by Joseph Christopher on March 8th, 2015

I was driving through a Princeton neighborhood a few weeks ago alert for trees of interest. My eye was caught by a couple of examples of what I intially registered as nightmare tree work. I parked my car and knocked on a door. At this point I cooled my jets just a little a thought a bit, so I was not sputtering like an idiot when the homeowner came to the door. After introducing myself as an Arborist on a fact finding mission, I asked my first question: "Is that your tree there by the edge of your yard?" I was pointing to a 30 foot tall White Pine stump that had forlorn needles waving at its top. "No!" I asked if she knew the story of how it came to look like that. "Yes!" Then followed a tale of devastating storm damage followed by an acute lack of funds. Ah. Fair enough!

Next came the really ugly tree in her backyard. It was an Ash that had once been lovely and spreading wide, but now its crown was uniformly rounded over, each remaining branch end stubbed back and about six inches in diameter. I had a pair of questions already. "Was this pruning done for you?" "Yes!", and was it done to your specifications?"-again "Yes!" She followed with the story: "The tree was mostly dead and my arborist at the time recommended its removal. I told him that I'd prefer to keep as much of the tree as I can, even if it's all dead. I asked that the tree be pruned only enough to minimize the threat of it hitting anything. He did just that and now I love watching the woodpeckers and other wildlife as they visit my tree." There we have another good answer.

Now for the coda to this story, and it's absolutely true! As we were walking out toward the street, I noticed that a few of her trees had recently been pruned for simple deadwood maintenance. The Pin Oaks were at the edge of her driveway and not more than eighteen inches in diameter. A scuff on one of the trees lead me to look closer. I couldn't believe my eyes! Spike marks!  Some climber had mistaken these trees for telephone poles and used gaff hooks to ascend them. I haven't seen this kind of unprofessional behavior in years, and never before in my six years working in Princeton. I checked with the tree's owner, asking if she had been informed of the spiking of her trees either before or after the fact. A most emphatic "No!" You might imagine her unhappiness- she loves her trees! I suggested that she might call the tree company responsible for the damage and ask for an explanation...or maybe a refund! I haven't heard how that conversation went, but I hope she got through it without crying.

by Jack Scratchard on February 26th, 2015


by Jack Scratchard on January 11th, 2015

Since we last wrote about this serious invasive insect problem, it has been found in three New Jersey counties (Somerset, Mercer, and Burlington) making it a much more urgent matter. You'll note that we've added an additional section to our services for more information and guidance. If you live within fifteen miles of the known affected areas and have ash trees of value, you may wish to consider treatment. To treat or not to treat will depend on a number of factors. These should include the strategic value of the ash tree in question to the landscape, cost of removal if it dies, your own personal diposition toward the tree(s) and, of course, the treatment cost factors. Silva Guard's state and nationally certified arborists can help with those decisions. Give us a call or email for a free consultation.
Link for attached map above showing areas of infestation:

by Phil Scratchard on January 11th, 2015

Tree care should be a year round endeavor. Whether it's safety pruning or putting together plant care programs that head off future problems, winter is a great time to do it. Many of us don't realize it, but optimal time for pruning is when trees are dormant. When trees lose their leaves, dead limbs and structural deficiencies are easier to spot. Pruning and tree removals can also be more cost effective during the winter months. In addition, it can be a great time to recognize problems with weak plants and plan for landscape maintenance and renewal for the upcoming growing season. Root injections of nutrients and some insect treatments can begin as early as late winter!!

by Jack Scratchard on March 2nd, 2014

 The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect originally found around the Great Lakes in Michigan in 2002. It has since spread to 22 known states and killed tens of millions of Ash trees. It arrived in packing crates from Asia and is most often spread by moving Ash firewood from region to region. The larvae  of the bright metallic green insect can kill healthy Ash trees in as few as several years by tunneling beneath the bark, disrupting food and water  transport systems. There are several options for treatment, but mostly require a proactive approach to be effective. Call or email our office to answer any  questions or schedule a consultation with a certified arborist.

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