Month: December 2015

TCIA Professional Communications Awards Winner!

TCIA Professional Communications Awards Winner!

PCA 2013 WINNERSPing’s Tree Service is proud to announce it has been awarded a Professional Communications Award from the Tree Care Industry Association — TCIA. More than 20 years old, this program honors marketing and communication excellence within the tree care industry.

In August, we submitted our tree frog ads for entry into the TCIA Professional Communications Awards. These ads were created as part of our company branding initiative and have received a generous amount of positive responses in our advertising areas.

TCIA evaluated each entry on the overall appearance, content quality, adherence to American National Standards Institute and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, and its success in achieving the company’s marketing and communications goals.

To learn more about TCIA’s Professional Communications Award program, visit

About the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA): Founded in 1938, TCIA is a public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture. It has more than 2,300 member companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards and who are required to carry liability insurance. TCIA also has the nation’s only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that adhere to industry standards for quality and safety; maintain trained, professional staff; and are dedicated to ethical and professional business practices. With access to the latest and best safety standards and training, the typical TCIA member company has 50% fewer accidents than a typical non-member.

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There’s a Hole in My Tree! What Does it Mean?

Holes in trees can be disconcerting. Many homeowners are unsure about what holes indicate for tree health, or what they should do when a hole appears. In this post, we address tree holes and talk about how a hole could be a sign of compromised structural integrity. We discuss different kinds of holes that may be found, as well as how and why they occur. Although holes are not always a sign that there is something wrong, it is best not to take chances. If there’s a hole in your tree, be sure to contact a licensed and insured Portland tree care company to learn about potential structural damage.

Tree with woodpecker holes and a squirrelAre tree holes hazardous? They can be if they cause the structural integrity of the tree to fail. If this happens, the whole tree or one of its main branches may plummet to the ground, which could lead to injury and/or property damage. On the other hand, many tree holes do not present a problem, and do not necessarily need to be filled. In fact, our Portland arborists warn against filling holes with concrete (which was frequently recommended in the past), because this can actually lead to more problems.

If you are concerned about the hole for aesthetic reasons, there are foams that arborists now use to fill holes. These foams work better than concrete, as they allow more movement when the tree sways. But these foams cannot improve structural integrity; they are solely for aesthetic purposes. If there is a problem with the tree’s structural integrity, an arborist has other tools at her/his disposal, which can include cabling, bracing, propping up, or removal.

Let’s look at some common forms and causes of tree holes.

Splits and Cracks. Oftentimes a tree will form a split or crack in its trunk. Splits pose serious problems as they place stress on the structural integrity of the tree. Once a crack starts, it is likely to grow, as the tree buckles and sways in the wind. This is why it’s important to address them as early as possible. Cabling may be effective, but if the problem is too severe, you might need to remove a limb or even the entire tree. Our arborists also provide safe and effective tree removal services for split trees that can’t be salvaged.

Mushrooms and Fungi. Fungi growing at a tree’s base suggest there may be a larger problem. Hollows can also be signs of fungal infection. Since some fungi are benign, and others are harmful, it is best to let an arborists make the call and offer their expert advice.

Sapsucker and Woodpecker Holes. These destructive birds chip away at tree bark to access tree sap and resident insects. Woodpeckers and sapsuckers can do serious damage as they bore small holes in trees. While these birds don’t kill trees, their feeding can weaken them and leave them more susceptible to diseases and insect infestation.

Tree Hollows. These are often caused by fungi and can be a sign that there is decay inside the tree, which can ultimately lead to a loss of structural integrity. Squirrel holes can also be indicative of a problem.

Often a tree has holes but it is unclear if they are big enough to cause problems. Determining the structural integrity of a tree is as much an art as it is a science. Professional arborists use specialized tools to evaluate tree strength. One of these tools is called a Resistograph. It uses a small drill to test density. Trained arborists can conduct tests and carry out procedures to prevent damage and prolong a tree’s lifespan. Inspection and monitoring are key to ensuring the safety and long-term survival of the trees on your property.

Be sure to call a certified arborist today if you see evidence of structural damage or are worried about tree holes. Our ISA-certified arborists have the skills, expertise, and tools to make the right call regarding the health and well-being of your trees.

[Photo by synspectrum via CC License]

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Tree Topping . . . what is the alternative?

In our last blog we discussed several points on why tree topping is harmful to your trees. Trees that have been topped suffer starvation, shock, insect infestation, decay, weak limbs, and even death. There are no situations when we would ever recommend having your tree topped. So, what can you do instead of tree topping? Here’s what we recommend.

Canopy Reduction. This practice is the removal of small limbs from their point of origin. No more than 25% of the tree’s foliage should be removed, based on its species and health.

Crown-Raising-Before-AfterInterlimbing or Thinning. This method is best when you prefer your view to be through a tracery of green. Removing selected branches up the trunk provides partial views through the tree and will let more sunlight into your back yard if your trees were blocking it out. Thinning also creates paths for strong winds to move through the tree instead of pushing against them, allowing your tree to withstand those winds.

Raising the Canopy. This process opens up a view by removing the lower limbs of a tree. All branches are cut from the ground up to the desired level. These lower limbs give less energy for the tree’s growth, so the tree can tolerate their removal. To achieve a pleasing shape, be careful not to limb up higher than half the visual height of the tree. If the tree looks top heavy, you can thin out some of the higher branches.

Although these techniques are simple to understand, tree pruning can be dangerous and complicated and is best performed by a professional. To ensure your trees have an aesthetically pleasing shape, consult with a Certified Arborist and make sure to stay away from anyone who suggests tree topping as an option.

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Arborist Tree Care Tips: Preparing Your Trees for Winter

The wintry wet weather has arrived in the Portland metro area, and the leaves are falling. However, that doesn’t mean tree care is not crucial during this time. Today we’re discussing what homeowners can do to prepare their trees for winter. We will also cover winter care for fruit trees, which are a bit more complicated.

Over-winter. The winter months are an important part of a tree’s life cycle. Although deciduous trees lack leaves and apparent vitality during the winter, this dormant period actually serves an important purpose—namely the renewal of vital energy reserves for the following year’s growth. The natural winter dormancy of many trees, as well as the improved visibility when leaves are gone, makes winter a good time for pruning and other maintenance tasks.Tree branch with snow frost

Pruning. The idea behind regular pruning is to promote the development of a healthy branch structure, and to remove any limbs that have been damaged or show disease. Crossing branches, and branches that are too close together can be removed. However, it is not recommended that you trim the tree yourself because if a cut is made improperly, it will not heal and ultimately cause damage to the tree, or invite disease. It can also be tricky to predict how a pruning cut will affect future growth. For all of these reasons, it is best to hire Portland certified arborists for tree trimming services.

Mulch. Some mulch is good, but you shouldn’t overdo it. A thin layer of mulch protects the soil and the roots much like a blanket. Too much mulch, or improperly placed mulch however, will suffocate plants while inviting pests such as rodents.

Stakes. Now is a good time to remove stakes, inspect growth, and re-stake if needed.

Planting. Given our mild winters, early fall can be a good time to plant in Portland. As long as the ground is not frozen, planting should be fine, although care should be taken with soggy soils. A professional Portland tree service will ensure that planting is done correctly- i.e. the tree is delivered safely, the soil properly prepared, and the tree is planted at the correct level, among other concerns. Mulching may also be provided.

Weeding, Garden Clean Up, Soil Testing. The winter months are a great time to tackle weeds. This may also be a good time for general cleanup, especially after stormy weather has left branches strewn about your yard. If you detected problems in the previous grow season, you may also want to consider testing your soil. Our Portland certified arborists can handle soil testing efficiently. Plus, they can help you understand the results and identify a course of action for future care.

Fruit Trees. Fruit trees often require additional care and maintenance. The general goal is to promote the growth of the fruiting body and ultimately obtain a bountiful harvest at the end of the next growing season. Toward this end, fruit trees require a proper balance and supply of nutrients, and they should also be monitored for pests, and treated if needed. Depending on the situation, a variety of organic and integrated pest management (IMP) solutions are available that reduce the need for potentially toxic chemicals. An ISA certified arborist that is knowledgeable about fruit tree care can prepare your fruit trees for next year’s harvest.

Don’t forget to contact us about winter tree service. Portland, OR property values are on the rise, and as a homeowner your property is most likely your biggest investment. Don’t take your tree and yard care lightly, and try to avoid pruning or landscaping projects you are unsure of. Call Urban Forest Professionals today, and we’d be glad to survey your land and offer our professional recommendations. Our arborists are ISA-certified, licensed, insured, and bonded. You can be absolutely sure of the quality care we provide.

And for more tips and tricks about how to care for your trees year-round see our seasonal tree maintenance plan.

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