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Many of our customers don’t realize  they have rich organic compost right on their property. Shrub Doctor always recommends planting shrubs with a 50/50 blend of clay soil from the planting hole with good organic matter. Most customers run to the home improvement store and purchase expensive bagged compost for their planting projects. Shrub Doctor recently went to the wooded area of a customer’s landscape and retrieved a full wheel barrow load of super rich compost. The customer had no idea it was there. If you have a wooded area on your property, brush back the leaves and harvest the decaying matter below them. You will usually have about an inch of rich organic soil right at your fingertips. Brush the leaves back over the area and return next year for another harvest of compost. Call Shrub Doctor today for more tips about a healthier landscape, and ask us more about how our 100% organic shrub and tree fertilization programs for your shrubs and ornamental trees. Call 1-888-2GO-Organic today. (1-888-246-6742).

Compost photo

Hugel Kulture 1Hugel Kulture 2Hugel Kulture 3Hugel Kulture 4Shrub Doctor recently utilized an old sustainable planting technique when transplanting this 50 year old acuba shrub. The hole was made deep enough to accept several small logs in the bottom. A thin layer of soil was added then watered to fill all the gaps around the logs. The shrub was planted directly on top of the logs. Over time, the logs will absorb and hold water, as well as provide an increased environment of beneficial fungi to the shrub’s root system. This planting practice will allow your shrubs to stay well hydrated during periods of drought. The decaying logs will also provide good organic nutrients for many seasons to come. To learn more about how you can adopt this technique in your landscape give Shrub Doctor a call. Call 1-888-2GO-Organic for more information about our 100% organic shrub and tree fertilization programs.

Trunk rot 1

Shrub Doctor was called to assess and treat this white oak tree. It appears that a tree service has removed several lower limbs in the past years yet did not properly cut the limbs back to the collar of the tree trunk. Over the years minor rotting has occurred underneath the remaining limb of the tree.  Shrub Doctor stripped away the bark, removed the decayed wood, and killed the existing populations of insects that were harbored in the wound area.  After cleaning the wounded area, an orange rind oil was applied to the wound to minimize future decay. The orange oil will soak into the wound and reduce further insect activity. During future seasons the tree will slowly close this wound. Shrub Doctor will monitor the healing process and keep the customer informed with its progress.

Curbside Azalea

Azalea 2015About two years ago I found several azaleas thrown into a pile by the side of the road. They were all very weak and drying out. I took about 10 of them home and repotted them. Since then I have given them all away but this one. After only a few seasons this azalea is doing great. No one would ever know it was a shrub that was saved from the landfill. M. Tally.

Decline of Oak Tree

Oak Tree Decline

Here’s an example of an oak tree that is experiencing serious stress due to its new urban environment. You will notice the small sprouting branches along its trunk, and the dead limbs in its crown.  Not many years ago this tree was thriving in the forest. Urban development cleared away the other trees and left this one in the landscape. This tree has survived the removal of its organic top soil, heavy grading and change of topography, and the construction of this house. The tree now experiences competition with the turf, compacted soil, and a serious reduction of organic nutrition.

Shrub Doctor is regularly contacted to help trees in this state of stress. Our certified arborists will assess the health of the tree, recommend  removal of limbs and dead wood from the crown, and treat the tree with our organic nutrients to restore its health and promote root growth.  Shrub Doctor has over ten years experience restoring the health of Charlotte’s prized trees.  Call Shrub Doctor today for a free evaluation of your tree’s health.  Contact us at 704-490-2000. Our doctors still make house calls.

gloomy scale 2gloomy scale 1

I have been watching this maple tree outside our office warehouse lately. Notice how there is no foliage emerging within its canopy. Only the tips of the limbs have leaves. In a previous post I showed photos of its bark and the multiple layers of bark scale insects that are feeding on the sap of the tree. Underneath these small bumps is a scale insect that is continually feeding on the sap of the tree. Overtime these insects multiply until they so overwhelm the tree that foliage cannot emerge from the limbs. The scale insects slowly migrate up into the canopy of the tree. This tree is experiencing the advanced stages of a scale insect infestation. Sadly, many urban maple trees around the city of Charlotte are infested with bark scale. Shrub Doctor often notices that many dense neighborhoods with heavily planted maple trees have this condition. If left untreated, this photo will be the result. Shrub Doctor has performed many bark scale treatments this season. We can save your trees from gloomy scale. Give us a call today to learn more about this problem and how Shrub Doctor can save your trees. Shrub Doctor Inc. has ISA Certified Arborists on staff to evaluate the health of your trees. Give us a call today at 704-920-0290.

2015 azaleas 22015 azaleasShrub Doctor was visiting a long time South Charlotte customer the other day, and were lucky enough to catch their azaleas in full bloom. We are now beginning our 10th season serving this customer. Hard work and  good organic nutrients have made these azaleas very healthy.

Boxwood cover 2Boxwood cover 3boxwood cover 1 Last night’s snow heavily weighed down the limbs of my trees and shrubs. Here is an example of a boxwood shrub that is spread open by the snow. Heavy snow can severely damage your shrubs unless you take preventative action prior to the storm. In the following images you will see how I covered my prize 55 year old english boxwood prior to the snow and how it looked after being protected in its cozy cacoon.

Willow oakWillow Oak Quercus phellos.  The Willow Oak is probably the most popular tree for urban planting and design. Charlotte NC has over 160,000 street trees; 16% of those are willow oak. Our willow oaks contribute to the beauty and esthetics of our city streets and neighborhoods. Besides their beauty, our willow oaks contribute to the health of our environment. Two mature willow oak trees can annually provide all the oxygen for a family of four while absorbing all the carbon from their two cars. A mature oak can also absorb, transport, and evaporate over 50 gallons of water each day. Willow oak trees are a member of the red oak family and can live well past 100 years old. The willow oaks within the urban areas of Charlotte are now reaching the end of their lifespan. Shrub Doctor Inc, can partner with you to keep your willow oak trees strong and healthy for many years to come. Our certified arborists will evaluate your trees and determine a plan to keep your investments in top condition. Call Shrub Doctor today at 704-920-0290 for more information on how our Save That Tree program can benefit your aging willow oak trees.

Its Cold Out There!

Cold temperatures 1Cold temperatures 2 It was 8 degrees when I left the house this morning. My orphan rhododendron shrub was all curled up and prepared for the cold. Plants are amazing living things. This curl is a natural reaction to the cold. The plant curls its foliage very tight to protect its inner surfaces from the cold and dry winds. This protects the delicate cells from freezing, and keeps the plant from dehydrating.