Tree Care Industry

Mar 1, 2016

As winter thaws into spring, many homeowners are poised to take advantage of prime tree-planting season. Establishing new trees early can aid their growth throughout the year, and help them survive when hot weather arrives. But with so many tree species to choose from, how can homeowners know which trees are best suited for their landscapes?

“Selection of trees for planting in a home landscape depends on several factors, including a suitable growing site and any function they are going to serve,” explains Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). “Will they attract birds to the area? Shade a patio? Screen an unsightly view? Enhance the appearance of the home? Trees can provide contrast and relief from surrounding buildings and create seasonal interest in areas near the home,” says Andersen.

TCIA advises homeowners to consider the following factors when selecting a tree:

  • hardiness (ability of the plant to survive extremes of winter cold and summer heat, and sudden temperature swings)
  • mature height and spread
  • growth rate above and below ground
  • available space above and below ground
  • aesthetics
  • moisture requirements for the life of the tree
  • maintenance requirements for the life of the tree
  • availability at local nurseries
  • ornamental effects, such as branching habit, texture and color of bark, flowers, fruit and foliage

A professional tree care company can help you determine which tree species perform well in your local area and are suited to your desired planting site. Arborists typically analyze the specific planting site to determine the compatibility of the tree to the site. Environmental considerations may include:

  • disease and insect problems that may limit your selections
  • the prior use of the planting site
  • soil conditions, such as poor drainage, high or low pH, and soil nutrition
  • the presence or absence of channelized winds
  • the location of utilities, both above and below ground
  • the proximity of the plant to roads, walkways and security lighting

Is there enough space to plant a tree?

The space available at the specific site and mature tree size are important considerations, and addressing these limits will go a long way toward reducing maintenance costs. Utilities, in particular, should be given a wide berth. If your tree will grow to 25 feet or taller, do not plant it under or near overhead power lines. Do not forget the underground utilities; they may need to be serviced at some point, and the tree should never impede this. Call 811 for the national “Call Before You Dig” hotline to make sure your chosen planting site will not hinder utility maintenance. Keep in mind the ground-level utility structures such as transformers and individual service connections, which also require space to be serviced.

Where to plant

Community ordinances may restrict planting of trees near power lines, parking strips, street lights, sewers, traffic control signs and signals, sidewalks and property lines. Municipalities may require planting permits for trees planted on city property. City codes often require that trees on city property be maintained by the city, so citizens planting an improper selection can cause problems for themselves and the municipality.

Find a Professional

A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees and shrubs to plant on your property. Click here to search for professional tree care in your ZIP code.


Proper Tree Service saves trees

What are the Benefits of Planting Trees

March 27, 2015

Proper tree service can help prevent loss of trees in your area. We often hear about the harm that deforestation causes to the environment but we seldom hear about the benefits that people can derive from planting trees.  Even if the forests being cut down are half a world away, anyone has the ability to plant a tree.  All you need is a little bit of land and some water.  But why should we plant more trees?  After all if you plant too many trees near your house they may damage it.

Trees are a great resource for many reasons.  They control erosion by holding the soil together with their roots.  Some trees are better at fighting erosion than others, but all trees help to maintain soil stability.

Another way that trees benefit the soil is to act as windbreaks.  Conservationist Hugh Hammond Bennett championed the use of trees as a mechanism to restore the dusty Great Plains of North America to a healthy state after the immense drought of the 1930s, coupled with bad farming practices, almost completely destroyed the region.  By planting rows of trees as windbreaks, and channeling water to those windbreaks through ditches, farmers were able to reverse the desertification of the Great Plains.

Desertification is a natural process by which a once lush and fertile area gradually becomes dry and sandy; and there are some areas of the world that have alternated between deserts and forests many times over the eons of Earth’s geological history.  The Sahara Desert is the most well-known of these geologically active areas.  The Sahara, which has been well-watered and forested in past eons, needs the monsoon rains that irrigate central Africa.  When weather patterns drive those rains north the Sahara becomes green and fertile.

Scientists have thought about planting drought-resistant trees to fight the encroachment of the Sahara Desert as it expands southward. These trees will prevent the soil from blowing away in the wind and help the ground retain water.  Over time the trees can help restore local rainstorms to an environment by evaporating some of their water into local storm formation points.

Trees not only protect the soil and store water, they also store carbon.  Carbon is one of the most plentiful elements on Earth but when too much carbon is released into the atmosphere the sun’s heat is trapped on the planet and the world becomes warmer.  Global warming is a natural process that has happened time and again across Earth’s geological history.  The current global warming phase began some 12-to-15,000 years ago when the vast glaciers that once covered northern Europe, Asia, and North America began to melt.

Deforestation is one of the processes that has increased the amount of carbon in our atmosphere.  By cutting down and burning trees to clear land, people release a large amount of carbon into the air.  That carbon gradually contributes to the warming process, accelerating global warming.  By planting more trees around the globe we can compensate for the loss of our natural forests and pull some carbon back out of the air.

Although there are other sources of carbon emissions, such as the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, trees offer a simple, natural way to counteract the increasing levels of carbon in our atmosphere.  We could be planting many more trees than we already do.  In fact, by combining forestation projects with water distillation projects we could restore many desert areas to green lushness with relative ease.  Water purification plants are expensive because we use them primarily to extract drinking water from seawater.  But if we only purify the water enough to use it for irrigation we can plant whole new forests without much effort.

Trees are also a great natural resource.  Trees supply us with fruits and nuts that are healthy for our bodies, and we also use their wood to construct buildings and make furniture.  Many timber companies now maintain tree farms where they plant new trees to replace the trees they have cut down.  In this way they limit their use of trees to relatively small areas, thus allowing natural forests to flourish.  The demand for wood and other tree products will only grow as our population increases, so the better we manage our timber industries the longer we will be able to enjoy the benefits of managed forestry.

Good Arboriculture Will Prevail

May 1, 2015

I wrote last week about some of the negative aspects of this industry. Here is a positive follow-up to that post that recognizes 10 of the good things that I see happening around me. There are certainly more things than these that could be written about. In any case, this makes for a good discussion of where we came from, where we are now, and where we are going in this amazing field of arboriculture.

  1. Tree Biology – Our current and advancing understanding of how trees do stuff means that the practice of tree care is aligning itself with tree biology.
  2. Tree Statics – An understanding of the engineered quality of trees helps good arborists to make better decisions for safety and long-term benefit of trees and the people around them.
  3. ISA – The International Society of Arboriculture has established a set of ethics and pathways to success for those that want to embrace modern arboriculture.
  4. TCIA – The Tree Care Industry Association promotes the betterment of the industry through the setting of standards and improved legislation surrounding the application of tree care.
  5. Social Networking – Arborists are now able to compare and contrast with their peers worldwide. This allows for great sharing of knowledge.
  6. Industry Support – The sister companies that support arborists, like Sherrilltree and Vermeer, and equipment providers like Altec make sure that good arborists have the best tools for the job. New diagnostic equipment and techniques like tomography and dynamic movement sensors mean that we have the ability to collect even more data about trees than ever before.
  7. Generational Betterment – Each new crop of arborists has the opportunity to advance the industry even more. We are truly in a renaissance period for the tree care industry.
  8. Good Competition – Look around and you will find companies in every part of the world that are setting a high standard with regard to safety and stewardship.
  9. ASCA – The American Society of Consulting Arborists is now at its highest numbers for membership. This shows growth towards acceptance of tree care as a profession.
  10. It must because trees make life livable. – Put simply, people need trees. As we lose more of this resource in our cities and town the value of the urban forest increases.