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Hire an Arborist.

South Face

We built our house on a sandy rise that had been farmed for the entire twentieth century. It was a perfect site for a passive solar home and it has proved to be so, winter after winter, when the sunbeams reach deep inside. Back then we were real sun worshippers and didn’t mind the beating sun of summer. Eventually though we felt the need for shade, wised up, and planted some deciduous trees in front of the south side.

Kids and Maple

Our young kids stood by the Sugar Maple sapling after it was freshly planted. It seemed a pipe dream at the time that any meaningful amount of shade would result in the foreseeable future, in fact one visitor laughed when we referred to it as a “shade tree.” Little could we have known how happy this tree would find the conditions provided for it and what a stunning rate of growth it would display, growing in stature such that today it “makes” the whole setting of the house and grounds around it. The breeze that rises up the slope makes it an inviting environment to relax in all season long.

R S Shade of Maple

R S Noah

R S Courtney and Rusty
Last summer our daughter commented that perhaps we should do something about how close some of the branches were growing toward the house. After all, we needed to consider the long term. Quite right. How fun just to marvel at its expansion, but some prudent pruning work was in order.

Late winter is a good time to attend to such tasks and I mentioned calling an arborist. Why not do it myself, I was asked. True, I have lots of experience pruning limbs but, unlike the simple conifers, the Maple has an intricate crown. How much should be removed and where? Plus the fact that the work involves being well off the ground. Having sustained one fall from a tree that messed up my back it doesn’t seem like a good thing to do.

Tree surgeon and arborist Donald Dulmer and his son and business partner Dan did a fantastic job.

R S Arborist 3

The first order of business was to drill and install a rod right at the fork.

Drilling for rod.

Drilling for rod.

This will give the tree considerable support at that one potentially vulnerable location where it can split. The bark will soon grow over the nut and washers. Note how he is roped in twice. One rope has steel wires that cannot be sawn through.

Tightening the bolt.

Tightening the bolt.

Next they judiciously selected “interfering branches” that crossed and rubbed against each other. Don used a fourteen foot long hand pruner to cut off most of the length of the limbs several feet away from the trunk and Dan, using a small chainsaw, sawed the short remaining sections flush to the collar.

They also pointed out the indentation at the base that indicates a circling root that, instead of growing straight away from the trunk, has crossed over and touched other roots, which can cause stress and the eventual decline of the tree. When the frost is out of the ground I will attend to it.

R S Bark Indentation

The branching now looks well balanced and pruning shouldn’t be needed for years to come. Improved air circulation, no rubbing branches, and no concern about limbs approaching the house.

R S Grey Squirrel

R S Red Squirrel

The squirrels, grey and red, were on the scene in a flash, treating themselves to the sweet sappy juices. Soon the tree will begin the wondrous process of budding and leafing.

R S Arborist 4

R S Blooming Sugar Maple 1

R S Blooming Sugar Maple 2

The Arborist Pledge

As members of the National Arborist Association, we strive to uphold the honor and dignity of our profession and improve the quality of life through increasing our knowledge and skills in the management of the trees, shrubs and other landscape plants entrusted to our care. We recognize the air we breathe, our pure drinking water, the aesthetic pleasure of landscape beauty, the sounds we hear, even all the Earth, are dependent on and profoundly affected by healthy trees, shrubs and other landscape plants.

8 comments to Hire an Arborist.

  • Very sympathetic treatment of your tree, interesting post. I’d never heard of those dodgy circling roots before. Grey and red sqrls together eh? In the UK the immigrant greys carry a pox that has killed off most of the indigenous reds 🙁

  • tico

    It’s funny that you say that, Richard, because a friend read this piece and commented that he would shoot the red squirrels!

  • The day began with indoor introductions and talks, and continued with outdoor demonstrations, including lunch courtesy of Kathy Conway of the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst, and concluded with a demonstration of how tree crews rig themselves to work high up in the tree branches.

  • Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. When hiring an arborist, give careful consideration to their qualifications. Thanks.

  • Arborists specialize in the care of individual trees. They are knowledgeable about the needs of trees. I’m happy that you share this helpful post.

  • I agree with the message of this article. People tend to undervalue the need of professionals to take care of their trees.

  • Very interesting article about Arborists, taking care of the trees in different ways. The work done by them is really professional

  • You should only entrust your trees to certified arborists. It is very important for the trees health and your families saftey, there are a lot of cowboys out there. So check their credentials before you hire anyone

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