Archive for March, 2012

Arbor Day

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Friday, April 6, is Arbor Day in Missouri. National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April. Both days, and the entire month of April, is (are) a great time of the year – probably the best time – to plant trees. Whether it’s the free seedling that a fourth grader gets at school, or the large balled and burlapped giant you have installed by a professional crew, the act of planting creates a property asset that will continue to grow as the tree grows. However, remember that you shouldn’t just let the tree be planted anywhere on your property. In order to gain the values that a tree can provide, you need to assure that it is the right tree for the right place.

We stress this fundamental tree care basic throughout the year, but it is especially important during the Arbor Day celebration period. Your tree needs to get off to a good start, and it needs to be in the right place. The illustration below summarizes right tree right place as well as any I have seen. Click on image to enlarge. Happy Arbor Day!

Last Minute Pruning ?

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Have you been putting off removing those last few errant limbs on your favorite landscape tree(s)? And now, with an early spring apparently in the offing, you think it might be too late to take care of the problem(s)? Fear not, it can still be done as long as it is done correctly and without too much grandiosity (a two bit way of saying don’t remove too much at a time – not over 10-25 % of the total crown area). If a picture really does convey the ideas in a thousand words, then the drawings below should offer a short primer on proper pruning techniques (hopefully). Click on images to enlarge.

Dealing With Storm Damage

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

When a storm passes through, and damages our property, most people want to deal with the damage as soon as possible, so they can “get things back the way they were.” We don’t like to have our lives disrupted any longer than absolutely necessary. Certainly, we need to begin the cleanup as soon as possible with regard to those actions necessary to provide for safety to ourselves and others, and also to prevent further damage to our homes from additional environmental factors such as rain, snow, etc. Fortunately, it is not always necessary to immediately try to remedy damage done to our landscape trees; and in many cases, it is best to take a more cautious approach so we do not do irreparable, long term damage to the residual trees that survived the storm.

Cleanup and recovery of storm damaged trees can be bewildering. Some injured trees can be treated and repaired to maintain their health and value to your property. Others should be removed completely, if they cannot be successfully repaired. The process of dealing with storm damaged trees consists of three phases: making things safe, assessing the damage, and doing the recovery work.

Reducing hazards should be the first, and most immediate, action in order to make things safe. Many times damaged trees are entangled in downed electrical lines, and it is essential that this danger should be removed ASAP. However,  homeowners should not attempt this work. It should only be done by the electrical provider, or persons qualified by the provider to do the work. If there are no electrical hazards present, or they have been removed/repaired, the first step is to remove trees, limbs, etc, that have fallen on your home or are blocking access. Also look for hanging limbs, or other debris, that could drop on your home or family. They should be removed immediately – Remember, safety first!

Any other tree damage can wait until the immediate crisis has passed. Take your time to assess the damage, or have it assessed by an arborist, so you will have an idea of the magnitude and potential cost of any repair work that is indicated. Be patient. Develop a plan for dealing with each damaged tree. Taking your time will allow for a more deliberative process, and should help in making decisions about which trees should be removed; which is often one of the most heart wrenching decisions a homeowner must make. Again, professional advice can help you determine a course of action, if you are not familiar with the technical aspects involved.

Once a plan is developed to deal with the damage, it is probably best to hire a certified arborist to do the work. Check with your insurance carrier. Many homowners policies provide coverage of storm damage to trees, and could significantly reduce the out of pocket costs to you. If your policy has no such coverage, get bids for the work to assure competitive prices. Do not just let anyone who owns a chain saw work on your trees. It could result in fatal damage to your trees! Unless you are competent yourself and know what you’re doing, is is best to hire a qualified, professional, certified and insured arborist. It’s the best value in the long run, and the best medicine for your injured tree(s).