Winter 2010 - Spring Cleaning Feels Good

By: Anthony C. Arnoldi, Board-Certified Master Arborist WI-0102B

Spring Newsletter in Adobe PDF format There is something about spring that motivates you. Things are warming up, color is returning, and the hibernation sluggishness begins to wane. The increasing energy makes me look around and take notice of all of the things that accumulate and fill various nooks and crannies (and even more) around the house,garage and yard. Piles of unread magazines, paperwork and mail needing to be dealt with; a faulty Christmas decoration; a few boxes of clutter in the garage; a broken bird feeder that needs to be thrown out; fallen branches and litter caught in the bushes that need to be cleaned up are all representative of the job before me. Sure, it takes some effort, but it sure feels good to be rid of the weight of all that from my to-do list, and things just shine and sparkle a bit more!

Trees, too, need cleaning. They naturally accumulate the clutter from years of growth and the results of years of the hardships of life. Insects attack, weaken and kill branches. Fungal diseases account for many dead limbs, and internal decay fungi spread to weaken many more that are vulnerable to storm weather. Many waves of storms each year cause many branches to split or crack, providing fungi and insects even more opportunities. Growth in trees often is crowded or misdirected, causing weakness and vulnerability. Too much shade from a toodense canopy or a neighboring tree canopy causes branches to die. Once a branch is dead and remains in the canopy, it attracts insects to it, and the resulting decay will spread fungi deeper into the tree.

Our Certified Arborists expertly employ the ANSI A300 pruning standard for this kind of cleanup need. It is called crown cleaning and is aptly named. We clean out the branches that have various fungal canker diseases starting because we have the expertise and knowledge to recognize them. The same goes for damaging insects and recognizing the signs that they leave.

Understanding tree structure and biology enables good decisions to be made about what branches detract from structure or health. Storm damage is detected and removed. A branch diameter such as 1/2, 3/4, 1 inch, etc., is specified for the individual tree, so that the intensity of pruning will exactly correspond to the need. (A specification of 1/2 means that dead, diseased, etc. branches over 1/2 inches in diameter will be pruned out).

Trees improve so much from the cleaning! The pruning leaves them clean of the diseased branches that were festering. Removing damaged and inferior branches is like a big weight lifted off! It leaves the tree healthier, safer, and more beautiful. Stress is reduced, value and appearance are enhanced. Future growth is off to a better start and tree energy is re-allocated to optimum growth and defense. This is so important to having and maintaining a tree in your yard that can be trusted and that yields all the benefits of shade and property enrichment that we come to expect for many years to come.

Spring cleaning is a necessary ritual that uplifts our spirits and improves our environs. It is a good time to assess our treescapes and get out the clutter that bogs them down. Our properties can then shine with pride!

© Copyright 2009 – Wachtel Tree Science & Service, Inc.

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