Plant the Right Street Tree in the Right Place

Well chosen and properly maintained street trees add much value, livability to a neighborhood and to our planet.

Street Tree Recommendations for the Western Valleys of the Pacific Northwest

Why This Is Important and  How It Affects YOU

The following list of recommended columnar or semi-columnar street trees for the western valleys of the Pacific Northwest is the convergence of several efforts on the author’s part.

This list is the distillation—the crème de la crème—of the analysis of numerous varieties of street trees from various lists compiled by numerous people, organizations and local municipalities. The best choices, in the author’s opinion, have been carefully selected. (More suitable street trees are being added to the list as they come to the author’s attention. So what makes the author’s opinion worth anything? Glad you asked.

Nathan Lawrence, ISA Certified Arborist and a second-generation Pacific Northwest arborist and horticulturist who has been earning a living caring for trees in Northwest Oregon since 1972, has put this list together based on long experience dealing with countless varieties of trees and learning how they react in numerous situations including wind, rain, ice, snow, blights, drought, attacks from pests, construction trauma, lightening, poor growth habits, structural failures, human neglect and more.

While owning and operating a tree care company in Northwest Oregon since 1985, we have Continue reading

The Wrong Street Tree in the Wrong Place…BIG PROBLEMS!

Street trees are beautiful to look at when driving through a neighborhood. They add value to a house and neighborhood, improve livability, are good for the earth and environment, and provide so many other benefits, as we’ve noted elsewhere on this blog (https://goodnewstree.com/2018/10/11/how-trees-benefit-you/ and https://goodnewstree.com/2018/10/11/why-humans-cant-live-without-trees/).

However, the wrong tree in the wrong place can cause no end of problems for the owner of the tree. Fixing some of these problems can be extremely expensive. That’s why it’s important to plant the right street tree in the right place (as we will note in our next blog post).

In our decades as arborists, we’ve seen it all including the damage that misplaced trees can do to foundations, sidewalks, driveways, walls, houses, cars, near fatalities due to limb breakage and trunk failures, destroyed street lights, impacted utilities, plugged sewer pipes and busted water meters and pipes, and more.

Here are just a few examples of the problems the wrong tree in the wrong place can cause.

Here is a street tree totally enveloping a street light. Someone wasn’t thinking when they planted this tree!

Here is a public sidewalk that has been lifted by a street tree. This is a trip hazard to pedestrians and legal liability for someone.

A pedestrian actually caught a toe on and tripped over this tree root lifted sidewalk and did a nose plant on the cement. Not good!

This tree was too large for its spot. It was lifting the sidewalk in two places and had utilities running underneath it was well. Underground utilities and tree roots often clash causing all kinds of damage and expenses.

Street trees planted too close to walls can cause this.

Some trees are susceptible to splitting out due to weak trunk and branch structures. These are not good street tree choices, especially when they break out and land on streets, cars and houses.

We had to remove this weak crotched tree when part of it split out and landed in the cul-de-sac after a little wind storm.

This sweetgum street tree is loaded with hard spikey gumballs, which fall and then roll down the sloping lawn onto the sidewalk and street where people walk. It’s not hard for someone to twist an ankle while walking over a hard surface covered with golf ball like gumboils. If this happens, I wonder who’s going to pay for the medical bills?

Madagascar’s Trees— Bizarre and Other-Worldly Looking

Ever been to Madagascar, the earth’s fourth largest island just off the southeastern coast of Africa? Neither have I. But recently I trekked, or more correctly, strolled through the weirdest bunch of trees in my life—a Madagascarian forest. These other-worldly trees, look like come out of sci-fi movie or something. They’re some of the world’s rarest and most endangered trees, and are featured, of all places, at the San Diego Zoo’s Africa Rocks Exhibit.

Please enjoy this brief tour…

The Madagascar Palm

The Healing Moringa Tree Continue reading

Increase Retail Business—Plant Trees!

One thing is certain in the business world. The cost of doing business is not going down. After nearly 50 years in business, this I know. What’s more, owning a retail business means people must come to you and moving to a better location isn’t always feasible. So what can you do to attract more customers? Two words: Plant trees! Not only will planting trees increase profit, but you can help make the world a more beautiful place, and help the environment in a big way as well. How about that?

Numerous scientific studies have been conducted that prove that planting trees and then properly caring for them increases retail business not a little, but substantially. In fact, the investment cost of planting and caring for trees pays business owners back much more than what it cost. Here is some data to validate this point. Continue reading

February in the Garden—A To Do List

YOU can help to make the world a better, a more friendly, loving and beautiful place by tending your spot on this earth that has been given to you—your garden. Here is a to do list to help you to do just that…

Tree and Shrub Care

  • Major pruning of rhodies and other similar shrubs and trees that will regenerate from latent buds in trunks and stalks after severe pruning (called heading back). Do this before spring growth begins in a couple of months.
  • Begin applying systemic insecticides against piercing sucking insects (aphids, lacebugs, weevils, etc.) via soil injections (one treatment gives season-long control). Good News Tree Service is state licensed and qualified to perform this service.
  • Aesthetic and structural pruning of large trees. Winter is a great time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs, since the structure or architecture of the plant is clearly visible making aesthetic pruning easier than when plants are foliated. Structural defects, which can cause tree failure, are more easily spotted as well. Also remove of dead wood, and pruning to reduce hazards. If you’re not sure what to do, or how to do it, call Good News Tree Service, Inc. for a consultation, pruning lessons or to have them do the pruning for you.
  • Tree and shrub removal and stump grinding can be done all year long.
  • Fruit trees. Begin applying  dormant  spray oils against insects and fungi. Prune your fruit trees for fruit production. You can also begin pruning grapes, can and trailing berries once the threat of major frost is past.
  • Prune roses. The best time to do this is after the threat of major frost is past.
  • Large deciduous trees. Have an ISA Certified Arborist with an ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (like Good News Tree Service, Inc.) inspect your large trees for the potential of failure due to weak root systems and defects in trunks and branches. This is best done when the leaves are off the trees.
  • All large trees. After each major weather event, check your trees for damage such as broken or hanging limbs. If you have concerns or questions about your trees, have an ISA Certified Arborist with an ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (like Good News Tree Service, Inc.) inspect your large trees for damage or the potential of failure due to weak root systems and defects in trunks and branches.
  • Storm proof your larger trees. Checking your trees for hazards and then take the appropriate measures to protect your trees from storm damage. If you’re not sure about the condition of your trees or even what to look for, call Good News Tree Service, Inc. for a free on-site consultation.
  • Plant or transplant trees and shrubs. After the cold, seasonal rains have started is a good time to plant or transplant ornamental trees and shrubs. Cooler weather means less transplant shock to the plants, and over  the winter and spring, they will have time to begin to acclimate to their new environment before the stress of the next summer season occurs.
  • Prune coast/shore pines (Pinus contorta) and Scotch/Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris). These two pines are especially susceptible to the sequoia pitch moth whose larvae burrow into the tree trunks during the growing season (April through September) causing the trees to exude large amounts of unsightly pitch globules. While this seldom kills the tree, the bleeding of sap is not good for the overall health and vigor of the tree. It is advisable, therefore, not to prune these pine trees during the growing season, since the pruning cuts attract the moth, which then lays eggs on the tree, which hatch into tree-burrowing larvae. Pruning should be done on your pines from November to March.
  • Photonia leaf spot. Spray a fungicide early in February of four applications at two week intervals. Early spray is key to controlling this fungus.

Elsewhere in the Garden

  • Put slug bait around winter flowers. Though the weather may be cold, slugs are still active.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Rake and dispose of ornamental tree leaves, or better yet, compost them and then spread the decomposed leaves back onto your shrub beds as a mulch next year.
  • Mulch your shrub beds. Put a two to three inches of mulch (e.g. bark dust, garden compost or wood chips) around perennials and other plants that might be sensitive to subfreezing weather.  Also, spread a fresh layer of mulch (e.g. bark dust, garden compost or wood chips) on all the bare dirt areas in your yard to prevent soil compaction from rains, to prevent weed growth and to enrich and help to condition your heavy clay soils.
  • Cut English ivy off of the base of trees. (This can be done any time of the year.)
  • Feed the birds. Dutifully maintain your bird feeders. As winter comes, birds have a harder time finding food.  Bring life and excitement to your backyard by turning it into a bird sanctuary. The birds will thank you for your generosity by providing you with hours of entertainment, and by eating insect pests that harm your ornamental trees and shrubs. Remember to feed the humming birds, who have few flowers to feed on during the winter. Birds in the yard are not only fun to watch, but they perform the vital task of eating harmful insects.
  • Fertilize yellowing lawns.

In Search of the World’s Largest Cactus in Cabo!

There are some 1750 known cactus varieties (Cactaceae family) in the world. Most are native to North and South America with few species native to Africa, Madagascar and Sri Lanka and some Islands in the Indian Ocean. Hundreds of cacti are native to the Sonora and Baja deserts of NW Mexico and the US southwest.

Recently, I took a trip to Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. From Cabo, I travelled north about 40 or 50 miles along the coast for some fun in the desert. To my excitement, there were cactus everywhere. To this rusty, rain-drenched Pacific Northwest US web-toed native and professional tree-loving arborists, the unique novelty of an arid desert that receives only a couple of inches of rain per year and where forests of cacti abound stirs my flora passions and unquenchable curiosities to new highs.

Wherever I travel around America and the world, I’m always in search of the biggest and most unique tree species the planet has to offer. Well, I found one in Baja Sur California—the giant cardon or elephant cactus.

The largest cactus in the world next to the Saguaro cactus is the Mexican giant cardon or elephant cactus found in NW Mexico in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur and Sonora. The maximum recorded height of the cardon cactus is 63 feet with a foot trunk diameter of more than three feet with several side branches. This cactus is slow growing and can live for hundreds of years and may weigh up to 25 tons. The saguaro cactus native to Mexico, California and Arizona generally grows to about 40 feet tall, but a few decades ago one blew down that was 78 feet tall. Currently, the tallest saguaro cactus is about 45 feet tall and is located in Arizona. This makes the cardon cactus, in reality, the tallest cactus on earth.

Though the cardon cacti I encountered weren’t the tallest giants of this species,  many that I saw were still 20 to 30 feet tall.

Here are some close up shots of this beautiful and exotic plant.I encountered in amazement several other varieties of smaller cacti as well.

Some cacti were even in bloom.

Here is the wooden skeleton of a long deceased cactus.

Ever see an aloe vera in full bloom? Neither had I until now.

Okay, looking for cacti wasn’t the only thing my wife and I did on this excursion. Looking at cacti was a means to an end.

Imagine going to Mexico to ride a camel—on the beach no less!

On more camel shot. I grew up on a farm and I love animals. What can I say?

And here’s a final cactus picture. This one is from Maui, Hawaii. Yes, catcus in the desert area of SE Maui just feet from the beach and palm trees. No kidding! Deserts and cactus are not the stereotypical scenes one sees in the picture post cards of Hawaii, to be sure, but I was there a year ago and saw it myself.

This is a non-native naturalized prickly pear cactus that was introduced into Maui in the 1800s apparently as cattle fodder. They get large there—about 20 feet tall.

 

While I was taking this photo I heard and then saw a barking deer nearby. No kidding, a barking deer! I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes. Look up the “barking deer of Maui” online. It’s quite a story!

January in the Garden—A To Do List

YOU can help to make the world a better, a more friendly, loving and beautiful place by tending your spot on this earth that has been given to you—your garden. Here is a to do list to help you to do just that…

Tree and Shrub Care

Fruit tree sanitation. To prevent possible spread of leaf diseases, rake up and remove leaves from around the base of fruit trees. 

Fruit trees. You can be pruning your fruit trees and continue all the way up until February.

Storm proof your larger trees. Checking your trees for hazards and then take the appropriate measures to protect your trees from storm damage. If you’re not sure about the condition of your trees or even what to look for, call Good News Tree Service, Inc. for a free on-site consultation.

Plant or transplant trees and shrubs. After the cold, seasonal rains have started is a good time to plant or transplant ornamental trees and shrubs. Cooler weather means less transplant shock to the plants, and over  the winter and spring, they will have time to begin to acclimate to their new environment before the stress of the next summer season occurs.

Prune your trees and shrubs. This is a good time to start pruning your deciduous trees and shrubs after the leaves have fallen and a tree’s branching structure is clearly visible making pruning easier. If you’re not sure what to do, or how to do it, call Good News Tree Service, Inc. for a consultation, pruning lessons or to have them to the pruning for you.

Prune coast/shore pines (Pinus contorta) and Scotch/Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris). These two pines are especially susceptible to the sequoia pitch moth whose larvae burrow into the tree trunks during the growing season (April through September) causing the trees to exude large amounts of unsightly pitch globules. While this seldom kills the tree, the bleeding of sap is not good for the overall health and vigor of the tree. It is advisable, therefore, not to prune these pine trees during the growing season, since the pruning cuts attract the moth, which then lays eggs on the tree, which hatch into tree-burrowing larvae. Pruning should be done on your pines from November to March.

Large trees: After each major weather event, check your trees for damage such as broken or hanging limbs. If you have concerns or questions about your trees, have an ISA Certified Arborist with an ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (like Good News Tree Service, Inc.) inspect your large trees for damage or the potential of failure due to weak root systems and defects in trunks and branches.

Prune deciduous trees: This is an excellent time of the year to aesthetically prune deciduous, since without the leaves a tree’s branching structure or architecture is easily visible.

Elsewhere in the Garden

Put slug bait around winter flowers.

Plant fruit trees.

Rake and dispose of ornamental tree leaves, or better yet, compost them and then spread the decomposed leaves back onto your shrub beds as a mulch next year.

Mulch your shrub beds. Put a two to three inches of mulch (e.g. bark dust, garden compost or wood chips) around perennials and other plants that might be sensitive to subfreezing weather.  Also, spread a fresh layer of mulch (e.g. bark dust, garden compost or wood chips) on all the bare dirt areas in your yard to prevent soil compaction from rains, to prevent weed growth and to enrich and help to condition your heavy clay soils.

Cut English ivy off of the base of trees. (This can be done any time of the year.)

Feed the birds. Dutifully maintain your bird feeders. As winter comes, birds have a harder time finding food.  Bring life and excitement to your backyard by turning it into a bird sanctuary. The birds will thank you for your generosity by providing you with hours of entertainment, and by eating insect pests that harm your ornamental trees and shrubs. 

Fertilize yellowing lawns.

Trees Benefit Everyone and Everything More Than You Know

Trees are a vital part of every day human quality of life

  • They provide us with shade.
  • They cool our homes.
  • They provide us many products we use daily: Paper, wood, chemicals, oils, resins.
  • Trees promote feelings of well-being and peace among people.
  • The foliage of trees help to mark the changing seasons, thus helping human to mark time.
  • Trees are a place for children to play in, under and around.
  • Because trees can survive for hundreds of years, they serve as property boundary markers, memorials of important historical events. Trees thus help bring people together, to unite people and to help people stay connected to their historical roots.
  • Trees act as gathering places for social activities and events. They can act  as places of unifying people, families, communities and generations.
  • Trees provide visual barriers, create screens, promote privacy, and make separations between divergent and sometimes conflicting elements of society.
  • Trees serve as wind screens and to buffer the impact of storms.
  • Trees increase property value.
  • Trees provide wood for fuel.
  • Trees improve the livability of cities for countless reasons. Trees add visual, emotional and psychological appeal, since few things can compare with the aesthetic impact and seasonal interest that trees offer the urban setting. They provide huge visual appeal to any area and can significantly enhance the design of a streetscape. Trees adds aesthetic beauty to one’s living space and improves the quality of life.

Trees are an essential economic asset for people and they create economic opportunities Continue reading

Did someone shoot your ornamental flowering fruit trees with a shotgun?

Identifying and Treating Flowering Plum, Cherry and Apple Trees Leaf Blights

In the spring and early summer in the Portland and Wilsonville region, do the leaves on your fruiting or ornamental plum, cherry (Prunus spp.) or flowering crab apple (Malus spp.) trees look as if someone was using them for target practice with a shotgun? Are the leaves all peppered with a gazillion small holes? 

Not to worry, your miscreant neighbor doesn’t have a vendetta against either you or your trees. However, an airborne fungal pathogen called coryneum blight or “shothole fungus” is most likely the culprit for the cherry and plum trees. For crabapple trees, a different fungus called apple scab with similar symptoms as coryneum blight is likely the guilty party. 

On the flowering cherry and plum trees, “shothole fungus” (Thyrostroma carpophilum formerly called Wilsonomyces carpophilus) overwinters in dormant infected leaf buds, blossom buds and Continue reading

Amazing Trees—The Unique and the Odd (the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska and more)

Celebrating the beauty and uniqueness of trees. Please enjoy! (All photos by Nathan or Sandi Lawrence)

A 4,500 Year-Old tree Tree Stump. This ancient Sitka spruce relic is located at Beverly Beach State Park on Oregon coast.

Spirit Lake at Mount Saint Helens. Almost 40 years after the 1980 Mount Saint Helens volcanic eruption, Spirit Lake is still covered with floating old growth conifer logs.

“Healed” Tree Stump. In a forest of Douglas fir trees, when a tree is cut down and stump is left, you’ll sometimes find the tree stump healed over. Why is this? This is because all the tree roots are connected—a literal family of trees—and when one is wounded the remaining living trees heal the wound of the cut tree to prevent diseases from entering into the tree family.

New growth is already beginning to form on this “dead” fir stump. Eventually, the top of the stump will be healed over.

A Wysteria “Tree.” This wysteria vine in complete bloom covers this entire 60 foot tall spruce tree near Forest Grove, Oregon.

Ghost Forest, in Neskowin, Oregon. These spruce trees are thousands of years old and landed on the beach when an earthquake occurred and the tree-covered cliffs above slid into the Continue reading