5 Popular Composting Myths

Not only is composting is good for the planet, but is also your first step towards proper tree care (see our article on Preparing Your Soil for Tree Planting)! Compost helps to divert waste away from our landfills and in return, and helps contribute to fewer greenhouse gases. If you’ve ever wanted to start composting, here’s a great article from Garden Myths by Robert Pavlis that shows you how to properly start composting.

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Myth #1: Compost Needs the Sun to Warm Up

Even our tree service professionals would admit that this myth contains some level of truth. Most of the heat generated in compost piles is the result of microbes digesting the organic matter. Their metabolic activities generate heat, which results in warmer piles. A warm environment will keep microbes active, but if the proper ratio of greens, browns, water and air are present, the microbes will generate their own heat, in which case composting can be done in full sun or shade.

In cold climates, the extra warm of the sun is helpful if the pile is made in early spring or fall, since it kick-starts the microbe’s activity and keeps the pile warner for them at a time when they don’t generate enough heat themselves.

A sunny location can also be a problem if it dries the pile too much. Th right level of water is essential for composting process.

Myth #2: Eggshells Are Good for the Compost Pile

People routinely add eggshells to the compost pile, believing they add value to the garden. That is mostly a myth.

Chicken eggshells contain a variety of nutrients that plants can use, including 50 ppm calcium, 39 ppm sulfur, 12 ppm sodium and 5% organic matter. The organic matter might be a surprise since it is not mentioned very often. Eggshells consist of a hard outer shell, and a soft inner white skin. The inner skin contains the organic matter and can be higher than 5% if they are not washed.

The organic matter, sulfur, magnesium, and potassium are beneficial for the garden, but you need a lot of eggs to add any significant amount. Sodium, at even low levels, is toxic to plants, and soil usually has lots of calcium, the exception might be sandy soil.

The problem with eggshells is that they do not decompose in slightly acidic or alkaline soils. Even when pulverized into a fine power, they take many years to add any value to the garden. When people hear this, they object and say that they know they decompose because they disappear. They disappear because they get broken into smaller and smaller pieces until you can’t see them, but they have not chemically decomposed.

Eggshells decompose more quickly in acidic soil, but it is still a very slow process. Consider the face that archeological digs find intact eggshells that have been buried for hundreds of years. You garden is no different.

Myth #3: Compost is Acidic

The pH of compost depends very much on the material you put into it. Wood products like sawdust will make the finished compost more acidic. If you use more manure or add some ashes from the fireplace, it will be more alkaline.

As the material decomposes, it goes through pH swings. In the initial stages, it forms organic acids that make the compost pile more acidic, lower the pH. In these acidic conditions, fungi grow better than bacteria and take over the pile and start to decompose the lignin and cellulose in plant material. As this process continues, the pH rises and bacteria become more populous. Therefore, the pH of your finished compost also depends on when you consider it to be finished. If you run things, it might still be more acidic. If you wait longer, it will be more alkaline.

Although the pH of commercial compost varies between 6 and 8, thelist can be used as a guide to estimate the pH of your compost:

  • Yard debris 7.7
  • Mixed manure 7.9
  • Leaf 7.2
  • Manure 6.4
  • Bark compost 5.4

Myth #4: Compost Will Acidify Soil

The claim is popular and is based on the assumption that compost is acidic.

Homemade compost is rarely acidic, so it won’t acidify soil. Even acidic compost is not likely to change soil pH.

One of the benefits of compost is that it buffers pH. As ions produces from decomposition process, it absorbs them and prevents them from affecting the pH of the soil. This buffering action has the effect of moving the soil pH cloer to neutral, but don’t expect huge swings.

Myth#5: Compost Tumblers Make Compost in Two Weeks

Manufacturers of compost tumblers claim that you can make compost in two weeks. This sounds like a great idea. Instead of waiting months, you can have instant compost.

A compost tumbler is some type of container that can be easily turned. It is usually made from a plastic barrel that is raised up on legs and fitted with a hand crank. Compost matures faster if it is turned on a regular basis, and compost tumblers are designed to make the turning process easy – you just turn the handle.

One reason compost piles are slow is that the microbes do not get enough air. By mixing up the ingredients more frequently, air is added and it matures faster. The is certainly sound science.

Compost tumblers do have benefits:

  • Turning most tumblers is easier than turning a compost pile
  • Since it’s a closed system, rodents an other animals will not be a problem
  • Some people feel it looks better
  • It may produce fewer odors

Find yourself interested in composing in your own backyard but aren’t sure where to start? Let one of our tree service specialists help you out. Contact us HERE for a complimentary quote. At Urban Forestry Tree Service, tree care is our passion!

Native Denver Trees: Cottonwood

Two species of cottonwood trees, the narrowleaf cottonwood and plains cottonwood, are not only abundant throughout Denver, but also a sight to behold. These majestic trees can tower as high as 60 feet high, and the female trees are well-know for releasing their cottony “snow” in the springtime (which also happens to be a source of great annoyance for many allergy sufferers)! The following profile of the cottonwood tree from Landscaping with Native Trees – a fantastic tree care resource on the topic of various tree descriptions – contains just about everything you ever wanted to know about one of America’s most beloved species! Read on and enjoy…

Description

“Cottonwood” is a name that means different things to different people. Cottonwoods of various species and varieties are found almost throughout North America, and all look and behave very much alike. They are rugged, water-seeking trees that grow faster and larger than nearly of their associates in any region of the continent. But they are also weak and very prone to damage and decay, and female trees release a summer snow of cottony seeds that become entangled in window screens from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Cottonwoods are most appreciated in the Great Plains, where other trees are rare and more difficult to grow. Here, they make vast riparian forests that shade the rivers and furnish the structural bones upon which wildlife habitat is built. Kansas, Wyoming and Nebraska have each designated a cottonwood as their state tree, but there is some confusion whether the honored tree is the eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) or the closely related plains cottonwood (Populus sargentii). Some authorities consider them to be varieties of the same species; their ranges do overlap in Kansas and Nebraska.

We have known old, hollow cottonwoods that had enough room inside for a poker game. The current national champion, in a pasture near Minadoka Dam in Idaho, has the spreading form characteristic of plains cottonwood; it is only 85 feet (26 m) tall but has a trunk 11.5 feet (3.5 m) in diameter. A comparable specimen 96 feet ((30 m) tall with a trunk 11 feet (3.2 m) in diameter grows in Gosper County, Nebraska. For many years, the recognized national champion was an eastern cottonwood growing along the Illinois and Michigan Canal in Illinois. Before it fell in 1991, entire grade-school classes could convene within the massive tree’s hollow base (although the entrance was too small to admit most teachers).

Leaves

Toothed and triangular, the leaves average about 4 inches (10 cm) long and broad. Those on the shoots of western species and varieties are generally smaller and more leathery, but the leaves on vigorous shoots of any species grow much larger. We have found that trees from different geographic regions planted together at Starhill Forest in Illinois retain the foliage characteristics of their home habitat.

The leaves hang from flexible petioles and clack together even when the breeze it too subtle to be felt on the ground. Their music is especially pleasant in late summer, when the leaves begin to dry and their sounding boards resonate. Cottonwood foliage becomes a warm yellow if the tree has had an insect-free summer and a gradual transition to fall.

The autumnal display is made more dramatic by the typical, fungus-induced early abscission of the oldest leaves, which, in falling, highlight the bare structural form of the branches.

Flowers and Fruit

All cottonwoods are dioecious, so only female trees bear the cottony seeds for which they are notorious. The fruit capsules begin as strings of green pearls in the early spring, and the ripe capsules split open synchronously to fill the late-spring air with a beautiful but messy display of cottony snow.

Seasons

  1. Fall (there is something unforgettable about a grizzly old cottonwood on a lonesome ranch, its foliage reduced to a smattering of golden leaves rattling in the breeze, the scene lit by a ray of sunshine breaking through the dark clouds of a lowering sky).
  2. Late spring (the cotton is truly the best and the worst of this tree; it is festive in wild areas where it may be enjoyed without inconvenience).

Native and Adaptive Range

The combination of eastern cottonwood and plains cottonwood blankets low ground and riparian habitats across the eastern and midwestern United States. Plains cottonwood extends into Alberta and Saskatchewan, north at least to Saskatoon. Other species, which are similar in most details, range north throughout much of Canada, west to the Pacific Ocean and southwest into Mexico, where cottonwoods are known as los alamos. Our eastern native species is adapted from the Gulf Coast north into USDA zone 3, but local races exist. So if you are doing some planting, look for trees of local provenance.

Culture

Cottonwood is probably our fastest growing largest tree. It is fairly easy to transplant when small, but it grows so readily from unrooted cuttings that transplanting an established tree seems pointless. Seed is perishable and difficult to handle. Tiny seedlings volunteer everywhere, however, and they may be moved about with abandon as they germinate.

The trick with propagating cottonwood is to start in late winter with a hardwood cutting of known gender. Plant it in open, weed-free soil, give it excessive amounts of water and get out of the way. We have seen groves of cottonwoods that grew more than 100 feet (30 m) tall in less than 20 years. Soil type is not critical, but the trees must have water, full sun and little competition to flourish.

Problems

Whole books have been written about the insects and diseases of cottonwood. Two cankers, Cytospora chrysosperma and Dothichiza populea, are especially troublesome on trees that have been injured by pruning or extreme weather. The trees are notoriously prone to damage from lightning, beavers, ice, wind, insects, decay and nearly every other force known to nature (so be mindful that if these trees live in your yard, chances are that they’re going to require annual tree service!). Yet they are so resilient that some live to take their place among the largest of our deciduous trees. A few of the vulnerable cottonwoods that shaded Lewis and Clark on their Journey of Discovery in 1804 are still growing along the Missouri River.

Cottonwoods’ worst problems are amplified by their sheer size. This translates into massive, brittle limbs and extensive, invasive roots. Then, if your trees are females, there is the cotton. Some communities have actually passed ordinances prohibiting the planting of female cottonwoods. The cottonwood is a picturesque, fast-growing giant at its best where its negative traits are of no consequence.

Cultivars

Because cottonwood has immense value for paper pulp, many superior production clones with elaborate pedigrees are grown in forestry plantations. Cottonwood has been used in a vast forestry hybridization program with Europe, Asian and western North American poplar species. Several nurseries offer “cottenless” ornamental cultivars, which are nothing more than staminate trees growing one need only look around during the blooming period for a male tree, then return in late winter to harvest a dormant cutting.

Related Species

Eastern cottonwood and plains cottonwood are the primary species in the eastern and midwestern United States. People in the northern part of our area will find balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) an aromatic species that ranges north as far as the Arctic Circle. IT has narrower leaves than cottonwood, and it seldom grows as large.

Swampy areas in the eastern United States sometimes support swamp cottonwood (Populus heterophylla). It has beautiful emerging foliage in early spring and becomes a large, tall tree, like eastern cottonwood. The national champion (named “the Little Big Tree” from associations with Native American lore) grows along the Black River in Spencer, Ohio, and stands 140 feet (43 m) tall with a straight trunk nearly 9 feet (2.75 m) in diameter.

There are other cottonwood-like poplars in western North America. They include black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), a giant tree of the Pacific Northwest; narrowleaf cottonwood (Populus angustifolia) of the Rocky Mountains; and several varieties of Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) in the Southwest. The aspens are poplars, too, although they have more in common with some European and Asian species than with other North American poplars. They are covered separately.

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Enter a cottonwood grove on a hot summer day and you will receive a standing ovation from the clapping leaves and the comfort of the dappled shade. In the nearly treeless landscape of the Great Plains, this can be a memorable and welcome experience. If contemporary life were not so dependent on window screens, air conditions, swimming pool filters and all manner of sensitive gadgets that clog and choke, we might also appreciate the drifting summer snow of cottonwood seeds, just as it must have been admired by the early Native Americans who revered this great tree.

The Arapaho believed that great cottonwoods cast the stars into the sky, and many tribes found mythic and pragmatic value in virtually every part of the tree. The famous photographic portfolios of Edward Sheriff Curtis, compiled at the beginning of this century as the sun was setting on the ancient ways of Native American life, help document the importance of cottonwoods to his subjects. Two of his more dramatic images depict a Navaho weaver’s loom set beneath the exposed root of a huge cottonwood and a ceremonial hat made from cottonwood leaves for the Sun Dance of Cheyenne.

In conclusion, while cottonwoods are beautiful trees, they can also be fairly high maintenance and require regular tree care compared to some other species. And proactive tree service is ultimately more cost-effective and much more affordable than tree removal. Contact us HERE for a free quote!

How Trees Reproduce: With Help From Their Friends

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This may not be something that you’d often think about when considering tree services at your home – but have you ever wondered how trees reproduce and make baby trees? Trees actually reproduce through cultivation and sexually by using an exchange of pollen between the female and male reproductive systems.

Trees are considered asexual, however, a single tree can have both female and male flowers. They also rely on evolutions and adaptations to prevent self-pollination. These type of adaptations could include the shape, color, or even smell of its flower. It also might have different cone structures that help to make sure that the tree doesn’t self-fertilize. 

Here are a few types of ways that trees pollinate: 

Wind Pollination

Many trees rely on the wind for pollination. That’s often why during the Spring months the air becomes filled with pollen, which often triggers allergies in humans. Trees shed pollen in hopes that the wind will blow it only other trees. The pollen is so small and light, it’s designed to be easily carried away by the wind. The goal is that it will be carried a far distance to another tree of the same species that also produces female flowers to pollinate. The way that each tree collects this pollen is completely different, but they are all designed to better trap the pollen floating in the air. 

Pollinators

Some trees also use insects and animals to help with pollination.  In fact, pollinators play a massive role in helping plants reproduce. The most common types of pollinators are bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, bats, and hummingbirds that you often see hovering around flowers. When it comes to trees, they often draw in these types of pollinators with beautiful flowers. Each tree has a different type of flower that draws in a unique pollinator that’s designed to attract them. 
Birds are also terrific pollinators. Many birds have beaks that are specifically designed to crack open cones or tree nuts, which ends up spreading the seed. Birds can also transfer pollen on their beaks from one flower to the next. 

Seed Distribution

One pollination occurs, the seeds that the pollination produces still need to be distributed. They can be distributed in several different ways depending on the type of seed and its adaption. Fruiting or nut trees are encased in a shell and are dropped to the ground. They can either sprout there or they might be eaten by other animals who spread the seeds when they defecate. These seeds can also get carried away through water run off or attach themselves to animal fur. 

Trees that produce nuts are collected by animals that burry nuts, like squirrels who store them for later. Some of these seeds (forgotten by the animal) grow into new trees. 
Other types of seeds can get carried by the wind, like Cotten Wood trees. These seeds glide in the air until they are able to settle on the ground and can begin to grow.  

Cuttings

Humans can also help create brand new trees! Some species of trees can be reproduced by the cultivation of cuttings. Cuttings are just stems that are taken from a tree and then planted in the soil. With lots of loving care, the stems develop roots and can grow into an adult tree. This method of tree care is referred to as asexual reproduction, so the tree is actually just a clone of the original tree. This method is a great way to populate trees or grow a field of trees with identical characteristics, like fruit or but trees.

Do you have any questions about growing your own trees? Send one of our tree service professionals a message and we’d be happy to share our thoughts! Feel free to reach out to us HERE.

Tips for Successfully Transplanting Trees and Shrubs

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If you’ve ever wondered how to properly maintain the health of transplanted trees or shrubs, we’ve got your covered with this fantastic tree service resource, Growing Trees from Seed. As you might imagine, there are a number of variables that can cause stress to a tree and render a transplant procedure unsuccessful. These include but are not limited to: overwatering, extreme temperatures, mineral status, the species of tree, chlorosis, plant genetics, and soil conditions.

Read on to learn more about proper tree care tips for successful transplanting, and feel free to comment! We’d love to hear your tree transplant success stories! And YES, we will help you with your next transplant – so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have doubts about the process…

Transplant Stress

Proper tree care maintenance tells us that transplanted trees and shrubs may be killed by overwatering (drowning the roots) just as easily as by drought. An initial soil wetting is adequate for dormant bare-root plants. Once the leaves begin to unfold, the moisture loss from the plant increases. However, well-established roots are able to meet all but a hot, windy day’s demands for moisture from a moist soil. If the soil is moist, adding more water doesn’t remove heat stress. Instead, you need to reduce the plant’s need to cool itself by providing shelter or by giving the leaves a cooling shower at midday, when desiccation rates are highest. The effort you make to cool down your plants during periods of heat stress will pay off: it will dramatically increase their chances of survival. Of course, this is more easily done on private property, in close proximity to a watering can, than in the larger landscape.

Hickory, oak, and other species that are considered difficult to transplant can be protected out in the landscape by a temporary shelter. A few branches of pine, or some stick stuck into the ground and topped with burlap, will protect your plants while they are becoming established.

Soil Conditions

Some plants just do not grow well, often because the soil doesn’t suit the species. Soil that is too wet or dry for a particular plant will damage its roots, resulting in small leaves, weak growth or death. Plants that are grown in soil that is too alkaline for them may have an iron manganese deficiency, resulting in chlorotic leaves – leaves that are yellowish with green veins.

Alkaline soils tend to stress most seed sources of black oak, sassafras, holy and witch hazel, and severely stress striped maple and hobble-bush. Beech seedlings become more chlorotic in the absence of their specific mycorrhizal fungi. Horticulturists like to practice intensive care on chlorotic plants, using manganese and iron foliage sprays or adding peat moss to the soil in order to turn their plants green, but to what end? If acidic-preference plants are not in the right soil, they may never really thrive. You will be tempted (we all are at first) to use these horticultural life-support methods to help them, but, if time is limited, try to focus your efforts on the plants that are most suited to the planting site.

Why You Should Forgo Weaker Plants

English novelist and gardener Vita Sackville-West (1882-1962) advised, “Never retain for a second year, a plant which displeases you” (if only we could have hired him as one of our tree service specialists). I have heard occasional stories of plants that were nurtured along and have grown into healthy trees of shrubs, but most weak plants belong on the brush pile. If the soil characteristics are not optimal, my experience has been that weak plants usually continue to decline.

When growing plants with special requirements on inappropriate soil, such as many of the oaks, red maple and tupelo, a few dark green healthy seedlings may flourish among dozens of chlorotic seedlings. They healthy ones may have a genetic trait for adaptation or tolerance and continue to do well. It is worth spending extra time on them.

And if you’re looking for help transplanting trees or shrubs on your property, let one of our tree service specialists help you out. Contact us HERE for a complimentary quote!

10 Fascinating Facts About Trees

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Trees are fascinating living organisms, and also happens to be why we have such a passion for tree care! As the oldest living beings on our planet, they continue to create so many benefits for humans and the other species on our planet.

Here is just a short list of interesting facts about trees. 

Trees are one of the oldest species on this planet. Scientists believe that trees are over 400 million years old. It’s believed that frees first developed from fungi that could grow up to 26’ wide. 

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Did you know that trees can help with humans’ stress levels? Various studies have shown that just being around trees can make us calmer by lowering cortisol and adrenaline. Spending time around trees lowers blood pressure and can greatly improve our mood. Being around trees can be fantastic for our mental health, (and is why our tree service experts have such a passion for the job)!

The largest living tree in the world resides right here in North America. Named General Sherman, this giant sequoia  lives in middle California in the National Sequoia park. This tree is 275 ft high, and has a diameter of 25 ft.  It’s also estimated that it’s 2,300–2,700 years old! 

Wondering how long tree seeds can stay alive? As long as you can store them in cold dry conditions, they can actually stay alive for hundreds of years. In fact, scientists in Israel have grown a tree from a 2,000 year old palm tree seed found during archeological excavations. 

Tree rings don’t just show us the age of a tree. The rings can also tell us the history of the earth’s changing climate.  For example, light colored wood can indicate that the wood grew in the Spring and the darker color wood grew in late Summer or Fall. Tree rings usually are wider in warm wet years, while the thinner rings indicate cold and dry conditions. 

The Dwarf Willow is the shortest tree in the world. It typically only grows 1-6 cm high and has shiny round leaves and branches that are only about 1 cm long. This tree grows in the Northern Hemisphere in cold regions. 

Bonsai’s are technically trees, but they aren’t a species of trees. They are actually alterations of large trees and are made from different species. You can take a cut from a larger tree to make a bonsai tree, which is then maintained to keep its small structure. 

The largest contiguous forest in the world is called the Taiga and is located throughout the northern hemisphere and expands through several countries. It mostly consists of pines, larches and spruces. Although it stretches through parts of Alaska, the largest portion of this forest is in Russia and Canada. 

The world’s oldest fossil tree was discovered in New York, dating back 386 million years ago. Scientists believe that the fossils they found were part of an ancient forest that stretched from New York to Pennsylvania. These trees played a very important role in developing life on the planet and helping to cool our planet, making it livable for future species. 

Want to learn more? You can read some of our additional articles that highlight some of the major benefits of trees, and become your own tree care expert! And, if you’re looking to learn more about the trees on your own property, let one of our tree service specialists help you out. Reach out to us HERE for a free estimate!

Termite Warning Signs

Termites can cause an incredible amount of damage to your home. It’s important to notice the warning signs and eliminate termites before they become an infestation on your property. When properly identified, these warning signs can help you to act quickly and ultimately help you reduce your tree service bill!

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What is a termite?

Termites are small insects that feed on wood and often make their way into our home. They are very small creatures who only grow to a half an inch. They often get confused with ants because they look so similar. Termites, however, have straight antennas, soft bodies, wings, and also have a milky color to them. They are almost aways found in colonies and they often eat for about 24 hrs straight per day!

What part of the tree does the termite eat?

Cellulose is the main food source for a termite. Termites will build their colonies in moist soils or wet or dry wood. Many times they are found in dead or decaying wood that is provides not only a consistent foods source, but shelter too. 

The types of termites that invade your home prefer to eat soft, moist, and fungus infested woods. They also like to eat this type of wood that is closest to the soil. 

Trees that termites tend to stay away from are redwoods, yellow cedars, and cypress. 

Signs your tree may be infected with termites:

  • Wood shavings around the base of the tree
  • Small holes in trunk of tree
  • Termite colonies around tree roots
  • Discarded wings of termites at base of tree
  • Clusters of small white eggs around soil at the base of tree
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Damage termites can cause

In forests, termites are a vital part of the ecosystem. They help to break down dead or decaying trees by consuming the wood. In more urban settings, termites can pose a hazard to properties and homes. Once termites invade trees on your property, they can create a potential hazard with falling limbs or even create a situation where a tree could fall on your home. Once an infested tree is removed, there’s less of an opportunity for it to invade your home, fence or garage and cause an incredible amount of damage. 

How to prevent termites?

Regular tree care is the number one way to prevent termites from infesting your tree. Because termites tend to thrive in moist areas or within dead/decaying trees, it’s important to remove any dying branches from your tree. If your property also has stumps or dead trees, it can also attract termites. Removing these will stop potential termites from invading your property. The wood should be hauled off or burned to ensure that the termites are gone. 

Here’s some additional tips to prevent termite infestation:

  • Keep your yard super tidy and remove any tree limbs, logs, fallen trees, or any other types of dead wood that might attract termites
  • Burn any wood that’s been infected by termites
  • Avoid stacking firewood next to your house
  • Make sure your property has plenty of drainage so moisture does not accumulate in your yard
  • Remove mulch around areas effected by termites
  • Make sure there’s plenty of sunlight, which deters termites

Maintaining the look and health of your trees can be challenging, especially when it comes to insect infestations. That’s why our team of tree care specialists are ready to help you! Our knowledge and experience will keep your trees looking their best for years to come. When you need help, please reach out to us for your tree service needs!

How Do Trees Conserve Soil?

With all of the benefits that trees provide, it’s no wonder that our tree service experts are a bunch of tree huggers…

After all, all of civilization depends on trees for our survival. Humans are dependent upon trees, not only for cleaning our air but also because they support our precious ecosystem. Our ecosystems rely on trees to help reduce soil erosion, prevent flooding and droughts. These all have a downstream effect when it comes to also improving the lives of humans who rely on soil to grow food and healthy water to drink.

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Check out these fast facts about how trees help with soil conservation:

Trees Reduce Soil Erosion

Trees can naturally prevent soil erosion through their root systems and canopies. Trees have large root systems that help bind the soil together around the tree. The root systems not only help to stabilize the tree, but it also helps with drainage. The root systems prevent water from staying on the surface level and pulls it into the ground. The canopies of trees also reduce the impact of water forcefully onto the ground. Instead, the leaves and the trunks both act as a buffer to slow down the rain. The ability for the canopy to act as a buffer allows for a slower drainage once the rain reaches the ground. 

Trees Prevent Flooding

Trees drink a lot of water. In fact, an average tree can consume about 100 gallons out of the ground and discharge it into the air. It’s not too surprising then that trees are a natural defense against flooding. 

Flooding happens when heavy rains causes rivers or streams to burst their banks. When flooding happens, trees are able to absorb some of that moisture and excess water before it flows into rivers or even drainage systems. Essentially, trees act as a buffer. 

Aside from taking in a lot of water, trees also change the soil structure. Leaves that are shed from the tree, dead branches, and bark create organic matter. This type of matter allows the soil to hold more water.  Also, the little microbes that eat them create tiny tunnels in the soil, helps water seep in more effectively. 

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Trees Prevent Droughts

As we’ve learned above, trees play a vital role in the cycle of water. One of those roles is helping to protect our soil against extreme drought. Trees have an ability to hold in lots of water from rain, they also release that moisture back into the air in a process called transpiration. Trees have the ability to capture rain through their leaves which gets evaporated back into the air to form rain clouds. In fact, much of the rain is driven by this process. 

Trees Add to Soil Fertility

In a very real sense, trees themselves contribute to their own tree care! Trees drop leaves and dead branches, which contribute to the health of the soil. These types of organic matter will add nutrients to the soil and provide fertility for surrounding plant life. When they begin to decompose, microbes and insects feed off of them too. The soil becomes even richer when other animals come to feed off the insects and other plants become more established. This cycle contributes to an even richer soil fertility. 

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Trees are Important for Human Survival

If you take a look around the room you’re sitting in, most likely many of the materials around you were contributed by trees. The home you live in, the mail you get, the furniture you sit on all comes from trees! Aside from offering us protection from the outside elements, trees also offer food and medicinal benefits.

Hoping to learn more about the magical and wonderful life of trees? Ask one of our knowledgable tree service specialists! Reach out to us HERE for a free quote. We look forward to meeting with you in person and sharing our passion for tree care!

Other Helpful Articles:

Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Trees

Traditionally, when we use the term “tree care”, it’s not unusual to imagine your local tree service expert taking care of your tree removal, pruning, or stump grinding needs. But we would like to broaden the definition of tree care to include the idea of trees taking care of us

So you probably already know that trees are a vital part of the survival of every living species on this planet. Without trees, none of us would be here. With the assistance of trees, we can reverse climate change, since they act as our natural filtration system for our planet. They are an important part in keeping our air clean and breathable. 

Trees also add natural beauty to our landscape. Humans have an instinctive draw towards trees that’s undeniable. The presence of trees has been known to make people feel calmer and happier, as research studies show. Trees also have several interesting characteristics. 

Here are some top fascinating facts about trees below:

Forest of trees

Trees Never Die From Old Age

Trees will never die from old age like many other species on this planet. Trees often die from things like insect infestation, disease, weather related injury, or even from human causes. Some trees live to be thousands of years old. In fact, there is one tree in Colorado that is said to be more than 2,000 years old.

Trees “Talk” to Each Other

Did you know that trees have their own communication system? Trees use water, nutrients, and moss to communicate with each other. They can send each other warnings about drought or even insects. Here’s a great video where you can learn more about how trees communicate.

The Largest Tree is Right Here In the US

If you’ve ever driven through the Redwood forests in California, you probably noticed how insanely large and tall these trees are. The Giant Sequoia that lives in this forests are not only the largest tree, but they are also the tallest. It also claims stake to being the most gargantuan living being in the entire world. It’s as tall as a 33 story building and weighs almost 3 tons. 

Trees Can Defend Themselves

There are some trees that can produce chemicals that can fend off insects that might try to eat their leaves or fruit. They can also send off airborne warning signals to outlying trees, as we learned above. This allows other trees to get a head start to begin defending themselves.

You Can Use Trees to Guide You When Hiking

Trees can act as a navigation guide or a compass. In climates like Colorado, moss will grow on the northern side of a tree. Also, tree rings can also be used to tell what direction is north or south. The rings of a tree trunk are slightly thicker on the southern side if a tree grows in the northern hemisphere, because it receives more light.

Trees are the Oldest Living Organisms on our Planet

In Utah, a colony of Quaking Aspen, is believed to be the oldest living organism on Earth. The 105 acre colony is made of genetically identical trees, called stems, connected by a single 80,000 year old root system. 

The Earth Has Fewer Trees 

Agriculture has completely altered the how many trees there are now on our planet. We now have 46% less trees now than we did at the beginning of the agricultural revolution more than 12,000 years ago. Humans have deforested vast amounts of land to make room for crops.

Interested to learn more amazing facts about trees? Send an inquiry to one of our capable tree service specialists, and consider reaching out to us HERE for a free estimate. We look forward to meeting with you and sharing our passion for tree care!

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Why Trees are Important to Wildlife

Here at Urban Forestry, we’re big fans of critters! In fact, our tree service experts take great pride in making sure that all critters are protected when we go to remove or trim trees as part of our service. 

In order to go above and beyond what is merely required of us in terms of tree care procedures, we keep in mind that these are habitats and sanctuaries for animals including (but not limited to) birds, squirrels, snakes, opossums, bats and many other small organisms. These animals spend a lot of time sleeping, nesting, eating, and raising their young in trees. That’s why we try our best not to disturb these homes, just like you wouldn’t want anyone to come and tear down your house without warning. 

Living in trees would be challenging, if it weren’t that many of these animals are well adapted to thrive in tree tops. As you can imagine, living up in treetops comes with many challenges including moving from tree to tree, raising babies, storing food, and finding shelter during extreme weather conditions. 

Evolution has been generous to many of these tree-dwelling creatures and have adapted them to withstand these challenges. The anatomy of these animals are perfectly formed to help them survive and thrive in the tops of trees. 

Types of anatomy of animals to make them adapt at living in trees:

  • Powerful semi-retractive claws
  • Flexible ankle joints
  • Strong feet and curved claws
  • Sharp claws
  • Long tails for balance
Squirrel climbing tree
Photo by Maddie Franz on Pexels.com

Why Dead or Dying Trees Are Important to Wildlife

Even dead and dying trees can provide sanctuary for animals and a safe haven for them to take care of their young. Dying trees as a result of disease, fire, lightning, or drought are still important to wildlife. Birds and other mammals use these dying trees for nests, storage areas, and areas for perching. The hollow trunks, cavities, and branches are all components of dying trees that help wildlife survive. 

Photo by Immortal shots on Pexels.com


Also, if dead or decaying branches fall into a nearby water system, it can also provide habitat for underwater animals that are part of that ecosystem. The dead tree branch in a lake or stream might offer perching options for aquatic birds/turtles/frogs or sanctuary for fish to lay their precious eggs. 

Decaying logs also provide many types of animals and organisms support in the wild. Decaying logs will create moisture and nutrients which aid in new plant growth. This provides food for smaller soil dwelling organisms like earthworms and insects. 

Dead and decaying trees are so important to the ecosystem because most animals are not equipped to create their own holes or burrow into living trees. The trunks and branches are much too strong. They rely on existing holes to nest within and make a home. 

For learning more about Colorado’s wildlife, a great link is Colorado’s Department of Education which lists out all the animals that are important to the area’s ecosystem. Visit their site here!

And as always, if you’d be interested to learn more about to how protect wildlife on your property, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our amazingly awesome tree service specialists. Contact us HERE for a free estimate. We can’t wait to meet with you and share our passion for tree care. : )

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Our Favorite Parks and Hiking Trails near Denver

Being a unique city almost smack dab in the middle of the U.S. that is surrounded by nature, Denver, CO is not a bad place to be a tree service professional for a living. In fact, in most areas in Denver you can peak outside and see the mountains off in the distance. It’s one of the most scenic and beautiful places to live and visit. Most people that choose to live in Denver come here for the vast opportunities to spend time outdoors throughout the year.

If you’re into nature (especially getting in some forrest bathing), our tree service pros have kindly put together a list of some of our must-see parks to visit that have a vast array of native trees, outdoor activities, and rock formations!

Colorado mountains and evergreen trees
Photo by JoEllen Moths on Pexels.com



Bear Creek Lake
Located 20 miles west of the Cherry Creek neighborhood, this park offers all kinds of activities for outdoorsy people who like archery, horse riding, fishing, camping, hiking or mountain biking. It’s centered around three lakes at the foothills of the mountains near Red Rocks. 

White Ranch Park
White Ranch Park is located 26 miles northwest of Denver. It’s one of the largest parks in the area with 20 miles of hiking trails that offer both rugged and gentle terrains that can accommodate any type of hiker. They also offer camping grounds that allow for tent-only and walk-in camping. The scenery is beautiful there with open meadow and buttes. You can also see the Denver skyline off in the distance or do some white water rafting. 

Flatirons
One of the areas biggest draws is the Flatirons, which are the striking reddish brown sandstone formations that are at the foothills of the mountains near Boulder. There are several trails located here that will take you from the ground all the way up to the tops of the Flatirons. The scenery is filled with rocks and native trees while you walk throughout the trail. They also offer awe-inspiring views of the Boulder area and beyond. If you’re into rock climbing, the Flatirons are a popular spot for novice and advanced climbers. 

Garden of the Gods
If you’re down for a little road trip, the Garden of the Gods is one of the most beautiful awe-provoking parks in the Colorado area. Situated near the base of the Rocky Mountains, these ancient rock formations are surrounded by flat meads to the east and seem to jut out of the ground by pure accident. They tower nearly 300’ feet into the air and offer dramatic views. These red jagged rocks are a stark contrast to the deep brown tree-covered mountains to the west. You can hike and climb these red rocks and view the scenery for miles westward. 

Flat Irons Vista
If hiking up mountains or hill is not your thing, then the Flat Irons Vista offers hiking that lets you admire wide open spaces. Located just south of Boulder, it provides views off in the distance of where you can see formations rise out of the flat land around you. You’ll wind through Ponderosa Pines and flat meadows. This is a wonderful hike for an afternoon walking meditation. 

There are so many options to explore in the Denver area to take in the vast and unique scenery that Colorado has to offer. What are your favorite hiking trails to see the various native trees and landscape? Send us a note! Our tree care experts would love to hear from you.

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