Licensed & Insured ISA Certified Arborists (PN-8224A)
Portland, Oregon
23 Mar 2020

Portland Tree Service COVID 19 Stay Home. Save Lives.

During the Shelter in Place order, Portland Tree Service is continuing to offer essential tree services. ISA Certified and Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborist owned, we recognize that trees can pose a serious risk to people, property, and structures; cause damage when not maintained or cared for; or impede public safety or infrastructure.

As always, we prioritize safety. We will continue to provide essential tree services while practicing strict social distancing and following CDC hygiene recommendations to flatten the COVID19 curve.

We are:

  • working with a smaller essentials-only sized work crew (2-4 crew members)
  • staying at least 6’ away from customers and each other at all times
  • driving separate vehicles to job sites
  • sanitizing surfaces and hands; wearing gloves when necessary
  • staying home if showing any sick symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing)
  • accepting payments left on doorsteps (or hidden location designated by homeowners) for pick up before we leave the jobsite, mailed in, or made online or via phone with a credit card.

Essential tree services that we will continue to focus on are:

  • Hazard and dangerous tree removals
  • Pruning of dead, dying, or dangerous limbs
  • Utility line and Road safety clearance
  • Lumber and firewood production and (no contact) sales
  • Cabling or bracing of hazardous trees
  • Emergency response and storm damage mitigation
  • Assessments of tree hazards and pests (arborist reports)

If you have any concerns about your trees, do not hesitate to call us. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us during this time.

We wish you good health and safety during this time. Please remember to wash your hands, maintain strict social distancing, and stay home if you can. We appreciate your continued support.

16 Apr 2019

Can I Eat That? A Guide to Fruit Bearing Trees

Eating fruit off a tree is probably something that you remember doing as a child: we have all done it. Maybe you had fruit trees in your yard growing up or maybe you stole some from your grouchy neighbor’s house when you thought he wasn’t looking. But now that you are older, you probably have questions about whether or not it was actually safe to eat any of that fruit. Sure, you didn’t get sick from it, but could you have? Has it built up some sort of toxicity in your body that will surely emerge at some point later on? There are a ton of horror stories online that you can find if you just look them up – so what is the deal? Is it safe to eat fruit from trees that are just out in the open? Let’s take a look:

You May Want To Use Common Sense

Soursop fruit
Credit: Tatters
  • Look at the environment
  • Make sure the fruit looks safe to eat
  • Don’t eat food that has been sprayed by chemicals

The first thing you should do when thinking about eating fruit from a tree is look around and use your common sense- does it make sense that you would put this food in your body? While you may not know that a chemical is on fruit that is in the wild, you surely know that fruit trees near construction sites, busy roads, or power plants probably won’t be the best for you to eat.

Now, CityLab has found a study that shows it is probably safe to eat fruit from urban trees that are near roads that aren’t that busy (or those that don’t have heavy tractor-trailer traffic) as long as you wash them properly. It may also be a good idea to skin those fruits so that you aren’t eating what may have come into direct contact with any toxins.

If you feel sick after eating something from a tree, make sure to monitor any signs that might signal you need medical attention.

Know If The Fruit Is Ripe

apple tree
Credit: Anne Arnould
  • Many people don’t know when the fruit is actually ready
  • Some fruit can make you sick if it isn’t ripe – or is overripe
  • Some fruits can hang longer than others

Knowing if the fruit is ripe is a good skill to have if you grow fruit trees or you like to pick your own fruit. In general, you want to “Pick fruit as it ripens. Test the fruit by looking at its color, how big the fruit is and by taste. The fruit usually all ripens within a two- to three-week period. Once ripe, most fruit won’t get any sweeter. Peaches picked while still hard but blush-colored, will soften off the tree but won’t sweeten,” according to Home Guides.

In general, certain fruits will go bad faster than others. If you can eat the skin of the fruit, it is much more likely to go bad than something that you have to peel, like an orange or a lemon. However, that doesn’t mean that the fruit won’t get eaten by something else. Birds, squirrels, and pesky neighborhood kids are likely to grab berries, apples, and other sweet fruits to eat on their own. There isn’t much you can do about this but remain vigilant and get fruit as soon as you can.

You may also want to pick fruit if there is a cold spelling coming.

Don’t Worry About Soil

berry bush
Credit: Emilian Vicol
  • Pollutants tend to stay where they are
  • Wash your hands
  • You can spread pollutants, to wash your fruit too

If you live in an area where there have been pollutants in the soil, you might worry about eating the fruit that you get. Or, if you are going to pick your own fruit, you might worry that you cannot test the soil levels. Whatever your worry is, research has shown that you really don’t have to worry about it at all – apart from what we mentioned in the first point. Whatever is in the soil probably won’t end up impacting the actual fruit that you eat.

According to Grist, “Luckily for us fruit lovers, though, contaminants tend to stay where they are — in the soil. Most trees don’t accumulate pollutants, and even if they do, the problem is in the roots, not the fruits. The largest risks associated with urban produce comes from ingesting soil from your hands (or from your tools or shoes to your hands), not from eating the produce itself.”

Simply put, make sure that you clean up the fruit you eat, you clean your tools, and you clean your hands.

Know Which Fruits You Can Eat

fruit tree
Credit: Tatters
  • Don’t eat fruits you cannot identify
  • Start with smaller portions of “foreign” fruits
  • Talk to the owner of the tree if you are not it

There are some fruits that grow on trees that you want to avoid – particularly poisonous berries. Most poisonous berries or fruits are not fatal if ingested: they’ll just make you sick or taste very bad. Identifying the fruit is the first step to ensuring that it is safe to eat, but it isn’t the only step, according to Tree Hugger. You also want to know how to eat that fruit (some fruits have a pit you can grind up and use in other ways, some stones have carcinogenic compounds) and maybe even when to eat it. While you can eat fruit that isn’t ripe in most cases, some can make you sick, like the lychee or the starfruit.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. We can help you throughout all the parts of the tree care life cycle, from planting new trees to taking down older ones. This even includes helping you to safely move trees. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Marco Verch on Flickr!
22 Mar 2019

Tree Planting Help: How To Give Your Trees The Best Chance

The science of planting a tree for the best possible growth patterns is a difficult one because it isn’t precise: the truth is that every home has a unique set of elements that can change how planting goes if the tree succeeds, and if it will thrive. Of course, there are always some universal steps that you can take to ensure that your tree is one of the ones that grow tall.

Don’t let the prevalence of trees deceive you: planting a tree is difficult, depending on the species. That is why there are so many nurseries and gardening centers around that start them out for you. Even then, the first few months of care are vital to ensure that the tree will actually survive.

Here are some of our best tips:

Dig A Hole That Is Big Enough

Newly planted tree
Credit: montillon.a
  • Go bigger than you need to
  • Make sure you have some help to keep the tree standing
  • Think twice, dig once

When you are planting your tree, you want to be smart: it is going to get so much bigger. You want to plant a tree that will be small (30 feet or less) at least ten feet away from your home’s foundation and any utility lines. If the tree is going to be larger than that, you want to go at least five feet more or further, depending on the type of tree.

Remember that the larger the tree is, the more chance there is that catastrophic damage can occur. Do some research to see how tall the trees that you want will get – you might be surprised.

When it actually comes to the planting, Better Homes And Gardens recommends that “First, prepare a hole two to three times as wide as the root ball of your tree. Handle the root ball carefully to keep it intact while you place it in the hole. Once it’s in, turn it so the best side of the tree is facing the direction you want. With burlapped root balls, cut the twine and remove the burlap (or at least push it to the bottom of the hole).”

Know What To Remove

Young tree
Credit: seyed mostafa zamani
  • Certain materials don’t pose a risk – others do
  • Try to keep the area free of contaminants
  • Make sure the area doesn’t have chemicals

The soil that surrounds the tree’s roots is important to guarantee the success of the plant. You want to ensure that the soil is free of chemicals or contaminants. You might be tempted to “clean” or pare down the area, removing anything you see. While you do want to clear out anything that can zap away nutrients or water, you also don’t want to disrupt your trees’ environment.

Trees thrive in nature: remember that.

If you have a tree that was wrapped up when you go it, you want to remove everything that you can once it is in the hole, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. You especially want to remove any vinyl, treated burlap, or plastic that can easily leech chemicals into the soil. Plain burlap or any natural materials can be cleaned out or they can stay. Metal wires should be removed as well.

Once again, if you want to err on the side of caution, that would be suggested here.

Water, Water, Water

Young evergree
Credit: Vladimer Shioshvili
  • The more water the better
  • Make sure to keep the ground moist but not over saturated
  • Pay attention to weather patterns

As a general rule, unless we are in a drought, you do not have to water your trees very regularly. They are able to get the water they need from the ground. However, when you first plant your tree, you absolutely want to water it at a regular rate. This may seem excessive, but it is important to establishing early growth.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, “The most important thing you can do for your new tree is to water it, often enough to keep the soil moist, about once a week. If it doesn’t rain you will need to use a hose, buckets, or gallon jugs. At each watering, your tree should get about 5 gallons of water for every inch of trunk diameter. Hold up a ruler to the tree trunk to figure out the diameter.

For example, if you have a tree with a half-inch trunk diameter, it should get at least 2 1/2 gallons of water.”

If you have a meter to test the soil, even better!

To Stake Or Not To Stake?

Credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn
  • Depends on the tree
  • If harsh weather is expected, stake the tree
  • Use only high quality materials

One of the biggest debates among tree professionals is whether or not trees should be staked. While most studies have shown that trees that have not been staked will establish more quickly, and they will develop a stronger root system, some people still insist on doing so. Staking is sometimes required, it is important to point out, when you have planted a bare root tree or if you live in a place where it is particularly windy. Sometimes, people will stake if they plant when a storm is coming, but the best thing to do is to avoid doing that altogether.

Another reason to use stakes is to protect against lawnmower damage and vandalism, according to Trees Are Good.

If you have to stake your tree, use only one or two and use a very flexible tie material on the lowermost part of the tree. This will help to keep it upright and will minimize injury to the trunk. Make sure to remove the stakes and ties within a year or planting.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. We can help you throughout all the parts of the tree care life cycle, from planting new trees to taking down older ones. This even includes helping you to safely move trees. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of tengrrl on Flickr!
28 Jan 2019

Buying A Home? Make Sure to Look At the Trees

Buying a home, whether it is your first home, second home, forever home, or an apartment that you are moving into for a short period of time, is a momentous occasion. It is something that many people dream about every day of their lives until it happens.

However, sometimes it isn’t as great as people want it to be. They make mistakes when they are looking at properties and they pay for them later. You want to ensure that you look at all aspects of your potential property, including your trees. Trees can pose a lot of danger to your home, so you want to know what you have to face off with – here are a few things to look for:

4. Know Your Rights

entry way
Credit: Bridget Murphy
  • You have a right to inspect the property, including the trees
  • Make sure to talk to the home inspector or even hire your own
  • Realtors can conceal things

It is important to know that people don’t always have your best interests in mind – especially if they are desperate to sell the home. There is a lot of gray area within the law that people can take advantage of – just look at this piece of advice for homesellers from Bank Rate: “By the way, you aren’t obliged to present your report unless contractually bound. Even if the inspector did note the tree problem, it might be considered only an opinion — albeit an opinion buyers might use against you if they sue should one of those behemoth trees comes clattering down on them a few months post-sale.”

So go with your best instincts and know that you cannot necessarily trust anyone but the people you have hired and those that are doing the work for you. Most often, people will be good and truthful about any problems that they see, even if this means they will have to handle it before they move. Still, there are always some people who aren’t truthful, so proceed with caution.

3. Check the Roof

landscaped yard
Credit: Robin Zebrowski
  • You don’t want any tree branches hanging over the roof
  • Inspect for damage if there is something hanging over it
  • Request that the trees are trimmed before sale

One of the biggest suggestions we have for buying a home is to check the tree branches that overhang the home and ask for them to be removed. Reader’s Digest suggests that you work out a deal with the seller to have them cut back before you move into the home.

The same should be done for other areas of the yard as well – a tree branch can do quite a bit of damage. You want to look for branches overhanging pools, sheds, the driveway, hardscaping, powerlines, or anything else that could be destroyed. This is something that you can barter with the current homeowners over – and most often, they will agree to have the branches removed before you move into the home. Make sure that they work with a professional so that the job is done cleanly and correctly.

One note is that you shouldn’t ask for trees or branches removed that don’t pose a threat to you or the structures in your yard. This can be seen as unreasonable and you cannot barter over their removal in most cases – and it could lose you the home.

2. Look For Trees

Green filled yard
Credit: Colby
  • Trees serve so many purposes
  • Trees take a long time to grow
  • A property without trees may signal problems

Since you don’t want to have problems with your trees, should you simply buy a property that doesn’t have trees at all? Absolutely not. Trees are extremely important to the health, safety, and happiness of a property. Without trees, you are actually at a disadvantage. What are some of the benefits? The Chicago Tribune explains: “They are essential to a property’s visual appeal. They purify the air, their roots soak up storm water that might otherwise seep into the basement, and their shade helps cool the home.”

You simply want to have trees that are healthy and sturdy. Homes that don’t have trees might signal that there was some sort of problem. It could show you that the soil wasn’t healthy enough to grow trees or it could show you that the people who lived in the house before you didn’t take good care of them.

Whatever the situation is, a yard without trees can be a warning sign that something isn’t quite right.

1. Talk To Your Home Inspector About Trees and Shrubs

yard with trees
Credit: Tropic 7
  • Most will naturally look at them
  • Consider hiring one that specializes in trees
  • Make sure they know where your property ends

According to Realtor, you want to ensure that if you hire a home inspector, they also inspect the outside of your home. This means that they look at the shrubbery, trees, plant life, hardscaping, and more. Most home inspectors are thorough, but younger ones or those that don’t understand the scope of your property might not realize how many trees you have.

If possible, walk around with the home inspector. They will be able to point things out that could potentially pose a problem in the coming years. If there are a lot of trees on your potential property, you may even want to consider hiring an arborist who knows how to handle large amounts of trees.

If you are going to buy a home, congratulations, you are entering into one of the most amazing portions of your life. Building a life in a new home is so special, and you should give yourself the best chance to be happy when you are there. To do this, you want to ensure that you have anticipated any of the problems you may face both inside and outside. People often forget their trees – so make sure you do not.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. We can help you throughout all the parts of the tree care life cycle, from planting new trees to taking down older ones. This even includes helping you to safely move trees. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of American Advisors Group on Flickr!
18 Dec 2018

So You Want to Move Your Tree: Now What?

Many people think that moving trees or shrubs is an easy task to do – and in some cases, they are right. With smaller trees, shrubs, or other plants, it is quite easy to move them from one home to another. However, it gets more complicated when you look at different types of trees and the steps that you need to take to move them.

Trees are larger – much larger than we think when we simply look at them from the trunk on up. Underneath the ground, there is a complex root system that will often go much deeper into the ground than the tree is tall and will spread out wider than the coverage of the trees do up top.

So how do you move them? In some cases, you just can’t do it safely – there is no way to guarantee that everything will work out properly. However, there are some things you can do to ensure that your tree survives the move:

4. Know What Your Tree Likes

Beautiful tree
Credit: Hoshi Sae
  • Ensure that the water, sun, shade, and nutrition levels are ideal
  • Make sure to test soil – it can differ even within your home
  • The primary reason to move tree is so that it goes somewhere better

One of the main reasons people move their tree is because, for whatever reason, the tree is no longer getting what it needs where it is currently standing. As The Spruce says, location is the most important facet of whether or not your tree survives and it is even more important when you are trying to establish a tree in a new place.

Make sure that you do adequate research into your trees so that you know what they need and when they need it. Trying to move a tree from one spot to another will cause it to have higher levels of stress than ever before – so you want to make sure that there isn’t anything else that will cause stress for the tree when it does move.

If you have any questions, you can take to the internet, or even better, you can ask a tree care professional or a nursery for help dealing with the move. Sometimes, trees will need something different at a different stage of their lives.

3. Have The Proper Equipment

Failed move
Credit: Mark
  • Some tools are quite difficult to find and expensive
  • Requires knowledge of how to work them
  • You will have to deep prune trees to move them

One thing people don’t realize is that trees are extremely heavy. Of course, we know that they are heavy, but most people don’t realize just how heavy they are. You can’t move a tree with a car or a wheelbarrow. You need extremely hefty equipment that requires special licenses to operate and sometimes require years of experience before you really know how to use them, according to Instructables.

Even with proper equipment, you need to know how to clean everything that you use because you can quickly and easily spread diseases from one side of the tree to the other – and that will reduce the chances that the tree will acclimate to the new space. A disease or pest can even spread to the other plants in the area.

2. Smaller Trees Move Best

large trees
Credit: Takashi Tomooka
  • Root systems tend to be smaller
  • Easier to move without heavy equipment
  • Temporary placement possible

According to This Old House, “Moving a small tree isn’t too complicated. A successful transplant, temporary or not, depends on having an intact root ball of sufficient size – about 11 times the trunk’s diameter. If the trunk is more than 3½ inches across, call in a professional landscaper because of the weight involved. Once the tree is dug up, its roots get wrapped in burlap and twine to hold the soil. The tree can then be transported and kept alive until replanting time.”

It is much easier to move smaller trees because they just don’t require the amount of work that larger trees do. They are easy to tackle on your own, even if they still don’t have a great chance of success if you do not know what you are doing. Small trees still require a practiced hand and experience in making the cuts.

Remember that you will have to make a hole big enough to put the tree into, which is another way that a smaller tree is much easier to move than a larger one. The size of the tree is important in many ways – and remember that smaller trees tend to be less resilient. Make sure to plan your move properly so that you don’t plant them right before some type of storm that could snap the weakened branches.

1. It Is Possible To Move Bigger Trees

tall tree
Credit: Cuatrok77
  • Requires much more work
  • Needs aftercare that focuses on details
  • Tree type factors into ease of move

Moving a larger tree is much more of an ordeal and requires not only the best tools, not only practiced hands, but it also requires the best possible circumstances. It is difficult to move a tree and almost no one can guarantee success. Instead, using best practices and ensuring that the conditions are as good as possible is important.

Gardening Know How explains: “Generally, a big tree loses a significant portion of its roots in a transplant. This makes it hard for the tree to bounce back once it is replanted in a new location. The key to successfully transplanting a big tree is to help the tree grow roots that can travel with it to its new location.”

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools We can help you throughout all the parts of the tree care lifecycle, from planting new trees to taking down older ones. This even includes helping you to safely move trees. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Jin Kemoole on Flickr!
18 Aug 2018

More Than a Funeral: What To Do When a Tree Dies

It happens more quickly than you think: one day you are looking out your window or mowing your lawn and you notice it, that your beautiful tree has died. Unfortunately, even if you have the best tree care and you always make certain that your tree is healthy, trees will eventually die. This is just a fact of life and something that all homeowners, gardeners, and even tree care professionals need to understand.

How you handle the situation will determine whether the other trees in your garden will be far behind, however. Dead trees need to be treated properly so that you can continue to have a healthy ecosystem in your yard.

So, what should you do?

Start here:

4. Check for Infestations

dead tree
Credit: Bobu
  • One of the most common killers
  • Can spread to other trees or plant life in your yard
  • Might require professional help of some kind

If you have trees, there is a chance that you have pests. Sometimes, the pests aren’t bad enough to really cause any problems. Over the years, if left untreated, however, you might start to notice that your tree is slowly dying. This is because the pests (most often they are insects) are feeding off of the tree, absorbing the water and nutrients that it needs to survive.

According to Gardener’s Path, infestations can kill trees extremely quickly. This is because once they find something that provides them with nourishment or protection, they spread the news to their friends. Once the tree is dead, it can no longer provide the sustenance. These aren’t hospitable pests, however, and they don’t just move onto someone else’s tree – they will move onto the next live source of nourishment they can find. Most often, this is something else in your yard.

If your tree is dying, look to see if there are insects or the remnants of insects or pests (holes, excrement, nests, or shells). This means you have a huge problem and you should probably reach out to a professional of some sort – either a tree care professional or a pest management company.

3. Consider Replanting

creepy dead tree
Credit: Joan Sorolla
  • Be careful when purchasing new trees or greens
  • Make sure the soil is prepared for a new tree
  • Consider new types of trees – or the same kind in some cases

After a tree has died and has been removed properly (meaning the stump has been removed) the next thing to think about is how to fill the hole left behind.

According to the Royal Horticulture Society, “Plants that have died of physical causes such as waterlogging, poor establishment or underwatering can be replaced with the same type of plant. Remedy any site problems such as poor drainage prior to replanting.

Plants that have been killed by a disease, in particular a soil borne disease (e.g. honey fungus, Phytophthora root rot or Verticillium wilt) or difficult to control foliage/stem disease (e.g. box blight) are best replaced with something that shows resistance. Lists of resistant plants or those not affected can be found on our advice pages of common garden plant diseases. Plants that suffer from replant disease (e.g. roses) should not be replaced with the same type of plant.”

If you know why your tree died, you will better be able to figure out what to do with that empty space in your garden.

2. Root Rot

dead tree
Credit: Josh Giuliano
  • Common problem during spring seasons
  • If tree is healthy, leave it be
  • Talk to a professional if you have questions

One of the bright spots for people who think their trees are dead might actually come if it has been raining more often than normal – that rain could have caused symptoms of tree death, but it might not actually be dead.

According to Gardenerdy, “Sometimes, trees start dying due to root rot on account of over-watering. Water the tree only when the soil around it appears to be dry and fragmented. If there is a water-logging at the foot of the tree, make sure to devise a proper drainage system for the same. You may opt for removing soil from water-logged area and exposing the roots to fresh air for a few days.”

If your tree looks otherwise healthy, you might be able to keep it around for a few months to see if it will come around. Still, you have to think about the dangers that come along with unhealthy trees, so make sure that everything is secured.

1. Call a Tree Care Professional

Credit: Alan Levine
  • There is a chance to save your trees
  • Only professionals can handle some removals
  • Will make suggestions for other trees in your yard if the underlying cause could kill them as well

According to the Tree Care Industry Association, no matter when your tree dies, you want to always have your tree inspected by a tree care professional who will be able to make a diagnosis on the death. This is so vitally important because we are able to get a deeper look at your tree and help you to figure out just why the tree died. Sometimes, it will just be because of old age – this happens to many trees. Other times, however, and sometimes more commonly, it is because of a particular disease or nasty infestation. In these cases, you want to ensure that dead tree removal is treated properly and that the correct tools are used and cleaned properly. As a traditional homeowner, you probably do not have these tools at your disposal.

Many tree care professionals have the tools to help you remove stumps and the resulting debris from your yard and garden. At the same time, we can also help you turn that tree into something new and beautiful – fire burning logs, decorative logs, and/or mulch.

Whatever you do, don’t try to take tall trees (or any trees at all) down by yourself as it can be extremely hazardous and you will probably hurt yourself, another structure in your yard, or even your other trees.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Matthew Dillon on Flickr!
19 Jul 2018
Lichen on a tree

Just What Are Those Green Spots on My Trees?

Do you have green spots on your trees? This is something that many people have been noticing in their yards lately, and it is quite curious. There are many many reasons why you may have more green spots this year than ever before – and a lot of it has to do with the changing climate. However, it also has to do with the fact that many more trees are coming from the same places, which means that the funguses that cause some of the problems spread much more easily.

Some of the green spots that you have on your tree aren’t any problem at all – they are just natural. In fact, this is probably the greatest majority of the green spots that there are in our area.

Still, there are some problematic green spots that you can have as well. If you think this might be your tree, it is best to reach out to a professional to have them help you determine whether or not you have an issue.

So why are there green spots on your tree – and more importantly, do you need that professional intervention? Let’s have a look:

3. I Have Green Spots on My Trees – What Are They?

Tree with green spots
Credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli
  • Many things manifest as green spots
  • All look similar and some are safe – some aren’t
  • Algae, moss, and lichens are the most common in our area

If you do happen to have green spots on your trees or shrubs, there are three primary culprits: algae, moss, and lichens. These green spots will all grow on the branches of your trees, the trunks, and maybe onto the leaves and roots. It is difficult to tell these three blights apart, but there are some distinct differences in the way they look, how they come to be, and what you have to do with them.

The Royal Horticulture Society provides an outline on how to tell them apart:

Algae: On tree trunks and leaves of evergreen trees and shrubs, algae can be seen as a green, powdery deposit. It is not unattractive on trunks but can make leaves dull and unsightly. The alga Trentepohlia is seen as a vivid orange powdery deposit on tree trunks and branches.

Lichens: Lichens growing on trees and shrubs are mainly grey to green in colour. They may form as crusty patches, leafy mats, or upright branching or hanging growths on the bark or wood.

Moss: Various mosses can grow on the trunks or branches of trees and shrubs. These mosses may form large, coarse, loose, green or yellowish-green tufts, densely matted tufts, or compact green cushions.

If that seems complicated, a professional can help you to determine what you have, and even more importantly, what you can do. Sometimes, you won’t have to do anything unless you do not like the look of the green spots.

2. Why Are There Green Spots on the Trunk of My Tree?

Lichen on a tree
Credit: John Rusk
  • The climate or placement of the tree helps it
  • The weather has allowed it to grow
  • There is a transfer of fungus

If you have green spots on your tree and you can’t tell them apart using the listing above, don’t worry – you aren’t alone. Each of those green organisms can look different, depending on the tree or the yard. You may need to look at the surroundings to narrow down the list even more.

If you have algae on your trees, you have to know that it is rare and could be the sign of an underlying problem. Your tree’s bark may be too moist and that can lead to deeper problems within the tree. Sometimes, the tree will be able to adapt and grow regardless, but it is still something to look at with a professional.

Moss is far more common and can grow in almost any part of the world. Most often, it will grow on trees that have a lot of shade – so trees that have a thicker canopy, trees that are tightly packed together, or trees that are in the shade from other structures like a house or pool. Most often, moss does grow on the north side of the tree, so you can use it for navigation, but not all the time.

According to North Carolina State University, “Lichens increase over time. So older tree have more lichens. Often the lichens will multiply when the tree slows down it’s growth and the canopy becomes less dense. Slow growth and few leaves are not good signs. But it doesn’t mean the lichen is causing the death of the plant. The increase in lichens happens because the tree is dying. Sometimes a cherry tree, apple tree, or azalea becomes covered with lichens. When this happens the tree may be a few years away from death. Of course, every lichen doesn’t mean the plant is declining. Lichens are common on the trunks of large healthy oaks and maples.”

1. Can I Treat Green Spots On My Tree?

Green spots on bark
Credit: Paul VanDerWerf
  • Depends on what causes the green spots
  • If it doesn’t cause harm, don’t do anything
  • Consult with a professional before taking matters into your own hands

Most often, the best thing you can do with your green spots is just to let them be. By trying to do something by yourself, you could be causing more damage. There are some ways to scrape off the green spots, but this often opens the tree up to other infections that are going to harm your tree. If you do have to do something, the best thing you can do is consult a professional.

According to Hunker, “There are also commercial sprays that can be used on the trunk, the leaves and roots of an infected tree. These products are best used at the first signs of an infection and sprayed directly into some of the discoloration that’s found on the affected tree. This may help prevent the infection from spreading further and may help save the tree. However, if a bark is fully rotted through and if the fungus has spread throughout its entire internal system, the tree will not be able to take in water or sprays.”

Tree care is difficult, nor is planting a tree, but it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself without at least some help from a professional. For daily maintenance and maybe even planting trees, you can do most of it. However, when it comes to the health of your trees, it is best to talk to professionals who can help you out.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Joshua Mayer on Flickr!
27 Jun 2018

Want to Add Trees To Your Yard? 4 New Ways To Do It

We all want to have yards that have beautiful trees that make spending time outside all the better. Whether you want to add trees that are tall and strong or you want to add trees for beauty, you have to be judicious about where you will put your trees and how you will use them in the design of your yard.

Before you even think about planting a tree in your yard, you have to think about what kinds of trees you want, how much maintenance you are willing to do with your trees, what function you want those trees to have in your yard, any structures that might interfere with your trees, and even how much those trees cost to maintain and plant.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into planting a tree – it isn’t just digging a hole. You have to think about the ways in which you will use your tree – and how everyone in your family will interact with it.

Interested in getting started? Here are four new tree landscaping designs to consider:

4. Think About Adding Value to Your Home

house with a tree
Credit: Roger W
  • Trees take a long time to grow – people value already grown trees
  • Think about getting rare trees that you don’t see elsewhere
  • Do not go overboard or you will have the opposite effect

A mature tree that has been planted and taken care of by professionals can add between $1,000 and $10,000, according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. If you are looking to get this increase in value, remember that it takes years for trees to reach their mature size, so plant your trees as early as possible to get the best results.

When planting a tree to help add value to your home, you will need to think about the types of trees that people really want in their yards. People aren’t looking to add to their yard maintenance, for example, but they might appreciate a fruit tree. The best type of tree for your yard will depend on your home – trees that are tall and strong (and could maybe support a tree house or swing) might be great for a home with many bedrooms. On the other hand, a ranch home with one bedroom will probably have a person or couple that doesn’t want the backbreaking yardwork associated with many trees.

3. Create an Extra Room

Credit: Cory Doctorow
  • Gives you privacy
  • Extends your living space
  • Makes you want to spend time outside

If you aren’t the type of person who likes to spend all of your time indoors, but you have a lot to do outside, you may want to consider using trees to help create an extra room outside. This will give you privacy when you are outside and still make it possible to keep yourself hidden from your neighbors. You can really do this in many ways, but the best bet is to plant trees and then fill in any open space with taller plants and shrubs.

According to Better Homes and Gardens: “If you don’t want to work on making your entire yard a private paradise, take one corner and transform it into a secluded getaway. A simple way to do this is to carefully place a couple of trees to form a pocket. Here, for example, two pines make a hammock feel tucked away. A redbud just behind the hammock enhances the effect.”

2. Garden Shape Matters

tree in garden
Credit: Harry Lawford
  • Consider getting professional planning
  • Think about plants, walkways, water features, and your trees
  • Remember you have to mow your lawn

When planning when and where to plant your tree, you want to think about what will be around your tree. Most people plant trees in a garden – but should you for your yard? Lifehacker recommends looking at your space from above to really plan out the shape and scope of your garden. You will want to consider whether or not your tree and other greenery will compete for nutrients, water, and sunlight.

You can even get the tape out and map out things like where your tree will go, what the garden shape will be, how much shade there will be, and even where the root system will go. With a bit of online research, you should be able to find the answers to all of these questions and more.

1. Look From the Inside

tree through a window
Credit: BurnAway
  • Think about safety and security
  • You probably spend more time inside than outside
  • Determines type of tree that you want

HGTV says that one of the biggest landscaping mistakes that people make is the fact that they don’t think about what their yards will look like from the inside of your home. This is important because we do tend to spend a lot more time inside of our homes looking out than we do outside of it enjoying the shade, fragrance, or aesthetic appeal.

Stand inside your home and look out the windows in the rooms you occupy the most. What do you want to see? You’ll have to answer these questions before you can think about putting a tree in your yard. Do you want to be able to see the road? How about your driveway? Will you have kids that play outside or nosy neighbors that want to look inside? Each of these concerns can impact whether or not you want to plant a large tree or a small tree.

Tree care is difficult, nor is planting a tree, but it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself without at least some help from a professional. For daily maintenance and maybe even planting the tree, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional. If you aren’t sure what kind of tree you want in your yard, you should also reach out to a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Olin Gilbert on Flickr!
18 May 2018

Why Deep Watering is Necessary in Your Yard

Over the years, we have heard of a lot of different tree care fads – from rubbing essential oils on your tree (can be effective) to talking to your trees (probably not great for them, but good for you). So, how can you tell when one fad is effective and one isn’t?

Have you heard about the hottest tree care fad, deep watering? It is a query that pops up more and more as we get toward the summer months. This isn’t really a unique concept, but it has popped up on online resources like Facebook and Pinterest, so a lot of people want to know more about it. Deep watering, or deep root watering, gives your tree the kind of watering that it certainly needs, even more so during the summer months when it is very hot and Mother Nature doesn’t deliver on the rain.

These are the times when your trees are withered and are displaying signs that they may possibly need some support, but you can’t necessarily read them. By the time you can look at them, it is typically too late and you have to do something more than just water them.

Still, there are a number of things you need to realize about deep watering before you do it.

4. How Deep The Water Actually Goes

irrigation system
Credit: Ian Sane
  • The roots receive the water, not the leaves
  • 12″ to 18″ deep, depending on the plant
  • Some gardens might not really need it that deep, some require deeper

When you water your plants consistently, you likely allow your hose to spray some water onto the leaves of your plants and the soil all around the plants. Having said that, most plants don’t have leaves or stems that can consume the water. Instead, it has to make its way into the soil and ultimately get to the root system.

The problem is that, when it is sweltering outside, the water vanishes almost immediately and ends up not getting to the plants. According to Slate, this is why many plants and trees still die, even if you have already watered them often. It is also why people think they are overwatering their plants.

The reality is that they aren’t watering them carefully. Deep watering goes deeper into the dirt so that the roots get the water.

3. Use a Soaker For More Convenient Watering

old fashioned irrigation in green grass
Credit: USDA
  • Good for people who aren’t home all the time
  • Can be DIY ‘d by a number of people
  • Do not over water with this technique

Don’t like to be out in the scorching sunlight all the time? You aren’t by yourself, and that is why there are so many possibilities for ways to water your gardens and lawn that don’t mandate you to remain outside for too long. If this sounds like you, you might want to invest in a soaker hose or soaker system. A soaker hose is simply an addition to your basic garden hose. This add-on has perforations every so often, holes that are much smaller than a hose entrance, but still substantial enough to let out water. Once you install this onto your hose, you can then situate it throughout your flower gardens and set up it where you need it to be. This works really well, but, according to the DIY Network, you can make your own so you get a definite direction of where the water goes.

These still use a bit of water, but they are deemed to be better than the conventional sprinkler systems because they put the water exactly where it needs to be, not up into the atmosphere before anything else.

This type of system is great for people who don’t or can’t take care of their yards, people who are regularly away from their properties, and those who simply have too much to keep up with when it comes to taking care of their yards.

2. Trees and Bushes Should Be Watered Deeply

watering system
Credit: Ian Sane
  • Tree branches tend to go deep
  • They will also spread far and wide around the tree
  • Trees are the most vulnerable in a drought

According to the Morton Arboretum, “There is no reason to water the leaves of a plant. Water the soil, where the roots are. The Arboretum recommends watering within the drip line of a tree, from the trunk out to the end of the branches, to reach the roots most effectively. The water-absorbing roots are within the top two feet of soil; you want to keep these roots moist but not wet.”

This is why it is so essential to deep water your trees and bushes. These are some of the most defenseless parts of your yard and they also tend to be the worst to water. They are probably the ones that need the most water too because their deep roots often don’t get the water that you do use– plants and weeds will get it first. During the hottest part of the summer, they are extremely susceptible.

You don’t want to utterly soak the ground so that the dirt starts to move, but you do want to do some deep watering.

1. It Isn’t Necessary for All Plants

Watering system
Credit: Kevin Dooley
  • Deep watering won’t work for plants with shallower roots
  • Most won’t be damaged by it either
  • Helpful for annuals and bigger plants

One normal misstep that people make is that they assume that deep watering will work for all of the plants in their yard– this isn’t legitimate. In fact, perennials and vegetables don’t need deep watering because they do not have roots that go too deep into the earth, according to Gardeners. Instead, their root systems are closer to the top. You will want to spend maybe a couple seconds more over them with the hose, but you don’t really need to look into deep watering at all.

As always, you want to look at your plants to see if there are marks of over watering or under watering.

In fact, the best technique here is to hand water your perennials and vegetables so that you know exactly how much water they are getting at any given time.

At times, it can seem silly to think so much about watering your trees. However, they do need it and you have a responsibility to take care of them.

Tree care is difficult, and it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself. For daily maintenance and watering possibilities, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Sheila Sund on Flickr!
16 Apr 2018

Tree Care Tool Kit: The 5 Tools You Absolutely Need

As a homeowner, there will be times when you want to take the care of your trees into your own hands. While it might seem strange, we understand that – you want to be able to do some things by yourself. It is important to remember that tree care is dangerous and you do want to call a professional for some of the bigger jobs. Still, there are some things you can do by yourself.

Doing some basic maintenance to your trees helps you to better understand them and know when there is something you might need help handling.

However, you do have to make sure that you are using your tools properly, storing them properly, and only using them for what they were intended to do.

So what are some of the tools that should be in your shed? Here are a few:

5. Hand Pruners

Hand pruners
Credit: Thomas
  • Help with basic maintenance
  • Be careful when using them – use eye protection
  • Make sure to clean pruners regularly

Per Garden Products Review, “Pruners (also called clippers, pruning shears, or secateurs) are used to trim and shape plants, deadhead, prune out dead or damaged foliage and small branches, and cut back perennials. They’re one of the most-used gardening tools so it’s important to get a pair that works best for you.”

It might come as a surprise, but you shouldn’t prune your bigger trees. Instead, you can use it to keep up with some routine maintenance on your plants and bushes, especially vegetable plants. You don’t want to cut anything that is thicker than an inch, or you will be doing too much damage.

You have to be extremely judicious with your cutting, and this definitely isn’t something you can do to actually prune your tree, but it can help with maintenance between professional sessions.

4. Wheelbarrow

Credit: Seabamirum
  • Never goes out of style
  • Helps with all jobs
  • Inspires you to work

What is one of your tools actually encouraged you to do the work? That is what wheelbarrows do. They make most jobs so much easier, even jobs that have nothing to do with trees. Still, from clearing out the leaves from around the base of the tree to picking up after a storm, having a wheelbarrow will make all jobs much, much easier.

One of the reasons you may want a wheelbarrow is because they have been a standard in all tool sheds for years – they go back to about 1220 AD, and the the first wheelbarrows may have had sails, and you have probably used an older one that is still good.

You may want to do some research and purchase your wheelbarrow in person so that you can really get one that fits your style.

3. Sprinkler or Hose

Credit: Brittany Girl 94
  • Regular watering helps trees
  • Can be used throughout the year
  • Timed systems are helpful

When you have trees that are watered, you have happy trees. One of the most important tools that you can use is a sprinkler or hose. When you have a summer with little precipitation, winters where the ground freezes, or just times when everything looks a little parched, a hose comes in handy.

While most of us have hoses in our yards, few people actually have the right kinds of hoses. The Home Depot has a great guide to buying a garden hose that is really great at helping you choose the right one. Remember that everyone has different needs, but you should be able to find a hose that you enjoy using.

2. Rakes

Credit: Shelton Dunning
  • Useful in many parts of your yard
  • Leaf blowers won’t always do the job
  • Help to keep your gardens clear

According to The Seattle Times“Among landscaping rakes, metal bow rakes are used for moving soil around the garden, mounding dirt to create raised beds, picking up garden debris and tamping the soil. The sharp steel points can dig too deeply into a lawn, however, and, when used to rake leaves, those same points spear the leaves and get clogged easily.”

A rake is another somewhat primitive tool, but sometimes those are the best ones. Many people have moved on from the rake to the leaf blower, but a rake does many things that a leaf blower never will be able to do. A rake forces you to get some physical exercise and get closer to your trees. Use it to clear the base of your tree and allow your roots to get some air and water..

1. Flashlights

Credit: David DeHetre
  • Help check out damage after storms
  • Use the light to inspect trees
  • Can help to chase pests away

Another somewhat strange suggestion, but something that you absolutely need, is a flashlight with a fairly long reach. You can use a flashlight to help you inspect your trees from afar, which can be helpful if you are looking at storm damage or you think there is an animal in your tree. You can even use that light to scare animals out of your trees.

Now, for actual tree care, you can use a flashlight to look into the tree when there is a lot of foliage or densely populated branches, because it can be difficult to see when there isn’t any light. This can be extremely helpful when you are looking for diseases or infestations.

According to The Flashlight Guide, you should get a flashlight that has an LED bulb so that you can see the true colors on your tree. If you use an older one, everything takes on a more yellow tint, which can make it hard to spot any problems.

Tree care is difficult, and it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself. For daily maintenance, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Abby Lanes on Flickr!