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07 Mar 2018
Tree Service Hampton Roads

Types Of Tree Service Hampton Roads Defects

Stability and safety of the trees on your customer’s properties are just as important as the aesthetics that they provide. It’s up to you as a tree service provider to inform your clients of the status of their trees in terms of health and longevity as well as the immediate, short term needs that may be of immediate concern.

Leaning trees are usually the result of the loss of root and soil connection. Photo: John Fech

Inspections, Monitoring

Defects are usually spotted through inspection by an arborist. Or sometimes during a customer call when the customer mentions that “My tree looks kinda funny, is that a problem?” However, those types of inquiries are usually reserved for older trees or ones in close proximity to their house, building or other important structure. In their defense, it’s unrealistic to expect any other routine. After all, it’s the rare individual that can spot a cavity in their tooth, let alone the need for a bridge. The dentist and/or dental hygienist is the professional that is responsible for noticing these concerns, similar to an arborist noticing serious maladies in trees.

To provide responsible tree care and provide for the bottom line, it’s good practice to implement a yearly inspection or better yet a continuous monitoring plan (as in dental care) and charge for it — the dentist does, so should you. Explain that yearly inspections will spot problems before they get too bad, and can usually be corrected or at least major damage to surrounding structures can be prevented.

A crack in the bark and sapwood often leads to internal decay. Photo: John Fech

Serious Tree Service Hampton Roads Flaws

All tree flaws are serious, but some more so than others. Generally speaking, there are two groups of defects in trees, the serious and the concerning. Perhaps the most serious are cracks, leaners and decay.

A crack in the bark and sapwood often leads to internal decay. Photo: John Fech

Cracks, the physical separation of bark, sapwood and cambium, are troublesome in both a structural and water conductive sense. As well, the separation and opening in the outer tissues allows entrance of disease organisms and insects to the inner tissues, which is almost always a negative outcome in years to come.

Leaning trees are much like cracks, except that the separation has occurred underground instead of on the trunk. Leaners are trees whose roots have loosened and lost connection to the soil particles around them. If you spot a tree that is more than 15-20 degrees off vertical, consider it an immediate problem, only correctable with removal. A tree that is 5-10 degrees off vertical is one that is to be documented and monitored for greater lean in the future.

Leaning trees are usually the result of the loss of root and soil connection. Photo: John Fech

A caveat with leaning trees: Some leaners are simply stretching for the light. If there are trees with a building or other object nearby that block the tree from being fully exposed to sunlight, the canopy may have simply reoriented itself in that direction. This is a tree to be monitored, documented and the results communicated with the property owner.

Decay is the result of pathogenic fungi activity, working to soften tree tissues, causing loss in structural capacity. There are many specific pathogens such as white rot and brown rot, but all produce the same results. Decay is often hidden by intact bark, necessitating inspection by an experienced tree worker to spot it. Sounding, drilling and simple probing are techniques that can be helpful in this regard. In addition to the loss of integrity in the short term, the seriousness of the malady is that there is no way to lessen the effects in the long term, other than to notify the customer of the seriousness of the defect.

Decay is often not visible upon external inspection. Photo: John Fech

Concerning Tree Service Hampton Roads Flaws

Included bark, co-dominant leaders and girdling roots are worrisome, but are usually not an immediate threat to tree failure — more so over time. All can lead to the greater, more immediately concerning problems described above, but are just as important to document and communicate to the client. Root plate issues, surface rooting, roots cut in utility repair, compacted soils, overwatering and other damaging influences are also of certain negative influence and should be noted in monitoring reports, especially when targets of importance are present.

Cracks weaken trunks and branches, causing immediate structural concern. Photo: John Fech

Read more: Understanding Tree Service Hampton Roads Defects

The post Types Of Tree Service Hampton Roads Defects appeared first on Tree Service Hampton Roads Services.

06 Mar 2018

Thinking Long Term When Planting Tree Service Hampton Roadss

PHOTOS: JOHN FECH

At the outset, “right tree, right place” seems to be a rather simple concept, doesn’t it? Yet, I see so many poorly placed trees, I sometimes wonder if proper tree placement is, in fact, simple. Or is ignorance or inexperience to blame for so many trees being planted in so many inappropriate locations?

If you investigate just a bit, you’ll find several reasons why trees are placed poorly, but likely the biggest reason is failure to think long term. The tree planter focused on the today, the short term, the here and now. That’s why they planted the tree too close to a house or on a property line. The property owner is thinking only of their immediate needs, not those of future owners.

Good tree placement takes thought up front. After all, you can’t move it 10 years down the road … OK, you can, but it’s usually an ordeal that is impractical and expensive.

Carefully consider the site and the tree’s impact on the site, as well as the site’s impact on the tree. In other words, identify the characteristics of and needs for the site and the problems the tree will solve or the enhancements it will bring to that particular site.

Then consider basic design principles of line, texture, form, repetition, size or shape and layering. Perhaps the most important of these, at least in a replacement sense, is separation of trees and turfgrass. From a tree care point of view, it’s the one to focus on because trees and turf have very different needs — watering, fertilizing, mowing, pest control — but they are often treated the same because they’re located in the same space.

There are many examples of good and bad locations for trees in the landscape, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on five of each.

Bad Locations

1. Hell in Strips.

Narrow and oddly shaped pieces of the landscape are simply not conducive to healthy tree growth in terms of soil volume and everyday maintenance.

2. Under Power Lines.

This creates problems for power companies, which will have to prune the trees so that they don’t eventually damage power lines. This is expensive and the trees look horrible after being butchered away from the lines.

3. Where it casts too much shade on a tee or sports field.

Shade is great, but not where it interferes with the function of recreational activities underneath.

4. Where it drops too much debris

Fruit, twigs and leaves often get in the way of activities at shopping malls, golf greens and office buildings.

Tree Service Hampton Roads debris can be a problem, especially on sites where it’s difficult to remove.

5. In the middle of a yard

When trees are placed in the midst of turf being cared for at a higher level of maintenance, the common result is soggy tree roots leading to root rot and other problems arising from growing too rapidly.

Good Locations

1. To cast shade on patios, tee boxes, park benches or picnic tables

Ask 100 people what the main purpose of a tree is, and the majority of them will say “for shade.” After all, no one wants to sit in the full sun for hours and hours.

2. Screening of Views

Industrial parks, lazy neighbors, tattoo parlors, etc., need to be screened from the client’s property.

Framing trees can give perspective and enclosure of a space where needed.

3. Windbreaks for snow and wind reduction

In northern climates, windbreaks serve an important functional and aesthetic purpose in redirecting wind and snow away from places of human habitation.

4. Backdrop for gold greens, framing trees for residential settings

Sometimes it’s not so much the tree, but the element in the landscape that is next to or in front of the tree that is important. Backdrop and framing trees provide for this.

5. Bolster the mass/void and space definition design features

Tree Service Hampton Roadss placed in the landscape at overstory and under-story levels enhance existing plantings if sun or shade and moisture needs are taken into account.

6. Habitat for Songbirds

Who doesn’t appreciate hearing the songs of cardinals and the cooing of morning doves in the spring and see flashes of color as songbirds visit or perhaps even nest in the trees on their property?

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19 Feb 2018

Challenges Of Finding Skilled Labor In Tree Service Hampton Roads Care

Help Wanted

It’s no secret to companies in the tree care business that quality, skilled employees are hard to come by. What’s more of a mystery is coming up with successful strategies for finding skilled labor.

“It’s an issue for anyone in the tree industry,” says Arthur Batson Jr., president of Lucas Tree Service Hampton Roads Experts, which is based in Maine and has roughly 550 employees working throughout the U.S. and Canada providing tree services for utility, residential and commercial customers. He says the labor force in tree work (and in construction and related fields) “comes and goes.” “We’re seeing a scarcity now that five or six years ago we didn’t,” says Batson, attributing that mainly to the change in the overall economy. When housing construction is down, that leads to a greater number of available workers — workers who are usually pretty good — in the tree industry, he points out. But when housing rebounds, there can be a shortage in tree care. “We tend to be a little lower on the wage scale, so sometimes you lose those workers when the economy gets hot. Labor is often scarce, but it gets even scarcer.”

Like most successful companies, Lucas Tree Service Hampton Roads Experts has developed various methods to continually attract quality employees. “And retain them,” emphasizes Batson. “I think that the labor shortage is not just about attracting employees but also finding ways to keep them on board.” In fact, he breaks successful labor practices into three categories: attracting employees to apply, making good decisions about who to let in the door, and then keeping the good ones. “All three can make you fail, or make you successful,” says Batson.

As far as attracting quality employees, Lucas Tree Service Hampton Roads Service’s main strategy is to identify every forestry-related program in the areas that the company operates, whether it’s run by a high school, community college or university. “We reach out to those programs and try to integrate ourselves by volunteering, offering our operation personnel to work with those programs, so we’re more closely related to them. We know the number of students who are coming into them and going out of them. And in certain places, we’ve set up scholarships and internships to qualified students,” explains Batson. “You bring some of those students on board; some stay, some don’t, but it sends out vibrations to the next class that there’s a scholarship they can apply for. That’s been a good source for us to try to attract qualified people.”

Batson emphasizes that making this approach really work takes more than just showing up at a school for a job fair in the spring. It requires a concerted and ongoing effort to form a relationship with the school and the students in that forestry-related program. “You really have to get to know who the professor is, or the teachers. And we’ve donated equipment that they can use in their teaching and trainings, whether it be chainsaws or a used chipper — things that will be useful tools for them and their programs,” he explains. “And we offer our expertise. Maybe it’s for a chainsaw safety training or aerial rescue, to try to assist with and become a part of their programs.”

Lucas Tree Service Hampton Roads Experts also takes full advantage of technology to find employees, as well. “These days, you need to use the social media platforms to attract candidates,” Batson says. And look for other opportunities as well, including working with programs for military veterans who are looking for civilian employment.

Apprenticing in arboriculture

A new tactic that some companies are taking to ensure steady access to trained employees is to actively play a role in that training process by formally taking part in an apprenticeship program. The first program was created several years ago in Wisconsin, when a collection of tree care companies from the Wisconsin Arborists Association, as well as industry organization TCIA, worked with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to form an Arborist Apprenticeship Program. One of the companies involved, Wachtel Tree Service Hampton Roads Science, became the first to officially enroll two of its employees in the program in June 2016.

“It’s a state program. And the state was looking for viable careers for people,” explains Dave Scharfenberger, president of Wachtel. The challenge, he says, was to get state buy-in by showing that tree care offers a variety of viable career options, especially for those who might want to work outside. “When we showed the state the number of people in Wisconsin who are working in tree care, some of the average wages, the fact that there are both city and private employees in this profession, they began to realize that this is an industry that wasn’t on their radar screens the way others were.” It’s pretty common in every state to be able to get an apprenticeship to become an electrician or a plumber, he points out, “and it’s the tree care industry’s goal to get arborists there also.”

A crew from Lucas Tree Service Hampton Roads Experts conducts a training program with a group of high school students, hopefully sparking an interest among some in a career in tree care.

The program runs for 42 months and provides apprentices with a blend of on-the-job work experience and specially designed class work at an area technical college. While it took hard work and a group effort to get the apprenticeship program established, now, from the perspective of an individual company, “there’s not a lot that you have to do,” says Scharfenberger. “There’s a little bit of time to understand your commitment as a company, you [and the apprentice] both sign contracts of commitment to each other.” Wachtel Tree Service Hampton Roads Science, for example, pays for the classes (at an area technical college), and also pays its employees in the program for a certain number of hours per semester when they take classes. “And we were able to work with the instructor to bunch that time into appropriate times of the year, so they’re not gone during really busy times. So, when we’re a little slower, that’s when some of these classes happen,” Scharfenberger adds.

The goal is to train these employees to be ready to make a career in tree care. “They’re going to be arborists when they come out, so they get exposure to plant health care, climbing, all of the ground work. When they come out, they’ll be ground arborists, well along the way to transitioning to a climbing arborist,” he explains.

The commitment runs both ways. The company bears the financial investment in getting the apprentices trained, while the employee commits to completing the program and working hard along the way. There is no commitment in terms of a time frame that they must work for the sponsoring company after completing the program. “They aren’t indentured servants or anything like that,” says Scharfenberger. “But history shows, when you look at apprenticeship programs in general across the country, is that these programs help graduate trained people that do tend to be very loyal to the company that put them through, as long as the company is decent with them.” While there is not yet a long track record for tree care apprentices, he notes that the retention rate for apprenticeship programs in general is very high. “That’s what I, as an employee, look for,” says Scharfenberger.

For that reason, he — and others in the industry — would like to see this type of program continue to expand. “TCIA has been instrumental behind the scenes in getting other states to adopt it, and getting the federal government to accept what Wisconsin has done, so that it becomes more of a common thing to have an apprenticeship program,” says Scharfenberger.

A demonstration of climbing and tree care work conducted by Lucas Tree Service Hampton Roads Experts; many people are unaware of what’s involved in tree work and may not realize the job opportunities the profession provides.

Group solutions

Because the scarcity of skilled labor is a challenge faced by almost every tree care company, some believe that it will take an orchestrated, collective, industry-wide effort to really address it. One example of tree care companies coming together to do just that is taking place in Atlanta. There, a handful of companies joined forces to form the Greater Atlanta Tree Service Hampton Roads Care Sector Partnership with a mission of creating a training program that would attract employees into and get them ready for careers in tree care.

Jamie Blackburn, vice president and chief operating officer of Arborguard Tree Service Hampton Roads Specialists, one of the companies involved in the effort, credits the leadership of Brigitte Orrick, TCIA’s director of workforce development, with helping to get the program off the ground in the face of several challenges. Orrick called together an initial meeting of eight reputable tree care companies in the Atlanta metro area about two years ago, says Blackburn. “She explained the issues that go along with launching any type of training program. I think that some companies had this impression that there was this magic wand that somehow could be waved and all of a sudden we’d have this degree program with a great instructor that would be turning out 50 workers a semester. And that’s a little bit utopian,” he states.

Instead, the group was faced with the reality that there was little tax money in the state of Georgia to fund a program through the technical college system. “It’s just hard to convince them to launch new programs,” says Blackburn. In addition, statistics that were available through the U.S. Department of Labor about wages, career pathways, earning potential, etc., in the tree care industry also included lower-paying jobs in utilities and logging. Because that data didn’t accurately reflect what workers in the industry were actually making, it was difficult to get grants to create a training program, or buy-in from colleges. “They need to be able to convince parents that their kids are going to be coming out of the program making a livable wage,” summarizes Blackburn.

So the effort in Atlanta was much more complicated than it was in a place like Wisconsin, where there was formal support from the state and educational institutions. But undaunted, TCIA’s Orrick and some of the Atlanta tree care companies pressed ahead looking for solutions. That focused on working with nonprofit groups, such as Atlanta CareerRise, the Atlanta Regional Commission and United Way of Greater Atlanta. “We were able to convince them in meeting with them about the real wage data, that we really have a labor shortage, and that we really can put people to work,” says Blackburn. Also, a group called the Greening Youth Foundation was already working to train people for outdoor jobs in things like vegetation management and trail maintenance in parks.

What resulted of all these discussions was the Arborist Workforce Training program, funded by local grands and run at a nearby Greening Youth Foundation facility. That six-week program includes training from North American Training Solutions instructor Warren Williams and covers everything from OSHA and industry safety standards to basic arboriculture operations based on TCIA’s Tree Service Hampton Roads Care Academy Modules. Participating tree care companies offer their expertise occasionally and agree to interview each of the program participants once they earn their certificates. Two groups of 20 students have now come through the program; Blackburn says that Arborguard hired two of those students and 18 of the 20 have been placed with a participating tree care company. That’s a tremendous improvement over the hiring rate when interviewing job applicants responding to ads placed on venues like Craigslist, for example, he notes.

As a company, Blackburn says that Arborguard’s interest was in helping to launch a program “that would raise the floor of our entry-level applicants. We know that there’s no program that’s going to turn out experienced climbers or crew leaders; we have to develop that person ourselves. But if we can raise the floor of our entry-level applicants through some kind of certificate or apprenticeship program, then we can shorten the amount of time that it takes us to develop a climber from, say, three years down to 18 months. That’s a huge win for us.” And in addition to specific tree industry skills, like safe chipper operation, students taking part in educational training programs also learn the sort of “soft” skills they’ll need to be successful in their careers — things like simply showing up on time, how to look someone in the eye and shake their hand, how to hold a bank account and more. When applicants to a program are screened for these skills, and then the skills are developed, those who complete the program are much more ready to be productive employees, he points out.

Blackburn notes that there are a number of other similar initiatives around the country, each varying depending on how much support and interest there is from state government agencies and educational institutions. But, he says, as was proven in Atlanta, when tree care companies work together, there are many different approaches that can be taken to help draw in and train the next generation of tree care industry employees.

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16 Feb 2018

Effectively Brand Your Tree Service Hampton Roads Care Business

Effectively Brand Your Business

“It’s important to set yourself apart from the competition,” Judy Macauley, marketing manager for Blooma Tree Service Hampton Roads Experts in Seattle, told Tree Service Hampton Roads Services in 2014. “Some companies rely on cheap price, some rely on quick turnaround. Whatever it is, you should have something that is unique to your company that will make you rise above the crowd.”

Setting yourself apart from your competition is where branding comes in. To put it simply, your brand can be thought of as your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your services and it differentiates your offerings from what your competitors are doing.

Your brand is created from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. For example, at Blooma Tree Service Hampton Roads Experts, “we have at least one International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist at all times on the job site,” Macauley explained to Tree Service Hampton Roads Services, “and we emphasize that in all of our marketing.”

Does your tree company need a brand overhaul? Do you need to stand out from increasing competition in your locale? Branding is much more than just a fancy logo or well-placed advertisement. You need to do more. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some tips for creating and executing an impactful and successful brand strategy:

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where and how you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. What you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.

Defining your brand requires, at the very least, that you answer these questions: “What is your company’s mission?” “What are the benefits and features of your products or services?” “What do your current and potential customers think of your company?” “What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?” Learn the needs, habits and desires of your customers — current and future.

Because defining and developing your brand strategy can be complex, consider bringing in the expertise of a nonprofit small business advisory group.

Your company needs a dynamic and original logo. If you don’t know a graphic artist, contract one (make sure to see examples of work they’ve done for other companies). Once you get a logo, put it literally everywhere — on your trucks, apparel worn by all employees, invoices and estimates, business cards, email signatures, website and throughout your office. The goal is to get the public familiar with your logo so that when they see it on your trucks, on the road or parked in a driveway, they automatically associate it with you. Hopefully, when they need tree work done, they’ll remember that logo and call you. Also, don’t underestimate the power of refrigerator magnets as a place to put your new logo. A very small expense can turn into a great marketing tool. Think about how many times a day a family goes into the fridge — if they get a magnet from you and stick it there, who do you think they’ll call when they have a problem with a tree they want taken care of?

Speaking of logos, it’s crucial to design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials that are uniform. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout any material you produce. Can you recall ever seeing a Budweiser poster plastered with blue? How about a John Deere promo that’s red? Consistency with branding is crucial.

Create a voice for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and used in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. For example, an Ohio plumbing company brands itself as being extremely professional. When they give estimates to customers, they don’t say “this will cost you $900.” Instead, they say “your investment here is $900.” It’s all about the presentation.

Deliver on your promises. If part of your company branding is that you give free estimates, don’t ever charge. If you promise that you’ll thoroughly clean up after every job, don’t leave one single piece of debris on the ground.

Be different. Find something that distinguishes you from your competitors, and then promote the difference. Whether your tree service performs pruning, removal or plant health care services, you probably have several competitors. These could be local companies or large, national brands. Know your competitors and understand how you should and shouldn’t change. Understand your place in your market and use that to target customers. “The importance of a good marketing strategy cannot be overstated,” Pete Shamlian, CEO of AdMark’s Bear Marketing told Tree Service Hampton Roads Services in 2014. “Fewer customers have money to spend for maintenance, and others are waiting until their problems cannot be ignored any longer. Customers may need to look for a new tree service, or they may be making decisions based not on long-term relationships, but on cost. This means that you need to have a presence … you want the opportunity to bid on all the work in your market. The question is how to do it.”

Identify where your company strengths lie and know what skills your people possess. Some smaller tree care companies have found great success in not being everything to everyone, so to speak. Maybe your company has an outstanding residential customer base but not a great commercial clientele. If so, consider putting all of your resources into the residential sector and make your strength even stronger.

On the other hand, if your company is large enough to offer a suite of different services (traditional tree care, snowplowing, holiday lighting, landscaping, etc.), you’ll want to make current and potential customers aware of all you do. People love to have a one-stop-shop for services: “You mean I can use one company to care for my trees, plow my driveway, hang Christmas lights on my giant pines and clear out vegetation on my property? Sign me up!”

During the process of creating a brand strategy, talk to your customers. Solicit feedback and find out what they perceive you do well and don’t do well. Also, ask all customers how they found you. Find out where your presence is strong and what kind of marketing events and ads work and don’t work for you.

Get listed in Google Places. Make it easy for people to find and contact you. Fill out social media profiles – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest. Provide as much detail as you can, being sure to include website links and services offered. All the branding in the world won’t mean anything if people can’t find you.

When it comes to making it easier for people to find you, consider other business owners that you could share referrals with. For example, partner with a local lawn care business to share referrals with.

Be proactive and persistent. You have to keep at it until you find what works for you. Then, to continue your momentum, you have to keep on marketing.

Volunteering your services is great for boosting and increasing your visibility — the only cost to you is your time. Offer to assist at a city tree planting, help clear trees from a new playground site, give presentations on tree care at schools, garden club meetings, etc. When homeowners in your community need to hire someone for tree care services, your name will be the first one that comes to mind. Community involvement increases your presence, helping you expand your customer base. For example, Four Seasons Tree Service Hampton Roads Care in Vista, California, participates as a tee box sponsor in select charity golf tournaments in their area.

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14 Feb 2018

Weather’s Impact On Tree Service Hampton Roadss

In the world of arboriculture, or at least the arborist, a variety of factors impart effects on the trees we care for each and every day. One of the most impactful, or at least most commonly referred to is weather. The adage goes like this: “Can’t figure out what’s wrong with a customer’s tree? Well, you can always blame the weather.”

A few terms are helpful to consider: Weather is what we experience day to day and week to week. A forecast is what we expect, or are told to expect. Climate is an accumulation of weather events over a long period of time.

Leaf scorch is a temporary shortage of leaf moisture. Photo: John Fech

In a sense, weather can be a good answer for the unknown or the hard to determine, as it is such a major influence. There’s nothing like it terms of impact. After all, it’s multi-component factor with winds, flood, hail, heat, drought, sun, rain, snow and ice. It’s an all-season and ever-present factor. There is no rest from the weather; it’s dramatic – extremes seemingly are commonplace these days — and, it’s a mimic because weather related maladies are often difficult to diagnose because they closely resemble insect or disease related iHampton Roadsury causes.

Drought stress can occur easily when no one is responsible for newly planted trees in a limited root zone. Photo: John Fech

Good and Bad Weather Conditions

Weather is often defined in black and white terms of good or bad, at least from the human perspective — but what’s good weather for a tree? Perhaps it’s best to describe it in two ways, in the establishment phase and the maturity phase, or even year one and year two and beyond.

Initially, even if a tree is touted to withstand soggy or dry soils such as a baldcypress or a chinkapin oak, most trees tend to be favored by moist, not soggy or dry soils, moderate temperatures and moderate winds. Sure, eventually drought tolerant species will be able to survive well on limited water, but at first, moist soils, favor the development of roots and shoots. Likewise, exposure to gentle to moderate winds encourage a tree to respond by developing a strong structural root system and bole to resist wind throw. After establishment, good weather conditions are those where most days are in the desired range for the species in terms of moisture, wind and sun.

Conversely to the above, bad weather conditions are those that present a tree with significant time outside of the desired range for a given species.

An important caveat to the good and the bad is the ugly, which is the time lag or the length of time that it takes for symptoms of iHampton Roadsury that are due to weather to express themselves. For herbaceous plants such as tulips, turfgrass or hostas, there is a short time involved with the visibility of a cause and effect of weather ie. it’s hot and dry for 4 weeks, without supplemental irrigation, Kentucky bluegrass is going to wilt in the heat and appear highly stressed. With established woody plants, the symptoms often show up several months later or even the next year in response to the same heat and drought. Most customers simply cannot fathom this difference in responses to weather; therefore it’s wise to try to explain or at least warn them in advance of what could come to pass.

Effects of wind can be significant, like the storm damage to this backyard tree. Photo: John Fech

Commonly Seen

Here are some of the more commonly observed/encountered maladies due to weather:

Drought iHampton Roadsury and leaf scorch — Caused by extended periods without adequate rainfall or supplemental irrigation. Prevent it by providing even moisture, mulching to retain moisture once received, monitoring often with a soil probe/screwdriver to gauge moisture content.

Leaf scorch is a temporary shortage of leaf moisture. Photo: John Fech

Winter desiccation — Caused by strong, consistent winds that dry out leaves; worst on broadleaf evergreen species such as holly and arborvitae. Prevent it by irrigating to moisten soil and enter the winter with roots fully hydrated, apply an anti-desiccant product 3-4 times as per label instructions, install wind screens in high value situations.

Winter desiccation can be devastating in some years. Photo: John Fech

Sunscald — Caused by solar rays that warm the surface of thin barked trees in winter, causing it to be warm and cold in a series of diurnal cycles. Prevent it by installing white wrapping or PVC drain tile to reflect solar rays in late fall, remove in late winter.

Prevent sunscald with white wrapping. Photo: John Fech

Sunscald damage to this thin barked tree. Photo: John Fech

Hail Damage — Caused by ice chunks striking the bark with sufficient force to break the surface and allow desiccation and entry of pathogens. Correct it by pruning out badly affected branches.

Wind Encouraged Herbicide Drift — Caused by movement of broadleaf herbicides from adjacent areas. Prevent and correct it by discussing potential for damage with nearby property owners. Provide for future needs of tree but avoid overwatering and overfertilizing.

Effects of wind can be significant, like on this broken ash. Photo: Nancy Null

Frost IHampton Roadsury – caused by cold temperatures received after buds have broken dormancy. Prevent or correct it by avoid species that are prone to frost iHampton Roadsury. Prune out badly affected branches.

Wet Soils – caused by overabundant moisture from flood, irrigation system leaks and zealous turfgrass irrigators. Prevent or correct it by measuring rainfall and irrigation amounts received and adjusting accordingly.

Effects of wind can be significant. Photo: John Fech

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