Prune Away The Winter Decay

Prune away the winter decay

To most homeowners, trees are highly valued as they lay the foundation of any landscape.  It is for that reason that most homeowners would aim to keep their trees as healthy as possible, although this isn’t always an easy task.  One thing that is very beneficial to the health of trees is pruning.  Pruning contributes to keeping trees safe, beautiful and healthy.

Tree pruning promotes tree health


When trees are pruned properly, they are stripped of all the dead or dying branches.  These are often very dangerous to your trees as well as the surrounding property and any people or animals that may find themselves in the vicinity of the trees.  Cutting away threatening branches prevents further decay and promotes a trees general health as it permits the tree to nurture the remaining branches more effectively.  Moreover, trimmed trees get better air circulation and sun exposure which are two vital factors that make for healthier trees.  Regular pruning is also a good method of fighting infections and insects that may be found in trees.  When infections get into your tree, they tend to travel to all the healthier parts of the tree, ultimately endangering the tree in its entirety.  This can be avoided by trimming away dead branches to prevent infection or further spreading.

Tree pruning improves the overall appearance and structure of trees


Trimming or pruning your trees has the added benefit of beautifying your landscape. By cutting off all of the unappealing dead branches you can clean up your tree thereby improving the aesthetics of your landscape.  This also serves to prevent the growth of unattractive broad and fragile branches.

Moreover, tree pruning prevent trees from growing branches with frail crotches which will eventually cross each other and compete for space in the crown of the tree.  Trees can also be shaped by means of pruning.  When doing this one can smooth out uneven growth patterns, thereby make the tree more appealing to the eye.

Tree pruning increases property values


Properties with a groomed and well maintained gardens, undoubtedly have an increased property value.  It is therefore vital to keep you garden spick-and-span.  One of the elements of this is to make sure that your trees are always well pruned and maintained.

Tree pruning prevents possible hazards


As tree pruning lightens a tree’s weight, it reduces the possibility of a tree or some of its branches falling during storms or heavy rains and winds.  Another reason why regularly pruned trees are considered safer is because they don’t carry dead branches.  Dead branches can fall at any time possibly causing damage to the garden below, people, animals and buildings.

Prune in Summer or Winter?


Firstly, regardless of any season, if you notice that your tree has damaged or dead branches, they need to be removed as soon as possible.  For other cases when pruning, here are a few suggestions on when you should prune:  Winter pruning is a good idea as it contributes to the new growth once spring arrives.  It can lead to your tree looking more mature and fuller in the long term.  If you’re looking to prune this winter, do so as soon as the deciduous trees leaves have fallen.  Evergreen trees can be pruned in winter as soon as the coldest weather has passed.


It is clear from the above that pruning your trees has many benefits.  Brand’s Tree Felling can assist with the pruning and trimming of your trees as well as providing advice in this regard.  Contact us on 0861 708 000 or or see our Web Site should you wish to make an appointment for a free Quotation.



Why hire professionals to remove my trees?

professional tree removal

We all have those annoying, overgrown trees or misplaced stumps in our yards that we would just like to bulldoze away! The gardener comes and we think that’s it – today is the day. It is like going through a bad break-up and acting on emotion: we cut half of our hair off. BIG MISTAKE! A mistake we unfortunately learn a little too late. So the gardener cuts and cuts the trees and we tie a rope around the stump, and at the back of your little 30-year- old “bakkie” and there you go. At the end of the day you sit with a broken car and trees with bad haircuts. That is why you need to hire a professional tree removal company.


 1.Removing trees is dangerous


Tree removal activities of any kind can be extremely dangerous, especially to someone who doesn’t know much about the art. Even when you are capable of taking care of the problem by yourself, you never know when something might go the other way. In such situations, whether it be falling out of a tree, cutting it the wrong way, whatever the case might be, you are actually just endangering your own life, as well as that of your neighbours.


2.Removing trees requires knowledge and years of experience


Sadly, as a layman you don’t know all there is to know about tree removal. YouTube videos and internet reading can only take you that far as it is limited to theory only, not practice. Professional tree and stump removal companies are equipped with skills, knowledge, expertise and years of experience in removing stumps and trees safely and securely without damaging people, property or other assets. A professional can advise on which trees to remove, what machinery to use, where too cute and how to attend to trees with roots in the vicinity of pipes and electrical systems. Moreover, they know which trees are rotten and dangerous and which should be saved – advice which is invaluable to the safety of your family and home.


 3.For the safety of your home and person


Cutting down trees, or even just giving it a light pruning, requires skill and technique. Make one wrong cut and the tree could fall the wrong way onto your home or worse- onto a person. Cut the wrong branch and limbs could fall in the wrong direction, causing inconceivable damage to your vehicle, your person, your home or worse – your neighbour’s home. All of these dangers can be avoided by using a professional tree removal company with the right insurance – in case a mistake occurs.


4.Removing trees requires proper equipment


Finding machinery to remove those tree stumps is not easy and you definitely can’t remove them without the proper equipment. Not only are they hard to find, they cost a small fortune. Once you finally spend your two month’s salary, you would still need training on how to use them. Instead of going through all of this hassle, leave it to the professionals – they have all equipment and training ready for effective use!


5.Not to mention the cleaning!


After trees are cut down and stumps are removed, you are still left with one big garden mess. If you have already done the removing part yourself, you and your family will be overworked and would still have to clean up afterwards. Let’s be honest – nobody likes to cook and clean. When hiring a professional company they take care of it all, making the whole removal process fly by smoothly and all that you have to do is enjoy a clean garden.

 Let Brands Tree Felling do your removal for you – professionally. Visit our website at for more information and contact us today for your tree removal quote.



Top 10 trees to plant in small South African gardens

Being the owner of a small or medium sized garden can be challenging. Finding the best and most suitable plants to keep your garden alive can be difficult. This blog post will give you the list of the top 10 trees to plant in small gardens, thereby avoiding that struggle and having the garden you have always dreamt of.


1.Heteropyxis Natalensis (Lavender tree)


The beautiful, pale bark lavender tree with a semi-deciduous foliage, is a favourite amongst the small garden owners. With its ornamental shape, this heteropyxis natalensis species grows at a slow pace, but in due time presents its owner with an enchanting garden tree.


2.Kiggelaria Africana (Wild peach)


The Kiggelaria Africana or Wild Peach tree, is another popular choice for smaller gardens as this semi-deciduous tree can grow between 8 and 12 meters, depending on the conditions. With its stunning light grey-green foliage gardens appear open and bright. This beautiful, fast growing specimen has female and male parts on separate trees. The female tree is preferred for providing fruit for birds, attracting a host of birds feeding on fruit seeds.


3.Buddleja Saligna (False olive)


One of the most popular indigenous trees in the Gauteng region is the Buddleja Saligna tree, otherwise known as the False Olive tree. As this beauty only has a growth of 1 to 1.5 meters, it has the benefit of being one of the fastest growing trees on this top 10 list. Moreover, it does not reach an overall height of more than 3 to 4 meters in a few years, and therefore it is a perfect candidate for a small garden owner. Despite its scruffy look in time, with some pruning, it can still look beautiful in a small garden. A useful tip with regards to this tree is to plant it in a distance from pools and paving.


4.Dais Cotinifolia (Pompon tree)


The Pompon tree is a semi-deciduous tree and is considered to be on the most stunning  indigenous trees, and is steadily becoming very popular in the Gauteng region. This Dais Cotinifolia specie is fast growing reaching a height of up to 10 meters in good conditions. It is frost tolerant and evergreen with an eruption of pretty pink flowers, thereby making for a beautiful garden display in the summer.


5.Apodytes Dimidiata (White pear)


The Apodytes Dimidiata or White Pear tree with its dark evergreen foliage, grows steadily, reaching a height of 6 to 8 meters over the years. When properly and purposely pruned, it can be used as an efficient hedge.


6.Pittosporum Viridiflorum (Cheesewood)


It grows at a medium pace, but at the end of the flowering season, gorgeous yellow, edible berries blossom from this evergreen tree. As the Cheesewood tree has a non-aggressive root system, it is safe to plant it beside paving and retaining walls.


7.Dombeya Rotundifolia (Wild pear)


The Dombeya Rotundifolia or Wild Pear, is a stunning fully deciduous specie. This indigenous evergreen specimen can grow up to 8 meters long. During the summer it becomes one of the most appealing species as it bursts into masses of white flowers. Another benefit to the wild pear tree is its non-aggressive root system, making it safe to plant in the vicinity of walls and paving.


8.Indigofera Jacunda (River indigo)


This small, semi-deciduous tree sports a combination of pink and white flowers, making it an attractive and suitable tree for small gardens. The Indigofera Jacunda is a fast grower, reaching a height of 2.5 to 4 meters. When properly pruned, it can be encouraged to reach an appropriate shape. A helpful tip concerning the River Indigo is that this tree attracts birds and butterflies into the garden.


9.Heteromorpha arborescens var. abyssinica (Parsley tree)


The Heteromorpha arborescens var. abyssinica, otherwise known as the Parsley tree, is a very well-known specie in the South African Highveld. With its dark brown bark, peeling from trunks and branches, it is well distinguished. This specie can grow up to 10 meters, making it perfect for a small to medium sized garden.


10.Bolusanthus Speciosus (Wisteria)


The Tree Wisteria, a beautiful small sized tree with a non-aggressive root system is welcomed by all small garden owners. This Bolusanthus Speciosus specie grows at a medium pace and creates a stunning bluish-mauve colour during spring.

Gardening Tips for June

Winter is here and as such it is important to make sure that your garden is properly protected and maintained so as to assist it through the cold and cuddling months.

Here are some tips on how to care for your garden appropriately.

1. Protect plants and produce

In some areas of our beautiful country, June can still bring weighty rain storms and even hail. For those rare occasions, it is important to keep plants well protected with the help of heavy and anchored materials. However, and more commonly, our winter season tends to be very dry. Plants can be protected from dry weather by means of mulching. In these circumstances, gardens should be mulched with organic matter. This will decrease loss of water and repress weeds.

2. Split up the shrubs

As June arrives, so does winter and it becomes the perfect time to split up those shrubs, such as roses, lavender plants and lilies. When implementing this shrub split, always see to it that all flowers – should they be dead or alive – are cut off. This is done to guarantee that plant energy can be aimed at the growth of new roots.

3. Give plants plenty to drink

During the cold winter months, gardens dry up and the moisture contained in the soil from the rainy summer days slowly start to drain out. It is therefore vital to water gardens continuously throughout the winter period, especially in areas with droughts and in gardens with newly planted plants. When plants get watered once or twice a week, it will ensure that their roots extend further into more nutritious soil.

4. Keep gardens well fertilized

An important tip to take note of is that gardens, and especially vegetable gardens, need not only be well watered during the dry winter days, but it also should be kept satisfactorily fertilized. Ordinarily, winter gardens are fertilized every two weeks to ensure fast growth and their best yield.

5. Keep up with the weeds

It is easy to fall behind on gardening maintenance in the course of winter when cuddling in front of a hot fire or a good TV series seems much more pleasing than removing weeds. However, the garden’s weed needs must be seen to. Without nurturing your garden, you cannot expect a positive result, after all.  Frequent hoeing and the application of a good, preventative and firm layer of mulch over the soil is essential.

6. Pest the pests

Harass those garden pests before they become an irritating nuisance. Prevention is always better than cure. Pests especially love the heat, and though one might not consider this to be a problem during the winter, it sure is. Winter gardens still require mulching and as stated in previous blog articles, mulching creates a warm blanket for your soil. If these infectious pests, such as greenflies and blackflies can be caught early enough, they can also be easily dealt with. Therefore it is important to always be alert to avoid pest problems – especially from those that also transmit viruses.


7. Don’t forget to mow

The last thing to take note of is to ensure that your garden looks nice and neat. Mow your lawn regularly as the grass grows. During the dry months, grass might grow somewhat slower and it is also important to let it grow out to assist it in the dry spells. But more importantly – one’s lawn should not get out of hand.


Don’t let your garden go this winter. Nurture it as you would nurture yourself. Follow these simple gardening tips and have a thankful garden all year long.



The different types of mulches


Mulch acts as a protective barrier for your soil. It can be made from various materials which covers the soil when laid across its surface. There are mainly two categories of mulches: organic and inorganic or synthetic mulches – each holding its own advantages. Organic mulches decompose rather quickly and therefore require a lot of maintenance and replacement. That being said, organic mulches enhance soil fertility as they decompose, keeps soil from warming up too hastily and prevents it from getting too cold. Synthetic an inorganic mulches, on the other hand, may not have the ability to fertilize soil, but they are excellent at holding soil moisture, warming the soil, blocking out weeds and not decomposing. They are therefore perfect for something more permanent.


Depending on the purpose and plant, there are numerous types of mulches under each of these two categories that has the potential to benefit its user.


1.Organic mulches


  • Bark


Bark mulches are long-lasting, thicker types of mulches which come in a variety of shredded, chipped, chunks, or nuggets, but are most commonly made from pine, cypress, or hardwood. These mulches are most effective when used around trees, shrubs, in garden beds or other places where a lot of digging won’t be done, such as driveways, walkways and foundation plantings.


  • Compost 


Compost mulch consists of well-rotted organic matter that can be used as a soil coating or simply alongside plants during the growing season.  Compost as a mulch has numerous benefits such as enriching soil, enhancing soil’s drainage and structure and providing plants with essential nutrients that ensures their healthy and strong growth.


  • Hay and straw


Hay and straw mulches are commonly used for vegetable gardens. They act a protective layer between soil-borne diseases and lower plant leaves, thereby preventing plants from getting sick. An added benefit to using straw, is that is decomposes at a snail’s pace, thereby causing it to last all throughout the growing season.


  • Grass Clippings


Grass clippings consist of a mixed bag of mulch. As it works much like most other green plant debris, it has high water content, causing it to decompose quickly. In its decomposition process, the water can cause the mulch to get slimy, and odorous, and should therefore be used carefully.  Grass clippings should preferably be used in remote garden areas where weeds are needed to be suppressed. Clippings that are not bagged can also be used to kill herbicides and pesticides on a lawn.


  • Shredded leaves


Mulch that nature seems to love is shredded leaves. This form of mulch, however informal, can be used anywhere. It is free to obtain and lures earthworms to the soil. Shredded leaves can be spread out into a layer during the spring, or over a vegetable garden in autumn and then it will start its decomposition process throughout winter.


  • Newspaper 


As a lot of newspapers have already switched to using organic dyes, newspaper mulch is becoming increasingly popular. This form of mulch can also be used in a variety of forms, such as, in layered sheets bringing about its supreme moisture retention capabilities or when used during windy days, they can be moisture to keep them settled down. They are similar to other forms of organic mulches in that they suppress weeds and control soil temperatures. They are also beneficial for asphyxiating existing grass in order to get a new garden bed to grow.


  • Manure 


 Well-rotted or composted manure is excellent for soil enrichment whilst keeping the weeds out, the moisture in and the soil temperatures constant. It is easily available in garden stores, looks good and has a much better smell than the real thing. It is however vital to ensure that fresh manure droppings are not taken from dogs or cats.



  • Pine Needles 


Pine needles are not only pleasing to the eye, they are impervious to compaction, easily manageable, and able to decompose slowly, thereby lasting two to four seasons. They are also capable of acidifying soil around acid-loving plants and provide newly set or delicate plants with dynamite protection.


  • Sawdust


Sawdust is an advocated mulch for plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons, and other acid-loving greens. Fresh sawdust has the potential of being very acidic and therefore it is recommended to pile the sawdust up in one place where it will remain undisturbed for a year. Once it rains and natural decomposition takes it course, most of the acid will be sucked out and the sawdust can be used as a mulch for future years.


  • Bark & Wood Chips


Bark and wood chips are derived from many sources such as, different hardwood and softwood species, which are superb mulches for sheltering your soil. These mulches hold the benefits of breaking down slowly, and the larger barks enable water to run off, thereby adding moisture to the soil.


2.Synthetic and Inorganic Mulches


  • Plastic and Landscape Fabric


These mulches can be used around shrubs, trees and other foundation plantings. They don’t require a lot of maintenance as they don’t have to be fertilized or be worked through in the beds often.  As plastic heats up during the summer, it is can suffocate weeds, but it also runs the risk of killing vital sources in the soil. One must therefore provide sufficient moisture. In the case of fabric mulches, it is also important to use a thin layer of appropriate fabric, and to ensure that water can pass through the fabric by cutting holes in it.


  • Gravel and Stone


Plants that require minimal additional heat like Mediterranean herb gardens, should be mulched with gravel and stone as it lasts long, stores heat during the day and then releases it during the night. It is also advantageous to use gravel and stone as a mulch as they shield against weed seeds and diseases, it is heavy and can therefore not blow away too easily.


  • Rubber mulch


Aside from rubber toxicity, rubber is a great form of mulch as it is available in different colours that can give a garden an exciting look. It is soft and rubbery and therefore good for a playground. It commonly created from recycled tyres and ground and has the capability to productively and potently squash weeds and reserve moisture in the soil.








Mulching in autumn gives your soil a protective blanket

Planters are often under the illusion that mulching is for the sweet season of summer as it cools the soils, enhances soil texture, raises soil fertility and increases the earthworm population. However, the arrival of autumn does not mean the descent of mulch! Just as mulch conserves moisture and keeps the soil cool in the summer, autumn mulch acts as a winter warmer – a baby’s ‘blankie’ – for your plants and soil. It helps protect them from the incursion of winter.

Autumn mulching holds numerous benefits, including:


1.Autumn mulching creates an isolation layer and conserves soil moisture

Mulch creates a layer above your soil that acts a protective agent. Soils that are layered with mulch are much warmer in the cooler autumn and winter seasons, protecting the plant roots from injuries sustainable in freezing weather conditions. The mulch barrier keeps out the ice-cold autumn-pre-winter weather and locks the heat inside. In effect, plant roots are protected, soil moisture is preserved and soil is prevented from washing or blowing away in harsh winds. The rapid fluctuations in soil temperature during the cold month is protected by mulch. These climate changes have devastating effects on your plants – heaving them out of the soil, loss of moisture when moisture is evaporated through bare soil surfaces, root desiccation and even death.


These destructive effects can be avoided by simply adding a layer of mulch onto your soil.


2.Autumn mulching improves the soil’s physical structure and fertility

In the process of natural mulch breaking down, the mulch attaches humus to the soil which then raises organic matter on the surface of clay soils. This process causes the water holding capacity of light and sandy soils to improve and finally, it slowly releases nitrogen and phosphorous into the soil.


Organic mulches such as straw, shredded leaves, nut hulls, aged sawdust, aged manure, evergreen branches, pine needles and wood chips, are valuable in aerating the soil as it shapes the soil in a manner that is easy to work with. It also provides food for crucial and beneficial creatures that live in soil, such as earthworms and microbes.


 3.Autumn mulching prevents erosion and water runoff

Rain or sprinkler droplets cause bare soil to disperse and erode. Mulching the soil prevents such conditions by decreasing the water runoff, acting as ‘sponge’ and soaking up water causing it to slow down rather than break the soil apart.


 4.Autumn mulching reduces root competition

Another interesting advantage of applying mulch under trees and shrubs is the reduction of root competition. As a lot of trees’ roots are on the upper parts of the soil, they face competition from other plants and trees as to who will get the water and nutrients. When one applies mulch under trees and shrubs, it eliminates that competition and provides the trees with moisturizing soil and the water and nutrients that they require.


 It is clear that mulching in autumn carries layers of benefits. This natural soil blanket is an investment as the cost of replacing your beauties is much heavier on your pockets than is the cost of mulching. Moreover, mulching a landscape looks more appealing and unifies the overall scene. Put a mulch blanket around your tree baby and ensure its warmth during this cold season. Winter is coming, don’t let the plants suffer

Trees – the ‘lungs’ of our earth

Climate change, deforestation, building developments and overpopulation are draining oxygen from our environment, affecting the environment and people alike.  This has become a growing concern worldwide. Trees are a vital source of oxygen – the “lungs” of our earth – and hence they are assets and an investment in countering this destructive phenomenon.  Tree plantation and preservation are non-negotiable in securing a ‘green’ future.


1.Trees capture toxins and cleans the air

Natural processes such as respirations and volcano eruptions, or human activities like deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels and land use changes, cause carbon dioxide (CO2) to be released into the atmosphere. CO2 is a powerful heat-trapping, atmospheric greenhouse gas, discharged by dying trees, inevitably contributing to global warming. Tree preservation and plantation prevents this alarming process from taking place. After having planted a tree, in the course of photosynthesis, the tree will remove the CO2 and supply the environment with fresh air and oxygen.


2.Trees sustain the climate

Trees, through leaves, regulate the climate by absorbing and filtrating energy from the sun, thereby causing reactions to the sun, rain and wind that sustain our climate. Moreover, trees can guard us from devastating winds, impact their speed and direction and act as a shield from severe downpours. Apart from their protective function, trees are also able to conserve warmth, reducing air temperature and decreasing the heat severity of the greenhouse effect. It does this by preserving low levels of carbon dioxide.


3.Trees reduce heating and other costs and boost productivity

Since trees lower air temperature, they act as a natural air-conditioner. Tree related neighbourhoods have managed to cool down by two degrees, residential heating costs are lessened by 10-15 percent and air-conditioning costs have declined by 20-50 percent. Apart from cost reductions, trees also add value to one’s property and business. Property values accrue by 25 percent when supplied with greenery and trees and employees tend to be more productive in a green environment. Both businesses and the environment can therefore benefit greatly through added value and a boost in productivity.


4.Trees improve health

By planting trees and preserving nature, we contribute toward our own wellbeing. Trees don’t merely produce oxygen, they have other qualities that improve health, such as decreasing smog, interrupting airborne particles, improving the respiratory health of a community, advancing physical activity, and finally, strengthening one’s quality of life.


5.Trees protect wildlife

As trees are many animals’ source of food and nourishment, it is crucial that that they be preserved. Trees don’t merely supply food for animals such elephants, giraffes and monkeys, but they provide a shelter and home for many more helpless creatures. Planting and preserving trees may ensure the safety and preservation of our wildlife.


6.Trees help prevent pollution and erosion

Trees have roots that reach far into the ground, holding the soil in the correct place, thus enabling it to decrease and fight erosion. Moreover, they also have the capability of preventing pollution. This is done when trees reduce runoff and sediment deposits after a storm by absorbing and hoarding rainwater. This process ensures that the storm water does not transport pollutants into the ocean or dams. Trees can therefore play a vital role in combating thereby preventing pollution and erosion.


In our developing world, today more than ever, our natural environment is at great risk. The importance of planting and preserving trees cannot be overstated. Trees, a source of oxygen, trap the toxic CO2, and then ensures that we have fresh air to breathe in. They screen us from dangerous substances and ensure that a moderate climate is sustained. Trees reduce heat and business related costs, and at the same time boost property values and productivity in business. They protect our wildlife, improve our health and avoid pollutions and erosions. The green magic: trees!

Signs and symptoms of fungi and plant diseases and how to treat them

Fungal diseases in trees and other plant life have devastating effects, not only to nature, but also to humans. Fungi-infected trees are easily recognisable but cannot be treated. Planters should acknowledge the severity of the problem, and keep abreast of the latest research results.


Infected crops can cost countries worldwide billions. Apart from the severe money losses, billions of food calories are lost in those crops which could have hungry people. The repercussions are endless, including contributing to famine in developing countries, large reductions of income to farmers and distributers, high prices for consumers and risk of exposure to micro-toxins.


The first thing to do, is to understand and acknowledge the different types of fungal diseases that commonly occur in trees.


These can be divided into four categories:


1.Root and butt rot diseases

As one of the most familiar and recognised fungal diseases, it begins by infecting the roots and then spreading throughout the plant body. The infection causes the roots and butts to deteriorate and rot within.


2.Canker diseases

This disease targets injured trees, initially contaminating the bark and working its way into the plant. The infection causes the bark to stain and fade. Pruning is an effective way to avoid canker diseases.


3.Shoot or foliar diseases

This is a very common tree disease caused by fungus. Should your tree ever present with small spots or large blotches on the leaves and shoots, it would be a recognizable symptom of the shoot disease.


4.Vascular diseases

In the case of this potent disease, the fungus destroys the root which nourishes the plant. This causes the plant to die very quickly after the fungi infects its vascular system



As tree fungal diseases can’t be cured, it is vital to prevent them from happening in the first place. This can be done by preserving and sustaining healthy trees and plant life. One such method is regular pruning of trees prone to canker diseases. The problems that we currently face is that the methods that we use to prevent these awful diseases are still limited and therefore urgent preventative measures are needed. Extensive research is required to effect anti-fungal treatments.

One thing about fungi is that they can’t move and can only grow by extension by forming a more sophisticated network – the mycelium. Signals act as a lighthouse for fungi to locate it, grow toward, reach and finally evade and colonise the plants.

Even though trees and plants can’t be treated from their fungal diseases, teams of experts have found a method to identify this in a certain fungus called fusarium oxysporum and one of its host plants (the tomato plant). The understanding of such molecular process offer anti-fungal treatments.


It is clear that fungal infections and diseases have destructive consequences. Moreover, in a country and period where crop aggregation has significantly increased due to economic development, climate change and population growth, the prevention of fungal diseases and the understanding of the interaction between the a fungus and its host plant, prospectively represent major steps toward developing more efficient strategies to combat plant fungal diseases.

Autumn: The kind season and year peak for tree planting

Many of us are under the misconception that tree planting is best achieved during the warmth of summer or spring. However, that is a fallacy. Even though plant availability may be low, arboriculturists believe that planting trees in autumn is actually the best way to go about it as it holds many benefits, not only to the plant, but also to the planters.

1. The ground is more nurtured

South African summers can be rainy and moist, making it hard for some of our plant life to survive. This is, however, wonderful for the autumn ground. During this time, our grounds have time to dry just enough to provide the needed moisture that trees require before a cool winter season in order to establish its growth in the spring.

2. Root induction potential is high

Autumn soil is not only nurtured with summer’s rains, but warmed by its sun. These potent mixtures stimulate root growth and prompt perennials, trees and shrubs to grow faster in the spring after the ground freezes in the winter. Moreover, in this period of preserved warmth and rain, trees and plants bring out healthy new roots,  furthering and promoting extensive growth. Once the days warm in the succeeding spring, the actual eye-level  growth begins: new leaves manifest themselves and tree roots advance rapidly. Subsequently, the summer   enables the larger root system to nourish and water the plant to a larger extent. The cycle finally finishes by the  following autumn when the tree will be of a remarkable size, especially compared to one planted in the spring.

3.  Autumn trees are less susceptible to certain root rots.

The excessive summer heat, combined with all our recurrent watering attempts to keep our trees alive during  the  hot and dry seasons, can encourage soil-borne fungus diseases. Trees planted in the superior autumn  season have more ample and spacious root systems – therefore requiring less irrigation. It is for this reason that  trees planted in autumn are not as vulnerable to root rots as those planted in other season of the months.

4. Autumn is kind to our planters

We all love those grey-skies, stay-in, cuddle- under-a-blanket-in-front-of-the-TV weather. However, I think it is  safe to say that given a choice, we would also rather work outside in that exact same weather than in the  piercing 40-degrees sun. That is exactly what autumn weather offers its people. In the kind season of autumn,  planters are safely protected from the extreme summer sun; they can wear a warm sweater and work up a good  sweat while planting some oxygen into the environment.

It is clear tree planters, that autumn is the new summer. Planting in autumn holds numerous benefits for you and you trees as you get the best of both worlds, enjoying nourished soil which enhances root growth, avoiding fungi, root rots and sun stroke, rather enjoying grey skies, a melancholy mood and fully grown trees.

Questions you should ask before pruning your trees

Questions you should ask before pruning your trees

How do you decide when to prune your trees? If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know that we recommend scheduling an appointment with your tree care company to prune your trees in winter. That doesn’t mean you need to prune your trees every year.


Pruning is an important part of tree maintenance. Not only is it an opportunity to identify and remove potentially dangerous or diseased branches, but pruning aids in shaping a tree so it looks attractive. You can prune young trees yourself, to shape them as they grow, but in the case of large, mature trees, you’ll need to call in a professional.


With so many tree fellers offering their services, you might be tempted to employ the first name in that pops up on Google. Before you let them loose on your trees, ask them these questions:


  1. What equipment will you use to prune my trees?

An experienced tree care company will have a range of tools for a variety of tree maintenance jobs. Obviously chainsaws are used to remove large branches, but they should also carry pole pruners, loppers and rope saws for thinner branches.


To reach the high branches of a mature tree, a tree feller will need ropes and harnesses, and no fear of heights!


Don’t forget to ask about safety equipment. Working with these tools can be dangerous, so the team should be suited up in the right protection gear: chainsaw pants, goggles, and gloves.


  1. Do you think this tree needs to be pruned?

It may seem like an odd question to ask, but the answer will reveal some important information. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to prune your trees every year. A professional tree feller will give you an honest answer – even if it doesn’t result in a job. It’s a sign that they’ll never risk the health of your trees.


  1. How do you make a pruning cut?

Along with the right equipment, using the right techniques is essential to avoid damaging the tree unnecessarily. Pruning cuts should not be made too close or too far away from the trunk as this may affect the tree’s ability to heal.


Large branches should be removed with a three-step process:


  • First, a shallow cut is made on the underside of the branch about 10-12cm away from the trunk.
  • Then, the branch should be cut off about 5-7cm away from the initial cut. This way, when the branch falls off, it doesn’t peel the bark off the side of the trunk.
  • A final cut is made to remove the stub, leaving a clean wound that will heal neatly.


  1. Is it necessary to seal pruning cuts?

You may be concerned that the open wounds caused by pruning could allow infections or infestations to set in. However, experienced tree fellers know that these wounds will heal faster if they can breathe. A dressing should only be applied in special circumstances; otherwise they can trap moisture and increase the risk of rot setting in.


A tree that is pruned correctly and taken care of will add value to your property and give you many years of cool shade.  It will also be a healthier, stronger tree and you’ll never have to worry that it may one day cause damage to your home or family.


If you’re looking for a professional tree care company, call Brands Tree Felling. We’ve been caring for trees for almost three decades, and we’ll give you and your trees the service you deserve.