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”.
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.
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.
I wanted to dedicate this installment to Boxwood Blight, since this is a disease which has the potential to disrupt formal landscapes all across the state. The disease is fungal, and affects boxwood, especially the cultivated varieties ‘American’ and ‘Suffruticosa’. It is relatively recent in the United States, and was found in Ohio nurseries in 2011.
I find it interesting that test procedures recommended in the medical field for human health have become part of the expected methodology, but not so much in arboriculture, for tree health. As arborists, we are trained that a soil test should be done prior to recommending fertilization, for example, but I don’t know of many outfits that make soil sampling a part of their modus operandi.
As we prepare for another season of Fall Tree Wellness, another important insect pest to take note of is the White Pine Weevil. White Pine Weevil is a damaging pest to a broad range of conifers, including White, Scotch, Red and Austrian pine as well as Colorado blue, Norway, and Serbian spruce. Douglas-fir can also be attacked.
Summer months include long hot sunny days that we can enjoy by the pool or lake, but can also bring thunderstorms and high winds. While trees provide shade in these very hot months, they can also be a source of property damage during these summer storms.
More and more trees are growing up in confined urban environments that force their root systems to wrap around the base of the tree causing girdling roots. Girdling roots will block vital nutrients to flow to the tree's canopy which can eventually cause the tree to die. The good news: girdling roots can be fixed if caught early!
We see it all the time: trees surrounding a newly built home dying as a result of soil compaction and mechanical damage from heavy machinery, as well as change in the native grade affecting soil depth and water flow. A tree preservation plan is needed prior to construction which prioritizes your woody landscape as an important part of your construction project. With a Pre-Construction Tree Preservation Consultation from Arbor Answers, our experts will build a custom plan for your construction site to encourage the trees to thrive following the completion of the project.