Historic Tree Care provides a variety of services aimed at conserving the historic trees. Some help preserve their health, while others help them better fit their urban locations.  Our services are listed below in the order they appear in the US Tree Care Standard, the ANSI A300. A later update: A300 AN 1312   (Recognizing limitations in this US standard, we rely more on the German and UK standards,)

1.  Pruning

Guy Meilleur makes a reduction cut with his pole sawPruning is the selective removal of tree branches to improve health, safety and appearance.  Pruning favors the parts most beneficial for the tree and its future growth.  For older trees, this often involves shortening outer branches to trigger growth on the interior of the tree. A shorter path for water and nutrients is more sustainable.

We have studied practices pruning and other treatments used on trees around the world from the United Kingdom to the Orient. Using what we have learned and experienced firsthand, we prune to restore trees.

Read an article about different applications for pruning treatment: “Restoring Trees One Branch at a Time.”

2. Soil Management

Improving urban soil typically involves aeration, making more air available to the roots.  If soil has been compacted, we can use a stream of supersonic mist to “fluff up” the soil. In many cases, we then inject composted organic material to give the tree a nutritional boost.

Good water drainage helps ensure an optimal rooting environment, and our Air Knife will blast through hardpan to make it happen.   Mulch on the trunk flare can promote bacterial and fungal growth as well as make it harder to fully monitor the tree’s health.  Stem tissue should be clear, and buttress roots visible.

3. Supplemental Support Systems

Pruning is the first step in improving a tree’s structure, but pruning also removes benefits.  This is especially true for older trees, and their low tolerance for loss of living material. A shock of any kind to an elder tree’s system can be a major setback, so consider supplemental support systems:

Cabling a branch that is overextended or unstable at the point of attachment is often a better solution. Cabling reduces the movement of tree branches and increases their strength.  Cables should only be installed by experienced arborists, “cautious choreographers” teaching trees a new dance.

Read about our work on Daytona Beach’s most famous tree.

Bracing is securing a threaded metal rod through a large fork that is cracked or decayed, to limit motion and prevent failure. When cabling is not enough, we add a brace.

Propping installs structural support underneath or alongside stems or branches.  If the top of a tree breaks, a side branch can be splinted toward vertical so it can be the new top.

Guying is installing a cable to secure a tree to the ground or another structure. Guying straps can also pull crowded branches into desired areas to improve structure.

4. Lighting Protection

If your tree is one of the tallest things around in a lightning-prone region, a copper conductor can be installed, to route a lightning strike down into the earth, thereby protecting the tree. Trees can be fatally damaged in less than a second if they’re not protected!

Unprotected trees that have been struck should get an aerial assessment, and treated to lessen pest issues, speed sealing, and maintain the tree’s health.  Many historic trees have signs of lighting strikes. Treatments can improve their chances of recovery.

Read an article about our protective work in Lightning TCIA 2008

And the one that got away here at  Andersonville National Cemetery.

Read more about managing lightning damage in this Detective Dendro article.

5. Protection around Construction

Trees can successfully coexist with new buildings, pavement, and utilities–IF an arborist is part of the process, from planning forward.  Keeping the trees’ needs in mind–the root system especially–is essential for a successful project. A site inspection and preservation plan in place before construction is the best way your tree can survive construction in good shape.

6. Planting

Historic trees can be propagated, to keep their DNA alive. Proper planting, with the flare to grade and roots radiating outward – will give trees a chance to make history some day!

7. Integrated Vegetation Management

What’s growing around, or on, your historic tree?  Associated plants can be symbiotic, like orchids, or parasitic, like mistletoe.  Urban silviculture manages nearby plants to help, not hurt, your tree.

8. Root Management

Our first point of inspection is the flare, where the tree’s roots begin.  Sometimes roots grow in a circle and strangle the trunk.  Managing root growth can promote tree health. We wrote the book on treating stem-girdling roots (Root Pruning TCI), and presented it at the Landscape Below Ground III Symposium.  It then passed peer review, and was published in the Proceedings.

9. Risk Assessment

“With great power comes great responsibility”.   Uncle Ben’s reminder to Spider-Man applies to Historic Tree Care as well.  When trees grow larger, so does their power to deliver benefits, and the responsibility for care.  We manage tree risk proactively by closely inspecting the tree, and the site around it.   We identify areas at risk of failure, and find ways to mitigate that risk to an acceptable level.

HTC  training guide and test:  Get all 20!  ISA CEU  Course: Basic Tree Risk Assessment

Our earlier look at tree risk, in a patriotic mode: “Give Trees Mitigation, or Give Trees Death

About Second Opinions

Tree Structure Evaluations often use drills and other machines as judges, juries and executioners.  They force good arborists to deliver bad results, instead of giving trees a chance to demonstrate their stability and adaptability. Our comprehensive tree risk management plans can save money, and the many contributions trees deliver to our quality of life.  Our second opinions may cost less, but they’re worth more than drill-and-kill evaluations.

A second opinion, in a nutshell:

10. Integrated Pest Management – Diagnosis

The A300 standard ends where tree work usually starts.  Diagnosis begins by identifying the pest, and the extent of the damage.  We then offer a prognosis for the future spread of the pest problem, and specify treatments. As with risk, pests cannot be eliminated, but they can be reduced to a level we all can live with.

Read a Detective Dendro article about pest management: “The Case of the Ill Illinoinensis

Why should a tree be diagnosed?

Houses are inspected every time they change hands. Roads, bridges and utility poles are inspected periodically.  Assessment is part of managing any large and valuable property.  Diagnosis provides a look at the asset that is owned in the tree, and the potential liabilities.  If you have a large tree of value, let us take an inventory of its condition, and plan for its growth.

**We offer a FREE consultation based on images emailed (3-minute maximum)**