Posts Tagged ‘E-mail: to comment’

Got Storm Damage?

Friday, May 31st, 2013

It’s been a stormy few weeks throughout the midwest, and Missouri has not been immune to the damages caused by the various types of vectors (wind, rain, flooding, hail, etc.). Never is the danger to a tree greater than during the inevitable trial by storm. Homeowners can do very little while the storm is raging, except to watch and hope that their tree(s) survive(s) nature’s onslaught. Survival, or loss, depends on how well your tree is managed both before the storm strikes, and in the aftermath (very critical). Knowing ahead of time what to do when a storm occurs can minimize, or even prevent, your intrinsic and/or financial loss. Following are some reminders of what to do (and what not to do) when a storm strikes.

1. Assess the damage – A storm can leave trees looking as if there is no tomorrow. But trees are amazingly resilient, and may be able to recover from what appears to be certain death. Before writing off a damaged tree as a “goner,” determine whether or not it can/should be saved. Is it basically healthy (other than the storm damage)? Are major limbs broken? Has the leader (main stem) been lost? Are at least 50% of the branches and leaves still intact? How large are the wounds? Can the remaining branches form a new branch structure? Is the tree a desirable one for its location? Positive answers to these questions will help you determine whether or not the tree can be saved.

2. Make decisions about the tree – Frequently, damaged trees look worst than they really are. If the tree is a “keeper,” make notes concerning remedial needs, but don’t jump into action right away……..

3. Wait and see – Time is on your side. After proper pruning to remove completely broken limbs or branches (for safety’s sake), give the tree some time to recover. A final decision to remove can always be made later.

4. Provide first aid right after the storm, mainly for safety purposes (as noted above) – But there are some other things to do that help with recovery: (a) You don’t have to do it all yourself. Hire some professional help if necessary, and especially get the professionals to clear any limbs or branches interfering with utility lines. Never mess with these yourself. (b) Repair torn bark patches so callus can start forming correctly. (c) Remove any broken branches still attached to the tree. (d) DON’T TOP YOUR TREES! Topping just sets them up to be the first victims of the next storm.

5. Cultivate trees that are the right species for the right place in your landscape, and keep them as healthy as possible, to prevent and/or minimize damage in future storms. There will be more…………count on it.

6. Lastly, watch out for who you hire to work on your trees. There will always be scam artists out to make a quick buck during an emergency situation. Avoid them.

Pruning Young Shade Trees

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Pruning limbs or branches from shade trees can be done almost anytime, as long as it is done properly. In general, however, the sooner you can start pruning a young tree, the better chance you (and the tree) have in attaining the proper shape and growth habit that you desire. The following illustration depicts basic guidance for pruning young shade trees.

Also, don’t forget how to make a proper pruning cut. The next illustration depicts that proper method.

Selecting A Good Tree To Plant

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

No matter what species of tree you decide to plant in your landscape, it is important to select the highest quality specimen you can find at the nursery or garden center. It doesn’t do much good to plant a poorly-developed, or injured tree that has been mistreated at the nursery or during handling at a garden center. Pictured below is an illustration that provides guidance for selecting a good individual specimen.

Now, let’s go out and plant something………………………………..but make it a high quality specimen!

Pruning Season Is Here!

Friday, March 8th, 2013

From now through the end of April is the best time of year to prune trees. So, if you have a landscape tree or two (or three, or four, or………..) get out the pruning tools and attack those problem limbs and branches in order to make room for the spring growth flush to reinvigorate the tree and improve the form and strength of your tree(s). Shown below are a few reminders of pruning techniques and methods that should help with the process. Let’s “get ‘er done now” before we get too far into planting season; which is just around the corner. It’s time to start growing!

Pruning young trees properly is the single best thing you can do to assure future health, vigor and strength. Doing these things helps the older tree endure and better prevail through whatever future environmental conditions it might encounter.



Drought Ending?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Close to normal precipitation since the first of the year, has given some hope that the drought conditions experienced across Missouri in 2012 may be lessening. Maybe. At least there are indications that the upper layers of soil might be in better condition for spring planting and growth of newly-planted trees. In fact, two recent snowstorms may add to the optimism for improved upper soil moisture as the very wet snow of both storms melts aand percolates into the ground. Hopefully, the pattern of extended drought is broken, but only normal, and, better yet, some above normal rainfall will help to alleviate the severe deficits in most subsoil horizons across the state. It is the subsoil moisture that helps sustain trees during the height of summer, if there are short dry periods during June through September; which is a normal situation in Missouri.

Thus, I encourage you to keep attuned to the subsoil situation as this season progresses. All indications show a continuing dryness in most soils down about the 24-36″ levels. So, even if normal preceipitation occurs, it will take a while for the available moisture levels to be replenished. This means that your landscape trees may need more deep watering than normal; especially newly planted specimens, and even older (2-10 year old) individuals.

Let’s hope that we get some above normal rain “soakers” that help to bail us out of the droughty pattern without washing us into the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t want to visit Cuba that way myself.

Modern Tunneling To Protect Above-Ground Features

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

We’ve probably all seen tunneling projects in our communities featuring crews using a funny-looking machine. Phone companies laying new fiber optic cables have been the most active in using the funny looking machines lately, but this modern equipment and the techniques developed for using it have greatly reduced the damage to above ground features; and particularly to urban landscape trees. Depicted below is another wonderful drawing from the National Arbor Day Foundation that illustrates very well how this modern tunneling system works. It does it much better than I can describe, and I certainly couldn’t draw it any better.

Tunnel To Protect Roots

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

When pipes or cables must be placed – or replaced – within the root zone of a tree, there is no better way to do it than by tunneling. The beauty of tunneling is that modernized and effective equipment and techniques have made this practice much more available and affordable than has previously been the case. In addition, when done properly, it assures that vegetation, fences, and other landscape features remain completely undisturbed. Utility companies also benefit by saving time, reducing restoration expenses, and eliminating customer complaints. Tunneling was once more expensive than open trenching, but not now. In fact, tunneling has been shown to be 15-50 percent less in cost in many cases, and no more costly than trenching in almost all cases where trees and underground work must mix.

Thanks, once again, to the National Arbor Day Foundation, for the next series of illustrations on tunneling to protect root systems of trees.

Preventing Root Damage From Trenching

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Trenching and trees don’t mix. Nothing says it better than this illustration from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Understanding Roots II

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

The second part of understanding tree roots are depicted in the following illustrations from the National Arbor Day Foundation. The first shows that a tree’s root system is actually pretty complex; ranging from the larger support roots to the tiny , almost invisible absorbing roots. All are important to the health of the tree, and they must be present in the correct proportions if they are to work together for the benefit of the tree. Damage to any part of the root system can throw the whole complex out of whack, at least for a while (until new roots are generated), and thus impair the health and vigor of the tree. A healthy root system means a healthy tree.

The second illustration shows how severe roots can be damaged, depending on where they are severed in relation to the trunk. The further away from the trunk (generally) the less the root system will be affected.

In future entries, I’ll cover general ideas for preventing damage to roots when work must be done around trees.

Fall Pruning?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

In general, I don’t recommend pruning in the fall, except to remove one or two errant or broken branches, or to remove dead wood. This type of pruning can be done anytime, but remember that individual species can vary quite a bit in what they can tolerate. Because decay fungi spread their spores profusely in the fall, and healing of wounds seems to be slower on fall cuts, this is a good time to leave your pruning tools in storage.

Late winter is the best time for major structural pruning. When spring breaks, the tree is ready to vigorously burst with new healing and growth, so the results sought through the pruning effort are more quickly attained.

Pruning in the summer can also be a better time than fall, especially if you need to correct errant growth, or slow the growth of a part of the tree that you don’t want.

Some general guidelines on when to prune are presented below. Click to enlarge.