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Archive for July, 2012

Ecological Forestry

EFW

Twenty years since conservationists practically shut down logging operations in the North West, the timber industry and environmentalists have begun to share ideas on ecological forestry.  Typically, environmentalists and loggers do not get along or share similar ideals, but in this particular instance in Oregon, the two different groups began to agree on something.  What brought these two completely different groups together as one you might ask?  The answer is the common goal of protecting the forests in the area through the use of forestry thinning to prevent wildfires in overgrown areas of forests.  Foresters and conservationists alike believe in ecological forestry and the benefits it has for the area.  This decision to work together has helped changed the economic outlook in John Day, OR as its local sawmills are able to stay open and provide jobs for the surrounding community.

What is Ecological Forestry?

Ecological Forestry is commonly known as the process of practicing good forestry.  This embodies three different ideas including: ecological considerations, economic considerations, and social considerations.  Ecological considerations consist of soil, water, vegetation, wildlife, ecosystem dynamics, forest health, and restoration.  Economic considerations consist of increasing net worth, ecological integrity and legacy for future generations as well as a valuation of ecosystem services.  The social aspect involves considerations for landowners, industry and society.  Sometimes the term has more to do with intent and perspective than particular practices.

John Day, OR

john day

The situation in this small town in Oregon was reaching a standstill in years past between environmentalists and the timber industry.  Due to the high number of lawsuits aimed at slowing logging the area, the local saw mill was about to shut down due to lack of available forest products.  Mills in other timber country areas have also been shutting down due to high pressure debates on how to effectively log national forests without killing protected species like the spotted owls and salmon.  A key shift happened in these debates when environmentalists realized the effect large wildfires have on the forests, and how beneficial forest thinning can be to the environment.  After this ideal was in conservationist minds, the area was able to pass forest thinning and restorative projects, which in turn helped save the local saw mill along with adding jobs to the area.

The Future

timber truck

The ties made in John Day are groundbreaking for the forestry world.  Using the situation in John Day as an example, the forest service is hoping that more communities can join together to further relations between the timber industry and conservationists.  It is extremely beneficial for both sides to start working together for the same goal of ecologically sound forestry. Even with these monumental steps that have been made, there is a lot of progress to be made in the coming future.  Remember to call the Tree and Landscape Company for all of your preventative fire wise tree removal needs.  Our company specializes in helping residences, businesses and large ranch properties thin timber in order to prepare for wildfires.

Written by Robert Mrdutt

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The Top Ten Tree Diseases of North America

Tree diseases cause unsightly blemishes to appear on your trees as well as cause death in many that are affected.   Here is a list of the top 10 tree diseases in North America.  Keep an eye out and make sure to give us a call if you notice any of these diseases on your trees.

 

  1. American Chestnut Blight

chestnut_blight02

The chestnut disease was brought into America in 1904 by an exported tree sent to New York City.  This fungus is widespread and there is no indication that a cure will be found.  The American chestnut used to be a major source of lumber but the fungus has wiped out this tree as a commercial species.

 

  1. Amillaria Root Rot

armillaria root rot

Armillaria root disease is found throughout temperate and tropical regions of the world. In the continental United States, the disease has been reported in nearly every State. Hosts include hundreds of species of trees, shrubs, vines, and forbs growing in forests, along roadsides, and in cultivated areas.  The fungi cause mortality, wood decay and growth reduction in healthy and non healthy hosts.

 

  1. Anthracnose and Leaf Spot Diseases

anthracnose

Anthracnose disease causes irregular dead areas on leaf margins, between and across and/or along veins, often moving onto the shoots and small twigs; sometimes whole leaves are engulfed.  The leaf spot disease causes dead spots on areas of healthy tissue. Consecutive years of defoliation can decrease the tree’s vigor, weakening the tree and thereby predisposing the plant to opportunistic pests that may further harm or damage the tree.

 

  1. Annosus Root Rot

annosus root rot

Annosum root rot is an important conifer disease.  The disease can cause root rot, butt rot, reduced growth, and mortality in host trees.  The disease is most commonly associated with thinned pine stands located on sandy, well-drained soils.  A tree can become infected and show no about ground symptoms until half of the root system or collar is affected.  Declining trees show sparse, chlorotic crowns with short needles.

 

  1. Aspen Canker

aspen canker

Aspen canker is one of the more common tree diseases of our area.  It is a disease of the bark in which a fungus remains active over time in a lesion and then causes progressive expansion of the lesion.  Canker impacts deformation of stem growth, and mortality, leading to loss of wood value.

 

  1. Bacterial Wet wood

bacterial wetwood

Bacterial wet wood is a common disease that affects the central core or bark of forest trees.  Slime is produced from the fermentation pressure and is toxic to growing areas of the tree and is also the food of choice for several insects.  Symptoms include a yellow brown discoloration generally confined to the central core of the tree. Unfortunately effective control measures do not exist and prevention of tree stress is the best approach.

 

  1. Beech Bark Disease

beech bark disease

Beech bark disease is caused when a beech scale insect creates a wound in the bark.  Next, two different fungi invade the wound and cause a canker to form.  Then new cankers will start to form and begin to kill the tree.  The first outbreak in North America was documented in 1920 in Massachusetts but now the disease has spread as far west as Michigan and as far south as North Carolina.

 

  1. Brown Spot in Longleaf Pine

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Brown spot has become a serious problem in Christmas tree farms across the North Mid United States.  It causes delays in growth and mortality in the longleaf pine.  The disease reduces total annual growth of southern pines by more than 16 million cubic feet.  The symptoms include two kinds of needle spots, one yellow and one a brownish amber-yellow.

 

  1. Canker Rot

Cankers are localized damage to the stem or branches.  Cankers are found centered on a wound and are the entrance location for fungi.  These fungi get inside and cause expansion and/or girdling of the tree.  The disease is difficult to manage on a tree stem, but can be pruned out if on the branches.

 

  1. Commandra Blister Rust

comandra blister rust

Comandra blister rust is a disease of hard pines that is caused by a fungus growing in the inner bark and is located throughout all of North America besides the south and southeast.  The disease infects hard pines but needs an alternate host to spread from one tree to another.  It is known to cause growth reduction, stem deformity and mortality in effected trees.

 

Here at TLC we are ready to tackle all your tree care needs.  We have management services tailored exactly to your looking for.  Give us a call and our certified arborists will head on over to figure out a tree care plan that works for you.

Written by Robert Mrdutt

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Noxious Weeds and You

Weeds can cause a significant amount of grief to any homeowner and without proper knowledge, can become an even bigger hassle.  Weeds come in all shapes and sizes, and can be native or non native, invasive or non invasive, and noxious or not noxious.  Noxious weeds are defined by the Bureau of Land Management as “ any plant designated by a Federal, State or county government as injurious to public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife or property.”  They are more commonly defined as a plant that grows out of place and is competitive, persistent and pernicious.  Here is a short list and description of some of the more common noxious weeds in Teton County.

Common Mullein

Common Mullein

Common Mullein

Common Mullein is a noxious weed that is normally found in open areas of disturbed dirt.  Common mullein is identified by tall yellow flower spikes and soft looking furry leaves. These spikes can grow up to 10 ft tall.  Its seeds can survive almost any condition and last around 100 years.  The rosettes are small, furry looking and are one of the easier weeds to spot at such a young age.

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted Knapweed is the most common type of knapweed in Teton County along with Russian knapweed and meadow knapweed.  It has a high seed production, making it hard to eradicate and is also less likely to be chosen by herbivores as a food option.  One easy way to identify this weed is to look down the stalk of the plant at the leaves.  Knapweed leaves form an x when looking down the stalk.

 Canada Thistle

Canada Thistle

Canada Thistle

Canada thistle is the most common type of thistle in Teton County and is difficult to control due to its extensive root system that allows it to recover from eradication attempts.  The plant begins to flower in late spring/early summer and can contain 1,000-1,500 seeds per flowering.  Canada thistle is frequently found in areas of disturbed earth and reduces the amount of forage consumption in pastures. It’s most common in crops, pastures, rangeland, roadsides, and ditch banks.

 Musk Thistle

Musk Thistle

Musk Thistle

Musk thistle is another extremely common noxious weed in Teton County.  Musk thistle occurs first in disturbed areas in temperate regions and is not known to have a specific climate requirement.  Musk thistle is most often described as occurring on disturbed sites and waste areas, and along roadsides.  It will also occur on rangelands, pastures, open woodlands, and fertile lowlands.  However, musk thistle does not grow well in excessively wet, dry or shady conditions.

 Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy

The Oxeye Daisy is a beautiful flower but an incredibly invasive noxious weed.  It is a short-lived perennial that crowds out other crops in pastures and rangelands.  Sheep, goats and horses eat the daisy, but cows and pigs do not like it.  It is common in areas of disturbed earth and is resistant to many herbicides.

 Dalmatian Toadflax

Dalmatian Toadflax

Dalmatian Toadflax

Dalmatian toadflax is another common noxious weed in Teton County.  Dalmatian toadflax prefers sunny areas with well-drained often coarse-textured soils.  These areas can include roadsides, pastures, residential areas, cemeteries, gravel pits, and waste areas.  It is a short-lived perennial that grows up to 4 feet tall.  Both leaves and stems are a waxy, bluish-green.  Flowering occurs from early summer to early fall.

The noxious weeds described here are some of the most common you will see in our area.  Sometimes they are big enough and can be spotted driving by, and sometimes you need to slow down and take a closer look to find them.  Feel free to call the Tree and Landscape Company for your noxious weed control needs!!!  We specialize in completing all paperwork required for Teton County’s Cost Share Program and do all the leg work so you get reimbursed ASAP. Our noxious weed experts will be able to identify the proper way to get your property weed free in no time!!!

Written by Robert Mrdutt

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Xeriscaping

xeriscaping

 

What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping is the process of creating a landscape or garden that is designed to use the least amount of water possible.  This landscaping method is on the forefront of environmentally sustainable landscape design.  It is a great landscaping option that can help reduce the amount of water wasted, aid in energy conservation and reduce amount of fertilizers and pesticides used.

Xeriscaping is a term that was originally coined by a special sector in the Denver Water Department.  Xeriscaping is typically used in extremely dry and arid climates where water is limited.  Great care is taken to maximize the use of water, organic or inorganic, and to decrease the amount of lost water due to runoff and evaporation.  Here are the seven main principles of xeriscaping.

7 Fundamental Principles of Xeriscaping

 

  1. Water Conservation- reduce amount of applied water and amount that evaporates
  2. Soil Improvement- helps drain landscape quickly and stores water at same time
  3. Create Limited Turf Areas- reduce size of turf, less turf equals less water
  4. Use Appropriate Plants- select plants that are native to your region or are known to grow well with limited water
  5. Mulch- use locally derived mulch to help retain moisture in landscape
  6. Irrigate- use proper drip systems along with irrigation clocks to avoid overwatering
  7. Maintain Your landscape- low maintenance makes home owners happy

 

xeriscaping

 

Benefits

The benefits of xeriscaping are quite numerous and are not just limited to conserving water.   Xeriscaping not only uses less water but requires less maintenance too.  Pruning and slight weeding will still be required, but watering requirements are low and can be automated with a proper irrigation system.  Your landscape will automatically become more environmentally friendly, with no more gas-powered pieces of equipment required for maintenance.  Another benefit to xeriscaping is wildlife protection.  Xeriscaping uses native plants and grasses, which will not disrupt the local wildlife.

 Disadvantages

Xeriscaping does have a few disadvantages.  The minimal turf and native plant design can be deemed aesthetically unpleasing in today’s landscape design.   Plant and cacti can also be harmful to children and pets.  Another disadvantage is that the initial installation and design cost could be more than an average landscape.  The last major disadvantage to xeriscaping is that your outdoor activities will be limited due to unusable terrain.

Xeriscape Tips

 

  • Pick native plants and shrubs
  • Determine annual precipitation range for area
  • Water during the coolest time of the day
  • Minimize number of young plants that require more H20
  • Use windbreaks to avoid the wind drying plants out

 

Hopefully we helped give you a small introduction into xeriscaping and perked your interest in saving some water in your landscape.  Feel free to give xeriscaping a try in your landscape and if your in over your head, give the landscape design experts a call at TLC today to help design and install your new xeriscaped landscaped!!!!

Written by Robert Mrdutt

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Do It Yourself: Snow Sculptures

snow-scultpure-500x332

Everyone tends to become a little tired of winter about this time of year and with all the snow piling up in the yard and streets, it makes sense.  Snow drifts can be an unsightly part to a winter yard but can also be used to make a great addition to brighten the hearts of family and those passing by.  Snow sculptures and snow carving can make a winter yard or city park into a magical place.  My first snow sculpture was a 4 ft tall snowman my sister and I constructed outside our living room window.

Where to Start

Snow sculptures sound like a huge ordeal to undertake, but in reality it is not to hard to make a beautiful looking snow sculpture in your yard.  The easiest technique to choose when building one is the carve-away method.  The first step is to make a pile of snow considerably larger than your design.  Snow drifts and old snowmen make a great start.  If you know you are going to make a snow sculpture at some point in the winter, try and pile all your shoveled snow into one place.  Make sure the snow pile has time to set up and freeze so that the snow will be hard enough to carve into.  Always take a look at the design and know what you are building so that you do not remove too much snow.  A basic outline is the first step in building the perfect snow sculpture.

snow-sculpture-25

Tools

Here is a list of tools we recommend using for building a snow carving/sculpture.

  • Flat Shovel
  • Spade Shovel
  • Small Chainsaw
  • Chalk Line
  • Hatchet
  • Metal Spatula

The Next Step

snowandice12

 

Once the rough outline of the sculpture is complete, start using tools to add detail to your project.  If at anytime the snow becomes to powdery, use a spray bottle or a garden house to help the snow firm up.  Make sure to get as artistically detailed as you can, then give the whole sculpture a light spraying with water, and bam!!, you have yourself a snow sculpture for your front yard.

Other Sculptures Made From Nature

riers and tides

 

Nature is a great medium to make some really cool pieces of art.  One of my favorite artists that use nature as a medium is Andy Goldsworthy.  Here is a link for a trailer for his movie Rivers and Tides.

Hopefully we have inspired some of you to go out and build your own snow sculpture.  It won’t be the easiest thing but keep trying and you will constructing works of art in no time at all!!!

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