Appreciating the World-Class Conifer Rainforests of the Pacific Northwest

The Coastal Conifers Forests of the Pacific Northwest

The purpose of this article is to call attention to the uniqueness of Oregon’s and the Pacific Northwest’s temperate coastal rainforests that many of us take for granted because we live here.

As you will read below, our forests are some of the last like them on the planet; they are the largest of their kind still left. Such forests existed elsewhere on earth, but have long since destroyed them, and little or nothing remains of these temperate coastal rainforests, except in the  Pacific Northwest.

Please enjoy and share the information presented below to help raise the awareness of the forest gem we have in our own backyard.

Oregon Conifer Tree Facts 

  • Oregon has 26 million acres of commercial forests. They would stretch as a green belt sixteen miles wide across the U.S. from the Pacific Ocean eastward to the Atlantic (as of 1989, from Trees to Know in Oregon, by Charles Ross, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR; 1989) 
  • Oregon’s forests contain enough lumber to rebuild every dwelling in the U.S. (ibid.)
  • Prior to 1990 when the spotted owl ruling shut down most of Oregon’s state and federal forests to commercial timber operations, Oregon led all 50 states in production of timber products. The forest industry provided half of all Oregon’s industrial jobs. Timber was king leading agriculture, transportation, recreation and all other industries (ibid.).
  • Douglas fir makes up sixty percent of Oregon’s annual wood crop (ibid.). 
  • The Douglas fir tree, Oregon’s state tree, is the worlds second largest tree in size after California’s giant redwoods and sequoias (ibid.).
  • Of the total timber in the U.S., half is in the three Pacific Coast states combined, and half of this (or one quarter of the timber in the U.S.) is Douglas fir. Douglas fir is not only the leading commercial tree of the Pacific Coast, but of the world (Elliot, p. 524).
  • While the Pacific Coast has a small number of species as compared with the species native to the eastern U.S., it is the home of the most dense and important coniferous forests of the world. The hardwoods in the Pacific Coast account for only about one percent of the total available timber in the Northwest, and is chiefly comprised of red alder, Oregon ash, bigleaf maple and Oregon white oak (Elliot, p. 525).
  • Many species of trees are native to the Northwest which no longer grow here, since they lie buried under the lava flows of eastern Oregon and Washington. The fossilized remains of extinct trees that have been found include magnolias, palms, ginkgoes and sequoias (Elliot, p. 526).
  • More than 600 species of conifers exist on planet earth. Half live on the Pacific Rim and 50 percent of these live in the U.S. (Kauffmann, pp. 10, 14).
  • The hot-spot for conifer diversity in the western U.S. is in the Klamath Basin Mountains of Oregon and California where there are 38 species of conifers in 13 genera. Conifers in California alone represent the oldest, tallest and largest living things on the planet (Kauffmann, p. 16).

Distribution of Trees on Planet Earth

Ninety percent of all tree species on earth live in tropical forests (Tudge, p. 27). The further you travel north or south from the tropics at the equator, the fewer the diversity of the species of trees you’ll find. The endless forests of Canada, for example, are dominated by only nine native species of trees including a few conifers and the quaking aspen. In the whole U.S. there are only about 620 native species of trees. India, which is much smaller than the U.S. has around 4,500 species of trees, and in one region of Peru where studies have been conducted within a 15 hectare area 825 tree species have been identified. Tropical America (both North and South) have tens of thousands of species of trees (Tudge, p. 279).

Conifers Distribution Outside and Inside North America

There are no native conifer (a word meaning “cone bearing”) trees (e.g. pines, firs, spruces, junipers, cypresses or cedars) in all the vast forests of Central Africa or Amazonia in South America. This is because most conifers (except firs) thrive in conditions that flowering plants find especially difficult such as soil low in fertility and soil that is poorly drained. They do, however, grow in some highland tropical rainforests on the hillsides of Southeast Asia where growing conditions are less easy. They especially thrive in cooler climates including extreme Continue reading

March 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. 

Then the LORD God (Yehovah Elohim) took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

This guide is tailored for the western valleys of Oregon and Washington

Tree and Shrub Care

  • Fruit tree pruning. Prune your fruit trees for fruit production. You can also prune grapes, can and trailing berries once the threat of major frost is past.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Mulch. Apply two to three inches of mulch around all trees and ornamental shrubs. This helps to fertilize the plants and feed the soil, and also protects them against weed growth and loss of water when the warmer  weather returns.
  • Pine tree pruning. 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.
  • Plant or transplant trees and shrubs. Winter is 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.
  • Pruning of ornamental shrubs. Do major pruning (called heading back) of rhododendrons (or rhodies) and other similar ornamental shrubs back to latent buds in trunks and stalks. Do this before spring growth begins in a couple of months.
  • Pruning of large trees. Winter is a great time to do aesthetic and structural pruning of 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.
  • Reparative pruning. Repair winter damaged to trees and shrubs.
  • Roses. The best time to prune roses is after the threat of major frost is past.
  • Tree and shrub removal and stump grinding can be done all year long.
  • 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.

Plant Health Care

Good News Tree Service, Inc. provides full plant health care services as listed below.

  • Apple scab on ornamental crabapple and fruiting apple trees. The first visible symptoms occur on leaves in spring as pale, yellowish, water-soaked spots the size of a pinhead. These enlarge, becoming darker and smoky in appearance, later taking on an olive shade and ultimately a brownish black color. Spots may be any shape but are frequently circular. Young infections often show a radiating spread of fungal tissue through the leaf, and such areas later appear as irregular, brown-colored infections. Diseased leaves can be curled and distorted and often drop early. This fungal disease can also move into the fruit to produce a scabby effect, hence the name “apple scab.” Several fungicidal sprays are required to control this disease just prior to flowering and after flowering.
  • Arborvitae Berckmann’s Blight (Platycladus orientalis): Spray in the fall (late Sept. and early Oct., and again in early Nov. Spray again in early spring (Feb to Mar) if disease is severe. 
  • Cherry Leaf Spot: Spray cherry trees for leaf spot Apply first spray at petal fall and two weeks later.
  • Cherry Tree Brown Rot Blossom Blight (Monilinia fructicola): Make 3 foliar applications starting at bud break and at 14 day intervals. 
  • Coryneum Blight (Shot Hole Fungus): This leaf blight affects ornamental and flowering cherry, plum and prune trees. Apply fungicide in late fall, and in the spring prior to bud break and after the flower petals fall.
  • Deep Root Fertilization: Deep root fertilize your trees and shrubs as soil temperatures warm up.
  • Dormant Spraying of Fruit Trees: Apply dormant sprays against insects and fungi.
  • Lawns: Fertilize yellowing lawns.
  • Leaf Blights: Spray trees and shrubs for fungal leaf diseases (e.g. powdery mildew, leaf blights, dogwood anthracnose, needle blights, etc.).
  • Magnolia Bacterial Blight: Apply one spray in fall and twice in spring near budbreak. 
  • Monitor trees and shrubs for insect pests. When piercing and sucking plant pests (e.g. aphids, lacebugs, scales, weevils, mites, etc.) hatch varies each year depending on when the warmer weather begins. Usually, hatching of plant pests begins from early to late April. When consistent warm weather begins to occur, start monitoring plants for insect nymphs and adults. If necessary, plan a course of action to treat your trees and shrubs against these pests.
  • Piercing/Sucking Insects: Begin applying systemic insecticides against piercing sucking insects (aphids, lacebugs, scales, weevils, etc.) via soil injections (one treatment gives season-long control). 
  • Photinia leaf spot. Spray a fungicide early in February of four applications at two week intervals afterwards. Early spray is key to controlling this fungus.
  • Powdery Mildew: Apply a fungicides as soon as symptoms appear. Best efficacy if used before symptoms appear. Use fungicide at seven to fourteen day intervals, or more often if conditions warrant it. If a plant is known to have had powdery mildew previously,  apply as buds start to open.
  • Tent Caterpillar: Apply systemic pesticide for season-long control.
  • Verticillium Wilt Fungal Disease: Apply a soil in the fall and spring.

Elsewhere in the Garden

  • Put slug bait around winter flowers. Though the weather may be cold, slugs are still active.
  • 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 all of 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. 

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

This guide is tailored for the western valleys of Oregon and Washington

  • Fruit tree pruning. Prune your fruit trees for fruit production. You can also prune grapes, can and trailing berries once the threat of major frost is past.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Mulch. Apply two to three inches of mulch around all trees and ornamental shrubs. This helps to fertilize the plants and feed the soil, and also protects them against weed growth and loss of water when the warmer  weather returns.
  • Pine tree pruning. 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.
  • Plant or transplant trees and shrubs. Winter is 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.
  • Pruning of ornamental shrubs. Do major pruning (called heading back) of rhododendrons (or rhodies) and other similar ornamental shrubs back to latent buds in trunks and stalks. Do this before spring growth begins in a couple of months.
  • Pruning of large trees. Winter is a great time to do aesthetic and structural pruning of 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.
  • Roses. The best time to prune roses is after the threat of major frost is past.
  • Tree and shrub removal and stump grinding can be done all year long.
  • 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. 
  • Trees and Storms. Storm proof your larger trees. Checking your trees for hazards and then take the appropriate measures to protect your trees from storm damage. 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. 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 Health Care

Good News Tree Service, Inc. provides full plant health care services as listed below.

  • Arborvitae Berckmann’s Blight (Platycladus orientalis): Spray in the fall (late Sept. and early Oct., and again in early Nov. Spray again in early spring (Feb to Mar) if disease is severe. 
  • Dormant Spraying of Fruit Trees: Apply dormant sprays against insects and fungi.
  • Lawns: Fertilize yellowing lawns.
  • Piercing/Sucking Insects: Begin applying systemic insecticides against piercing sucking insects (aphids, lacebugs, scales, weevils, etc.) via soil injections (one treatment gives season-long control). 
  • Photinia leaf spot. Spray a fungicide early in February of four applications at two week intervals afterwards. Early spray is key to controlling this fungus.
  • Powdery Mildew: Apply a fungicides as soon as symptoms appear. Best efficacy if used before symptoms appear. Use fungicide at seven to fourteen day intervals, or more often if conditions warrant it. If a plant is known to have had powdery mildew previously,  apply as buds start to open.
  • Tent Caterpillar: Apply systemic pesticide for season-long control.

Elsewhere in the Garden

  • Put slug bait around winter flowers. Though the weather may be cold, slugs are still active.
  • 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 all of 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.

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.