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:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Historic Tree Preservation

A lot of factors come into play when determining whether an older/mature/historic tree can or should be preserved. What is the tree's over all condition? What historic significance does the tree possess? What is the tree's risk rating and has there been any recent failure events? What are the goals for the property owner? All of these factors can be part of an overall plan or decision regarding whether a older/historic tree can or should be preserved. In the below article such a scenario is currently occurring regarding a historic Live Oak tree in Lakeland Florida. The "Lover's Oak" is a 150 year old Live Oak tree that recently experienced a failure event and is at the heart of a discussion on whether it should be removed or not. My colleague Joe Samnik and his team are evaluating the tree to come up with preservation options which may include canopy reduction. To learn more about this tree please visit the following web link:
Photograph taken of the Lover's Oak after Hurricane Irma. Image used courtesy of The Ledger.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Right Tree Right Place

In light of the recent attention being paid to damage caused from trees planted too close to power lines, I felt it is important to rehash "Right Tree Right Place" principles. Trees need to be planted in areas with appropriate room for proper canopy and root growth. Trees planted in too small an area for proper growth can cause issues including conflicts with utilities, create trip hazards, damage/destroy infrastructure and can become a liability issue for both public and private property owners. This is especially important as many of these trees take out power poles and utility lines during storm events. These trees also do not reach their full potential and often end up stunted and needing replacement much sooner than properly planted trees in good locations.  I've included some links on Right Tree Right Place principles as follows if you would like to learn more:

Images used courtesy of the Arbor Day Foundation and FPL.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Trees and Stormwater Benefits

I came across a new article from Columbia University that added some additional insight into how trees can help mitigate storm water. A recent study by Columbia University showed that trees in an urban/city setting that were planted and protected by a tree barrier, grate, fence etc. had a greater capacity to absorb storm water than those that did not. In fact the study showed that trees were 6 times more effective in absorbing storm water runoff when protected by barriers. This makes perfect sense as compacted soil(s) and a compacted root area is less permeable to water than an un compacted area. So its not just planting trees but protecting their planting space itself that leads to an increase in storm water mitigation. Interesting read for sure and if you would like to see the full article please follow the below web link:
Credit Lizzie Adkins, Columbia University

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Save A Tree Plant A Tree Program

The City of Fort Lauderdale has three tree giveaway initiatives but today I'm focusing on one. The Save a Tree, Plant a Tree program merges environmental protection and resource savings by offering free trees to Fort Lauderdale customers who switch to a paper-free utility billing process. As paper bills lead to harvesting of trees, switching to electronic billing cuts down on the use of paper preserving mature trees. The program was on a brief hiatus due to reorganization but is now up and running at full speed. A Save-A-Tree/ Plant-A-Tree event will be held on February 24, 2018 at Holiday Park, 1150 G. Harold Martin Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (the south western parking lot across from the War Memorial Auditorium) from 8:00AM-11:00AM.  For additional information on events or for how to sign up please visit the following weblink: