It looks like a science lab here at Blue River Forestry & Tree Care. Dale is one of our ISA Certified Arborists and also one of our specialist in compost tea brewing. Compost tea, as featured in so many of our articles is the heart of soil revitalization and root structure enhancement. The difference in our compost tea is that it is aerated from the start in the brewer, to the finished application on your trees, garden or lawn. The aeration or constant supply of oxygen allows for the micro herd of beneficial live organisms to multiply and take life in your soil structure. Compost tea is packed with soluble nutrients as well, combined with the living organisms you have a recipe for nutrient packed power soil, and your trees will love you for it!
Trees add more than just aesthetic beauty to the landscapes of our local schools. Trees offer shade, a place to cool down after a game of tag, a spot for snack, and an outdoor classroom for science. Our children play under these trees everyday. Trees are our outdoor classrooms, and providing a community school with vital tree care was important to us. Author Maggie Barker of Treasure in the City said, ” The goal is that children will fall in love with trees and see how important they are to the beauty and health of our lives. In fact, trees and children have something in common: They are both full of life and a source of beauty and renewal.” Providing Uni Hill Elementary School with a volunteer tree care day was an honor for us, knowing that each time a child plays under these trees, they will be safe and be able to enjoy the beauty, knowledge and power of their existence.
This title should really read May freeze, since last week temps dropped into the low 20’s and we were hit with a foot of snow. For most this meant cover the tomatoe plants and hope for the best, but what about the trees, we can’t very well pick them up and put them in the garage for the night. So what do you do for your trees when you live in Boulder and it snows in May. Here are 5 simple steps to getting your trees on the right path for vital growth. Healthy trees are less prone to damage from late freeze, so it is important to maintain good structural growth and health maintaince.
1. Evaluate tree damage. New growth after freeze can come back and cause damaged weak branches that will break. Call a professional arborist to evaulate and have your tree’s crown propertly trimmed. A crown clean will remove dead, dying,diseased, weakly attached and low vigor branches from the crown of the tree.
2. Fertilize your trees for soil enrichment and root health. Aerated Compost Tea fertilization has many benefits providing soluable nutrients as well as living beneficial mirco organisms. Enriching the soil will promote the uptake of vital nutrients and water to assist in strong regrowth after a late freeze.
3. Check for root collar disorders. Root color excavation may be needed for trees whose roots are in heavily compacted soil.
I have never met a group of people who love their jobs more than arborists do. If you ask anyone on our staff what their dream job is, they will say their doing it. Tree care is not just a job though, it’s a passion. A passion that is rewarded in the beauty of nature, the empowerment of caring for a living being that carries the knowledge of 100 years of history. Trees are living, breathing, memory creating pieces of our families, our communities and our earth. They deserve the very best care possible, and to do that we must be educated—educated to know the proper methods in which to care for trees, and to promote sustainable practices that will better their environment, and promote their growth and in return they will share with us their gifts. When you find a heart in the branch of an Ash tree, you must know that trees grow from love.
A common misconception about the function of a tree’s root system is that the root system produces the food for the tree. Food production for a plant is done in the photosynthetic process which happens in the foliage. The root system of the tree is responsible for the absorption and transportation of essential minerals and water to the rest of the tree, including to the leaves to assist in photosynthesis. Roots are storage containers of energy reserves, this is why stumps of removed trees may have sucker growth. The root system is also responsible for securing the tree’s space in the soil, healthy roots with ample supply of minerals and water will extend far out and deep in the soil. The healthier the soil, means a healthy root system which provides a more secure holding for the tree. In high Colorado winds this is a must.
Compost tea is food for soil, which in return benefits the nutrient and microbe uptake in the tree’s root system. The roots pipeline the essential nutrients to other areas of the tree to be used in food production. Mineral elements are the basic building blocks for new growth and cellular function. Dry weather and dry soil can result in soil compaction which decreases the availability of water, minerals and oxygen. Soil compaction can also inhibit root growth. Without oxygen the naturally occurring beneficial fungi and bacteria in the soil decrease. This is where the benefits of compost tea come in. Compost tea is made in an aerated brewer with constant oxygen and water to enhance the reproduction of the beneficial bacteria and fungi that is applied to the soil. A tree’s root system can extend out past the diameter of the tree’s crown, anchoring the tree while in search of minerals and water. However, soil compaction can inhibit root system growth, therefore creating shortened fine roots, leaving our trees vulnerable to uprooting in the high Colorado winds. This is why it is important to not only treat the immediate area around the base of the tree, but to also apply the compost tea around a large surface area.
Compost tea is made to replenish the soil and act as a natural fertilizer to restore balance to the soil environment. It does not over nourish or push a large amount of one nutrient. Nitrogen for instance in compost tea is organically bound and therefore released slowly in the soil, mimicking the soil’s natural process. A slow growth rate will help the tree maintain healthier and stronger foliage, as well as sturdy roots.
There are many benefits of compost tea including increasing the tree’s ability to fight off pest and diseases. The beneficial organisms in compost tea will prevent disease causing organisms from finding the tree by protecting any infection sites. The trees treated with compost tea will retain more water as nutrient rich soil has improved water retention. This benefit is especially important in Boulder, where we can go weeks without rain water. Compost tea is a wonderful solution to enriching your soil, improving your trees overall vitality and to keeping Boulder “green.”
Winter is generally not a time when we think of fruit and flowers, as every thing is carefully resting in its dormant period. However, this is the best time to trim your flowering and fruiting species. These species of trees are prone to diseases like bacterial leaf spot and fire blight which are both contagious and inclined to spread to surrounding trees. Trimming during dormancy will contain the spread of these diseases and eliminate recurrence of the disease in the blooming period to follow.
Each species of tree has its own problems. Elms contract Elm Scale, Pines get Pine Beetle, Locusts are prone to thryonectria, and flowering trees get fire blight. All trees no matter the species are more prone to contracting a disease or pest problem if the tree is under stress. The best way to boost your tree’s immune system is to make sure your tree is not wasting it’s vital energy trying to
heal from storm damaged crack limbs, torn bark, or from mechanical damage to the root system.
Having your fruit trees properly trimmed at the proper time will not only protect your tree from pest infestation, its branches will be able to withstand the weight of the fruit. Trimming off dead, dying, diseased, or weakly attached branches will lighten the fruit load and protect branches from breaking. It will remove branches that will develop competing small fruit leaving the strong, dominant branches more room to grow, resulting in more and larger mature fruit developing.
Thinning the canopy of your fruit tree will also allow more light and air penetration for developing fruit. It leaves the remaining laterals and branches more room for vigorous growth and will prevent premature fruit dropping. Flowering species such as Mountain Ash trees, and ornamental fruit trees need this extra care to prevent cracked limbs and improper leafing. Leaves are photosynthetic “factories” that create food for their trees. You want the best branches to produce the most leaves to feed the tree, and eliminate dead and dying branches that are interfering with the proper absorption of sunlight to begin the photosynthetic process. Crown thinning and pruning will create a perfect kitchen in the branches of your trees.
The first step to eliminating a future pest or disease problem is to promote healthy growth in your trees. Proper pruning at the proper time may be all your tree needs to produce the sweetest smelling flowers or the most delicious fruit. Winter is a great time to care for your fruiting and flowering tree species and you will see the rewards come blossom time.
In some years our kids will be sledding every weekend and in other years we are lucky to get to go sledding at all.
A common misconception about tree care is that tree care is only necessary during warm months in spring and summer, then falls off with the leaves during autumn and winter.
Most homeowners will water during summer, but once the irrigation is turned off for the season the weekend waterings stop.
Winter watering trees, especially large trees with mature root systems, is important for their health and longevity.
Here are some winter watering tips:
- Place mulch rings in the fall. Mulch rings will help retain moisture in the soil and protect exposed roots from freezing.
- Check temperatures. Make sure you are watering when the temperatures will be above 40 degrees to allow the water to soak into the soil before the night temperature drops.
- Water approximately 10 gallons of water per diameter inch of the tree trunk. A 10” diameter trunk will need 100 gallons of water. Deep root watering to 12” below the surface is best.
- Winter watering should be done approximately two times a month, always dependent on weather, snow fall and soil moisture.
- Call an expert. When in doubt call in a professional ISA certified arborist to discuss winter care of your trees and to help you set up a care plan.
It is important to properly prune your trees during drought periods to remove dead and weakened limbs, improve structure, limb stability and to promote health and longevity for resistance against pests.
Drought adds additional stress on trees and without proper watering you may see less leafing out in the spring, more broken branches, and it is possible for iron chlorisis to develop because of a suffering root structure. A suffering root structure compromises the tree’s ability to take up iron and other nutrients.
Winter watering is an important component of tree maintenance procedures and can help your trees get off to a good start each spring.
The urban soil environment plays a large role in the crown health and over all vitality of your trees. Providing a spacious area for your trees root systems may not be easy. We have houses, sidewalks, garages, and other trees that all need space in our limited urban sites. Within these space limitations we must do all that we can to make a small space feel big. The soil in Colorado, especially in Boulder where snow during the winter months can be a hit-or-miss situation, is dry. Many times the tree’s roots will be shallow, and become surface roots trying to absorb what ever moisture is in the ground.
Natural surface soil tends to hold the most water and nutrients. It is generally considered to be the best soil structure because of this. Mechanical damage is detrimental to trees. Lawnmowers and weed whackers damage roots and this affects overall growth in the crown of the tree. “Lawnmower-itis” is a typical aliment urban trees suffer from. Poor, dehydrated, nutrient starved soil can result in poor root development and reduced tree growth. It is not easy to add organic material and till soil around a tree that has been there 30 years. With proper tools in the hands of a certified professional, the soil can be loosened and organic matter can be added without root damage.
Compost tea, decomposed and recycled organic matter that when broken down is full of beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes. It replenishes the soil and acts as a natural fertilizer to restore balance to the plant and it’s soil environment. It sounds delicious if you’re a tree! We re-pot house plants to give them a replenishment of nutrients and food for growth. This isn’t possible for trees. Large trees can pull nutrients from soil quickly. Most trees are surrounded by grass in our yards. Grass requires completely different soil chemistry, so when you fertilize your lawn you end up changing the nutrient soil compatibility for your trees.
Lawn fertilizer will leave your grass lush and full, but your trees will be left feeling hungry. Compost tea has soluble nutrients and other great benefits that can support soil composition and root
growth resulting in more a productive crown. Maintaining a natural, balanced state is the goal for soil replenishment, not to over-nourish.
Mulch, mulch, mulch!
Replacing grass around trees with native mulch is beneficial to the soil and adds protection from mechanical damage to surface root systems. On our website you can find several references and articles about the benefits of native mulch and how much we love mulch for landscapes, flower beds, and most of all for your trees.
Balanced soil is an important part of a tree’s health support system. Poor soil, and damaged roots can contribute to stress factors. It can reduce a tree’s natural ability to defend itself from pests and can lead to decline. Restoring balance to the soil will create a long-term positive change in the health of your trees from roots to crown.
Request a consultation today for a free evaluation of your tree’s health.
The Cottonwood tree leaning over your house has kept worry at the back of your mind for too long now.
You keep pondering if one of these high Boulder winds is going to bring your tree crashing down on your house.
Your next worry is, how can this tree be removed safely?
Crane removals are becoming more common in the tree care industry for exactly this reason; safety!
Not only does the assistance of the crane make the removal-time more efficient, the crane also eliminates falling limbs and wood pieces. The crane allows for the removal of large pieces of wood off the property without foot traffic from hauling brush and debris.
There are advantages to using a crane. Quite often, if crane assistance is possible, it will reduce the price of your removal.
The only way to know if your tree removal is possible with crane assistance is to meet with an ISA certified company, with crane assistance experience.
Crane removals are highly technical and should only be done by a skilled, knowledgeable professional.
Please visit our homepage to see a crane removal time lapse video done by our very own highly skilled certified Arborist and owner of Blue River Forestry & Tree Care, Dustin Brown RM #2444A.
With Thanksgiving just a day away, we begin to ponder the ingredients of our lives which we are thankful for. The pre meal, clockwise, table turns of thankfulness for health, loved ones and wonderful children, for the turkey, the pie and the sweet blueberries of life. As our turn at the table approaches we would like to send out our deepest gratitude and appreciation for trees, all trees, all species.
I lived in Breckenridge, Colorado for some time and sometimes through the hustle and bustle of life, one forgets how beautiful a place really is. As I hurried the children about, in and out of carseats and through the crowded streets, I overheard a young woman. I guess it wasn’t overhearing as she was yelling at the height of her lung capacity, “It’s like the world is breathing, and I can see it!” I stopped dead in my tracks, needing to experience what she was witnessing. I looked to her and then followed her gaze as she admired and became completely engulfed as she stared over the frost covered mountain of trees, glistening as though they were sprinkled at the tips with diamonds.
The sun was hitting the snow on the tips of the trees, it looked like a valley of twinkling Christmas trees and the sight alone took my breath away. Trees bring the world simple, natural beauty, and are a breath of fresh air, as they are living, breathing elements that stand to remind us that the earth really does breathe. I am thankful for the beauty trees bring to this world.
On top of just being beautiful and regal, trees bring us so much more to be thankful for. Trees create oxygen, and absorb air pollutants. Their leaves filter the air we breathe, and they take part in creating a better ozone. The saying goes, “Plant a tree today, for a better tomorrow.” The more trees we have the better air we breathe, so let’s give thanks to trees…the world’s natural air filters.
What would a park be without trees? Not really a park at all. Trees create community. They make a place of gathering feel welcoming. We gather in their shade for picnics, use their branches for our children’s swings, make pies for Thanksgiving from their fruits. They are in every part of our lives.
These are just a few among many things trees give us. They provide shelter for animals and people alike. They create shade for our homes, hold soil in place, act as wind breaks and create privacy at our homes. The possibilities are endless, and our thanking of the trees should be as well.
Taking care of your trees with proper arboriculture methods like pruning to prevent storm damage and to promote healthy new growth will help your trees keep on giving.
Request a free estimate today to have your tree’s health evaluated and see how you can give back to your trees this holiday season.