Do you ever wonder how you can reduce the cost of maintaining the trees on your properties?
Surprisingly, a little investment up front can save over the long run.
How is that possible?
By properly maintaining trees over the course of their lives, you minimize the costs associated with trees that become too big for their location or that decline after years of neglect.
A certified arborist can help you by suggesting plants and trees that will suit a particular location while remaining mindful of the mature size of different species. A certified arborist understands how to properly prune trees at various life stages to optimize health and train them for their location. A qualified professional can provide a site assessment and give you various options for maintaining trees & shrubs.
Caring for your trees when they are young minimizes long-term issues and reduces the potential of removing a problem tree or dealing with an emergency.
It also preserves trees so they can continue to add quality of life and value to your properties for many years.
With spring just around the corner, thoughts turn to fruit tree pruning. Here on the Wet Coast, we usually prune fruit trees in the late winter or early spring. At this time, trees are still dormant and the risk of spreading fungal disease lessens with the drier, sunnier weather. It is important to prune before buds break but after the worst of the winter weather has passed.
- Make proper pruning cuts.
- Remove no more than 25-30% of the tree’s canopy each year.
- Keep a low and spreading structure for ease of picking fruit.
- Keep the centre open to maintain light penetration.
- Maintain the vigorous sprouts and remove the weak.
Pruning for Fruit Production
By reducing and thinning out last year’s growth and spur networks, structure and light penetration is encouraged. The tree’s energy is sent to the remaining canopy and the end result is larger, nicely spaced fruit.
If a previously pruned tree has been left for many years, a renovation may be required. This involves making larger cuts with the objectives of reducing the height and opening up the remaining structure to improve fruit accessibility and light penetration. Depending on the tree, this can take a few years to complete. Once the desired structure has been obtained, pruning for fruit becomes the main objective.
Do you understand the difference between a landscaper and an arborist?
The green industry can be confusing. There is a lot of overlap between landscape companies and tree companies. Landscapers offer lawn and garden care. They can give basic tree advice.
An arborist is an individual who is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining trees and shrubs.
Arborists understand how trees integrate into the landscape and around buildings. Arborists are trained in pests and disease that affect your trees. Arborists can care for your trees regardless of their size, climbing to the tops of even very large trees to prune and maintain them.
The certifications you should look for are those of the International Society of Arboriculture. Founded in 1924, the ISA promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. Certified arborists are issued a certification number which can be verified at the ISA website. You should also watch for these logos when hiring:
How do you recognize good tree maintenance? Some basic principles of proper tree care include:
Young Tree Training
Have your trees properly pruned when they are young. This will result in less need for corrective pruning as they mature.
Except for removals, trees should never be climbed with spurs. Spurs damage the tree by creating wounds, entrance points for pests and disease. Learn more about spurless climbing.
Topping is a temporary and ineffective solution that actually makes a tree more hazardous in the long run.
Pruning should not alter the natural form of the tree, as a general rule. A professional should know how to obtain objectives without compromising the aesthetics of the tree.
Minimize excessive regrowth and stress to the tree by only removing up to 25% of the canopy.
Poor pruning can cause damage that lasts for the life of the tree. Take the time to find a tree company that respects your trees.
When faced with the task of hiring a tree service, clients often assume the tree climber will be using spurs. Spurs have been used for many years in the forestry industry. Because the arboriculture industry is newer to the West Coast than the forestry industry and many former foresters have begun working in the urban environment, this is a common misunderstanding.
However, spurs damage trees by leaving wounds open to decay, pests and disease. Spurs should only be used on trees slated for removal. Within the arboriculture industry, the accepted industry standard for climbing and moving around a tree is a method called spurless climbing.
Spurless climbing involves two dynamic rope systems that allow a person to move around a tree’s canopy and to access any part of the tree including the very tips of its branches. Using this system it is possible to properly prune trees no matter their size or location. (Learn more about why it is important to make proper pruning cuts.) Spurless climbing allows the climber to get in position to make those proper cuts without having to stretch, reach or use clumsy gear like pole-pruners and pole-saws.
By contrast, spurs do not allow the climber to access all parts of the tree because the climber on spurs is dependent on his spurs to stay in the tree and thus, must stay near the trunk. Companies that use spurs often get around this mobility issue by using ladders and boom trucks. Unfortunately, even with ladders and boom trucks the arborist often can’t get close enough to make proper pruning cuts. Large bucket trucks are limited in where they can reach. They can’t drive in on trail systems, tight spaces or on sensitive understory plants in parks and they don’t allow the arborist access to all parts of the tree’s canopy.
As the leaves fall, the beautiful spreading branches of deciduous trees are revealed. Though spurless climbing is suited to all trees, this time of year allows an excellent opportunity to view the natural form of deciduous trees and gives an idea of how a spurless climber might get around a large spreading canopy. A spurless climber can move around the tree using hands, feet and relying on their harness and ropes. The harness has a seat (similar to a window washer’s harness) as opposed to a traditional forestry-style belt that requires the climbers to put all of his weight on his spurs. Using this system it is possible to properly prune trees no matter their size or location.
Spurless climbing is fast, effective, safe, and doesn’t interfere with the tree’s health.
To protect your trees’ health and longevity, GROW Tree Care arborists specialize in spurless climbing. Whether you have young trees or heritage trees, we will prune them properly, quickly and safely with minimal impact to the trees’ health.