The Care of Trees

Recently I was invited to sit on the Urban Forestry Council. As I ponder what I have to offer in that position I realize that I am passionate about nature and its interaction with us in our lives. Here’s my thoughts:

Everywhere we go nature is about us; sometimes it’s blatant, and sometimes it’s more covert. But it’s always there. We need nature. We need plants. We need trees. They make us happy (in addition to scrubbing our air clean and providing lots of life-giving oxygen).

It makes me frustrated and sad to see people unknowingly mistreat plants. If you pay attention you can see it everywhere you go. Shrubs go from an interesting shape that Mother Nature gave them to a ball or a cube, trees get topped so the view is unimpeded, or they are pruned to the point where they only have 3-4 branches left. It’s sad. And it kills them.

That’s where hiring professionals comes in to save the day. It starts with hiring a landscape designer to put the right plant in for the right spot. Most good designers have rather extensive horticulture training and know very well what plants to use where.

If you want to preserve a view, plant a tree that will achieve a mature height (10yr.size) that will not intrude into the view. Don’t plant a 50’ tree in a 20’ space.  Also choose shrubs that will achieve a mature size that is appropriate for its space. This prevents you from having to do extra yard work (a plus even to me!) and allows for happy and natural looking plants and trees.

Of course sometimes you NEED to prune a tree. This is where a professional can save the day again. There are a lot of ‘tree guys’ out there. Lately it seems that anyone who has a chainsaw and a truck can call themselves an arborist.

But you should get somebody that is an ISA (Int’l Society of Arboriculture) certified arborist (Not to mention licensed-bonded-insured). They have been trained and certified and go through ongoing education to be the best at what they do. Their purpose is to help the tree thrive. Bad pruning will kill a tree. Good pruning benefits it.

Hiring a professional might cost a bit more up front, but it will more than return its investment by providing a healthier landscape that lasts longer and needs less maintenance to keep it looking gorgeous, year after year.

In the end, if we take better care of nature, it will take better care of us.


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