How to Choose an Arborist?

How to Choose an Arborist?

by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist
Mother Natures Moment, September 2019

When choosing someone to trim your mature woody plants, a.k.a. trees and shrubs, it is important to have a few questions top of mind.

Should you pick the big franchise company, your landscaper or the guy or gal you saw down the street with the truck and chainsaw?

The very first thing you should insist on is hiring an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborist.

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The Amazing Process of Evapotranspiration

The Amazing Process of Evapotranspiration

Mother Nature’s Moment • July/August 2019
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

It is difficult for us to remember that less than four weeks ago the temperatures were consistently in the 60’s and rainy, and we were wearing coats and rain gear almost everyday. We are all happy for the more summer like weather, however, the trees view it a bit differently.

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After Winter Woes

After Winter Woes

Mother Nature’s Moment - June 2019
by: Lesley Bruce Smith

This year Boxwoods, Japanese Maples and honeybees all have something in common. They were all very badly affected by the vicious “polar vortex” freezing temperatures we experienced over the winter. Gilbert and I and our crews have seen more winter kill this spring than we have ever seen before, and for Gil that means in the last 50 years of trimming and caring for trees. It is a sad thing for us and for many of our clients who have lost favorite Redbuds or Japanese Maples or long time hedges of Boxwood. If it is any consolation just know that about 30-40% of the Japanese Maples in our practice were lost through this last winter.

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How Do Trees Grow?

How Do Trees Grow?

Mother Nature’s Moment, April 2019
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

This last quarter we have taught several workshops that focus on tree trimming. Whenever we have a chance to get in front of people to talk about trees, we don’t miss the opportunity to talk about tree physiology. Now before you click to the next thing with a big yawn, give me a moment to share with you just how exciting this subject can be. Understanding tree physiology helps those of us that live and work with trees to know how to help them live the longest and healthiest lives possible. As an arborist of almost 40 years I can tell you that some of the most damaging practices done to and around trees are done because of the many misconceptions we have about them. Understanding a bit about how trees live and grow helps us to be good tree friends.

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Blue Spruce Blues

Blue Spruce Blues

Mother Nature’s Moment August 2018
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

This year has been a tough one for the Blue Spruce (Picea pungens ‘Glauca’). More accurately, this year appears to have been a tough one for Blue Spruce because we have been called into a lot of situations to evaluate Blue Spruces that are in terrible shape. The problems that they are exhibiting now began at a minimum of 15-18 months ago.

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Riverbirch with Falling Leaves

Riverbirch with Falling  Leaves

Mother Nature’s Moment August 2018
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

Over the last week or so we have received a number of calls and have noticed with our own Riverbirch that there are a lot of yellow leaves on the ground. This spring we had an unprecedented spring of cool temperatures and lots of rain, and then more rain. All that weather triggered the trees to produce an equally unprecedented number of leaves, or in tree language “food producing evapo-transpirators” which translated means that leaves not only produce food for the tree from the sun’s energy but they transpire water through the tiny holes they have called stomata.

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Tree Planting Tribulation

Tree Planting Tribulation

Mother Nature’s Moment June/July 2018
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

This time of year we find ourselves on a lot of properties that have young trees that are struggling or dead. As arborists we are the ones that get called in to diagnose, treat and in the sad cases do post mortem on trees that were installed less than two or three years ago and have just not survived. The reason we get called instead of the folks who installed the trees is because the infamous “guarantee” has expired along with the tree.

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Poison Ivy Primer

Poison Ivy Primer

Mother Nature's Moment
© 2017, 2011 text and photos by Lesley Bruce Smith

This season finds many of us out in our gardens or in local forest preserves, with fall color not far away.  Since we spend a good deal of time in your yards, as well, we know that there is a lot of poison ivy out there, even more with all the rain we have had.  As professionals, we realize that the best way to avoid this often agonizing malady is to be able to identify and stay clear of the plant.

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Spring Reminder

Spring Reminder

Mother Nature’s Moment, April 2018
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

We all wait, not so patiently, for the warmer weather and spring time flowers. It is certainly one of our favorite times of year. The trees and shrubs are ready to explode, having worked very hard last summer, when the sunlight was at its zenith, creating all the buds that are full of sugars and about to burst out into flowers, leaves and eventually fruit. The key here is to remember that this year’s flowers and leaves were created last year, so if autumn or spring clean-up includes “shearing” the outside of the  shrubs, most of the flowers will go away. A sad thing that we see repeated EVERY year.

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Fertilizing Facts and Fiction

Fertilizing Facts and Fiction

Mother Nature’s Moment, October/November 2017
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

This time of year we often receive calls from individuals requesting to have their trees fertilized. Fertilizing one’s trees seems like such a good thing to do for them, and yet there are so many misconceptions about tree fertilizer that, as arborists, we often are trying to bring clarity to this area of tree care.

The first thing we need to understand about fertilizer, or the first fact, is that it is NOT tree food. Trees make their own food from the energy of the sun!! This is actually science we learned in the second grade but many of us have forgotten it, or at least, have forgotten the ramifications of that fact.  

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Selecting the Right Person to Trim Your Trees

Selecting the Right Person to Trim Your Trees

Mother Nature’s Moment - July/August 2017
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

A few weeks ago a friend of ours who lives outside our service area asked me about how to choose someone to trim his trees. His inquiry came in like this…

We’d actually like a filtered referral. A couple of years ago a friend at church hired a tree trimer and afterward felt that both he and his tree had been scalped. How do we decide if a big franchise or landscaping company will do any better or worse than a man with a rope and a chain saw? What questions should we ask?
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Spring Weather and Your Trees

Spring Weather and Your Trees

Mother Nature’s Moment - July/August 2017
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

I don’t know if you have noticed, but we seem somewhat overwhelmed with how the rain and sun and rain, and rain and rain and sun have created huge amounts of growth on all our trees and shrubs, and all yours too!  The trees and shrubs love mild (not too hot) moist conditions which trigger them to put out lots of green leaves=food producers=water evaporators.

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Trees and Air Pollution

Mother Nature’s Moment - May/June 2017
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

Gilbert has discussed the phenomenon of Witches Brooming on trees. It is essentially one of the trees’ reactions to pollution. But he did not mention the fact that one of the amazing and now proven facts about trees and air pollution is that most deciduous trees have an amazing capacity for absorbing our pollution.

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Trees are Good for Us

Trees are Good for Us

April 2017 - Mother Nature’s Moment
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

As someone who has just spent the last 2 years having to be VERY intentional about recovering from both a severe bicycle accident and a breast cancer diagnosis it seems fitting that I would write about the benefits of trees on our health.  

I’ve noticed a large number of people posting about Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, which became part of a national health program in Japan in 1982 and essentially just means being in the presence of trees.

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Coming Back from the Ashes

Coming Back from the Ashes

Mother Nature’s Moment
by ISA Certified Arborist: Lesley Bruce Smith

As many of you know, I have just recently passed the one year mark of my breast cancer diagnosis.  I am happy to report that although the work is as yet unfinished, all my one year scans are clean and clear. This is good news and worth celebrating. Yahoo!

At the beginning of this journey I just kept thinking I wanted to “get back to normal”.

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Amazing Trees, Amazing Me!

Amazing Trees, Amazing Me!

Mother Nature’s Moment - April 2016
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA certified arborist

I have spent the whole of my professional career explaining to people that trees are amazing organisms with an innate wisdom. This requests of us that we approach them with humility, and recognize that they have the ability to heal themselves far beyond what we are capable of understanding.  As a result, we seek to be careful observers of the natural environment and do our best to mimic that in our home landscapes in order to provide the best possible home for our tree friends to survive and thrive.  

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An Invitation to a Different Kind of Journey

An Invitation to a Different Kind of Journey

Mother Nature’s Moment

by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA certified arborist

As many of you know, nine months ago, I sustained a litany of injuries in a serious bicycle accident. We were so grateful for the many ways you were patient and caring in that difficult time. Unfortunately, I need to ask for your patience and understanding yet again. On February 2, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, we caught it early and it is in initial stages and very treatable. However, no one wants to hear their name and the word cancer in the same sentence. This is a journey I would rather not be having to make.

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A Word About Winter Storm Damage

A Word About Winter Storm Damage

Mother Nature’s Moment

by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA certified arborist

Why is it important to repair damaged and broken branches in the winter? You might be surprised to learn why.

In the unexpected and heavy November 2015 snow storm we experienced a large amount of tree damage. As I have been driving around the North Shore it is obvious that many of the broken or hanging branches have not been attended to. The reason it is important to “repair” these damaged branches NOW is because without leaves the damage is easier to see and it is easier to correct.

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Doing the Right Thing

Doing the Right Thing

Mother Nature’s Moment
October/November 2015

Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist

This fall I received a startling reminder of one of our core values as a company.  I drive a Volkswagon Jetta TDI, which was sold to me as a clean diesel engine with fabulous gas mileage.  For the last four and a half years I have been happily driving my car, thrilled with the sense that I was not polluting the air and getting terrific gas mileage of around 40 mpg. This month’s news has been saturated with stories about VW making choices over and over again to “do the wrong thing”.  To cheat, to lie to their customers and their dealers, and to the governments in the countries where they sell their cars. Yikes...what were they thinking??

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