Titan Tree Care Blog

This is the official blog of Titan Tree Care.

Titan Tree Care has two Certified Arborists on staff and over 50 years of tree health experience. Our staff works with the best, state of the art equipment and will tailor the most comprehensive solution for your trees.

Titan Tree Care

What is Damaging my Tecoma Plants?

If there has been an active monsoon season (like there has been at the time of this article being written), you might have noticed that your tecoma plants may not look as healthy as they normally do. This is thanks to a caterpillar that will eventually become a moth, one that is very active in the Phoenix and Anthem areas after a significant amount of rainfall. In this article, we’ll cover: How to recognize if you have a tecoma plant, What symptoms to look for, Information on what is causing the damage, Some treatment options, And more! Do you have a Tecoma plant? There are four varieties of tecomas found in the Phoenix and Anthem areas, commonly known as “yellow bells” for the plants that produce yellow, bell-shaped flowers, and “orange jubilee” for the ones that have orange flowers. Tecoma stans Tecoma stans var. angustata – Arizona yellow bells, narrow...
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The Pros and Cons of Mesquite Trees

Mesquite trees are just as much a part of our desert environment as the iconic saguaro cactus, quail, coyotes, or any other symbol of life in the southwest. However, they certainly don’t get as much attention. Mesquite trees can either go unnoticed as a background tree not worthy of attention, or they can be a hotly contested topic – with points showing the benefits of mesquite trees, but also equal arguments against them. In this article, we will: introduce you to the mesquite trees most commonly found in the Phoenix and Anthem areas, share the benefits of adding a mesquite tree to your landscape, and go over some of the negative aspects of mesquite trees you may want to consider before planting. No matter your thoughts on whether a mesquite tree would work well for your property, they are a vital part of the desert ecosystem and an important tree...
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About Desert Ironwood: Spring Flowers, Uses, Growth & More

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about ironwood trees, and specifically about their spring flowers. Many residents of Anthem and surrounding areas don’t recall ever seeing ironwood trees in bloom. That’s not unusual, but that’s also not the only unique thing about our native ironwood trees. In this article, we’ll cover some of the interesting facts about ironwood trees, whether you might want to add one to your property, all about their spring blooms, and more! What is the official name for ironwood trees? The official name for the trees we often call ironwoods is desert ironwood ( Olneya tesota ). It is also known as tesota and palo de hierro. How did the desert ironwood get its name? One reason may be that the wood of an ironwood tree is so dense that it cannot float in water. This dense wood also means that some of its...
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About Arizona’s State Tree: Palo Verde

The green-barked palo verde is one of the most prominent trees in the Phoenix area. It’s especially visible in spring when it puts on a beautiful display of bright yellow flowers. But did you know that the palo verde is also Arizona’s official state tree? Keep reading to find out how and why the palo verde was chosen as the Arizona state tree, the significance of state trees, whether our state tree grows elsewhere, and why the palo verde is unique. For more information about choosing, planting, and caring for palo verde trees in Arizona, see these articles on our website: Best Shade Trees for your Anthem or Greater Phoenix Yard Do Palo Verde Trees Make You Sneeze? The Best Spring Flowering Teres for the Anthem Area Which Palo Verde Tree is Best for your Phoenix-Area Yard? Are Palo Verde Borers Killing Your Trees? What’s Digging Holes Around my Palo...
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What’s Digging Holes Around My Palo Verde Tree?

Have you recently noticed areas of disturbed soil around some of your trees? Or signs that something has been digging up the ground beneath certain trees? In some cases, it can look like an out-of-control rototiller ran through your yard! Take a close look at which trees are being affected. If it’s mostly palo verde trees, then the damage was likely caused by a badger digging for palo verde borer grubs (the grubs are a tasty treat for badgers!). In this article, we’ll cover some of the specifics of badgers in Arizona, why their digging is actually a good thing, and some of the relationships they have with other wildlife. About Badgers Badgers are found in most states and are nocturnal members of the weasel family. If you do catch a rare glimpse of one, it’s best to observe from a distance. While they are most likely to scurry away...
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Is Mistletoe Killing Your Tree?

If you’ve ever noticed a cluster of what appear to be twigs or small branches concentrated together in your mesquite or palo verde tree, it may in fact be desert mistletoe. Mistletoe is often confused for a nest or hive, but it is a living, growing organism. What is desert mistletoe? Desert or mesquite mistletoe ( Phoradendron californicum ) is a hemiparasite that affects many of our local trees. It doesn't look quite like the traditional mistletoe hung in doorways during the holidays, but that's because it's a different variety. There are over 1,000 distinct species of mistletoe worldwide. The scientific classification of mistletoe, Phoradendron , translates to “thief of a tree,” which is a good way to think about mistletoe. It’s not “death of a tree,” per se, but it does rob your tree of certain things. As a hemiparasite, desert mistletoe attaches itself to a tree and steals...
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Are Palo Verde Borers Killing Your Trees?

Also known as the palo verde beetle, palo verde root borer, or palo verde borer beetle, Derobrachus hovorei is a longhorn beetle that can sometimes be confused as a cockroach. But, unlike cockroaches, this insect attacks and kills palo verde trees (among others). This pest exists as both a grub (or borer) during its immature phase, and a large beetle during it’s adult stage. What does the adult beetle look like? You’ll recognize the palo verde beetle by its size. As one of the largest beetles in North America, it can be up to three and a half inches long, and that doesn’t include the antennae! The adult beetles are brown or black and have wings, but are rarely seen flying other than during the summer mating season. Adult borers have a tough outer shell, which makes them difficult to kill. You’ll notice these large beetles most often during monsoon...
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Why Do Trees Suddenly Fall Over?

We usually think of trees as being strong and stable, anchored by a network of roots underground. So why would your tree, especially one that has weathered storms for years, suddenly fall over or be uprooted? An important note: Urban trees aren’t like trees in nature One thing to understood is that trees in urban or suburban settings have different needs than those that grow naturally in the desert. The soil surrounding houses is usually compacted, has fewer nutrients, leaves less room for tree roots, and is more likely to have some form of irrigation on or near it. These are very different circumstances than a tree in the wild, where decaying plant matter and animal activity leads to nutrient-rich soil, the ground is rarely compacted (especially if its nowhere near where humans regularly tread), has a variety of plant life around it to promote a mycorrhizal network , and...
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Why Planting a Tree in the Phoenix Area is Worth the Water

One of the biggest concerns we hear when we mention planting more trees in our area is the amount of water needed. Water is scarce, so why “waste” it on trees? In our opinion (which is backed up by scientists, forestry workers, arborists, and other members of the green industry), planting a native or desert-adapted tree is well-worth the water it needs to become established. How much water does a desert tree need, really? Most native and adapted trees (trees that have adapted to life in the desert) need far less than you may think! In fact, most survive on rainfall alone after the first 2-3 years (although they’ll happily accept an occasional deep watering during the drier summer months). During the first few years after planting, trees benefit from a long, deep watering at the dripline (where the edge of the tree canopy is). This will help the tree’s...
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Saguaro Cactus: 20 Facts About This Amazing Arizona Cactus

Part of living in the Anthem and Phoenix areas is enjoying the unique variety of native plants. Of course, the most easily recognizable desert plants are different kinds of cactus, including the iconic saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea). The saguaro’s tall stature and curved arms make it stand out, and the flowers it produces in the late spring and summer months are our state flower for a reason! If you’re lucky enough to have them on your property, you know that they need different care than your trees or flowers. Here are some things you may not know about the saguaro cactus: Not all of them grow arms. If well cared-for, they can live 150-200 years or more. Saguaros have quite the system for getting water – they have one deep taproot that can extend into the ground about 3-5 feet deep, but the rest of the roots are only 4-6 inches...
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Choosing the Right Pruning Tool for the Job

“The right tool for the job” is more than just an old saying. It’s especially accurate when you’re going to prune your trees. The wrong tool, along with its wrong application, can seriously injure a tree—and possibly you, too. While we recommend all major tree work be done by a certified arborist, some homeowners prefer to do smaller pruning jobs themselves. To help you get the best results, this article describes the right pruning tools to use for specific pruning tasks, the features to look for when choosing your tools, and safety considerations to be aware of. PRUNING TOOL BASICS The first thing to consider when buying or using tools for tree work of any kind is their quality. A good tool may be inexpensive, but more often you will find that cheap pruning tools are weaker, lighter-weight versions of standard tools. Cheap pruning and tree care tools often use:...
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How Deep Should You Plant A Tree?

Many people, including plenty of landscapers, plant trees too deep and this almost always results in damage to the tree (in fact, it’s often a fatal mistake). This is easy to remedy if you know what to look for and how to plant correctly. No matter their container size or type, all trees need to be planted at the right depth for their root system. Read on and you can avoid one of the most common tree-planting mistakes. How deep is too deep when planting a tree? The measure for tree planting depth is the tree’s root flare. Sometimes called trunk flare or root collar, this is the area just above where the topmost roots emerge from the trunk. Confusingly, there is not always a flare here, meaning that some trunks, especially on young trees, may look like a straight cylinder. Don’t worry. If you don’t see a flare, look...
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Best Shade Trees For Your Anthem or Greater Phoenix Yard

We’ve gone over the myriad of benefits that trees provide in earlier blog posts: they remove pollutants, decrease stress, improve health, prevent storm runoff, provide food and shelter for wildlife…the list is endless. Yet I’m sure most of us in the greater Phoenix and Anthem areas would agree that there’s one reason in particular that we love trees: shade. Unlike man-made shade structures, trees actually lower the temperature of the air around them through a process called transpiration. So, when possible, planting a tree instead of building a structure reduces the overall temperature. In a city like Phoenix where the temperatures seem to keep rising every year, that’s important. Most yards in our area are small, however, so the options are limited when choosing a native tree that provides shade but doesn’t grow too tall, have invasive roots, or take up too much of your yard. Here are our suggestions...
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Minimize Light Pollution With the Right Landscape Lighting For Your Outdoor Space

If you’ve never used landscape lighting, you may be surprised at what a difference it can make. When daytime temperatures in the northern Phoenix area drive us indoors during the summer, the cooler nighttime hours become the best time to enjoy your yard and garden. And the right types of landscape lighting make all the difference. Where to Add Lighting to Your Yard A softly lighted pathway can lead the way to a pergola, a string of lights under your awning can make dining al fresco seem like a vacation, or highlighting a tree or favorite shrub with a soft glow can give an entirely different look at night. If you have steps or a dark walkway, lighting can also serve as a safety feature. And it’s not just hardwired lighting that enhances your outdoor spaces. Solar lights are a great option to line sidewalks, and there are also solar-powered...
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Know the Signs of Salt Buildup in Desert Soil & How to Fix It

Salty soil? In the desert? Really? Yes, really. We have pretty hard water in Anthem and the greater Phoenix area, meaning that there are a lot of minerals dissolved in it. When the water dries (including in your soil), minerals such as calcium and magnesium carbonate come out of solution and turn into hard crystals – that’s the whitish buildup you see around faucets. Those minerals are referred to as "salts." While salt is great around the rim of a margarita glass, when it gathers in soil you’ll start to see adverse effects (including death) in your plants and any trees that receive water from irrigation. What Causes Salt to Build up in Desert Soil? The biggest culprit in salt buildup is shallow, frequent watering. Picture this: If you have an irrigation system (like most Anthem and Phoenix-area residents), it’s probably on a timer to water twice a day for...
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Mycorrhizae: Why You Want This Fungus to Infect Your Trees

Your trees are probably infected with a fungus. How’s that for an attention-getter? But here’s the shocking part – it’s a good thing. In fact, you want to encourage this particular type of fungus to infect your trees, plants, and shrubs whenever possible. Let’s back up a minute to explain the strange relationship that this type of fungus (called mycorrhizae) has with plants. An Unlikely Pair In a true example of symbiosis, plants and mycorrhizae (pronounced mi-cor-ri-zay) work together, sharing nutrients and benefits with each other. The mycorrhizae (from the Greek mykes: fungus and rhiza: root) attach themselves to a plant’s roots. They then spread out from the roots in microscopic strings, gathering moisture and nutrients that the plant itself can’t reach and/or can’t break down to use. The mycorrhizae bring these nutrients to the plant and, in return, the plant gives the fungus carbon and carbohydrates (or sugars) that...
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Do Palo Verde Trees Make You Sneeze?

I was sitting outside a coffee shop the other day, watching appreciatively as a palo verde tree’s bloom-laden branches swayed gracefully in the breeze. The contrast of the bright yellow against the shockingly deep blue sky was mesmerizing. As I was admiring the tree, a couple walked out of the coffee shop. Catching sight of the tree, one of them grumbled, "Ugh, pollen!"" and walked away from the tree as quickly as possible. As an allergy sufferer myself, I understood. Allergies are miserable. If I don’t take an antihistamine daily, I can barely suffer through the day. Pollen is the source of most spring allergies, though some mold, dust, and pollutants cause allergies as well. But the bright, yellow flowers on the spring palo verde tree are not the only thing causing spring allergies here in the Phoenix area – and they are far from the worst culprit. Pollen and...
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Phoenix’s Ambitious 2030 Tree Canopy Goal: Facts, Benefits & Actions

In 2010, Arizona State University and the City of Phoenix adopted a plan to create an urban forest in the city. The goal of the Tree and Shade Master Plan is to have a 25% tree canopy in Phoenix by 2030. As the city currently has an average tree coverage of only 9-11%, this is a plan that will need considerable support and help from Phoenix area residents and visitors to make possible. We highly recommend reading through the entire plan yourself, but below are the highlights of the Vision. By 2030: Phoenix has a healthy, diverse and sustainable urban forest that reflects and preserves the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Shade trees line streets and residential neighborhoods are cooled by tree groves. The urban forest lowers the temperature during summer months, reducing energy use and making the city more comfortable for residents and visitors. Citizens understand the benefits of...
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Should You Renovate Your Landscape Irrigation System?

Spring is the perfect time to assess and repair the irrigation system for your trees and garden beds, so you can correct problems before summer heat stresses your plants. It's also a good time to consider whether your irrigation system needs renovation. Why Renovate Your Irrigation System? There are plenty of reasons to evaluate the function and efficiency of your irrigation system and update or upgrade it. Foremost on the list is water savings. Even with our efforts to eliminate water-thirsty lawns and use xeriscaping principles, more than half of our household water bills typically go into the landscaping. You can conserve water and lower your bills with the right landscaping and a more efficient irrigation system. Another way to save money is to keep plants in your landscape healthy. Overwatering, underwatering or watering incorrectly can cause stressed plants. For example, you might have the right amount of water going...
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Using Liquid Fertilizer: Why, When & How to Improve Your Low Desert Landscape

As temperatures warm up in the low desert, trees and shrubs begin to grow more quickly or start adding leaves, flowers and fruit. Many trees and shrubs need extra energy for this spring growth. And that’s where liquid fertilizers can help. Use Fertilizers to Replenish Nutrients The dry heat of the low desert combines with high salt/mineral content in the water to deplete nutrients from the soil that supports your landscape plants. Much like how we need vitamins and nutrients to thrive, our landscape plants need a boost when resources run low in the soil, and even more so when the plants are growing, greening or producing flowers and fruit. Most fertilizers have a balance of the macronutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) to help provide complete nutrition for your plants. Locally available products also can have nutrients that are often lacking in low-desert conditions, or extra secondary...
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