Monthly Archives: February 2018

Spring Pruning Guidance by The Tree Care Industry Association

Three Cuts Diagram
Three Cuts Diagram

When performed incorrectly, tree work is extremely dangerous and can be lethal. In the wake of an increasing number of reported incidents involving tree trimming, the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) would like to remind arborists to use the proper tools and techniques, and for any untrained person attempting tree work to instead hire a qualified tree care professional.

“Pruning is an oft-needed maintenance treatment for good tree health and safety, but pruning without the correct knowledge or tools is not good tree care practice,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with TCIA. “Pruning can be overwhelming to those not familiar with the process, and more often than not can result in undesirable results, including injury to the tree, injury to yourself and even death.”

Pruning tree branches away from a structure? A couple of things can go wrong.

Ladder placement, tie-in points, chain saw size and type of cut all affect the success of safely performing a “drop cut,” or a cut that controls whether a tree branch falls flat to the ground, as opposed to swinging unpredictably. When performed incorrectly, a branch could break mid-cut.

At the least, the cut branch might just tear the bark off the trunk while remaining attached. This would injure the tree and possibly cause a tree hazard in the future. A torn branch still requires a finishing cut, which can have an unpredictable result.

At the worst, the branch could unexpectedly and rapidly swing back into the ladder, knocking it and the worker to the ground. Another all-too-frequent scenario is when the branch weight is cut, the limb that the ladder is resting against will suddenly lift, and the ladder falls to the ground.

Many uninformed people have died attempting to prune tree branches from ladders.

Avoid the accident. Use proper tools and pruning cuts to control the limb.

There are specialty chain saw cuts professional tree care providers use to manage large limbs. But before making the first cut, they select the right cutting tool. It is necessary to use a chain saw powerful enough to make swift cuts through the wood. Do not use the following to cut live limbs from trees:

  • carpenter’s saw
  • hacksaw
  • reciprocating saw
  • low-powered electric saws

Proper pruning of tree limbs involves three cuts.

First Cut: A short distance away from the branch collar, make a small cut in the underside of the limb about a third of the way through. This notch will keep the bark from splitting during the next cut.

Second Cut: Slightly farther out the branch (away from the trunk or parent stem), parallel with, and on the side opposite the first cut, make the second cut, or “top cut,” through the branch until the branch separates. This removes the weight of the branch so the final cut can be made without the branch splitting and falling. This cut requires a firm, two-handed grip on the saw. The saw must run at full throttle to reduce risk of the branch breaking.

Final Cut: The final cut should be just outside the branch collar at the swollen attachment point of the branch into the trunk, following the angle of the branch collar. If the saw doesn’t fit into the crotch at the correct angle, it can be cut from the bottom, up.

Do not try to remove the whole branch with one cut. Making one cut to save time or effort is extremely hazardous. Cut away short, manageable sections from the end of the limb first. Removing “end weight” will reduce the risk of the branch breaking during the cut and swinging. This may require moving the ladder several times as an extra safety precaution.

About that ladder…

Ladder safety is important to consider while pruning.

  • Always have another person around while working from a ladder.
  • Use an extension ladder. Do not use a step ladder.
  • When leaning the ladder against the branch being cut, extend it at least three feet past the branch. The branch will lift significantly past the ladder when the end is removed.
  • Keep at least 10 feet away from energized lines when carrying, setting up and working from an extension ladder.

It is more technical than it looks.

It takes training and practice to confidently cut and manage tree limbs. Those working without proper chain saw experience could cause tree limbs to fall out of control, causing damage to property or themselves.

TCIA does not condone the idea of untrained people using chain saws to prune trees, especially when standing on a ladder. Standards for professional arborists call for them to secure themselves to the tree when working from a ladder, and to have two separate attachment points to the tree when using a chain saw. That’s how hazardous these practices are.

TCIA always recommends contacting a qualified tree care provider to complete tree-pruning projects.

Find a professional.

Contact TCIA, a public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture since 1938. TCIA has more than 2,300 member tree care firms and affiliated companies. All tree care company members recognize stringent safety and performance standards and are required to carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance, where applicable. TCIA also has the nation’s only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that have been inspected and accredited based on: adherence to industry standards for quality and safety; maintenance of trained, professional staff; and dedication to ethics and quality in business practices. For more information, visit http://www.tcia.org.

An easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the “Find A Tree Care Company” program. You can use this service by calling 800-733-2622 or by doing a ZIP Code search on http://www.treecaretips.org.

  • Board Certified Master Arborist, Certified Treecare Safety Professional

Watering and Fertilizing your Indoor Garden Plants

Watering and Fertilizing your Indoor Garden Plants
Watering and Fertilizing your Indoor Garden Plants

Unless it is the middle of summer and there has not been enough rain, watering your
outdoor plants is usually not necessary (or not very often). But indoor plants rely on you
as a source of water and extra nutrients in the form of fertilizer. It is important to know
the individual water and nutrient needs of each plant to keep them healthy.

As mentioned, individual plants will require different amounts of water to keep them
growing optimally. But what all plants do like is moist soil. If you are worried about
over-watering your plant, make sure that the pot you choose has a good drainage system.
With holes in the bottom of the pot or gravel inside the pot the soil and plant will soak up
the necessary water and the excess will run out through the bottom.

If your houseplants are not thriving no matter what you do, there are two things to look
into. If you are using tap water to water your plants there may be too much chlorine or
salt present. A solution to this is to use distilled or filtered water or you can leave a
container outside to collect rainwater. Either option is acceptable and may be the change
you need to make to grow healthier plants.

Choosing to fertilize your plants is another way to give them a boost. Fertilizer contains
nutrients and elements that plants need to grow. Indoors plants do not need as much
fertilizer as their outdoor counterparts do. Because of a slower rate of growth, feed your
plants minimal fertilizer. In the winter time you can probably skip this step altogether.
The spring or summer time is the best time to fertilize indoor plants. This is during their
growing phase when they need the extra nutrients the most.

Organic Vegetable Gardening Can Be Done Using Containers

Organic Vegetable Gardening Can Be Done Using Containers
Organic Vegetable Gardening Can Be Done Using Containers

Organic gardening isn’t only for farmers or people who have backyards. This is because it can be do using containers.

Organic vegetable gardening containers have advantages. You can use it decor every time you decide to let it get some sunlight when you place it by the balcony or patio. If the weather gets too cold outside, you can bring it indoors. But best of all, you don’t have to deal with certain threats that can only happen outdoors like weeds, insects or soil borne diseases.

Organic vegetable gardening containers do not use soil. You need to use potting mix that is much lighter and provides excellent drainage. You need to use organic fertilizer though to help it grow. An example of this is mulch that can be made from chipped bark, garden compost, leaf molds and manure which helps prevent it from drying out.

Another thing the plants inside these containers need is a lot of water. Ideally, you should put these in small amounts at least 30 minutes after an initial watering because putting in too much could drown your plant.