10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Discussions of arboriculture and landscape design and of shrub and tree varieties appropriate for different areas.

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by edfrank » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:58 am

10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Read more: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You at SmartMoney.com http://www.smartmoney.com/Spending/For- ... -Tell-You/

I came across this article in Smart Money, April 9, 2010. I am curious about the reactions to the comments by members who are in the tree care business.

Ed Frank

..
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

User avatar
mdvaden
Posts: 883
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 pm

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by mdvaden » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:14 pm

Maybe I'll reply one point at a time.

#1 reminds me of an article I wrote about Leyland Cypress and how money grows on trees. Meaning too many of those and the fast growth equals a ton of income for tree services who do removals or pruning.

About tree services having different knowledge from landscape services, give me an auditorium to debate that one and woe to the opponent.

When I was on the Oregon landscape contractors board, several times I pointed out that the knowledge set of arborists, landscapers and landscape designers (& L. archichitects), should be greatly similar. One of the biggest flaws I see among the designers, is lack of hands-on tree care experience, crippling their ability to properly select and space trees.

Plus not knowing how much care one tree needs.

For example, if a commercial complex needs 200 trees, but wants a low maintenance budget, one of the worst choices would be Honey Locust because the limbs hang-up so bad when pruning. One of those trees, can take 2 to 3 times longer than a similar size tree of another species like Beech.

On the other hand, too many arborists, even Certified ones, don't know their right butt cheek from their left, when it comes to what else is going on in the landscape. There are too many shrubs, flowers and other things they do not recognize or know the needs of. That's important when it comes to tree selection, and rate of canopy removal.

And typical tree services just do removals any old time. Knowing what else is growing, may mean suggesting postponing a removal for 2 months, 4 months, or half a year later, to prevent damage.

What I shared with the other 6 board members and the administrator, was that I professionally function as a:

1. Arborist
2. Landscaper
3. Landscape Designer

And to do all 3 of those, I find that each one requires the same basic knowledge, experience and training, to do it right.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

User avatar
mdvaden
Posts: 883
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 pm

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by mdvaden » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:19 pm

#2 The less is more part, sounds pretty good.

Personally, I've scaled back pruning to phases. Instead of doing everything in some trees at once, I stretch it over a couple of years, especially with established trees.

I disagree that an untouched tree is the most beautiful. Some of the coolest looking trees (anyone want to disagree) are the ones that have been battered and recovered. Both naturally and in urban settings.

But in general, pruning just the essentials makes sense. And that includes what's essential for other plants beneath that also may need more light etc..
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

User avatar
mdvaden
Posts: 883
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 pm

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by mdvaden » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:27 pm

#3 Trees are worth only so much.

I like the variety # 3 covered. To date, many articles I've read cover just how landscaping and trees can increase value, like upwards of 10% or more I recall. Never seen any real proof included though.

Odds are, that nice landscaping and trees can help prevent lower bidding on homes and keep bidding higher. So it's realistic that wise landscaping helps value.

But in this article linked to, it was good to see all the other factors they introduced which needs to be added and subtracted.

Can add though, that I see very, very few trees of size, that fall and escape insurance coverage. There is not much distance between most trees of size and a building, fence, car or something insured.

Brings to mind a 40 foot apple tree I pruned about two years ago, and 3 months later a storm ripped half of it off and busted the fence. Insurance covered all of the following needs from removal of the tree parts to fence replacement.

If it's big tree and it lands smack in the middle of nowhere, removal of the wood is going to be a free scenerio by posting a U-CUT firewood ad on Craiglist. Tree is going to be gone in a day or two. Remaining limbs are a matter of a few hundred dollars worth of chipping, which is too consequential to fit the point the article was making.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by edfrank » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:09 pm

Mario,

Thanks for the replies. I had almost forgotten about posting this link.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

User avatar
Marcboston
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:36 am

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by Marcboston » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:45 pm

I pretty much agree with Mario. But...I have to give you a landscape designers perspective.

"When I was on the Oregon landscape contractors board, several times I pointed out that the knowledge set of arborists, landscapers and landscape designers (& L. archichitects), should be greatly similar. One of the biggest flaws I see among the designers, is lack of hands-on tree care experience, crippling their ability to properly select and space trees."

No question that there are tons of designers out there with "lack of hands on experience". So called designers. that term is thrown about way too much. That said I find many arborist have a "clinical approach" to gardening/landscape design. They tend to be "know it alls" and squash the "fun" element to landscape design. I think rules need to be broken....... I am a firm believer in experimentation, say 50/50 artist to scientific approach. I have bucked the curb many times to design a space.

Dont forget, that some plantings selections are not meant for the long term. That 80 year old client may want a large tree planted close to the house for say their birding hobby etc. They cant wait for the Japanese Maple (that will do better in tighter quaters) the client wont be around long enough to see it when it gets to some size..... You have to be sensitive to your clients needs.

Another reason for flawed plantings is that designers can also be pressured to do things that they advised against but were still pressured by the client to do their way. I remember I was working on a very large landscape project some years back. The builder installed the front steps below grade. I pleaded with the homeowner to bury the bottom step and that would allow me to raise the walk. WE went back and forth on this issue. It got to a point that the customer got a bit steamed and told me no way they were going to bury the step, "that they paid too much for it" etc. I had only 4 inches to pitch the walk to the driveway over 70-80' of run. Not enough. The walk ended up being below the lawn grade and they spent more money to create a retaining system to get the walk to work and not have the place become a swimming hole when it rained out. So I have empathy for designers and landscapers. Many times they are trying to correct site issues and problems created by others. In the end the customer is always right........?

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by edfrank » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:59 pm

Marc,

I don't know. I have worked too many years in retail to think the customer is always right. Although they always seem to think they are right about everything - maybe that phrase has something to do with it.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

User avatar
mdvaden
Posts: 883
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 pm

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by mdvaden » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:22 pm

Another reason for flawed plantings is that designers can also be pressured to do things that they advised against but were still pressured by the client to do their way. I remember I was working on a very large landscape project some years back. The builder installed the front steps below grade.
That's possible, but that aspect may partially fade outside the scope of the article. About experimentation, that's fine, but experimentation with trees is generally the most expensive aspect that can really backfire.

If someone over-plants heather, blue fescue or Japanese Iris, they can be removed and replace relatively inexpensively. But if someone over-plants trees, or places them wrong like too close to concrete, or certain species near concrete, the financial damage can be two, five, twenty, fifty times more money to repair or replace.

That's why I felt lack of tree knowledge among the realm of landscape designers and architects was one of the more expensive weaknesses within the field of green professions.

******************************************************************

#4 in the article WE LIKE BAD WEATHER

Among the better arborists, I'm not sure if I hear much of that. Guess it depends how bad the weather is.

Generic tree service workers seem to like work from wherever they can get it. So for those, I suppose that rings true. Among the skilled and educated arborists, I think they don't find much pleasure when the fruit of their labor gets damaged. Most of the latter take pride in their work and like to see it preserved for decades.

We don't really get enough bad weather around here for that to matter a lot. About every 8 to 10 years we get something consequential.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

User avatar
Marcboston
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:36 am

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by Marcboston » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:33 pm

Ed, I was half kidding when I wrote that. We have a retail establishment too......there is a point that you can only offer your expertise and if they want to listen up it is up to them

Mario I totally went on a different tangent from the article. Believe me I love arborist. With my experience experimenting with trees only applys to certain cliental and this does not apply to the general public. I have planted several large bonsai like trees on sites that in essence are art forms and experimental. Not your typical plantings. Another landscape experiment that I have tried is to cover a large boulder (one we brought on site) cover it with loam and plant a pine on top of it. Over the years (many years) you would wash away the soils to expose the more mature roots and boulder. Hopefully, to exposed rootsystem growing over a boulder and make an interesting garden vignette. I have had arborist friends of mine to poo poo the idea until they see what I am trying to achieve.

User avatar
mdvaden
Posts: 883
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 pm

Re: 10 Things Your Tree Service Won't Tell You

Post by mdvaden » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:28 pm

Marcboston wrote: Another landscape experiment that I have tried is to cover a large boulder (one we brought on site) cover it with loam and plant a pine on top of it. Over the years (many years) you would wash away the soils to expose the more mature roots and boulder. Hopefully, to exposed rootsystem growing over a boulder and make an interesting garden vignette. I have had arborist friends of mine to poo poo the idea until they see what I am trying to achieve.
They probably lack versatility. What you wrote also reminds me of Arborsculpture where grafting is done and years go by to achieve other unique forms.

I first saw what you described years ago, but done faster, where a Chrysanthemum was planted on a rock in a tray with soil, which was washed or removed as a plastic retainer was peeled back over a matter of months, maybe a couple of years.

Looked pretty good.

*************************************


#5 Tree Medicine isn't exactly hard science

If it's medicine, I think it's science or technology 96% of the time, otherwise why apply anything?

I liked the back and forth nature of point #5. But the "general" aspect being undefined makes it vague.

Suppose we were talking new construction in Oregon where soil is typically mangled by machinery in the wet season, I'd expect there to be enough damage to microorganisms, that adding more afterward would be beneficial.

It simply depends on what soil we are talking about, and what happened to it, and during what season. If trees were grown in a man-made mix, rather than soil soil, good chance that no mycorrhizal fungi existed in it at the nursery. So why not add a little? You know what I mean, the stuff that looks like garden compost in a pot?

Wish #5 included the concept taught by a previous Oregon University lady, who explained how fertilizers and herbicides at increased rates, can lead to increased compaction. That, because microorganisms which occupied soil space, die, disintegrate, and allow surface pressure to compress the soil once the small pore spaces become vacant.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

Post Reply

Return to “Arboriculture and Landscaping”