Month: August 2015

The Importance of Pruning Your Trees [Infographic]

Wondering how to take care of all the gorgeous trees on your Portland property? Check out this infographic on pruning, geared toward Portlanders. Learn about hardwoods and conifers commonly found around the Rose City. Understand the goals of structural, ornamental, and fruit tree pruning. Recognize common pruning myths, and the truth behind them. Finally, learn why it’s best to hire a professional Portland arborist for tree pruning.


This post first appeared on

Beware of Sudden Branch Drop

Picture this: You’re walking through the forest on a hot, still day. Suddenly, you hear a popping sound, and then a huge branch drops just beyond your reach. After thanking your lucky stars that you weren’t crushed, you wonder why a limb should fall on such a windless, calm day? Googling your query, you might discover Sudden Branch Drop, a rather mysterious arboreal tendency that describes your experience.

As Portland tree care enthusiasts, we have many cases of mysteriously fallen limbs on perfectly calm days. Sudden branch drop, also known as sudden limb failure, happens on hot, calm days and evenings, typically in the summer. Observers will notice cracking or popping sounds just before large limbs suddenly plummet to the ground. Kellogg first described sudden branch drop in 1882, writing of trees “said to burst with a loud explosion, and strong limbs…(which) unexpectedly crash down, the fracture disclosing not the least cause of weakness.”

Why Sudden Branch Drop Occurs
Portland certified arborists could debate this question at length, as there is no industry-wide consensus. Most arborists suspect that it has something to do with humidity levels within the tree. Trees absorb water from the soil, and then distribute that water through all tissue—branches, trunk, leaves, limbs, and roots. The used moisture must be released somehow, and as it releases it cools the tree.

Humans release moisture and heat through sweat. Dogs “sweat” out of their tongues. Trees release water into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration, releasing moisture through their leaves. However, calm, hot conditions limit how much moisture trees can release. One theory on sudden branch drop holds that high humidity in tree canopies limits evapotranspiration, increasing the moisture content within branches, and eventually leading to limb failure.

Arborists and scientists continue to study why sudden branch drop happens. It is suspected that sudden branch drop could also be related to:

  • broken tree brancha change in branch movement,
    • drought stress and very dry soil,
  • tissue shrinkage (due to heat),
  • internal cracks,
    • moisture changes in the air and soil,
    • gas release inside tissue, potentially caused by wetwood bacteria, which are common in the species affected by sudden branch drop, and
    • deterioration in cell wall structure, potentially caused by ethylene gas.
    Basically, sudden branch drop is the tree’s response to hot, dry environment where transpiration needs exceed vascular capabilities. When it gets too hot to keep all tissue properly circulated, the tree responds with auto-amputation, letting go of a limb.

Tools to Prevent Against Sudden Branch Drop
Sudden branch drop has been known to happen along lines of weakness; however, it is also possible in branches with no apparent flaws. Therefore, it is hard to predict. In general, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your trees, especially large, mature trees. Older oaks, maples, ashes, beeches, and elms are common victims of sudden branch drop, but it has occurred in dozens of other species as well. Trees with large, horizontal limbs with an upward sweep at the tips are more likely to suddenly drop limbs. Oftentimes, branches that suddenly drop are those that extended beyond the tree’s main canopy.

While inspecting your trees, look for discoloration, particularly a darker spot where water appears to be “bleeding” out of the tree. This is a sign of a potential limb flaw, which could contribute to limb failure.

Do not place benches or tables below older trees that may suffer sudden limb drop.

As always, consistent, expert Portland tree pruning is the best preventative action you can take to protect your trees from sudden branch drop. Schedule regular tree maintenance with our Portland certified arborists. Our ISA-certified arborists are pruning masters with expertise on how to best cut to minimize the chances of sudden branch drop. Portland tree trimming from less experienced, less knowledgeable pruners may leave excess foliage at the end of limbs, thereby increasing the burden the tree must support on hot, dry days. Sudden branch drop is dangerous for bystanders and detrimental to tree health. Protect against it with regular, professional pruning.

Check out what Brian had to say about us on Google.

“Great service from UFP. I’ve hired them on multiple jobs, and I find them very professional, quick, and careful. I won’t hesitate to call them again when I need an arborist.”

5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
(December 23, 2019)

This post first appeared on

Tree Care & Fire Safety

There are so many reasons to prioritize consistent Portland tree care: it increases your property value, benefits the environment, and makes your yard more enjoyable. During the dry summer months, fire prevention is yet another reason to take care of your trees. Without regular pruning, trees sport more dead material, which can serve as fire fuel. Read on for our tips on how to prevent property fires through landscape and general home maintenance.

Creating a Landscape that Discourages Fires
Remove dead plant materials. Dead grasses, bushes, and trees are fire fuel. In rural areas, you may be able to burn dead plants with the proper permitting. In urban zones, add dead plants to your on-site compost, or (in Portland) stick it in your city compost bin.
Create Defensible Space. Those in rural, especially fire-prone areas should create a 30’ treeless perimeter around their homes with minimal vegetation. This decreases the chance that flames will reach the structure. Additionally, defensible space makes it easier for firefighters to defend the home. Homes on a hill require more defensible space (150’ perimeter), because fire moves more quickly up a slope.
Remove Roof and Gutter Fire Hazards. Remove dead branches that overhang roofs. Keep gutters and roof valleys clear of grasses and other plant material. A good rule of thumb is to keep branches at least ten feet from your roof.
Prune shade trees so that lowest limbs are at least six feet off the ground. This minimizes the amount of organic material that’s accessible to ground fires.
Keep trees healthy; vigorous trees are more likely to survive a fire. Schedule regular Portland tree trimming from certified arborists. Be sure to remove deadwood while pruning.

General Maintenance Tips for Preventing Fires on your Property

Recognize the Signs of a Dry, Stressed Tree. Pay attention to the health of your trees. If you notice the following clues, your tree may be diseased or dead.small tree on fire
• Unusual leaf loss, or a reduction in leaf growth
• Brittle bark that falls off the tree, or cracks in the bark
• Fallen limbs, as well as leafless branches that are spongy or brittle
• Open wounds or soft spots
• Fungus growth (indicates internal rot)
• Twigs that break evenly and cleanly, with a brown interior. A healthy twig will bend, and its interior will be green.
Dying trees are dry trees; as such they constitute a fire hazard. If you discover a dead or dying tree on your property, call us to arrange Portland tree removal.

Grill and Burn Safely. When fire is involved stay alert. Grill safely—keep grills away from deck railings and structures. Gas grills have their own safety requirements; understand your grill and have a plan for putting out unexpected fires. For instance, when grilling you can keep a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher handy. The same safety approach applies to bonfires: have a plan for quickly extinguishing the fire, and look out for dry materials overhead. If tree branches droop dangerously over the bonfire area, trim them away before burning.
Maintain emergency vehicle access. Fire trucks cannot access rutted, steep, or poorly maintained roads. Each rural fire district has its own standards for driveways.

Practice interior fire safety. From checking fire alarms to clearing out fireplaces, there are plenty of ways to prevent fires inside your home. Check out the State of Oregon’s Home Fire Safety Checklist for more information.

Thin Lush Vegetation. Fires are a natural, cyclical event in Western forests. When they occur regularly, fires minimize burnable materials. However, since European settlement, fires have been repressed. Less frequent fires means more dead plants are available to burn, so that those fires that do occur tend to be more intense. If your property is thick with growth, consider controlled burning to reduce the amount of fire fuel on the ground.

If you have questions about your property, you can always get in touch with Urban Forest Pro. Our Portland certified arborists are happy to visit your home and suggest effective approaches for minimizing fire danger in your landscape.

This post first appeared on

This website nor its owners are an actual service provider, this website is a referral service. When you place a phone call from this website, it will route you to a licensed, professional service provider that serves your area. For more information refer to our terms of service.


Call Now Button(877) 959-3534