Tree Removal

We removed a couple of big trees yesterday.  They were in a tight spot, with lots of obstacles.  But the right people and the right equipment really made the job easy.  Can you believe we got paid to have this much fun?

Penn-Del ISA Arbor Day of Service

There are many landscapes consisting of wonderful specimens of old and valuable trees whose owners – public institutions, parks, old cemeteries, etc. – do not have the financial means to provide the care these trees deserve.

The local chapter of our professional society, The International Society of Arboriculture, tries to do something about that.

Each year a nice bunch of volunteer arborists from Penn-Del ISA gets together to perform a day of free tree care service for a needy organization.

This year the very worthy recipient was the Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia.  What a magnificent site this is!  It’s a National Historic Landmark, and a horticulturally significant 54 acre oasis right in the middle of Philadelphia, near the University of Pennsylvania.

Today, “Earth Day” 2009, was the day.  Rick, Scott and I had a really fun time working together, in well-organized teamwork, with fellow arborists from around the chapter.  Some of use are competitors in business the rest of the year, but that doesn’t keep us from being best of comrades for this labor of love.


We met new friends, shared stories (many with similar themes) and got a lot of really high quality pruning work done.

What a satisfying day it’s been!  I’m tired! Good Night!

Cedar Apple Rust

This morning as the rain was clearing out, I went to a clients property in Collegeville to quote some pruning work.  While there I noticed an eastern red cedar tree that was just beginning to “bloom” with the reproducing stages of cedar apple rust.

This common disease has a very interesting lifecycle : the fungus that grows as a leaf spot disease on apple trees produces spores which, when carried by the wind are deposited on cedars or other species of juniper, grow to form galls on the juniper twigs.  Then, after a spring rain when the temperature is suitable, the galls erupt into a brilliant orange jelly-like substance that is the spore producing stage on cedars.  This reproducing stage occurs magically fast after the rain, then only lasts a few days.  Spores from this fruiting body then infect the leaves of apple trees to complete the 2-stage lifecycle.

Galls just starting to expand

Galls just starting to expand

Fruiting body

Fruiting body



The beautiful weather of this weekend will surely kick off our spring busy season.  I can’t wait, it’s been a long winter!

The Virginia bluebells in front of my office window are now in full bloom.

The Virginia bluebells in front of my office window are now in full bloom.

Note the spring beauties and a few dandelion in the lawn in foreground :mine’s not the typical suburban sprayed sterile lawn.

Today I saw the first blossom in my strawberry patch.  Spring’s definitely here.

Also today, in my driveway, I spotted this beautiful emerald green beetle.

THIS IS NOT THE DREADED EMERALD ASH BORER!  (the adult EAB does not emerge for another two months).  And, thankfully, they still have not been found here in Montgomery County, although they are in western PA.

The webs of eastern tent caterpillar are starting to become noticeable on the native cherries in the woods, as well as on the crabapple in my nursery.

I get a lot of calls about ETC, (with people often confusing it with other more destructive pests such as gypsy moth).  Don’t let them worry you – they are not going to invade like some of the introduced pests and populations are kept in check by natural enemies such as assassin bugs, parasites and birds. (it’s a favorite food of the Baltimore oriole)  I’m not going to spray the ones in my nursery, I’ll probably just destroy the nests before they eat a lot of leaves.


If I’d noticed this egg mass – the things that look like a swollen area on the twig – over the winter, I could have just pulled it off then and prevented its hatch.

Exciting things are happening outdoors every day, and at an especially fast pace at this time of year.  I’m going to try to keep you updated with regular posts here on this site, hopefully with some links to more information on some of the topics.