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26 Oct 2017
halloween tree decoration

Trick or Tree – How to Make a Spooky Halloween Tree

DIY Halloween Tree Decoration Tips and Ideas for the Whole Family


Do you love Halloween? Are you one of those people who enjoy donning costumes and putting up spooky decorations both inside and outside the house? Do you look forward to giving trick-or-treaters a scare with all your cleverly designed and placed Halloween decorations?


Why Halloween tree decorations?

Decorating a Halloween tree is just as fun as dressing up a Christmas tree. And just as decorating a Christmas tree is a fun family activity, making and putting spooky decorations on a Halloween tree is a fun and exciting activity for the entire family as well.

You can brainstorm with the kids on what kind of Halloween tree decoration you should put up this year. Should you go with witches, skeletons, ghouls and goblins, vampires, zombies, or go all-out crazy and opt for all of the above?


Top Halloween Tree Decoration Tips and Ideas You Can Try with the Whole Family


Creating an Indoor Halloween Tree

Just like the Christmas tree, you can make a Halloween tree, decorate it, and place it inside the house for the kids to enjoy. But first, you’re going to need the right indoor Halloween tree. So what should you do first?

With the kids, you can explore the yard and look for the right branches that you can use to build your Halloween tree. For an indoor tree, 2-3 branches that are 2-4 feet tall should suffice. Choose the ones that resemble the form and shape of a tree.

Arrange the branches so that they will resemble a tree and hold them together using green floral tape, zip ties, or duct tape. You can trim the branches if you want, to achieve the desired shape and to remove small twigs and leaves.

Once you have the Halloween tree put together, the next step is to find the appropriate size pot. Keep in mind that you need to balance the height of your tree and the base diameter of your pot to keep the whole thing from tipping over.

Finally, you can spray paint the tree with black to match the occasion and use a plaster mix to hold the tree inside the pot. You may use rocks or dirt as well, if you don’t have a plaster mix. Now, you have a DIY Halloween tree ready for decorating.


Indoor/Outdoor Halloween Tree Decoration Ideas


1. Decorate your trees with spooky glowing eyes.

If you have a tree in your yard, you can create a pair of spooky eyes that you can hang on the tree to give trick-or-treaters and passersby a bit of a scare.

Things you’ll need:

  • A pair of scissors
  • Pencil/marker
  • White poster board
  • Fishing wire
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint

You start by drawing large eyeball shapes on the white poster board using a pencil or marker. The eyeballs can be circle, oval, or almond shapes. Carefully cut the eyeball patterns using a pair of scissors. You then draw smaller circles inside each of the eyeballs to serve as the pupil.

Next, paint both sides of the eyeballs with glow-in-the-dark paint and color the pupils with black acrylic paint. Punch a hole at the top of each eyeball and strategically hang them on the tree branches using fishing wire.


2. Turn your tree into a giant spider nest.

Nothing is scarier to an arachnophobe than a tree that’s covered in spider webs. You can transform a tree in your yard to make it look like a giant spider nest using the following materials.

  • A few bags of artificial spider webs (found at your local arts and crafts store)
  • At least half a dozen black balloons
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Large googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Double-sided tape
  • Ladder

Carefully cover the tree exterior with artificial spider webs using a ladder. You can use a clump of cotton balls and put them somewhere on the tree so that they look like giant spider eggs. Then, blow up the black balloons to the desired size and tie them off. These will be the main body of your giant spiders.

With your black pipe cleaners, you wrap the tip around the knot of the balloon. Repeat this process eight times on each black balloon. Obviously, the pipe cleaners will serve as the eight legs of the spider so bend and twist them accordingly so that they’ll look realistic from afar. You then use the glue to attach the googly eyes to complete the giant spider. Place the giant spiders on the branches and the artificial spider web using double-sided tape.


More info: photo by MikesPhotos


14 Oct 2017
tree maintenance

Tree Maintenance – Why Should Anyone Worry About It?

Discovering the Benefits of Proper Tree Care and Maintenance

Want to know a secret? Trees develop well and will look better with proper care and maintenance. Compared to trees that you find in the wild, trees that are well-maintained and properly cared for appear fuller and more vibrant. That alone should be reason enough for property owners to start caring about tree maintenance and seasonal tree care.

What is it about tree care and maintenance that’s so important?

Any property owner knows that landscaping is a crucial factor when it comes to maximizing property value. And nothing makes any landscape more beautiful and elegant than the presence of trees.

Trees are no doubt majestic objects of nature that clean the air we breathe and provide an ecosystem for small animals and birds. But they are also living ornaments that can make any place look more pristine and phenomenal. Maintaining and caring for them will help keep them stronger, more fruitful, and vibrant.

The Benefits of Proper Tree Maintenance and Care

The benefits that can be had from proper preventive care and maintenance for trees play a huge role in its importance and why property owners should never overlook the process when it comes to the trees in their properties.

Pruning, trimming, cutting dead branches—all of these are part of a maintenance process that is vital to the health and well-being of trees. The following are some of the basic benefits of proper tree care and maintenance:

1. It helps keep the trees in your property healthy and vibrant.

Removing dead branches, pruning, and trimming are all crucial to maintaining the overall health of a tree. The process also helps ensure a dynamic and cohesive landscape. A full and vibrant tree is always a welcome sight in any property, be it commercial or residential.

Pruning, in particular, helps remove branches that are either dying or are already dead, and helps stimulate new growth. The most crucial aspect to this process, however, is implementing proper pruning techniques in order to get the best possible results.

2. It helps eliminate or minimize potential safety hazards.

Trees that aren’t regularly maintained can quickly turn into safety hazards, especially when they are located in an area near structures or pedestrians. For instance, a tree that is situated near a footpath where a lot of pedestrians pass by has to be regularly pruned to keep dead branches from falling on passersby.

Trees that are near power lines, have branches that cover street signs, or are near any structures should be looked after carefully. If removing the tree is not possible, then having it regularly trimmed or pruned is the most logical solution.

3. It helps improve property value.

Everyone in the real estate business knows that an aesthetically pleasing property landscape, with lots of beautifully maintained trees, can add to the value of the property quite substantially. Adding value to your home doesn’t just involve renovating or redecorating the interior. You also have to mind the overall condition of your landscaping, which will dramatically improve once you have your trees regularly maintained.

4. It helps fruit-bearing trees produce top quality crop.

If you so happen to have a fruit-bearing tree in your property, with proper and regular maintenance, you can actually improve the quality and quantity of the fruits that the tree will produce. There are proper techniques and methods that should be practiced when maintaining fruit-bearing trees. You should consult a certified arborist to figure out the best way to maintain and care for your fruit-bearing plants.

5. It helps newly planted trees to become healthier and more robust as they grow.

Newly planted trees need a lot of care as they develop. Through proper tree care and maintenance techniques, a newly planted tree will be easier to train as far as shape is concerned, and will grow to be stronger and more vibrant. Keeping a tree strong and healthy is very important, especially in places where temperature extremes are often experienced.

6. It helps rehabilitate damaged trees.

Trees can get damaged in extremely hot summers, as well as during extra cold winters. This is where seasonal tree care and maintenance proves its importance. The process can help rehabilitate and repair damaged trees due to extreme weather temperatures. Storm-damaged trees can also benefit from proper maintenance practices and techniques.

More info:

Tree Health Care

Seasonal Tree Care photo by Skitterphoto


27 Sep 2017
Fall Tree Care

Best Ways to Care for Your Trees During the Fall

Who says the gardening season is over once fall arrives?

Autumn is still actually a good time for planting trees. It’s also the season wherein plenty of nuts and fruits ripen. But if there’s one important thing that every tree owner should do when autumn arrives, that would be preparing their trees for the upcoming winter.

To ensure that your trees will survive the winter, it’s crucial that you prepare them ahead for what’s coming.

Are you all set? Here are the steps:

  1. Inspect Your Trees’ Leaves

Once you have noticed that the leaves of your trees are turning slowly to the color of the season, then that’s the perfect time to inspect them for uneven hues and defoliation. Both of them are actually signs of tree problems like nutrient deficiency, pests, and diseases.

The appearance of mushrooms during fall is not really a problem unless there are a lot of them appearing near the trunks. This could be a sign that the roots are decaying.

  1. Evaluate the Soil

Have you had the soil in the vicinity analyzed? If not yet, then consider doing it this season. Have your soil analyzed. That way, if there is a nutrient imbalance in your backyard, you can instantly apply the needed fertilizer before winter comes rolling in.

  1. Spray Anti-Desiccant on Leaves

Water loss is one of the major reasons why trees suffer during winter. With limited water to absorb, trees are left without resort but to use the water they’ve stored in their stems and leave.

One way of avoiding water loss is through spraying anti-desiccant on the leaves. This will provide leaves with a waxy layer that will keep in moisture.

  1. Mulch

Don’t wait for winter to come before you start mulching your trees. As early as today, mulch the surrounding of your trees to trap warmth and provide trees ample time to grow and absorb nutrients and water.

During the winter, the mulch will provide protection against the harsh weather and reduce water loss. It is absolutely important that you also mulch newly planted or young trees since they do not have enough defense mechanisms yet to weather the harsh season.

When it comes to mulching, distribution is critical. Recommended thickness of the mulch is one to two inches. Placing too large a mound is not advisable because it can provide a place for bacteria and fungi to flourish.

  1. Prune Your Trees

Pruning also plays an important role in tree care during fall. Basically, there are three different types of pruning that should be done during this season:

  • Pruning branches that died during summer
  • Doing structural pruning
  • Pruning to reduce the size of the tree

To properly prune your trees, make sure to talk to a professional arborist, especially if you are not familiar with pruning techniques and methods.

  1. Check for Pests

Even when the climate has turned cooler, pests can still wreak havoc on your trees. Mites, spider mites, stink bugs, and boxelder bugs can definitely damage your trees.

Applying a systemic insecticide is one of the best ways of getting rid of pests. You’d also be glad to know that this kind of method can actually protect your trees for up to 12 months.

  1. Protect Your Trees

And of course, let’s not forget to protect our trees that are susceptible to high winds, salt, and the southwest sun. By just wrapping the trunk of a tree with a trunk wrap, or even paper and polypropylene, it can go a long way of upping the chances that your plants will emerge from the winter as robust as ever.


Why is fall tree care important?

Because your trees are still recovering from the extreme heat during the summer season and yet in a few weeks, they’ll be encountering cold weather. If you want your trees to recover from the summer heat and survive the winter season, then providing them with every essential nutrient and protection is absolutely helpful.

More info: photo by Ben Regali

13 Sep 2017
creative tree stump ideas

9 Creative Uses for Tree Stumps

Transform That Unsightly Tree Stump in Your Yard into a Beautiful Lawn Ornament


Wondering how you can use that old tree stump that’s been languishing in your yard for as long as you can remember? Wouldn’t it be nice to find some use of something that is as unpleasant-looking as a stump?

Lucky for you there are better ways to make use of old tree stumps and prevent them from being a tripping hazard or an unwanted lawn ornament you have to live with, like scar tissue from an appendectomy.

Here are several creative tree stump ideas that may inspire you to do something about that nasty old stump in your own backyard:


Creative Tree Stump Ideas for DIY Homeowners

  1. Transform that tree stump into a beautiful planter. Tree stumps don’t have to look dead and ugly in your yard. With a little creativity and imagination, you can put life into that stump by using it as a planter in your garden. You can search the Internet for a step-by-step guide on how to make a planter out of an old tree stump.

    creative tree stump ideas

  2. Tiled mosaic tree stump table and seat. Do you have a knee-high tree stump in your yard that you want to make use of? Well, a lawn table or seat that’s adorned with colored tiles and glass to create mosaic art is really not a bad idea. You can choose different color glass or tiles and create whatever pattern you wish. Show off your artistic side and have fun with it.

  3. An old tree stump turned into a nice pot stand. This is the easiest way to use a tree stump. If you’re too lazy or pressed for time to create a decent planter, just find any potted plant in your garden and place it on top of the stump. But if you really want to be creative, place some hooks around the side of the stump and use hanging plants to give that thing some color and life.

  4. Transform your tree stump into a nice picnic table. If the stump is tall enough or wide enough, it can be easily transformed into a nice lawn table for picnics and other outdoor activities. If the diameter of the stump is not wide enough, you can use it as a base for a wider and more appropriate round table to compliment your garden or your patio.

  5. An aged moss tree stump as an artistic garden décor. If the tree stump is in a damp, dark, and humid location, you can promote moss growth to cover the stump entirely, giving it a nice ancient look that will serve as a conversation piece in your garden. Healthy green moss looks way better than dead decaying wood, don’t you agree?

    creative tree stump ideas

  6. Turn your tree stump into a cute little bird bath. Just when you thought there’s nothing more you can do to make that old tree stump in your garden a little bearable visually, here’s a creative idea you could try. Place a huge clam shell or a clay saucer on top of the stump. Add clean water and a nice bird figurine, and voila! You have yourself a beautiful garden ornament that also works as a bird bath.

  7. Transform that tree stump into decorative art. Want to express yourself in an artistic fashion? With some paint and your imagination, you can turn that ugly tree stump into an expression of your artistic persona. Choose colors that will represent you, designs that are captivating and engaging to you, and patterns that show off your talent as an artist. And before you know it, you will have a nice conversation piece right in the middle of your garden.

    creative tree stump ideas

  8. A board game out of a tree stump for the kids to enjoy. Why buy an entire chess set when you can easily transform a tree stump into a chess and checkers board? Take a break from video games and teach your kids how to enjoy board games like chess, checkers, or even backgammon. And they will definitely get a kick out of playing tic-tac-toe on a tree stump.

  9. Tree stumps used as garden lamps. This particular idea may require a bit of woodworking, carpentry, and electrical expertise. Use these materials to turn a tree stump into a useful garden lamp. There are online sources you can use as a guide for this.


More info: photo 1 by tookapic photo 2 by HOerwin56 photo 3 by Boke9a photo 4 by Cairomoon


30 Aug 2017

Protecting Your Trees from Storm Damage

What with their girth, large trees may seem indestructible but though they may withstand most things, hurricane-force winds, lightning, and floods brought about by non-stop rain can wreak havoc on the plants. From their root system up to their trunks and branches, extreme weather can permanently damage your trees, or even—in the case of lightning strikes—kill them outright!

However, there are plenty of ways that you can do to avoid tree storm damage from happening. Today, let’s find out some of the most effective tips to successfully storm-proof your trees. Here they are:

Keep Trees Strong and Healthy

The first, and the most effective step to storm-proof trees is by keeping them strong and healthy long before a storm arrives and ruin everything in your yard. There is no question that healthy trees can withstand most extreme weather conditions compared to weaker ones. Branches are less likely to fall and cause damages on the plants’ immediate area when the trees are strong and completely healthy.

There are several things that you can do to ensure that trees grow healthy. Providing them with proper water, regular and corrective pruning and fertilizer depending on the species are the most important steps. Just make sure to start these routines when trees are still young. Don’t wait for your trees’ health to decline before you start taking good care of them.

Trim Trees Regularly

At first, you may think that tree pruning damages your tree what with all the sawing off of branches and thinning its foliage. However, when pruning is done in the proper way, it can help trees withstand storms. It is highly advised that you start pruning your trees while they are young in order for them to develop a strong central trunk.

Pruning has a lot of advantages. Besides removing dead and weak branches, it also boosts proper structure and growth of your trees. Regularly conducting tree pruning can shape your trees in becoming more resistant to weather damage. But, the result of tree pruning greatly depends on how it is done. When done improperly, the effects of tree pruning may be counterproductive.


Protect Tree’s Root System

Roots may be hidden underneath the ground but they are actually critical to the total stability and strength of any tree. They can be considered as the tree’s anchor, keeping them stable even when the winds are strong enough to uproot the whole tree.

In order to keep the roots of trees deeply grounded, you have to minimize activities that may impede its growth or compromise the nutrients of the soil where your trees were planted. Some activities to be avoided include construction work and excavation.

One of the best ways to help protect your tree’s root system is by mulching the ground. Putting an extensive mulch ring around the tree’s base has numerous benefits which include preserving the nutrients and water from the soil; it even prevents weed growth.  Be careful, however, not to place the mulch too high up the trunk – the critical gas and air exchange is at the base.


Protect Tree Trunks As Well

Aside from the root system, the trunk of the tree should also be protected. If you are expecting a strong storm in your area, you can provide a tree’s trunk added protection by wrapping it with protective material like row cover or even burlap. These materials can protect your tree against flying debris, but need to be removed after the worst weather.


Plant the Right Kind of Tree

If your area frequently has storms, then you should be extra careful with the trees you are planting in your yard. There are several tree species that can withstand the storm better than any other species. As revealed by Kansas State University horticulturist Bob Neier, the red maple, red oak, linden, bald cypress, autumn blaze maple, and the Austrian pine are some of the sturdier trees.

In general, trees that are healthy endure storms way better than the rest. If you don’t want your trees to end up deteriorating due to extreme weather conditions, then be a responsible tree owner—provide the plants with proper watering, regular and corrective pruning and nutrients.

And as what we always say, talking to an expert team or arborist can also make a huge difference in how you protect your trees. These professionals are the right experts to address your concerns and questions regarding your trees.  


More Info:


Pixabay photo by dimitrisvetsikas1969

15 Aug 2017

Drought Stress and Tree Health – What You Need to Know

The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Drought on Trees and How to Combat Them


With the effects of climate change becoming more evident and undeniable, one of the most popular discussions among arborists and gardeners is drought and trees, specifically how to alleviate the stresses experienced by trees and shrubs brought on by drought.

This is such a crucial topic because the lack of water won’t only cause certain plants and trees to slowly wilt and die, but it can severely affect plant development and growth as well.

Plants, especially trees, can experience short-term and long-term effects from drought. Short-term stresses can go away once rain starts pouring in regularly again. However, the long-term stresses can linger on even after the rain returns.

So what are these stresses, these detrimental effects on trees that are brought about by drought? What can you do, as a tree owner, to help your trees survive the drought and recover?


Drought and Trees: The Short- and Long-Term Effects

As your trees continue to starve from lack of moisture, symptoms will start to appear. Some are quite obvious, while others not so much.


Wilting of Leaves

Wilting is the first and the most obvious sign of tree health problem brought about by drought, although not exclusively. Wilting may also be caused by other detrimental factors. But this is the first sign that you will most likely notice on your trees and shrubberies during a drought.


Premature Shedding of Leaves

The fall season is typically the time when trees start to shed their leaves and they prepare to go into hibernation for the winter. During a drought, however, trees and other plant life can go into premature shedding; their leaves will slowly wither and die, due to the lack of water and ground moisture.

There’s just isn’t enough water to sustain the tree, so it starts to shed its leaves as a form of defense.


Dramatic Reduction of Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is crucial to a tree’s growth and development. It’s the machinery that enables trees to absorb sunlight and synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. If the tree’s ability to photosynthesize is compromised, it could have serious, long-term, and even fatal effects on the tree’s ability to recover and survive.

Imagine if something were to happen to your digestive system, if it’s compromised in some way. How will you be able to process the food you’re taking in? How will you be able to absorb the nutrients that your body needs in order to properly function?


Pest and Insect Infestation

With the lack of water and a compromised ability to photosynthesize, trees will become weak and susceptible to pest attack. They won’t be able to adjust or defend against the onslaught of insects that are trying to survive the drought as well. And this will only weaken the tree even more, causing long-term damage that may be difficult to recover from.

So those are just a few of the potential effects that trees may experience during a drought. The question now is how do you mitigate or lessen the effects of drought on your trees? What can you do to protect them and give them the best chance to recover?


Tree Care Tips during a Drought


  1. Water your trees, but water appropriately.

During a drought, you’re going to need to water your trees and shrubs regularly. But you need to be mindful of the amount of water, the frequency of which you water the trees, and the type of tree you’re watering. Remember that not all trees require the same amount of water or the same frequency. Some species require less, while others may need more.


  1. Check your trees for signs of stress.

It’s important to inspect your trees for any sign of stress or symptoms, especially those mentioned on the first part of this article, so you can take the appropriate action to mitigate those symptoms. Keep in mind that there are symptoms that take longer to appear, while there are those that materialize almost immediately.


  1. Skip the fertilizer and focus on mulching instead.

During a drought, a tree’s root system is susceptible to damage from the salts and other strong chemicals from fertilizers due to lack of water. So instead of adding fertilizer, you should do some mulching instead, in order to preserve soil moisture and protect the root system from further damage.


  1. Consult a certified arborist.

Your best asset in helping your trees recover from a drought is having a certified arborist guiding you on what to do along the way. Arborists know about trees better than anyone. So if you see signs of drought stress on your trees, contact your local arborist as soon as possible.


More info: photo by chillervirus


28 Jul 2017
climate change trees

What Trees Are Best Suited for the Changing Climate?

Climate change is a serious global environmental crisis, and yet it seems like we are extremely slow in responding to this creeping disaster. From the unpredictable weather, changes in precipitation patterns, hurricanes becoming stronger and more destructive than ever, to rising sea levels, climate change is becoming more and more evident.

Among the most effective way that we can do to stop this phenomenal crisis from ruining the entire planet is by planting trees and ensuring that they grow strong and healthy. No matter how advanced our technology has become, trees are still the best defense we have against climate change.

Trees are important in our quest to stave off global warming since they take in and store carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses before they reach the uppermost part of the atmosphere and trap the heat around the planet’s surface.

And while all plants have the capability of taking in CO2, trees can absorb more of them due to their large structure.

That said, there are several tree species that absorb and store carbon dioxide better though. If you want to really help prevent global warming, planting these so-called “climate change trees” are highly suggested. But before we identify these tree species, let’s find out first what carbon sequestration is all about.

Carbon Sequestration

The process of absorption and storage of carbon dioxide is known as carbon sequestration. Trees suck in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, with oxygen as the waste product of the process. Experts today are already working on creating artificial carbon sequestration process to help soak up carbon dioxide but so far, trees remain to be the most effective agents. As a matter of fact, an acre of trees can absorb enough carbon dioxide that is equal to the amount produced by cars driven 26,000 miles annually.

What Trees Best Absorb CO2?

Botanists and tree experts are all working together to identify trees that can absorb and gather carbon dioxide effectively. As a matter of fact, these studies have led to the discovery that willows accumulate little carbon and emit more volatile and harmful organic compounds.

Here’s a list of trees that can be considered as the best performers in terms of helping Earth fight climate change:

  1. Silver Maple – According to the Center for Urban Forests, this fast-growing deciduous tree can trap more or less 25,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in a 55-year span.
  2. Yellow Poplar – Also known as the tulip tree, the Yellow Poplar is considered as the top C02 scrubber as revealed by a New York City study. This tree is fast-growing, and does not have any flaws that are usually seen in trees that grow fast such as weak wood quality and short lifespan.
  3. London Plane – This is thought to be a hybrid of American sycamore and oriental plane. The London plane is a large deciduous tree that grows from 66 ft to over 131 ft. The tree has been considered as one of the most effective tree species in removing pollution in urban areas.
  4. American Sweetgum – Also called as hazel pine or alligator wood, this tree is a deciduous species that thrives in the warm areas of eastern North America, including tropical regions of Central America and Mexico.
  5. Blue Spruce – Despite being widely used as an ornamental tree, this coniferous tree with blue-colored needles is also a top carbon dioxide absorber. Blue spruce originated in the Rocky Mountains.
  6. Pines – This genus has plenty of subspecies. White pines, Hispaniola, and Ponderosa are usually said as the most effective carbon dioxide catcher among conifer trees.

When choosing what trees to plant, it’s best if you consider these facts first:

  1. Trees with large leaves and wide crowns photosynthesize better.
  2.  Native tree species will grow better in their local areas; it would be best to find what trees are native to your location.
  3. Fast-growing trees scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere better during their first decade; it’s considered as their most productive time.
  4. When they die, trees that have a long lifespan leak less carbon dioxide during their decomposition process.

If want to contribute in what little way you can to curb this global environmental crisis, then consider planting a tree. It’s the least expensive way to offset harmful greenhouse gasses that we emit in our everyday lives.

More Info:

Pixabay photo by Bluesnap

04 Jul 2017

Frontline Defense against Wildfire: How Your Trees Can Protect You and Your Property

Useful Tips for Creating Defensible Space to Protect Your Property against Wildfire


Wildfires are devastating. In the state of California alone, they destroy more than a thousand man-made structures every year. If you do a Google search, you might be surprised at how common wildfires are, not just in California but in other states as well.

So how do you protect your home and property from wildfires? What can you do to help mitigate the spread of a potential wildfire in your area? Oh, and did you know that planting trees and creating a tree firewall can help prevent wildfires from destroying your property?

But preventing the spread or the occurrence of wildfires takes more than just planting trees. There’s more to it than that. For example, when trees are not planted the right way, positioned properly, or maintained regularly, they can easily become a catalyst for wildfires rather than act as protective barriers.


The Role of Trees and Landscape in Creating Good Defensible Space against Wildfire

It’s no secret that planting trees and shrubberies in your yard can add beauty and value to your property, as well as help control soil erosion. The downside, however, is your property essentially becomes a fire hazard.=

But wait. Don’t start removing plant life in your property just yet!

Trees, shrubberies, and other plant life will only become fire hazards if they are not planted in the right place and if they don’t undergo regular maintenance. Best practices when it comes to planting and maintenance should always be observed, especially if you live in an area prone to wildfires.

Here are a few practical tips to help you create a more effective defensible space around your property to protect it against wildfires:

  • Remove brush and shrubberies around buildings and structures. Preferably, there should be at least 30 feet of space between buildings and shrubberies. Limit brush height to no more than 18 inches within 70 feet of structures. 
  • Avoid planting chaparral-type plants in and around your property, especially if your area is prone to wildfires. Plants like chamise, yucca, sage, pine, red shank, protea, common buckwheat, honeysuckle, and other chaparral-type plants are highly flammable and will burn like oil once they catch fire. 
  • Keep your yard and the fire-safe zone around your home clean at all times. You see those dead leaves under your trees and shrubs? Make sure that they are removed regularly. Dead leaves are highly flammable and can easily catch fire. If you need to change your landscape, make sure to inquire about the rules and regulations in your area. 
  • Choose plant species carefully when planting new shrubs and trees in your property. If wildfire is a serious concern in your area, opt for fire-retardant, non-invasive plants. Consult a local plant expert to see which plants are best suited for your area. 
  • Employ proper irrigation techniques. One of the key factors that help mitigate the spread of wildfire is soil condition. If the soil in your property is healthy and irrigated properly, with the right irrigation methods, the defensive space you’ve created around your property will be more effective.

Now, what about the trees? What should you do with your trees?


Creating an Effective Tree Firewall around Your Property to Maximize Defensible Space

Trees provide amazing view, they offer shade on a hot afternoon sun, and they enhance the beauty of any landscape. The downside is trees can catch fire, which can quickly go out of control. So how do you transform a fire hazard into an effective barrier against wildfire?

  • Choose an appropriate tree species to plant in your property. Not all types of trees are fire hazards, although there are highly flammable ones that can burn like oil. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, make sure to select trees that have fire-retardant properties so they can serve as a barrier between your home and potential wildfires. 
  • Make sure the trees in your property are properly arranged and spaced adequately. Fire can spread more easily from tree to tree, shrub to shrub, if the plants are positioned too close together. To make keep potential fires from spreading, increase the spacing between your trees and other plant life. 
  • Keep your trees regularly maintained. Regular pruning and removing of dead branches and limbs are important. Not just for the health of the tree, but for fire prevention as well.  You should also remove branches that are too close to the ground to eliminate fuel ladders, thus keeping ground fire from reaching the crown of the tree. 
  • Consult a certified arborist in your area to help manage your landscape and develop an effective defensive fire-safe zone around your property.


More info: photo by skeeze

28 Jun 2017

Footballs, Frisbees, and Drones – How to Safely Retrieve Things Stuck in Your Tree

Safety Tips for Climbing Trees


Anyone who grew up in small towns or in the suburbs has probably experienced climbing trees as a pastime. As a kid, we all enjoy climbing trees, especially during the summer. As kids who believed we were Tarzan, we’ve all had our share of falls and broken bones.

But a kid’s naiveté aside, there is an inherent danger in climbing trees without supervision or safety precautions. As children, we all get a kick at climbing trees without even considering the potential dangers that come with it. And as adults, it is our responsibility to know the risks and apply proper precautions whenever we are faced with a situation where we have to climb a tree.

So, whether you’re a tree climbing enthusiast or just someone who’s just trying to remove from tree something that’s stuck there, here are a few safety tips you need to consider before you start looking at that tree like Sir Edmund Hillary stared at Mount Everest:


Safety Tips to Consider before You Start Climbing That Tree


  1. Always do a visual inspection of the tree before climbing it.

Don’t think for a second that just because you have had experience climbing trees, you can just safely navigate any tree on the fly without checking it first. Even tree professionals who climb trees for a living know the importance of tree inspection before doing any actual climbing.

Check the tree for broken limbs, signs of infestation, weaknesses, and diseases. If a tree is suffering from any type of disease, or if insects have nested on it or in it, then it’s probably unsafe and unstable for climbing.


  1. Never climb a tree in inclement weather.

Climbing trees during bad weather conditions is especially dangerous, because of the effects weather has on trees. If there’s rain or snow, trees can become slippery and unsafe, greatly increasing the chances of accidental falls.

And if you’re dealing with a thunderstorm, well that’s a whole other level of danger. Trees often get hit by lightning strikes. The last thing you want is to be up on a tree in the middle of a thunderstorm. Wind speeds upwards of 15 miles per hour will likely cause the tree to sway. Unless you’re that friendly neighborhood superhero, don’t be up on a tree when strong winds are blowing.


  1. Don’t climb trees that are located near power lines.

Live power lines are very dangerous and shouldn’t be trifled with. Before you climb a tree, make sure that there are no power lines nearby. If your rope, any equipment, or any part of your body touches a live power line, electrocution is a very real possibility. If the electricity won’t end you, the fall might.


  1. Use safety equipment if you have to climb a tree.

If you absolutely must climb a tree to retrieve whatever it is that’s stuck in there, at least wear appropriate safety gear. Helmet, leather lineman’s gloves, safety goggles, climbing rope—all of these are important safety gear that you should always remember to wear when climbing trees for whatever reason.


  1. Stay away from nesting animals or nests that you might encounter.

This should always be included in your initial inspection of the tree before you start climbing. If you see visible nests, especially of insects like bees or wasps, or even birds’ nests or some other critters’, you should call it a day and just call the professionals.

Bees, wasps, possums, squirrels, different kinds of birds—all of these creatures could be living up in your tree, so be very careful when you climb. Oftentimes, it’s not the creature itself that will harm you; it’s the subsequent fall after you get startled. And if you are allergic to bee stings, you should definitely just leave the climbing to the professionals.


  1. Don’t wear leg spikes when climbing a tree.

Leg spikes can make climbing easier, but if you care for your tree, you should avoid it. Leg spikes are not ideal because they cause tree wounds. Those wounds make the tree vulnerable to attacks from bacteria, viruses, fungus, and insects. So if you care at all for the health and well being of your tree, please don’t stab it repeatedly by using leg spikes.


  1. Leave the climbing to professionals as much as possible.

If you’re in no shape to climb, if you have no experience or do not have the right equipment to safely navigate the tree, you should just contact a professional. Yes, it might cost you a few bucks, but it’s nowhere near the cost of an unfortunate accident that could’ve been avoided in the first place.


More info: photo by Niloblu

09 Jun 2017
tree lightning strike

What to Do If Your Tree Is Struck by Lightning?

Lightning can undoubtedly be considered as one of the greatest threats to massive trees.

As a matter of fact, every year, thousands of trees get struck by lightning. Moreover, it has long been proven that taking shelter under a tall tree in a thunderstorm is one of the most ill-advised things to do.

Being usually the tallest object around a given area makes a tree a natural lightning rod during tempestuous weather. There have even been recorded instances of trees getting blasted by lightning in sunny weather! And with more than 100 lightning strikes happening around the world every second, there’s a fairly good chance that your tree might get hit one of these days.

During spring and summer seasons, lightning strikes become more prevalent, and while not all trees attract lightning (short ones come to mind), it is critical that you learn how to assess lightning damage just in case your plant does get hit.


Assessing Tree Damage

When lightning blasts a tree, the impact can be felt instantaneously. The moment it hits, it turns the tree’s water into gas, causing the plant’s outer layers to explode outwards. This effect is catastrophic; 50% of trees hit by a bolt die immediately while others suffer extensive damage, making them vulnerable to diseases.

Among the most common tree species that get hit by lightning are oak, gum, maple, poplar, and pine trees.


Degree of Damage

When a tree gets hit by lightning, there are three possible outcomes: The tree escapes damage; it suffers damage but survives with nothing but a scar; it dies.

The Tree Survives

Most of the trees’ water content is stored just under the bark. With water being a superb electrical conductor, the lightning strike will penetrate the outer layers of the tree obliterate them. Lightning blasts will typically scar a tree.

The Tree Escapes Damage

There are times when heavy rain has soaked the tree’s exterior.  When this happens, there’s a chance that the lightning will just cascade around the tree and leave it relatively unscathed.

The Tree Dies

Dying trees—especially ones with an already compromised structure—will typically have one or more areas that are being ravaged by disease. Since these have most of their water content concentrated deeper in their trunk, any lightning strike can fully penetrate the plant’s center and utterly destroy the tree. This can cause a powerful explosion that will send large and small branches flying (including splinters and huge chunks of wood), and even split the trunk into two.


What to Do after Lightning Strikes Your Tree

Before you inspect the tree, know that there may still be a residual electric charge around the immediate area of the blast site; do not approach the tree immediately. Let a few minutes pass then take a look at the plant and assess the damage it received from the lightning strike.

The first step that you should do in treating a damaged tree is by supplying it generous amounts of water. Make sure to provide fertilizer as well to help stimulate new growth. Damaged trees that survive until the spring season are most likely to recover from a lightning strike.

Know though, that while scarred barks and broken branches can be considered as minor issues, you have to check from time to time and see that the damage hasn’t spread—trees that have damaged layers become more vulnerable to certain pests and diseases.

Another way that you can do to save a hit tree is by pruning the broken branches, including any torn wood. A word of caution however: Do not do extensive pruning until a year has passed after the lightning strike.

For trees that have suffered extensive, irreparable damage, you need to remove them from your area especially if they are near healthy trees. Leaving them there can sometimes cause numerous arboreal threats to infect your healthy trees. Consult an expert tree removal team to help you get rid of the damaged tree.


Tree Protection against Lightning Strikes

In order to prevent lightning from harming your trees, you may consider installing a lightning protection system that uses copper cables attached to the tree’s uppermost branches and grounded a few meters away from the tree.

Once the lightning strikes, the electricity will be diverted to the cable assembly, leaving your tree unscathed.

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Health Care photo by AgencjaAIAC