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Tour de Trees 2010

America’s largest fundraiser for tree research, the STIHL Tour des Trees to benefit the TREE Fund finishes up the last leg of their bike ride today as they arrive in Naperville, Illinois. The Tour des Trees is a weeklong cycling event to raise money for the TREE Fund and awareness of the need for arboricultural research to keep our trees and forests healthy. The 2010 Tour departed from Chicago’s Millenium Park on July 18, traveled 500 miles through northern Illinois and concludes in Chicago’s western suburbs. Tomorrow there is a one-day “Ride For Research” at Morton Arboretum which is open to the public. To donate, visit and help suport the riders from your state featured in the Rider Gallery.Congratulations to Jon Balkcom, a Utility Arborist for Georgia Power who's on the Tour. Ride Jon, Ride!About the TREE Fund:The TREE Fund’s mission is to identify and fund projects and programs that advance knowledge in the field of arboriculture and urban forestry to benefit people, trees, and the environment.The TREE Fund has supported research that has led to important developments in:- Improving conditions for tree growth in difficult sites.- Implementing strategies to manage diseases and pests that affect urban trees.- Understanding air pollution reduction and carbon sequestration by trees.- Quantifying the costs and benefits of urban trees.For more information, visit
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The City of Jefferson, Georgia recently hosted a Community Forestry Roundtable for neighboring tree board members and city and county staff to discuss stormwater management issues and gain a better understanding of how trees contribute to stormwater management and water quality. The Roundtable was facilitated by consulting forester, Connie Head, and funded by a grant from the Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

About fifty people from fourteen different cities and counties attended and showed great interest in the subject. Linear bio retention, infiltration basins for streets and plazas and porous paving materials were discussed as solutions for better stormwater management. Oxford College of Emory University has incorporated these practices into the landscape design features in place at their new Residence Hall Complex, East Village.

Many issues came up in the discussion such as maintenance and tree removal on retention ponds, aeshetics, site access and more, but the general consensus was that we need to look at stormwater in a different way, cherish it as a resource and not think of it as runoff. Since the pace of growth and development has slowed some, right now might be a good time to evaluate your engineering systems and tree canopy. Can older basins be re-engineered? Are you building in a flood plain? What are some incentives for homeowners to plant and maintain trees, such as stormwater credits?

Post your thoughts, comments and case studies and thanks to the City of Jefferson for recently engaging Georgia's communities in this discussion of trees and stormwater treatment.

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Concrete Jungle

Trees provide many benefits, but sometimes we forget the most basic Concrete Jungle is a volunteer-run, Atlanta-based organization helping to distribute unused food to the hungry. They receive almost all of the food it donates from the hundreds of residential fruit and nut trees growing in the Atlanta area. Most of these trees are untended and ignored, with their bounty being wasted to wildlife while only miles away many poor and homeless struggle to include any fresh produce in their diet. So far this year they have collected close to 200lbs of food. My favorite part, is their map of trees and bushes throughout the City that can be harvested. Check it out.
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Drought Poses Danger to Trees

Drought can have negative effects on shade trees due to a critical lack of water. By the time you see branches die back, it may be too late. Preventive measures should be taken now to save valuable shade trees.

If outdoor watering is permitted in your area, trees should be watered thoroughly underneath their drip lines, the area below the tree’s canopy, where rainfall drips from the foliage to the ground and onto “feeder roots.” When this area is saturated weekly, these vital roots are able to continue nourishing the tree and preventing moisture stress during dry periods. Thorough watering once a week, or once every other week, is more beneficial than light, irregular watering.

Tips on tree water:

  • Water conservation can be accomplished by getting extra mileage out of used water. Certain types of waste water can safely be used to sustain your trees. Water from dish or clothes washing works well because it is diluted.
  • Trees also benefit from mulching because it helps hold moisture in the soil. This can be especially beneficial in shallow-rooted species, such as dogwood.
  • Trees should not be fertilized in a drought because it stimulates growth in branches and twigs and puts extra strain on the trees’ limited water supply. As cooler weather approaches, trees will require less moisture and supplemental water isn’t necessary.

For more advice on sustaining the health of your trees, visit

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So excited with what is happening in Atlanta with the Atlanta Beltline--for greenspace and transit and to connect the city.
The Atlanta Beltline Arboretum is an amazing endeavor for this city and such a great opportunity. Look at this link to learn more:
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Tree Protection Supply has been posting informational how to videos on tree care on our blog. We hope this series of videos will help landowners and land managers get the most out of their planting investment and help tree planters make a big impression when their client's trees are outgrowing their neighbors. We can all admit it, everybody likes to look over the fence and say "Whats taking your trees so long? Mine are 3 times that big!!"
We hope by watching these videos that it will spark more questions and allow us to provide more answers to our clients. Our first video post is on why its important to prune your planting stock at the time of planting and demonstrates the problems associated with not pruning your trees when they are planted and tree tubes are installed. Even if you are not installing tree shelters, these problems will exist for those trees left out on their own.
We have chosen to make this our first video as most people have already planted their trees for the year and so its too late to prune at the time of planting all those crabapples, persimmons, walnuts, apple trees and other hardwood species. In case you didn't prune or thought why take the time, take a moment to see how 30 seconds can change the life of your tree and how that small amount of time will create a healthier and larger tree faster!!!

We all know trees will grow themselves, but why wait??

Thanks for Watching,

Scott Berta


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Hugger of Trees, Steward of Water

Many states across the Southeast have water stewardship laws in place – or will in the future. What does this mean for those of us that feed our plants like we do a fat cat? It’s diet time for your watering habits.

For the sake of the planet, here are a few tips on how to water your thirsty greens efficiently.

  • Water at the roots, not the foliage. You save water and lessen the chance of disease.
  • Water at night to reduce losing water to evaporation.
  • When you water, water deep. Watering lightly and frequently causes roots to grow closer to the surface, which in turn makes them require more water.
  • If you have a sprinkler system, consider investing in newer equipment, for example rain and soil moisture sensors or simply more efficient sprinkler heads and rotors.

For more information on how to conserve water this summer visit or

[Photo credit:]

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What trees can do for you

You plant, you water, you fertilize and you cherish them. And what do you get in return? Most of us know the general perks: Clean air, shade, reduced soil erosion and of course, natural beauty. But did you know that trees and other plants are nature’s state-of-the-art water filters, purifiers and even coolers?

Here’s a list of all the ways trees are keeping your rivers, lakes and streams clean and fresh this summer:

  • Preventing thermal pollution (the heating of water runoff) through water absorption and shade. This protects aquatic environments and keeps them cool and refreshing in the summer heat. Did you know that an unshaded stream can get up to 20 degrees warmer than a shaded stream?
  • Capturing pesticides, sediment and other runoff before they are swept away into nearby waterways.
  • Intercepting up to 12 percent of rainfall, slowing entry into the stormwater system and allowing more time for the water to be naturally absorbed and filtered so that stormwater systems are not overwhelmed
  • Protecting shorelines with a series of deep root systems. We like going to the river, but we’d prefer the river not come to us.
  • Recycling fresh water into the air, which ultimately results in those welcomed afternoon showers that break the summer heat.

Click here for more information on how trees are protecting your lakes and streams.

[Photo Credit:]

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Trees of America's Grove

The citizens of Galveston lost most of their 100 year old trees but not their strong will and determination to survive as a community. Under the leadership of the town tree committee and the new Galveston Island Tree Conservancy, the town developed an ambitious plan to replant 25,000 trees over the next five years. These trees will go into schools, neighborhoods, parks, and boulevards. This year they successfully planted 5000. Here is planting at a popular neighborhood "Adoue Park", shadowed by one of the lost souls and future sculptures

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Trees of America's Grove

Galveston: On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike hit Galveston Island and the City of Galveston. This storm was every bit as large as the great hurricane of 1900. While the town's sea wall did save most of the city form the storm, surge and resulting salt intrusion from Galveston bay killed upwards of 23,000 live oak trees. The city found themselves with an instant loss of precious tree canopy and a silent spring. Many of the stumps were carved into sculptures - memorials to their beloved trees. This in front of the house of the woman, who at the time was the mayor of Galveston.

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Trees of America's Grove

There are only 5 surviving veterans of WWI, world-wide, ranging in age from 107 to 110. This grove was planted in Danville VA to memorialize their home town fallen WWI heroes. Each tree has a plaque bearing the name of the fallen. Like the surviving veterans, these tree are beginning to "age out". Danville is replacing these 100 year old willow oaks one-by-one as they are lost, and along with them, fresh plaques with the names of those never forgotten.
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Trees of America's Grove

The 107 acre Ballou Park in in the heart of Danville (a small mill town located in Southern Virginia), is said to be the oldest urban park in Virginia, established sometime in the mid 1800s. Imagine these old trees as youngsters over 120 years ago!
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"Green" vacation destinations

Hawk's Nest Hideaway in Mentone, Alabama

This two-bedroom, two-bath mountain getaway is nestled on top of north Alabama’s Lookout Mountain. Guests can hike Little River Canyon, the country’s second-deepest river canyon, view beautiful waterfalls, take canoe rides through nearby rivers, ride horseback down the trails or fish in the pond. Click here for more information.

Deer Run Bed and Breakfast in Big Pine Key, Florida

This Caribbean-style inn is a state of Florida-certified green lodge. Located on a private, dead-end street two miles from the highway, Deer Run Bed and Breakfast’s beachfront property enjoys picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. Organic, vegetarian breakfasts are offered every day and obtained from as many local sources as possible. Guests can charter scuba dives and eco-kayak nature tours. Big Pine is home to the endangered Key Deer (pictured right), not found anywhere else in the world. Nearby Bahia Honda State Park offers guests opportunities to gaze on unique and rare plants, flowers and birds. Click here for more information.

Serenbe Community in Palmetto, Georgia

Serenbe, located in the heart of Chattahoochee Hill Country, is a national model for sustainable development that joins land preservation and balanced development together. It features an organic farm, an inn, stables, art galleries, nationally acclaimed restaurants and more. Serenbe has received the Urban Land Institute's inaugural Sustainability Award. Serenbe’s trees are highly valued and store the equivalent of 7,213 cars’ carbon emissions for a year. Guests seeking to escape the noise of Atlanta or the stresses of every day life have a variety of places to stay at Serenbe, including the Dogwood Cottage, an EarthCraft-rated building with a fireplace on the common screen porch overlooking the lake. In 2009, the New York Times dubbed Serenbe a “Sonoma for the New South.” Click here for more information.

The Bed and Bike Inn in Gold Hill, North Carolina

Guests seeking relaxation or adventure should check out The Bed and Bike Inn. Located in the Uwharrie Mountain region, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy road/mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, golfing and horseback riding. Wine tours, shopping tours, eco-tours, moonlight kayaking trips and night mountain biking adventures are also available to guests. They offer a $10.00 discount to anyone arriving in a hybrid vehicle. Click here for more information.

The Inn at Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina

Located on the bluffs of the Ashley River, the Inn at Middleton Place offers a relaxing retreat surrounded by natural beauty and many outdoor and educational amenities. It received the Urban Land Institute’s Sustainability Award for its extensive, leading-edge efforts in modern sustainability, conservation and eco-friendly practices. Guests can enjoy daily guided and self-guided walking, biking and kayaking tours of the woods, marsh and river or enjoy horseback rides on wooded and open trails. Riding lessons are offered to adults and children. Admission for two (a $70 value) to Middleton Place Gardens, House Museum and Stableyards is included in the price of your stay. Click here for more information.

Miracle Farm in Floyd, Virginia

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this eco-friendly resort offers private accommodations, spa amenities, organic vegetarian breakfasts featuring locally grown food, and 25 acres along a river and stream, surrounded by woods and fields. Guests can hike or bike through the property where wildlife abounds. Birdwatchers will not be disappointed. Organic vegetable gardens are filled with flowers and provide beautiful settings for leisurely walks. Click here for more information.

[Photo Credit:]

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Taking nature for grant it!

We built our cabin on a wooded lot in 2005, which we cleared ourselves. We kept as many of the mature trees as possible. I liked the loblolly the best and were able to save about 25 of them. I love the way they smell and grace our land. We lost 5 to the beetles the summer of 2007. Last winter one of the largest loblolly's was struck by lightning. We were saddened, but knew that the 150 year old giant had to come down. We found someone to cut and remove it. Now we were left with a huge hole on our otherwise wooded property line.After a lot of clean-up we were able to plant 8 loblolly's in it's place. Of course we couldn't stop there. We were on a roll and planted and additional 8 leland cypress, 6 holly, 6 wax myrtle, 4 cedar and 18 azaleas'. It's still looks a little bare, but with time, water and a lot of patients the hole will fill in. Next fall I hope to plant several carolina all-spice. I couldn't find any in my local nursery's this year. It feels good to plant something in the ground. We take nature for grant it. It is not going to be here forever.
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Bridging Roots for Healthier Trees

More cement and asphalt paths are being created through woods in parks as alternative transportation corridors and to view nature. Typically the paths are placed adjacent to mature trees. The damage often shows well after the contractors have left the scene. The cement compresses and damages roots and can prevent water absorption but the most damage occurs during installation when the ground is graded and roots are dug up and/or compressed. The first choice would be to build such a trail outside the critical root zone, however, often this is not an option. I have seen two solutions to the problem. One was to literally bridge the roots with a boarded walkway, piers, anchors, and/or bridge. A promising and less expensive technique called “root bridging” uses expanded slate and geo-textile fabric to prevent soil compaction. The path is then laid on top of slate and fabric. While root bridging is not ideal for the roots under the "bridge", it does provide an opportunity for the roots to move to an area of less compression. This method was recently used in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens path through Storza woods. I have heard claims of cost reductions due to less soil having to be moved around. More importantly who wants a path with a bunch of dead or dying trees along it!

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Can a street tree be too big?

Municipalities often wonder how big their street trees will become and if they will create damage to surrounding infrastructure, however New Orleans seems to have different ethic, let them grow! As a result they have one of the most amazing urban forest in the country. We know the the issues surrounding an uneven sidewalk, but have we considered the advantages? Perhaps with an expectation of uneveness, there would be more awareness and less accidents. Humans did not evolve walking on flat surfaces. Anyway, below is a picture of street tree that has exceeded all expectations, one example of thousands in New Orleans.

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Trees of America's Grove

Big is not necessary for spectacular! This addition to my post on Trees of America's Grove (trees I have to visit in my travels across the country), is a moss covered ancient dwarf Japanese Maple tree located on the grounds of the Japanese Garden in Portland OR. This picture was taken June 13, 2010 during Portland's Rose Festival.

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Trees of America's Grove

This is a 60 inch diameter plus live oak tree of tremendous tenacity, surviving construction damage and the winds and floods of hurricane Katrina. The tree is located along the front drive of the Imperial Palace hotel in Biloxi MS, site of this years Southern Group of State Foresters meeting. The picture was taken June 10, 2010,

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As the world gets smaller through global commerce and international travel, disease and pests also find themselves migrating from region to region, country to country and continent to continent.

Since insects fly, crawl and generally move about, they are easier to spot than signs of disease or other abiotic impact (i.e., pollution, poor soil conditions, improper care). Some inserts are dangerous to trees because they eat bark, flowers and leaves, bore into the wood and cause other problems.

However, running to your local hardware store for a bottle of insecticide is not the healthiest solution for your trees. Killing all insects rids your tree of the bugs that can protect it – leaving your tree open to further infestations.

In addition to insect infestation, disease can rapidly attack and destroy a healthy tree and can spread to other trees through root systems, infected soil, the air, insects and other channels. Diseases need certain conditions to infect a tree: a willing or susceptible host, favorable conditions and perfect timing.

To protect your trees, follow the steps below.

  1. Plant hearty trees and cultivars generally resistant to disease
  2. Add compost to the root zone and use fertilizer to strengthen trees against disease and insects
  3. Prune and rake regularly to help prevent against insects that bore down into twigs and lay eggs; regularly checking for and removing infected twigs and raking fallen limbs and twigs during early spring removes hidden egg nests
  4. Hard, steady streams of water remove and/or kill bugs that may be infesting your tree
  5. Create your own insect traps; slugs are attracted to beer, aphids to soapy water and white flies and cucumber beetles to yellow, so place shallow dishes of beer or soapy water near the tree, or coat a yellow object with something oily and sticky

For more information, visit websites from Treecology and North Carolina State University.

[Photo Credit: Allen’s Tree Service, Inc.]

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Our furry friends sometimes like to snack on unusual things, including the plants in our gardens. However, some of these plants can be dangerous to cats and dogs – even in small amounts. To keep your pets safe, try the following steps:

  • Read labels on plants and shrubs before you purchase them to make sure they are safe for your cat or dog
  • Watch your pets when they are rooting around in the garden and take note of what they are drawn to
  • Keep pets away from areas recently sprayed with pesticides
  • Store fertilizers and poisons out of reach of pets

Check out the complete list of toxic plants for dogs and cats from the ASPCA.

On the other hand, sometimes you need to protect your garden from the neighbor’s beagle who likes to dig up your tulips. To keep your garden safe from nosey cats and dogs, try the following:

  • Place cement blocks or chicken wire from the bottom of the fence to a few feet below ground to keep out (or in) dogs that burrow
  • Trim limbs and branches that hang over the fence to keep cats out (or in) your yard
  • Create a fenced yard within your yard to separate the garden from the dog run
  • Use raised planting beds for berries, veggies and ornamental plants
  • Surround young trees in wire enclosures to protect them as they grow

Do you have any other ideas? Share them with us as comments below.

[Photo Credit: WebMD, LLC]

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