Friday, June 1, 2018

Hurricane Season Preparation and Your Trees

As hurricane season has arrived one of the most often questions asked is how should I prune my palms and trees to reduce storm damage in Ft. Lauderdale? No tree or palm is 100% immune to storm impacts, but with proper pruning the chances of a tree or palm failure can be reduced.

Be wary of individuals or companies recommending poor tree pruning practices such as hat-racking, over-lifting, topping, lion’s tailing, and over-lifting of palms. All of these practices actually make your tree or palm more susceptible to a storm related failure event by putting the tree(s) under stress, compromising tree structure and or artificially raising the trees center of gravity.When selecting an arborist make sure to ask for a copy of the company’s general liability insurance, current International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) credential, worker’s compensation insurance and to see the company’s Broward County Tree Trimmer License. Companies that do not have insurance or are not registered as Broward County Tree Trimmer should be actively avoided.
Now that we know what not to do, let’s consider what we should do.

Palm Pruning:
  • Remove only dead, dying or diseased fronds, but no green, healthy fronds.
  • Fruits and coconuts can also be removed,
  • Avoid removing any live fronds originating above the horizontal plane (visualize a straight line from 9-3 on a clock face).
Shade Tree Pruning:
  • Remove dead, diseased and broken branches.
  • Correct lopsided crowns by pruning long branches back to lateral branches.
  • Remove branches with dangerous decay, cross branches or large cavities.
  • Remove, or reduce the weight on, branches with included bark (i.e., bark trapped in the tight angle between two branches growing closely together).
  • Prune to produce a single dominant trunk.
  • Prune young trees every 3 to 4 years to produce strong branch structure.
  • Prune while branches are small to encourage healing and avoid the decay often associated with large wounds. On large branches, rather than complete removal, it may be preferable to reduce weight by shortening, and by removing some of the side branches.
  • As a general rule of thumb avoid removal of more than 25% of live foliage from any tree, and  no more than 10% from mature trees.
  • Remove trees with dangerous defects, such as extensive trunk, basal flare or root decay.  Whether trunk decay is dangerous depends on the extent of the decay and the thickness of healthy wood growing around the defect. 
  • Do not attempt to prune trees or palms adjacent to overhead utility lines by yourself. Contact FPL to arrange for any necessary tree pruning and or utilize an ISA Certified  Arborist qualified to perform utility line clearance pruning.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

June Quarterly Tree Giveaway

If you are a City of Ft. Lauderdale resident please join us for an upcoming Quarterly Tree Giveaway Event at Riverland Park:

For additional information concerning City of Ft. Lauderdale tree giveaways please visit the following web address: 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cultivating Community on Arbor Day

On April 27, 2018, we gathered with neighbors to celebrate Arbor Day at Snyder Park, which suffered substantial tree loss due to Hurricane Irma. The event began with a reading of the City's Arbor Day Proclamation and a dedication of trees to the memory of the members and friends of the Moringa Garden Circle. Vice Mayor Ben Sorensen joined volunteers in planting 32 trees throughout the park. This planting was a step toward restoring the Park's tree canopy and enhancing our community for our neighbors. It's worth noting that 2018, marks the 39th consecutive year Fort Lauderdale has earned the National Arbor Day Foundation's "Tree City USA" designation in recognition of our ongoing commitment to preserve, protect, and expand our tree canopy! Congratulations to the Sustainability Division of Public Works for continuing our annual tradition of celebrating Arbor Day.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Arbor Day Tree Dedication Ceremony

Please join us this upcoming Friday April 27th, 2018 for the City of Fort Lauderdale's Annual Arbor Day Event.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Watering New Trees

To plant and establish new trees, there are many factors to consider. Proper planting depth, bracing, and slow release fertilization are all important aspects of this process; however, tree watering is the most essential.
Newly planted trees suffer from over or under watering all too often. Thankfully, technology has evolved to help rectify this problem. Tree bladders were created as a way to reduce labor costs for tree establishment, and to also ensure new trees are sufficiently watered. They slowly release water over time ensuring that the rootball of trees are watered evenly and at a steady rate, typically only requiring replenishment once or twice a week. This process promotes water conservation and sustainability by saving water and money. Tree bladders are also reusable, further increasing the can provide a potential for cost savings well beyond their initial use. To learn more about watering new trees and different types of tree bladders please see below:
Image Used Courtesy of Tree Gator©
Image Used Courtesy of Tree Gator©

Image Used Courtesy of TreeDiaper©

Friday, March 23, 2018

Trees, Salt Tolerance and Dunes

Trees provide many environmental benefits including habitat for wildlife, soil stabilization, shade, and removing pollution from the air.  Due to the effects from coastal flooding, king tides and sea level rise, non-salt tolerant trees are being negatively impacted with greater frequency leading directly to a loss of environmental benefits. In Fort Lauderdale, trees play a major role in urban forest sustainability and dune stabilization. As such, Fort Lauderdale is utilizing a more salt tolerant tree palette to enhance the resiliency of its trees; species such as Seagrape, Pitch Apple, Green and Silver Buttonwood and Gumbo Limbo do very well in dune/high salt environments, helping protect our shorelines from tidal events and storm surges. Incorporating more salt tolerant trees throughout the City's urban forest will continue to increase its sustainability and resiliency in the face of ongoing environmental challenges. To learn more about salt tolerant trees and the dune environment, please visit the websites below:
Image used courtesy of Broward County.
Image used courtesy of Land and Sea Marine

Friday, March 16, 2018

New Tree Planting

So Spring is upon us and I normally receive a lot of questions pertaining to how and where to plant new trees in Fort Lauderdale. The first part is to identify a location on your property that is in need of a new tree whether for aesthetics, shade a source of fruit etc. Be aware that new tree planting in the City right-of-way swale will require a City landscaping permit, unless the tree(s) were provided through the City's Adopt A Tree Program. For more information on the City's Adopt A Tree Program please visit the following website: City of Fort Lauderdale Adopt A Tree Program. Next pay attention to the onsite conditions, does the proposed location have existing overhead or underground utilities, does the site receive ample sun or shade and how much room is available for a future mature tree (canopy and root room). Remember to call 811 before you dig to verify utility locations. Then you select an appropriate tree species for the location based on answers to the above questions. Make sure whatever tree you choose to plant is free from defects (girdling roots, poor structure, diseased etc.) and a minimum Florida No. 1 grade.  As for planting the tree dig out a hole that is at least 2-3 times the size of the new tree root ball, remove all burlap/wiring etc. from the rootball, place the tree on a firmly packed soil base within the planting hole backfilling around the root ball with a mix of native/top soil gently tamping it in place. Make sure that the final planting height is about 2-3" above grade as the tree will settle over time. Depending on tree size bracing and staking may be necessary. Make sure to use trunk protectors when bracing to avoid strap damage, and often trees are braced on three sides. Do not tighten the braces too much as a limited amount of play will be essential for allowing the tree to develop proper taper. Establishment watering is critical for the first 3-5 months. A general rule of thumb is to water every day for the first 30 days, every other day the next 30 days, every 3-4 days the next 30 and every 5-7 days the last 2-3 months. Please visit the following web links for additional information on proper tree planting and have fun this Spring with your new trees: