How to have healthy trees
and not spend a lot of $$$
Discover your tree’s story.
Every tree has a story, some good, some not.
It's written in its branches and trunk and surrounding area.
During a consult, you will learn your tree's unique story and how its health is doing.
You will also learn to read your tree and know what you need to do in the future.
Any problems are written there in the tree, and I will help you to read them.
Seven Benefits of a Consultation
- Health assessment: Why is my tree failing/dying? and solutions to the problem.
- Pruning theory and practice: Do you want healthy pruning ideas? Are you getting conflicting advice from contractors? Or do you want to do your own pruning?
- Tree/shrub identification: Do you have a new property and need to know the plants?
- Disease and insect ID: Many insects are relatively harmless, some are deadly. Know the difference. Spot disease before it runs away with your tree.
- Planting theory: Incorrect planting practices are the number one cause of failure in new trees. Understand the anatomy of proper planting.
- Tree architecture: The why and how and the reasons for tree cracking and splitting.
- Watering theory: Learn how to water to meet the needs of your trees on your individual property. Lay of the land, soil conditions, your own and your neighbor’s trees all contribute to what can be a water shortage.
See below for an expanded version of the seven benefits.
A consultation is an hour-plus session where we identify your trees, their problems, and solutions to those problems.
Contact the Tree Whisperer for an arborist consultation session.
Minimum $250 fee for pruning or consultation
Please submit the form below.
Kevin normally responds the same day.
Where I work
Calgary has grown into a immense city and it is impossible for me to get to all corners. Now located in west Bowness, I have had to limit the zones I work in. Roughly my northern limit is the ring road east to Beddington Trail, south on Deerfoot to Glenmore Trail and back around into the northwest.
For consultations outside the described work area, please contact me!
Have fun learning about your trees
Sick tree? Weird bug? Pruning questions?
A consultation clears all that up!
How to turn on a tree?
I think the tree is always on
but it is not on and engaged with a person until a person
is there to be engaged with it. You need to choose this.
I think that trees are always engaged with the other trees around them
but most of the time we are moving to fast to feel that.
The super power of an ancient grove that you stand still with, speaks of that.
The tree responds to your presence.
This part is difficult to describe.
Simply with the presence of love. it loves you.
By being still near a tree and looking at it closely,
paying your full attention to it, the tree responds to your love with love.
Most of the time for me the looking closely involves a thorough visual inspection
I am looking at all of its bark with its many marks, forms, shapes, the same with
the leaves, branches and trunk,
where the branches grow from on the trunk and where they go.
I touch the tree a lot while looking at it and will usually hug the tree.
It knows that I am there to help and from my deep visual inspection I learn what I can do to help.
Maybe the tree is wilted and dry, needs water, maybe the tree has a disease
that needs to be removed. Perhaps it's getting a little thick and needs some thinning.
Whether or not the tree needs any action on my part the tree's reaction is always the same: love.
This I now see is why working with trees is so rewarding.
I recommend everyone get to know the trees around them and enjoy all the good feeling that comes from them. It's just like sunshine.
If you want health assessment, you have already noticed that something is wrong. What is it? Whether it be drought stress, competition from other trees providing too much shade, or perhaps your tree is crowded with many of your and your neighbors’ trees nearby, a visual inspection will show us. Perhaps the problem is from an insect or disease. We will ID the specific problem and come up with a solution.
Whether you want to prune yourself or hire an arborist, pruning theory is very important. If you want a pruning lesson, I can teach you how to make the proper cuts and where is best on the tree to do that. Firstly a thorough visual inspection of the tree or shrub is needed; a careful assessment before any pruning decisions are made. If a tree is failing, we reserve pruning for only deadwood and diseased branches.
If you plan to hire an arborist, a good working theory of pruning can be very helpful to you and your trees. Many arborists are primarily concerned with the look and shape of your trees, whereas in my opinion, the health concerns and structure are of primary importance. Pruning out small branches that will later split can help a lot. Also important is the first pruning of a young tree, the determination of its form so that it can move into the future as successfully as possible. Speaking some of the lingo will aid your conversation with your arborist.
Do you have woody plants and want to know their names? Knowing a plant’s name is the first step towards getting to know your tree. From there you can learn how it grows, what its potential is, what its problems are. Without the name and some information about how that tree grows, you won’t be able to spot problems when they occur or know what they are. Each individual tree and shrub species that grows here is a file of information in my head. I can only access that information starting with the tree’s name.
Another powerful way to use tree and shrub ID is in the planning for new planting. I know the names of all our plants and how they grow, so I can use that information to help you make plant selections.
Insect / Disease ID
Knowing what is affecting your tree makes all the difference between peace of mind and worry. If you learn that the insect/disease on your tree is relatively harmless (and most are), then you can rest assured that everything will be OK. Without that knowledge most of us assume that the tree has plague and emergency measures are needed.
And once in a while, they are needed. There is a short list of insects and diseases here that can wreak havoc on your tree in a short time. Knowing the killers, I can help you address those problems quickly before your tree reaches the point of no return. Knowing the correct name, proven by the symptoms, is essential for your tree’s survival.
You cannot plant a tree properly without knowing some anatomy, specifically the root crown. Knowing where this is on the tree and where it should be in relation to the planting depth is imperative for the healthy establishment of your new tree.
Many people—nurserymen, landscapers, and gardeners alike—plant trees too deep. They deep plant for two reasons: stability (can’t have that new tree blow over) and so that they do not have to stake the tree.
Staking trees is, many times, essential when the tree is planted to the correct depth. This additional mechanical support is required for the first couple years until the root system can reach out and get a firm grip on the soil. Deep planted trees sulk and do not establish well, if at all. Deep planting is the number one factor that causes failure in newly planted trees. A consultation focused on correct planting techniques will save you a lot of heartache. Having this knowledge will allow you to oversee your planting crew’s work, guaranteeing that it is done right the first time. I hate to say this, but most people, “professionals” included, cannot plant trees correctly and many new trees fail because of it.
Tree architecture is concerned with how the branches form in relation to the trunk. Trees are not perfect, and natural weaknesses do occur. Being able to spot these potential weak spots and address them early can save the life of your tree. If you have a weak spot in your tree’s form, it doesn’t have to be bad news; there are mechanical assistance practices, cabling and bracing that can guarantee that your tree will be storm proof. A quick anatomy lesson focused on included bark and branch collars will give you the knowledge to address these concerns.
There are only four native trees in Calgary. Only the trembling aspen grew in the grassland; the rest found the water they require in the river valley. Most suburban lots are the product of a gigantic landscaping job that removed all the natural topsoil and changed forever how water naturally moves in the land.
Once new house construction is finished a layer of clay based top soil is spread over the clay base. That thin soil layer is all your plants have to work with. Trees, shrubs, perennials and grass all compete for water and nutrients in that thin zone. All gardens are different, the lay of the land, the number of trees and plants, and the neighbors’ trees and plants all affect the trees in your garden.
These thin soil layers can become dry once the heat comes on. Water stress is a crucial factor in tree health; having the water your trees require makes all the difference between health and failure. I can inspect your property with you and get a good feel for how your individual garden uses and moves water.
This has been a bit of expansion on the list of benefits above. For deeper information go to the blog, and get a consultation. There are lots of tree concerns not listed here, but these seven are all major subjects that I have studied for decades.
An arborist’s intention is the one factor that determines how your trees will be treated. Approaching trees and plants with love is the surest way to have healthy plants. And that love I can’t help but bring to your plants; I was born to do it.