From Snow Angels to the Angel Oak March 11, 2011
We in northeastern Ohio have witnessed record low temperatures and snowfall this year - it's snowing as I write! My family has had more than our fill of winter gloom, complemented with winter coats, boots and gloves, shoveling sidewalks and clearing driveways By this point in winter, even the strongest are ready for some sunshine. A recent long weekend provided an opportunity for a quick family getaway to Kiawah Island, S.C.
During the drive south, my nieces, ages 9, 11 and 13, entertained themselves by discussing what they wanted to do when they arrived. Their list included walking along the beach to hunt for shells, hoping to spot dolphins in the ocean, reading outside in the sunshine, and eating at their favorite seafood restaurant. The list also included a family tradition - visiting the historic Angel Oak on Johns Island in Charleston.
The Angel Oak is a Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), which is a native species found throughout the Lowcountry along the coast of South Carolina. Believed to be in excess of 1,500 years old, its massive, draping limbs and wide spreading canopy present the aura of an angel.Read More
Speaking Tree February 23, 2011
One of my New Year's resolutions is to learn a new language. I work with several arborists fluent in Spanish, and they've inspired me. I've purchased audio aids, manuals, and am even enrolled in a Spanish class at a local community college. Well, it turns out that this is much harder than the commercials make it sound.
As I was absorbing Spanish on my way into work yesterday, it occurred to me that our trees communicate through their own language. They have something to tell us, but we have to be able to understand them. This is one language I am comfortable speaking, so when my landscape wakes from its winter slumber, I'll be ready to listen. Here are a few pointers from my experience as a landscape interpreter:
First, listen for obvious cries for help. Are there any dead or dying limbs, branches that may have broken or split during the harsh winter? If so, prune out the dead tissue to support healthy growth and prevent injury to anyone who might be passing under the tree. Be on the lookout for damage from animals feeding on buds, bark below the snow line, twigs, and small branches. Even if you're new to "speaking tree," trust your instincts here; if something looks wrong, you may have a problem.Read More
So You Want to be an Arborist? February 14, 2011
"Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical." - Yogi Berra
Math challenges aside, there are days like today when the mental heavy lifting involved makes me think the same could be said about arboriculture.
I'm currently studying for an exam at one of the oldest, though relatively obscure, training institutions in North America. It's The Davey Institute of Tree Sciences, better known as DITS. The brochure might describe a century-plus, industry-leading training program focused on practical arboriculture research and scientific advancements in tree physiology, entomology, and pathology, but I think of it more as training on steroids - a two-year degree packed into four intense weeks. It's challenging, but there's great energy here, and the hallways are buzzing with talented instructor/scientists and eager arborists.Read More
Trees Got Your Back February 9, 2011
I have to admit that sometimes in the dead of winter on cold, cold days, I get a bit claustrophobic. I feel cramped. Inside, it feels dark. It's almost like I can't breathe.
So I put on my thickest coat over some layers and step outside. The first few moments are pretty cold - I curl in on myself, nearly tempted to run back inside to the waiting warmth. But, usually once I start walking, my blood starts flowing and I start to warm up a bit. So I keep going.Read More