Tree care is more than you think

Jeff Meagher teaches you about quality care for your trees

Archive for the category “General”

WIll my tree break in the wind?

As promised in my last blog post Should I be worried about my tree blowing over in the wind, today were going to talk about tree failure/breakage due to wind.  Unfortunately this is a much more likely thing to happen than your tree blowing over, and often times is a much more hazardous thing as well.  When the tree can not take the forces generated by the wind it can fail in many places, and is very hard to predict where those places will be.

That being said, one place that you can look for signs of failure is at branch unions or what is commonly refereed to as a crotch.  A strong crotch is usually “U” shaped, and in exclusive meaning the bark in the middle of it is pushed upwards and looks like a stegosaurus spine.  This is in contrast to a weak crotch that is usually “V” shaped and in inclusive, meaning the bark goes inward making a very small groove.

The next thing that you can look for is if your tree is in proper shape or if it needs to be pruned.  When there are branches that hang way outside the main shape of the tree they are more likely to get caught by the wind and break off, so they may be candidates for removal.  Next, if the tree has lots of dead wood, that needs to be removed as dead wood is more likely to break out than live wood, and dead wood also  can decay creating a weak are in the tree that can fail in the wind.

Contrary to popular belief, one thing you don’t want to do is heavily thin (not to be confused with crown clean) your trees thinking that it will allow the wind to pass through them better.  Trees rely on interior branches for support, so that the tree may move as a whole instead of individual branches getting blown around.  When a tree is heavily thinned a process called harmonic resonance is much more likely to take place.

Harmonic resonance occurs when the wind blows on a branch then backs off allowing the branch to spring back, then blows on it again, and the whole process repeats.  It is like a kid on a sing, each time you push, the kid goes out, and comes back a little further than they did the time before, without you pushing them any harder.  On the sing, eventually the kid will jump out and off, however in a tree this will take place until either the wind stops or the tree branch fails.

However outside of conifers trees that grow in the open will reach horizontally until they fail under their own weight, as well as being more susceptible to wind damage. A crown reduction that redistributes the crown from outside to the inside,  and closer to the tree’s center of gravity can produce better aerodynamic symmetry, thus increasing the trees resistance to extreme winds and snow loads.

When the weather hits and the winds begin to blow, keep an eye on trees and be sure to contact your local certified arborist if you are at all concerned about your trees integrity.


Photo Credit Here and Here

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Should I be worried about my tree falling over in the wind?

Well after many months of waiting Mother Nature may finally deliver and winter may be arriving.  The National Weather Service is calling for snow in the middle of the week and has issued a high wind warning for tomorrow Sunday the fifteenth.  As the wind starts to blow, and the trees begin to sway, the question in many people’s minds becomes will my trees blow over in the strong winds.

Although not unheard of, trees blowing over as a result of the wind is not a very common thing and is usually associated to something else as well.  One thing that can make a tree more susceptible to blowing over in the wind is if the soil that surrounds it suddenly becomes super saturated.  When this happens the roots can no longer get the same holding power from the soil that it has become accustomed to, and can no longer take the wind that it usually can.

When we talk about this happening, it is not something like a hose getting left on, soil that get saturated enough for this to happen are the result of many days of heavy rain, or a burst water pipe or something of that nature.  The signs will be very obvious because the soil will be soft, squishy and often mudy all around the base of the tree.

Another sign to look for when worried about a tree falling over is the lifting of the soil and roots around the tree as the tree blowing in the wind.  This condition, “soil breathing” as I call it, is a tell tale sign of root failure and means that the soil that the roots are in has been separated  from the soil around it and then becomes much more likely of falling.  Outside of these few signs, there are not many signals that you tree might blow over, and really isn’t that likely, although not impossible.  What is more likely to happen in the wind is tree failure in the canopy or worse yet a scaffold failure in major branch structure, but we’ll talk about that more in depth tomorrow.

No matter what happens, if you are concerned at all about your tree be sure to contact a certified arborist near you.


Photo Credit Here and Here

Isnt tree climbing dangerous?

As a tree climber this is a question that I am constantly asked from both people who watch me climb as well as by people who simply hear in social settings that I am a tree climber.  As much as I would love to have some elaborate answer to this there isn’t one.  The answer is simple, yes, it is dangerous.  No matter which way you spin it, this job contains some inherent risk, anytime your running a chain saw, climbing in a tree, or running a chain saw in a tree, you are putting yourself at risk.

However, something that I like to point out to people is that driving down the road is also dangerous.  Now I am sure that your thinking, well of course it is, but no where near as dangerous as hanging off the side of a tree with a chain saw is.  You would be correct with this response but my point is that there are lots of things in life that come with danger.  Maybe not as dangerous as tree climbing, but they are still dangerous and you continue to do them.

Tree climbing is the way i make my living and something that i love dearly.  Sure it is dangerous, but when done properly it is not nearly as dangerous as one would think.  In this business there are many people who like to cut corners and would put that themselves at incredibly more risk than needed simply because they are lazy.  Tree climbing can be a safe thing to do if proper safety precautions are followed.

When I am in a tree, or have one of my guys up in a tree I am a stickler for safety.  I stress that safety is the number one thing and that there is no excuse to do anything that is unsafe.  As a quality tree care professional I maintain the highest safety standards without sacrificing the quality of the tree care.

So the next time that you see someone working up and a tree and think that he must be crazy and not care about his life to be up there remember that yes it is dangerous, but when done properly it can be much safer than you would guess.


Should I hire a certified arborist to care for my trees?

Although we don’t have any snow here in Northern Nevada, its winter time and your trees are probably the furthest thing from your mind.  However eventually you walk out your door and something will catch your eye.  It may be after the next wind storm when you notice a large branch that has broken off and is now stuck in another branch overhanging you house, or maybe it will be a month from now when your tree is still hanging onto its leaves are you are worried that something might be wrong with it.  When that happens you will be poised with the decision of whether or not to hire a certified arborist to help you with your tree care needs.

Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. Certified Arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification and adhere to a Code of Ethics. Therefore, they are more likely to be up to date on the latest techniques in arboriculture.

Quality tree care is something that can provide substantial returns and is something that should not be taken lightly.  A properly maintained tree can add substantial value to you property and bring a lifetime of happiness to many.  However, a tree that is neglected or worse yet, incorrectly cared for can become a very serious hazard as well as an unsightly eyesore.  When you hire a certified arborist you can guarantee that your tree care will be of the latest techniques and developments as well as done in the safest way possible. Tree care can be a very dangerous job and should only be preformed by those trained to work under such conditions, something that a certified arborist is likely to be.

A certified arborist is well versed in all types of tree care.  They know how to properly prune trees, and what type of pruning should be done to each tree.  They know how to safely and efficiently climb into trees and use ropes and other equipment to carefully remove trees piece by piece whether they are clear of obstacles or hanging over something very valuable such as your house.  They are experienced in the planting and establishment of new trees and will chose the correct tree for the placement and the environment that you are looking to plant a tree in.  However, their biggest skill is their knowledge of tree health and their ability to diagnose your tree problems.  Unlike a doctor working on a patient, an arborist isn’t able to talk to the trees to find out what is wrong with them.  Instead they must rely on knowledge and experience to look for signs that might lead them to the answer of the trees problems.

If there was something wrong with you or a member of your family you would look to a professional doctor, just the same if something is wrong with your trees you should hire a certified arborist.  They have the most current information on quality tree care, and are guaranteed to be will educated in tree care.  So the next time you have a tree care need be sure to visit the ISA website and find yourself a certified arborist in your local area.

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