Resources Category: Education

Tree Pruning Service in Peterborough Resumes

With the April ice storm clean-up under out belt, Treescape is once again performing tree pruning services in the Peterborough area.

Broken branch falls during ice strom

This limb left behind a large branch stump

During the ice storm, the weight of the ice on tree branches pulled many slender twigs, poorly attached limbs, and whole trees to the ground. Even healthy trees lost valuable limbs, and the resulting fallout lead to many power outages and a lot of clean-up across the Peterborough area. With the clean-up behind us, Treescape Certified Arborists and tree care professionals across Ontario can resume the process of spring health assessments and corrective pruning.

Why perform damage assessments in the spring?

Following the ice storm, many people performed preliminary damage assessments on their trees by simply observing the amount of woody debris that fell in their yard. Not a bad approach! However, the “first response” of many observers is to focus on the resulting damage the tree may have caused to their property when it fell, not to look up and carefully asses the damage to the tree itself and how it could be corrected. A careful inspection of your tree’s crown for broken branch stumps is advisable to help keep your tree in good health. Here’s why:

Broken branch stumps a vector for decay

Trees grow in two main ways: they add length to the tips of their branches through apical meristem growth; and girth to their trunk, main stems and branches through cambial growth. The latter growth type leads to annual growth rings in wood. It also stimulates the mechanism trees use to seal wounds particularly at branch collars. Remember, trees don’t stretch from the base or swell from the inside; they are additive growth organisms with a vascular system located just under their bark. The circular branch collar wood, which creates a branch union or attachment, grows like a doughnut around the base of all branches. It is the collar wood that transfers the load bearing weight of a branch to the adjacent stem or trunk. The branch collar wood is also responsible for sealing off a branch scar, thus playing a main role in a tree’s effort to compartmentalize decay. But, if a branch snaps at a point away from the attachment, like what happened to many healthy branches during the ice storm, it leaves behind a long branch stump to die and decay. This decay can spread along the length of the dead branch and enter the trunk, weakening the tree and leading to more structural issues (and more clean up costs for you!) down the road.

Arborists can support your tree’s effort in compartmentalizing the decay by removing any broken branch stumps and dead wood. This process leaves behind a clean branch wound, which is gradually sealed-over through the branch collar’s subsequent annual growth. By hiring an arborist to perform professional pruning services following a storm, your tree can seal its wounds more quickly, and can then focus its energy on recovery and new growth, rather than fighting decay.

If cared for by a professional arborist, your trees can thrive and provide you with decades — if not generations — of enjoyment and benefits. Trees are a natural capital investment that accrue over time. They are also versatile organisms that can thankfully bounce back — even after an ice storm. Paying a little bit of money for corrective pruning services in the short term can pay off immensely in the long term. The next time your tree suffers from storm damage or a harsh winter, be sure to perform a careful spring inspection and give your local arborist a call.

Resources Category: Education

Tree Propping Services: An Ontario Case Study

Tree propping services performed on a 200 year old Maple tree on the Briars Resort

from our article published in the March/April ISO Ontario Arborist Magazine

A propped Maple tree

A 200 yr old Maple tree on the Briars Resort, Lake Simcoe

Tree propping is a service that most arborists may undertake only very rarely, if at all during their careers, and yet this service may be going through something of a renaissance. Many arborists tend to think of tree propping as both unnecessary and a somewhat ineffective long-term solution. Surely we can prune to moderate defects and perhaps install a cable or brace to add some supplementary support? There are many reasons we might consider propping as an alternative to preserve an important tree. In this enlightened age of forest conservation and awareness of the value and significance of our heritage trees, preservation of old and relatively intact specimens is possible without the physiological shock of reduction pruning. Indeed, as a natural process of retrenchment, many older trees are likely to have lost their tops and often provide us with little opportunity to install cables. Here we share some details of a recent propping job we undertook in December.

Custom tree prop with saddle

Custom tree prop and saddle

Treescape Certified Arborists out of Ennismore recently undertook just such a task with one of our prestigious clients, The Briars Resort on Lake Simcoe. The tree in question, a magnificent sugar maple within the north parking lot, is reckoned to be around 200 years-old. General manager Hugh Sibbald and his family have a strong attachment to the tree and it is known and greatly admired by the local community and visitors alike. The tree has “endured” many well-intentioned interventions over its lifetime, including cavity filling with cement, bolting in the ‘50s, and being tapped for syrup for numerous years. The tree has even been sung to and hugged by an unnamed arborist in the ‘70s!

What we had to work with was basically a three-stemmed tree, where the centre stem had died leaving two heavily weighted stems on either side of a decayed main trunk. The tree literally wanted to fall in half and if it were to be retained at anything similar to its present grandeur, would need some form of support.


Download the article to read the full story



Resources Category: Education

How to avoid de-icing salt injury to your trees

Winter brings heavy snowfall and ice to Peterborough and the Kawarthas. It also brings with it snowplowing and de-icing equipment to our roads, sidewalks, and driveways. While salt is an effective and affordable de-icing material, it can cause significant stress and damage to your trees.

According to the tree experts at the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), “Excessive exposure to salt can cause widespread damage to your trees, leading to permanent decline and sometimes death,” said Jim Skiera, ISA Executive Director.

“The problem with salt damage is that it might not show up on your trees until summer, when deicing salt is the last culprit you would suspect.”

Protect your trees with burlap wraps

Trees wrapped in burlap–protection from salt spray in winter.

To minimize the damage done to trees by deicing salts, ISA Certified Arborists offer the following tips:

  • Use less salt. Mix deicing salt with abrasives such as sand, cinders, and ash, or use alternatives such as calcium magnesium acetate and calcium chloride.
  • Protect your trees from salt trucks on the street. If possible, set up barriers between the street and your trees to keep salt spray from hitting tree trunks.
  • Plant salt-resistant trees. Trees such as the sycamore maple, white spruce, willow, and birch tend to be more salt-resistant than other species. How well they fare varies from climate to climate across the country.
  • Improve soil drainage. Add organic matter to your soil to help filter salt deposits.

You can also keep your trees healthy by taking care of their basic needs. Other tips that will help combat damage that deicing salt may otherwise do:

  • Irrigate to flush the salts from the soils in spring.
  • Mulch sufficiently to reduce water loss.
  • Control pest infestations and destructive tree diseases.

If in doubt, contact a local ISA Certified Arborist in your area — like us!

Resources Category: Education

Don’t move firewood—A wood heating reminder

Now that heating season is upon us, we want to remind our readers about the DON’T MOVE FIREWOOD campaign. Whether you are burning wood for a seasonal mood-setting luxury, or burning wood out of necessity to stay warm, be sure to not transport or support the transportation of firewood across regulated areas.

People who move regulated materials (like firewood) from regulated areas without the permission of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) could face fines and/or prosecution. You are aiding the spread of forest diseases and pests.

The CFIA is the governing body that issues notices of prohibition of movement, which relate to the areas regulated and affected by known outbreaks. The outbreak of the emerald ash borer in many areas across Southern Ontario means DON’T MOVE FIREWOOD applies to a large percentage of the population.

So, if you live in Haliburton, you’re likely burning wood from Haliburton and have nothing to worry about. The source for local suppliers up there is abundant. But if you live in the Peterborough area, be sure that you’re not bringing in wood from our neighbours in the Oshawa area. Durham Region, for example, is now a regulated area.


Resources Category: Education

Can you prune trees in winter?

Pruning in winterMany of our clients ask us, “What time of year is best to prune trees? Can you prune trees in winter?” to which we reply, “Good question!”

If you were pruning for fruit production, timing can be critical. You would definitely want to consult with an arborist about the specific needs of your fruit tree. But for general pruning, there is no bad time of year.

“For general pruning, there is no bad time of year.”

Now that winter is here, and deciduous foliage has fallen, many arborists take advantage of clear views into the structure of trees to study branch arrangement and any questionable, diseased, or broken branches to be pruned.

If you think your trees may need pruning, here is a short educational video to help you learn the why, what, and when of pruning trees.

Please give us a call if you need help determining whether your trees need any of the following:

  • Thinning of the crown to allow air flow.
  • Removal of hazard branches
  • Improving the view through a tree
  • Elevating a tree
  • Removal of dead wood
  • Pruning of damaged or broken branches
  • Pruning of diseased branches
  • Pruning of rubbing branches
  • Pruning of any other areas that are densely branched.

Resources Category: Education

Emerald Ash Borer in Peterborough a matter of time

Emerald Ash Borer image from CFIA

The Emerald Ash Borer, a destructive beetle killing ash trees in Ontario, Quebec, and throughout the U.S. (source:

If you were an ash tree in Ontario, you would likely believe that the Mayan calendar indeed ends in disaster. For you, the end of the world as you know it is coming, and your visiting angel of Death is the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, EAB has killed millions of ash trees in Ontario and many parts of the United States. It poses a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas. Since entering Canada in 2002, it has affected areas along the 401 corridor from Windsor to the GTA, up the Bruce County, in areas from Montreal to Ottawa, and now Frontenac. While EAB is not yet in Peterborough, unfortunately it’s just a matter of time.

According to Treescape’s Senior Consulting Arborist, Paul Hambidge, “Peterborough and the Kawarthas is the gap in the middle of the affected regions. The emerald ash borer will definitely come here, it’s just a question of time before we find it.”

To learn more about the emerald ash borer in the Peterborough area and how the biopesticide, TreeAzin—developed by the Canadian Forest Service and BioForest Technologies Inc.—is being used as a proactive treatment for your ash trees, we put together this short educational video. Through preventative tree care offered by Treescape Certified Arborists, it might not be the end of the world for your ash trees after all.

If you have any questions or concerns about emerald ash borer, please drop us a line and read our emerald ash borer page for more info.