The toughest part about Casey P. Roland’s job is not climbing to dizzying heights to care for majestic trees throughout Southern Oregon. These days, the hardest part for Casey is figuring out how to find enough hours in the day to schedule the long list of clients waiting to utilize Casey’s tree care services. Now in his 36th year of business Casey approaches each job as though it were his first. The passion he has for trees is unparalleled and his knowledge and expertise are rare.
Thanks for talking with us today Casey. You really got an early start in the tree care business. How did you know this was your calling?
Well, I’m not sure it was actually my calling per se at the time, but it certainly was a way for me to get out of school and make a living. I took a job with a neighbor as a teen and ended up continuing on working for a contractor in Santa Rosa, CA who took trees out for PG & E. I was always pretty outdoorsy as a kid, but really had no idea that I would come to love it so much. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. Literally. Now all I see is trees. I’m not kidding.
It seems to me that the native trees in their native landscape are doing very well, actually. Non-native landscape settings are another story, however. A maple planted on a city sidewalk is going to have a number of challenges adapting as temperatures heat up and rainfall is slim. Trees that are suffering from drought conditions are obvious. They are parched. They look thirsty. It’s a little hard to explain. It’s more of a feeling you get when you look at them. One glance and you know something is wrong.
This is not the first hot, dry summer we’ve had recently and it certainly won’t be the last. All I can tell you is: Plan accordingly. Do what you can to create the environment that the tree requires.
The best thing you can do honestly is to call me for a check up. Buying a new house? Have me come take a look. I can help you see future problems down the road. I know that oftentimes people end up buying the “perfect” house because of that big, huge amazing tree in the front yard. Call me to come take a look before you buy. Make sure you know what you’re getting into. It doesn’t cost anything to have me come take a look. I still make house calls!
Preventing problems in the first place is another tip I have for readers. There are so many situations that are a real game changer for a tree: construction impacts, grade changes, change in irrigation regime, a lawn going in or a lawn coming out. These are just a few of the circumstances that greatly impact the ability for a tree to thrive. Call me before making any major changes to your tree’s environment.
Go the extra mile to take great care of mature trees. If you can preserve an older tree rather than getting rid of it and planting a new one, do it.
We don’t have the luxury of waiting around 150 years for a new tree to mature. Then again any tree is better than no tree at all.
One last tip: if you have fruit trees, learn to prune them yourself. Seriously! It is super fun and very easy once you learn how. The truth is, I don’t have time and it is not hard to learn. You’ll be very glad you did.
The more that you know about your trees, the more you are able to care for them appropriately. Oftentimes, we can see that our tree is suffering in some way, so we run down to the Grange and throw any number of products at it and cross our fingers and hope it resolves when really all it needed was water. There is a better way. Call me.
The truth is it’s actually hard for a tree to fail. It’s relatively easy to do it right. You can learn a lot from an Oregon White Oak – 2 leaves, a stem and a root right inside an acorn. No one has ever irrigated those trees and they are perfectly healthy – that’s the perfection of nature for you. My suggestion is that you always try to get as close as you possibly can to mimicking a tree’s natural habitat – don’t trip over a dollar to pick up a dime. If you’re having a problem it is likely not the wrong tree it’s the wrong place. The tree is perfect it’s just not in the perfect spot.
It’s a funny story. I never really planned to move here. Back in the day I was roadracing motorcycles up north and we often stopped for lunch in Ashland. Over the years, I realized that staying in the Bay Area wasn’t worth it anymore – the busy-ness, the hustle, the traffic; it was all just too much.
Honestly I had plenty of work, but my cultural conditioning was suffering. I was the drought-stressed Japanese maple so to speak. I needed a change of environment. Twelve years later, I am happy as can be. Love it here.
You know, my work started out as a way to pay the bills and since has become the essence of my life. My work is really actually a hobby. I literally would not be doing anything else. It is so rewarding to know that I am doing more than just beautifying someone’s yard. I am actually making the whole town a better place. The next time you need a reality check, just walk up to a tree. Know that it is perfect. Just enjoy it.
You believe that trees are like people, just slower. What do you mean by this?
A tree’s yearly timing is just like a person’s daily timing. A person wakes, eats, dresses, works, plays, and rests then repeats the whole thing the very next day.
A tree does the same thing, but it takes a whole year. The best way to appreciate this is to check out a 100-year-old stump. Stand on it and spread your arms and hold that pose for 1 year. I have a real appreciation for a being that stays put for so long.
There’s a whole lot we don’t know. The more I do in this life, the more I realize I don’t know. You can Google anything, but there is so much we don’t really know. It’s humbling. Trees deal with maladies and injury so much differently. Humans pull away from danger and pain. Trees can’t do this. Trees also can’t heal. Less than 1% of a tree is actually alive. The living part of a tree is actually like a big soap bubble, just under the “skin.” Trees amaze me.
Climbing around in trees for a living can be dangerous. Do you ever get scared up there?
I have been scared to death every single day of my life for 36 years. They say arborist years are actually like dog years. That means that I am actually more like 350 years old.
Did you always know that you would be in this business?
Not yet. We’ll see.
What are you looking forward to in the near future Casey?
I’m not afraid of work, but I am afraid of time. I worked 360 out of 365 days last year. It might be time to bring someone else on. Only time will tell. I’m looking for someone who wants to help me represent Casey P. Roland Tree Care in the best way possible.
Phone me and keep calling – I can be hard to reach, but I look forward to hearing from you.
Anything else you’d like readers to know?
Rutherford Platt, author of The Great American Forest or 1001 Questions Answered About Trees – read him. He is absolutely the best teacher out there when it comes to trees.