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Bainbridge Island Master's Challenge

As promised in the previous newsletter, Conor and Mick entered their first climbing competition this April. Organized by Katy Bigelow and Logan Collier, the second annual Bainbridge Island Master's Challenge consisted of a partner work climb and a gathering of some of the best climbers in the Northwest region. Each team was allotted twenty minutes to complete seven work stations in a beautiful Gerry Oak located centrally on Bainbridge Island. A video by Climbing Arborist best illustrates the nature of the competition. Conor and teammate Tiger Devine earned a third place finish completing the stations well under the time limit. It was an atmosphere of cammeraderie and learning. WesSpur and Tree Stuff generously provided gear prizes for all participants.


Featured Tree: Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Height: up to 200 ft
DBH (diameter at breast height): up to 6 ft

The Dawn Redwood is a fast growing deciduous conifer--the smallest of the redwood species. Native to China's Sichuan-Hubei region, it was rediscovered in 1944 by Zhan Wang in Lichuan County. Only a few natural stands of Metasequoia exist, however, many seeds were collected upon discovery in the 1940's and they have become a popular ornamental tree in parks and residences around the world. The photo above captures the latest addition to Conor's personal tree collection.

 


Olympic Peninsula Spotlight: Tent Caterpillars

Tent caterpillars invaded the Olympic Peninsula this spring in numbers that far surpassed previous years. The western tent caterpillar typically appears in Western Washington around April or May emerging from tents spun on the branches of Alder, Cherry, Apple and other deciduous trees. They will often defoliate whole branches and, in some cases, entire trees. Though they rarely cause healthy trees to die they can stunt growth and increase a specimen's susceptibility to disease. Recommended methods for disposing of tents include: manual removal, pruning of infested limbs, and spray treatments. The tent caterpillars have, for the most part, ended their feeding cycle for the year but we encourage you to call us next year if you have any concerns about caterpillars in your trees.

Sitkum Newsletter Spring 2013

Dear Friends,

Spring is coming to an end and once again we would like to share our insights and accomplishments for the quarter. This season we added another member to the Sitkum team--Riley DelaBarre. A skilled carpenter with an interest in growing his skill set, Riley contributes a keen attention to detail and positive attitude to our expanding crew. We are excited to have him on board and look forward to helping him excel as an arborist.

With Summer upon us we encourage you to start thinking about how to best equip your trees for the drier months ahead. We offer custom treatments that will help your trees, both young and mature, thrive in the sunny days to come.

The Sitkum Team

Seasonal Treatment Recommendation: Wood chips and Mulching

Chip layer insulating the drip-line of an apple tree

As the rainy months begin to wane it is important to consider how to best accommodate the hydration requirements of your trees. As Dr. Alex Shigo puts it “Trees are like large pumps. The roots provide water and elements and the crown provides energy. The crown is dependent on the roots and the roots are dependent on the crown.” Deficiencies in foliage or browning are often a sign of poor hydration or root issues. One of the best ways to ensure adequate water intake is to insulate the drip line of your trees with wood chips. A mulch layer beneath a tree's canopy helps capture moisture and discourages other organic material from competing for a tree's water and nutrient resources. We are experienced in assessing the needs of individual species and implementing plans to optimize moisture intake. If you have any concerns about the hydration of your trees please don't hesitate to contact us for a consultation.


Hazard Consideration: Co-dominant Stems and Cabling


Conor installing a static cable in a large co-dominant Douglas Fir near Freshwater Bay

Co-dominant stems are one of the most common defects found in large trees. They often pose a serious threat to people and property in the built environment. Co-dominants can occur naturally as genetic defects or as a result of improper tree management practices such as topping. A tree with multiple dominant leaders suffers an increased probability of failure at the juncture of the stems. As two or more tops grow from a point on a tree a weak seam, prone to splitting, occurs holding them together at the attachment point. Bark inclusions are a common characteristic of these seams. The photo below exhibits the lack of strong connective woody tissue in a stem with two or more tops. Bark inclusions do not exhibit any significant connective properties. They are merely a point of contact between the bark of the two stems.


Cross-section of a split top from a removal we performed near Carlsborg

In many cases the risk of failure and property damage can be minimalized with the installation of cables between the stems. Cables redistribute the shearing force that weather and the mass of multiple stems exert on the tree. By fastening the stems above the weak juncture multiple tops are encouraged to react as one to the natural stresses the tree must endure. We instal both dynamic and static cables to enhance the structural integrity of trees with multiple large stems. In most instances we can preserve these trees while improving safety in the surrounding environment.


Tear-out resulting from poor co-dominant attachment.


Featured Project: Captain Joseph House Heritage Elms

Mick executing a long limb walk on the bigger of the two heritage Elms

In March we received a call from the founder of the Captain Joseph House Foundation, previously the Tudor Inn, in Port Angeles. We were asked to prune four heritage trees—two Elms and two Poplars—that had been planted more than one-hundred years ago. We collaborated with multiple contractors and landscape architects to ensure that these trees would not be negatively affected by remodeling plans that are currently being implemented.

Conor performing a limb-tip reduction with pole pruner
 

Heritage trees require much more delicate treatment than do younger specimens. They are far less likely to recover from drastic canopy reductions. Pruning objectives must be balanced with an understanding of how live canopies react to active-limb removal. Using non invasive climbing techniques we were able to make reductions from the tips of the branches and eliminate defective limbs, ultimately enhancing the natural form of the trees while improving their function on the property.

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