathogens take a relatively long time to spread throughout an area, so if a large percentage of plants becomes diseased virtually overnight, a pathogen is probably not involved.
    4. Examine the roots. Note their color: brown or black roots may signal problems. Brown roots often indicate dry soil conditions or the presence of toxic chemicals. Black roots usually reflect overly wet soil or the presence of root-rotting organisms.
    5. Check the trunk and branches. Examine the trunk thoroughly for wounds because they provide entrances for pathogens and wood-rotting organisms. Wounds can be caused by weather, fire, lawn mowers, and rodents, as well as a variety of other environmental and mechanical factors. Large defects may indicate a potentially hazardous tree.
    6. Note the position and appearance of affected leaves. Dead leaves at the top of the tree are usually the result of environmental or mechanical root stress. Twisted or curled leaves may indicate viral infection, insect feeding, or exposure to herbicides. The size and color of the foliage may tell a great deal about the plant’s condition. Make note of these and any other abnormalities.

    FREE, No Obligation Consultation

    Call Stein Tree Service at (302) 478-3511 or Click Here to request your Free, No Obligation Consultation with one of our ISA Board Certified Arborists.