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Fun Fact Friday

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09/11/2018

Have you ever wondered how much that tree in your yard or on your street contributes in air pollution removal, energy savings, storm water intercepted, carbon sequestered, or avoided emissions? Go to https://mytree.itreetools.org and find out!

When a Storm Strikes

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31/08/2018

Never is danger greater to a tree than during the inevitable trial by storm. The weight of ice or snow and the fury of wind test the strength of limbs, trunks, and roots. The homeowner, helpless at the moment, can only watch and hope that the tree survives. Survival or loss – the key can be the care you give your tree before and after a storm. Knowing ahead of time what to do when a storm strikes can prevent or minimize your financial loss.

-Take safety precautions. Be on the alert for downed power lines and “widow makers,” dangerous hanging branches ready to fall. And, unless you really know how to use one, leave chain saw work to the professionals.

-Remove broken branches that are still attached to the tree. Branches should be pruned at the point where they join larger ones.

-Don’t top your trees. Never cut the main branches back to stubs. Ugly, weakly attached limbs will often grow back higher than the original branches and be more likely to break off in a future storm.

Nine Tree Care Tips & Techniques*

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14/08/2018

Nine comprehensive tree care tips will take you step by step, from selecting and planting the right tree to the care and upkeep of a mature tree.

It is important to remember that proper tree care starts when you select a tree and that what you do to your tree in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its life span. Following these steps will make sure your tree gets on the correct foot and remains healthy throughout its life.

  1. Finding a Tree
  2. Selecting a Healthy Tree
  3. Tree Planting
  4. The Importance of Mulch
  5. Tree Watering
  6. When to Prune
  7. Keys to Good Tree Pruning
  8. Annual Tree Pruning Steps from Planting to Maturity
  9. How to Identify Pest and Disease Problems

*info provided from Arbor Day Foundation

The Jacaranda Tree

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01/06/2018

In Queensland, Australia, there is an expression 'purple panic,' which is used to describe the stress students are under between the end of spring and beginning of summer.

If you’ve ever visited Los Angeles, California in May or June, you may have seen the iconic Jacaranda tree in full bloom. The Jacaranda features vibrant, purple flowers that help to brighten up a gloomy weather season that locals refer to as “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” Turns out, the Jacaranda’s presence in southern California can be attributed to Kate Sessions (see her bio link below), a pioneering female horticulturalist who leased and tended to 32 acres of land in San Diego in 1892 that was later re-named Balboa Park (visit link below). In this park, she planted many different plants and trees, including the Jacaranda. In the 1920s and ‘30s, the Jacaranda was planted extensively in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, becoming one of the most recognizable trees in the region.

Link to Balboa Park – https://www.balboapark.org/

Link to Kate Sessions’ wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Sessions

6 Steps to Spring Tree Care

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27/04/2018

By onthehouse on February 11, 2018

You may be looking out of your window at your yard and wondering, “where am I even going to start”. Bayeradvanced.com released an article that says, “trees are low-maintenance, not no-maintenance” and they are the right place to start. When it comes to spring care, tree maintenance should be high on your priority list. Here are six easy steps to taking care of your trees once spring arrives.

-Start by cleaning up. Take down any holiday decorations that may still be up and rake up around the base of the tree.

-Follow that up with some mulch. A layer of mulch will not only help maintain moisture, but it will also assist in keeping those unwanted weeds out.

-Next, give your trees a good watering– especially in those areas where the de-icing product was used. This may also be a good time to check your sprinkler systems for leaks or clogs.

-Then, give your trees a trim. Now that the leaves are beginning to unfurl it will be easy to locate and remove any dead, or damaged tree branches.

-After you give your trees their spring haircut, take some time to inspect their trunks. If there are any signs of disease or excessive damage, call Hometown Tree Experts at 301-250-1033 if you are in the Howard/Montgomery Counties of Maryland or nearby area.

-Finally, find out if there are any new or existing pests that may threaten your trees. If so, make sure you’re taking the proper steps to keep your trees safe.

Trees with Grassy Areas Soften Summer Heat

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24/04/2018

Study on the cooling effect of black locust and linden trees in from Technical Univ. of Munich

Trees cool the environment; however, the degree of cooling depends greatly on the tree species and the local conditions. In a recent study, scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) compared two species of urban trees – the black locust and linden.

It is cooler under black locusts, especially on hot summer days. This has significant implications for landscape architecture and urban planning: “Tree species such as the black locust that consume little water can provide a higher cooling effect if they are planted on grass lawns,” Dr. Mohammad Rahman from TUM explained. “The surrounding soil remains moister thanks to the trees; the grass dissipates additional heat through the evaporation of water and thus reduces the temperature near the ground.”

A look under the treetops

Trees are considered to be nature’s air conditioners, making them the most practical way of alleviating the heat. With the little-leaved linden and the black locust the TUM research team selected these two popular but contrasting urban tree species to analyze the complex interplay of location factors, current weather conditions, and tree type. In light of climate change, the focus was on the cooling effect on very hot days.

The analysis by the research team becomes clearer by comparison: The output of a mechanical air conditioner is between one and ten kilowatts (kW) that of a linden tree up to 2.3 kW. This cooling capacity is fed by various processes such as their dense treetops that provide shade. Or the fact that the leaf surfaces reflect the short-wave rays of the sun and also use them for transpiration.

These cooling mechanisms are common in all plants including grass. However, with bigger and denser canopies along with higher water loss from the stomata of their leaves, linden trees use a large percentage of the intercepted radiation to vaporize them, hence cooling the surrounding micro-climate better.

However, there are several differences to the luxuriantly blooming black locust: Its crown is less dense, the leaf surface is smaller, and hence the transpiration is lower. That makes the linden tree more effective when it comes to cooling on mild summer days. However, the black locust needs less water than the linden tree, which takes more water out of the soil during the high heat. Therefore in case of grass lawns additional cooling function from the grass surfaces under black locust trees seem more effective. With the climate change and accelerating drought either we have to water the grass lawns for having higher cooling effect under the tree species such as linden or less water demanding species need to be found. On the other hand, for paved surfaces better cooling from the dense shade of linden trees are more effective.

Diseases of Pine Trees

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23/03/2018

Article by John Fech from March 14, 2018 Tree Service Magazine

Pines grow in most every state of the U.S., and are planted for many reasons. They offer year-round color, protect homes from wind and snow, subtle fragrance, harborage for wildlife and a great backdrop to help show off ornamentals planted in front of them. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to several maladies.

It’s important to keep pines viable by providing good tree care especially in two areas, separating trees from turf and proper planting procedures. These basic, but foundational factors are all-important and should always be a reference point when diagnosing tree maladies such as ones on pines.

Separation & Planting

Why are separation and planting so important? There are many reasons, but perhaps the most influential is that these are implementations that get a tree off to the best start possible if done correctly and mistakes that can’t be corrected if not.

Separation – This means designing or re-designing the landscape so that the trees are here and the turf is over there. Think about it. Trees are woody, while turf is herbaceous. Turf usually receives moderate to high volumes of water and fertilizer, and requires mowing. When trees are growing in a co-located landscape setting, they are usually over fertilized and over watered, and constantly run into with lawn mowing equipment; not a healthy environment.

Planting – Good planting practices include: digging a wide but shallow hole, pulling tangled roots apart, placing the root mass such that the uppermost lateral root is even with or slightly above grade, using existing/native soil instead of amended soil to backfill around roots, watering thoroughly to settle the roots, placing wood chip or pine needle mulch over the roots but not the bole and checking the soil moisture weekly to make sure that it’s moist but not soggy or dry. These are all important parts of the process. Way, way too many times trees are planted too deeply, in heavily amended soils, watered once and forgotten, covered with rock mulch and planter boxes built over the roots and more — these practices prevent tree success.

Diseases

Diseases are not just biological — it’s both — pathogenic and abiotic causes that challenge the overall health of pines. Regular scouting, often referred to as monitoring will help identify possible concerns that are site related (mower blight, leaving stakes on too long, deep planting, over mulching, etc.) and ones that are caused by fungi, nematodes and bacteria. Inspection packages go a long way toward avoiding tree troubles.

Paper Birch & Douglasfir: An Odd Relationship

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23/02/2018

Blog on Arbor Day Foundation website – written by James R. Fazio – February 15, 2018

Trees in a forest are usually thought of as fierce competitors, each struggling for control of available light and soil moisture, usually at the expense of neighboring trees. But Canadian researcher Suzanne W. Simard and her colleagues found that Paper Birch trees can actually aid their neighboring Douglasfirs.

Through carefully controlled research, Dr. Simard has documented the transfer of carbon (sugar) from the Paper Birch to nearby Douglasfirs. The transfer takes place through tiny underground strands of beneficial fungi called ectomycorrhizae. These appendages are common on most tree roots. They illustrate a classic symbiotic relationship in that both the host and the fungus benefit from the close association. The fungus obtains a small amount of carbohydrates and vitamins from the tree and in turn greatly increases the absorptive surface of the root. This increases the flow of water and essential elements into the tree roots, especially phosphorous.

Dr. Simard discovered that the mycorrhizae on Birch and Douglasfirs in her research plots interconnected. Sugars flowed between the tree roots, with a net gain for the Douglasfirs. She also found that the more the Douglasfirs were stressed by shade, the more of a sugar fix they received from the Paper Birches.

 

There may be management applications of this phenomenon. By interplanting the two species, or encouraging natural regeneration of both, the birches may help the longer-lived conifers get a growth boost early in life and at the same time help crowd out competing vegetation in a plantation. Eventually the birch could be harvested when overtopped by the Douglasfirs. As an added bonus, scientists have noticed that birches also have an “antibiotic” effect on soil pathogens that cause root rot.

Sycamore Trees And Frost Crack From Winter Temps

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16/02/2018

Blog edited from Tree Services Magazine article by VIC FOERSTER — FEBRUARY 7, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, local temperatures were quite frigid. During a similar stretch of severe weather up in west Michigan, most of their sycamore trees across town literally exploded. As a species, sycamores retain a great deal of water. The water within the wood can freeze to the point where the expansion in the wood cells causes tree trunks to burst.

Fissures, splits and cracks ran up and down hundreds of city trees. Many of them split open so far you could see completely through 30-inch diameter trees.

Several residents were wondering if their tree would survive or if they were in danger of falling. Having never seen anything like it before, a local arborist at first was unsure how to assess, but they proceeded to examine each and determined that some of the trees should be removed. Others were recommended to have trunks bolted, which, in essence, meant screwing them back together again.

Most of the trees, however needed no help, and when the temperatures warmed to a balmy positive 15 degrees, the fissures unexpectedly snapped shut. The trunks slammed back together so violently it sounded like gunfire. The police actually received so many calls about the so-called gun battles that a public notice was needed to reassure citizens.

Now years later, one can still see the vertical seams in the bark of those sycamores. During colder winters, the seams separate slightly, just not as far as that first time. If you hadn’t been there you’d never know those trees suffered such trauma.

Your sycamore could have more than a mere frost crack if you find that it is approximately 10” deep. Hometown provides FREE consultation and then offers FREE quote to review soon thereafter so call us at 301-250-1033 Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm.

7-Steps To Follow When Inspecting For Tree Decay

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-Following steps were taken from an article by John Fech in the November 2012 issue of Tree Services Magazine

By itself, tree decay can be a major concern, especially if found in a soft-wooded tree species such as your silver maple or poplar. Fortunately, some species are quite resistant and if other stressors aren’t present in a significant capacity, it may not be as worrisome as other problems such as poor location, planting errors, over fertilization or drought. A step-by-step approach works best when inspecting trees for decay:

  1. Use your eyes. Look for rot pockets, oozing, weeping, conks and different colors on the bark and branches.
  2. Walk the property extensively and identify possible targets.
  3. Use your experience. Certain tree species in certain locations are likely to develop decay. Locate tree parts that could fall on a target.
  4. Look closer using probing tools: golf club, rebar or irrigation flag. Use a rubber mallet or the butt of a hatchet to tap the tree trunk where you suspect decay is present.
  5. If necessary, use invasive tools such as a resistograph or core sampler. Reserve these for important tree specimens. Consider the use of a sonic tomograph, a device that can illustrate the inside of the tree without cutting into it.
  6. Consider the potential for each tree defect to cause failure in conjunction with the proximity of an important target.
  7. Put it all together in the form of a relative hazard assessment, combining the presence and extent of the decay with other defects.