RSS



Why limbs fall in your yard

Travel around a neighborhood after a storm and you will see tree limbs, large and small, scattered about the ground. Why do some limbs fall in high winds or after ice storms while others merely bend? Should you worry about that large limb overhanging your driveway?

“One reason trees fail is weak branch unions,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA (board certified master arborist) and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. “Homeowners can educate themselves about tree limbs, but they should call a professional arborist if they are worried about an overhanging branch.”

Trees may suffer from naturally formed imperfections that can lead to branch failure at the union of the branch and main stem. There are two types imperfections that create weak unions: a branch union with included bark and an epicormic branch.

Weak unions
Branch unions can be characterized as strong or weak. Strong branch unions have upturned branch bark ridges at branch junctions. Annual rings of wood from the branch grow together with annual rings of wood from the stem, creating a sound, strong union all the way into the center of the tree.
A weak branch union occurs when a branch and stem (or two or more co-dominant stems) grow so closely together that bark grows between them, inside the tree. The term for bark growing inside the tree is “included bark.” As more and more bark is included inside the tree, the weak union is formed that is more likely to fail.

In storm damage surveys conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Forest Resources Department, 21 percent of all landscape trees that failed in windstorms failed at weak branch unions of co-dominant stems. Some species are notorious for having included bark: European mountain ash, green ash, hackberry, boxelder, willow, red maple, silver maple, Amur maple, cherry and littleleaf linden.

Epicormic branches
Epicormic branches (also called water sprouts) are formed as a response to poor pruning practices, injury or environmental stress. Epicormic branches are new branches that replaced injured, pruned or declining branches. Commonly, epicormic branches form on the stems and branches of topped trees. When old, large epicormic branches are growing on decaying stems or branches, the epicormics are very likely to fail.

Epicormic branches, by their very nature, form weak unions because they are shallowly attached instead of being attached all the way to the center of the stem. Epicormic branches grow very quickly so they become heavy very quickly. After a time they lose their connection to the main branch and may fall to the ground because the underlying wood cannot support their weight.

“If a weak union is also cracked, cankered or decayed, the union is likely to fail, causing the branch to fall off the tree,” says Andersen. “Sometimes, ridges of bark and wood will form on one or both sides of a weakened branch union in order to stabilize the union. The branch is very likely to fail when a crack forms between the ridges.”

 

Information reprinted with permission from TCIA. Wyoming Tree Care is a proud member of TCIA.

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).

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.

Take a look at this cutting edge event in its third year for the Portland area, the Energy Trust Better Living Show. Though it seems to take on the same elements as a traditional “home show”, they are calling it a festival of sustainability that showcases earth friendly products for the home, garden and individual.

Here is a description provided from their website:

“The third annual Energy Trust Better Living Show is upon us. Free to the public, this fun and entertaining three-day festival is designed to empower attendees to become more thoughtful consumers and lessen their impact on the environment by learning about high-performance, earth-friendly products and services. This is one of the largest gatherings of sustainably-minded people nation-wide, with more than 20,000 attendees and 300 exhibiting companies last year.”

When: March 26-28

Where: Portland Expo Center (map it… or take light rail… it only makes sense)

Cost: FREE FREE FREE

There are numerous events and activities to entertain all ages – take a look at the full schedule for kids at PGE Planet Kids. Hope to see you there!

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.




       
Copyright © 2017 Wyoming Tree Care All rights reserved. Oregon Tree Care theme by BHG Creative
Earth Care Designs, LLC dba Wyoming Tree Care, registered in the State of Wyoming