Lisa Certified Arborist PN-7110A
Lisa is a certfied arborist living, working, and blogging in the Portland area.
email@example.com Featured Blogger
Lisa is a Arborist living, working, and blogging in Portland, OR. She grew up in Montana and moved to Oregon in as a yound adult. She has been working with trees in some shape of form her entire life. She is a International Socety of Arboriculture Certfied Arborist and she also graduated Cum Laude from PSU with a Degree in Fianance and Accounting.
Trees are low-maintenance, but they’re certainly not maintenance-free. Although they might appear self-sufficient, there are a number of ways to help keep them healthy and protect them from damage. Good seasonal care protects your plants and lets them thrive, especially in the spring. So, here are a few tips for how to kick-off a new growing season this year.
Start with cleaning things up around the tree. Remove any protective wraps or covering you put up if the weather is warm enough. It’s a good idea to rake up any debris that collected underneath or around the tree, like old twigs, leaves, or fallen fruit. This helps to protect the tree from any diseases or fungi that might be lingering.
Next, apply some mulch. Mulching trees helps to suppress weeds and retain moisture. It’s most important when you’re dealing with young trees (less than 10 years old), but older trees can benefit as well. The layer of mulch should be two to three inches thick and a couple of feet wide. Don’t let it touch the trunk directly, though, because this gives diseases an easy point of access. Leave an inch or two clear.
Urban Forest Pro's arborist's are excited for the opportunity to prune trees surrounding our local schools.
We would like to reach out and provide a learning experience for the students by showing different tree care methods. We will also be providing a tree ID scavenger hunt with the Portland Timber's Timber Joey.
Above is a tree at Rosa Parks we will be pruning as part of the event.
Saturday April 19th 9am-5pm
@ Rosa Parks University Elementary 8960 N Woolsey Ave
Pruning of school trees starts at 9am between N McCoy and N Woolsey. From 2-5pm there will be a tree climbing demonstration, an afternoon clean up party, and the Timber Joey's Tree ID scavenger Hunt.
Tree to be adopted are: a Maple at the front of the school with some hazardous branches, a Maple tree by the back playground, a maple, a Cherry and an Oak tree at the corner of Woolsey and McCoy, lots of newly planted street trees that are in need of their first structural pruning. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome to come and help prune. Lunch will be provided for volunteers by Urban Forest Pro.
Friday April 25th 3pm-5pm
@ Winter Haven Elementary 3800 SE 14th in the out-building at SE Center and 15th.
Pruning will be done in the morning by arborists. There will be educational presentation/activities lead by Sara Ennis and Jeff Moore for the elementary students from starting at 1pm. At 3pm there will a cleanup party and Timber Joey's Tree ID scavenger Hunt which is open to volunteers and children of all ages.
Interested Teachers-Please contact Sara Ennis with age group of children that will be participating and ways in which we can incorporate our tree learning experience with material they are learning in the classroom.
For Further Info and Details Contact:
Are you partial to fir trees? Whether you grew up in the Great Northwest and being surrounded by firs just feels natural to you, you adore the piney scent, or have a penchant for an evergreen (which a lot of firs are) to enjoy greenery year-round, there’s a lot to love about firs.
It’s also important to know that firs come with plenty of hazards, and some you may not realize until it’s too late.
A fir catastrophe is a tough lesson to learn. Before you start planting these trees, or if you've already bought a property that’s rich with them, keep these risks in mind. A little knowledge and a dose of preventative care can help you make the right planting choices—or even prevent a disaster.
1. They're Prone To Falling
Here’s a little factoid the next time you need to come up with a conversation starter: Fir trees fall over more than any other tree. Usually, they have multiple tops instead of a single leader, or they might have root rot from drainage problems. If you notice standing water around a fir tree, that’s bad news. The upside? If you’re stuck on having firs around, a little pruning and keeping an eye on the root system can help keep your tree upright.
Sometimes you want to go "au natural" when controlling pests in your garden or yard, and only an organic product will do. However, sometimes non-organic products are best—and not necessarily unfriendly to the environment.
For example, some non-organic bark sprays are better at permeating the tree (not the air around it), which is an eco-friendly approach without being technically organic. Foliar sprays might come with an organic label, but when they’re being released into the air, suddenly they’re not as green as you’d like.
So, organic or not organic? There are pros and cons to either approach, and it’s important that landscapers, gardeners and contractors choose wisely. Consider this your cheat sheet to picking the best product for you, your landscape, and the environment.
Pro: (Sometimes) Better for the Environment
You may be able to lighten your carbon footprint, depending on the product and application. According to numerous studies, including from Montana University’s Agricultural Department, chemical pesticides stick around in the atmosphere longer than organic options. They also linger in waterways and in the soil well after the application is made. This can lead to a lot of collateral damage—organic pesticides may minimize environmental impacts.
When most of us think about environmental hazards, our minds are drawn to the weather (floods, storms, etc). But often, that weather is part of what causes a less-thought-of danger: falling trees.
Trees do way much more good than bad, but if not looked after, they can also cause serious damage when branches or whole tree falls on homes, power lines, cars, or people.
Fortunately, there are warning signs you can look for that show danger may be imminent. Start by inspecting each tree on your property in a very systematic way. Here are some things to look for:
Start at the top. Trees that have been topped (the top is cut off) present dangers in several ways. First, topped trees are more susceptible to diseases that can weaken them. They are also prone to being top heavy because of excessive crown regrowth and weakly attached upper branches.
What is the value of a tree? Not in a commercial sense, per se, but a broader sense. There are so many ways that trees enrich our lives and enhance our communities, some you may be aware of, and others that will come as a surprise.
1. Clean air saves lives. Okay, we’re starting with one of the better known benefits of trees… but do you really understand how it directly affects our health? For instance, findings from a study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine suggest that areas without trees may increase the mortality rate related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness.
To put in perspective how much a relatively small number of trees can do for our air, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture "One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people."
2. Clean water. According to the USDA Forest Service, wooded areas help prevent sediment and chemicals from running into streams. The trees in our forests are involved in filtering and storing close to two-thirds of our country’s water supply.
3. Increase your property's value. Trees are beautiful. That’s not exactly a startling revelation, but since most people have a positive reaction to trees, it can also carry over to their opinion of a home that’s on the market. And that translates into higher property value. There are many factors that come into play with real estate value, but some research has shown that trees do play a role.
There are numerous reasons why removing a tree is a better bet than a massive pruning, upkeep or helping it through a disease. Whether you’re a business owner with a shady lot or a homeowner who’s on the fence when it comes to one of your trees, know that sometimes it’s best for everyone (sometimes including the tree) to opt for total removal. Here are the biggest instances when a removal might be your best option and how to go about it.
1. Out of control disease
Trees can experience a host of different diseases—and some of them are more serious than others. Particularly if a disease has spread and has begun to kill the tree, it might be more affordable and easier to simply remove the tree instead of trying to save it. Similar to humans, the earlier a disease is caught and treated, the easier it is to handle. However, if your tree’s disease has begun to overtake a large portion of it, it might be time to bid it adieu.
2. Inability to upkeep
Different types of trees also have different pruning demands, and sometimes people don’t know what they’re getting into. Not everyone has the time, skills, money or patience to care for an especially demanding tree. If you know you don’t have the time and don’t want to contract a landscaper on a regular basis, your life will be a lot easier if you remove the tree and perhaps replace it with a less demanding variety.
We do not offer that many sales or deals throughout the year and this is by far the best deal we ever run. We hope that it will inspire you to get your outdoor spaces beautified and to insure the trees that are surrounding them are safe, healthy, and well cared for. In order to help you through this purchase we have provided some basic info below about our company & the process of redeeming your coupon.
Urban Forest Pro is a premier tree services provider. All of our tree services are done exclusively by International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists. We only have the best of the best arborists, use the best equipment, and the latest techniques because our customers expect nothing less. We are a premium service and although our rates are competitive ($85 per man per hour) we are almost always not the cheapest. If price is paramount to you our Groupon may not be your best option. You may want to explore hiring a Tree Cutter or Lumber Jack as their services can come at a discount to even our Groupon rates. Tree work when professionally done is expensive please understand that & if you feel you got in over your head or over your budget you can always request a refund through Groupon. But if quality is paramount & you will love a good deal when you can get one then you are in the right place.
1. Your Groupon is good for 3 Man Hours: 3 Men for 1 Hour = 3 Man Hours
2. You must be in Oregon & within 17 miles of here using Google Maps top recommended route to use your Groupon.
3. Man Hours are Estimated sometimes things take a little bit longer then estimated and sometimes they take a little bit shorter. We do not adjust your bill up or down based on the actual time. But at the same time we want our pricing to be fair so all of our trucks are outfitted with GSP tracking & if the time on a job is more than 10% short we will adjust the invoice at your request.
4. Permits: Permitting fees must be paid up front & permits require at least 1 man hour of work time in our offices. You can discuss the specific details for your project with your arborist. Home Owner's are always welcome to obtain their own tree removal/pruning permits.
5. Professional Standards: Our company is held to certain standards by the ISA & the TCIA so there are certain types of tree pruning we can not do (example is tree topping). To read more about why these types of tree pruning are not a good idea read our blog post here. We also can not cut short the man hours a tree needs to be properly pruned. We have learned after 15 years in this business that doing so only leaves the customer disappointed & reflects badly on the quality of our services.
6. Stumps: Stump Grinding requires a $100 fee above and beyond the price of the Groupon. It is also priced by inches in diameter ($4 per inch) not man hours. So you must have at least 47" in stump/s to see any discount (46 x 4=184=100 (extra fee)+85(price of Groupon)) & 89" will get you the full discount.
Step1: After purchasing your coupon you will need to call our office to set up a consultation or schedule one through our online system. The arborist will provide you with his/her best assessment of the condition of your tree/s and give you his/her recommendations of what needs to be done with your tree.
Step2: Once you have decided which tree services to go ahead with you can call back into the office and to be placed on our schedule. Jobs are scheduled based on a variety of factors: size of the job, location, crew availability, and equipment needed. For smaller projects we will group your project with other similar projects in same area this limits our drive time and allows us to spend 100% of time you are billed for actually providing services. Because of this your ability to chose the time and date of your service is limited for smaller jobs , but any preferences can be communicated to us & we will do our best to accommodate them. For larger projects you can generally arrange your preferred time and date.
Step3: Our crew will arrive to provide your tree services. If you are available the crew will go over the job with you before beginning. You will receive an email confirming the crew was out the next day. If there is any follow up or questions or concerns you have you should communicate them to the office at this time. You will receive an invoice by mail or email within a few days. You must provide the 8 digit code under the bar-code off of your Groupon in order to have it applied to your invoice.
The first step to finding out if you need a tree removal permit in the city of Beaverton is finding out if you are within the city limits. You can look at a map of the boundaries here.
After you have determined you are indeed in the City of Beaverton there are essentially 2 ways to find out if you need a tree removal permit:
1. Call a Tree Service (Urban Forest Pro 503-226-7143)
2. Call Beaverton City Arborist (503)-526-2206 or (503)-526-2237
I know those are not appealing answers as you were hoping to read this article and come away with an answer. It is this way because you can only find out if your tree is one of many protected types (Significant tree/grove, Historic tree/grove, Significant Natural Resource Zone, Landscape trees) by looking at zoning maps which is not provided online. The city can look this up for you or your arborist most likely has a copy. These trees exist on single family lots and there is no way to tell unless you look it up, but there are some clues:
1. Your Lot backs up to a green space (Probably need a permit)
2. You live in a newer development (post 2000) without a designated green space or with small lots (Probably need a permit)
3. Your tree is part of a grove of similar trees in your neighborhood (Probably need a permit)
4. The tree is on a commercial or multi-family lot (Always need a permit)
If your tree is not in one of these protected zones you can remove as many as you like unless your property is greater than 10,000 square feet in that case you can remove up to 4 of them per calendar year. If your tree does turn out to be a protected that does not mean it cannot be taken out. For each of these classes of trees there is a permitting process but the requirements and fees vary (fee range $75-$1,000).
There are a few trees that almost never require a permit. They are:
1. Tree under 10” in diameter at 4.5’ from the ground are not considered trees unless they are a landscape tree.
2. Lombardi Poplar tree are considered invasive and do not require a permit
3. Fruiting fruit trees do not require permits
The city if Beaverton also requires a permit for the removal of street trees, but these trees are in most cases easy to identify as they are most likely located between the street and the sidewalk.
If you do determine you do need a permit it is best to enlist the help of an arborist. The chances your permit will be submitted complete, with justifiable grounds, and thus be approved greatly increase with the help of a professional.
We recommend that you do not make a determination about whether or not permits are require based solely off of this article. We recommend you seek further information and advices. Please know this article may not be immediately updated when changes are made to tree regulations.
Detection and Prevention
Dutch Elm disease (DED) is an unfortunate fungus that is spread by our native elm bark beetle and European elm bark beetle. This disease has devastated magnificent elms with their beautiful, spreading canopies throughout the US. Anyone that loves and appreciates their community and the urban forests we live in; should take a moment to read further and learn how to detect and prevent DED.
Susceptible Elm varieties are the native ‘American Elm’ and introduced ‘European Elm’. There are several American elm varieties and hybrid varieties of Elm that are resistant to the disease. If you don’t know what kind of Elm (or tree) you have on your property or in your neighborhood, an Arborist consultation is a great way to identify and prevent more losses of these beautiful trees. The picture below shows an American elm leaf structure and seedpods, a very simple baseline for identifying an Elm tree.
DED is commonly detected in spring/early summer, after leaves on the tree have emerged. Elms infected with DED will have leaves on upper branches that curl. These curling leaves will decline, eventually turning brown. This leaf cluster die back is commonly referred to as ‘flagging’ in the arborist community. Another sign of DED is the presence of brown streaks in the wood, beneath the bark of braches affected. If DED is suspected, it is best to have an Arborist come out to inspect the tree and have samples sent in to a laboratory, such as a local extension office, for testing and confirmation of a diseased Elm.
DED has been prevalent since the 1920’s and since then, many resistant species have been produced to be resistant to the disease. However, if you still have a remaining American or European Elm, there are ways to mitigate the disease. Pruning of ‘flagging’ limbs may help to limit the spread of DED in an affected tree. Proper pruning should only take place in the winter, when trees are dormant, to reduce the risk of further infection. By removing deadwood and broken limbs within the canopy, sites for beetles to breed and inhibit are reduced. By identifying DED early on and pruning out ‘flagging’ limbs, it increases the success rate of saving an Elm affected by DED. Along with proper pruning and removal of infected branches, several fungicides have also been very successful protecting Elms. Having an Arborist set-up and implement an effective fungicide regime can make a big difference in preserving your tree and having it around for more generations to come. These fungicides help control the beetle populations and spread of DED.
If you have an Elm that has been killed or affected by DED, another important note is the proper disposal of material. All brush/wood that can be chipped should be. Other methods of disposal are burning, burying, and de-barking. Tree material infected with DED should not be transported, as it can spread the disease to areas not affected by DED. By eliminating vectors for the beetles to breed, DED can be reduced. For reference, a 22”x4” log that has not been disposed of properly, can produced up to 1,800 beetles. Imagine what a whole dead tree could produce!
DED has been a long, uphill battle for many years. With better education, community support and mitigation techniques, we hope the magnificent specimens that remain can be saved and enjoyed by generations to come.
There are a lot of things that can trigger the need for a tree removal permit in city if Portland. That is why it is important to do your homework before proceeding with any tree removals on your property. Even if the trees are in your back yard and you are on a single family lot the city still may have a say in what you do with your trees.
What Tree are Covered:
All street trees need a permit to be removed and must be in bad shape for the city to even consider it. Just because the tree is not in-between the sidewalk and the street does not mean it is not a street tree. You must look up your right of away boundaries to be certain. In addition, most trees (with some exceptions) on dividable lot, lots under development or with building permits issued, corner lots, commercial, or multi-family lots and also Heritage trees (which are usually marked) require a permit for removal. The city also has specific zones with conservation rules that may affect your ability to remove or even prune your trees.
So how do you figure out whether you need a permit or not. My recommendation is you don’t. The rules are complex and different rules are covered by different city agencies. I recommend home owners thinking about removing a tree either contract with their tree service to research and obtain the permit or that they call the Urban Forestry department at the city of Portland who can provide them with a definitive answer or point them to the correct agency to inquire with. If you do contract with your tree service to obtain permits make sure it is part of your written contract because most tree services only provide this service at the request of client. You should never assume they are getting the permits unless they say that they are on the contract.
The city is notoriously slow in responding to permits we recommend home owner to expect a 4-8 weeks for an answer. Even a call back from their office takes a couple of days. This is one of the ways we can help out a lot. When your tree service sends a permit in they know what the city would like to see and so you won’t wait 8 weeks just to hear your permit is incomplete. Also it helps to have arboricultural terms used in the reason you would like your tree removed. If you write “too many leaves on my driveway” the city could really care less about your driveway or that the trees are lifting your sidewalks. They are tasked with the preservation of the urban forest and they are focused primarily on that goal.
Fees and Fines: Most tree removal permitting fees in the city if Portland remain a very good value at $35 a pop. This has to be less then it costs the city to send someone out to look at your tree. Fines on the other hand can be quite punitive. They start at about $1,000 per tree for removals without a permit and go up into and the sky is the limit. I have heard of fines in the 20,000 range. The Urban Forestry department does not mess around and even in the event of a “I didn’t know any better situation” they usually want more and larger trees planted then would have been required by the permit and a $1,000 fine. The responsibility for the planting and fines will either lie with the tree service or the home owner or most likely both depending on the specific circumstances.
I am sure most of you are disappointed in reading this article that you still don’t know if you need a permit to remove your tree. I wish it were a simple task that I could explain in a short blog post but unfortunately it is not and that is what we are here for. We can help!
Disclaimer: this blog post is accurate as of the date posted and changes to permitting rules may not be immediately updated.
An Introduction to Tree Cabling:
Supplemental Support Systems
· What it is?
Tree cabling is a lesser-known preservation technique, utilized by professional Arborists to provide support to trees that may be prone or at risk of failure. There are a number of different support systems for tree care applications, but tree cabling is the most common and widely used within the tree care industry. Cable systems are either static (steel) or dynamic (rope) systems that are installed in the upper canopy to add support and reduce risk. A professional Arborist evaluation and recommendation is the best way to determine what your tree needs for overall health and longevity.
· What it does
A tree support system’s main purpose is to provide additional support or limit movement of a tree or tree part. They do not provide primary support to a tree. Typically, a cable system is used to support weak unions and long heavy limbs. Often times, limbs or trees are cabled to reduce the risk posed to people or property. A tree cable system can be arranged in various configurations to best suit the trees support needs. They act as an extra measure of safety to preserve and maintain trees in our urban environment but not a guarantee of safety.
There are two types of cable systems: static and dynamic. Static systems are composed of steel cable and hardware. Dynamic systems are composed of non-invasive, rope-like materials. Steel (static) systems were traditionally used, before the introduction of dynamic systems. Steel cable is often times used in very failure-prone applications where system longevity and strength are necessary. Dynamic systems also provide great, high strength support and risk reduction in trees. The science behind dynamic systems is to allow for more natural movement in the tree, while providing enough support in the canopy to reduce the risk of failure. Again, an Arborist can best determine what type of system should be used, depending on the trees needs and risk.
· After care
Tree cable systems need to be periodically inspected by an Arborist. Scheduling inspections and follow-up maintenance on tree cables is important. Regular maintenance to a tree cabling system will help maintain its effectiveness and durability. Tree cable systems are designed to be a long-term benefit to the tree’s health. The length of time between maintenance should be determined by your arborist, but should not normally be any longer than 5 years.
For many homeowners considering a tree removal, the first question is 'how much'? Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered over the phone. No tree or property is alike, and a situation must be examined to determine the safest and most cost-effective method of removal. If you are considering a tree removal, it will help to be aware of several common factors that contribute to the cost of a project.
Required Permits: Portland's trees are a vital and protected resource of the city. The City requires formal approval for removal of 'street trees' which grow in the public right-of-way, on private property, trees over a certain size or in a certain district may also require permitting. Though it may seem thrifty to bypass this process, fines of $1,000 and greater will quickly void any savings. A consultant at Urban Forest Pro can help you navigate this permitting process to protect yourself.
Location of Property: The closer your property is to Portland central, the easier we can reach you. Savings in fuel and time will be passed along to you. In suburban or isolated areas, flexible scheduling can help to avoid excessive costs by arranging to have work performed at the same time as your neighbors. Talk with our representative to discuss efficient timing of your project.
Difficulty of Access: For a removal to be performed smoothly and safely, our vehicles must be able to access your tree within a reasonable distance. If an aerial lift or crane is needed, we will need to get as close to the tree as the equipment requires. Small or tight spaces will bottleneck a removal process and increase costs in time and labor.
We here at Urban Forest Pro love our clients and value their opinions greatly! It is nice when a customer goes above and beyond just having tree work done by us and shows us that they appreciate our hard work! This letter was from one of our great clients and left for the crew when they arrived:
Parking: Reserving parking is the responsibility of the client unless otherwise stated in your estimate the crew will need about 3 regular parking spaces in front of the your property for their truck and chipper and will need any trees be worked on to be free of cars beneath them. If work is being done in the backyard you will also need to move your cars from the driveway as debris can damage them on the way out to the truck.
Personal Property: Any pots, outdoor furniture, or other personnel items that can be damaged must be moved from the area in which the work will take place. If you have questions about what to move please call us, as the crew’s time removing personal items is an extra that can result in additional charges.
Dog Poo: Your yard must be free of dog poo when the crew arrives as they will be running ropes and rigging gear on the ground and when those items are contaminated it can cause delays and in extreme cases even cancellations of work. The crew is willing to pick up one or two piles you may have missed but anything in excess of that is your responsibility.
What to Expect:
Arrival: If your tree work is scheduled as a morning arrival the crew will arrive between 8:30-9:00am, if you are scheduled for any other arrival time the crew can arrive up to 3 hours before or after your scheduled time of arrival. If you would like a more exact ETA you can call the office within an hour of the scheduled arrival and we will do our best to provide an update. If you have special concerns such as you are leaving work at noon and the crew should not arrive before then or you are taking a day off of work to be there when the work is done you should share these with the scheduler David as the schedule can change due to many circumstances and the more he knows the better he can accommodate your situation.
Timing of Different Services: Not all of our services are done by the same crew. For example if you are having a tree removed a crew will come to remove the tree, another crew will come to remove the firewood, yet another to grind the stump, and another to plant a new tree. These services will be preformed over a period of several days (2-5 days). If you have specific deadline that you need to meet in your scheduling please share that information with our scheduler. We are required by call before you dig laws to wait 48 hours after a tree removal before stump grinding unless other arrangements are made ahead of time.
Being Home: It is not necessary for you to be home when your tree work is being done. One way to significantly reduce the cost of getting tree work done is to be able to work while it is being done and to trust it will be done right in your absence. But if you have very specific ideas about how far a certain tree should be lifted or how far back you want some tree pruned or other items like that where the work may require your personal insight it is better it you are home in those cases.
Debris Left behind:
1. Leaves: If you are having tree work done in the fall and you would like us to clean up leaves and other debris already on the ground we charge an extra fee for that called a Fall Clean up.
2. Firewood: If you plan to keep the wood off of your project be aware that wood is left where it lays in 16”-18” lengths. If you need another length or the wood moved and staked you will need to have your estimator add that to your project as changes after the fact can result in additional charges.
3. Stump Grindings: When having a stump ground a mound of wood shavings mixed with dirt will be left behind. If you are having a large stump removed it can be a large mound. These grindings need to be removed prior to planting in that area or to decompose for at least one rainy season, either way there will be excess material that needs to be moved. The grindings make great mulch in your planting beds. Also, we can remove those grindings for you for an additional fee at your request.
Completed Work: When the work is complete your yard should just as good as or better than before we came if it is anything other than that or you are anything other then 100% satisfied please give a call we would like nothing more than to make it right. If you have any questions about what was done an arborist in our office can answer those for you at your request. Also if you have any feedback at all about how your service was delivered that could help us do a better job we would love to know about it.
Urban Forest Pro was called out to the scene of a large Oak tree on an office building on Thursday. It was quite the mess. Our crew however were able to get the tree down and the mess clean up in a few hours so that workers could go back to work minus a few windows. See the news coverage of the incident on chanel 8 below.
Any home owner who has gotten a notice from the City of Portland to repair their sidewalks or else knows how contentious of a battle it can be for trees and sidewalks to co-exist in the city. Not only are the quotes from concrete contractors enough to make you sick the thought that due to your street tree’s roots you may have to do this again in a few year is just about enough to drive you over the edge. I wish I had some miracle cure all solution to ease the pain, but unfortunately when it comes to controlling tree roots there is only so much that can be done.
What not to do:
-Do Not cut a tree root or let your concrete contractor cut one. Tree roots to be cut need to be marked by the city arborist prior to cutting. Cutting them without this approval is a sure fire way to cause permanent damage or death to your street trees and to buy yourself a hefty fine from the city. This includes the method of carving an X on the top of the tree root (which does not work by the way). Studies show that despite tree root pruning sidewalks will on average lift again within 5 years without the use of other root control methods.
-Do Not Heavily prune your tree or use tree growth inhibitors. Heavy pruning is expensive and most of the time does not work. When tree growth inhibitors are used energy that would normally go the development of the crown of the tree is often redirected to the root system when these methods are deployed therefore further aggravating the problem.
-Do Not Assume you need to replace your concrete. Concrete contractor have other options and it you are going to end up doing this again in a few years due to new root growth you may want to hold off if there are other options available to you such as concrete grinding and/or patching.
-Do Not Wait. If you get a notice from the city it usually gives you a extended amount of time to correct the problem. They do that for a reason, because it takes an extended amount of time to arrange all the permitting and the work to get done.
As with many things the solution starts with prevention. The type of tree planted is big determiner if you are going to have root problems in the future, as is if the tree is planted correctly. You can review our blogs posts under tree planting for advice on choosing and installing a tree correctly. Additional options such as root barriers can be installed when trees are young to direct the growth of roots. Sometimes it is better to remove existing trees, start over, and get it right the second time. Of course you will need the city arborist’s blessing to do this.
Nothing will determine your success in dealing with the invasion of growing roots more than choosing the right concrete contractor when repairing or replacing your concrete. You need a contractor who is willing to use a complete arsenal of tactics to repair the current problem and prevent a re-occurrence. These methods include but are not limited to the use of pea gravel which allows tree root to expand, reinforcing concrete with rebar so that the tree root must lift several slabs at once in order to cause damage to the sidewalk, creating a meandering sidewalk or a side walk with cut outs to create more space for roots, and create slightly sloping sidewalks to allow elevation change due to root growth.The example to the left shows a slightly arching sidewalk with cut outs for tree work growth. Home owner should also explore the option of having sidewalk repaired or ground down instead of removed and replaced to limit their investment. A knowledgeable concrete contractor will explore all of these options with you including repair.
Spring tree fertilization is common as most trees have their greatest need for nutrients in the spring. In Portland this spring application usually happens in March or April as, rainy, cold weather wanes and sunny weather begins to show its face.
Trees in the city need fertilization because many of the natural processes that take place to add nutrients to the soil are disrupted. Leaves and other debris are cleaned up before they can be reincorporated into the soil. Soil is often compacted so many nutrients are washed away as urban runoff. Also, the presence of pollutants can strip nutrients from the soil or disrupt their absorption.
If your tree is having health issues, fertilization is likely an important part of getting that tree back into tip top shape, but you need to be sure that the problem that caused the tree to be unhealthy has been resolved. A Certified Arborist can help you identify and diagnose health issues. Trees are similar to humans in that when we are sick good nutrition can go a long way to getting us back on our feet, but in some cases additional medicine or other interventions are required to achieve and maintain our health.
In our practice, we utilize 2 basic types of fertilizers:
1.1. Chemical:This is your basic man-made chemical fertilizer. There are several reputable brands which have developed formulations made specifically for either Deciduous or
Evergreen trees, and for application in either the spring or the fall. Two of the most popular brands are Jobes and Phc for trees. Jobes is a good quality one that has an organic option and is available at most Home Depot stores. Phc is a little harder to find but has excellent proven results and is what many professional arborists use.
2.2. Natural Mix: For us this is a compost tea mixed with Mycorrhizal Fungi. This fertilizer combination is a more organic option that mimics nature. The Mycorrhizal Fungi helps with the absorption of the nutrients and, we have seen great results with their use of urban trees. This application is somewhat custom and cannot be bought off of the shelf.
Fertilization options for trees also come is several application options. Fertilizer in most cases can’t be just spread on the ground surrounding the tree. It needs to be inserted under the soil 6”-12” down into the root zone of the tree. Those application options are:
1.1. Tree Spikes: These are the most common option for a DIY fertilizer application. Tree spikes are soil form fertilizer which is formed in a spike shape which can be driven into the ground by hand (of at least in theory they can).
2.2. Deep Root Fertilization: This is a liquid fertilizer pumped into the soil using a long wand attached to a commercial pump. This method is favored by professional arborists.
3.3. Injections: Fertilizer applications can be injected directly into the tree, but this is usually only done in extreme cases or when the tree is also receiving another type of injection.
When is come to fertilizing your tree there are many options for both the do-it-yourselfers and the folks in need of a little more professionals intervention. If you do fertilize your tree yourself be sure to read and follow the manufactures instructions. This is only a primer on the vast topic of trees and fertilization so achieving success in your project will likely require some additional research.Feeling a little overwhelmed don’t worry our certified arborist would be happy to help.
Trees in the city face a host of unique challenges that they would not face in their natural environment. Horticulturalists have been able to create some new tree varieties that have been able to overcome some of those challenges , but for the most part trees need our help to live healthy fruitful long lived lives in the city.
The average life span of a tree in the city of Portland Oregon is approximately 10 years. The 10th year of a tree's growth cycle is usually just the beginning of its adult and most productive years. This is in contrast to the potential life span of these same trees, which is usually between 70-200 years (and always more than 10 years). It is fairly obvious by these statistics that our trees are failing to meet their true potential.
Why are they failing to do so? Well, several reasons. First, the Portland Metro continues to grow and with growth and development come the reality that trees must go in order to make room for people. Secondly, some people just don’t like their tree/s. It may be that it is the wrong tree for the wrong location or possibly their just tree haters. These tree hater situations are few and far between. As people learn more and more about the benefits of trees they are eventually won over by them. And if a tree is in a poor location it is not necessarily a bad choice to take it out and start over instead of continuing to propagate someone else’s bad idea. The third and most overwhelmingly common reason trees fail to meet their potential is that they have structural defects or diseases that causes them to decline and eventually NEED to be removed. In most cases these conditions are preventable.
Why so many defects and diseases in our city trees? Well that has to do with those unique challenges of city life we spoke of earlier. For instance, let’s say you plant a tree in the boulevard between the street and the sidewalk. That tree has less room to root in due to the compression of the soil underneath it by traffic on the city street. It also has less permeable soil for the root to absorb oxygen. And due to urban runoff from the lack of permeable soil the tree may become overwhelmed with rain water leading to root rot which can lower the tree's ability to fight off disease. Decomposition on the of leaves and other matter on the forest floor provides nutrients to a tree in its natural setting. In the city these nutrients are often lacking and urban pollutants often further exacerbate the issue. Also in the city a tree is likely standing alone in instead of being supported by surrounding trees as it would be in a forest setting and so it is not protected from storms. The tree is offered some protection from the surrounding buildings, but this does not protect the tree from heavy storms which are the most likely to lead to structural defects.
The straight fact of the matter is if you would like a long lived tree in the city or if you would like your already long lived tree to stay that way YOU NEED TO MAINTAIN IT. The same way your house needs painting and your roof needs new roofing your tree needs pruning and may depending on your situation also need fertilization, disease prevention treatments, and/or disease treatments. The bad news is that to have your mature trees pruned and maintained correctly by PROFESSIONALS (ei ISA Certified Arborists) is EXPENSIVE (but maybe not so much when you consider the benefits). It is important to hire a professional because incorrect pruning can send you in the other direction causing structural defects and shortening the life of your tree. But the good news is that pruning when done to a healthy tree over time can be limited to every 3-7 years depending on the variety and location. This gives you plenty of time to budget for this expense just as you would budget for a new roof or to have your house painted.
I hope I have done a good job of explaining the importance of maintaining trees in the city and I hope you will consider adding tree pruning and tree maintenance to your home maintenance budget. If you have any further questions you can Ask An Arborist under Contact above.
Now that you have a beautiful newly planted tree it is time to master the steps of keeping it that way. The bad news is that for the first 2 years this will take some time and attention on your part, but the good news is that after those 2 years of work your tree should be happy and healthy and not require much more them some pruning and fertilization by your arborist every few years. Below is a description of each of the subjects regarding your new tree requiring your attention.
Young trees need adequate water to become established. Although rainfall may be adequate in some areas and in some seasons, additional water may be needed, particularly after planting when root systems are limited. After the initial watering at planting, deciduous trees do not need additional water until the first leaves have reached full size, but then will need water 3-4 times per week and everyday during the plus 90 degree days of summer. We recommend using a water bag or ring (shown in the picture) during the dry seasons for the first 2 years. The water bag will only need to be filled weekly or bi-weekly during the hottest part of the summer eliminating the chore of daily watering. After 2 years, most trees can survive with only one or no irrigations, although they would probably do better with monthly applications.
It is essential to maintain an area free of turf and weeds around tree trunks, because turf and weeds compete for water and nutrients, and some produce chemicals toxic to other plants. A small turf-free area around a tree also reduces the need for mowers to come close. This clear area must be at least one-foot in radius. Larger areas add little benefit. After four or five years, tree roots are extensive enough that other plants close to their trunks are not a problem, although mower operators should still exercise caution.
A three to four-inch-thick mulch, material placed on the soil surface, controls most weed seedlings. In addition, mulch protects the soil from compaction and erosion, conserves moisture, moderates soil temperatures, provides an all-weather surface for walking, and allows plants to root in the fertile and well-aerated surface soil. The mulch should not be added until 2-4 months after the tree has been planted so that it does not interfere with the root system obtaining oxygen. Keep mulches at least two inches away from the trunks of trees to minimize disease and rodent damage. A wide range of organic and inorganic materials can be used.
Pruning and Training
In years past, severe pruning after planting was thought to be necessary. However, newly planted trees grow quite well if they are pruned lightly or not at all. The key to pruning is to encourage the growth of several large permanent branches, called "scaffold branches," that will ultimately form the basic structure of the mature tree.
Most trees get off to a good start, but serious problems can be avoided or minimized if the trees are periodically inspected. Inspect trees for the beginnings of insect and disease damage. At the same time, take care of any staking problems, check on tree moisture status, and identify any other problems. The inspection should take only a few minutes per tree, but prompt action on any problems encountered will pay big dividends in healthier, stronger trees.
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