Casey P. Roland Tree Care

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This article is dedicated to the tree owner in an effort to assist you in the best way to go about prioritizing the care your beloved tree(s) require. How and what do I need to do now? It comes down to what I term as “The Big 2:” hazard and health.

From a liability standpoint, I must access hazard first, health, second. ALWAYS! What is the hazard? Easy target: What will it hit? Opportunity: How often is the target within striking (crushing) distance? Likelihood: What are the odds of failure? An 80’ Douglas fir 100’ from your house on level ground will probably not do much more than spritz your home with twig shrapnel. On the other end, a 200’ fir will make the same house into a subterranean parking garage. That is target, and a priority in itself.

Opportunity is more of a “how often is the target within distance” kind of thing. Is the hazard overhanging the entryway to the supermarket, or on a game trail in the wilderness? A giant ancient weeping willow over a popular well used playground comes to mind, Ugly, at best, I’m sure you get the idea…

And last but not least is likelihood. What are the odds of this or that puking at the worst possible moment in time? Does the tree have a history? Does it show a penchant for failure? Maybe, it is in the category of trees that are weak wooded, brittle prone to failure during high wind events, or a heavy wet snow load, etc..

As an arborist, I know that safety comes first! As an arborist, I know that what goes up only stays that way for so long! As an arborist, I know I only get to make one half of one mistake…

Let’s dig into the other half of “The Big 2”…

Health is a relative term. Is a vigorous bright green willow that has been barfing limbs on parked cars healthy? Or would I deem it a hazard? Of course the answer is yes to both! To assure health, we must provide all parts of the tree with optimum conditions to survive, sustain, and thrive…

Start with the roots! Can the root system anchor, absorb, store, transport and breathe? If so, we win! Keep them from any of these functions, and you not only deprive health, but construct hazard. Is the root crown buried? Is the soil compacted? Are the soils within the root zone saturated? Has the natural grade if the soils been raised? Is the tree planted too deep? Is the soil temp so high as to make essential microbial life impossible? Are the soils (even well drained) leached from constant irrigation? Has there been a well meaning busy body going gang busters with a leaf rake moonscaping the hell out of the area under the tree?

Now that I have laid the groundwork, let’s prioritize your tree work.

#1:HAZARD:  target, opportunity and likelihood.

#2 HEALTH: water, elements, temperature and space.

It is not difficult to overthink these, I tend to do it myself, sometimes, and my best advice, is to break it down to the question of “What do I need to do first?”

Plant high, often, with a firm foot, and as always, enjoy your trees!

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