Are “messy” trees littering your landscape?  Inoculation may be an option

If you have a tree that drops large nuts on your driveway and cars, or ripe fruit on your patio, there may be something you can do about it short of cutting down a healthy, shade-giving tree.

The term “mast” refers to the fruit and nuts that are part of a tree’s reproductive system. All trees produce mast in one form or another, but some – such as the Sweetgum, Buckeye, Walnut and Crabapple, can cause a nuisance.

If these or other varieties cause a problem in your yard, it may be possible to inoculate the trees to prevent the mast from forming. The process is conducted by spraying or injecting a growth-suppression formula directly into the tree. Effectiveness of the process depends on a variety of factors, and it should only be carried out by a certified arborist who has a state licensed for fertilizer application.

The factors that determine whether inoculation will work in your situation include:

  • Species – Inoculation works better on some types of trees than others. A certified arborist will know if yours is a candidate.

  • Age and health – Inoculation is only recommended for healthy, mature trees. Again, depend on a certified arborist to advise whether a particular tree is healthy enough to withstand the treatment.

  • Size –Smaller and ornamental trees are easier to treat than large ones. Part of the process may include removing spent flowers, fruits and nuts. With smaller trees, homeowners can do this themselves.

  • Weather – The formulas that suppress mast growth typically need to be applied when the temperature is 60-95 degrees (F).

  • Timing – The most effective time to spray or inject deflowering agents is after buds appear but before the tree reaches full bloom. For many species, the window is just a few short weeks in early spring – and it may take some luck to get a warm enough day during that time period.

Treatment to suppress mast growth isn’t guaranteed to work in every situation. But if you have a tree whose fruit causes problems, have a certified arborist take a look. It might work for you.

Budding season is the best time to assess and treat your trees. Ripley Tree Service has 3 certified arborists on staff, carries an Ohio application license, and is an independent family business serving Northeast Ohio since 2001.

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