"Stop and Notice Me" said the Pawpaw Tree

Last weekend I was in southern Ohio, working on a personal building project that needs to reach a certain stage of completion while the dry summer weather persists. Usually a time of relaxation, my weekend visits to this site have become slightly stressful due to time constraints. As I moved about the building frame, I kept dodging low branches from several Pawpaw trees growing about the place.

New Video: Our Family-Owned Company

Welcome to Russell Tree Experts. We are a family-owned business located in Westerville, Ohio. We opened our doors in 2005, and our goal - every single day - is to provide the best tree care and arboriculture resources to you. Our office representatives are kind, caring, and eager to answer your questions; Our arborists are highly educated, industry trained, and have years of experience; Our business leaders are always focused on education, safety, and quality of work. Simply put, we believe our employees are the finest in the industry and they are what make our company special.

New ISA Certified Arborists®

Congratulations to Russell Tree Experts employees Jacob Nau, Mike Wilson, and Jay Bevard for passing the ISA Certified Arborist® exam! This exam is challenging, extensive, and a true test of arboriculture knowledge. Jacob, Mike, and Jay put the extra time in the classroom and in the field to prepare themselves for this difficult exam! This is a big deal so comment below to give these gentlemen KUDOS!

The Might Bur Oak

Few species of trees have such a universally recognized name as the Oak. Worldwide, there are some 600 species of Oaks, and in Ohio alone we have over a dozen. Here in Columbus, they tower over the homes of Clintonville, line the streets of Upper Arlington, and bathe the yards of Bexley with their shade. Oaks in Ohio can be divided into two groups - Red Oaks and White Oaks. Many of the large Oaks we see throughout the city in urban landscapes are of the Red Oak group. Less commonly planted are Oaks in the White Oak group, of which the Bur Oak belongs. Let’s take a closer look at this under-utilized tree that is native to most parts of our state.

Soil Compaction = Not Good for Trees

Soil compaction is a big no-no for trees. When soil is compacted (above left graphic), water and oxygen cannot get to the vital root system of the tree. Water will collect on the surface and evaporate since it is unable to penetrate the soil. Seeing as trees need water and oxygen to live, compacted soil can quickly and severely impact the health of a tree.

Tree ID Quizzes

We’re always looking for fun and exciting ways to educate our employees and customers. Below are two quizzes we initially made for our crews to improve their tree identification skills — now we’re making them available to you! Don’t worry if you get a question wrong, you’ll be informed of the correct answer right after each question! The quizzes feature over 40 common trees to central Ohio so you’ll be able to walk outside and quickly apply what you’ve learned.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side (no, really!)

When people in Japan coined the term ‘shinrin-yoku’ in 1982, they likely weren’t inspired by Lou Reed’s now classic 1972 hit. But shinrin-yoku, which translates in english to ‘forest bathing’, is a practice that takes us back to our wild side, back to experiencing the calming and healing qualities of the forest and all of the plants and animals that reside there.

A New Favorite: Blackhaw Viburnum

My palette of favorite trees is always changing. This spring, while I was hiking in Noble county’s Wolf Run State park another woody plant found its way onto my list: Blackhaw viburnum, Viburnum prunifolium. I have admired this plant for years for being native, for its adaptability, ease of establishment, its ability to easily naturalize into new areas, and because it provides forage for birds, bees and butterflies. I have observed Blackhaw viburnum in arboreta, gardens, and native area across the state but this past weekend it really stood out to me in the woods amongst the redbuds, dogwoods and other spring flowering plants.  

5,000 Trees Planted!

Last Friday (April 26th, 2019) was Arbor Day and to celebrate, all of us at Russell Tree Experts teamed up to give back to the central Ohio environment by planting 5,000 trees (via our TREE FOR A TREE® program) at Scioto Grove Metro Park. The section at Scioto Grove Metro Park that received the trees is a donated addition that park managers are actively working to reforest. For decades the land was used for farming crops; in the future, the area will be a lush forest to be enjoyed by the community.

Floral Designs with Flowering Trees

Spring! We made it through the monochrome silence of winter and now, suddenly, spring clashes with a crescendo of color and I just can’t wait to get my hands on the proof, the promise of life - flowers.  I love watching while tree and flower friends wake up from their long, quiet naps. Every year I am sure I am the first to greet them. Hello, my beautiful friends!

Mulch Mounds! Oh My!

Two days ago I stopped by the local gas station/grocery store compound around sunrise to replenish my truck’s fuel tank. As I drove on the service road passing the commercial property I felt something strange tugging at my peripheral vision, like large chocolate chips dotting the edge of my field of view. I took my eyes off the road for a moment, and sure enough, seemingly overnight the landscape had changed. It was as if a very large community of rodents had decided to move in and dig burrows in the landscape, leaving all the soil in regular mounds, perfectly spaced on the lawn. The next moment I saw that each mound had a tree growing out of it.  Then the colors of breaking dawn also brought the light of knowledge to me as I realized “It’s spring, and the mulch mounders are at it again”.

Welcome Back, Walter!

I want to take a moment to share a couple exciting things with you that are happening at Russell Tree Experts this spring. As of April 1, 2019, I am proud to be the new Production Manager of Russell Tree Experts. I now will be working with clients to schedule jobs, and working with all of our crews to ensure an efficient, safe, educational, fun and productive work environment. I look forward to continuing to answer your questions and hearing your feedback…

Tree Law: "Who Owns This Tree?"

First and most importantly, I am not an attorney. What I am is a concerned business owner who has an interest in the law.  Having recently read Arboriculture and the Law co-authored by Victor D. Merullo and Michael J. Valentine, I am inclined to share my findings in hopes of answering a few common questions we receive every year dealing with liability basics and the general risks associated with tree ownership.

Watch Out for Girdled Trees!

Quite regularly I encounter trees that are being girdled by some sort of material, mostly guy wires or straps installed during planting, and subsequently forgotten. Sometimes there are other things that catch me by surprise. Usually these are things placed by people and never maintained. For this article I will start with the most common girdling issue and then mention some of the other items.

TJ's Top 10 Natural Bird Feeders (in Winter)

I happened across a Hawthorn downtown this past weekend who’s dormant canopy was alive with several dozen robins gorging themselves with its fruit. The birds seemed so happily preoccupied in their feast that they hardly took notice of me. When I arrived home a few minutes later, I noticed a Mockingbird cleaning out the last of the fruit on our holly outside the kitchen window. Later, when I shared these details with my wife, she informed that February is National Bird Feeding Month.  Shame on me - I had no idea. 

New Research: Boxwood Blight Update

If you read my first installment on this relatively new disease, you will know the major difficulty of this pathogen (Calonectria pseudonaviculata) is that it infects otherwise healthy plants, and once it is at a site, removal and destruction of the infected plants is recommended, with no plant replacement for 3-5 years.  This is because the spores remain in and on the soil to infect new plants.  Existing asymptomatic plants were to be sprayed with fungicides to help prevent infection.

Trees: Links to the Past and Messages into the Future

Last year my wife and I spent a week or so vacationing with family, visiting Civil War Battlefields. The time was well spent, although sobering to be on the actual soil where so many people died, not that long ago, locked in a struggle that is difficult to understand, at least for me. This article is not about the Civil War, but about two things I found there that came back to me early this year and reminded me a little bit of why I do what I do. I would like to share a bit with you. I know you are busy… Will you stop and sit with me for a moment?

That "Stuff" Growing on Bark

As Central Ohio moves further into winter, and the majority of deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, bark becomes increasingly visible. Bark is an interesting and important characteristic for trees and tree identification. It doesn’t take long for a novice naturalist to distinguish certain tree species based almost entirely on the bark of a specimen (Beech, Hackberry, River Birch, etc.). Upon further inspection of a tree’s bark an observer might notice organisms growing on the trees bark. A large variety of fungi can be seen on the bark of deadwood in trees and is usually associated with poor health of that particular branch or the entire tree. However, fungi are not the only organism to inhabit the bark of trees.