Interesting Facts about Trees

Deepest Roots
A Wild Fig tree at Echo Caves, near Ohrigstad, Mpumalanga, South Africa has roots reaching 400 feet making it the deepest a tree’s roots have penetrated.

The Fastest Growing Tree
In 1974, it was noted that an Albizzia falcata in Sabah, Malaysia had grown 35 feet and 3 inches in 13 months: an approximate of 1.1 inches per day.

The Greatest Girth
In the late 18th century a European Chestnut known as the Tree of the Hundred Horses on Mount Etna in Sicily, in Italy had a circumference of 190 feet. It has since separated into three parts.

The Most Dangerous Tree
The Manchineel Tree of the Caribbean coast and the Florida Everglades is a species that secretes an exceptionally poisonous and acid sap. Upon contact to the skin, a break out of blisters would occur. In the occasions where there is contact to the eye, a person can be blinded, and a bite of its fruit causes blistering and severe pain. This tree has been feared ever since the Spanish explorers came to the Americas in the 16th century.

The Most Massive Tree
The “Lindsey Creek Tree”, a Coast Redwood with a minimum trunk volume of 90,000 cubic feet and a minimum total mass of 3630 tons was the most massive known tree until it blew over in a storm in 1905. The most massive living tree is “General Sherman”, a giant sequoia found in the Sequoia National Park in California. It is 275 feet tall with a girth of 102 feet and 8 inches.

The Oldest Tree
Found in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California, the oldest tree recognized is a Redwood known as Eternal God. The tree is believed to be 12,000 years old, although it is argued as being only 7,000 years old, which still makes it the oldest.

The Slowest Growing Tree
A White Cedar located in the Great Lakes area of Canada, has only grown to less than 4 inches tall during its 155 years.

The Tallest Tree
In 1872, an Australian Eucalyptus at Watts River, Victoria in Australia was said to measure to 435 feet, but it is speculated that it probably measured to over 500 feet at some point in its life. The tallest living tree is a Coast Redwood known as the “Mendocino Tree” found in Montgomery State Reserve in California. This tree, which is over 1000 years old, is more than 367 feet and 6 inches tall and still growing.

11 Tips for Picking a Good Arborist

Check in the phone directory, under Trees, Tree Service or Tree Care Service. Please understand that anyone can list themselves in the yellow pages

Beware of people going “door-to-door”. Reputable companies have all the business they can handle without going “door-to-door”. “Door-to-Door” companies are especially common after storms when non-professionals see a chance to earn some quick money. Often, storm damage creates high-risk situations for both workers and homeowners, and there is opportunity for even more damage to trees and shrubs if work is not done correctly.

Never let yourself be rushed by bargains, “if you sign an agreement today, I can take ten percent off the price…”, and never pay in advance in full.

Ask for certificates of insurance, proof of liability for personal and property damage (such as your house and your neighbor’s), and workman’s compensation. Then phone the insurance company to make certain the policy is current. Under some circumstances, you can be held financially responsible if an uninsured worker is hurt on your property, or damage is done to a neighbor’s property!

Ask for local references or other jobs the company or individual has done in you area. Take a look at some, and if possible, talk with the former client. Experience, education and a good reputation are signs of a good arborist.

Determine if the arborist is a member of any professional organizations. Does not guarantee quality, but lack of membership cards doubt on the person’s professionalism.

If arborist certification is available in your area, if the arborist complies with the requirements. The International Society of Arboriculture offers a national certification program.

Good arborists will offer a wide range of services, fertilizing, cabling-bracing, lightning protection, plant health care, etc.)

Smart arborists will recommend topping a tree only under rare circumstances as to save the tree after severe physical damage to the crown, or for a specialized decorative effect.) Topping in general is an unprofessional practice.

Conscientious arborists will not use climbing spikes if the tree is to remain in the landscape.

Beware of an arborist who is eager to remove a living tree. Removal should be a last resort!!!

8 Reasons Why Trees Die

Automobiles, storms and even lawnmowers can cause bark damage and wounds on trees. One can avoid tree wounding by planting them in sheltered locations or by providing some sort of barrier. Be very careful while using lawnmowers and weed trimmers, as careless use can damage the roots and bark of even larger trees. Check for any damage incurred during heavy storms, and treat it properly. Remember, the integrity and stability of a tree changes over time.

Too Much Herbicide
When used properly, chemicals can benefit trees and their growth. Improperly used, herbicides can interact with the roots and damage the tree’s health. Make sure the instructions for application are carefully followed. Seek professional help whenever you are not sure.

Soil Compaction
This is a slow tree damage process, often with few or no other signs of the cause. In compacted soil, pore space has been reduced and roots do not get enough oxygen. Often, the tree slowly declines and dies. Soil compaction can be avoided by aerating the soil, by mulching and by preventing soil disruption around trees on construction sites.

Bad Planting
Planting is one of the most important processes to ensure the tree’s health and longevity. Make sure the planting hole is two to three times wider but no deeper than the tree’s root ball. Plant trees promptly and make sure they get adequate water so that roots do not dry.

Both over- and under-watering can be harmful for trees. Watering is critical for all trees in dry spells as well as young or newly-transplanted trees. Monitoring the soil moisture is one of the best ways of making sure that adequate water is provided.

Location, Location, Location
Trees need proper sunlight and should be appropriate for the climactic conditions, or plant hardiness zone, of the area. Visualize the actual height the tree could reach and make sure that there are no power lines in its path and that the tree is a good distance from the house, other structures and other plants.

Painting Tree Wounds and Filling Cavities with Concrete (Antiquated Practice)
Paint on tree wounds will actually trap moisture in the wood, increasing the chances of decay. If you want to paint a wound for cosmetic reasons, use a very thin coating of wound dressing. Trunk cavities filled with cement make the tree unusually rigid, which can restrict the tree’s movement in high winds and leave the upper portion of the canopy to bear the brunt of the force.

Improper Pruning
Pruning should follow standards established in ANSIA300, published by the American National Standards Institute. Proper pruning is a tree health treatment, but one of the most neglected tree care practices.

Call Ken’s Tree Care to evaluate your trees. This will help you determine potential weaknesses and dangers. We will examine your trees for stress cracks, weak branches and other subtle indicators of potential hazards including checking the trees for dead or partially attached limbs hung up in higher branches that could fall and cause damage or injury during a storm.

Prepare Your Landscaping For Storms and Winter

Trees have survived for many years on this planet by falling apart at certain wind speeds. Limbs are designed to peel away to increase the tree’s chances for survival.

Natural disasters always come with wind speeds that produce tree-damaging forces. Nevertheless, property owners most often create the factors responsible for predisposing trees to storm damage. Communities and individual homeowners allow the structural condition of their trees to deteriorate to the point where even minor storms cause major tree damage. We can provide our best protection for trees by proper care when the weather is not severe.

We are our own worst enemy. Nobody ever thinks about the real reason trees fail. Instead, we blame the tree care company or the utility industry for the way they trimmed the trees. How can you improve your tree’s chances of surviving a storm and lessen property damage?

Learn proper planting techniques and choose the right species for the climate and location. If you plant poor quality or the wrong species of trees in the landscape, you cannot expect them to withstand the weather. Pick trees that can withstand the pressure from your area’s weather and environment.

A lot of young landscape trees burn up without watering and mulch. Proper watering will help your trees survive drought.

Learn that most plants grow toward sunlight. When a house is built in a forest clearing, the limbs of the trees are going to grow over your house.

Plant high-quality shrubs that have one well-defined stem. Then, as they grow, you can prune and do crown lifting so that the shrubs will not be as susceptible to splitting apart during winter storms.

Learn about the site and soil conditions before planting. Urban areas almost uniformly suffer from compacted soil. It does not matter what the wind speed is; when the roots are not in the ground, the trees are not going to remain standing. If trees are not anchored in the soil, they fall over.

Advise utility companies on how to install cables, wires and pipes without fatally damaging a tree’s root system. We build and excavate around trees and then wonder why they fall down when they get two inches of ice on their branches. It is hard for a tree to stand up when it has hardly any roots remaining.

Learn how to care for and prune trees properly.

Learn the early signs of tree failure before a storm hits. A tree can appear healthy but not be structurally sound.

Watch out for trees that have been struck by lightning. When you have severely storm-damaged trees, give them a dignified death. Cut them down and plant safe, healthy trees. Plant good species and give them good arboricultural care day in and day out if you expect them to withstand storm damage.

If you are unsure about your tree’s health, call Ken’s Tree Care at (201) 768-0694 and we will identify and remove hazards as well as treat the causes of tree health problems.

This information was provided by the National Arborist Association.

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