How To Avoid Tree Utility Conflict
Multiple factors ought to be considered before the planting of trees. Before determination of the type of trees to be planted and the area of planting, utility lines must first be considered. These include overhead and underground supply lines. Overhead lines include cable television, electricity poles and wires. Underground lines can be for natural gas, sewer or water lines. To avoid interruptions in these services some factors before choice of where to plant trees should not be overlooked. Avoid tree utility Conflict
Both trees and utility lines need to co-exist because of their shared importance. Utility lines serve almost all neighborhoods; adding convenience and comfort to our everyday lives. Similarly trees moderate weather conditions bringing shade and coolness, add to the aesthetic value of the surrounding, block undesirable views and help reduce noise. Some tree provide fruit for human consumption. To have both services, the conflict between vegetation and utility lines must be mitigated before they arise, failure to which dangerous situations might arise. Quite often property owners do not know where the boundaries that demarcate their property are or even the rights that the utility companies have as pertains the use of that land.
Some basic definitions of land use To Avoid Tree Utility conflict
Easement: This is the right of use of another individual’s property for a specific non-possessory interest. The owner of the property is prohibited from interfering with the terms of the easement.
Prescriptive easement: The continued use of an easement in another person’s property without necessarily having permission for duration’s prescribed by law.
Right of way: This is a strip through someone’s property that can be rightly used for conveyance of utilities or transportation. It can be both private and public.
Setback line: This is a line that identifies the distance where construction activates or planting can take place. It can be measured from a lot line or a right of way.
These have the obvious advantage that they are easy to see. Some of these, especially electric lines can be very dangerous when crossed by tree branches. Consideration for the mature height of trees planted beneath overhead lines must be made. Most of the time the utility companies are forced to prune the trees in a way that interferes with the natural appearance of the tree. Trees that achieve tall heights pose a great danger to children or adults who scale them towards an electric line. When trees contact electric line shorting can occur leading to interruption of the utilities. To ensure public safety and avoidance of losses, proper selection of trees and consideration of right of way must be made.
Utility providers have right of access to properties through easements. Therefore, it is important to consider the effect that roots can cause to underground utilities. Some trees are very deep rooted. There are so many utilities that run underground these days. Roots rarely destroy the utility lines but the roots can be destroyed in case digging up is necessary for repairs. There is a danger of destroying utility lines during planting of the trees. Care must be taken not to dig up lines causing losses and disruption. Before planting of trees, a landowner should contact any underground utility company for advice on the location of the utilities.
Whenever there’s tree utility conflict the below factors are compromised.
Safety: With thoughtful selection putting the right tree in the right place and proper maintenance coexistence of utility lines is possible, while assuring public safety and the safety of the lines. Poorly selected trees in the wrong locations can become liabilities in the future. Trees in close proximity to utility lines pose serious risk to property owners especially if they are climbable.
Reliable Services: For provision of safe and uninterruptable services consideration must be made. Utility firms regularly inspect their lines but part of the responsibility lies in the hands of the property owner. Beneath electric lines, if trees grow unchecked they naturally sway into the cable providing a path for electricity to the ground which can be lethal to anyone working on the trees. Under certain conditions power lines also sway contacting trees and can transfer electricity to nearby trees.
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A guide on choosing high quality trees for planting.
Tree selection goes beyond choosing a particular species and variety. Superior stock from a nursery should be chosen after considering a number of factors. Planting site conditions, tree structure, root ball characteristics and maximum size at planting are some of the factors to consider. A buyer must inspect nursery stock for any pests and disease and other quality factors quality tree selecting.. These include pruning cuts, canopy structure, general vitality of the tree among others. Low quality trees can be inexpensive at the nursery but end consuming a lot of money for tree treatment and maintenance. Such trees perform poorly on a landscape and may end up dying.
Considerations to make before buying quality tree.
Healthy and good quality nursery trees present the owner with numerous advantages. These trees are more likely to survive after transferring to the field. Buyers must also thoroughly scrutinize the root structure and buy from growers with a reputation for producing trees with good root systems. Good quality nursery trees have the potential to grow into strong storm-resistant trees. Some of the prominent factors to consider include:
The nursery production system: To ensure greater survival after transplanting it is necessary to buy trees from a nursery with similar conditions as the planting site. The nursery must simulate conditions of the field. The main methods of nursery production include: field grown, container grown and bare root.
Bare root trees are rare and are mostly planted in the dormant state. They are dug out of the field and transferred without covering on the roots. Trees can only be transferred bare root up to a certain size. Undue stress should not be exerted on bare roots to avoid tear and damage. The edges of the roots should be cleanly trimmed. Damaged roots can be neatly trimmed before planting.
Container trees are grown above ground in wooden, metallic or fabric containers. Remove the container during buying to inspect the roots. Circling roots are dangerous and can cause death of other roots or the entire tree. Large circling roots should be straightened during planting while the fine circling roots may be cut away.
Root ball characteristics: Before considering the root ball sizes it is first necessary to consider the nature of the soils to plant in. Drainage and irrigation frequency if any are some of the important considerations. In well drained soils, root balls of all shapes and sizes perform well. In poorly drained and compacted soils, shallow and wide balls are better suited. In sites where frequent irrigation is not available long root balls are necessary to keep the deep roots moist.
Root defects and root collar location should also be considered. Root ball defects may occur Regardless of the method of nursery production. Kinking in roots occur when roots have been turned on themselves by almost 180 degrees. This usually happens when they are folded in their container. Water and nutrients experience difficulties negotiating the severe turns in the roots. Kinked roots also do not provide the necessary mechanical support and can cause blowing over of trees during storms. Stem girdling, circling or kinked roots are some of the defects a planter may reckon with. Circling roots can cause trees to be unstable and trees with severe circling problem should not be planted. Stem girdling roots form where new roots grow perpendicular to a cut root or where the tree was produced in a very long container. Such roots strangle the trunk and may result in stem and root decay.
Maximum size at planting: Some factors must be considered before choosing different sized nursery stock trees. These include drainage of the site, climate and availability and frequency of irrigation. Where adequate irrigation is not available, small nursery stock should be chosen. Small trees should not be planted in wet areas where the roots can submerge. This can lead to death of the deep roots and may hinder growth of the tree for several years.
Smaller nursery stock establishes faster since roots come into balance with the top within the first 6 – 12 months after planting. Larger nursey stock requires more time to establish and may be exposed to various problems like drought during this period.
Fertilization and spraying service is important for any type of tree planting. Fertilization can help to grow a site strongly and effectively and Spraying can help tree stay away from insects.
The need for this service is occasioned by the presence of inadequate nutrients in the soil. Nutrients can be present naturally in the soil from decomposing plant matter. However, nutrients can be deemed inadequate when the three core nutritional elements are missing. These are Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. In the presence of adequate nutrients in the soil, vigorous growth is expected. Mostly in urban setting the soil composition keeps varying due to drainage and construction activities. Addition of fertilizers can also serve the purpose of remedying the soil pH (acidity or alkalinity of sol) through addition of lime.
A good indicator of inadequate nutrients is when trees start exhibiting poor growth characteristics like stunting, dead twigs and production of small off colored leaves despite the presence of adequate moisture. Symptoms of the absence of nitrogen are the most noticeable in a tree. Arborists recommend taking of soil samples from 0 – 6 niches and from 6 – 17 niches separately for testing. When the average concentration levels are below 3 parts in a million the soil requires addition of nitrogenous fertilizer. The inaccuracy of the test however requires experienced arborists who can study the plant features correctly. Potassium and phosphorous are not required in large quantities and may be added during routine annual fertilization.
Care should be taken during application of fertilizers so as not to fertilize plant that actually exhibit symptoms of drought. This alleviates the danger of scorching the leaves and damaging the roots. An exception is made where irrigation is available. Application should also be done to plants with an established root system since it can inhibit growth of roots in young trees and lead to their death. Soil tests can establish the pH values of the soil from which an expert can recommend amendments whether to lower or raise the pH. Different trees thrive under different pH levels. Generally, the incorporation of lime per 100 feet of area raises pH a half to one unit on the scale. Twice the recommendation of lime is required when wood ash is used. On the other hand, lowering of pH levels can be achieved by application of sulfur.
What are the types of fertilizers?
There are three different kinds of fertilizers containing the three core nutrients. There are those containing nitrogen, phosphorous as phosphoric acid and potassium as potash. The labels on fertilizer containers indicate the percentages of the nutrients. Eg 20-6-4 indicates the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium respectively. They are always listed in that order. The application method most preferred is the even broadcasting of the fertilizer granules. Application of fertilizer through spraying- a practice known as foliar feeding- is recommended for application of minor nutrients like iron directly to the leaves.
Spraying is necessary for control of insects and pests and the treatment/prevention of plant diseases. Insects and pests cause the loss of foliage and damage of roots and stems. Other prominent symptoms of insect infestation include appearance of holes on leaves leading to brown dead leaf portions, wood decay, dead branches and disease infections. Evergreen trees are especially susceptible to various types of fungus and tree scab. Spraying must be done in good time since most plant pests and diseases have defined life cycles. The particular chemicals to be used in the spray should be recommended by an expert. Spraying as noted above can be used for application of plant nutrients directly to the leaves. The benefits of spraying various chemicals must outweigh any potential harm to the environment. Commercial licensed applicators with the required equipment and safety gear are recommended. These are held to high environmental and public safety standards by the government.
Safety precautions while spraying.
Caution must be exercised before and during spraying tree to avoid accidents. Goggles during mixing of chemicals are necessary to prevent splashing or spill chemicals from getting to the eyes. A full spraying gear should also include full length pants and shirt and unlined rubber gloves. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water after the exercise. Eating or smoking should be avoided during spraying. Application of pesticides and other sprays should be done during calm weather to prevent drifting of sprays off the intended targets. Finally plant chemicals should be stored in their original containers in secure places away from reach of children.
Mulching involves application of organic material at the base of a tree. However Inorganic materials e.g. gravel and rubber chips are also used. Apart from the many benefits that comes with mulching it also serves to add to the aesthetic value of the landscape. Mulching has greater importance in newly planted trees as it protects the roots from elements of the environments.
The process of Mulching
Choosing of the right mulching:
The mulch you choose can determine the health of the trees in the landscape. it is therefore advisable to select high quality organic mulch. Inorganic mulches do not improve the composition of the sol in terms of nutritional value. it is worthwhile to note that majority of mulches offered in stores may contain toxic chemicals, lead paints, construction debris and other harmful waste. The most common organic mulches include;
Decomposing leaf litter – The litter should be thoroughly composed to reduce the spread of weeds. This category of mulch has a high amount of nutrients and is the most readily available.
Animal manure- This s a good source of nutrients. Before application it should be mixed with high porosity material to improve aeration and drainage. Incompletely composted manure can cause burns that can severely damage the trees.
Other sources of quality mulch include shredded leaves, sawdust, sewage sludge and straw. While choosing the mulch to apply you must consider the nutrient value, availability, texture and aesthetics. the mulch should complement the appearance of the landscape and should be according to the particular tastes of the owner. The availability of the mulch determines its cost. Mulch available within the vicinity reduces transportation costs. However, mulch can be available free of charge within the community. The texture should be preferably medium. Fine texture may inhibit proper drainage while coarse texture is too porous to retain meaningful amounts of water. The decomposing mulch should provide nutrient rich humus to add to the composition of the soil.
Application of the mulching
A number of activities should be carried out to prepare the field before the application. These include clearing and removal of unwanted plants especially grass. This eliminates the competition with the tree for essential nutrients, water and nitrogen. The grass can be removed by first mowing and then applying a weak solution of herbicide. Removal using gardening tools is discouraged since it causes disturbance of the fibrous root system. The feeder roots the grass as well as the trees reside within the top 30cm of ground area. Safety gear recommended by the weed killer should be won and manufacturers directions regarding use followed.
Any existing mulch should be raked away and discarded. Stop at the point where the soil color changes and there is presence of roots.
2 – 4 inches of mulch should be applied uniformly in the prepared area depending on the drainage. Less mulch should be applied in areas with lower drainage. A clearance of 1 inch or more should be left between the stem of the tree and the mulch. Mulch should never be piled up the tree trunk to form volcano like features.
Excess mulch retains excess moisture and warmth that causes stress to the trees and lead to rotting of the roots.
Piling the mulch up the trunk to form volcano le features stresses the tissues of the trunk and can lead to accumulation of insects and diseases. Organic mulches must be replenished with time at a rate commensurate to decomposition to avoid build up.
Once application of the mulch is complete it should be watered to prevent it from blowing away. Addition of excess water is detrimental to the plant.
Benefits of mulching.
Conservation of soil moisture: Mulch diminishes the evaporation rate during hot summers hence infrequent watering s required.
Improvement of soil fertility: Decomposing mulch add essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous to the sol. in clay soils it improves the porosity and improve the water retention capacity of light sandy soils.
Provision of insulation: Compare to bare soils mulched soils are cooler in summer and warmer during winter which effectively reduces the extent of freezing and thawing of soil which has adverse effects on the plants.
Other benefits include the prevention of dispersion of soil when hit by droplets from rain or sprinklers.
Tired of poor quality fruits? Pruning is an essential method of improving the vitality of a tree and hence its fruit. Learning when and how to prune fruit trees is an essential art that a landscape caretaker should possess. A number of reasons can necessitate pruning. When a fruit tree is growing vertically with no side branches, pruning can stimulate the growth of branches at desired points. Pruning generally stimulates growth and can help your fruit trees increase in height.
Do you have a tree with uneven branches or even a fruit tree that is too tall? All these undesirable characteristics in your fruit trees can be corrected through pruning.
So, what are the objectives of pruning?
Allowance of light penetration to all leaves and fruit buds to allow proper development and maturity of fruits.
Size control of the tree. Some tree can be too tall or even grow huge unstable branches. Pruning can help a fruit farmer achieve desired tree sizes.
Removal of damaged wood. Tree disease and insect infestation can result to dead branches and wood that can cause further injury to the tree if not removed.
Helping a tree achieve a strong structure. Pruning tames upward growth allowing for thickening of trunks. This improves the strength of the tree allowing it to hold more fruits.
When to prune fruit trees?
For development of a strong tree structure the initial pruning is very essential. Thereafter pruning is not necessary often unless under the special conditions outlined above. Trees should be pruned when they are still in the dormant phase before buds start sprouting. This period is just at the start of spring or during late winter. Pruning at this point provide numerous advantages to your trees. When active growth resumes the wounds heal fast. At this point when there are no leaves on the tree, it is easy to identify the damaged branches and undesirable branches. It is important to note that pruning during winter can cause damage of the trees by the subzero temperatures that occur.
The first three years should be dedicated to removal of secondary stems, downward growth, crossing branches and managing the scaffold. The scaffold branch forms the basic framework of a tree. All the branches that develop from the scaffold are the secondary branches. In immature trees pruning is only necessary to remove downward weak branches, dead wood and water sprouts. Fruit trees that have been neglected require special attention since the hard wood can easily break or split.
Young tree should be pruned right after planting. The main trunk should be trimmed down to between 24 and 34 inches. This however depends on the height requirement of the mature tree. If a tall fruit tree that can provide shade is desired then the cut should be made at a higher point on the young tree. If a fruit tree is not growing well during the first three years, heavy pruning is allowed.
- The first step should be cleaning up all the dead, damaged and diseased branches. Any sprouting at the base of the trunks should also be removed. Water sprout are the perfectly vertical twigs emanating from branches. These should also be removed.
- Thinning out. This will involve the removal of branches crossing each other those growing downwards and towards the center. This improves the penetration of light which reduces incidences of pests and disease infestation and hence increasing yield. Thinning out should achieve a distance of between 6 – 12 inches between branches depending on the size of the branches.
Directions on making the pruning cut
Selection of the tool depends on the thickness of the branches. The required tools range from hand shears, loppers, fine toothed pruning saw and a ladder. Shear are a scissor type used to cut small branches up to a quarter an inch in diameter. Loppers can be used on branches between a quarter and a half inches of diameter. The saw is necessary in the thicker branches and in heights where the other two tools cannot be used. This is mostly at the third year of growth. The ladder should prevent the pruner from stepping on the branches to avoid breakage. Cutting should be made close to the remaining branch to avoid leaving a stub.