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The Economics of Your Colorado Landscape

Posted on: July 15th, 2013

The Economics of Your Colorado Landscape

We’ve all seen it. A store past by many times and it never seemed to have much business. You marveled how it stayed open, till one day you see the liquidation sign in the window or simply the doors closed for good.

The same thing can be said for trees and shrubs. Sometimes the call goes something like this, “The tree was just fine till a few weeks ago. All of

a sudden, the leaves turned brown.”

There are times when an acute (sudden) occurrence happens and the plant declines or dies, but most often landscape issues are chronic. Here, chronic means the problem with the landscape plant has been going on for several years. “The doors were open, but not enough business to sustain the plant.”

The celebrated Nobel Prized economist, Theodore Schultz exclaimed “If you don’t grow, you die.”

Between last year’s (2012) record high summer temperatures and this April’s severe freezing temperatures, our landscapes are in a weakened state. Landscape trees and shrubs that were weak last fall likely had more freeze injury. As the growing season continues we are seeing continued injury including dead branches and defoliation.

To the person who loves and cares for their landscape there isn’t anything more disheartening than seeing a favorite tree or shrub decline or die. So how can you tell that

a tree or shrub is beginning to slow down?

Just like in a business, when the plant senses it is in trouble, it retrenches. In other words, the plant tries to make itself smaller. The tree will do this by shedding or “turning off” poorer performing branches and putting its resources towards stronger branches. The tree canopy is not as full or dense as it once was. A tree once so dense you couldn’t see through is now sparse.

The leaves may be smaller, off color (yellow), or defoliate sooner in the year. This is also a sign that the energy production in the tree or shrub is slowing down. This is not a good sign as the leaves are the energy production centers of the plant. Poor quality foliage equates to low energy production.

The most telling and difficult to see is a decrease in the annual twig growth. Nodes on the twigs denote annual growth. This is of the later manifestations of a tree or shrub decline. The live twigs and branches are no longer able to grow as they once did. There are simply not enough resources.

Insects, diseases, water issues, temperature, aging plants, mechanical injury, chemical injury, fertility, shade are just some of the problems that landscapes encounter. In these instances it is a good idea to seek an expert for your landscape.

Call Swingle to schedule a visit with a Landscape Care Consultant to evaluate the trees and plants causing you concern. Swingle has offices in Denver and Fort Collins and serves the entire Colorado Front Range.


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