Once you reduce a tree down to a stump, it may seem like that is the end of the tree’s lifespan. However, this is not always the case for stumps. Sometimes, a tree can remain alive – with a little help from its neighbors.
Scientists recently found a kauri stump in New Zealand that is very much still alive. The stump, which is pictured above, was discovered while Sebastian Leuzinger was on a hike. Leuzinger noticed that this tree had live tissue, as opposed to the deadwood of a regular tree stump. Living stumps have been documented since 1833, but this is the first instance of this occurring (that we have found, at least) in the kauri tree (Ed Yong, The Atlantic).
This stump can only be kept alive one way: by exchanging nutrients and water with the trees surrounding it. The exchange of materials between trees is not a new phenomenon, trees have been found to use fungi to transfer nutrients from tree to tree. However, for this kauri stump to stay alive, it most definitely is connected to one or more trees via a root graft. In a root graft, the roots of two or more plants grow together and connect, allowing them to directly share resources without the help of fungi. Up to 150 species of trees are known to form root grafts (Kelly Mayes, Science).
Another thing that makes living stumps remarkable is the anatomy of the tree. How it is set up, the tree can only pull water up from its roots to its canopy. This action occurs as water evaporates off of the leaves, which then pulls up more water to take its place.
“The stump’s water flows at a fifth the speed of its neighbors’, but it does flow. The speed of that flow depends on what the surrounding trees are doing. If the neighbors’ sap flows faster, the stump’s sap flows slower. But if the neighbors reduce transpiration, whether at night or during heavy rain, the stump’s sap starts racing. This suggests that it isn’t just a passive part of its neighbors’ roots. Instead, it seemingly uses their downtime to gain more water” (Ed Yong, The Atlantic).
This is quite a remarkable find. While there is no evidence that all tree species can do this, and root grafting can only occur between two or more compatible species, this still has implications for the tree service business. So if you have a stump in your yard that looks exceptionally alive or that you notice has living tissue rather than exclusively deadwood, you might have a living stump on your hands! A living stump does not pose any danger to your yard if it is left alone, and in fact, damage can occur to the living trees if root separation is attempted.
If you would like to know more about our Stump Grinding services, click here!
Dutch elm disease (DED) is caused by an aggressive fungus (Ophiostoma novo-ulmi) that kills elms regardless of their health. It is considered the most costly shade tree disease ever and will remain active in a community as long as there are susceptible trees. The fungus invades the water transporting vessels and produces toxins to which the tree reacts. In defense to the toxins, the tree produces gums and internal growths designed to block the advance of the fungus. The combination of the toxins and the defense mechanisms of the tree inhibit water flow to the crown, which causes wilting and tree death.
How Does Dutch Elm Disease Spread?
Female elm bark beetles lay their eggs beneath the bark of dead and dying elm trees. If the elm is infected with Dutch elm disease the newly hatched beetles will emerge from the tree carrying the deadly fungus on their bodies. The beetles fly to healthy trees and feed on its 2 – 4 year old branches, thereby spreading the disease.
Besides beetle transmission, Dutch elm disease may also be spread through grafted roots. When elms grow in proximity to each other, their roots can come into contact and graft together. This common root system provides the fungus with a pathway to spread through an entire stand of healthy elms very quickly.
What are the Symptoms of DED?
Dutch elm disease symptoms begin to develop 4 – 6 weeks after infection. The first noticeable symptom that results from the fungal occupation of the water-conducting vessels is wilting or “flagging” of one or more branches, usually starting at the branch tip. Leaves on infected branches turn dull green to yellow, curl, and become dry and brittle. As the infection spreads the wood beneath the bark displays brown discoloration.
What Can I do if My Tree is Already Infected?
Most infected elms cannot be saved. In rare cases, if the fungus has not moved into the root system, physically cutting out infected portions of the tree, with a process called tracing, can save the elm.
Sanitation is the most important tool for controlling Dutch elm disease on a community-wide basis. It involves the identification and removal of diseased elms. Such practices eliminate beetle breeding sites and reduce the number of disease-carrying beetles.
Dutch elm disease can pass from infected trees into healthy trees through grafted roots. Macro-infusion of Arbotect does not prevent root graft infections. The only way to reliably prevent root graft transmission of the fungus is to physically sever the common root system.
How Can I Protect my Elm Tree?
The goal when protecting elms from the fungus is to evenly and completely distribute a fungicide chemical thorough the entire canopy of the tree.
To protect a tree from beetle-transmitted fungal infection, Arbotect fungicide must be evenly and completely distributed throughout the 2 – 4 year old branches.
The only way to get even distribution is by the tree injection method called macro-infusion. Macro-infusion injects a large volume of solution into the root flares of the tree. This solution is then transported throughout the canopy providing a protective fungicide barrier.
Arbortect fungicide does not protect elms from root graft infection. You need to physically server the root system from neighboring trees by trenching at least 36″ down.
Below is an article Noel, our owner, recently wrote for TCI Magazine on employee retention through engagement
We all know how hard it is to find good help right now. While hiring great help is a challenge, it’s just the first part of building a great staff. Your company is probably a mix of experienced help, untrained new hires and everything in between. Maybe you are still trying to figure out which members of your team you want to retain and which ones you might need to “release to their destiny.” When do you start to invest in an employee’s long-term future in your company? More importantly, how are you going to retain your best people?
Compensation, security, growth, and management are just a few pieces of the employee-retention puzzle. Another element, and the one I want to focus on most for this article, is engagement. When employees are engaged, it means they are fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work. They are more likely to take positive actions to further the organization’s reputation and interests. Engaged employees feel they can make a difference and want to be a part of something larger than just their own position. Engaged employees are happier and more productive and are connected with each other.
Before I lay out some strategies to get your team more engaged, I must confess that I have failed in this endeavor numerous times in my own company. I have a small team of 13 people, and we have a very low turnover rate. Most of my employees have been with me for more than five years. But on several occasions, I have kept a productive employee around who I was not able to engage in our ethos of teamwork and constant improvement. Sure, they could climb a tree and operate machinery, but their unwillingness to buy in and become a part of our team culture led to other crew members not wanting to work with them and a general negative attitude within the ranks. Employee retention cannot be about keeping every employee; it has to be about keeping and engaging the best people and removing the ones who damage your company spirit.
Some of the basic tenets for engaging your employees are:
• Employees who understand their goals and how they relate to the company’s goals are more engaged.
• Employees who receive regular feedback and rewards are more engaged.
• Employees who are given opportunities to grow, learn and advance are more engaged.
I know, I just made it sound so easy. But we all know that none of these are as easy as they sound. I will share a few ways we have found to accomplish these goals in our company, with the disclaimer that what works in our culture may not work in yours. Because we are such a small company, we are able to employ many informal practices that may not be possible in larger companies. Engagement looks different in every company!
When it comes to understanding goals, there are countless ways to accomplish the task. I used to work at a company where each employee’s production was posted on a chart on the wall, where you could see your goals and compare them to others’. It worked there, but I chose a different route for our company because of my concerns that that system might cause more emphasis on competition within the company than teamwork and common goals.
We operate as an “open-book” company, so any employee can see where the money comes from and where it goes at any point in time. This gives all employees a better view of the big picture, and we welcome ideas from all team members on how we can be more efficient and profitable. As the company grows and becomes more profitable, all team members reap the benefits. Last year, every employee in our company received two raises because of their engaged efforts to raise the bar on quality and production.
For number two, feedback and rewards, we are always looking for better ways to let each team member know where he or she stands. To be honest, this practice is a very difficult one to manage in a company of any size. Part of the issue is that some team members really want to have the formal written employee review, while others prefer to just be pulled aside for a conversation about improvement – or a very public, kick-ass high five in front of everyone for their successes. We try to do a combination of both, although it is a struggle to make the time for formal reviews.
One other reward we use in our company is called “F-yeah Friday.” There are many weeks when we all get to the end of the day on Friday and everyone can just feel that we have had a really great week. We all gave 100%, nothing got broken, quality was top-notch and we worked safely. While there is no numeric formula that designates it as an “F-yeah Friday,” it is a feeling of team accomplishment that leads to the occasional unexpected meeting at the end of the day where everyone gets a few hundred dollars of cash from my checking account and a frosty beer while we talk about what our weekend plans are. While I eat the expense personally, it is worth it to provide them immediate feedback and reward for high performance as a team.
Of the three engagement tenets above, I most enjoy giving my crew opportunities to grow, learn and advance. One of our strongest cultural values is personal improvement. We encourage and reward credentialing. Because of the focus we put on certifications, we have two ISA Board Certified Master Arborists and seven more ISA Certified Arborists in a company of 13 people. While it takes time to get the ball rolling, I have found that once you get buy-in from a few, the interest in becoming certified becomes contagious. Another part of our investment in advancement is our company participation in the tree-climbing championship circuit. As a former competitor, I know how the competitions fueled my fire as I grew as an arborist. Now we have a company bus we take to several comps each year (except this year, as all were canceled!), and most of our team either compete or volunteer at the events. After every trip, the climbers on the crew can’t wait to use the new tricks and techniques they learned. The crew members also become emotionally engaged because of their exposure to a much larger view of our industry, instead of seeing only our little corner of the world.
I have many friends in the tree care business who have even better employee-retention rates than our company, and in every case, the reason is that their team is fully engaged and pushing together to be a success. Unfortunately, there is not room in this article to compile all the methods being implemented, but I am excited to have shared a few things that have worked well within our team. I encourage you to think of ways you might look past the usual tools of employee retention, like compensation and benefits. We will almost always find employees who are willing to stay if the money is right, but employees driven solely by income can poison your company’s culture. It is also unfortunate that some good employees will leave your company for personal reasons, even after you have trained them to proficiency. While it is disappointing to see a good employee leave after you have trained them, your company will suffer more if you don’t invest in them and they never go away.
If you would like to read this article on the TCI Magazine website, click here!
All About Trees is caring for Springfield’s urban forest, one tree at a time.
We’ve all had experiences with a customer who, no matter what you do, you just can’t make happy. Maybe you didn’t prune enough, maybe you pruned too much. The price was too high, the grass got torn up or you made them go inside because they kept entering the drop zone under the trees. Regardless of the complaint, they claim their expectations of how the job would be done were not met.
Noel cutting a tree limb, which is part of the tree removal process.
The very first step is to look within the company first. Did the salesperson do a good job of communicating the right expectations? Were the specifications for the job written clearly, with concise details of the work to be performed? Did the crew do exactly what was on the work order? Were they careless in protecting the customer’s property? Were they polite and willing to listen to the client’s complaints, and make every reasonable attempt to make them happy?
In many cases, we discover that we didn’t do a good job of building the right expectations, and then we must engage in conflict-resolution strategies. It also leads to us writing more verbose specifications, especially if we anticipate that the client may be difficult.
Sometimes, after all these assessments have been looked at honestly, we discover that we are working for a person who is simply unreasonable. I have had numerous clients through the years who make it a practice to complain after every single job. I have had customers (often lawyers!) who refuse to pay for the beautiful deadwooding job we did, because they actually just wanted the tree topped. I have been burned to the ground in online reviews over trees that weren’t ever discussed or included on the work order.
In our company, we make every reasonable effort to resolve these issues. Our reputation is our second-most valuable asset – our employees, our first. We do have a limit, however, to how much we will let someone take advantage of our good spirit.
We keep a list of exceptionally difficult clients so that when or if they call back, we simply tell them we are politely bowing out, and they will need to find a new provider. If a client is mean or cussing at my office staff, they immediately get fired as a customer. While we don’t like losing the income from this type of client, we have always found a boost in morale when we announce to the staff that they will never have to endure them again.
Continuing to work for such unreasonable clients is certainly setting your team up for failure.
Jumping Oak Gall FOREST HEALTH ALERT From the Missouri Department of Conservation
Tree species affected: White oak (Quercus alba) primarily, and some other white oak group species.
Concerns: Leaves on entire crowns of white oak trees turning brown in late spring. In some areas, whole hillsides appear brown.
Description: High populations of a very tiny, native, stingless wasp (Neuroterus sp.) cause pinhead-size galls (abnormal plant growths) to form on the undersides of leaves. Each round, button -like gall contains one wasp larva. Starting at the margins, brown, scorch-like areas appear on leaves where many galls are present. In more severe cases, leaves curl up, turn black, and drop early from trees. Effects of the damage become noticeable in late spring or early summer and remain visible until fall.
Most galls drop from leaves in early summer. Brown pockmarks remain where galls had been attached. Fallen galls are sometimes observed to “jump” due to vigorous movements of larvae within, much like moth larvae of “Mexican jumping beans.” This behavior allows galls to fall deeper into grass and leaf litter where they are sheltered throughout the coming winter.
Many species of gall wasps have two generations per year. It is assumed that the jumping oak gall wasp in Missouri has a similar life history with one generation lasting only a few weeks in early spring and rarely being noticed. The second generation extends from spring through the following winter and causes most of the leaf damage. Outbreaks typically last for one or two years and then fade away as natural controls reduce gall wasp numbers again.
Similar Leaf Issues: In years with cool wet springs, fungal diseases can be abundant on trees and may also cause leaf browning. Anthracnose is common on white oak foliage in those conditions. Botryosphaeria twig canker causes leaves on infected small branches to wilt and turn brown, which results in “flagging” in the canopy during the summer. Typically, twig bark shrivels and turns brown where the canker occurs, near the junction with healthy tissue.
Recommendations: Galls and fungi that affect oak leaves rarely have a significant impact on tree health. Nearly all trees will recover, even if all leaves are brown. Controls are not warranted. By the time the damage is observed, any opportunity to treat has already passed for that year, and populations are likely to decline naturally. However, severe leaf damage stresses trees, particularly if most leaves on a tree are killed which results in a second flush of leaves emerging in summer. The best tactic is using good tree care practices that reduce stress (mulching, watering during drought, avoiding wounds due to lawnmowers and trimmers).
Questions? Contact your local forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Find contact information for your county and more at mdc.mo.gov.
Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle from Asia that was discovered (in North America) in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage, causing little damage. However, the larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, eventually killing the tree.
The emerald ash borer most likely arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes arriving from Asia, and has most likely spread by hitchhiking on firewood transported among homes and recreation areas in at least 34 states.
In addition to Missouri, the emerald ash borer has been found in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, as well as, the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
Since its discovery in the US, the emerald ash borer has:
Killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in at least 34 states.
Caused regulatory agencies to enforce quarantines and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.
Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries millions of dollars.
Take action before removal is your only option! If you have an ash tree, you have the choice to protect or remove your tree(s). We recommend that residents consider protecting large, well-placed, healthy private ash trees as part of an EAB treatment program.
Considerations for Treatment:
Tree size greater than 10” in diameter.
The Tree is not competing with other trees or infrastructure.
The Ash tree shows no more than 30% of canopy decline if an infestation is suspected.
The ISA Board Certified Master Arborist credential is the highest level of certification offered by International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This credential recognizes ISA Certified Arborists who have reached the pinnacle of their profession. In addition to passing an extensive scenario-based exam, candidates must abide by a Code of Ethics, which ensures the quality of work. Fewer than two percent of all ISA Certified Arborists® currently hold this certification, and All About Trees has two! We are very lucky to have two individuals with the Board Certified Master Arborist credential.
ALL ABOUT TREES TWO ISA BOARD CERTIFIED MASTER ARBORISTS!
Noel Boyer ISA Board Certified Master Arborist®
ISA Board Certified Master Arborist®
Our Certified Arborists
In addition to two Board Certified Master Arborists, All About Trees also has seven ISA Certified Arborists on staff. To view a list of our Certified Arborists, click here!
If you would like to schedule an estimate, please call the office at 417-863-6214. Our office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. If you miss us, please leave us a detailed voicemail message with your name, address, phone number, email, and tree concerns.
We prefer a call, but if you are unable to do so, please use the contact form below.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a serious threat to ash trees in Missouri. This invasive pest will eventually kill unprotected ash trees. Many trees can be saved with the careful use of systemic insecticides. However, not all ash trees should be treated, and for many locations the start of treatments should be delayed.
1. What is emerald ash borer (EAB)?
EAB is an exotic, invasive, wood-boring beetle that infests and
kills ash trees in forests and urban areas.
2. What does EAB look like?
The adult beetle is dark metallic green with a bullet shaped body
that is one-half inch long and one-eighth inch wide. EAB larvae
(immature stage) are flat, creamy-white grubs with distinct bellshaped
body segments. Adult beetles are usually seen from midMay
through July on or near ash trees; larvae are found under the
bark of ash trees during the remaining months of the year.
3. Where did EAB come from?
The native range of EAB is eastern Russia, northern China
4. How does EAB spread?
EAB adults generally fly less than a half mile to mate and lay eggs
on ash trees, making the natural spread of this pest relatively
slow. Humans, however, can easily move EAB long distances in
a short period of time. EAB can hitchhike under the bark of ash
firewood, ash nursery stock, and ash logs and lumber, emerging
from these materials to start an infestation in a new area.
5. When was EAB first discovered in the USA? How did it get there?
EAB was discovered infesting and killing ash trees in the Detroit,
Michigan area in 2002, but researchers estimate it may have been
in that area for ten years prior to the initial detection. EAB was
likely introduced to the US in ash wood used for packing and crating
goods imported from China.
6. Where and when was EAB found in Missouri? How did it get here?
EAB was detected in Missouri in July of 2008. It was found near
Lake Wappapello at the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Greenville
Recreation Area in Wayne County. EAB was likely introduced to
Missouri by a camper bringing infested ash firewood from another
7. Where is EAB now?
Visit eab.missouri.edu to view a current map of Missouri
8. What is being done about EAB in Missouri?
Several state and federal agencies are responding to the EAB
threat. Field surveys are done annually to look for new EAB
infestations. A statewide quarantine has been put in place
to help slow the spread of EAB. The quarantine prohibits
movement of hardwood firewood, ash trees, untreated ash
material (chips, logs, etc.), and EAB itself from Missouri.
Information about how to respond to EAB and the risks of
firewood movement is being publicized to communities,
industries and the general public. Cost-share funds are
provided to communities to help them prepare for EAB’s arrival.
Stingless wasps that parasitize and kill EAB eggs and larvae
are being released at several locations to establish them as
biological controls to help reduce EAB populations.
9. How can I help slow the spread of EAB?
Don’t move firewood! Inform your friends and neighbors of
the risks of moving firewood. If EAB hasn’t been found in your
county, keep an eye out for it on ash trees and report any
possible sightings to officials. Once EAB is known to be in
your county, consult the EAB Management Guide for Missouri
Homeowners for advice on managing this destructive insect on
your ash trees.
10. Does EAB have any natural enemies?
In North America, EAB is frequently eaten by woodpeckers.
There are also a few species of tiny, stingless wasps that
parasitize EAB eggs and larvae. These wasps have been
released in a few locations where EAB has been detected
to help reduce EAB populations. For more information on
EAB biological control, visit agriculture.mo.gov/plants/pests/
Arborists specialize in the care of individual trees. They are knowledgeable about the needs of trees, and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.
An arborist by definition is an individual who is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. ISA arborist certification is a nongovernmental, voluntary process by which individuals can document their base of knowledge. Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care.