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Archive for the ‘Tree Care’ Category

What are the Best Fruit Trees to Plant in Portland?

Friday, February 15th, 2019


Interested in making a fruitful investment into your home and life? Plant a fruit tree on your property! Planting fruit trees has many benefits:

  • Adds natural beauty
  • Increases the value of your home
  • Provides privacy
  • Offers a strong root system around your house to help hold soil in place
  • Contributes to lower blood-pressure and improved overall psychological and emotional health
  • Provides delicious fruit for you and your family to enjoy!

As the Portland area’s full-service tree care provider, we often get asked about planting fruit trees and what varieties grow best in this area. The good news is, when it comes to the type of fruit you can grow, Portland is ripe with opportunity.

Keep reading for a complete guide to the best type of fruit trees to grow in Portland.



Apple trees thrive in wet, mild climates, so it’s no surprise that our state produces roughly 125 million pounds of this crunchy and delicious fruit every year!

There are thousands of apple varieties that are grown in Oregon, so you have a lot of options to choose from, including…

  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Honeycrisp
  • Braeburn

Just think of all the wonderful fall-themed dishes, desserts, and drinks you can make fresh from your yard!



Is there anything more iconic than a bowl full of cherries from the PNW? This candy-like fruit is an Oregon favorite. And there’s nothing quite as stunning as a cherry tree in the spring. Many people plant cherry trees on their property just to witness their blossoms!

The most popular types of cherries to grow here in Portland are…

  • Bing
  • Sweetheart
  • Royal Ann
  • Rainier



Did you know that pears are Oregon’s official state fruit? In fact, 84% of pears grown in the US come from the area. Warm days, cool nights, and easy access to plenty of water and rich, volcanic soil provide an environment that’s perfect for pears to grow and thrive on your Portland property.

The most popular pear varieties grown here in this are include…

  • Anjou
  • Bartlett
  • Bosc
  • Concorde



Plum trees typically produce fruit for several weeks during the summer and are a unique fruit to grow on your property — particularly if you enjoy making jams and jellies!

Favorite types of plums grown here in Oregon are…

  • Italian prunes
  • Empress
  • Santa Rosa
  • Shiro



Their tropical look might fool you into believing they belong in jungle, but the truth is that figs grow wonderfully here in the Pacific Northwest! In fact, they’re a backyard favorite for many.

Like all types of fruit trees, pruning fig trees takes some special care, but other than that, this type of tree is fairly hardy and very easy to care for. Depending on the variety you choose, you may even get two crops in one year!



A sweet and juicy peach is a wonderful late summer treat. And though Oregon isn’t known for peaches in the way other states like Georgia are, peach trees do thrive here.

There are a few different types of peaches to look into, though for amateur gardeners, we recommend a variety that’s resistant to peach leaf curl, such as…

  • Avalon Pride
  • Frost
  • Salish Summer

You may even want to try planting a donut peach tree which are an extra fun variety of this fruit.


Where to plant a fruit tree

As you consider the type of fruit you want around your home, equally important is that you evaluate your property and understand where the best place to plant will be. Just as the type of tree affects where you choose to plant, the landscape of your property can affect the type of tree you choose.

Remember: A tree planted in the wrong place won’t grow properly and could potentially cause problems for your home.

We always recommend getting an arborist’s opinion on your property before making your final decisions, but here are a few things to consider:

  • It’s typically recommended to plant at least 10 feet from your home and 5 feet away from your fence or property line
  • What areas do you want more privacy?
  • Will planting in a certain spot block sunlight to your home?
  • What other plants and trees are already in your yard?
  • How is the soil on your property?
  • Does your property get direct sun? A lot of shade?


Fruit tree planting tips

Once you’ve chosen the type of tree and the location in your yard, it’s time to plant it! There are some important tips to make sure you give your tree a good start.

  • You typically want to plant in winter or early spring.
  • Dig a hole approximately 2 feet wide by 1.5 feet deep.
  • The top roots of the tree should not be buried more than 2 inches under the soil, as it can suffocate.
  • You generally want to prune the top of your tree as soon as its planted — usually a 1/4 or 1/2 of the top to balance the root to top ratio. Keep in mind though, if done incorrectly pruning can hurt your tree. Always consult an expert.

Once your tree is planted, make sure it gets plenty of water — around 3-5 gallons each week is needed for most young trees. Just be careful not to overwater!


Questions about planting fruit trees in PDX? Ask an arborist!

When it comes to tree care questions, we want to be your first call. Whether you have questions about what type of fruit tree will grow best in your yard, how to plant your tree, or need help with pruning, our master gardeners and ISA-Certified Arborists are always ready to help.

Ask away!



Category Tree, Tree Care

4 Common but Deadly Tree Diseases to Watch for in the PNW

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Portland-area homeowners need to be aware of the common diseases and fungi that affect our local trees. Left alone, an infected tree can spread the disease to other trees on your property and invite bugs and pests. Plus, they just look bad.

Whether you’ve just noticed the trees around your property are unhealthy or you want to learn how to prevent disease and issues before they start, this blog post will help.

Keep reading to learn the most common and virulent tree diseases that affect trees in the Pacific Northwest (and what you can do to protect against them).


1. Phytophthora root rot

Phytophthora root rot is caused by poor drainage or overwatering in the soil around the tree. The tree becomes unable to absorb the moisture and nourishment it needs from the soil, causing the oxygen-starved roots to slowly die and decay.

In some trees, it can take years of suffering from this disease before it dies. In others, the tree may be killed within a single season.

Types of trees affected by root rot include:

  • Cherry
  • Dogwood
  • Holly
  • Madrone
  • Oak
  • Arborvitae
  • Cypress
  • Juniper
  • Port-Orford cedars
  • Pines
  • Firs
  • Apple
  • Peach


Signs and symptoms of root rot

A tree suffering from root rot will have an overall unhealthy appearance and reduced vigor. A good way to identify root rot include:

  • Poor growth
  • Small, pale leaves
  • Wilted or yellow leaves
  • A thinning canopy
  • Branch dieback

To identify root rot is truly the cause of your tree’s issue, an arborist will need to examine the root tissue a few inches below the soil line. Here’s how they’ll do that:

  • Carefully remove a small amount of outer bark tissue
  • Examine the inner wood, looking for discoloration
  • In advanced tree rot, the tree may have black, dead tissue and a foul smell

How to prevent root rot

Preventing root rot starts with good soil drainage. Avoid overwatering and creating irrigation moats to keep water from pooling against the trunk. Proper care and drainage is particularly important for young trees, as they are especially vulnerable due to underdeveloped root systems and crowns.

How to treat root rot

Since it can take years to notice root rot in a tree, by the time you notice an issue, it may be too late. However, moderately affected trees can sometimes be saved by a professional arborist, who will carefully prune out the infected roots.

If a tree is significantly infected, the best way to control the rot from spreading to other trees on your property is to remove the tree entirely.


2. Verticillium wilt

Verticillium wilt is a serious fungal disease affecting many important trees in the Pacific Northwest. This disease lives in the soil and invades trees through their roots. As it spreads through the branches, it causes the cells of the tree to “plug” themselves. The tree will eventually become so infected that water can no longer reach the leaves.

The most common tree species affected by Verticillium wilt include:

  • Maple
  • Ash
  • Walnut
  • Box elder
  • Oak
  • Linden
  • And more


Signs and symptoms of Verticillium wilt

One common sign of Verticillium (especially in maple trees) is yellow-green streaks. This doesn’t automatically guarantee that the tree has Verticillium. A few other signs may include:

  • One or more branches on one side of the tree suddenly wilt
  • The leaves may appear yellow before the wilt
  • A decline in new twig growth
  • Increase in dead twigs and branches
  • Internally, the tree may have discolored sapwood in the recent annual rings

While these are a few signs to look out for, only a professional examination can positively diagnose the disease in your tree.

How to prevent Verticillium wilt

Verticillium typically only appears in trees that are already damaged or otherwise stressed. So regular care and pruning of dead branches is recommended to maintain the tree’s overall vigor and health.

Since this and other diseases can be transmitted on pruning tools, we always recommend hiring a professional arborist that knows how to properly sterilizes tools before use.

How to treat Verticillium wilt

Unfortunately, this type of disease is incurable. Once present, it will live in the tree forever, eventually killing the tree. The good news is, with proper care from a professional arborist, you can preserve the tree and continue to enjoy it for several more years.

However, depending on the location of your tree and what types of trees and plants are nearby, it may be recommended to remove the tree and replace it with something that is not susceptible to Verticillium.


3. Anthracnose

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that infects shade trees, causing leaf spots, cupping or curling of leaves, and early leaf drop. Mild winter weather combined with wind and rain in the spring increases the presence of this disease, making Anthrancnose a very common problem here in the Portland area.

While this disease typically won’t kill a tree, it can reduce growth and it hurt the overall appearance of the tree.

The most common types of shade trees affected by Anthracnose include:

  • Dogwood
  • London planetree
  • American sycamore
  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Walnut


Signs and symptoms of Anthracnose

Signs of this disease are fairly simple to catch, however the exact symptoms may manifest differently depending on the species of your tree.

The best way to notice problems is to examine the leaves of the tree. Look for…

  • Brown and irregular shaped spots
  • Distorted, cupped, or curled leaves
  • Minor insect feeding wounds
  • Leaves that are most affected on the lower and inner branches of the tree

How to prevent Anthracnose

The best way to prevent Anthracnose is to keep your tree healthy, as this will help it defend against the disease. Proper care includes providing appropriate levels of water and fertilizer, having your trees inspected every few years, and hiring a professional pruner.

How to treat

Immediately removing fallen leaves and twigs from around the tree and your yard is a great way to reduce the next year’s outbreak. You should also have a professional prune away dead twigs and branches from the crown of the tree, which will facilitate better air flow in the canopy.

In serious and repeat cases, your arborist may recommend a fungicide treatment. This treatment is typically best administered in the spring.


4. Bronze Birch Borer & Emerald Ash Borer

These two types of Beetles are very common in the PNW and can wreak havoc on your beloved birch and ash trees. The damage done by these beetles can be severe and deadly. These beetles bore into the wood of the tree and feed on its interior tissue. They will create intricate tunnels inside the tree. They also feed on the tree’s leaves and foliage.

Signs and symptoms of a beetle infestation

The first sign of infestation is typically sparse, stunted, and yellowing leaves at the tree canopy. Eventually, the branches will lose their leaves. Take a close examination of the tree’s bark and leaves and you may also find…

  • Holes and splits in the bark
  • New branches and leaves sprouting from the trunk of the tree or at the base
  • Larvae feeding beneath the bark of the tree
  • Increased woodpecker feeding
  • You can often spot beetles moving around the sunny side of a tree. Bronze Birch Beetles are olive brown in color while the Emerald Ash borer is a metalix color.

How to prevent tree borers

There’s no easy way to protect your trees against these pests. Start by properly caring for your tree, including watering when it’s dry, fertilizing correctly, and booking regular tree inspections.If you have birch or ash trees on your property, you should also talk to your arborist about possible preventive chemical treatments.

How to treat a borer infestation

Once you spot symptoms of beetles, it’s usually too late to save the tree. Likely, the tree will need to be removed. Left for too long, the tree can weaken and may fall on its own, damaging your property, so don’t wait. Always seek immediate help from a professional arborist.


Does your tree look unhealthy? Schedule an inspection today

Here at Northwest Arbor-Culture Inc., we specialize in helping homeowners in the Portland and Vancouver area maintain safe, healthy, and aesthetically beautiful trees.

If you’re worried about the health of your trees, or it’s been a few years since you’ve schedule tree maintenance, give us a call at (503) 348-7642, Our ISA Certified Arborists® would be happy to take a look at your trees and also offer:

Our team of experienced arborists are here to make sure your trees stay healthy, and your home safe.


Chris Nash, Northwest Arbor-Culture Inc. from on Vimeo.

Category Pruning, Tree, Tree Care

Are Trees Dangerous to Kids & Pets?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Don’t get us wrong— trees are amazing! They provide shade, prevent erosion, look beautiful, and grow for generations, just to name just a few of their incredible benefits. But homeowners in the Pacific Northwest should be aware of the risks trees pose to their kids — both human and furry.

In today’s blog post, our certified tree experts will show you how your trees can hurt your kids and your pets. You’ll also learn how to avoid these dangers and much more.


Climbing and falling

When George Mallory was asked why he climbed Mt. Everest, he famously replied, “because it’s there.” Many kids have the same philosophy when it comes to climbing trees. But parents should be watchful and mindful of the danger posed by falls from even small trees.

Over 100 people are killed every year by falls from trees. While most of these deaths are the result of on-the-job accidents, many kids fall victim as well. Thousands more suffer bumps, bruises, and more serious injuries like broken bones and concussions.

The best thing to do is discourage your child from climbing any tree. Not only is it dangerous to kids but it can damage the trees’ bark and branches, too.


Broken branches and other debris

Here in the Portland area, severe weather can damage a tree, leading to falling branches and even complete collapse of the tree itself. Both are incredibly dangerous situations that can affect both kids and pets. Don’t let your kids, cats, or dogs play outside under trees after:

  • Snowstorms – Ice and snow can weigh down and weaken branches.
  • High winds – Wind storms can snap off tree branches and leave them dangling precariously and ready to fall at any time.
  • Rainy weather – Oversaturated ground can cause even healthy trees to topple over by destabilizing the root system.
  • Heat waves – Hot weather can make branches brittle and more likely to snap off. Long periods of hot dry weather can also affect a tree’s stability and overall health.

The best thing you can to do to protect your family and your trees is to have them regularly inspected and pruned by certified tree experts like those at Northwest Arbor Culture.


Think you know the answer? You might be surprised.
Our experts share what they’ve learned from years of responding to emergency tree service calls.

Read the Post


Insects & Pests

Living trees and old tree stumps can be host to swarms of bees, ants, spiders, and other critters. Cats, dogs, and kids can all be hurt by insect stings and bites. In some cases, a sting or bite can lead to life-threatening allergic reactions. At the very least, ant bites and wasp stings can be very painful!

If you have a dead tree in your yard, have it removed for the safety of your entire family. Keep an eye on living trees for signs of pest infestations like:

  • Visible wasp nests
  • Damage to leaves or bark by insects
  • Unusual growths

Remember that insect infestations can affect the health of the tree, too.


Toxic trees

Most species of trees in Oregon don’t pose a direct threat to kids or most pets. However, horses can be poisoned by:

  • Black walnut trees
  • Maple trees
  • Yew trees (also toxic to humans)

However, just to be safe, keep your kids from eating any leaves or bark from trees. Bark and leaves may contain bacteria, fungus, or other potential hazards.



We specialize in pre-purchase tree inspections. By assessing the health of your trees you may be able to negotiate a lower purchase price by identifying potentially costly problems like:

  • Invasive root systems
  • Decayed and rotting trees
  • Diseased trees

Call us today to learn more: (503) 538-8733



The most serious risk comes not from the trees themselves, but from toxic mushrooms that grow nearby. The shaded and moist ground near the base of a tree makes an ideal habitat for many extremely dangerous mushrooms.

NEVER eat a mushroom you find in your yard unless you are an experienced mushroom forager and know exactly what it is. Many toxic mushrooms are easily confused with mushrooms that are perfectly safe. In Oregon, the most dangerous forms of mushrooms include:

  • Death Cap Mushroom – Can cause liver and kidney failure and death
  • Deadly Galerina – Affects the nervous system and kidneys
  • False Morel – So-named because of its similarity to the delicious Morel, this mushroom can cause diarrhea, dizziness, and even death
  • Destroying Angel – This deadly mushroom contains amatoxins which lead to a slow and painful death

We can’t say this enough: Wild mushrooms can be very dangerous. Keep an eye on your kids and pets to make sure they’re not ingesting them.


How to care for your trees

You can minimize the danger presented to kids and pets by caring for your trees. Here’s a few of our top tree care tips:

  1. Have your trees inspected – Your trees need a check-up to make sure they’re healthy and strong.
  2. Trim and prune large trees – Proper trimming and pruning actually helps improve the tree’s health and longevity.
  3. Remove dead or dying trees – Dead and dying trees are likely to fall or drop branches leading to injuries and possibly even damage to your home.
  4. Water and mulch regularly – Mulch insulates your tree and provides valuable nutrients. Younger trees especially need extra water to take hold and stay healthy. This is very important during the dry summer months here in the Portland area.


Need help with your trees?

portland arborist nw arbor culture

Contact us today for a free estimate from a Certified Arborist.

We’ll take a look at your trees and help you create a tree care and pruning plan that works for you and your family. We’ve been working in the Portland area for decades and there’s no tree service in Portland more committed to customer service than Northwest Arbor Culture.

We’re here to help!

Category Tree, Tree Care

Can I Trim My Trees Myself? 7 Reasons to Hire a Professional

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Are you considering trimming or pruning your trees yourself? Maybe you’re thinking “how can I save money on landscaping expenses?” Perhaps you’re even considering investing in tree trimming equipment and turning it into part of your home landscaping routine.

While it can be tempting to think tree maintenance can be a DIY project, the risks don’t outweigh the benefits. In this post, we’ll outline the reasons why it’s a good idea to hire a professional tree pruner.


Improper pruning can harm or even kill your tree

Improper pruning can actually damage your tree more than doing nothing at all. Since every tree and environment is different, it’s not as simple as researching and doing it yourself. Here in the Pacific Northwest, trees grow particularly fast. This underscores the importance of proper pruning, since things can spiral out of control quickly.

Common tree pruning mistakes include:

  • Taking too much off the top: When you take too much off the top of a tree (known as “topping”), it no longer grows as it should. Not only will it lead to an ugly tree, but it will likely die due to a weakened branch structure.
  • Not knowing where to cut: Many people approach pruning as simply cutting what looks like a weak branch. While removing dead branches is necessary, doing it improperly can severely damage the health of the tree. For instance, if bark is inadvertently removed the tree will be susceptible to disease. Also, if branches close to the trunk are removed it can hurt the tree’s ability to heal properly.
  • Over pruning: Excessive pruning will kill your tree. At no point should more than 20% of a tree’s foliage be removed, as it will do irreversible harm.


Each tree (and tree species) is different

The primary reason it’s so hard to prune trees if you’re not an expert is the wide variance of needed maintenance from tree to tree. Two trees of the same species, even if they are right next to each other, can need completely different care.

The issue is compounded if they are different species. One species may need to be pruned in spring, while a different tree (even located in the same yard) may need to be pruned in the fall. Trees require unique care due to their genetic makeup and their reactions to a specific environment. For instance, two different species of trees react to rainstorms differently, meaning that the way severe weather impacts each tree could be very different.

Without knowledge, training, and experience it can be hard to know what to do.


Professionals will always have the training, experience, and equipment to get the job done

When you hire a professional tree pruner, you can rest easy knowing the job is done right. Local tree pruning services have worked with thousands of trees in the area and have a deep familiarity with local tree species.

They’ll also have experience with the type of tree growth and specific situations presented in your community. Plus, since they’ve seen so much tree growth in your community and know how to take care of Oregon trees, they won’t be phased by any challenges.

Arborists will always have the extensive amount of equipment needed to do the job right. They also will be trained to use the equipment properly and safely.

When you work with experienced and trusted Portland arborists you know the work is done by Accredited Certified Arborists who know how to do the job right the first time.


Work with Northwest Arbor-Culture

At Northwest Arbor-Culture, we’ve been helping homeowners here in the Pacific Northwest for 17 years. We know how trees in our community grow and are committed to ensuring the health and proper growth of your property’s trees.

We offer all the professional tree care services you’ll need.

Learn more about our tree pruning services.


Tree pruning can be dangerous (to you and your home)

Between 2009 and 2015, 580 people died from injuries sustained while trimming trees. This is significantly more than other home improvement and maintenance projects.

There are a lot of reasons for this danger, including:

  • It’s hard to tell a stable branch from an unstable one. Standing on or even knocking into one could make the branch collapse, either underneath or on top of you.
  • When you’re up high anything can happen. With trees in the Portland area reaching heights over 100 feet, falls can be fatal.
  • Wildlife often lives high up in trees and can become erratic when disturbed, either injuring you or forcing you to fall.
  • For trees that are over or next to power lines, branches can fall onto the lines, knocking them down and creating an extremely dangerous situation.

While not as dire, trimming trees yourself can also cause severe property damage to you or your neighbor’s homes. Even if a branch is not over anything, when the branch falls it could be redirected by another branch, causing it to fall on your home or something else.


Trusted professionals will always have insurance

While not all property risks are alleviated by hiring professionals, a professional and experienced arborist will have insurance to cover any injury or damage. This will include any property damage caused by their work. It will also cover any injuries, serious or minor, inflicted on any workers while they are working on your home.


It will look better when you hire a professional

Tree arborists are professionals for a reason. They are there to make sure your trees are healthy and look great. When you trim trees yourself, the tree can grow at an angle that is both unhealthy and unattractive.


Landscaping is an investment in your home

If you’re like most people, your home is your largest asset and a large part of your financial future. Treat it as such and make sure to nurture it in a way that accentuates the things making it valuable.

Maintaining your home’s landscaping, and particularly trees, will ensure you protect the value of your home.

Money invested in landscaping generally has an ROI of over 150%!


Northwest Arbor-Culture can help protect your investment

Give us a call today to help ensure your home stays beautiful for the long haul. We have years of experience helping Portland homeowners keep their trees healthy and attractive. Call (503) 538-8733 or contact us online.

How to Care For a Young Tree

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Do you have a small tree in your Portland yard? Maybe you had a fruit tree planted after moving into your new home, or you’ve had a few new trees planted to reduce erosion. Whatever the reason, if you have a young tree in your yard it needs a little TLC and special attention to thrive.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about how to care for a young tree in your Portland yard. We’ll also share the biggest mistakes homeowners make when caring for smaller trees.


Planning on planting? Read this first.

If you’re thinking about planting a young tree in your yard, there’s a lot to consider. Take a look at these recent articles written by our tree care experts to help you get started.


What comes next?

Once a tree is planted, proper care during the first 5 years of its life is critical. During this time, you need to monitor your young tree to make sure it’s:

  • Getting enough (but not too much) water
  • Safe from damage by bugs or weather
  • Receiving the nutrients it needs and isn’t competing with other plants
  • Pruned and trimmed regularly


Need help with a young tree? We’re here to help.

Read more about our tree services and meet our team of certified arborists and tree experts.




Is your tree getting enough water or too much? Either extreme can be harmful. Here’s what you need to know about watering young trees:

  1. Your sprinklers aren’t enough. Young trees need to develop deep roots for stability and long-term health. Lawn sprinklers don’t provide enough water and encourage the growth of roots near the surface. Depending on the time of year, you may need to supplement your tree’s water supply.
  2. Monitor soil moisture. The soil around your tree should be damp, but not sopping wet. Dig down about 6”. The amount of moisture at the very surface of the soil is less crucial.
  3. Add mulch. Mulching near a young tree (leave an open space of 6-8” from base of the trunk) can help conserve water.
  4. Water deeply.Deep watering” young trees is the best way to deliver water where your trees need it most. Focus on watering slowly, allowing a smaller amount of water to soak deeply into the soil.


Winter, spring & fall

During the Portland area’s rainy months, your young trees will likely get enough water naturally. However, if it’s really rainy, watch out for standing puddles of water near the base of the tree. If you see puddles of standing water, get your trees inspected! There may also be drainage issues in your yard that need to be addressed.

This is the most common sign of a tree that’s getting too much water!



Most summers, the Portland area is very dry and your tree will need extra water. Be on the lookout for these signs your tree isn’t getting enough water:

  • Yellowed or curling leaves
  • Leaves that drop before fall
  • Soil that’s extremely dry and dusty


Weeds, plants, pests, and people

Don’t overlook other threats to your trees! Young trees don’t have the same defenses as mature trees and are more susceptible to damage from a variety of sources.

It’s very important to keep weeds away from the base of younger trees. Plants (even grass from your lawn) will compete with your tree for nutrients and water. Keeping the area around your tree clear of any weeds or plants is crucial for a healthy young tree.

Manual weeding and mulching are the best ways to keep weeds and plants from encroaching on a growing tree. Avoid the use of herbicides or pesticides as these can contain toxins that’ll damage a young tree.

Pests can be especially damaging to smaller trees. Infestations can take hold easier and do more damage. Watch for signs of insects like aphids, beetles, and ants so you can take action before it’s too late!

People are a big threat to growing trees, too! Maturing trees have softer bark and are more susceptible to damage from lawn mowers and weed eaters. Even a little damage to the bark of a young tree can hurt its ability to grow and remain healthy.



Strong winds are especially dangerous to young trees. Their root systems are not fully developed and they may be more likely to fall or be pulled out of the ground during winter storms. Newly planted trees are also more likely to be damaged by frost and ice than older more established trees.

But believe it or not, ice can actually protect younger, smaller trees. During shorter cold spells, ice can act like a blanket, insulating the tree’s branches from colder ambient temperatures.



Sunscald happens during colder months when tree bark gets hot from the sun, and then rapidly freezes at night.

To prevent it:

  • Wrap the trunk with a tree wrap or plastic tree guard
  • Keep the wrap on the tree until early spring
  • If your tree experiences sunscald damage (which appears as elongated, sunken, dried or cracked areas of bark), cut back the dead bark until you reach live tissue



During very windy weather, young trees with flexible trunks may benefit from staking. But don’t stake it too tightly. Your tree should still be able to sway freely without bending so far that it might pull out of the ground.


When to start trimming & pruning

Young trees need to be pruned! It helps them to build a strong structure. If you wait too long to prune your trees, branches may become too heavy and deform the tree. When our tree experts prune and trim young trees, we focus on removing:

  • Dead, diseased, or damaged branches
  • Lower branches encouraging growth of the crown
  • Crossing branches
  • Multiple leaders, especially on evergreens

DON’T FORGET: If an older tree’s canopy is covering a newly planted tree it must be trimmed back. Young trees need plenty of sunlight to grow.


Questions about your young trees?

If you have young trees in your yard, we’d love to come out and take a look. Our certified arborists and tree experts can inspect your trees and suggest a pruning plan. We can also remove older trees and even help with the landscaping of your yard.

Call us today at (503) 538-8733 to learn more.

How to Protect Your Trees From Extreme PNW Weather

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

How to protect your trees from extreme weather

Crippling winter storms, bitter-cold temperatures, increased rainfall, record-high temperatures…here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve seen it all. In fact, one report named the Pacific Northwest the country’s most extreme weather region in 2017!

As you’d expect, extreme weather conditions can cause problems for trees in Oregon and Washington. Broken branches, root damage, bug problems, and fallen trees are common. Do you know how to protect your trees (and your house and family) during inclement weather?

Keep reading to find out!

Have questions about caring for your trees? Ask our certified arborists!

Keep Some Tools on Hand

Protecting your trees from inclement weather starts with preparation. Whether you have just one or two trees on your property, or live in a heavily wooded area, keeping your garage or shed stocked with a few important tree care tools is important.

Aim to always have the following tools on hand:

  • Pruner
  • Garden stakes
  • Burlap or tarp
  • Stakes
  • Heavy twine
  • Sharp knife
  • Mulch
  • Hose

Keep in mind that working on your trees can be dangerous. If you are dealing with a large tree, or your trees need extensive pruning or care, always call a professional.


Plant Trees When They’re Small

When it comes to handling high winds and strong rain, you want your trees to have deep, sturdy roots. As you’re adding new trees to your property, it may be tempting to choose a fully-grown tree. However, planting a smaller tree is usually better choice.

Smaller trees will grab onto your soil and develop healthy root systems more easily than large trees. Furthermore, starting small allows you to keep the tree properly pruned (and thus more structurally sound) from the beginning.

Though starting small is great strategy for building up a strong tree, keep in mind that young trees are more susceptible to weather damage.


How to Protect Young Trees from Weather Damage

There are a few steps you’ll need to take to keep small trees safe from the elements.

Here’s what you should to do protect young trees from the cold

  • Step 1: Cover your tree with burlap, tarp, or a sheet that extends to the ground. This will help trap the earth’s warmth. You may need to use a frame or stakes to minimize contact between the cover and your tree.
  • Step 2: Water your tree well. Though it may seem counterintuitive, keeping your tree well-watered will help it absorb more solar radiation than dry soil and help it stay warm at night.
  • Step 3: After a freeze avoid pruning the tree until warmer weather.

Young trees are also very susceptible to sun scald. Sun scald usually happens during colder months and occurs when tree bark gets hot from the sun, and then rapidly freezes off when the sun disappears at night.

Here’s how to prevent sun scald on young trees:

  • Wrap the tree trunk with a tree wrap, plastic tree guard, or any light-colored material
  • Keep the wrap on the tree through the late fall through early spring
  • If your tree experiences sun scald damage (which appears as elongated, sunken, dried or cracked areas of bark), cut back the dead bark until you reach live tissue


Give Your Tree Room to Grow

Something else to consider when planting trees is how large they will eventually grow. If your species of Oregon tree will grow to have a wide canopy, don’t plant them too close together. You don’t want your trees to have lots of overlapping branches once it’s fully-grown, as this makes it more susceptible to weather damage.

You also need to give your tree plenty of ground space. Did you know that roots can occupy an area 4 to 7 times the surface area occupied by the top of your tree? Your tree needs room to grow deep roots and become sturdy enough to weather any storm.


Wrap Your Trunks

Although young trees are much more susceptible to weather damage, thin-barked trees can experience cold-weather damage as well. Common thin-barked species include linden, ash, and maple trees.

For these types of trees, or young trees that are very tall, there’s no need to cover the entire tree. Instead, you should just focus on wrapping the trunk.

How to Wrap a Tree Trunk

  • Use a thick, brown paper. Trunk wrapping material can be found at your nearest hardware store.
  • Start at the bottom! If you wrap from the top down, the overlaps will be facing upwards, making it easier for moisture to sneak in.
  • Bury the end of the wrap in the soil. After it’s secured in the ground, start wrapping upwards in a shingle effect. Wrap it only as far as the lowest branches, then loosely secure with tape or twine.
  • Don’t leave the wrap on for too long. This can trap moisture and cause pest problems. Here in the Pacific Northwest, keeping your tree wrapped from November through March is usually fine.


Prune Proactively

how to properly prune your trees

Regular tree pruning is the best way to manage the health of your trees. It’s also important for preventing damage (to your home and property and to the tree) during extreme weather. There are a few specific types of weather-proofing trimming you should consider for your trees.

Wind Sailing

Wind sailing is a type of trimming that entails removing select branches from your tree’s crown so it can bend and move more easily in the wind. This in turn prevents breakage of its roots and stem. This pruning method is best for deciduous trees.


This method of pruning focuses on all the major deadwood in your tree. Removing deadwood is good for your tree’s health and greatly reduces the chance of it breaking and falling during extreme weather.

Standard Trim

A standard trim focuses on thinning out your tree and removing excess growth. This method of pruning also raises and steadies the canopy of your tree. All these things will help reduce liabilities during extreme weather by encouraging proper balance throughout the entire stem of your tree.


Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help!

portland arborist nw arbor culture

If despite your best efforts your trees have taken a hit after cold weather or storm and aren’t doing well, seek help from a professional. In fact, especially when it comes to pruning, it’s always better to get the help of an accredited, certified Portland arborist.

An Arborist is your tree’s doctor and can help you not only fix an issue, but prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

Here at Northwest Arbor Culture, we’ve been helping homeowners care for their trees through extreme weather conditions for over 17 years. We offer the full spectrum of professional tree services and are committed to helping you understand how to properly care for your trees and protect your property.


We’ve helped hundreds of Portland homeowners protect their trees from extreme weather damage!

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6 Tree Care Tips for PNW Homeowners

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Since you live in the Pacific Northwest, there’s a good chance you have many trees around your home. While these trees may not require as much care and attention as your flower beds or garden, you don’t want to just ignore them!

Taking some time twice a year to give your trees a little TLC will ensure they continue to increase your curb appeal, provide a pleasant landscape for you to enjoy, and not endanger your home.

Keep reading to learn the most important tree maintenance tips from our arbor experts.


First Things First: Know Your Trees

Here in Oregon and Washington, there are a wide variety of beautiful tree species. As you can probably guess, these different types of trees require different care.

Do you know what kind of trees you have on your property? Here at Northwest Arbor Culture, we are happy to help you identify the type of trees living around your home. The Arbor Day Foundation also has an easy-to-use tool for identifying trees.

Once you’ve honed in on the type of trees you’re living with, you should aim to learn the unique needs of each species. A few things to make a note of include:

  • How much water the tree needs and its preferred soil type
  • Whether or not the tree is drought tolerant
  • Any unique stressors, such as a low tolerance to high winds or overwatering



Make Sure Your Trees Get Enough Water

Here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, most trees get plenty of natural water. However, during the summer you may need to give your trees some extra help as an extended drought combined with sunny days is an easy way to kill off your trees.

Make sure you’re giving your trees a good soak a few times throughout the summer. This will ensure your tree and its soil remains healthy. During the winter, on the other hand, you can let your trees sit dormant.

The only exception would be if your tree has been recently planted within the last year. In this case, you’ll want to encourage its growth by making sure it has enough water. A good rule of thumb is that your new tree needs 5 gallons (1.5 inches of rainfall) every week.


Mulch A Few Times a Year

If you’re not familiar, mulch is made of decaying leaves or bark and is used to enrich and/or insulate the soil of your tree. Mulch will not only help protect your tree and its roots from distress, it also looks great.

A new layer of mulch placed around your tree a few times a year will keep soil moist and control weeds. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to use the correct amount. Too much mulch piled up around your tree can cause trunk rot and disease. Too little will defeat the purpose of the mulch in the first place.

How to Apply Mulch Around Your Tree

When applying mulch, the most important thing is to avoid choking your tree. Leave some space around the tree trunk, starting the mulch about 3-6 inches away from the base. Make about a 3-foot circle of mulch around your tree, about 3 inches deep

What Kind of Mulch is Best?

Only use mulch from a reputable source. Avoid just taking some from your neighbor’s leftover mulch pile. These leftover piles may contain materials from diseased trees and will cause more harm than good.

You can make your own mulch by combining materials from your own yard, such as healthy lawn clippings, shredded leaves, branches, and bark. Otherwise, if you have questions about what type of mulch to buy, give us a call. We’d be happy to help.



Your Tree Bark Matters

The bark on your tree is its natural armor against infection, disease, and rot. As you’re mowing your lawn or weed whacking around your property, take care not to knick your trees. Similarly, keep an eye out for anything else that might be causing regular damage to the bark of your trees.


Keep Pests Out of Your Tree Branches

Here in Oregon and Washington, we’re lucky to be surrounded by lots of beautiful wildlife. While animals like deer, squirrels, and raccoons can be fun to observe, they can also damage your trees if you’re not careful.

If you’re in an area that sees a lot of deer or has a rodent issue, there are a few steps you can take to not only protect your trees, but your entire yard and home. Keep in mind that a rat in your tree can usually scurry along branches and find a way onto your roof.

Here are some ways to keep pests out of and away from your trees.

  • Install deer fencing around your tree or the perimeter of your home
  • Add trunk guards to your trees to keep rodents away
  • Use a pest control spray along the perimeter of your property, if necessary


Don’t Forget to Prune Your Trees Regularly

Pruning is perhaps the most involved tree maintenance task you’ll need to perform. It’s also one that needs to be performed carefully. Improper pruning can prompt disease to spread, destabilize your tree, and in extreme cases, make it fall over.

We recommend hiring a professional arborist to handle the task– especially if you’ve never pruned a tree before. Pruning your trees, especially if they are large trees, can be dangerous and cumbersome. Working with a licensed, certified arborist will ensure your trees remain a safe, healthy, and beautiful part of your property.

If you want to go at the pruning process alone, here are some best practices to follow:

  • Remove dead or broken branches.
  • Get rid of crossing branches which are rubbing against each other and damaging the bark. Typically, you should remove the smaller branch, encouraging the stronger branch to continue growing.
  • Remove low branches, branches prone to damage, or branches encroaching on your house or roof


Tips for Cutting Branches

  • Use clean and sharp tools, sanitizing them between different trees
  • Cut down to the main trunk or lateral branch
  • When cutting back to a main stem or branch, avoid making a flush cut. Leave a small collar of the branch, which will help protect your tree against pathogens

Even with all this in mind, be aware pruning techniques can be specific to each type of tree. It’s always best to consult a professional arborist before undertaking a large pruning job.



Count On Northwest Arbor Culture to Care for Your Trees

Need some extra help maintaining the trees on your property? Whether you need tree pruning or removal, are concerned about the health of your trees, or want to improve the overall landscape of your property, we can help.

Northwest Arbor-Culture Inc. is a full-service tree care, landscape, property maintenance and forest management provider. For over 30 years, we’ve been providing services to homeowners and businesses in Portland, Vancouver, and the surrounding areas of Oregon and Washington.

We are proud of our reputation for being the most dependable, professional, and educated team in the Northwest. We offer quality services at a fair price and unmatched customer attention.

Contact us to learn more or call us at (503) 538-8733 to schedule a free estimate.

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