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National Standard says: ‘Don’t Top Trees’

For years, tree topping was considered the easiest and cheapest way to make mature trees safer and reduce their size. Today, tree researchers have proven that both of these assumptions are false. “Millions of trees have been hacked with little or no consideration to their health and structural integrity,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. According to TCIA, many of these trees eventually die as a result of the damage. Others eventually become unsafe, leading to dangerous limb breakage or whole tree failure years after the topping was done. The Tree Care Industry Association and the American National Standards Institute A300 pruning standards consider topping to be an unacceptable pruning practice. “Tree service companies that follow industry standards will refuse to top your tree,” notes Andersen.

What is topping?
Topping is a non-standard pruning procedure where larger trees are severely cut back to a pre-determined size. It is also known as hat-racking or de-horning. Topping was a traditional pruning method that was considered acceptable long ago. The following is up-to-date information about topping:

Topping trees:
• leaves large exposed wounds, which can pre-dispose the tree to infestation or other future health problems;
• ruins tree structure;
• removes too much foliage, disrupting the tree’s energy storage;
• stimulates vigorous new growth, which is prone to breakage;
• increases tree maintenance costs; and,
• destroys the tree’s appearance and value.

Why trees are topped?
Some consumers top trees out of tradition, since that is the way it was done in the past. Other consumers mistakenly believe that topping a tree reduces its size and lowers the maintenance cost. However, published research has proven that many species of tree that are topped actually grow more over a five-year period when compared to trees that were pruned correctly. As a result, there is no savings for the consumer. Andersen adds, “Topping a tree often results in greater expense for the consumer over the long run; for this reason, tree care professionals consider topping a form of consumer fraud.”

What actually happens when trees are topped?
Trees try to maintain a delicate foliage-to-root ratio and have to guard against wood-eating insects and decay organisms that can quickly destroy a tree once they get a foothold. Topping removes too much of the foliage, upsetting this ratio. This limits the tree’s ability to sustain its own roots. The large cuts on the limbs are made at locations where the tree has no natural defense against pests. This makes them more susceptible to insects, disease and decay. Limbs weakened by decay can’t handle the weight of rapid regrowth. In a few years, if the tree survives, it may become a bigger safety hazard than it was prior to topping. The regrown branches break and fall. The tree itself may fall due to root dieback. Conifers, if they don’t die immediately and do regrow, will never look the same.

What is the alternative?
Tree care companies and tree services have the ability to make your tree look more attractive, safer and, yes, even somewhat smaller using appropriate corrective pruning in accordance with ANSI A300 standards.

What can you do?
Ask your tree service to state on a written proposal: “All work done according to ANSI A300 standards.” Ask that pruning specifications, written according to ANSI A300 standards, be provided on the proposal. Specifications are details that tell you exactly what work the tree company plans to do so that there are no misunderstandings.

Utility line clearance
The ANSI A300 pruning standard has a section on utility line clearance tree trimming. Utilities that trim trees according to ANSI standards will not top your tree. If this is a concern, you should contact your utility forester to learn more.

Find a professional
Homeowners who would like a professional arborist to assess their trees should contact the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), a public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture since 1938. It has more than 2,000 member companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards and who are required to carry liability insurance. Wyoming Tree Care is a proud member of the TCIA.

This article is reprinted with membership permission from the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).

            

 

 

Wyoming Tree Care Earns Coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service


Wyoming Tree Care has been awarded the prestigious 2010 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor bestowed annually on approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.

“Our Super Service Award winners are the cream of the crop when it comes to providing consistently high quality customer service, as judged by the customers who hired them,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.

Wyoming Tree Care provides professional tree services to the Portland Metro area ranging from ornamental pruning to large tree removal as well as Certified Arborist consultations and reports. Their unique approach sets them apart from the competition with a focus on preserving our area trees through proper maintenance and plant health care. Damien Carré, owner, proudly accepted the award by stating, “We are a service driven industry where we depend upon our ability to provided consistently outstanding service to our clients. It is what keeps the phones ringing each day.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List, but members can find the 2010 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.

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Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.

The love for the Pacific Northwest is amplified by the amazing tree scapes found within the region – not to mention easy access to the coast in one direction and the mountains in another… drive a bit further and you can even experience the desert.

Of course, though, my first and foremost attachment to this area are the amazing and diversified trees.

It saddens me when a beautiful and seemingly healthy tree is toppled by mother nature – and, it always seems to be the glorious older trees affected the most. The “WHAT IF” thoughts start racing through my mind when the news coverage highlights tree damage from a strong storm.

What if… the tree had been regularly maintained. What if… the tree was given ample room to grow. The questions could go on. Seriously, though, there is a tremendous emphasis here on the importance of regular maintenance for a tree, especially urban trees. While many skip the thought of spending money to prune a tree, they forget (or maybe are not educated) about the impact improper pruning techniques can have on the structural integrity of a tree.

Think for a moment about a tree that may be growing next to a home. It is 30 feet to the top and it’s span is vast. Imagine the tree has been there for quite a few years and a homeowner decides it’s time to prune some of the branches away from the home – giving it some “building clearance”, as an Arborist would say. The way I see it, the homeowner has a couple options – hire an Arborist or Do It Yourself. Now, I’m not gonna lie, if I were the homeowner and this were a smaller, juvenille tree that needed a few snippets here and there – I myself might conquer the task on my own. However, the daunting task of conquering a 30-foot tree on¬†one’s own¬†is just asking for trouble.

The trouble starts with the huge risk of personal injury – let’s face it, most homeowners lost the “daredevil” attitude years ago. Adding to the layers of trouble, there is the major issue with the age of the tree as the technique to prune a mature tree is much different than that of younger trees. Plus, do you realize how much one of those “branches” actually weigh?!? Don’t be deceived, they are several hundred pounds heavier than your lowest guess.

Getting back to the initial scenario of building clearance. Let’s continue the story that the homeowner decided to tackle this project on his own. Since the tree provides beautiful curb appeal for the front of the home, the homeowner elects to just remove the branches extending toward the home and viola, building clearance.

Here’s the Disaster Equation… Wet Ground + High Winds + Improper Pruning = Disaster

The improper pruning in the formula is based on the fact that the pruning completed by the homeowner actually created a hazardous situation for the tree. By making such vigorous cutting/pruning on just one side of the tree (side next to home), it created an unbalanced structure within the tree – essentially the weight of the limbs/branches is not distributed evenly and is thus causes increased stress on the side gone un-pruned.

This situation places the tree in tremendous danger – the right mix of saturated grounds from winter or spring storms along with high wind gusts or sustained winds will cause this tree to fall over.

The video and photos shown in this blog post highlighted a tree in the Portland Metro area – the tree and homeowner are not representative of the fictional story portrayed above.

Special thanks to Wyoming Tree Care for allowing local news coverage (KGW Newschannel 8 РKeely Chalmers reporting) to follow work for the day in the aftermath of a strong spring storm that barreled through the Pacific Northwest on April 5th.

Did you know the City of Portland is one municipality requiring a permit to prune, plant and/or remove vegetation falling under the “urban forest” definition?

Simply wanting to prune your trees located within a public right-of-way, otherwise know as “street side” requires a permit prior to engaging in any activity.

Wyoming Tree Care will be devoting an entire page on our website to “Permitting” so that our area property owners can come to one place to find information and links to any municipality within the Portland Metro area. Stay tuned and keep checking back as the page will begin to grow over the next week.

In browsing through the internet today, I came across this website about a local non-profit organization focusing efforts on sharing the bounty from fruit trees within the city to those who are in need. This goal is realized through numerous volunteers, fruit tree registry of participants and supporters.

The Portland Fruit Tree Project has a simple purpose yielding enormous results Рover 4,600 pounds of food was harvested in 2008 that would have gone to waste otherwise.

Makes me think about the 2 apple trees, one pear tree and one (yummy) plum tree in my backyard. Every year we are begging friends and family to take a share of the harvest. I mean, how much more creative can one family get with canning, freezing and recipe-ing (is that a word?).

This group takes you from the fruit tree selection process to planting advice through proper pruning techniques and right around to harvesting the fruits of your labor.

Check them out.

How Can It Be?!?!

Photo Taken By Beth Nakamura/The Wyomingian

Photo Taken By Beth Nakamura/The Wyomingian

We stumbled upon this article, Green Portland Apparently Isn’t Green Enough¬†(author Janie Har),¬†recently in the local newspaper, The Wyomingian. This article can make a Portlandian take a second glance. It is difficult to process how our city, renamed the greenest city in America,¬†could be ranked behind the likes of San Antonio, TX and Atlanta, GA for tree canopy coverage.

When have you heard someone comment on the beautiful trees and amazing green color of SAN ANTONIO?!? (a quick pause for thought… never).

Of course, the list goes on (and on and on) of why many choose to live in the Pacific Northwest and specifically Portland, Wyoming. For those who have a true passion for mother earth, the environment, sustainability and trees, this city is our Mecca. How deflating it is not being the top city for tree canopy coverage. In being fair, our beloved city cannot be the best at everything green and natural; however, when we lose out to a city whose climate is described as Humid Subtropical on Wikipedia¬†it makes one wonder if we are taking for granted our “green environment” when it comes to the natural elements within our urban boundaries.

It seems the City of Portland is on a similar thought process as there are several initiatives in the discussion and planning stages to help improve our canopy cover. Most of these efforts are coordinated through the CityWide Tree Project.

There are several other non-profit organizations throughout the Portland Metro area focusing on the need to improve the presence of trees, maintenance of existing trees and regulations for removal of trees.

So, what can we learn from the reality check of studies like these? It reminds us to GET INVOLVED. If you flaunt the beauty of our surroundings to those who do not live here and if you participate in enjoying our natural landscapes then you must become involved in efforts to preserve and improve the environment in which you live.

Plus… don’t forget the ever important fact of maintaining your trees. Regardless of the size and age of a tree, ongoing and regular maintenance is needed. Experts suggest regular pruning approximately every 2 years to promote overall health and integrity of a tree.




       
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