Entries by Casey Roland

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 […]

Water Water Everywhere…

This time of year we probably don’t think about the irrigation needs of our beloved trees. Summer will be here soon enough, so you might want to clip and save this article! How to water your trees, then? Don’t waste your money with the silly little moisture meters that you plunge into your houseplant pots, […]

Think Outside The Box

“This tree is too big for this space” is the #1 reason given concerning removal. I usually reply, “Nah, your space is just too small for that tree.” Same thing, you say? Take a walk through town and notice the number of trees crammed into a parkrow or planting strip like so much corn… Current […]

After the Smoke Clears…

With fall planting time right around the corner, I think it would be a good time to talk about trees you should AVOID planting… The only hard and fast rules in regards to trees are there are no hard and fast rules! You may find a tree that you think is the bees’ knees on […]

When To Pull The Plug…

by Casey P. Roland After the better part of 40 years, or so, as a tree guy, I must confess, the worst part of the business, is condemning a particular tree. It is my duty, legally, as well as morally, to put a literal “Death Card” on a tree. Like a good dentist, or good […]

Fun Tree Facts

  99% of the water a tree extracts from the soil in a day is gassed off into the atmosphere, and not used by the tree…   A Spruce tree in the Swiss Alps has been alive for over 11,000 YEARS!!!!!!!   Less than 1% of ANY tree alive is actually alive (Google it)!!!!!!!!   […]

A World Without Trees

Pretty much everything in your life is manufactured from, derived from, synthesized from, or created from an animal, vegetable or mineral. Imagine than, a world without trees… There would be NO aspirin, baseball, Jimi Hendrix, Bibles, Barbie, hope chests or bird nests. NO drumsticks, seabird friendly six-pack containers, dynamite, crazy glue, telephones or fancy homes. […]

Fruit Trees in a Nutshell

What is the difference between a fruit tree and a shade tree? A grand, old apple tree surely makes for a nice shady spot to relax on a hot summer day, and mankind has been enjoying fruit such as acorns, pine nuts, and coconuts for the last 10.000 years or so… So what is a […]

Timing is Everything

With the shortest day of the year behind us, I can already feel the days getting longer. Winter buds are swollen and on the launching pad, ready for “springing” into action, or are they? The dormant buds so obvious this time of year were actually put into place last June! When last year’s growing season […]

And The Winner Is…

Last winter’s cold snowstorm left the roads covered in ice for weeks, making for busy tow truck drivers and full auto body repair shops. This winter’s 75 mph windstorm is keeping the tree companies’ phones ringing. It was a freaky kind of wind that moved in fingers and troughs through town, putting the smack down […]

Take It or Leave It

AAAHHH… The steady din of leaf blowers throughout town this time of year… Hmmmmm, I thought. What to do with all these leaves? What if we left them? After all, they are called leaves, not takes, right? A leaf rake should be called a take rake, no? I spend most of my “autumn” raking leaves […]

The Ten Commandments

My goal for this month’s article is to provide a professional’s insight to the layperson regarding the relative health of trees on their property, or any tree, anywhere, really. Considering the simple fact that EVERY tree is a different being, (yes, even clones) we should expect to find a tree or cultural condition that might […]

Stress, Strain, Survival & Thrive

With the hottest or warmest summer temperatures (depending on which paper you’ve read) on record nipping at our heels, we are seeing a ton of trees that are either going to sleep early, or have given up the proverbial ghost, as it were. How did they make it this far? Are they dead? Should I […]

The Perfect Tree?

I was recently contacted by a Homeowners Association to provide a consultation about the trees in their neighborhood. As with many sites like this one, the planting strips between the sidewalk and street were adorned with the types of trees that are NOTORIOUS for buckling concrete, causing damage to underground utilities, and raising havoc with […]