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Arbor News - 2011

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When Saving Money Gets Expensive
By Brian Cassity-Certified Arborist WI-0106

This story takes place in Cranston, Rhode Island, but similar events due to similar thinking can and do happen everywhere, including your own backyard.

Excerpts from an article by David Schwartz

In this era of massive budget shortfalls, every municipality from the largest to the smallest is looking to save money. The City of Cranston, Rhode Island’s solution was to have their Department of Public Works prune the 28 year old Honey Locusts. So much for good ideas.

There were approximately 40-45 honey Locusts, which were installed in 1982-1983 as part of a renovation of the Rolfe Square business district. The city had hired a landscape architect to design an esthetically pleasing business area. The cost of the project at the time was $175,000.

The most damaging aspect of the “public works” pruning was the amount of foliage removed. Many of the trees had been stripped of up to 75% of their foliage and many of the pruning cuts were poorly done.

ANSI A300 Part 1-6.1.4 specifies; not more then 25 percent of the foliage should be removed within an annual growing season. For these trees now, the next few years is excessive suckering, sunscald and progressive decline. The energy that they need to fend off insects and disease will be used for healing unnecessary wounds.

As professional arborists, our primary goal is to care for trees on their journey through time so that they can be passed on for the enjoyment of the next generation. We are the “Guardians of Tomorrow.” Poor tree care has the greatest impact on a tree, and trees have very long memories. One of the principal percepts of medical ethics is “do no harm.” The ethical practitioner of arboriculture needs to apply this guideline as well.

The city has said that it has saved the taxpayers about $20,000.00 by doing the pruning “in house”. This figure was never justified by any formal bid. If this job had ANSI specifications as guidelines, it would have figured in at approximately $14,000.00. The locusts that make up this grove vary in diameter from 7 inches to 16 inches.

As an exercise, an evaluation of the 15 trees damaged; estimate each tree to be devalued by 66 percent. A net loss of $70,290.00.

Help! Im Being Invaded
By Susan Tangen-Certified Arborist WI-0684A

Have you ever gone out in your yard on a nice sunny summer day and found Japanese beetles devouring the leaves or flowers of your ornamental plants? Although these beetles do not directly kill trees and shrubs, they can totally defoliate them if the population is high. Unfortunately, total eradication of Japanese beetle is not possible because they are not only in your yard; they are in yards all around you. To make matters worse, Japanese beetles can fly up to 5 miles in search of suitable plants to feed on. Here are some control methods to help reduce the amount of damage on your ornamentals caused by Japanese beetles.

Timing is important in the control of Japanese beetles. Start control early, before the population becomes high. The first beetles that arrive in your yard are the scouts; they find suitable plants to feed on and alert additional beetles to the plant. So controlling the first beetles in the yard may reduce the overall amount through-out the season.

Hand picking Japanese beetles off of small plants and dropping them in a jar of soapy water works well. Early morning or late evening is the best time for hand picking because the beetles are slow at these times; however, you can hand pick whenever you see them on your plants. This method may be good for small plants with a low population of beetles but what about the large trees or shrubs with hundreds, if not thousands, of beetles on them.

Insecticide sprays could be done if the beetle population is high; they provide a quick kill at the time of spraying. Some insecticides even leave a residue on the foliage for short periods of time which can kill the beetles that fly in after spraying. In order for the beetles to ingest the insecticide, they must feed on the foliage but the damage caused by the feeding will be less than if the plant was not sprayed at all. When beetle population is high, sprays may be needed every 5 to 10 days.

A soil inject insecticide is another option. This method is good for larger trees where spraying may not provide adequate coverage or multiple sprays are not desired. This method requires an insecticide to be injected into the soil where it can be taken up by the roots; it must be injected into the soil before the beetles emerge in late June. In order for the beetle to ingest the insecticide, they must feed on some of the foliage. So, the plant may have some Japanese beetle on it but they would soon die from the insecticide. One application should provide adequate control through-out the beetle activity period.

Insecticides applied to the lawn area to control the grubs (larvae of the Japanese beetle) may help reduce the Japanese beetle population in your yard, but you need to remember these pests are flying in from other areas to find suitable plants to feed on. So, unless everyone in the area is doing the same, this method will not provide a large reduction in the beetle population.

If you consider putting up a Japanese beetle trap in your yard, DON’T. Traps are more effective attracting the beetles than trapping them and will not provide satisfactory protection to the plants being eaten.

No matter what control method you chose, remember, total eradication of Japanese beetle is not possible and even though insecticides have been applied to your plants, the beetles will still come in your yard in search of food. Japanese beetles are here to stay so the goal is to reduce the amount of damage caused by this insect.

Root Plate Resistance To Failure
Excerpts from an article by Kim D. Coder

All trees fail with time. The means of trees standing erect against wind and gravity loads (anchorage) involve a complex set of soil and structural interactions. Successful tree anchorage over time depends upon both the size of wind and gravity loads placed on a tree, and the tree/site structural resistance to these loads. Resistance to wind and gravity loading is distributed and shared throughout a tree in various components.

For tree health care providers, assessing risk of tree damage and failure is critical. Trees have many structural components which must be protected from damage and must be examined for failure risks, in order to provide for sustainable tree life.

Size Matters

Many individual tree and soil factors contribute in some way to tree anchorage. A number of key tree anchorage attributes have been identified and are directly linked to tree size..

Other tree size features relate to tree anchorage include tree diameter-height relationships. Because trees are continually challenged and react to changing mechanical loads, bigger trees have had longer time to adjust to wind conditions and are more difficult to uproot than smaller, younger trees.

Multiple Factors

Beyond basic tree size lies a complex set of anchorage factors. Anchorage of trees depends primarily upon the following items:

1. Soil must resist fracture (shear strength);

2. Longest major 2-3 windward roots must resist pulling out of the ground and breaking in tension;

3. Weight of tree on soil must be sufficiently great;

4. Downwind roots must resist buckling/hinging in compression and snapping in shear;

5. Stem base and large roots must provide a wide, stiff, supporting platform which resists splitting (delamination).

Root Plates

Tree root plates are one simple way to understand and work with tree anchorage in the field. Preventing tree damage, managing construction efforts around trees and appreciating storm risks are some of the values for using tree root plate models.

A tree root plate is composed of large diameter roots generated at the base of a stem. These large roots taper quickly away from the stem base. A point is reached along a large root where the structural dominance of root stiffness in supporting a tree shifts to dominance of root and soil tensile strength supporting a tree. This point of functional change in large roots represents the edge of a root plate. A tree root plate is a stiff, shallow horizontal disk-shaped root area and associated soil mass under and near the stem base.


Root plate areas should remain untouched by soil changes and disruptions. Paving, trenching, compaction, and equipment cause damage (among other abuses of modern landscapes) should be avoided. Protection barriers should always be used where root plate damage could occur. Always protect as much of the root system as possible.

Trees remaining upright while sustaining large areas of highly variable wind and soil conditions are amazing! The biomechanical optimization of structures within a tree, within a highly variable and violent environment, is miraculous and difficult to fully appreciate. Root plates can help tree health care providers place a number of complex ideas within tree anchorage into a working framework for the field.

Root Plate Resistance To Failure

A true giant amount trees-the tallest known hardwood in the world-was discovered and mapped in Australia’s southern island state of Tasmania.

The swamp gum, a eucalyptus, was nicknamed Centurion and measured at 99.6 meters (326.8 ft) in height and 405 centimeters (13.3ft) in diameter.

Centurion is the world’s tallest eucalyptus tree and the tallest flowering plant. Only a few California coast redwood trees are taller. The tallest redwood is 115 meters (377 ft). Redwoods are softwood trees, which grow taller than hardwoods; however, botanists do not classify them as flowering plants.

Centurion was found about 80 kilometers (49.7 mi) southwest of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, in a state forest near the Tahune AirWalk.

Centurion was initially detected during an aerial survey using laser equipment called LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), LiDAR is an optical remote-sensing technology that uses laser pulses to measure the properties of scattered light to find a range or other information about a distant target. The tree, which may be 400 years old, has obviously survived some close calls. Evidence of logging dating to the 1950s was discovered nearby. The tree also survived a massive wildfire in 1934 that passed just west of it, and survive another fire in 1966 on its east side. Centurion has now been formally designated as a giant tree and is protected in a preserve in accordance with Forestry Tasmania’s policy.

Did you know about or "Sister" company?

What started in 2005 as a meeting at Grace Church on Hwy 31 to provide new trees for the grounds, soon expanded into a partnership and commercial nursery co-owned by Brian Cassity and Timothy Hoeffert. Located in Sturtevant, we have a nice selection of shade, ornamental and Spruce trees. Our lot at 9160 Charles St., in Sturtevant, serves as our sales yard and you’re also welcome to browse the nursery around the corner on Lori Lane. Visit our website at

Previous Arbor News Publications

This newsletter has adapted articles from the publications of the following organizations in addition to our original pictures and stories.

Cassity Tree Service - 9160 Charles Street - Sturtevant, WI. - 53177 - 262.886.5224