Emergency Vole Alert in Colorado’s Front Range

We started this Vole Alert this yesterday after Lee’s day out with voles! Channel 9 news just did a segement on voles on this week’s morning news that talks about the extreme vole problem we’re seeing in Colorado’s Front Range – view the video and read more below:


Denver Lawn Damage by Voles

Lee Kral, Mountain High Tree, Lawn and Landscapes, lawn department manager has been out setting bait stations for voles, and is troubled over the trend that he is seeing.  Voles are at an all time high already this year, with spring bringing one of the peak breeding times.


Baby Voles in Denver

The breeding season for voles encompass most of the year, with peaks occurring in the spring and fall. Most voles have multiple families per year. Some voles have been shown to produce upwards of 10 litters of two to five young in one year. The normal is three to five litters a year.


Denver Vole Damage – Viburnum shrub chewed by voles

They are causing severe damage to our lawns and landscapes.  Vole trails may have already been established in your yard, with Junipers and other vegetation being decimated

Voles are not known to be a significant threat to human health and safety, Nevertheless, voles carry lice and have been implicated in the transmission of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever by helping to spread ticks. Reduce risks by handling with gloves, wash your hands immediately and stay away from urine and feces.


Denver Lawn Damage – Vole Trails in Grass


Vole Damaged Juniper bush in Denver

If you are seeing any of the damage that has been pictured, please contact us to have an Arborist evaluate your trees, shrubs and lawn.  It may take a few breeding cycles to get control of voles, but control can be achieved.

Please contact us for a free evaluation and recommendation:

Estimate Request

Denver: 303.232.0666 or home@mhtree.com

Colorado Springs: 719.444.8800 or al@mhtree.com


Meet Patrick Ahart

Meet Patrick Ahart!

Patrick Ahart A Denver area native Patrick has been in the tree and lawn care industry for 23 years. He is in charge of coordinating with customers, our sales team and other departments to route our PHC and lawn care crews this helps us to be as efficient as possible so we get the work done for our customers in a timely manner.

Patrick likes to spend his off time outside exploring Colorado with his wife Judy and their dog Barley.

Is Your Lawn Ready for Spring?

Early Spring Lawn Care: 


Take care of the soil so it can help take care of your lawn! Spring aerating is very important to overall lawn health in the Front Range. Our poor soil conditions make it hard for lawns trying to pull out of winter dormancy. The holes created by the aerator allow air and water to reach roots and for fertilizers to settle in. Products such as Revive, can also help with moisture penetration and water uptake in our dry climate.

Early spring fertilization:

Early fertilization of lawns helps to build a dense turf which will crowd out most weeds. Thin grass and bare spots provide an open invitation for weed seeds. Weaker areas of turf also allow for crabgrass to easily sprout and take hold. Proper fertilizing will provide root growth to help fight off both weeds and pests. Finally, proper fertilization should be done when the lawn is actively growing. This is not only the best practice for lawns but also the environment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that spring is a time of rapid growth for our cool-season grasses, including Ryegrass, fine Fescue, tall Fescue, and Kentucky Bluegrass. These grass types prefer cool weather and will grow robustly until hot weather slows them down. Then they will resume good growth in fall as temperatures cool. Fertilization of these cool-season grasses in spring is a large key to helping them build strength to fight off the heat of the summer.

Watering Lawns:
When it comes to watering there is a fine line between watering too little and watering too much. Turf grasses need adequate water to develop healthy and strong roots. On the other hand, too much water can lead to disease and make grass more susceptible to drought.

Early spring watering is also a major factor in reducing mite damage. Winter mite activity drains moisture from grass and can kill sections of a lawn. This is especially true on south and west side facings and areas where sun reflects back onto the yard off of rock walls, fences, and structures. Replenishing the moisture stolen by lawn mites will allow for yards to green up evenly without large dead areas.

If you have a west or south facing slope in heavily sun exposed areas, winter mite sprays and winter watering can prevent thousands of dollars in damage.

For early spring watering, sprinkler systems should be properly adjusted to provide a thorough watering about twice a week. When watering there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. First, do not water so heavily there is runoff. Irrigation runoff is expensive, wastes water and is actually bad for the environment. However, watering too lightly, prevents deep root growth since all the moisture is at the surface of the soil.
For best results, water about a half inch of water each time.  On adjusting_spray2slopes this my require running zones twice in a short period of time so the water sinks in rather than running off (check coverage). This method of deeper watering encourages plants to grow deep roots that are more drought-tolerant than turf with shallow roots. Furthermore, not watering as often allows grass and soil to dry between waterings. This is a good way to curtail disease, since most are caused by fungi that need extra moisture to spread.
Mountain High has an Irrigation department to help with all your sprinkler system needs.

Weed Control:
The best way to control weeds is to have healthy, robustly growing grass. This means that fertilization should be done early to establish good turf growth before weeds start to pop. It is also ideal to control unwanted grasses such as crabgrass with a pre-emergent herbicide. Pre-emergents inhibit seed germination, so they should not be used on newly seeded areas or areas to be seeded.  Early post emergent control of weeds is a great way to get rid of them before they can grow seeds and repopulate.

Lawn Mowing:
04_before_after_rulerLawns should be allowed to get a decent start before mowing. The best recommendation is to start mowing once the grass blades reach a height of three inches or slightly longer. When mowing, remember to mow in a way where only a third of the length of the blade of grass is removed with any cutting. The other thing to keep in mind is the sharper the blade, the better the grass can heal the cut. A clean cut means less water loss and allows the grass to better fight off fungi and insect attacks.  When mowing, the grass height should remain between two and a half to three inches in length after each cutting.

Getting Ready For Spring

row of tulips

It’s Time to Get Ready for Spring:

The weather in March can be unpredictable.  In the past few years we have seen everything from deep snow to daffodils.  It’s important to prepare your landscape for the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  There are all kinds of chores to do in order to get your landscape started out on the right foot for spring.  Many of these are essential to help plants produce large and abundant flowers, as well as reduce the likelihood of disease activity.

Here is a short checklist to help you achieve the best results for your landscape this spring:

  • Clean your flower and shrub beds of any leaf litter.  Dead leaves can foster fungal or bacterial spores that may infect new leaf tissue as it emerges in spring.
  • Cut back flowering perennials like roses and butterfly bushes.  If you cut these back Pruning-Cut rosestoo early in the winter the remaining tissue can dry out and delay spring flowering.
  • Inspect your irrigation system so that you can supply the needed moisture to plants as they become active.  This includes inspecting drip lines to ensure they are unclogged and positioned correctly.
  • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your turf to decrease nuisance weeds such as crabgrass, foxtail, and spurge.
  • Prune trees like Apples and Crabapples that are infected by fire blight bacterial disease.
  • Make sure you have signed and returned your Plant Health Care Proposal to ensure your landscape will receive the timely care it needs throughout the growing season.
  • Inspect large trees and heavy tree limbs for cracks, breaks, or cavities before the new leaf canopy obscures the view of the tree’s branch structure.

Let us know if you need help preparing your landscape for spring.  Our Arborists are available to walk through your property to help spot issues and develop a plan to resolve problems.

Is Xeriscape for you?


When xeriscape is mentioned, most people immediately think of plants that need only water provided by nature to survive and nothing else. This is not  what  xeriscapexeriscape back yard
actually stands for. Xeriscaping is a term that has been used for more than three decades to describe a landscape that is suitable for an arid climate needing little water and maintenance.  When you decide to go xeric that does not mean you have to only plant Cacti, Russian Sage, Yarrow or Sedum. Your local nursery will have a large pallet of plant material that can be used in a xeric landscape.  The key to ensuring the survival of your plant material and turf (yes you can have grass in a xeric landscape) is to plan ahead and make sure that you do not just put some plant material in the ground and hope that it thrives year after year.

Xeriscape SoilThere are some steps that need to be adhered to in order to ensure that your landscape will be a happy and healthy xeric environment. First thing is to come up with a plan. Make sure you are aware of what plants are existing and if they fit the xeric environment that you are creating. Make sure that you research the plant material you plan on installing and ensure that they will thrive in a low water environment. You will want to look at the drainage on the property, what type of soil you have and what type of exposure the yard has. Next, work on improving the soil characteristics. This will allow the soil capacity for water and oxygen to increase, and will also improve the drainage. This could include tilling in amendments and possibly adding small amounts of aggregate (small stones – <3/8”) that will help with creating air space and can improve the drainage.

When planting your areas, create like-minded watering areas. This means group plants according to their watering requirements so that you can better distribute the appropriate amount of water for that zone. Once the plants have been appropriately grouped, you will have to modify your existing or install new irrigation for the area. This is as important as creating a healthy soil environment and should be specific and flexible. You should be installing drip irrigation to the plant material with specific amounts of water to specific plants. In other words, you need to size the drip emitters properly. The irrigation controller is the flexible part of the equation. You should have the ability to set different schedules and durations for each of your xeric areas. Less frequent watering for longer duration will help create a root system that is deeper in the soil than more frequent short watering.

Being xeric means that you are making a conscious effort to conserve water. One of the xeriscape with mulchmost under-appreciated materials we have in our landscapes is mulch. A good wood mulch will not only retain the soil moisture far better than having no mulch, it will also keep the plants root system cool, minimizing the effects of our hot dry summer days. One of the last things you can do to promote the health of your new xeric garden is to practice appropriate maintenance. With proper pruning, weeding, fertilizer and monitoring of the irrigation system you will only increase your water savings.

Earlier I mentioned that turf can be part of a xeric yard. Most of us think of turf as not only a xeriscape with turf nlmaintenance headache but also a huge consumer of water. Our lawns do need more consistent attention than our xeric plants do, but with proper planning you can create a small lawn area in your yard that will require much less water than you think. There are various types of turf grass on the market that require much less water than the typical Blue Grass blends.  Again, with the proper soil preparation, irrigation, fertilization and turf selection, you can greatly minimize the amount of water you use to keep the grass healthy. Generally most lawns are over watered and can survive and will actually do better in drought situations if the watering schedule is monitored and modified.


Emerald Ash Borer convinces Loveland to remove 800 Ash Trees

Denver Emerald Ash Borer Service Company

Mountain High Tree, Lawn & Landscape in Lakewood, Colorado offers a free evaluation of your Ash trees, and we’ll recommend if preventatives measures are needed. Learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer here.

The Loveland forestry people are going to remove 800 Ash trees from their parks and open spaces to help prevent the spread of this devastating pest. We hope this is not a sign of things to come, and we are actively keeping an eye on the Emerald Ash Borer danger to our Denver area Ash trees. While no Emerald Ash Borer’s have been found in Denver yet, the spread is unfortunately a definite possibility. If you have questions about how to protect your Ash trees in Denver, give our Mountain High Tree Arborists a call at 303.232.0666 and we can come out and access if you need to take precautions with your Ash tree.

Check out this recent news article on this Ash tree pest –  this is yet another chapter in the Colorado fight against the Emerald Ash Borer, article excerpt below from KUNC.org:

Emerald Ash Borer’s ‘Inevitability’ Prompt Loveland Ash Removals

Work is underway to remove 800 ash trees from Loveland parks and open spaces. Why? Because of one little beetle. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been in Colorado for years now, but remained undetected until 2013 when it was found in the city of Boulder, the furthest point west that it has been detected. The invasive beetle is native to Asia and has decimated the ash tree population across the U.S. No one has been able to stop or eradicate it.  Read full article »



Weed and Feed for Lawns – 5 Reasons not to use it!

Weed and Feed is a commonly sold combination herbicide and fertilizer product that is offered by many lawn fertilization brands. These are “designed” to feed your grass while also killing weeds. But if you read the back of the bag, you’ll see lots of cautions about it’s use.

We NEVER recommend using Weed and Feed for the following reasons:

1. Using weed and feed products results  in the unnecessary and excessive use of Herbicides

When you apply a weed and feed product, you are applying herbicides to your entire lawn, even where no weeds are present. This greatly increases the amount of herbicides that you are adding into the environment, adding herbicides to your lawn where there are no weeds. In most lawns, weeds only occupy 5-10 percent of the lawn area, so we always recommend spot weed control treatments to address just the weeds to cut back on the use of herbicide.

2. Weed and Feed is bad for Trees and Shrubs! 

Weed and feed fertilizers contain Atrazine, a toxic chemical herbicide that can damage your trees and shrubs, eventually resulting in their death if used year after year. If you read the back of your Weed and Feed fertilizer bag packaging, you’ll see the following kinds of warnings:

“Do not use under trees, shrubs, bedding plants or garden plants.”
“Do not apply on or under the branch spread (rootzone) of trees, shrubs, bedding plants, flowers or garden plants.”
“Do not apply by hand or hand-held rotary devices.”
“Do not apply this product in a way that will contact any person either directly or through drift.”

Scary stuff, right? The thing is, if you have a large tree, the roots of that tree may be underneath the entire area of your lawn, tree roots are known to spread far beyond just immediately underneath the tree. Applying weed and feed will damage your trees, it’s only a matter of the timing and frequency of applications. Over-applying weed & feed product is common among home owners, which results in higher levels available in the soil to be taken up by your tree; increasing the level of potential damage. Applying weed and feed products during the spring, when the tree is actively growing and putting on new leaves is the worst time to apply, and any damage in early spring can affect tree health for the entire growing season. Healthy trees can usually tolerate one weed & feed application per year with minimal impact, however if you are applying more than one time a year or applying too much, and you do it year after year, your tree’s health will deteriorate and eventually die.

3. Granular “weed and feed” chemicals are bad for the environment.

Weed and Feed products most commonly use quick-release fertilizers, which drench your lawn with a heavy dose of nutrients that is likely to wash away with rain or watering. These chemicals get washed down into storm drains and into our water table, ultimately contaminating rivers, streams, ponds and the ocean. Runoff and drift from your weed and feed’ed lawn is hazardous to aquatic organisms. This product is toxic to aquatic invertebrates. Additionally, birds often eat weed and feed granules, thinking it’s grit, leading to the wide-spread death of our already threatened bird populations.

4. Weed and Feed is bad for your health! (Not to mention your pets)

Weed and feed products have bioaccumulative toxic substances linked to cancer and have been shown to lead to reproductive, immunological and neurological problems. That means you are making your lawn toxic – and who wants that?

5. Overall lawn health is compromised with Weed and Feed Products

The long-term health of your lawn is compromised if you use weed and feed products year after year, as your lawn becomes dependent on the chemicals. These products also harm the beneficial fungi and organisms in the soil, making it difficult to build naturally healthy turf.

Why hire a Professional to do your Lawn Fertilization?

If you are in the Denver or Colorado Springs area, we are happy to talk to you about your lawn. Our lawn experts know exactly when to apply fertilizers properly, and we use the best fertilizer products in the market that are specifically designed for our Colorado climate. We are also experts in applying just the right amount of fertilizer at the right time, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen burned lawns from over-application by homeowners. For weeds, we only use spot weed control treatments when needed, we never spray for weeds where there are none! As we care for our trees and environment, our organic lawn fertilization programs are designed to work in harmony with nature so that you can have a healthy green lawn!

Call Mountain High Tree in Denver at 303.232.0666 or our Colorado Springs Office at 719.444.8800 and we’ll discuss the perfect lawn fertilization program for you:
Estimate Request


Winter is the perfect time to check tree structures!

Tree Tips:
Winter is a great time to take a close look at the structure of your mature deciduous trees. During the growing season, leaf canopies obstruct our ability to see branch structures from the ground.

It is important to take the time to look closely for problems   that could create current or future hazardous conditions. Branches that are damaged from high winds, heavy snow and lightning can remain partially attached or hung up in the tree.  These damaged branches may remain in the tree for weeks or even months just waiting for the next weather event.

Below are a few things to look for when examining a tree’s branch structure:

  • ​Branches broken away from the tree but caught up in other branches​.holes
  • Branches with abrupt angles pointing down that could indicate a previous heavy snow load.
  • Cracks or splits in the bark or wood that indicate a significant amount of strength loss.
  • Open cavities along the branches indicate the presence of decay inside the tree.
  • Mushrooms or fruiting bodies are also an indication of internal wood decay.​

It is also important to know the natural growth habits of a tree in order to identify deformities that need to be addressed.  Our Arborists can help you identify situations that need to be managed to keep your family, home and property safe.


Meet Shane Tucker – Trim Manager

Shane Tucker
Trim Manager/
Certified Arborist
Shane grew up in Michigan and moved to Colorado 21/2 years ago for a better job opportunity.  He was our lead foreman until 6 months ago when he became the Trim Department Supervisor.
He has over 20 years in the tree industry and has worked in Chicago, Florida, New York City, & Ohio.  He has been on high profiles properties such as Trump International Golf Course in West Palm Beach, FL and The Breakers Hotel.  He was a foreman of a crew of 60 that climbed and inspected all of the trees in Central Park for Asian Longhorn Beetle!

He loves the tree industry because it is challenging and different every single day.  He decided to get his arborist license so that he could be informed of all the correct ways to do pruning as well as be knowledgeable in diagnosing Plant Health Care issues.  He also wanted to know as much about trees as possible. Shane was featured in the Lawn & Landscape Market Leadership Magazine’s November issue.

Shane loves working at Mountain High tree Service!! He particularly loves how involved Ralph is and what he does for his employees; he feels like Ralph treats everyone with so much respect. He relishes working in a team environment and his favorite part of his job is doing large removals and being part of a large project where he has to solve a puzzle in order to accomplish the end goal.

In his spare time he loves spending time with his 5 year old daughter, whom he absolutely adores.


Douglas-Fir Tussock Moth “They’re back”!

Douglas-Fir Tussock Moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata)Tussock moth infected tree web
Populations of this defoliating caterpillar surged in 2014
in Colorado Springs.  You can see groups of partially or totally defoliated trees in many areas.  Especially noticeable were Spruce trees with a distinctive orange colorations along the Academy Blvd. corridor and a
large area of Gray Fir trees on Cheyenne Mountain below NORAD.  Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir and White Fir trees are hosts to this insect.These caterpillars feed on new needles, partially eating them and causing the remaining portion of the needles to turn an orangish-brown.  Eventually larvae move to feed on older needles, stripping the branches.  After the initial season of feeding, a tree can usually put out new growth the following year, but with repeated defoliation a tree will die.
Tussock moth webIt is important to spray for this insect. Chemical
controls should be applied shortly after egg hatch in late May or early June.  A biological option; Bacillus thuringiensis, is also available.  It is a bacterium that feeds on caterpillars. Timing is critical and it is not as effective.

Tussock moth overwinters in the egg stage near the female’s pupal case.  Eggs hatch in late May and larvae move to feed on new growth, often in the top of the tree. They feed heavily from June into July, growing into large caterpillae, distinguished by tufts of hair. They pupate by August and the nondescript adult moths mate and then lay eggs.  Many of you will see a new recommendation for this on your annual proposal!If you would like your trees checked, please call our Colorado Springs office at 719.444.8800 for a free evaluation.

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