Trees are the keystones of our landscapes. We have a three point ideology when it comes to Tree Care and preserving the micro-ecologies they live in and create for other living organisms.
PLANT. PROTECT. MAINTAIN.
Our Tree Care Services:
The primary arboricultural service is pruning. Pruning is removing parts that are not good for the tree, favoring parts that are good for the tree, and its future growth. Pruning older trees often involves shortening outer branches to trigger a response of more growth on the interior of the tree. This shortens the path that the tree has to transmit water and nutrients, thereby making it more sustainable.
We have studied practices pruning and other treatments used on trees around the world from the United Kingdom to the Orient. Using what we have learned and experienced firsthand, we restore trees, *Restoring Trees One Branch at a Time.*
2. Soil Management
That’s extremely important to make sure the roots have the best possible environment for their growth and function. Ways of improving the soil typically involve breaking it up so there’s more air available to the roots. Air is the first thing that’s lacking in most trees that are struggling. When the soil is compacted, we use supersonic mist to “fluff up” the soil, and add amendments. We inject composted organic material in many cases. We take soil tests to see if any nutrients are lacking and then mix in the required nutrients according to the test. Drainage is also a huge consideration and can be a stressor on older trees. If water movement through the root zone is different than it was before then it helps if some of the roots are adaptive for high moisture might have low moisture and so on. With older oak trees can be killed in summer by having water over their root systems. We try to keep drainage consistent and keep that rooting environment optimal. Soil management is definitely important. If there is any soil on the stem then it should be removed and the primary roots should be visible.
3. Supplemental Support Systems
Pruning is the first preference for improving the structure of trees. However, pruning branches removes benefits. When we’re cutting off branches we’re cutting off reasons why we want the tree there in the first place. Cabling a branch that’s over-extended or that has a crack of decay at the attachment can be preferable to removing too much of that branch. On older trees in particular have a low tolerance for loss of living material. They don’t like shocks of any kind to their system.
There are more than four different supplemental support systems:
ANSI A300 Tree Care Standard Part 2 deals primarily with cabling, which is connecting two parts of the tree with a metal or synthetic cable. This is a how-not-to article. Learning from the mistakes of others, we specify how-to.
There is also bracing, which is installing a rod through a tree to prevent failure. If there is a large cracked portion that shouldn’t be removed, it can be stabilized through bracing.
Support systems also include propping, installing support underneath the part of the tree that needs it.
Installing a cable securing the tree to the ground, or another structure, is guying.
is also a thing that we also do to train branches to grow in the preferred directions. This involves taking a branch that’s growing one way and wrapping it with soft material to train it to grow another way. If the top of a tree breaks, a side branch is trained to be vertical, so that it can assume its place as the new top of the tree.
4. Lighting protection
If an historic tree is one of the tallest things around in a lightning-prone region, a copper conductor can be installed in the tree to route a lightning strike down into the earth, protecting the tree. Trees can be fatally damaged in less than a second if they’re not protected!
The second part having to do with lightning is managing lighting damage, which can be covered by insurance. Read more about managing lightning damage is this Detective Dendro article. Many historic trees have signs of lighting strike. Treatments can lessen pest issues, speed sealing, and maintain health.
5. Protection around Construction
Trees can coexist with buildings, pavement, and utilities–IF an arborist is part of the process, from planning to maintenance. Keeping the trees’ needs in mind–the root system especially–is essential for a successful project.
Historic trees are propagated and planted to keep that DNA alive. Proper planting of new trees–flare to grade, roots radiating–gives them a chance to make history some day!
7. Integrated Vegetation Management
What’s growing around, or on, your tree? Associated plants can be symbiotic, like orchids, or parasitic, like mistletoe. We train other plants to help, not hurt, your tree.
8. Root Management
Our first point of inspection is the flare, where the roots start. What if the roots are strangling the trunk? See this book on treating stem-girdling roots (Root Pruning TCI)
9. Risk Assessment
Older trees with historic value usually carry with them a level of liability, or potential risk When trees grow larger, get older, and start to decay, the trees’ risk grows as well. Basic tree risk assessment (ISA CEU Basic Tree Risk Assessment) involves inspecting the tree, and the site around it. We look for anything that would be at risk if the tree fails, and ways to mitigate (Give Trees Mitigation, or Give Trees Death)–that risk to an acceptable level.
10. Integrated Pest Management – Diagnosis
The standard ends where tree work usually starts. Diagnosis (Detective Dendro – the Case of the Ill Illinoinensis) begins by identifying the pest, and the extent of the damage. We then offer a prognosis for the future spread of the pest problem, and specify treatments. As with risk, pests cannot be eliminated, but they can be reduced to a level we all can live with.
Why should a tree be assessed, and conditions diagnosed?
If you have a large tree of value it certainly makes sense to take an inventory of its conditions. That way you have a idea of the asset that is owned in the tree, and any potential liabilities as well. Houses are inspected every time they change hands. Roads and bridges are inspected periodically. It’s the same with owning or managing any valuable property or infrastructure.