February 13, 2013
This morning I was heart-broken to learn that a life of 140+ year old Ginkgo tree was taken – for no good reason. Rather, it was murdered by way of ineptitude.
Yep, by way of The Garden Professors, I read that an amazing Ginkgo tree was cut down by a contractor in Washington DC. (You’ll notice the report doesn’t credit the work to an arborist, let alone even give them a term like “tree worker.” Somebody instead apparently hired this out to somebody with a chainsaw and no good sense.)
A few years ago my sister and I were on vacation in Washington and decided to walk through the city from Georgetown to the Mall. Along the way, a giant Ginkgo tree caught my eye. Although I can’t be 100% certain that this tree is the one that was reportedly chopped down, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t. The tree we saw is pictured to the right, and it was huge and gorgeous. And, yes, it was in the same park/square where they cut down a Ginkgo that likely was the largest and oldest of its kind in the capitol.
Oh, and apparently, they were supposed to cut down sick Ash tree. (Perhaps that’s the very same Ash in green behind me in the photo.) Not sure how in the world a tree professional would mistake one for the other. They’re incredibly different looking trees — even during the dormant months. But, then again, this was a “contractor”. Nobody said anything about hiring a tree professional to do the right job.
And with that, I’ll end my rant with this: Never let someone who isn’t a certified horticulturist with proven plant identification knowledge get anywhere close to your beloved plants. Or, you may lose a treasure that can never be replaced.
November 27, 2012
Every year around the end of November, I receive an inquiry from a client or reader who is looking for sustainable Christmas tree options, particularly ones that will recycle and/or replant Christmas trees in restoration programs after the holidays. So, I’ve compiled the following list to help you get started finding programs that help take your holiday greens from field to family to forest:
The questions I receive remind me to check in on various programs that allow you to enjoy a living tree and then recycle it by planting it in a restoration area — and yes, with some programs you return the tree and someone else manages the heavy planting work for you. This can be a fantastic option when you consider that traditional Christmas trees like Noble Firs and Douglas Firs mature much too large for smaller residential landscapes.
Some of these tree-cycling programs provide traditional Firs; others have more eclectic tree offerings based on native trees that are needed in local restoration projects. And, some of these programs encourage you to sponsor a memorial tree or bench or other needed park item instead of bringing a tree into your home. These programs help families and friends create living memorial spaces from the get-go. Read on to learn more about tree programs before you hit the tree lots this year: (more…)
April 24, 2012
The U.S. Forest Service is challenging U.S. urban citizens to photograph our neighborhood forests, which contribute to the “more than 100 million acres of urban and community forests” that are, in their words, “the hardest working trees in America.”
Whether we snap a picture of trees lining our streets, capture a stately specimen in our gardens or feature bud break in a nearby park, we can join others in illustrating the beauty of forests of the United States. Plus, we can enter up to two photographs for a chance to win some pretty cool gear from the National Forest Foundation.
Get the contest details, follow the action and enter your photos here.
(Thanks to our contributing arborist Katy Bigelow of Bainbridge Island for bringing this event to our attention!)
April 20, 2012
One of my favorite Pacific Northwest native plants has to be Ribes sanguineum. In mid-April they’re in full glory, so now’s the time to sing their praises!
This medium size shrub reaches about ten feet tall at maturity. And although it doesn’t get large, it also doesn’t take it long to grow to size in the garden. (Hint: that means you can buy a small one and only have a couple of years to wait until it gets big.) (more…)
April 18, 2011
When we prune trees as they are are exiting dormancy, sometimes we see the trees leaking fluid from the cuts. And, that’s okay.
In spring, when trees begin to leaf out, their vascular systems become very active. Water and nutrients begin to travel up from the roots quite readily. Think about tapping Sugar Maples to get delicious Maple syrup. This is done in early spring when “the sap is rising”. That’s the same thing that happens, though perhaps without the same tasty flavor, when our garden trees show seeping moisture from our pruning cuts. Don’t worry about the plant “bleeding” from cuts. It is already working to wall off the points of injury and should be just fine.
Now, two things you do want to consider when pruning trees with rising sap.
First, some trees, like Birch may end up showing oozy stains from the rising sap trickling down their otherwise lovely bark. Some choose not to prune birch and other showy bark trees this time of year.
Second, be sure that what you see oozing is actually just “rising sap”. If your tree has cracks in bark or strange fissures emitting gunky, gelatinous oozes, that may actually be a fungal infection spreading its spores. If in doubt, be sure to have an arborist check it out!
February 02, 2011
If you’re in Seattle, you may be noticing a lot of little flags popping up like mushrooms in parking strips all over town. The first time I saw them, I thought someone was installing an irrigation system in their hell strip. On closer inspection, I realized the Seattle Department of Transportation and City Arborist office are marking locations for new street trees.
The flags themselves don’t give a lot of detail on the project. They do say to call 684-TREE for more information. I called the number, which lands at the Urban Forestry Information line. Among the myriad of menu options is nothing I could discern providing insightful details about the little white flags. I Googled the phone number and landed on this page about “Creating a Thriving Business District” (through adding trees). Interesting, but still not to the point. Most of the flags I’m seeing are in residential settings.
So I’m curious? Anyone know if the city is laying out locations for new trees they’ll be planting? Do homeowners by these hell strips have any say about the project, the location of the trees, the kind of tree, whether they want a tree or even the care of the trees going in?
I’m all for more trees. But, I have seen a few flags popped into spots in these parking strips that trigger one of my parking strip designer pet peeves. Why in the world would you plant a tree directly in line with a main path to a front door? Why not offset it just a bit?
And what happens if the homeowner doesn’t want a tree? Maybe they’ve got plans to put in an edible garden in the hell strip? What can they do — just pull out the flag and hope a tree doesn’t suddenly arrive?
I’m on a bit of a rant, I suppose. I’m tired of seeing notices on any number of topics that send inquiring minds off on a wild goose chase. And, this seems like one of those. So help me out here — anyone have the scoop on the little white tree flag project in Seattle?