Limbwalker News – Summer 2016

Updated Website

We are happy to announce that we have launched our new website! As our company and services have grown and expanded with our Lawn and Plant Health Care (PHC) programs we felt that the website should grow as well. You can now request a quote directly from the site as well as refer a friend. We invite you to take a look at LimbwalkerTree.com and visit often for updates and special offers!

 

Limbwalker Spotlight – Brussel’s Bonsai Rendezvous
One of the beautiful little trees at Brussel’s Bonsai

In May, Limbwalker’s Lawn Care and Landscape Crew Leader, Chris Bowman, had the opportunity to take a hobby to new level. He attended Brussel’s Bonsai Rendezvous in Olive Branch, MS. This three-day conference included seminars, lectures and hands-on workshops by several well-known Bonsai artists. He brought back a whole new appreciation for the art of Bonsai, lots of pictures of some amazing ancient trees, and even a Bonsai for the Limbwalker office!

Chris Bowman and some of the Bonsai he saw at Brussel's Bonsai
Chris Bowman and some of the amazing Bonsai From the workshop

 

  Is it Time to prune your trees?

pruningAt Limbwalker, we strive to help preserve Louisville’s urban canopy. This means taking care of trees and working to keep them healthy.

Pruning is a part of your tree’s regular maintenance program. Cleaning out weak, diseased, and dead limbs every three to five years improves the health, look, and safety of every tree in your yard.

If you have a tree that you think may need pruning, call us today at (502)634-0400 to make an appointment with one of our ISA Certified Arborists®. We will be happy to come to your home and give a free evaluation of the health of your trees.

For more Field Notes, featuring tips and stories about tree and lawn care, subscribe to Limbwalker’s quarterly newsletter. No spam, we promise!

Trees Through the Seasons

by Patrick Anderson | photo, Trees in Four Seasons by Degi

5861751226_1ec8d65e74_oAs seasons go through their changes, trees react to this annual cycle. Following a tree through our four seasons is much more interesting and dramatic than we give these majestic beings credit for.

Spring Growth

Starting in spring, trees begin reacting to increasingly longer periods of daylight and warming temperatures. Cued by specialized detection cells, buds begin to open and new leaves begin to expand. Chlorophyll production begins which gives way to photosynthesis in these new leaves. Photosynthesis produces sugars which precipitate a period of rapid growth. New twig growth extends towards the sun, while new wood is created to support the above-ground mass of the tree. Roots are also extremely active in spring, as they grow to find water and absorb nutrients to support all of the metabolic processes occurring within the plant.

Summer Slow Down

As spring moves to summer, and daytime temperature highs increase, growth slows. The enzymes that power photosynthesis cease to function during the heat of the day. In many years, summer is also accompanied by decreased precipitation and low soil moisture, contributing to slow a tree’s physiological processes. That being said, most all buds containing next year’s leaves are set by mid-summer.

Falling Leaves

As summer sways to autumn, day length begins to shorten and trees respond by creating less chlorophyll. Of all the colors on the light spectrum, green is least useful to plants for photosynthesis. Green light is reflected from leaves, giving them their hue during spring and summer. In deciduous trees, as chlorophyll breaks down in response to longer nights, more green is allowed to absorb into the leaf. Anthocyanins and carotenoids are leaf compounds which are left behind and reflect reds and yellows respectively. Warm fall days followed by cool nights combined with adequate soil moisture is the combination for stellar fall leaf displays.

Winter Dormancy

Trees begin their preparation for dormancy in fall so they can survive through winter. In deciduous trees, a layer of ‘scar tissue’ is formed between the leaf and branch attachment known as the abscission zone. Leaves are then dropped by a combination of gravity and wind. Hormones are produced that help prevent cells from winter dehydration. Likewise, cells are infused with compounds (lipids) that help prevent cells from freezing. The process of freezing water outside of these cells actually gives off some heat that can be absorbed by living cells of the tree.

Trees are remarkable organisms. Their ability to withstand extremes in our dynamic environment is quite a credit. As you are staring out your front window, admiring the your favorite tree, think for a moment just how much is happening at that occasion just under the bark of the seemingly peaceful being.

If you have questions or concerns about changes happening in your trees, please call Limbwalker at (502)634-0400 to schedule an appointment with one of our Certified Arborists®.

Learn About Plant Health Care (PHC)

by The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)

Arboriculture is founded on the principles of Plant Health Care (PHC) which is a total health approach to landscape and plant health. PHC recognizes that trees and woody plants are part of a greater landscape ecosystem and proactively addresses all aspects of landscape stewardship.

What is PHC?

Essentially, PHC is an active early approach to a homeowner’s landscape, as opposed to a panicked reaction to a pest or disease problem. It is a way to prevent or treat problems before they become devastating to the plant or tree.

A plant health care technician is a specialized tree care worker who can help you avoid these problems by considering the whole landscape when deciding how to best care for plants. PHC technicians control plant problems through careful monitoring of the landscape environment. Because of this, every PHC program is “customized” to fit the homeowner’s property and expectations.

PHC Techniques

PHC technicians maintain landscape trees and plants by:

  • Evaluating the landscape’s environmentServicesLawnCore
  • Identifying  causes of plant stress
  • Maintaining plant health through cultural practices
  • Investigating the landscape through monitoring
  • Identifying and treating problems as they occur

The following are examples of some common problems that PHC technicians work to solve:

  • Many plant problems are related to improper matching of the plant’s requirements to the landscape site.
  • Plants may have been improperly planted.
  • Plants may be subjected to improper maintenance techniques.
  • Often a combination of improper plant sighting (wrong plant / wrong site), improper planting and improper maintenance techniques can cause plant stress and decline.
You are part of the solution

A PHC technician also will consider your expectations when determining the type of PHC treatment program to implement. Treatment recommendations are made based on your expectations. The key to a successful plant health care program is communication between you and your PHC technician. To learn more about implementing a PHC program, call Limbwalker at (502)634-0400 to make an appointment with one of our Certified Arborists®.

 

Yard Karma

by Royce Hall, Limbwalker Operations Manager

Yard Karma is the way that Limbwalker prefers to look at lawn care. Your lawn is made up of millions of plants that can greatly affect the environment around you for better or for worse. Your lawn has the ability to control pollution and provide oxygen, but if your lawn care company is using traditional lawnLW logo vector care methods, many of these benefits may be nullified. Let’s take a look at what your lawn is capable of.

Be Good to Your Lawn, It Will be Good to You!

It is estimated that grassy areas clean nearly 12 million tons of dust and dirt out of the air in the United States annually. Additionally, an average sized lawn (5,000-7,000 ft2) sequesters up to 300 pounds of carbon a year, and creates enough oxygen to sustain a family of four! Be sure to thank your lawn for the air you are breathing as you walk past it today! Your lawn also has the cooling effect of up to 9 tons of air conditioning, so you sh
ould thank your lawn the next time you see your a/c bill too!

One of the other great benefits of a lawn for the environment is soil erosion control. A healthy stand of turf can substantially reduce the likelihood of runoff in heavy rain situations. The dense rooting of turf makes it a much better soil stabilizer than weeds, and helps your land hold much more water. This dense root system also helps to filter rainwater during storms, capturing pollutants and keeping them out of our water supply.

Improve Lawn Health Safely

A healthy, well watered a fertilized lawn has a greater ability to clean the air and environment than does an unhealthy lawn. However, some of these benefits can be erased through poor management practices, such as over-fertilization (your lawn probably does not need much or any phosphorous, so it does not need 10-10-10 every year), or the indiscriminate use of weed control. That is why Limbwalker promotes and uses organic fertilizers that are designed to slowly release nutrients over several months, which greatly reduces the likelihood of nutrients being lost through runoff. We also use organic BioTea® to help rejuvenate the natural microbiology in the soil, which works in conjunction with our organic fertilizers.

Spot Spraying Weeds

Part of the Yard Karma philosophy is that we want to reduce the amount of chemicals we put out in the environment. Eventually we will be paid back for what we put out in the world, whether good or bad. So, to address the issue of weeds while also minimizing chemicals, we spot spray our weed controls. Why would we spray an area of a lawn with weed control when it has no weeds? Most companies simply douse the whole lawn area with weed control to hit a few weeds. Why would we use so much chemical to get such a minute result? We prefer to carefully aim our controls measures for maximum efficacy with minimal chemical usage.

So, be good to your lawn, and it will be good to you. This is Yard Karma.

If you have any questions about Limbwalker’s lawn program or would like to get a free estimate on improving your YardKarma, please call us at (502) 634-0400.

 

growth regulation

We Are Growing Again!

Limbwalker is looking for New team members!

We currently have the following positions available, apply now!

 

To apply, please fill out our application at http://www.limbwalkertree.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Doc-HR-001-Employment-Application.pdf

Completed applications can be emailed to: info@limbwalkertree.com
or mailed to:
Limbwalker Tree Service
901 Dumesnil St.
Louisville, KY 40203

Tree Climber/Arborist (Louisville, KY)

Limbwalker Tree Service is accepting applications for Tree Climbers in the Louisville, Kentucky area. We are seeking candidates who have a positive attitude and enthusiasm for learning. Requirements include:

  • Minimum 3 years professional tree climbing experience
  • Must be an ISA Certified Arborist® or able to obtain this certification within 6 months of hire
  • Ability to prune any size tree without spikes
  • Ability to remove medium to large sized trees
  • Ability to drive large, standard transmission trucks
  • Positive attitude and an enthusiasm for learning required
  • Must be able to successfully pass a background and drug screen
  • Must have a clean driving record
Benefits Include: 
  • $36,000 – $48,000 plus bonuses
  • Health and dental after 90 days (company covers 50% of expense)
  • $500 signing bonus after 90 days
  • Savings/retirement plan after one year
  • Uniforms provided
  • Yearly stipends for boots

Arborist Crew Leader (Louisville, KY)

Limbwalker Tree Service is accepting applications for Crew Leaders  in the Louisville, Kentucky area. We are seeking candidates who have a positive attitude and enthusiasm for learning. Requirements include:

  • Minimum 3 years professional tree climbing experience
  • Minimum 2 years Crew Leading experience
  • ISA Certified Arborist® required
  • Ability to climb any size tree for pruning operations
  • Ability to remove medium to large sized trees
  • Ability to drive large, standard transmission trucks
  • Ability to lead a professional arborist crew
  • Positive attitude and an enthusiasm for learning required
  • Must be able to successfully pass a background and drug screen
  • Must have a clean driving record
Benefits Include: 
  • $44,000 – $52,000 plus bonuses
  • Health and dental after 90 days (company covers 50% of expense)
  • $500 signing bonus after 90 days
  • Savings/retirement plan after one year
  • Uniforms provided
  • Yearly stipends for boots

 

From the Editor: Summer 2015

Helping Veterans

Recently, Limbwalker had the opportunity to donate wood chips to the VA Hospital in an effort to provide a Healing Garden for our veterans. Here is a brief description of the project from the VAMC Healing Gardens director:

“The Veteran’s Healing Garden is a joint effort between the VA Hospital, The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, and Growing Warriors. This is a project by veterans for veterans. The Healing Garden will be maintained by veterans at the VAMC Substance Abuse Treatment Center. Currently, we have one Veterans Garden at St. John’s Men’s Center, and our ultimate goal is to create an agriculture training and business development program, recruiting those who utilize the gardens and may suffer from TBI’s or PTSD. This project has been successful thanks to the generosity of many community partners like Limbwalker Tree Service and we thank them for their generous support. If you would like to know any more about the partner organizations please visit us at www.biak.us and www.growingwarriors.org.”

We are proud to help serve those who have served us so well. We thank these brave veterans and to any that may be reading this newsletter, you are our heros.

In this edition

First up, Jeneen Wiche has provided the article, “Carbon and Trees.” As you probably learned in high school, trees breathe in Carbon Dioxide, and exhale oxygen. In her article, Jeneen talks about what happens when Carbon is put into our atmosphere more quickly than trees can absorb it and the need for Carbon neutrality.

Next, Patrick Anderson tells us about tree support systems in his article, “Trees Need Support Too.” The old way of supporting trees was to pour concrete into any cavity or weak spot. We have come a long way since then, and now employ cables, braces, and props to aide failing trees.

Finally, our own Royce Hall takes a look at the different types of grass in his article, “Turfgrass Varieties.” Each type of grass has its own strengths and weaknesses. By understanding each variety, you can have a better understanding of what may be most appropriate for you lawn.

Trees Need Support Too

By Patrick Anderson | Angel Oak Tree photograph by Greg Walters

In the early days of arboriculture, cement and sometimes bricks were used to fill cavities in hope of providing additional structural support. In fact, pouring concrete in to a cavity was once part of the final exam for the original ‘tree surgery’ schools. Thankfully, we’ve learned that the installation of concrete has no benefit and may even prove detrimental. Today, structural support systems for trees include the use of cables, braces (rods), guys (similar to cables), and props for managing perceived tree defect.

When Do Trees Need Support?

In most instances structural support systems are installed to provide supplemental support between branches and/or branch unions within a tree’s crown. Normally a small branch will grow off a larger branch. Sometimes, however, two almost equally sized limbs will form the trunk of the tree, or be attached to one another in the canopy. This type of structure is the most common cause of tree failure.. Additional defects within trees that may warrant the use of structural support systems include:

* Poor crown architecture
* Branch attachments with included bark
* Cracked branch unions and cracked stems
* Damaged branches
* Over-extended branches

Cabling

The practice of installing steel cables in trees is a tried and true method that has been around for decades. Traditionally, flexible steel cables are installed in the tree with the use of hardware that is drilled through healthy limbs at an appropriate distance from the branch union. Over time, the tree grows over the cable and hardware at their entry point, making the attachment that much more secure.

‘Dynamic’ cable systems have become more popular over the years, and are a type of synthetic rope that employs a loop and a splice to secure the cable to the tree instead of drilled-in hardware. This is preferred in some situations as there is less initial wounding of the tree, but care must be taken to prevent girdling.

Bracing

Bracing is the process in which threaded metal rods are installed into the tree to provide additional support to a cable system. Braces are often included in a structural support system to: support cracked branch unions that have included bark, prevent the rubbing of co-dominant stems, and repair cracks within a stem.

Props and Guys

Red Oak with Split by Eli Sagor. Example of included bark.
Red Oak with Split by Eli Sagor. This is an example of included bark.

Additional means of tree structural support include props and guys. Guys are often used when transplanting trees in the landscape, but should only be used if the tree requires additional support. Guys (cables or ropes) can also be helpful in up-righting trees, like arborvitae, that have blown over in a storm. Guys are rarely needed for large mature trees.

Props can be helpful with holding the weight of large laterally growing limbs in close proximity to the ground. The Angel Oak of South Carolina is one famous example where props are in place to reduce the chance of branch failure. Props are also installed to help preserve Pennsylvania’s State Champion Mulberry tree, located at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.

Careful consideration must be taken when making the decision to install a structural support system within your tree. These systems are an investment, and need to be monitored regularly by a qualified arborist.

If you have any questions about structural support systems, please contact Limbwalker at 502-634-0400.

 

Turfgrass Varieties

By Royce Hall

Spring Grass by Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon
Spring Grass by Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon

Turfgrass can be broken down into two categories: warm season grasses and cool season grasses. Warm season grasses usually do really well in the deep south, while cool season grasses usually do better in the north. If you live in the transition zone, like we do in Kentuckiana, it can be difficult to determine what type of grass to use. Here is a brief introduction to several common turfgrass species.

Warm Season Grasses

Warm season grasses are usually aggressive growers, meaning they can spread out and repair themselves. They grow well in heat and summer, but go dormant and brown after the first frost.

Bermudagrass

  • Has great ability to repair itself by spreading shoots known as rhizomes (below-ground shoots), and stolons (above-ground shoots).
  • Its aggressive growing habit helps the grass fill in voids in the lawn, but also makes it a nuisance as it tries to take over landscape beds.
  • Once you have Bermudagrass, it can be very difficult to control and eradicate.
  • The best Bermuda varieties cannot be seeded, only plugged, sodded, or sprigged.
  • In severe cold temperatures, below 10° F, some Bermudagrass may dieback some.

Zoysia

  • Has the ability to repair itself by means of rhizomes and stolons, although it is not typically as aggressive as Bermudagrass.
  • It has a more upright blade orientation than Bermudagrass.
  • Becomes very thick once established, making it hard for weeds to compete.
  • Can only be grown by plugging, sprigging, or sodding, not seeding.

Cool Season Grasses

Cool season grasses grow vigorously in spring and fall, and stay greener in winter than warm season grasses do. They may struggle some during the summer, but generally stay green year round.

Perennial Ryegrass

  • A popular grass on sports fields, as the underside of the leaf is very glossy due to a high silica content.
  • Stripes well, allowing fancy designs in sports turf.
  • Germinates quickly (3-5 days), which can help stabilize bare soil, or quickly return color to high priority lawn areas.
  • Bunch-type growth, not possessing rhizomes or stolons.
  • General recommendations are that your seed mixture should not contain more than 10% Ryegrass.
  • Dulls mower blades quicker due to the silica content.
Bergmudagrass
Bermudagrass by Andrey Zharkikh

Kentucky Bluegrass

  • Regarded as the king of the cool-season grasses
  • It has the ability to spread out and repair itself by means of rhizomes, although it is not as aggressive as Bermuda.
  • It has a nice texture and thin blade.
  • May go dormant and turn tan to brown in excess heat and drought situations as a survival mechanism.
  • Requires a lot of irrigation to maintain throughout summer
  • Struggles in shaded environments.
  • Can be a good addition to seed blends, but may not be best as a stand-alone species.

Turf Type Tall Fescue

  • Better suited for Kentuckiana than most other turfgrasses.
  • It is a bunch-type grass.
  • Has deeper roots than the warm season grasses, or Kentucky Bluegrass, which helps it access water and survive heat.
  • Its clumping growth style may be unsightly if the stand is thin, and means that it will not repair itself.
  • If it is well fertilized, and maintained at 2.5-3.5 inches, it can make a lush lawn that is very competitive against weeds.
  • Limbwalker recommends seeding with Turf Type Tall Fescue primarily.

If you have any more questions about turfgrass varieties, or would like your lawn reseeded, please contact Limbwalker at (502) 634-0400, or Royce at rhall@limbwalkertree.com

Carbon and Trees

By Jeneen Wiche

Macolin surBienne by Jean-Daniel Echenard
Macolin surBienne by Jean-Daniel Echenard

Carbon is #6 on the Periodic Table. Carbon is half of the dry weight of wood. Carbon dioxide (carbon and oxygen) helps to trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere- which is a good thing until the scale has been tipped- and the scale has been tipped! The good greenhouse effect of CO₂ becomes a more complex heat-trapping effect when other atmospheric gases rise along with CO₂. The result is climate change under the rubric of global warming; when CO₂ emissions go up, so too does the heat.

Carbon Sequestration

So what is carbon sequestration? Simply put, trees are recyclers of CO₂ and of carbon. Trees are expert at breathing in CO₂ (carbon sequestration = the storing of carbon) and converting that into carbon (half of the tree’s dry weight) and exhaling oxygen. The cycle does not end there because CO₂ is released back into the atmosphere by decaying organic matter at the end of the woody plant’s life. This proved to be the perfect symbiotic relationship because the carbon cycle means the tree can feed itself the CO₂ generated by the decay of other organic matter.

Tipping the Scale

When we burn coal and petroleum (ancient carbon sequestered in the earth’s crust) we are tipping the scale of how much CO₂ can be recycled in our atmosphere and our Nation’s canopy of trees cannot keep up. But do recognize the important role that woody plants and trees have in maintaining atmospheric conditions suitable for human life! The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation explains in How Plants Run the Carbon Cycle:

Hanging smog by Craig Nagy
Hanging smog by Craig Nagy

“More than 400 million years ago the earliest land plants lived in a very high CO2 atmosphere, enduring what must have been brutally high temperatures, high ultraviolet radiation and violent weather. By the time land plants achieved tree size, they had begun to change the atmosphere, ultimately making it habitable for land animals. CO2 levels dropped almost tenfold and oxygen levels rose dramatically during the first great spread of forests on Earth, a process that took place over many millions of years.”

Carbon Neutrality

So, trees and wood burning are considered carbon neutral because the tree will eventually rot and release CO₂ while another living tree will consume the Co₂. Coal and oil are not carbon neutral because this carbon sequestration took place eons ago and is not cycling. Additionally, fossil fuels are being burned and released in very short order compared to the millions of years it has been stored as coal and petroleum in the earth’s crust. Trees are one part of slowing global warming so take care of them and consider them as an investment that goes well beyond the aesthetic beauty they offer to the landscape.

If you have any questions about trees and their effect on the environment, please call Limbwalker at 502-634-0400.

From the Editor: Spring 2015

By Royce Hall

Hachimaki.2

Hachimaki’s are here!

Limbwalker has released their very own hachimaki! You may ask, “what is a hachimaki?” A hachimaki was worn by samurai symbolizing resolve, effort, and courage. Its name means “helmet scarf” in Japanese and can help keep you warm in colder months, but the real purpose was to help the warrior focus and mentally prepare for the difficult job at hand. You can prepare yourself for victory with your own Limbwalker hachimaki available for purchase here.

A Big Transplant

Lastly, we would like to highlight our tree transplant crew who completed a transplant project so massive, we had to get a crane involved! You can see the video of the project here.

In This Edition

First, Maryhurst, a local non-profit with a vision of helping girls in Kentucky who have suffered abuse and neglect, is seeking help covering the cost of treating their Ash trees for the Emerald Ash Borer. For more information about Maryhurst and how you can help, see their letter here.

Next we have an article from the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) about how to avoid tree care scams. Maybe you or someone you know has been burned by a “fly-by-night” tree care company. They show up at your house and ask for payment up front. Next thing you know, they have damaged your tree or property (maybe even you or themselves), and then before you can say anything they have vanished without any way of contacting them. Unfortunately, uninsured, unlicensed, and unprofessional tree care companies are not uncommon. Before you hire a tree company, here are a few things to consider.

Our next article is from Jeneen Wiche and is entitled, “The No-Till Philosophy.” If you are a gardener you are probably itching to get out with your tiller on one of the few dry days we have this spring to break up your soil. This may not be the best for your soil, though. In her article, Jeneen introduces us to a different way of gardening that does not involve a tiller. You can read her article here.

Have you ever heard of a Plant Growth Regulator? This may sound a little scary to some, but in his article, “Plant Growth Management,” Patrick Anderson explains how it is actually beneficial for a plant’s growth to be slowed down in some situations. You can read his article here.

Finally, Royce Hall’s article, “Compost Tea,” defines and speaks about the benefits of the popular organic amendment, compost tea. This solution of beneficial microbes and nutrients may be the thing your plants need to thrive this year. You can read Royce’s article here.