Monday, February 25, 2013

The Forgotten Art of Tree Climbing

Climbing trees is something that most of us did at some point in our youth, but for today we'll have largely hung up our old tree climbing shoes for a more grounded existence. This is something of a shame however when tree climbing can offer so many benefits. At the very least it's something you should pass on to your children, but why not give it a go yourself again? Here we'll look at why you should and how to go about it.
Benefits of Tree Climbing
Tree climbing is one of those rare activities that you can enjoy outside and that you can have fun with without giving yourself eyestrain (in other words it doesn't involve a computer or a television). At the same time it's also very healthy in a number of other ways - the most obvious of course being that it can help with muscle development by training your dynamic strength and your 'strength to weight ratio'. When you pull yourself up a tree branch you're doing the equivalent of either a chin up or a pull up, whereas when you push up with your legs it's the equivalent of a lunge or a squat. Combine this with the grip strength and forearm training, and the core stability and you have a great all over workout that's particularly good for generally toning and giving you the kind of strength and agility that can translate to sports prowess.
On top of this tree climbing is just a lot of fun. Unlike spending time in the gym, it means you get to be outside and to enjoy a good view, and it's something you can do with your kids. You could even add a tree house for them.
How to Get Into Tree Climbing
Building a tree house then is one option if you want to encourage your kids to climb the trees or give yourself a good excuse too. At the same time though you also need to of course make sure that you grow some trees in your garden that will be tall enough and strong enough in the first place to hold your weight and to allow for your climbing and jumping around in them.
Another important thing is to make sure that you get the tree pruned and kept under control. This means cutting away stray branches that are growing into the fences and keeping them relatively short. By keeping the trees fairly short you can avoid letting your children climb too high and potentially putting themselves at danger (of course you should never let them climb without supervision) and by keeping the branches shorter and the tree healthy you can avoid branches breaking off which can be dangerous.
The easiest way to climb any tree is to get in close to it and to stand on the base of the branches to push yourself up. Branches are surprisingly strong, and even the thin ones that bend a lot are unlikely to snap if you stand right on the base where they connect to the trees.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spring Gardening Tips : Spring Gardening: Pruning Fruit Trees

Trimming and pruning fruit trees during spring gardening stimulates the tree and opens up space in the middle to grow

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tree Care Advice - Some Basic Dos and Don'ts for Tree Owners

Some advice for long-term tree health for homeowners. The following article is an excerpt from the information section of our website.
Don't top your trees
The buds at the tips of shoots in trees are hormonally controlled. Those on lateral branches are controlled to grow outward, toward light (phototropic). Those on tree tops are controlled to grow upwards against gravity(geotropic). When topping cuts are made and the geotropic buds are removed, the tree switches the hormonal signals to the buds at the tips of the upper lateral branches to start growing against gravity. Some species of trees will also trigger dormant buds that lay under the bark (epicormic) of the tree to release and grow geotropically, known as watersprouts.
Either type of newly recruited geotropic buds will grow many times faster than those of the original top, often quickly reattaining the height of the original top. The result is a new top far larger and much more dense than the original. At this point, any benefit of the topping cut is undone and the original issue is more of a problem than before.... but it gets worse:
Trees are rarely able to close off wounds from topping cuts fast enough to stop decay fungi from entering the open area. As the newly recruited tops curve upward and put on rapid growth, the area around their point of attachment to the trunk becomes progressively more decayed inside, thus weakening the new tops' attachment, already weak because of the two 90-degree turns from the stem.
The obvious result of many large new tops with weak attachment points is a tree that can become very hazardous.
Accordingly, many of our municipalities prohibit topping in their tree bylaws, unless it is for hazard reduction in previously topped trees.
Don't pile soil or other debris over your tree's root system
Tree roots require air to survive. On the other hand, too much air will desiccate roots and kill them. As roots grow outward, they achieve a delicate balance of air, moisture, and nutrient supply in the soil, with the fine absorbing roots usually being found in the top few inches. When extra soil is piled over a tree's rooting area, it decreases the amount of oxygen that can get to these roots, often killing them. This also renders the lower soil environment more favourable to root decay fungi which, in serious infections, can cause the entire tree to fall over. Adding as little as two inches of soil to the rooting area can be enough to kill a mature tree.
Don't over prune your trees
While some orchardists rely on heavy pruning to maintain a heavy fruit yield, this is not a suitable practice for most homeowners. Orchard trees are grown specifically for fruit production and not for aesthetic value. Such pruning practices severely reduce a tree's life expectancy, compromise structural form, and come at heavy maintenance cost due to excessive sprouting. Heavy fruit crops are a symptom of stress, and such trees are pruned so as to stress them.
Trees grown for ornamental value, as is the case in most yards should normally not have more than 25% of the leafy area removed in a year. Keeping within such limits, while making proper cuts, can keep a tree healthy and maintain an attractive form. This can be done while, at the same time, maintaining a decent yield of fruit, if so desired. Pruning is all about balance.
Don't fertilize unless you know your tree needs it
Any nutrient becomes toxic when there is too much of it in the soil. Because trees are much longer-lived than most other garden plants, they keep a delicate equilibrium between growth rates and other physiological functions and moisture and nutrient levels in their environment. Upsetting this balance by adding concentrated nutrients can have unintended and unwanted growth reactions in trees. If a tree shows symptoms of nutrient deficiency, it is best to have the soil tested before trying to amend the soil. If fertilizer is required, it is best to use an organic form, in which nutrients are released at a slower rate and are therefore less likely to cause fertilizer burn than a synthetic variety. The easiest way to gently amend your soil, is to allow a tree to take back its own nutrients, by allowing leaves to compost themselves on-site.
Don't over water your trees
While trees do need water to survive, too much water can kill them. Roots need access to air through soil pores, which can be cut off by oversaturated soil. Roots in oversaturated soil will eventually die. Wet conditions are also very favourable to many of the fungi responsible for tree decay, especially for root rot fungi, which can result in the entire tree falling over.
Don't get in over your head
If you are considering working on your trees and something seems unsafe, it probably is. There is a lot of weight involved and a lot of forces at play even in fairly small trees, and many homeowners are seriously injured or worse yearly when trying to do work they are improperly equipped for. If unsure, call an expert.
If you are considering working on your trees and aren't familiar with proper pruning techniques, trees' growth responses to pruning or damage, or the needs and limitations of the particular species of tree in question, it is wise to call an expert. Short-term savings on doing work one's self are often dwarfed by the long-tem cost of attempting to repair a tree from improper pruning.
Do know the species of your trees, and the personalities of those species
Each species of tree has its own specific needs and habits. Knowing these ahead of time can help you avoid actions that will harm your tree, or prevent you from planting the right tree in the wrong spot in the first place. Western redcedar (Thuja plicata) has a shallow, spreading root system that allows its roots to survive the wet environments it grows in naturally. This species would be inappropriate for a fast-draining hilltop, or a site where heavy traffic is expected over the rooting area. Most birches (Betula spp.) are likewise adapted to wetter growing sites, often naturally growing along creeks or in gullies. This is one reason we see a lot of otherwise beautiful birch trees in Vancouver planted in fast-draining lawns with dead tops. Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), the bearer of our provincial flower, is very sensitive to damp conditions and stagnant airflow, and will often quickly die in such conditions from dogwood anthracnose.
Knowing the average mature size and spread of a tree is of utmost importance in choosing its planting location. Every year, we are called to remove otherwise beautiful, healthy trees, that have been planted in the wrong spot and are damaging buildings.
Do plant trees in appropriate spots
This goes along with knowing your species... We are surrounded by temperate rainforest full of beautiful trees. Where there is room for them to grow, large native species such as Douglas-fir, western redcedar, western hemlock, grand fir, and bigleaf maple can be marvelous assets to a yard. The same goes with stately exotic trees such as black walnut, beech, or elm. However, property owners frequently don't take mature form into consideration when planting seedlings, or allowing naturally seeded trees to grow in place.
A bit of planning while a tree is small can reduce the need for expensive removals down the road, along with the loss of an otherwise beautiful tree. Trees that grow large also tend to grow surprisingly rapidly.
Do water your trees if they need it
Trees growing in our region have acclimatized to our rainy environment. Established trees should have no problem dealing with a week or two of drought when we do get dry breaks. However, prolonged droughts can unnecessarily stress your trees, reducing their vigour and thereby reducing their resistance to pathogens. Trees benefit most from infrequent (no more than twice a week) deep watering than from regular short bursts with a sprinkler. They do not like their trunks being sprayed directly by a sprinkler, rather a gentle soaking of the soil around the root area, ideally with a soaker hose. Watering is most effective in the evenings, as during the day much of the water is effectively lost to evaporation before roots can absorb it.
Do have limbs pruned back from your house
It is beneficial to prune tree limbs growing towards walls and roofs early on to establish a form that will require little maintenance in the future, and provide adequate clearance from buildings. Branches coming within 3 ft. of roofs or eves invite squirrels and rats onto rooftops, where they can gain access inside through roof vents, often nesting in attic space. This is a common problem in the Greater Vancouver area.
Dense branches over roofs and walls also limit airflow and promote a moist environment for moss and lichen to grow. Judicious pruning can promote increased airflow to keep walls and roofs clean, while maintaining the healthy form of trees.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Emergency Project! 150 foot Douglas Fir falls onto two story estate in N...

Signature Tree Service responds quickly to a client who had her 150 foot Douglas Fir fall into her home on a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Even thriving trees can use a little professional TLC from time to time!!

Even thriving trees can use a little professional TLC from time to time. Hire a tree trimming service to keep your trees looking their best.
The trees in your yard add beauty and character to your landscape. Whether you have a few mighty oaks, a long row of pines, or an array of ornamental cherry trees, you want to ensure that your trees look their best and reflect well on both your property and you as the property owner. Well-maintained trees can add value to the land and make your yard a truly pleasant place to be.
But aesthetics are only one reason to consider hiring a tree trimming service for tree maintenance. Regular trimming and pruning can boost your trees' health, helping them grow taller and stronger. Tree care can also ensure the safety of everyone who uses the yard, as well as protecting your property from tree-related damage due to falling limbs. Look for a tree services professional in your area with the knowledge, skill, and training to take all of these considerations into account.
Tree Appearance
If you put effort into maintaining your home's exterior, from regular paint jobs and clean windows to a mowed lawn, why wouldn't you also take steps to maintain your landscape elements? Well-groomed trees show that you care about your property. Of course, tree trimming doesn't have to mean pruning each tree into an identical shape, unless you're going for a topiary effect. It's often enough to remove limbs that are dead or unsightly, and to trim back any branches that are in the way of your windows, vehicles, utility lines, or other landscape features. Whether you want an extremely groomed look or desire a wilder aesthetic, tree trimming will help you achieve that effect.
Tree Health
Tree trimming service isn't just good for your property's appearance; it's also good for the trees. Removing diseased and insect-infested branches and limbs can keep problems from spreading to the entire tree. Additionally, dying and diseased limbs can sap nutrients from the healthy part of the plant, and thus removing limbs that can't be saved can make the entire tree stronger. Thinning out crowded branches and getting rid of limbs that are rubbing together can also strengthen the tree, making it better able to withstand storms and other natural events. However, it's best to hire a professional tree contractor to conduct pruning and trimming, because improper tree cutting-even with good intentions-can harm the tree and stunt its growth.
Tree Safety
Heavy limbs, improperly balanced limbs, and limbs that are about to snap pose a hazard to your family and your belongings. The last thing you want is to ignore that dangling branch only to have it fall and land on your car, your home, or your child. Even if there's nothing directly beneath the problem area, a strong storm could blow a broken branch or limb into a building or vehicle. Hiring a tree services professional to take a look at potentially dangerous limbs can help you avoid injury and property loss.
Trees are a major element of any landscaping plan, whether you choose to plant them yourself or you design your yard and home around existing trees. As such, they're an investment in your property, and as with any investment, they require upkeep. Professional pruning and trimming will make your trees healthier and your property safer and more attractive. You'll also potentially save money by preventing major issues rather than dealing with them after disaster strikes. To learn more about what's best for your trees, contact a tree contractor or landscape specialist in your area.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Tree Trimming - Why You May Not Be Cut Out for the Job

Trees are generally regarded as an important addition to a household. Besides adding beauty to any home, they provide shade for those hot summer days, and add a sense of privacy and value to the property. With such a great asset comes needed maintenance and as odd as a tree trimming service may sound it may just be right what you need. After all, growing trees in your own manner is not without its disadvantages.

Trees growing in a relatively large scale can cause problems for most homes. Some electrical problems occur when power lines get caught with tree branches. Imagine a power outage caused by a single tree. Having your trees pruned or trimmed regularly keeps this inconvenient incident from happening while at the same time still having a beautiful yard. But with branches close to power lines, who would want to get too close to that? It's in these cases where you need to find skilled experts to handle tasks that may prove to be too dangerous for you.

In some cases, trees provide for additional protection from strong and cruel weather such as hailstorms and what not. But a damaged tree can cause bigger problems when they fall apart due to deterioration. A fragile tree is never a good thing as this does not just cause damage of your property but could also cause harm on yourself or family as well. Good fences make good neighbors but a tree over on the next backyard may cause quite a dilemma. Expert tree services not just get rid of unwanted branches on your lawn but would also have the know-how to determine whether or not your tree is still healthy or needs to be removed. Because though trees may look relatively well on the outside, they could be rotting away on the inside. You'll never know when the next storm will come.

Unless you're a skilled professional, trimming trees on your own can be difficult, not to mention dangerous task. You have to know the best time to trim down your trees as the right period varies depending on the type of tree you have on your yard. Knowing the right techniques when it comes to cutting down branches is also crucial. Cutting too short may prove useless but cutting too much might allow diseases to enter the tree's system. You have to be consider proper methods as new growth might behave unpredictably if cut in the wrong manner. Overall, if you try too hard without the right skill set, you might just do the tree more damage as opposed to letting it be.

Having the right tools also count, but not as much as knowing how to use them. Ladders are never advisable to use when trimming trees and climbing up a tree with equipment in hand is definitely a no-no. Forget about trimming your tree without the necessary protection equipment. Falling branches, flying splinters and other unexpected debris may hurt you. Also, some equipment has dangerous consequences if you don't know how to handle them. Chainsaws for example causes kickbacks if used improperly and kickbacks wont just injure you severely, it can kill you too.

When fortune frowns and you do find your old tree broken and lying in your driveway, do not try to solve the problem by yourself. Unless you have enough manpower and the right type of equipment, clearing a wooded lot is not a simple task. And suppose you have these, there would still be something tree contractors have that can make all the difference, insurance. Besides hiring the professionals with the right know-how and tools to get the job done will not just lighten the load physically, it will also leave your mind at ease in case something goes terribly wrong.

Yes we appreciate the presence of nature in our daily lives but everything must blend together well to form a comforting and pleasing environment. Everything must be well preserved and continuously maintained otherwise beauty will fade into nuisance. And though sometimes it is our jobs to take responsibility for it, there are matters that we have to rest in someone else's hands to make sure it doesn't just get done, but it gets finished the right, safe and efficient way possible.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Importance of Having a Tree Service

Do you have some old branch hanging around your house? Do you have some trees that need some trimming? Why would you need this kind of things to be done? Simply because, an old tree branch can come falling down on the roof of your house or any person below it. It is also very hard to clean a lawn that is full of dried leaves because of the tree in your backyard. Here are some other things you need to know why having a regular tree service could be important
First, some trees tend to have old branches that can fall off any moment. This can cause an accident when someone might be standing under the tree and a branch falls off. It can also damage a part of your house if the branch is hanging just above your house. Having a regular tree service to cut down old branches lessens the risk of accidents caused by falling branches. It can also help the tree grow a new branch which will be much sturdier than the one that has been cut.
Another reason why it is important to have this kind of service is that it adds aesthetic value to your garden or tree. Those offering the services are also well skilled when it comes to designing your garden or trees. Having your trees trimmed in your desired shaped like a heart, a horse or even a cube shape really amazes people who see it.
The most important thing about having a tree service is that it helps your trees become livelier and even makes it healthy. Some trees are like dying due to certain conditions like the weather, pollution and the likes. One way to keep them as healthy looking as they were, you need some tree services which will take care of your trees. Some service providers even use fertilizers that can help the tree grow as healthy as it can.
There are other things why people hire tree services. Some of them might do it just for the sake of having a safe environment while others tend to keep their trees and garden as beautiful as they want. It might cost a lot more than doing the service yourself, but you can be assured that the services will be done in a professional way. Just make sure you find someone reliable and who can really produce high quality results instead of having the service to be done again by someone else.

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