Entries by Casey Roland

Rest In Trees, Uncle Tom… 

Tom Myers, founder, owner and commander in chief of Upper Limb-It Tree Service has recently passed on to the other side. When I blew into the valley 17 or so years ago, I blindly stabbed my finger into the yellow pages of the phone book somewhere between “Travel” and “Truck” looking for a tree climbing […]

Public Enemy #1…

Ask any nurseryman, gardener, crop grower etc. if they have ever had a problem with a varmint of a rodential nature and I’m sure you will get a headshake/sigh/groan… I have found out the hard way that you can have an arboretum, or you can have a colony of ground squirrels, but you must pick […]

Healthy Trees

I’m often asked whether this tree or that tree is “healthy”. It is a tricky call really, as the term means more than just a display of vigor. Healthy trees fall over all the time, and there are many trees in decline that have hung in there, defying gravity for decades! A lush, full, green […]

‘Tis The Season…

In another month or so, fire restrictions go into effect. Usually reserved for the middle of June, it will begin on June 1 of this year. The standing joke about the seasons in the valley is: we only have two, Christmas, and The Fourth of July! After last summers smoke many wonder if this summer […]

Regional Tree Climbing Competition

If you were not aware of such a thing, you are missing out! Last year, the City of Medford hosted a tree climbing competition in Hawthorn Park. This year the competition will be held in Ashland’s jewel, Lithia Park on Saturday May 11th, HOORAY! If you have never seen a competitive collection of championship climbers […]

Nuts and Bolts…

When you purchase a new vehicle there is no need to have a mechanic give it a checkup. Used vehicles are a whole different story however, and an inspection should be considered before laying your money down on what is essentially a bunch of used nuts and bolts. When you purchase a piece of property […]

Wormy Apples…

Let me preface this months’ article by stating that I do not offer any pesticide application services. This is the time of the year that many of my clients are thinking about this coming years fruit crop from their own orchard. A quick google search inquiry yields information about how many millions, if not billions […]

Here We Go Again…

As I write this, we are at about 1/2 the normal rainfall for the year, and the lakes that make up our summer irrigation are a mud puddle, at best. Is this the “new norm” or the “new abnorm?” Meh, whatever… Now for the truth… Let’s assume that a native tree, or ANY tree in […]

Black Oaks Matter…

If ever we have a “Tree of the Month” club, surely the mighty California Black Oak will steal top bidding! What a fantastic tree, from a climbers view, an owners view, and an admirers view. From the fiery rocket red pubescent spring flush, complete with golden cascades of flowers, to the deep green that defines […]

Ground Cover and Trees…

Many urban trees around town that I care for exist in a “sea” of ground cover. On a hillside environment, the common cure for erosion is a mass planting of English ivy, St. John’s wort, or Vinca major. The downside to these types of ground cover is numerous. When I give a tree the “once […]

Tree Care Myths

Because trees can endure an amazing amount of abuse, practices that have been long thought to be of benefit to trees run the gamut from ‘topping”, “thinning” and the like, to filling cavities with (whatever) and raising the canopy to reduce the chance of blowdown. The installation of tensioned steel cables used to be the […]

The Great Dilemma

While working for an H.O.A. about 15 years ago, I noted two spectacular weeping willows in a common area, surrounded by turfgrass. A perfect environment for these trees, BUT, and there is always a but, these trees in particular have strikes against them from the day they were planted. I informed the H.O.A. landscape head […]

Reading the Fine Print…

We are all familiar with the little space of no-mans’ land between the sidewalk and curb. You know the one I’m talking about right? You know, the one that has a tree literally CRAMMED in, that if it survives long enough, it will destroy the sidewalk and curb almost 100% of the time? And here’s […]

Thank You Very Mulch…

As I’ve often quipped, “If everyone would just mulch and irrigate, I wouldn’t have a job”! I can’t stress the importance of mulch enough, especially this year, and this time of year… Soil temps are about to go up, way up, and the roots of our trees don’t dig that at all. Every favorable aspect […]

The Hidden Gem – Thank You Michael Dawkins

As a manager of an arboretum, I realize the herculean task of babysitting a much-loved collection of trees, shrubs, and woody plants. Making different plants come together without looking like a contrived mess is the goal of every curator. The goal is to make it look natural, untouched, like they grew up together… This look […]

Early Warning Systems…

Trees, being the benevolent sentient beings that they are, tend to give us a little warning when they are stressed. Sometimes this warning is loud and clear, sometimes not… A sudden shift in lean, for example, should be a screaming red flag! How can you tell when this happens? Like watching your child graduate from […]

What Not to Do…

Now that you have picked out the bees knees of trees for your next planting project, here are a few tips to ensure a long healthy life for your beloved tree. Don’t plant too deep! By this I mean plant it high, so high it looks like it is planted almost too high. Trust me, […]

Here and Now…

Lets look at some common plantings around town and examine failure rates, and the reason why they fail. Siberian Elms are resistant, if not immune to D.E.D. (Dutch Elm Disease) and are a fast growing, graceful specimen commonly planted here. Their problem is just that! Besides being a maintenance “junkie” (meaning they must be pruned […]

Money In The Bank…

When I look back on a lifetime (almost) of doing tree work, I have come to the conclusion that if everybody would take my free advice, I probably wouldn’t have a job. Well, maybe that is stretching things a bit, but I digress… If you find yourself outliving a tree you personally planted, except for […]

Tree Musings

There are bee trees, and Bee Bee trees. Red, White and Blue Oaks, what could be more American than that? There are Japanese Maples, Austrian Pines, Bosnian Pines, Chinese Wingnuts, Italian Alders, Mexican Oaks, and Cedars of Lebanon.. Aspirin comes from willows, and maybe because some willows can be a real headache… Kings have crowns, […]

The Days of Yore…

I shudder to think of the climbing gear I started out with many years ago. My tree saddle was a reconstituted P.G.& E. lineman’s belt with a chunk of 3/4” poly plus 3 strand rope butt-spliced and a couple bowlines tied in for leg loops! A cast non-locking horse hitch snap in front and an […]

The Cycle of Life…

Dr. Alex Shigo (Bless you, Alex) and I were having a conversation about the “Balance of Nature” as it were, over dinner a few years back. It turns out that there is no such thing! Think about a see-saw, you know, the thing you played on as a kid, until the other kid stepped off […]

The Problem of the Root…

I can’t say it never happens in the wild, but encircling or “girdling” roots are rarely encountered. A tree left in a container for too long is almost sure to have potbound attitude. If you take a tree out of a container, especially a plastic pot, dig a hole and stuff it in without a […]

Time is Money…

Dead trees are expensive! The process of removal of a dead tree becomes more involved as time ticks on… I have removed trees that were so long dead, had they been removed while still alive, it would have cost the owner 1/10th of the total price. Take, for example, a large Lombardy Poplar next to […]

Dog Days of Summer…

This time of year, I get inundated with calls about dying Incense Cedars, Coast Redwoods, Manzanitas and Pacific Madrones. Assuming that these trees are healthy, they are just doing their normal summer thing. Mid-summer is shedding time for a lot of evergreens, both conifers, and broad leafed trees as well. The place to look is […]

The Doctor is in…

Not like I’m running out of ideas for monthly articles, but I thought a new twist to my space here might be kinda cool. I would like to field questions from readers, and answer the ones most pertinent to timely issues regarding our local trees. I will answer all the questions personally of course, but […]

A License to Kill…

Can you name any occupation where a “licensed” professional can intentionally perform shoddy or substandard work with nary a peep from the entity that licensed them in the first place? An attorney, for example, would be under fire and risk disbarment. A medical doctor would be in trouble with the A.M.A. An auto mechanic (in […]

Odocoileus hemionus columbianus…

Our hollow-toothed townmates the Columbian black-tailed deer have taken a liking to Ashland for a few reasons. As winter progresses, and the snow deepens in the mountains above the watershed, blacktail deer must move down the mountain to forage. They have done this for thousands of years, and you can literally set your watch to […]

Dollars and Cents…

Some trees cost more to “maintain” than others, for a couple of reasons. Besides the cost of removal, which can be a fairly hefty sum depending on the tree’s size and complexity of taking it down, along with disposing of the brush/wood/debris, what we will talk about here is mostly the cost of pruning various […]

Thou Shalt Not Top Thy Tree…

What is the definition of “topping” a tree? Among various circles among the arboricultural community, the term “topping” could be interpreted in a few different ways. In general, none of the examples given sound like it is a good thing to do to your tree. If you do a Google search of: “why is it […]

The Only One on Your Block Part Two…

Last month we tossed around a few options that while hard to find, would be a dandy addition to your landscape… We focused on conifers, both evergreen and deciduous. This month, we will explore some additions that will “rock” the neighborhood! The only one on your block? Let’s see… Where to start? Ohh, I got […]

Be The Only One On Your Block…

If you haven’t noticed, almost all of the street tree plantings around town are not a native species. Not a bad thing, mind you, but there seems to be a “trend” with street tree plantings that doesn’t seem to vary much from town to town. In the 70’s the tree de jour was the Modesto […]

What Trees Mean to Me

Trees mean different things to different people. To some, a tree might be a yearly hassle as the leaves fill their rain gutters to capacity. Another tree may remind someone about times spent with a much loved dog that was truly a beloved family member, and is now buried beneath the outstretched boughs. To me, […]

In The End…

Trees don’t die because of “old age,” and unlike people, they don’t “wear out” either. They don’t wear out like a car engine, a human heart, or a sharpening stone. What usually gets them in the end is decay followed by a sudden gust of gravity… I believe a tree could live forever (and there […]

Tree Protection Zones

Most municipalities require a tree protection zone, usually some sort of fencing around the tree to protect the tree and its root system. I have reviewed hundreds of these over the years, and can only recall one that actually “protected” the tree 100%. Most TPZs consist of cyclone fence panels erected at the dripline of […]

Urban Trees…

While the recent visit of James Urban to Ashland last week left a few people scratching their heads, I came away with the fact that this guy really knows his stuff! He has obviously “been there, done that,” and it really shined in his presentations. You see, being the world’s most foremost authority on the […]

Off To A Good Start…

Whew! Winter is beyond us, for the most part, we hope… Planting time is now! I consulted the Bish Boys (Dan and Dave Bish) at Plant Oregon, about planting in the spring, and remember folks, these guys have forgotten more about planting trees than I could ever remember! They are the hardest working pair of […]

Well-Behaved Trees Rarely Make History

My phone rang at about 2:00 a.m. many years ago. The voice on the other end said “Dude, the Dyerville Giant just fell over!” I couldn’t believe it, I had just had a picture taken of me hugging it less than two weeks earlier. At 364 or so feet tall, it was one of the […]

Trees on the Edge

Wow, trees in dispute are really making headlines lately! Let’s talk about this for a moment. Now for the disclaimer: THIS IS IN NO WAY LEGAL ADVICE, AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS SUCH, IN ABSOLUTELY NO WAY, MANNER OR FORM, HEREWITHTO, OR AFOREMENTIONED BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. I, THE READER OF THIS ARTICLE, WILL IN […]