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Better Education


Learning the basics about your trees will set you up to successfully care for them by knowing what you can do to help them stay healthy and maintain their appearance. 

Tree Diagram
tree with roots.png







- Any rubbing or crossing branches?

- Is the bark in good shape or is it cracked and peeling?


Branches that are crossing and rubbing are more visible in winter and can be more easily pruned out. Branches that look discolored or that are cracked or signs of winter dieback


- Is the bark intact and healthy?

- Is there any discoloring? 

- Do the young trees have protective wrapping


Trunks that have bark issues are more apparent in winter. Look for continuous and uniform color. Young trees need their trunks wrapped in the winter to prevent sunscald. 



- Are the needles or leaf buds scarce or dry?

- Are the tree branches brittle or flexible

- Any signs of girdling roots? 


Girdling roots are a symptom of a tree being planted too deep. They can constrict around the trunk and injure or kill the tree. Plentiful buds or needles and flexible branches indicate a healthy root system. 


- Is the soil moist or is cracked and dry?

- is the mulch over the root zone


The soil in the winter can dry out severely.

Dryness can cause root damage or death. To prevent damage, mulch over the root zone to protect it from drying out excessively. In addition, mulch and water trees in the winter, especially the new or stressed trees. 



- Are buds present

 - Do the twigs look grey or dull?

- Are the needles on evergreens brown or bronzing


The presence of buds ar a good sign of dormant health. If the needles are turning bronze or brown, the tree may be dry or windburned.


What is this?
What is this?
freeze damage

Freeze Damage

Browning of needles result from many different causes but a likely explanation is freeze damage. Freeze damage on trees will be apparent by the shriveling, browning, or dead tissue. The damaged growth usually falls limp and the leaves or needles drop. 

What is this?
emerald ash borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer is unique to the ash tree but are very destructive. They create girdling wounds that initially kill the tree. Signs of the Emerald Ash Borer include yellow leaves, small holes in the bark, and canopy and bark loss.  

What is this?
Zimmerman pine moth

Zimmerman Pine Moth

Zimmerman Pine Moth feeds on pines and are new to the front range. Signs of infestation can be dead branches commonly on the upper half of the tree, popcorn like masses at the the wound sites, and branches that have broken at the crotch where they meet the trunk. 

What is this?
Lilac ash borer

Lilac Ash Borer

The Lilac Ash Borer is the most common wood borer to the ash tree in Colorado. Evidence of this bug can be oval-round holes on the trunk, rough areas on trunks, and the expulsion of sawdust. The injuries weaken the trees and make them more susceptible to breaking. 

What is this?
Codling moth

Codling Moth

Codling Moth causes problems to fruit trees by tunneling into the fruit of apples, pears, and crabapples. It is usually the "worm" that is found in a wormy apple. 

What is this?
Pine needle scale

Pine Needle Scale

Found on pine, spruce, and fir trees, Pine Needle Scale can cause serious damage. the feeding sites often have discoloration on the needles and a large scale infestation can lead to early needle shed. The outbreaks are usually confined to one or two branches but not the whole tree. 

What is this?
plant bug.jpg

Plant Bug

Plant bug feeds on the plant sap which causes many white spots to appear on the leaf surface. Depending on the host plant damage can also include the distortion or destruction of the plant tissue.

What is this?
Ink spot

Leaf Spot

Ink Spot is a fungus that attacks aspens, cottonwoods, and poplars. Signs of ink spot are easy to spot: dead or dark spot-like dots on affected leaves that drop out later in the summer. Early ink spot can be confused with leaf miner damage but is much differant.

What is this?
Girdling root

Girdling Roots

Girdling Roots are caused by planting the tree to deep. The symptoms of girdling roots are early fall color (yellow), early leaf drop, abnormaly small leaf size, dieback and thinning, and overall stunting of growth.

What is this?
Elm leafminer

Elm Leafminer

Elm Leaf Miner feed on the upper and lower leaf surfaces, creating a serpentine mine until they get older and create large blotch mines within the leaf. Because the leaf miners eat the inside of the leaf, it is easy to see the larvae through the skeletal veins. 

What is this?


Aphids are a nuisance but do not cause very much damage. They suck on the fluids in the leaves which creates droplets of waste called honeydew. Aphids are small and most often found in large groups on leaves. 

What is this?
Hackberry nipple gall

Hackberry Nipple Gall

Hackberry Nipple Gall creates distinct, warty galls on the hackberry leaves. The damage these galls cause to the tree is insignificant but considered to be unattractive.



If trees could talk, the tales they’d tell

Would surely be worth listening to.

The trees that form the shady dell 

Where lovers their fond vows renew;

The trees that guard the home, the street

Where children play and elders rest;

What varied tales would they repeat

Of hopes deferred or hearts oppressed,

Of happy lives divinely blest. 

If trees could talk, how oft we’d hear

Of gross mistreatment, lack of care, 

While patiently for many a year,

While thoughtless mortals unaware

Of how tree suffer, why they fail,

Put forth no effort to repel 

The foes that constantly assail.

Sad tales like this we know full well,

A myriad suffering trees would tell.



If trees could talk, methinks their words 

Would sound a protest loud and stern

For loss of their good friends, the birds,

And make a plea for their return.

Trees need the birds and so do we.

In the incessant fight to stay 

The foes that so persistently 

On flowers  and fruit and foliage prey

Our allies vigilant, are they.


Trees cannot talk, and yet, to him

Who truly loves, these friends of man,

Their every leaf and flower and limb 

Is vocal. Since the world began

The trees have been our steadfast friends,

Upon their life and growth depends.

How faithful then our care should be, 

How fondly should we love the tree. 

- Edmund Spencer



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