Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Mutilation of Trees in Grant County

Have you seen the butchered trees at Taco Bell? These were beautiful, 15 year-old Arizona Ash trees and they have been hacked to within an inch of their lives. Why not just cut them down? It would be less visually offensive and achieve the same result. Unfortunately, topping or otherwise mutilating trees is a common practice in Grant
Here are two of the trees, one year after topping.
There are several reasons why you SHOULD NEVER TOP TREES!!!!
1. Topping stresses trees. Topping removes a good portion of the leaf-bearing crown and therefore the tree can no longer produce food. In starvation mode the tree produces weak, rapid growth which is dangerous. Trees that do not have stored energy may be in such a weakened state that they die. Large, open wounds expose the tree's heartwood to insect attacks and a stressed tree is much more vulnerable to these attacks and disease.

2. Topping causes decay. Proper pruning cuts are made just beyond the branch collar. A tree is biologically equipped to close a wound (pruning cut) at this point. When you cut a tree indiscriminately it can not close the wound and will begin to decay.

3. Topping can lead to sunscald. Now that the crown and leaves have been removed from the tree it can no longer shade its trunk from our intense sun. This causes sunscald and the rupturing of the bark.

4. Topping creates hazards. New shoots grow quickly and are not anchored to the tree by a normal branch collar and socket. Because this growth is weak these shoots are prone to breaking IN THE WIND and we know wind. If the overall goal of topping a tree was to reduce its height or make it safer the exact opposite will be achieved.

5. It is really, really ugly. Trees should have a natural, branching form. A topped tree can never fully recover that natural form.

6. It is expensive. Aside from the original cost that the perpetrator is paid, there is storm damage clean-up and tree removal once it has died or becomes too dangerous.

There are ways to reduce the height of a tree without topping. Any GOOD arborist should know how to "drop crotch" a tree. If you are thinking of getting your trees pruned and the contractor suggests topping, send him out the door. Please tell anyone you know not to top trees and express your disapproval to those who practice this mutilation. We can make Grant County a more beautiful place to live if we can stop the butchery of our trees.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 2010

The nursery is open now and it has been great to see so many familiar faces and hear your words of encouragement. This week plants will begin to arrive. Cool season annuals, a variety of perennials, shrubs, trees and some cool season vegetables. This brings me to one of this month's subjects. The 2 seasons of annuals and vegetables.

There are cool season annuals, those that do best in cool weather and bolt or go to flower and then seed in hot weather. These annuals are pansies, violas, snapdragons and dianthus to name a few. They can be planted in the fall and will root and flower some throughout the winter, or they can be planted now. Either way they will give you a good show until the heat of summer sets in. Then you will need to replace them with something more heat tolerant. The warm season annuals, those that won't take frost, include marigolds, vinca, zinnias, portulaca and impatiens. I will have a wide variety of all of these annuals when the time is right to plant them.

There are also 2 seasons for vegetables as well. Cool season vegetables, those that need to mature before it gets too hot, are the cole crops, like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, the leafy greens and all of the root vegetables including beets, carrots and radishes. Plant the root vegetables and greens from seed between March 15th and April 15th for best results. Plant the cole crops from transplants April 1st through the 30th. Always improve your beds with Back to Earth Compost and any necessary fertilizers before planting. Warm season vegetables are tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, squash, cucumbers etc. These are vegetables that thrive in the heat and will not tolerate cold temperatures and usually don't flourish until nighttime temperatures are above 50 degrees. Plant cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, beans and corn from seed once the soil has warmed after May 1st. Plant tomatoes, eggplant and peppers from transplants after May 1st and you still may need to watch the weather and protect them from frost. Our average last frost date is May 1st which means our last frost usually falls somewhere between April 15th and May 15th.

Any of our shrubs and trees can also be planted now. They come from local growers and are adapted to our cool nights. The fact that we don't have a greenhouse at our new location keeps us pretty honest! We can't have it in stock if it is going to die without protection in our climate.

We have a lot of beautiful pottery. Classic Italian clay, brightly colored Mexican, glazed Chinese and Vietnamese in deep colors and those colorful birdbaths for only $72 for the large ones and $48 for the small ones.

We always stock Back to Earth Compost, both regular and acidified, Uni-Gro Potting Soil, Composted Manure and Top Soil.

Stop by soon to see the new place. You will find the same quality plants, reasonable prices and honest advice as always!!!