Tree Watering Bags

Here at CLC Tree Services people ask us questions about trees all the time. This week a question came to us from right here on our blog.

I enjoy reading your blogs — most informative! At some point could you please explain how those ubiquitous green bags that are wrapped around newly planted trees ( especially by the city) work. Thanks

Shirley Miller

Great question Shirley! Here’s our answer.

Image Source;

Treegator® Slow Release Watering Bags

Our Office Manager Christine Siemens immediately knew what you were talking about and said they were bladder bags. The trademark name for them is Treegator® Original Slow Release Watering Bags.

Calvin McCallum explains further, “They are just a slow release water system that can deliver the required amount of water over a longer period of time to improve root absorption, and cut out the doubt of over or under watering.”

Curt McCallum further goes on to say, “So the tree gator bags are really quite simple. All they do is slowly leak out water to improve survivability. It takes up to a couple days to empty.”

Ideally, these ingenious devices are used for newly planted deciduous trees which are between 1″ to 4″ around. For trees up to 8″, two Treegator® bags can be zipped together and used. Branches must be at least 25″ from the ground or higher to accommodate the bag. As Curt explained, the bag is zipped around your new tree and filled with water. You can even add water-soluble fertilizer to the bag. They slowly release the contents of the bag from small holes at the base of the bag over the next several hours, reducing evaporation, water runoff and the need for you to be there.

Hence why you see them around city trees Shirley. City workers can fill them, then return later to collect the empty bags. Perfect for vulnerable, newly planted trees, especially during times of drought.

They are great for municipalities, businesses and homeowners. The company who makes them is based out of the US, but you can find them at several dealerships in Canada as well. The closest one to London is the Sheridan Nursery in Kitchener. Alternately, you can buy them online.

Of course, there are other options when watering your trees. You can purchase a drip hose, turn on a sprinkler, make your own DIY drip system or stand there with a hose for a few hours. A rain dance might help too, as Mother Nature does the best job of watering plants. The Treegator® bags are a great economical alternative for your new trees though, especially during tree watering alerts.

Hope that answers your question Shirley! Thanks for reading our blog and feel free to ask any questions you may have again. We are here to help!

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Pitching a Tent

Tent caterpillar nest in a crab apple

Tent caterpillar nest in a crab apple

“What’s that in the tree? Is it a bag? A spider web?”

“No! It’s tent caterpillars… “

Oh, oh. Tis the season for insect infestations and tent caterpillars are just one of the insects which attack trees. There are upwards of 26 species of tent caterpillars, but the ones most commonly found in North America are the Forest Tent Caterpillars, Eastern Tent Caterpillars, Western Tent Caterpillars and Fall Webworms. What they all have in common though is their voracious appetites.

Fall Webworms

Tent Caterpillars are part of the Malacosoma Genus

Malacosoma love leaves. They weave silk nests in trees for protection and then go to work munching on deciduous tree’s leaves. While Forest Tent Caterpillars have a taste for hardwoods like trembling aspen, oak, ash, maple and white birch, Webworms are quite happy to devour upwards of 85 different species of trees. And in a bad year, they can completely strip a tree of its leaves.

The good news is that most healthy trees can recover from tent caterpillar defoliation in subsequent years. Of course many people find the nests unsightly and the lack of leaves on their beloved trees distressing. Trees that are already stressed due to drought or other infestations may have a harder time withstanding a tent caterpillar defoliation, let alone many years worth. And trees that have been host to multiple tent caterpillar infestations may show reduced radial growth or in some circumstances may even die.

There are ways to prevent that from happening though. The most obvious—destroy nests before they have a chance to damage your tree. The best time to undertake this is in the early morning or evening when the caterpillars have returned to their nests for the night.

Hose treatment for tent caterpillars

Hose treatment for tent caterpillars

This can be done in one of a few ways;

  • Hope that birds or rodents give you a helping hand by eating the insects
  • Use a stick to destroy the nest
  • Spray the nest with a hose
  • Prune the nest out of the tree
  • Treat the tree with TreeAzin® Systemic Insecticide

If TreeAzin sounds familiar to you, it may be because it is an approved treatment in the fight against the emerald ash borer and CLC Tree Services is a licensed user of it. The injectable insecticide is effective in far more reaches than just EAB control though. As per the BioForest website;

In Canada, TreeAzin is registered for use against:

    • Emerald Ash Borer
    • Gypsy Moth
    • Tent Caterpillars
    • Spruce Budworm
    • Jack Pine Budworm
    • Arborvitae Leafminers
    • Sawflies, including Birch Leafminer and Pine False Webworm
Canisters administering TreeAzin ash injections

CLC Tree Services is professionally licensed to apply TreeAzin treatments

So if you find a tent in your backyard this summer that was not one you intended to pitch, feel free to contact CLC Tree Services. We can help deter unwanted campers.

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Your Testimonials

CLC Tree Services crew

We strive do our best for our customers.

BBB Integrity AwardHere at CLC Tree Services, we like to think we do a good job of making our customers happy when we provide tree services. We promptly respond to phone and email inquiries, and organize estimates as quickly as we can. Once a customer decides to move forward with their tree services, we then schedule the work to be done. Any required permits or extra equipment necessary to complete a job are arranged beforehand. The day of the job, uniformed employees arrive on time, perform the necessary work and leave the work site clean and hopefully better than it was before we arrived. This is all part of the job.

Logo BEST OF LONDON 2015 WINNERWe could brag further about our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, winning the BBB Business Integrity Award in 2010 and being nominated the year before, and the two years in a row of winning the London Free Press Best Tree Services of London award. Yes, we are proud of all of those accomplishments. When customers tell us how much they appreciate our professionalism, care of their property, efficiency and thoroughness of our work, we know we are succeeding at what we do. Your praise, your words are the reason we strive to do our utmost as arborists. We do our best and appreciate when it is noticed.

Thank YOU!


~ Dorothy Rodrigues, Kirsten Martyn and Cameron Hogarth
“We were very pleased with the excellent job Calvin and the crew did pruning our trees.  The team was efficient, thorough, and professional.  Friends and family have complimented us on how nice the trees look, and the improvement to our property.  Thank you CLC Tree Services!”

~ Yolanda Postma
“We were so VERY impressed with the work that was done at our home this past weekend…very professional, very efficient, very organized…and our very large flower beds were completely unharmed in the process!   ….Thanks again for your professionalism and great service.”

~ Jean and Arthur Hudson
“This is a letter of appreciation of CLC for the superb care given to the removal of dead trees, about 14 in all, over the last half a dozen years. Most of these were large old trees infected by the hickory bark beetle. Their attention was swift and complete at a fair price, a benefit to us with such a larger number of trees. The felling of the trees was precise on property very close to our house. Curt and his son were especially courteous in their attention to our needs in caring for the property. We have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending their services in tree and stump removal.”

~ Kenneth Hoare, General Manager, Indian Hills Golf Club
“I just wanted to send you a quick letter to let you know that we are extremely pleased with your completed work at Indian Hills Golf Club. From our initial contact… right up to the coordination of your on-site arrival… should be commended. …showed a great deal of respect for the property… ”

~ Shirl Fath, Expeditor, North Star Vinyl Windows
“I just wanted to take the time to thank you for trimming my 80 foot maple tree and removing all the limbs and brush from the park. Your crew arrived on time and the cleanup was swift and complete. The price was competitive. I am very satisfied with the service and would recommend your company to anyone who needs tree service.”

** If you have had tree services performed by CLC Tree Services and been pleased with our work, please let us know. We appreciate the feedback! **

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Match the Maples

Everyone recognizes the glorious leaf on the Canadian flag; the iconic maple leaf forever! Did you know that there are over 125 species of Acer trees and 10 of them are native to Canada? Can you tell one maple from another?


Let’s see who really knows their maple trees. Match the maple leaves pictured below with the correct species of maple tree.


Norway maple


  • AMUR
Japanese Maple


"2014-10-30 10 08 26 Red Maple foliage during autumn along Dunmore Avenue in Ewing, New Jersey" by Famartin - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


Silver Maple


Manitoba Maple


Striped Maple; Image Source




Amur maple: Image Source;


  • RED
"Acer-pseudoplatanus" by user:JoJan - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.



Sugar Maple Image Source;






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Anyone Care for a Coffee?

Kentucky Coffee Tree

Kentucky Coffee Tree

Everyone likes coffee, don’t they? Well, you should! How about the Kentucky Coffee Tree? While you can’t get a latte from one, they are a pretty special deciduous tree. They are native to Southwestern Ontario, but sadly are also considered a species at risk by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. These threatened trees are deserving of a little attention, so that more people do something to help increase their numbers.

Kentucky Coffee Trees are a medium to tall tree, grow approximately 15-25 metres high and live for 100-150 years. They have grayish-brown bark with deep fissures and plates which curl at their edges. The wood is a hard, heavy density with good durability, so appreciated by cabinet makers and carpenters.

Kentucky Coffee Tree podsKentucky Coffee Trees have the distinction of having the largest leaves of any tree in Canada; you won’t find anything bigger than their 60 by 90 cm leaves. Similar to honey locusts, they have bipinnately compound leaves, with 5-9 pairs of pinnae with the lowest leaves appearing as simple leaflets. The leaflets are ovate shaped with a pinkish hue in spring when they emerge in May/June, turning to green in summer and golden-yellow in the fall. As their leaves drop early, the Kentucky Coffee Tree has been nicknamed Chicot (Dead Tree) by French Canadians; an apt name for its barren look in winter. The latin name is Gymnocladus dioicus.

Kentucky coffee tree pod

The large reddish-brown pod of a Kentucky Coffee Tree

Greenish white flowers appear in June after the leaves emerge. They are dioecious, meaning trees are either male or female. This accounts for one of the reasons for its scarcity, as both a male and female tree need to be in close proximity to produce seeds. The hard brown seeds are found within a 15-25 cm long thick, slightly curled reddish-brown pod. It is also extremely difficult to break open, lending to more difficulty in natural propagation.

Kentucky Coffee Tree Seed

There are 4-8 tough, leathery seeds inside the pods of the Kentucky Coffee Tree

Kentucky Coffee Trees are shade intolerant trees that prefer moist rich soils. They are often found on floodplains, but can tolerate droughts, flooding, rocky or sandy soils. As they are quick-growing trees and fairly pest-free, they are a great choice for urban trees. It is important to note though that the leaves, seeds and pulp are considered toxic, so should not be planted near areas where livestock graze. Of course, some early settlers and Native Americans roasted the beans to eat or turn into a coffee-like beverage. Perhaps using the seeds in games would be a better alternative though.

If you are debating planting a tree or two, the Kentucky Coffee Tree should be one to consider. Make sure you find it from an ethical source and plant it in a location it will thrive. After that, enjoy this beautiful native tree for years to come.

Image Source:

Kentucky Coffee Tree with pods

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