Arborist Insights: Rescuing Trees After Winter Distress

While midsummer is marked by long evenings, BBQs, and time spent outdoors, it’s also a critical time to check up on tree health after a season of intense winter distress. The consequences of a prolonged cold season can be quite serious and aren’t always recognized from the ground unless you know what to look for.

 

large-tree-with-full-flush-foliage

 

Greg Irwin, Frontier’s ISA-Certified Tree Service Manager, shares: “After an abnormally long winter and short spring, we’re observing excessive rapid growth and full flushing of foliage on many trees. Our top recommendation for most situations is to have trees trimmed for thinning and perform crown reduction for weight issues, structure and balance.”

 

Winter Distress: What to Look For

 

Trees That Look Abnormally Full

tree-with-heavy-full-flush-foliage

 

In years when winter is unusually cold, long, and intense, trees’ dormancy periods are extended – sometimes as much as a month to six weeks longer than average. When the severe winter is followed by a short spring, the result is a near “shock mode” of explosive foliage.

Look over your trees during or just after a rainfall. Do you notice them hanging atypically low, sagging down further than normal? This heavy bowing is likely the result of extra weight from an excess of foliage.

 

Trees Encroaching Heavily on Other Trees & Shrubs

Are you observing significant encroachment of your trees on other trees and shrubs, even if you had them pruned last year? Clearance issues are common as branches hang low over houses, driveways, and sidewalks.

 

Birch tree bowed limb extending over sidewalk

 

Bending, Bowing, and Breaks: What’s At Stake

While cabling and bracing can offer partial solutions, the increase in foliage after a prolonged winter puts even small limbs at risk of breaking due to extra weight, on almost any tree species. While larger limbs won’t break, they may bow out so far that they can’t be cabled and will have to be removed.

 

For large tree sections or limbs that were previously compromised or had beginnings of decay, rapid growth and the resulting excess weight can increase the stress on poor attachments tenfold.  Healthy trees are at risk, too, as the weight alone can cause breakage for many ornamental varieties.

 

Birch trees are particularly susceptible due to their growth habits. If bowed limbs are not straightened up and cabled promptly, they may fail entirely.

 

Birch tree with bowed limbs

 

Hidden Issues in Healthy-Looking Trees

 

Rapid growth and full foliage tree closeupWhile bowing and sagging are easy to identify from the outside, other problems remain hidden and can catch you with troubling surprises later.

 

When a short spring and warm summer follow an extended winter, the speed of new growth can do quite a number on your trees from the inside out. As the growing season progresses, an abundance of internal suckers can create an environment that seriously affects the health of your tree overall.

 

Additionally, an exponential increase in new leaves means that autumn cleanup is going to be markedly more work than a more typical year as the litter layer dies and falls off. While this isn’t hazardous, a good pruning treatment is smart. Left unchecked, the amount of leaf drop can be doubled in volume, which means twice as much work to clean up later on.

 

 

Rescuing Your Trees From Winter Distress: What To Do Next

Call Frontier Tree Service to schedule services for your trees. Our highly-trained ISA-Certified arborists will expertly evaluate your situation and make the very best recommendation for the health and safety of trees around your home or business.  

Greg Irwin ISA certified arborist Vancouver WA

ISA certified arborist, Greg Irwin

“For the 2017 season, our top recommendation for most situations is to have trees trimmed for thinning, as well as perform crown reduction for weight issues, structure and balance.” – Greg Irwin, ISA-Certified Arborist and Frontier Tree Services Manager.

 

Frontier Tree Services include:

  • Pruning
  • Ornamental pruning
  • Tree, shrub, and stump removal
  • Cabling and Bracing
  • Chipping
  • Planting
  • Risk Assessment
  • Diagnosis & Treatment
  • Cleanup
  • 24/7 Emergency Tree Services

 

Call (360) 574-4125 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.

 

Learn more about proper tree care by visiting the Frontier Landscaping blog.

 

Solving Water Problems With Dry Creek Beds

Dry creek bed, drainage solution, solving water problems

Dry creek beds provide attractive, functional relief, especially if your landscape is plagued by standing water. In the wet PNW, drainage problems are a common headache. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Floostanding water in lawnded flower beds
  • Pooling water below a deck
  • Swampy places in the lawn
  • Puddles around a foundation

Leaving drainage issues unaddressed has serious consequences, from dead lawn and plants to costly repairs and decreased property value.

 

The Good News

Frontier Landscaping has years of experience designing and implementing features that effectively carry water away from problem areas. Dry creek beds are star performers, particularly in sloped terrain. They work twice as hard for a landscape by running water from Point A to B, and standing alone as an attractive feature in drier months of the year.

“Even property owners with no drainage issues may choose to install a dry creek bed due to the elements of natural beauty in the way they look.”

dry creek bed with ornamental plantings as an attractive drainage solutioon

 

Controlling Water Flow

Dry creek beds are an excellent choice for addressing places in the landscape that are hard-hit by heavy rains.  While a flat place in the yard may benefit more from a simple lawn drain, gradients and hillsides need the water capacity and speed that a dry creek bed can provide during extreme conditions. Effectively redirecting the flow of water saves you from ongoing erosion and long-term damage.

 

Water-Wise Gardening

When property owners are looking for a greener way to landscape, dry creek beds play an exciting role. Different-sized rocks, boulders, and choice plantings give eye-pleasing texture to outdoor spaces, but require much less water than an expanse of lawn. While bark dust alone can look flat, a dry creek bed introduces definition and contrast. It’s aesthetically pleasing and earth-friendly — a winning combination.

 

Dry Creek Beds for Natural Beauty

We regularly install dry creek beds to add natural beauty to a landscape. Expertly balancing a few key ingredients (a natural shape, native plantings, multiple sizes of stone) brings a natural, organic flow to an area. The results are breathtaking in any season, wet or dry.  

 

Additional Considerations

No two landscapes are exactly alike, and the solution that works for one may not work for another.  While dry creek beds are particularly suited to slopes and hillsides, they aren’t usually the best choice for flat ground.

Other elements, like French drains, catch basins, and lawn drains also have a part to play — and that’s just the beginning. Frontier’s installation team has years of experience solving drainage problems for local property owners.  

 

French drain pipe and garden path installation

French drain pipe (L), installed as a garden path (R). 

 

French drains are a functional solution for flat terrain and less water. They often have a part to play in designing an overall solution for moving water in a landscape. Read more about them here.

 

surface water catch basin diagram

 

Ranging in size from 6 to 24 inches, catch basins can be square or circular. These grated drains are typically placed alongside a driveway or in a low or sloped spot in the yard or hardscaping, like a patio. This is a straightforward fix for diverting water away from wet spots. A blend of rocks around it allows the catch basin to blend in with the landscape.

From basic to beautiful, there are many combinations of elements we can put to work that provide an effective long-term solution for drainage issues in your landscape.

Ready to learn how can we help you solve your standing water problems? Call (360) 574-8979 or email us for a consultation. We’ll work with you to protect your landscape with the right drainage solution to meet your needs.

Find more inspiration for dry creek beds and landscape design by visiting us on Houzz!

houzz_logo

Summer Tree Care

Many trees need special care in the summer including extra water and proper pruning. Frontier Tree Service is here to help take care of all your tree needs. Whether you have one tree or a whole forest, our team of certified professionals is available for a variety of services.

 Summer Fruit Tree Pruning

This is a great time of year for summer pruning on most fruit trees, especially fall-bearing trees like apples and pears. This helps to keep their shape and size at the level you desire. It also helps to remove excess fruit that the tree cannot support. This needs to be done in the next month before fruit production gets close to harvest.

Evergreen Pruning

Now is also the right time for pruning back broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. They benefit from a hearty cutback from year to year. This will help set blooms for next year and will keep their size and shape neat and tidy.

  • Tree Planting
  • Ornamental Pruning
  • Tree Removal
  • Stump Grinding
  • Cabling and Bracing
  • Risk Assessment
  • Emergency Services

Questions?

Contact us with all your tree questions and ideas. We are always available!

 

10 Water-Saving Tips for a Dry Summer

We’ve had a pretty dry year here in the Portland-Vancouver area. Here at Frontier, we are taking steps to save water and we recommend that you do the same. Here are our Top 10 Tips for saving water this summer.

Saving Water

  1. Water when it’s cool

Save your watering chores for the evening or early morning. This reduces evaporation dramatically and helps plants stay more hydrated for longer. It also prevents any leaf burn that can happen when water droplets on foliage reflect sunlight.

  1. Only water at the roots

Keep your hose or sprinklers close to the ground. Plants drink water through their roots so there is no reason to ever water their foliage. By only adding water at the soil line, you will reduce waste via evaporation and increase water intake.

  1. Add mulch to planting beds

Mulch (in the form of bark chips, straw or yard clippings) will do wonders for saving water. Apply a thick layer of mulch to planting beds and around trees to keep them cool and lock in moisture. It slows evaporation and insulates against high temperatures. With the added bonus of keeping the weeds down!

  1. Keep your grass a little longer

The next time you cut your grass (or have it cut), consider raising the blade a bit. Keeping your grass a little longer will help preserve moisture and allow your water to go farther. Keep it long to keep it green!

Saving Water 2

  1. Water Deeply

Plants benefit the most from long, deep watering that are less frequent. We recommend watering most plants once or twice a week. New plants might need more but most established plants do well with that schedule. It even helps them by encouraging deeper root growth!

  1. Install Smart Irrigation

Irrigation has come a long way! Now you can go well beyond just a timer. Smart controllers have sensors that adjust for the weather and surrounding conditions to make sure plants only get water when they need it. Contact Frontier to talk about irrigation options.

  1. Consider drip irrigation

Drip irrigation consists of hoses (drip tape), with small holes at intervals, that lay right on the ground. The water drips out slowly onto the soil. This is a very efficient way to water plants because the water goes directly where it is needed.

  1. Water Twice a Week 

We recommend watering no more than twice a week for lawns and established plants. The key is to water deeply each time. Lawns, trees, shrubs and established plants all do well with biweekly watering. Note: Areas with clay, sand, sloping yards etc may change how you can water your lawn and plants.

  1. Keep it Clean without Water

Avoid using water to clean off driveways and sidewalks. Use a blower or broom to save water and keep your spaces clean and clear. If you need a helping hand, the Frontier Maintenance team is ready!

  1. Amend your soil

Healthy, nutritious soil will hold water in proper amounts. If you have too much sand or (more likely) too much clay, plants can struggle to form healthy roots that take up the right amount of water. By adding compost and other amendments to your soil, you can increase the efficiency of your plants’ water intake.

Need more help in your yard? Frontier Landscaping can help! Contact us today.

 

How to Water New Trees

hose watering

New trees and shrubs can be sensitive and will need a little extra TLC from you, after they have been planted. With a little nurturing at the beginning, most trees will take off and grow healthy and strong for years to come!

However, when trees are newly planted, the stress of the transition can cause them some shock which can lead to disease susceptibility, leaf loss and even death. So, to avoid those terrible fates, we have put together a list of helpful tips to care for new trees!

You can contact Frontier Landscaping with your questions and concerns, whether you want us to plant a new tree for you or help you take care of existing plants! Contact us here.

boy watering new tree

  • Water plants deeply directly after transplanting. When we say deeply, we mean to keep a low steady flow of water aimed at plant roots for several minutes, until the soil seems saturated (if a puddle forms and doesn’t disappear in a few seconds, that is probably sufficient).
  • Generally speaking, deep, less frequent watering is better than everyday sprinkles. This promotes deep root growth and can reduce water loss by evaporation.
  • Most of our native soils are clay-heavy and absorb water at a slower rate. So we recommend giving trees a very slow flow of water to allow more to soak in.
  • Mulch around the base of the trees to suppress weeds and trap in moisture. It also keeps the soil temperature at a more even keel. Just be sure not to pile the mulch right around the tree base- give it an inch or two to breathe.
  • During the summer months, we recommend watering when temperatures are cool, either in the early morning or at night.

If you run into problems or questions, regarding watering, pest control or other concerns, contact Frontier Landscaping. We are happy to discuss it with you.

Summer Pruning Techniques

May showers bring…. June Pruning! With all the warm weather and rain we’ve been having, everything has been growing at top speed! Many trees and shrubs have been growing vigorously and have put on a flush of new growth so far this spring. It is time to slow that down just a bit. With regular summer pruning, you can help plants be their healthiest, whether that means setting the right amount of fruit or getting set up for proper blooming next year.

If summer pruning is not on your to-do list (or the job is just too big), call on the Certified Arborists and experts at Frontier to take care of it for you! Contact us here.

pruning maple trees

 

Summer Pruning Goals

Generally, summer pruning helps to reduce vigorous growth a little bit. We want to make sure the tree can direct energy towards fruit production and/or setting flowers for next year (depending on the type). This is also a chance to get rid of dead, diseased or unwanted plant material. Additionally, it is a time to make sure that there is proper air flow to the center of the tree or shrub (to help decrease fungal diseases) and to make sure that light can penetrate through.

Pruning Broadleaf Evergreens

We recommend pruning broadleaf evergreens (like rhododendrons and camellias) to increase strength for winter and to set flower buds for the following year. We do this in early to mid-summer to avoid any harm that can come from cold weather on fresh cuts. Wait until after blooming has finished then cut off dead flower heads and the rosettes of leaves just behind them. This will allow for new growth, while making the plant immediately more attractive. Older plants may need removal of deadwood and other shaping.

summer fruit tree pruning

Summer Fruit Tree Pruning

We know that fruit tree pruning can be daunting because you don’t want to hurt the tree while it is producing. But a little summer haircut will increase healthy fruit production and help set the tree up for good growth in the future. The goal is to get light and air to the inside of the tree while channeling the tree’s energy into producing fewer, larger fruits, moving away from vigorous growth. Fruit trees are only capable of handling a certain fruit load so thinning can actually help you get a better crop of large, juicy fruit. Prune the center of the tree to keep in line with the shape that you want and allow for better air flow and light penetration.

tree pruning

 

Hire a Certified Arborist!

If DIY is too daunting or you don’t have time, call on a Certified Arborist to take care of your summer pruning. The head arborist at Frontier Tree Service, Tim Walker, is a Certified Arborist and we will be adding another one very soon!

A Certified Arborist knows exactly what your trees need and can prune according to the season as well as your goals for your tree(s). We have years of experience and skills to do the job efficiently and effectively. Our certification process is updated continuously so we always stay current on best practices, latest innovations and other continuing education. The health of your trees is always our top priority.

New Tree Experts at Frontier!

We are pleased to welcome some new members to the Frontier team! Certified arborist and tree expert Joseph Thomas is joining our staff, along with his wife Celeste (formerly of Thomas Family Tree). The two of them have years of experience in the tree business and they know our area, climate and community very well. We are excited to have both of them on staff!

 

CALL US!

Call us today for a free quote on all your landscaping needs!