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Overgrowth in Trees: What’s the problem?

This past spring, record rainfalls did help fill up local lakes; but they also had some less-desirable consequences for our local trees. Nutrient depletion and soil heaving are just a couple of the major problems we started seeing around town after the rains. We also took care of many toppled trees and are now treating for an explosion of fungal diseases.

One of the things that made matters worse was a lack of water this summer. As soon as the rains stopped we went 40 days with no rainfall and soaring temperatures. But, most homeowners forgot to turn the water back on to their trees. It rained so much we didn’t need to water anymore, right? Despite the heavy spring rains, many trees suffered from a lack of water over the summer months.

A lesser known consequence of all that spring rain is a simple one:
Overgrowth. Too much, too fast.

PTS-FW-Mag-full-pg-Sept-2015v-crop

Normally, trees will put on roughly 18- to 24-inches of shoot
elongation each growing season. But this year, we’re seeing much more in
a shorter period of time.

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These are great examples of shoot elongation. Pruning will keep the tree’s shape and also keep these branches from potentially falling through storm season. Photo by Certified Arborist Getth Nelson.

PTSBubble Ken

Ken Smith, Preservation Tree Certified Arborist, explains. “This
growing season, we are seeing anywhere from 32-48 inches of shoot
elongation, resulting in excess limb end weight. This type of excessive
growth can result in limb failure during our upcoming storm season and
especially in winter weather events due to tree’s not having time to
develop reaction wood to be able to support the extra weight.”

The
extra weight on our tree’s limbs, especially after years of drought
that might have already weakened your tree, can cause branches to fall
on your property, including your roof.

So what can you do?

“This
is an optimal time to have your trees professionally pruned to reduce
limb end weight,” explains Ken. “But, beware of any tree service’s that
would prune your trees from the inside-out instead of the outside-in to
reduce weight. Pruning your trees from the inside-out or “lion’s tailing
can leave your trees vulnerable and compromise their structural
integrity. Unlike grass, we only get one shot to prune a tree correctly
or it can take several years for them to bounce back from a poor pruning
job, if they bounce back at all.”

We always suggest you use a company who employs experienced Certified Arborists. Before you know it, winter ice, rain and high winds will be upon us. Prepare your trees before the storms hit!

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