tree with holes

Arborists Help by Identifying Insect Problems in Tree Growth

Arborists like the professionals at Evergreen Arborist Consultants are called on every day to make appraisals and to offer expert testimony in various cases.  However, sometimes professional arborists need a bit more knowledge than what they use in their regular work.  For example, an arborist may easily recognize that a tree has insect invasion issues but may not be completely familiar with a particular insect species.  When something like this happens, it is important for a professional arborist to know where to go for information. Read more

man cutting trees

Always Watch Out For Hazards When Cutting Trees

Cutting trees and limbs can be a very hazardous job, particularly when the damage has been caused by a storm.  Hurricanes, monsoons, tornados and heavy wind events can all lead to structural damage to a tree.  Furthermore, wildfires can damage a tree and cause it to become unsafe.

When cutting trees down, however, there is more to consider than simply removing the damaged plant.  Arborists such as the experts at Evergreen Arborist Consultants can provide information and evaluation of damaged trees for property owners, government agencies and others who have an interest in discovering the solutions to these issues. Read more

Arborists, Unite! Midwest Professionals Protest Clear Cutting of Trees

Trees and utility powerlines

Trees and utility powerlines

Chicago, Illinois–The Utility Arborists Association may have a solution to a problem that has been plaguing utility companies for several years and affects millions of people who need power.  The problem is hot power lines sagging onto overgrown trees.  One such “sag” event in 2003 resulted in a blackout that affected 50 million people.  Adequately managing tree growth near power lines became a critical task for many power companies, fueled by fines of up to $1 million by Congress against companies that do not properly trim their trees.  The result:  clear cutting of trees that has injured habitats and blighted green spaces.

The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council has been working on an accreditation  process for utilities that keep environmental standard in mind when cleaning up the areas around power lines by plant management.  Arborists are working with several companies to recommend low-growing species of trees that will block out and shade the higher-growing species, leading to a lower canopy that will allow nature to manage most of the problem itself.

The Utility Arborists Association

The method advocated by the Utility Arborists Association requires more up-front planning and work, but gives much better results both for the people living around the power lines and for the habitat.  Ultimately, the UAA says that their methods will result in lower overall costs and less habitat destruction.  Nationwide, about 8.6 million acres of land are currently used in transmission corridors.  Good management of these corridors could result in habitat and migration paths for animals and birds and recreational green spaces for humans.  Utility arborists can be used to monitor for invasive insects and disease as well as assist the cities or counties in choosing the right plant species for their transmission corridors.

Utility arborists have the expertise to assist utility companies that want to work with the environment and native species in creating power corridors.  ROW hopes that by supporting these efforts, utility companies will see the ultimate value in planned planting rather than in simply clear-cutting these corridors.  They also hope that legislatures will see the value of rewarding companies that work with professional arborists and experts to create habitat for wildlife and plant species rather than destroying these habitats with clear cutting.

Source:  Midwest Energy News, “Trees vs. transmission:  Utility arborist group seeks better approach,” Dan Haugen, August 19, 2013.

Indian Wells Ficus Hedge Could Cost $10 Million



Indian Wells, California–It is hard to believe the lowly ficus could stir such controversy, but a hedge in Indian Wells may wind up with a $10 million pricetag, payable by the city.

The hedge has already cost the city a great deal of money, and now the litigants are fighting over attorney’s fees.  A civil rights suit has been filed in U.S. District Court that may wind up costing the city $10 million to settle.  All of this for a simple ficus hedge?  Yes–according to partners Doug Lawellin and Steve Rohlin, owners of a kitchenware store in Palm Desert.

How Did A Hedge Become The Center of Controversy?

The 26 feet tall, 83 feet long and 11 feet wide hedge was the “reason we bought” the home, according to Lawellin.  However, a neighbor, Susan Aldridge, filed a complaint in 2011 stating that the hedge blocked her view of the mountains and wanted the top five feet taken off.  The city had failed to enforce older hedge ordinances, but adopted a new ordinance to take care of the hedge issue.  The protracted, lengthy legal battle that resulted has left everyone exhausted and resulted in the new battle for attorney’s fees.

The controversy stemmed from the allegation that when the new ordinances were put in someone filed a new complaint on the neighbor’s behalf against the rules requiring the neighbor to do it herself.  When the city sent Lawellin a letter asking for the hedge to be cut down to 9 feet, he argued that the code was being selectively enforced.

Enter The Arborists . . .

In this case, a landscaper was also called in to testify.  He said that the hedge had only a 15 percent chance of survival if it was cut so drastically.  The city’s arborist apparently agreed with this assessment, although the city denies that the arborist made such a statement.  Eventually, the couple hired their own arborist who measured the height of the hedge at 26 feet and recommended that no more than one-third be removed annually to give the tree the best chance for survival.  A horticultural journalist also noted that the adjacent property owners may need to make adjustments for their own plants due to sudden lack of shade, and birds may need to find new shelter.

A professional arborist may testify as an expert witness in such cases.  The testimony of an arborist is often the defining factor that leads to a settlement or judgment in such a case.  In this case, once the attorney’s fees issue is worked out, it is to be hoped that the advice of the experts will be implemented to save the hedge and the habitat.

Source:  My Desert, “Ficus Fracas:  Indian Wells focus of $10M lawsuit,” August 28, 2013.

Poisoned Trees to be Removed in New Zealand

TaupA District Council in New Zealand will have arborists remove some trees in Kinloch that died due to poisoning. There are six trees that need to be removed and they include gum, pine, and cedar. These trees, located at the Marina Terrace Recreation Reserve, were poisoned earlier this year and even though there was an attempt to save them, they died. The arborists will remove the trees at the end of July. John Ridd, District Manager of Parks and Open Spaces Manager, commented on the poisonings and noted that this type of incident is increasing. “It poses a threat to our environment and also our safety; a dead or dying tree can be a danger to the public. We’re lucky to have such a great environment here in TaupA District. It’s pretty disappointing that a few people are destroying some great trees.”

Although many people appreciate the trees that are in the public parks and along streets, Ridd says that a few people are causing problems. Complaints have been made to the Council of residents damaging or destroying trees. Because of these complaints, the council has reminded people that it is a crime to poison trees on Council land. If someone damages a tree in a public place, they could face a fine of $20,000 and in serious cases the police could bring criminal charges. There is a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment for cases involving danger to live, and seven years in other cases. Anyone concerned about certain trees can contact a specific Council phone number to bring these trees to Council attention, and if anyone sees trees being damaged can contact either the Council or the police.

The person responsible for the poisoned Kinloch trees has been convicted and is now paying reparation to the Council.

Santa Monica Trees

Vanefsky photos 010

Vanefsky photo

Trees in the way of the Exposition Light Rail Line in Santa Monica have been chosen to be either moved to a new location or removed and replaced. Those that were chosen to be removed are being replaced with two new trees. This means that there will be an overall increase of 120 trees in the Santa Monica area – paid for by the Exposition Construction Authority. In evaluating the trees, four arborists looked at the trees for value, cost of removal, and health. If the cost of moving the tree was more than the value of the tree, that tree was chosen to be replaced instead of being moved. Also, if the type of tree was not able to maintain health once being moved, it was chosen to be removed. There were 139 trees that were evaluated, and it was decided that 120 of those trees would be removed and replaced.

Planners chose to relocate trees, like palms, throughout the city where similar trees are located. The replacement trees will be almost exclusively be planted densely along the Colorado Avenue corridor to shield residents from the Expo Line. Community forester Walt Warriner said City Council is considering low-growing canopy trees that provide shade and spread broadly, although community input was also considered in the tree selection.

Although there will be an increase in the number of trees in the area, this increase does not completely replace full-grown trees that are to be removed. Full-grown trees are better at removing more carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, produce more oxygen, and help trap more storm water runoff. Newly planted trees will take years to reach a stage where they can provide the same benefits.