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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:

 

 

Pixabay.com photo by MikesPhotos

 

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:

 

Pixabay.com photo 1 by tookapic

Pixabay.com photo 2 by HOerwin56

Pixabay.com photo 3 by Boke9a

Pixabay.com photo 4 by Cairomoon

 

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:

 

Pixabay.com photo by Niloblu

28 Apr 2017
Arbor Day History

Celebrate Trees! A Brief History of Arbor Day

Seven Historical Facts about Arbor Day that You Might Find Interesting

 

Want to learn about the history of Arbor Day and what makes it special?

The word arbor, or arbour, is Latin for tree. So the term Arbor Day actually means “tree day”. Arbor Day is a holiday popularly observed in the U.S. and Canada. It is a special day set aside to celebrate the beauty and the value of trees to our environment.

During Arbor Day, people are coaxed to plant trees, as well as care for them. In the U.S. and Canada, Arbor Day usually happens in the spring, although the date may vary between states and regions depending on the climate and the optimum time for planting trees.

But you know what else?

Contrary to popular belief, Arbor Day is actually celebrated in many different countries around the world, including Australia, China, Egypt, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and many other nations.

The following is a small collection of historical facts about Arbor Day history, some of which you might find quite interesting.

 

7 Historical Facts about Arbor Day – The Celebration of Trees

 

  1. The first Arbor Day festival occurred in 1594.

You may find this surprising, but the US did not pioneer Arbor Day. The first ever documented Arbor Day celebration actually took place in Mondoñedo in 1594, set up by its then mayor.

In 1805, the village of Villanueva de la Sierra celebrated the first modern Arbor Day festival; this time organized by a local cleric with the support of the town’s populace.

 

  1. Nebraska City, Nebraska held the first ever American Arbor Day in 1872.

It was a journalist from Detroit, Michigan who moved to Nebraska in 1854 that originated the first Arbor Day in the US. His name was Julius Sterling Morton. On the 10th of April 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in the Nebraska territory.

 

  1. The Nebraska territory was naturally a treeless prairie landscape.

During the pioneer days, there was a serious lack of trees along the northeast and the western territories. This was due to the massive deforestation effort instituted by the European colonists who came to America.

The hot shadeless summers, scarcity of building materials, and lack of windbreaks to keep tilled soil in place were just a few of the many problems faced by pioneers back then. It was Morton who saw a clear solution to the problem. Plant a tree, millions of them.

 

  1. Roosevelt, with Pennsylvania conservationist McCreight’s recommendation, helped disseminate the importance of trees and forestry all across America.

On the 15th of April 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt delivered an Arbor Day pronouncement about the importance of trees and forestry, and how it should be taught to all school children all over the United States.

The proclamation was prompted by Pennsylvania conservationist Major Israel McCreight, who recommended a national policy that educates the youth of America about conservation and the significance of trees and forestry.

 

  1. J. Sterling Morton and his wife were lovers of nature.

In 1854, upon moving into their new home in Nebraska, Morton and his wife quickly planted trees, shrubs, and other plant life on their property. As a journalist and an editor of Nebraska’s premier newspaper, Morton shared agricultural information with his avid readers, encouraging not just individuals, but civic groups as well, to plant trees.

By the time he organized the first ever Arbor Day celebration in America in 1872, J. Sterling Morton was already secretary of the Nebraska Territory, giving him an opportunity to spread the importance of trees to an even bigger audience.

 

  1. Birdsey Northrop was the one who globalized Arbor Day.

It was Birdsey Northrop from Connecticut who brought attention to Arbor Day in the International community during his visit to Japan in 1883. There, he delivered his village improvement speech, which stressed the importance of trees and promoted Arbor Day to the Japanese. He also delivered his Arbor Day message to Europe, Canada, and Australia.

 

  1. In December of 2004, the US Congress officially designated the Oak Tree as America’s national tree.

In 2004, the National Arbor Day Foundation initiated an online poll to choose a national tree. Not surprisingly, the oak tree won the vote by a landslide, prompting the US Congress to pass a legislation naming the Oak tree America’s national tree.

 

More info:

 

Stocksnap.io photo by Luca Bravo

07 Feb 2017

Recommended Reading: Top 8 Books about Trees

In a world dominated by TV, tablets, and all sorts of electronic gadgets, reading books remains one of the more enjoyable activities that a lot of people still take pleasure in. I am one of those people.

Over the years, we’ve read our fair share of books. We quite enjoy a little bit of everything when it comes to books, from thrillers to non-fiction and inspirational literature. Occasionally, we read books about nature, particularly books about trees, because we love trees and enjoy learning more about them.

Here are a few of the books that tackle the subject of trees, their importance, and how we should treat them. I’ve read and found each one quite enjoyable. Hope you find them enjoyable as well.

 

Without further ado… here’s our top 8 books about trees:

 

1. Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees (by Roger Deakin)

This is quite a good read. Although a bit tougher to categorize, this book is filled with facts and new insights about trees, as well as beautifully written anecdotes. This is a book that celebrates the significance of trees in nature and in all of our lives.

 

2. The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring (by Richard Preston)

Written by the number one bestselling author of The Hot Zone, this book offers a remarkable account of the scientific aspects and the spiritual passion for some of the tallest trees in the world. Learn about these unique species of trees and those who are committed to preserving these magnificent organisms.

 

3. White Waters and Black (by Gordon MacCreagh)

This is an ideal read if you want to learn about the different tree species in the Amazon basin and how they were discovered by explorers and scientists throughout the years. The book recounts the story of a major expedition that that took place in 1923. This is truly a great read, if you enjoy trees and a snippet of the history on how some species were discovered.

 

4. The Man Who Planted Trees and Grew Happiness (by Jean Giono)

A fictional story, this piece of beautifully written literature is an oldie but a goodie. First published in 1954, The Man Who Planted Trees and Grew Happiness is an inspirational read for people who love moving fiction. This book has significantly influenced public perception towards planting and caring for trees.

 

5. American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation (by Eric Rutkow)

This recommended read is quite different from your typical forestry books. Yes, it’s a book about trees, but it’s also about the history of America. It tackles American history from the point of view of its forests and trees, particularly the significance of trees in the pioneer days and how these majestic plants have been viewed over the years.

 

6. Trees: A Visual Guide (by Tony Rodd and Jennifer Stackhouse)

This book belongs in a different category altogether. More of a photographic expression, rather than a written creation, Trees: a Visual Guide is a beautifully designed and illustrated reference book that can help you navigate through the world of trees from different perspectives. This is a nice addition to your coffee table reading collection and a great conversation piece with fellow tree enthusiasts.

 

7. Trees: Their Natural History (by Peter A. Thomas)

If want to learn more about trees, but don’t want to get overwhelmed by the technical aspects and the science of it all, this book is a great read for you. The author quite masterfully delivers technical information without making the book inaccessible to casual readers. Whether you’re a botanist, an Arborist, or simply a tree enthusiast, you will definitely enjoy this book.

 

8. The World Without Us (by Alan Weisman)

A thought-provoking piece of literature, The World Without Us is a post-apocalyptic non-fiction writing that accounts the truth about how nature will continue to go on even without us humans. And the fact that she doesn’t need us to prevail, but we humans need her to survive.

 

We found these eight books quite informative, engaging, and even exhilarating. For anyone who loves trees and everything about them, these books are certainly must-reads.

 

What are some of your favorite books either about trees, or that trees play a significant role? Share in a comment below!

 

More info:

 

Stocksnap.io photo by Lia Leslie

 

14 Jan 2017

2017 New Year’s Resolutions (From Your Trees)

It’s a new year once again, which means I have a new growth ring that tells a story of all my experiences in the past year, both good and bad. The past year was full of exciting moments, spending most of the afternoons watching little Johnny having fun playing with the swing his father placed on one of my stronger branches. I can only hope to become stronger this year so I can continue to support little Johnny’s weight as he swings back and forth with glee.

My list of resolutions this year is modest; I just want to be able to grow in peace. I would like to provide shade to anyone who needs it, provide a stable home for my avian friends, and bear fruits for my human companions to enjoy.

But in order for me and my fellow trees to realize our New Year’s resolutions, we’re going to need all the help we can get from our human friends. Here are some of our resolutions that we hope you can help us achieve this year.

 

New Year’s Resolutions – From Your Tree

 

  1. Give me mulch and I promise to become healthy, grow bigger, and provide a beautiful green glow to your garden.

 

Not a lot of humans are aware of the importance of mulch and the process of mulching when it comes to the health and development of us trees, especially those who are newly planted and are still getting acquainted with their new surroundings.

So why do we need mulch?

  • Mulch helps to insulate the ground soil we stand on, providing a strong buffer from fluctuating hot and cold temperatures.
  • It helps to retain water and moisture in our root system, thus keeping us well-hydrated and healthy.
  • Mulch helps combat weed growth, effectively eliminating our main competition for water and nutrition.
  • Mulch reduces the negative effects of compaction common in urban environments.

This year, if you promise to take care of our mulch needs, we in turn promise to provide you with thick foliage for shade, strong branches for your kids to climb, and sweet, juicy fruits for the entire family to enjoy.

 

  1. Keep us well-hydrated and we will develop into a healthy and vibrant tree you will be proud of. Your neighborhood will be thanking you for it.

Tree watering is a crucial part in our development, especially for those of us who are newly planted or have just been relocated to a different environment. Even though a lot of our kind tend to live for decades, if not hundreds of years, during our formative years, we do need your help when it comes to hydration.

So how do you effectively provide us with our daily watering needs?

  • For trees that are newly planted – It is important to give us water immediately after we are planted. Our roots are still getting acquainted with the ground and the new soil composition; we need all the moisture we can get to firmly attach ourselves to our new environment.
  • The first couple of years are crucial for our development – The first two growing seasons is quite challenging for most of us, especially for those who need an extensive amount of water and moisture to grow and develop.
  • Hot summers are especially difficult for us – During the hot summer months, we spend most of our energy growing, producing buds near the end of summer. This occurs during what is referred to as lignification. Trees do most of their growing in the early summer.  In late summer they store up reserves to begin the growing process again the following spring. During this time, we need all the help we can get from our human companions.  lack of water reduces our leaves ability to produce sugars through photosynthesis and remain cool through the process of evapotranspiration.  In severe cases our leaves may wilt or even fall off to prevent further water loss.
  • Proper mulching can go a long way in maintaining root moisture – Heat and drought can cause our root system to dry up, preventing us from getting water and moisture from the soil. You can avoid this by covering the top soil with wood-chip mulch in order to maintain ideal temperatures underneath and sustain moisture and water in the soil.

 

  1. Prune me right and I will grow into a lush and vibrant tree that will enhance the beauty and elegance of your yard.

Every once in a while I will require a good pruning to establish and maintain good health and structure especially if I am young tree. As I mature pruning will help me remain healthy and beautiful.  Be sure to have a goal set before establishing a pruning plan, never prune without an objective, remove dead, diseased and crossing branches so that I can heal properly and not waste energy on problematic branches.  Please use proper pruning practices to ensure all the pruning cuts heal properly, don’t remove too much foliage or you may cause more harm then good especially if I am mature.

Happy New Year! What are some of your New Years resolutions for 2017? Comment below.

 

Stocksnap photo by Ryan Hafey