Consulting Arborist: Why work with one?

What is a Consulting Arborist? Why would I want to work with one?

A Consulting Arborist is a professional who specializes in the care and management of trees. Their main role is to help contractors and homeowners save valuable time and money. They do this by helping them navigate municipal tree bylaws. Additionally, they help develop and execute tree care and maintenance plans. Arborists are trained in the biology, physiology, and culture of trees. They are also knowledgeable about the various techniques and practices used. These techniques include maintaining and improving the health and appearance of trees.

Consulting Arborists help their clients save time and money through the following services:

  • Arborist Reports and Tree bylaw compliance
  • Tree health assessments and tree care strategies
  • Tree risk assessments

Clients who would most benefit from bringing a consulting arborist onto their team:

  • Contractors or Land Developers starting new projects with any onsite or neighbouring trees
  • Homeowners that are concerned about the health of their trees.

Working around urban trees is a strategic challenge for technical and ecological reasons. Successfully done, retained mature trees increase the property value. They also can reduce construction costs. Additional retention benefits may include providing shade and cooling during warmer months and shelter from the wind in colder months. Retained mature trees create a habitat for wildlife and capture carbon. They also improve air quality and reduce water runoff into storm drains.

If trees on the property are removed, it is very common for the municipality to require replacement trees to be planted as part of the building permit process. This requirement needs to be carefully considered, as placing the wrong tree in the wrong place can result in the unintended loss of the replacement tree. A consulting arborist can help select the right tree for the right place so the investment can be preserved.

Like all living things, trees are constantly growing.

Left unattended, they can become overgrown, causing health problems. Working with a Consulting Arborist, trees can be cared for in a sustainable, healthy manner that promotes strong tree development, while improving the overall appearance of the tree.

Risk Management

One aspect of tree health is risk management. The Consulting Arborist can potentially identify and then address any risks or problems before they become major issues. This helps to ensure the safety of the property and can reduce costly repairs in the future. Sometimes recommendations are as simple as removing a single branch or as complex as the full removal of the tree.

Having a consulting arborist for the entire project is a key indicator of success. Being able to mitigate delays and costs associated with trees on the property in a timely manner, to managing the health and appearance of the trees once the project is completed, a consulting arborist is a valuable addition to the team.

If you have tree questions or a project that you need help with, reach out today to contact our in-house Consulting Arborists. They will be happy to help figure out the best course of action for your project!

Tree Planting 101

Tree Planting 101

A quick and dirty guide to planting trees.

1. GETTING STARTED

Planting a tree may seem simple, but there are several aspects that often go over-looked. This guide will take you through a few steps that make planting a tree easy and enjoyable.

WHEN?

Both conifer trees and deciduous trees have different ideal planting times, but as a rule of thumb planting trees a few weeks before Spring and in Autumn is widely accepted as the best times. Avoid planting in Summer and Winter as the seasonal conditions can be hard on new plantings.

WHERE AND WHAT?

Where to plant and what tree species to plant may be the most difficult questions for a home owner. To avoid conflict in the future you need to ask yourself: How big does the tree get? Will it fit where I plant it? Is it messy? Does it drop leaves? There is a lot to know!

There are three good ways to find this information:

  1. Talk to an industry professional (Arborist or Nursery Sales Person).
  2. Look at other trees in your neighbourhood that you admire and ask about them.
  3. Review Metro Vancouver’s Urban Forest Climate Adaptation Initiative planting guidelines website link.

2. WONT TREE ROOTS DAMAGE MY FOUNDATION AND DRIVEWAY?

Tree roots do not damage foundations unless the foundation is already cracked or has leaking pipes. Trees roots follow moisture and oxygen – two things that are not associated with concrete foundations but may be in a foundational crack. A general rule: don’t plant a tree within 3 meters to avoid any conflict.

Once a tree root has grown under a driveway there is little that can be done. To prevent this from happening a Root Barrier can be installed. Root barriers cause tree roots to change their growing direction downward.

3. PLANTING YOUR TREE

If only if it were as simple as digging a hole – wait, it is! Follow these easy tips to install your tree:

THE HOLE

  • Dig the hole as deep as the root ball
  • Make the hole roughly twice as wide as the root ball

THE TREE

  • If the tree is in a container, removal the container. Check that roots are not wrapped around the root ball
  • If the tree is in burlap and a wire basket, once the tree is in the hole, cut the wire basket and any twine so you can pull the burlap back exposing soil. The burlap can be buried down beside the root ball or removed. Make sure to remove the twine as it can choke the tree trunk.
  • Once the root ball is exposed, firmly “massage” the root ball to loosen up the soil. This is a good time to check for girdling roots – those roots wrapping themselves around the root ball – if found, cut them off.
    THE BACKFILL
  • Back fill with the same soil removed to dig the hole
  • Do not pile soil against the stem of the tree. You want to see the ‘root flare’ where the trunk meets the root ball.
  • Ensure that the top of the root ball is visible.
  • Make sure all sides of the root ball are filled with soil
    and there aren’t air pockets.
  • Firmly push down the soil with your foot around the edge of the root ball.
  • Place 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the edge of the root ball. Do not pile mulch against the stem.

4. CARING FOR A YOUNG TREE

WATER

  • A rule for watering is long deep soakings. This is best achieved using drip irrigation or a tree bag. A hose put on trickle will also work. The goal is to get the water down to the bottom of the roots.
  • Water once a week or more during dry conditions.

STAKING

  • Using a staked to support your trees in windy areas is recommended. Remove your stakes after one year

Tree Pruning 101

Tree Pruning 101

A quick and dirty guide to pruning trees.

1. WHY PRUNE A TREE?

There are various reasons to prune a tree, although for most home owners these reasons are aesthetic. Trees block views, grow sporadically, and are sometimes just outright ugly. Sometimes branches grow into hydro-wires and some trees grow into roadways.

Often homeowners want to cut down their trees because they are unsightly or overgrown. Little do these homeowners know that pruning a tree can rebeautify, allow for more light, and increase the value of their property.

Whatever the purpose for pruning, one thing remains: there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to prune trees. Reading through this article will provide a basic overview of the RIGHT way to prune trees.

2. WHEN CAN I PRUNE MY TREE?

Most maintenance pruning (the removal of dead, diseased, or damaged branches) can be done any time of the year. However, to avoid the oozing or “bleeding” of sap, the ideal time to prune is before spring when trees are dormant and after the tree has bloomed.

There are certain exceptions to times trees can be pruned. Fruit trees should be pruned while dormant (November-March). In some areas, pruning certain species of trees is restricted to avoid the spread of pests. A qualified Arborist or Landscaper can provide guidance on these special cases.

3. DO ALL TREES NEED PRUNING?

Unlike the forest, in cities it’s uncommon for a tree to have space to grow to its full size without conflict. So, short answer: almost all trees in the city will require pruning at some point in time.

4. WHAT ABOUT YOUNG TREES?

Moved into a new house? Are your trees newly planted? Pruning your tree when they’re young will save you lots of money in the future.

Pruning a young tree is an opportunity to promote good structure. Here are a few rules to follow:

  • Try to maintain a single dominant stem that is the highest point on the tree.
  • Prune any branches that are competing with the dominant stem.
  • Prune any crossing and rubbing branches.

5. MAKING THE CUT

When pruning a tree, there are three main things you want to avoid:

  1. Stubs: Leaving a branch stub can slow down healing and allow for pests to infect the tree.
  2. Flush Cuts: Pruning too close to the stem leaving no branch collar.
  3. Bark Peeling: When bark strips off near a pruning cut.

6. CAN I TOP MY TREES?

No. Topping a tree is making large pruning cuts that cause permanent damage, increase the liability risk for the owner of the tree, and are typically illegal in most municipalities. Qualified Arborists do not top trees except in extreme circumstances.