The Benefits of Trees
Trees can do amazing things for our environment. A single tree will sequester a tonne of carbon dioxide in its lifetime, but that's not all trees can do! Trees can be used to prevent erosion, reduce cooling costs, act as windbreaks and filter dirty water. If trees were an invention, they'd be the best one.
The above-mentioned benefits may influence you to grow a tree or two. Some folks are handy enough to plant trees and maximize their benefits; while keeping those same trees from destroying the patio, interfering with power - lines, dropping branches on the roof or encroaching on the neighbour’s property. A well-maintained tree is a happy tree and we have the experience and expertise to help.
10 Great Reasons to Hug a Tree
Trees Provide Oxygen and Reduce Climate Change
The equation is fundamental: During a process called photosynthesis, a tree "inhales" CO2 from the air and then separates the carbon from the oxygen molecules O2. The carbon is absorbed by the tree, which then "exhales" through its leaves pure oxygen into the air. In the process just described, trees also serve as carbon sinks. Trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, sequestering the carbon and storing it for an indefinite period, while releasing the oxygen back into the atmosphere. Such carbon sinks offset carbon dioxide emissions and reduce climate change.
Trees Provide Food
Trees provide an important source of food such as nuts and fruits for mankind and other creatures. Many animals eat leaves and berries for nourishment, flowers are eaten, and the nectar is a favourite of birds, bats, and many insects. Wildlife and Insects eat much of the same fruit that we enjoy and help disperse the seeds over great distances.
Trees Provide Shelter
Each tree supports an incredibly vast, thriving eco-system in and of itself, from nearly microscopic insects to our fine feathered friends, to a multitude of wildlife, the destruction of even a single small tree not only disrupts its biodiversity, it also renders countless creatures homeless.
Trees Provide Medicine
Although numerous medicines which came from trees have been replaced by synthetic ones, certain varieties remain as a source for drug ingredients. Extractions from wood, bark, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds or leaves are a fundamental part of our well being. However a strong market demand poses a significant threat to many trees. Overexploitation must be managed carefully in order to conserve forests and the medicinal trees inside them.
Trees Provide Shade and Protection
Large deciduous trees planted in the right location of your home creates shade from hot summer days and can reduce air conditioning cost. Wherever trees are planted, wildlife and other plants are sure to follow, as they provide shade for cattle and other livestock to reduce heat stress or cold stress. Trees also provide protection for the growth of plants that otherwise would not be there and contribute to the ecosystem by providing shelter, food, and habitats for aquatic species like Beavers, Fish, Otters etc.
Trees Provide Energy Savings
You have probably noticed in your travels that many farmhouses and acreages are surrounded by trees? Planting trees in the right place is not only good for a home, it's also good for the land to keep valuable topsoil in place. Trees conserve energy costs and help fight climate change. They act as windbreaks and keep snow from drifting up against houses. In our Urban communities we can use the same principals to make our houses more energy efficient with proper tree placement.
Trees Provide Pollution and Noise Reduction
Trees absorb and filter out pollutants like sulphur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides through the stomata in the surface of their leaves. A considerable reduction in airborne pollution or street level particulates have been found on tree-lined streets. By strategically planting certain Tree varieties near noise sources, we can muffle urban noise pollution.
Trees Provide Erosion and Flood Prevention
Trees help prevent erosion by slowing down water flow and by decreasing wind speed; which is another form of erosion caused from dry soil. Trees planted along riverbanks stabilize the soil and help prevent soil erosion from fast flowing water.
Trees Provide Soil Enrichment
Fallen leaves make excellent compost which enriches the soil. When leaves and needles fall they do not need to be wasted. As they decompose, they replenish the soil with nutrients and make up part of the spongy soft layer of the forest floor which absorbs and holds rainfall. Fallen leaves and needles also become food for numerous soil organisms vital to a forest ecosystem.
Trees Provide Natural Beauty and Health
Some folks look at Trees and see only lumber and profits. By combining the beauty of Trees with the numerous environmental benefits they provide, Trees can directly influence the quality of people's lives.
Topping is often done to reduce the size of a Tree. Some folks feel that a tree has become too large or that tall trees pose risks. Topping hurts trees and is not a viable option to control a Trees' height nor will this indiscriminate method of pruning reduce future risk; in fact, topping will increase risk of failure in the long term. It is perhaps the most harmful of all tree pruning practices; by cutting tree branches to stubs or to lateral branches which are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include; tipping, heading, and rounding over.
Here are reasons NOT to top a Tree.
- Topping causes Decay
- Topping is Expensive
- Topping creates Hazards
- Topping causes Stress
- Topping can lead to Sunburn
- Topping makes Trees look unsightly
Alternatives to Topping
If you feel a Tree must be topped, there are other methods to control the height and spread. We have recommendations for doing so; by pruning branches back to their point of origin and if a limb has to be shortened, it should be cut back to a lateral branch that is large enough to assume the terminal role. A rule of thumb is to cut back to a lateral that is at least one-third the diameter of the limb being removed. This type of branch/limb reduction will at least help preserve the natural shape of a Tree. Our Certified Arborists can ensure that your tree will still look attractive and under control.
Proper pruning is vital for the development of a tree with a strong structure and desirable form. A tree which receives the appropriate pruning technique when it is a juvenile will require little corrective pruning as it matures. Improper pruning practice could cause damage that lasts the life of a tree. Trees do not heal the way people do. When a tree is wounded, it must grow over and compartmentalize the wound, this wound will stay contained within the tree forever. Each cut has the potential to change the growth of a tree and leave it susceptible to disease, breakage and insects. It is important to note, we must prune with a purpose; to remove dead or diseased wood, provide clearance or improve the structure of a tree. Selecting what and where to prune involves an understanding of basic tree biology, proper tools, and a talented eye. Our Certified Arborists know where to make the proper cut, so your trees remain healthy.
Lack of Water
Keeping the soil moist is essential, however, oversaturation can have adverse effects. Water trees at least once a week, or more frequently during hot summer days. A good “rule of thumb” is; when the soil is dry below the surface of the mulch or below the soil surface, it is time to water. Water trees around the drip line (edge) of the tree canopy, not at the base of the trunk, as feeder roots absorb the water and carry it up into the canopy. In turn, over-watering causes leaves to turn yellow, wilt and eventually fall off. Continue the watering schedule until mid-fall, tapering off for lower temperatures that require less frequent watering.
Trees and Grass
A green lawn can provide many of the same ecological benefits as trees, which is good. We have to pay a bit of extra attention when grass and trees live together. It is essential we make efforts for trees and lawns to grow compatible, it is important to keep in mind that mechanical tools like lawn mowers and weed trimmers are necessary components to lawn care. Improper use of these types of tools around the trunk of trees can cause badly damaged trunks leading to possible disease, insect infestation and general weakness of the tree system, at worst death of a tree is a possibility. Providing distance between the grass and the trunk is a good idea to prevent damage to tree trunks. Creating tree wells with an application of natural mulch not only looks attractive but is also beneficial to prevent damage while maintaining moisture for longer.
Planting Floral and Plants around the Trunk of Trees
It might look appealing to the eye, however, planting flowers and plant material too close to the trunk area of a tree deprives fine feeder roots close to the surface of essential nutrients and moisture. Very rarely do you see any kind of plant material growing around a trunk of a tree in a forest. It is wise to alternatively apply a layer of mulch around the trunk area. Ensure that the mulch is 2 inches away from the trunk to prevent trunk rot.
Rodents and Common Animal Species
It is important to pay attention to the trunk and lower branches of your trees. Depending on where you live, your yard is vulnerable to Mice, Voles, Rabbits, Squirrels, Deer and others. They could be marking their territory or looking for food; especially in the winter months, mice for example will burrow under the snow close to a tree and chew the bark, which in turn causes damage to the trunk. Deer will eat young shoots and Rabbits gnaw or nibble on bark. Come spring the tree is forced to compartmentalize that area to protect the rest of the tree from decay, insects etc.
Insects and Disease
Insect Pests and disease can threaten tree health. Some Pests are beneficial to trees, but many are not. Identifying the symptom early is the first step in understanding the cause. Stress can play a large part in plant health, there are basic elements that influence the health of a tree and are vital; such as sufficient water, light and proper balance of nutrients. If there is too much or too little of these environmental conditions present, plant stress may occur. When you notice a change or abnormality in your trees' appearance, a careful examination should begin to identify the concern. By doing regular inspections of trees at least once per year, you can reduce or prevent the severity of future insects, diseases or environmental problems.
- Accurately identify the tree or shrub
- Look for a pattern of abnormality
- Carefully examine the landscape
- Examine the roots
- Check the trunk and branches
- Note the position and appearance of affected leaves and or tree bark
- Once the abnormality has been diagnosed a plan of action can then be implemented.
Common Insects, Diseases & Fungus of Alberta
- Black Knot Fungus
- Bronze Leaf Disease
- Fire Blight
- Oak Wilt
- Rhizosphaera Needle Cast
- Western Gall Rust
- Ash Bark Beetle
- Ash Borer
- Aphid varieties
- Birch Leaf Miner
- Bronze Birch Borer
- Cooley Spruce Gall Aphids
- Elm Scale
- Leaf Roller
- Mountain Pine Beetle
- Poplar Borer
- Poplar Gall Mite
- Oystershell Scale
- Spruce Budworm
- Spider Mite
- White Pine Weevil/Spruce Weevil