It’s Spring

It is finally Spring and the leaves are finally coming out but… wait… why are my leaves falling off. It could be a common leaf disease called anthracnose. The disease is actually a fungi. No not a fun guy. A fungus. It is carried through the main leaf vein on deciduous trees. The disease produces a distinct fungal spot on the leaves and eventually the leaves fall off.

Anthracnose spreads when infected, dead leaves are left on the ground. During cold and wet springs, spores develop and are spread by the wind and splashing rain.

Managing a trees health is important for preventing and treating for anthracnose. While you can help by making sure infected leaves are cleaned up, an evaluation should be done by an arborist. Treatment plans are available through Tree Vitals by Selner Tree & Shrub Care. Please call our office for more information.

Get to Know Your Roots!
Girdling Root

Tree roots are more impressive than many people know. They are also unbelievably vital to tree health. Roots function to stabilize the tree, as well as search for, absorb, and store nutrients. Tree roots in an urban setting face many more challenges than those in the wild. Common problems we see include strangulation, soil compaction, and property damage. It is very important to know that roots will grow in any direction necessary to find what they need.

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How to Prepare for your Arborist Visit
Phil Pruning Oak Trees

Some people wonder what they should do before their arborist team arrives. It may not be every day that you have an educated tree guy or gal show up, so here’s a few small things that your arborist will truly appreciate having done before they arrive.

1. Pet droppings: Please pick up your pet’s droppings. Sometimes, with a wave of our magical chainsaws, we can have the brush go straight from the tree to the chipper without touching the ground, but most of the time, someone is walking through your yard. It not only gets on our boots, but our hands too! When we climb, our hands typically end up where our feet were. Now, don’t feel bad if your cutie-pie puppy planted a land mine for us just as you leave for work, we understand, most of us have fluff balls of fun at home, too. So thank you for helping us keep our boots, hands, and lunches free of digested dog food.

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Winter Protection of Trees and Shrubs
Melissa spreading mulch

This time of year, many people wonder how they should be preparing their yards for winter. We suggest attending to new plantings, preparing evergreens, be aware of winter burn, and protect any trees, shrubs, or plants that might be subject to animal feasting.

New plantings are most susceptible to winter desiccation because they don’t have established root systems. Continue to water these new plantings through fall. Watering can be done until frost and is strongly encouraged for new plantings and evergreens. People often overlook the fact that trees and shrubs still transpire (although slowly) through winter. Roots still grow in unfrozen soil, so it is important to tend to them until frost takes over.

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Choosing a Tree Care Company

Choosing any contractor to work on your property is something everyone has experienced. We check credentials for contractors like plumbers, builders, and electricians, but what about tree care contractors? Does anyone think about what to look for in a company that deals with trees? I mean, it’s just trimming a tree, right? Or in some cases, it’s only cutting down a tree, right?

When it comes to needing tree work, most folks use the approach they take for other large projects such as roofing, landscaping, or even putting in new windows. They have a general idea of what they want completed and they get a few estimates. Now, if someone were to adopt any of the above adages such as “It’s just trimming a tree” or “It’s just cutting down a tree,” price might be the only deciding factor. It is no secret that tree work can be very costly, but do those folks really know what they are getting for their money? Is there any way to know if it’s truly a good deal? Here are a few important factors to consider.

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Women in the Tree Care Industry
Melissa treating for Apple Scab at the Selner Tree Shrub Care office

There is a certain stigma associated with tree workers: strong, bearded, rough and tumble, and in general, not dainty.  A lot of our clients are surprised to find that when the crew arrives on site, that we usually have at least one woman on the crew.  Folks usually associate tree work with men, and why wouldn’t they? Trees are heavy. Believe me, I’ve tenderized my back lifting many pieces of trees, and I’m no tiny person.  Selner Tree & Shrub Care, LLC employs three full time female arborists.  They are full time employees, and are some of our most valuable employees on staff.

Let’s spearhead the obvious reason most folks are shocked to find a female on the crew: strength.  Forgive me for the generalization, but it’s no secret that women just aren’t built the same as men.  Although there are a few anomalies, women aren’t usually as strong as men when it comes to lifting heavy things.  These ‘things’ in the tree care industry include: their own body weight, heavy pieces of wood, tree branches, and even certain pieces of rigging gear.

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2017 Ashwaubenon Street Tree Pruning Contract

As of Monday, January 30th 2017, the crews have finished pruning 183 village-owned street trees. Go ahead, applaud. I’ll wait.

This is the second pruning project we have been a part of for the Village of Ashwaubenon. The first project was completed in June of 2016. The pruning of village-owned trees is just as important as pruning privately owned trees (if not more so).. Have you ever witnessed a tree branch taking a ride on top of a garbage truck? This is one of the main reasons why we prune these street trees. Although the garbage truck did effectively “prune” the limb off the tree, this is not ideal for the tree or the truck. Street trees need to be pruned properly to provide clearance for larger vehicles on the street side and to provide ample head room on the residential side. While our arborists are up in the trees, they take a little extra time to remove any larger deadwood as well as any branches that may be crossing or rubbing on one another. This is better for the overall health of the tree, and also allows the arborist to move around the entire canopy. This also lets the arborist see any parts of the tree that are (or could become) threats for any people on the street, sidewalk, or lawn areas below.

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Pruning Trees in the Winter
Tree Pruning – Image Courtesy Lowell Franklin

One of the most common questions we hear is “What do you do in the winter?” Simply put: we zip up our coats and do the same work we do in the spring, summer, and fall.

This response often leads people to wonder how we know what to prune in the winter since the trees have no leaves. It does take a little eye-training, but after a day or two, it becomes quite easy to distinguish dead from living branches even from the ground. Some of the obvious signs are mushrooms covering the bark, all small twigs missing from the branch, or bark missing from the branch. If the limb hasn’t been dead long enough to show any of the above signs, we can look at the bark or buds of the branch. The buds of a dead branch will either be very small and dried up, or non-existent, and the bark may have a different color or look shriveled up compared to nearby living tissue.

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Be a Hero: Plant a Native Species

“We are failing our ecosystem.” We hear this statement all of the time. We hear about things like Global Climate Destabilization, plastic islands in the ocean, and mass species extinction. We are told to recycle, drive less, and use less water. So, we try. Recycling is becoming second nature; the bins are everywhere. We bike and walk more and we use water-efficient showerheads and toilets, but what if I told you there was something just as important as all of those things that can help us make a difference? Most of us have a yard with lawn and plants.

What if I told you that what you planted in your yard could help our world recover?  Our once flourishing and productive ecosystems are being taken over by lawn and agricultural fields. Most of what we plant in our yards tends to be exotic species that have not evolved to function in our eco system. What is worse, many are becoming wildly invasive, taking over what little free forest we have left. These exotic species do not feed wildlife such as birds, butterflies, and bees (five species of which have just been put on the endangered species list). How are they to survive when we take more and more of their home and turn it into grass? We often use vast amounts of pesticides and fertilizers on our lawn. How much time per week do you actually spend on it? We mow our lawn, expelling carbon dioxide, and use mass quantities of water to make it grow, just to mow it all over again.

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Safety Culture

We as arborist have a very risky job. We work at towering heights; trusting an unrated anchor while handling sharp objects. We reduce the risk of injury by following industry standards. These standards are not followed by many in our industry; which causes many injuries and sometimes, death.

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