Once the trees and shrubs, the bones of a garden, are taken care of we can turn our attention to the flower and vegetable beds. Calgary's soils deserve some discussion.
My Tree Care Philosophy
Trees are living beings and deserve respect. There is a lot of work done on trees that is not in their best interest. Routine practices performed from habit that ignore the tree's present state can be very injurious. An example would be standard thinning and shaping performed on a tree that is infected with a disease.
Trees get all their energy from the sun, mostly through their leaves or needles. The rest comes from photosynthetic tissue in young bark. Too much pruning not only stresses a tree, but forces it to generate suckers or shoots to try to replenish the lost leaf mass. There is a delicate balance among the leaves, branches, trunk and roots. Suckers are an indicator of too much pruning and top die-back can signal root damage.
When inspecting a tree, knowing how it compares to others of the same species is essential for understanding how the individual is doing. Experience counts: the more trees you have seen, the better. Being able to see clearly and access carefully is the greatest gift I can bring to a tree. Once we see clearly, knowing what to do is easy.
What To Do
Something has happened to your tree, or you've seen something on your tree that you've never seen before and you have questions and need answers. You are worried about your tree and you want it to live a healthy long life. What to do?
Most tree problems are easily fixed. Overgrown thick growth, most diseased sections of trees, and storm damage can be dealt with by pruning, the careful removal of select branches.
Insect infestations that are damaging the tree will probably need to be sprayed, a service I do not provide. That said, a strong blast of water, regularly applied, can do a lot of damage to many insects.
Tree branches and trunks that have cracks and splits can sometimes be put back together with bolts and cables, strategically placed, and live for many years after the repairs.
The best thing you can do as a tree owner is to educate yourself about your tree. What kind of tree is it? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What are its water requirements? What insects and diseases will it get? What do you really need to do to keep your tree in top form?
I can answer many of those questions for you. Whether we do a consultation or an inspection for pruning, a lot of that information will come out. What I would eventually like to see is you walking through your yard or garden once a week during the green seasons and carefully inspecting your trees. Once you know what is normal, any oddity will quickly catch your eye.
I can say without a doubt that if you inspect your trees every week and catch any problem in its earliest stage and address it, you will have beautiful healthy trees for a long, long time.