Helping you care for the Trees
That love you
As more of our native forest lands are converted to other uses, such as crop lands, pastures, mini-malls and subdivisions, we have come to rely on our “urban forest” for the functions that our native forests once supplied. These functions include oxygen production, moderating temperatures in our cities, providing wildlife habitat and reducing stress.
Our urban forests, however, are subject to many stresses and conditions that our native forests never had to put up with. Poor soil conditions, pollution, construction damage and vandalism are just a few of the factors that challenge trees around human habitation.
By practicing proper tree care, arborists can help to reduce the effects of these stressors on our trees, thereby lengthening their lives, reducing the hazards, increasing their beauty and helping trees and people to live together.
In our effort to maintain the tree canopy in our urban and suburban ecosystem, Treecology offers pruning, cabling, removal and replacement, pre-construction consulting, tree selection and planting, and hazard tree assessment.
Removal & Replacement
Removal & Replacement
There are times when a tree needs to be removed. It may not be the right tree for the location, it may be diseased or dead, future development plans may not allow an adequate root zone for the tree. In these cases and others, removal of the tree is called for. Often, the tree must be pieced apart to avoid damage to other plants or immovable structures. Treecology has the specific skills and training and specialized equipment needed to get a tree on the ground and cleaned up safely and efficiently.
Replacement of these trees is recommended to maintain the urban forest canopy. Treecology offers help in choosing, preparing and planting your replacement tree at a reduced rate, because we feel strongly that maintaining the urban canopy is that important.
Tree Selection & Planting
Tree Selection & Planting
A Douglas fir is probably not the best tree to plant under those powerlines, even though they look awfully cute in that landscape plan. Trees, like people, can be problems if they aren’t living in the right environment. Like people, once they get their roots down, it can be a pain to get them to move. And if you have a tree suffering from verticillium wilt, don’t plant a maple in it’s place. Choosing the right tree for the location is a step that is often overlooked in the design of a landscape. Treecology’s arborists can find the perfect match of tree to site.
Once that is done Treecology can help make sure that your new pride and joy is given the home it deserves. A wise man once said “It’s better to put a $5 tree in a $10 hole than a $10 tree in a $5 hole.” That was a long time ago, but the idea remains the same. We will take the time to adequately prepare the ground that the roots of your tree will grow into. This might include decompaction of soil, installation of subsurface drainage or just a nice thick layer of mulch when the job is done.
As we are always looking for ways to “branch out” in to other tree related areas of endevour, please let us know if you have any needs. We are currently expanding our knowledge into tree structures and tree climbing instruction.
Before we give you the keys to the car by telling you what to prune, a little education is in order on how to make a proper pruning cut. As every pruning cut is a wound to the tree, care must be taken to minimize damage caused by pruning cuts and to minimize their number and size. The proper pruning cuts, made in the right places and at the right time of year can keep your tree beautiful and safe.
How To Prune
The key to NTP is finding the branch collar which is the natural target for the cut. The pruning cut should always be just outside of this collar, but not far enough to leave a stub of branch. The branch collar is evident on many species of tree, some more than others. It is the base of the branch where the natural branch taper begins to flare out as it connects to the limb or trunk. Again, the branch collar should never be injured, cut into or compromized in any way. Some trees make it a little harder on us to find the target cut, but for them there is another rule of thumb generalization developed by Dr. Alex Shigo. Find the branch bark ridge, it is the area of raised bark extending down from the crotch. Find the line perpendicular to the branch to be pruned. Make your cut half way between the two. Using these rules of thumb guideline, the average person can make a pretty good pruning cut.
If the branch to be pruned is larger than you can control easily it necessary to make a 3-part cut to ensure that the bark does not tear down the limb or trunk, resulting in an embarrassing scar and a larger wound. The 3-part cut is done by making an undercut about a foot from the branch collar. End this cut just as the branch is beginning to grab the saw. Directly above the undercut or slightly further our the limb, make the second cut, holding onto the branch so that it can be controlled as it falls. Finish with an NTP cut at the branch collar.
Types of Pruning
The type of pruning that an arborist does is based on the goals of the tree owner. Do you want a little more light in the back yard under that Norway maple? You are probably asking for canopy thinning or canopy raising. Want to give those rhododendrons a little more space under the pines? Canopy raising is accomplished by taking low hanging branches. This is also what is done when roof clearance is needed.
If you are looking into a tree and say, “What a mess!” you’re looking for a structural prune. By this the arborist means pruning to make the canopy of the tree more structurally balanced, stable and less likely to cause problems for the health of the tree in the future. Broken, crossing and rubbing branches are removed, along with co-dominant leaders, branches with narrow angles of attachment. Typically, large pieces of deadwood, both attached and hanging, are removed from the tree in this procedure as well.
If you have a pin oak and have noticed all of the little dead branches in the interior, you are looking for removal of deadwood. There is generally a size range given for deadwood removal, for example “Remove deadwood 2 in. +” means that deadwood greater than wrist size will be removed from the tree. If you are able, fine pruning of the majority of the deadwood in a tree (1/4 in. +) can provide multiple benefits. Not only can it tremendously improve the appearance of many species of trees, it can also give a baseline in a tree suspected of having of having health problems for monitoring the rate of dieback.
Establishment pruning is an easy and cost effective way for an owner of a young tree to minimize the future cost of maintenance for that tree. Proper scaffold branch spacing, removal of co-dominant leaders, and removal of crossing branches are all things that can be taken care of for pennies on the dollar when a tree is small. In addition, smaller pruning cuts mean smaller wounds that a vigorous young tree can quickly heal over and recover from.
Canopy reduction pruning has the least effect on the health of the tree when it is relatively young (not past “middle age”), when the pruning cuts can be small and the tree can heal them efficiently. In a mature tree, even “drop crotch” pruning (the industry standard method for reducing the height of a tree) can leave large wounds that the tree may never heal over. Canopy reduction pruning should be practiced on trees that are just getting to the height at which the tree owner would like the tree to be maintained and when the cuts can be kept small.
What To Prune
Pruning is an art form as much as a science. There are some basics that can guide one on their way. Most of the pruning that the homeowner will be doing will be establishment pruning or maintenance of small ornamental trees. In these cases it’s relatively simple. Remove dead, damaged or diseased branches; remove crossing or rubbing branches; remove inward growing branches; and thin out branches that are right on top of each other or redundant branches.
Different shapes or effects can be achieved on small ornamental trees such as Japanese maples and flowering dogwoods through more thoughtful pruning. Take your time with the tree. See how it wants to grow in its space, how the sunlight is effecting it, how it interacts with the rest of the landscape. This is the art of pruning and it requires patience, knowledge of your medium, and observation. If you still feel overwhelmed, or uncertain, call a professional arborist and watch.
Tree Health Problems
With the rise of global commerce and transportation, we have seen a tremendous rise in the number of foreign diseases and insects for which our native and widely used ornamental trees have limited defenses. In addition, these trees have to fend off the problems that they have been dealing with in an increasingly more difficult environment. Pollution, poor soil conditions, improper care are some of the conditions or abiotic (not living) stressors that decrease a tree’s vigor and make it susceptible to the other bugs and diseases in the environment.
Outward symptoms of tree distress can be categorized into three types: insects, diseases and abiotic. By observing patterns of symptoms on the tree, one can determine what type of problem the tree is having and how bad it is for the general health of the tree. It is also important to keep an eye out for foreign invaders that are not yet in our area. Tree pathology is very much like detective work in that one must be very observant and put together clues from many areas to make a determination of the problem.
|Chewed leaves or other parts
|Catepillars, leaf miners, beetles or sawflies
|Bleached, yellowed or stippled leaves
|Leaf hoppers, aphids, psyllids, thrips or mites
|Distortion of plant parts (twisting, cupping, swelling, etc.)
|Thrips, aphids, blister mites, gallmakers, psyllids
|Disback of twigs or branches
|Frass (bug poop), sooty mold, wooly appearance, etc.
|Aphids, soft scales, whiteflies, adelgids, thrips, lacebugs,
Diseases need to have more going for them than insects to successfully attack and damage a tree. Unfortunately, once established, they can turn a once healthy tree into a dead tree. And in some cases, rather quickly. Tree diseases can be spread from tree to tree by contact through root grafts or infected soil, transmission from insects, transmission from the air and in many other ways. They can be treated by cultural or “medical” methods.
Diseases need a susceptible host, the right conditions and the right timing . If one of these conditions is absent, the disease will be able to infect the host. Often this is the best way to keep trees free of disease. Disease resistant species or cultivars will be able to more easily fight off a particular ailment. If it’s relatively warm and moist, like spring time in western Oregon, scale will spread through apples and pears –if it’s present.
Often keeping a tree vigorous is the best way to help it fight off a disease. Adding compost to the root zone or fertilizing with a balanced, organic fertilizer (fish emulsion, compost tea, etc.) will give the tree the extra vigor that it needs to deal with the disease, while not juicing it up with excess nitrogen, which may cause it to put on a flush of new tender growth, ready to be attacked by something else. Mature trees rarely need large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer.
With a little planning and foresight, the tree you plant today can be the specimen of tomorrow. Proper tree selection can make the difference between an outstanding tree that will increase the value of your property, reduce your heating costs or provide visual appeal and one that will be a nuisance, shade the house too much, “drop stuff,” or need constant maintenance and care.
Performing a site evaluation will enlighten you to what your tree’s home will be, long after you are not around. Evaluations include soil conditions, hardiness zone, light availability, ground cover, air pollution, etc. These factors must be combined with your goals for the tree. Do you want shade, flower, a physical barrier? Do you want a tree that will be fast growing? Do you mind raking leaves? Quality arborists, nurseries and landscapers will be able to walk you through this process if it becomes to involved for you.
Seeds, needles, fruit, leaves, branches. Trees have all of these things and more. Unless you are ready to deal with the sound of rolling thunder as nuts drop in the wind and a hard yet squishy mess in your yard, the majestic and stately black walnut may not be for you. While the deodara cedar is a hearty and impressive conifer, don’t try to maintain a lawn under its baughs. And by all means, don’t plant poplars near the house. They like to drop branches.