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January 2018 news from TREE Fund...

Read the latest edition of our monthly TREE Fund Bulletin.

 

Holiday Special: Donate for a Chance to ...

In the spirit of holiday giving, and thanks to a generous supporter who has offered this incentive, December 18 – 25, 2017, each $50 gift made to TREE Fund’s 15th Anniversary Appeal gives you a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card.
 
How nice would it be to have extra cash after the holidays for paying off bills or treating yourself?
 
Click the DONATE NOW button on the right or send a check to TREE Fund, 552 S. Washington St., Ste. 109, Naperville, IL 60540 (must be postmarked during the promotion period). Winner will be announced January 3, 2018.
 
100% of your tax-deductible gift to TREE Fund empowers tree research and education that helps keep the urban forest growing strong. Thank you for your support!
 
 

December 2017 news from TREE Fund...

Read the latest edition of our monthly TREE Fund Bulletin.



ASTI Awards Next Round of Training Grant...

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of TCIA Magazine, a publication of Tree Care Industry Association (tcia.org). This content is reprinted with full permission of the publisher.

The Arborist Safety Training Institute (ASTI) recently awarded nearly $45,000 in grants to the organizations listed below that will use these funds to host safety-training workshops throughout the country. “When tree care workers learn proper practices, they begin to shift the culture of safety in our industry,” says Mark Garvin, TCIA president. “These ASTI workshops will help bring quality, local and affordable training to working arborists who will take their safety seriously and help promote overall workforce safety.” ASTI, launched by the Tree Care Industry Association Foundation (TCIAF) in 2013, provides grants to fund job and safety training to working arborists across the country. Funds for these grants are donated by tree care companies and equipment suppliers and distributors from around the country. 

  • Arborquest – Fort Walton Beach, FL
  • Arborwear LLC – Chagrin Falls, OH
  • Asplundh Tree Experts – Titusville, FL
  • Bailey’s Inc. – Woodland, CA
  • Bandit of Texas – Mesquite, TX
  • Bob’s Tree Preservation – Lafayette, LA
  • BridgeWood Tree Care – Elk Grove, CA
  • GE Tree Service – Petersburg, IN
  • Iowa Arborist Association – Bertram, IA
  • ISA – Rocky Mountain Chapter – Westminster, CO
  • Kristoffer Rasmussen – Azle, TX
  • Long Island Arborist Association – Lindenhurst, NY
  • Mike’s Tree Company LLC – Brainerd, MN
  • Missouri Community Forestry Council – Joplin, MO
  • Oak Bros. Tree Removal and Stump Grinding – Bloomington, IL
  • Piedmont Arborist Consultant – Conyers, GA
  • Preservation Tree – Dallas, TX
  • RTL Forestry Products, Inc. – New Wilmington, PA
  • SSC Services – College Station, TX
  • The Mulch Center – Deerfield, IL
  • The Professional Tree Care Company – Berkeley, CA
  • United Tree Climber Association – Escondido, CA
  • Vermeer MidSouth – Little Rock, AR
  • Wasatch Arborists, Inc. – Kamas, UT
  • Wisconsin Arborist Association – Neenah, WI

The next ASTI grant application deadline is March 1, 2018. To learn more and apply for a grant, visit tcia.org/asti.

TREE Fund is a proud supporter of ASTI, contributing through the Frank E. Gamma, Sr. Arboriculture Education Fund.

 

ISA Announces 2017-18 Donation to TREE F...

On Thursday, 5 October 2017, ISA President-elect Pedro Mendes Castro presented ISA’s 2017-18 donation of $56,000 to the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund. The donation was accepted by TREE Fund President and CEO J. Eric Smith following his presentation at the ISA Annual Leadership Workshop.

The donation is being made in two installments and will be used partially for general operating costs to support TREE Fund and the research it facilitates and also for the Bob Skiera Memorial Fund (the “Building Bridges” initiative). The Bob Skiera Memorial Fund supports the development of educational programs and materials to help arborists and urban foresters communicate the importance of the urban forest to urban planners and other decision makers. The Skiera Fund is dedicated to fostering a wider appreciation of the value of trees, their need for proper care, and their benefits to the environment.

As a non-profit foundation dedicated to the advancement of arboriculture and urban forestry, TREE Fund shares ISA’s commitment to scientific research, professional training, and public education. ISA’s increased financial support of TREE Fund advances the objectives of both organizations.

 

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of ISA TODAY, a publication of International Society of Arboriculture (isa-arbor.com). This content is reprinted with full permission of the publisher.

November 2017 news from TREE Fund...

Read the latest edition of our monthly TREE Fund Bulletin.



Pre-work Tree Risk Assessment Part II...

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of ARBORIST NEWS, a publication of International Society of Arboriculture (isa-arbor.com). This content is reprinted with full permission of the publisher.

In the last Simply Safe article on tree risk assessment (August 2017, pp. 64–65), I discussed the similarities between conducting a thorough, systematic, pre-trip vehicle inspection, and conducting a pre-work tree risk assessment. The conversation focused on how following a systematic process while performing a pre-work tree risk assessment reduces the likelihood of missing critical points of concern. This follow-up article emphasizes the importance of correctly identifying decay fungi, whenever possible, as part of the pre-work tree risk assessment.

Polyporus squamosus fruiting structures.

There are levels of priority in the inspection process, often based on likelihood and consequences. During a pre-trip vehicle inspection, for example, although we may check the tire pressure and the tread depth, we likely place a higher priority on checking the seatbelt, the steering linkage, and making sure the brakes are working. Now, the consequences of having a tire with low pressure or shallow tread depth are significant, but those consequences are likely lower in severity than the consequences of possessing a faulty seat belt, steering linkage, or brakes.

A systematic tree risk assessment is very similar. In an assessment, one inspects the whole tree, but the likelihood and/or consequences of failure for a trunk with a significant defect may be higher than the likelihood/consequences of a wrist-sized limb with a similar defect in the outer canopy. For this reason, after observing the tree from a distance for obvious points of concern, it is good to inspect the tree parts that could contribute to whole-tree failure and severe consequences, if they should fail.

One of the biggest concerns regarding root health (and associated tree stability) is decay. You can use a blunt-tip probe while inspecting the trunk flare to check for symptoms, such as soft, decayed roots just below the soil surface. You can start by inspecting the area around the trunk. This will give you an idea of how sound the roots are and help you determine if they are buried under backfill.

You should also look for signs of decay fungi, but be aware that the visible signs of some important decay fungi are not present yearlong. The most common indicators of fungi are fruiting structures, commonly referred to as mushrooms, conks, and brackets. Visible fruiting structures are typically only a small part of the whole fungal organism that is decaying the wood. A simple way to visualize this is to think about the flowers of a tree; the flowers are a reproductive structure, just as the conks, mushrooms, and brackets are the reproductive structures of fungi.

Identifying fungi from visible fruiting structures can be difficult. Some fungi, such as Ganoderma applanatum, have perennial fruiting structures that are visible throughout the year, even when the fungi is dormant. Many fungi, however, have fruiting structures that are present for only a short period before drying up and subsequently degrading. Fungal fruiting structures can be useful to positively identify fungi, but the chance of conducting your tree risk assessment when the fruiting structures are present and identifiable may be relatively low.

Being able to identify fungal fruiting structures is an important skill. And while most qualified arborists are good at identifying common species of trees in their area, there are fewer arborists who are able to identify the key decay fungi affecting those trees.

You can use a blunt-tip probe to check for symptoms of decay, such as soft, decayed roots just below the soil surface.

Arborists should be knowledgeable of how fungi decay wood. Some species are more aggressive than others and will degrade the structural integrity of the tree faster. If you are speaking with a client who says, “I’ve seen that same mushroom on that tree trunk for several years,” then your response will likely be different for a less-aggressive white rot species (e.g., Polyporus squamosus), than if the fruiting structure were an aggressive brown rot species (e.g., Laetiporus sulphureus). Brown rot and white rot fungi significantly change the characteristics of the wood in different ways. Doing your research and knowing the facts—knowing those characteristics—will help you better determine how to safely work on the tree.

Performing a pre-work risk assessment on every tree one works on is essential, regardless of whether that tree will being climbed, accessed from an aerial lift, or worked on from the ground. Follow a systematic process that you can easily repeat on every tree you assess. This will ensure your assessment becomes routine, and will reduce the likelihood of missing a step or an important piece of information about the structural integrity of the tree. Learning more about wood decay fungi identification, and about how decay fungi affects the trees on which you work, are similarly essential components of guaranteeing a safe worksite.

Next Steps: Guide your crew in performing a pre-work tree risk assessment. Start with the roots and the trunk, then move up the tree to the main limbs in the inner canopy, and then on to the smaller branches in the outer canopy. Take particular care when looking at the root system. Bring a blunt-tip probe and encourage your crew to practice checking for soft or decayed roots.

Don Roppolo is a manager of Arboricultural Training with The Davey Tree Expert Company. He is an ISA Certified Arborist (#IL-1393ATL).

 

October Volunteer Spotlight: Dr. Arnold ...

Arnold Brodbeck, PhD, TrusteeTREE Fund is happy to shine the spotlight this month on Beau Brodbeck, PhD. Beau started his involvement with TREE Fund as the Liaison for Southern Chapter ISA and quickly stepped up to chair the Liaison Committee and join the Board of Trustees. TREE Fund webinars were Beau’s brainchild; he introduced us to the Extension community and helped establish and grow the program. In addition to all that, Beau still finds time to participate in our Research and Education Committee that reviews grant applications, and to ride the Tour. We are grateful for all you do, Beau!

 

To suggest someone for the Spotlight, please contact Karen Lindell.

October 2017 news from TREE Fund...

Read the latest edition of our monthly TREE Fund Bulletin.



Pre-work Tree Risk Assessment...

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of ARBORIST NEWS, a publication of International Society of Arboriculture (isa-arbor.com). This content is reprinted with full permission of the publisher.

 

Keep your eyes open! If we are aware of problems with our equipment before we get on the road, then we can better our chances of properly addressing those problems.

Risk is present in just about everything we do—even something as basic as driving a truck (depending on how you go about it). How we approach the task of driving greatly affects the amount of risk we expose ourselves to. In other words, what we do before we turn the key in the ignition can increase or decrease our exposure to risk and impact our likelihood of having an incident.

As professionals, we know that being systematic and thorough with pre-trip vehicle inspections reduces our chance of missing something. If we are aware of problems with our equipment before we get on the road, then we can better our chances of properly addressing those problems.

Just as we need to conduct a thorough and systematic pre-trip inspection before we hop in the truck, we also need to do a thorough and systematic pre-work tree and site assessment to reduce our exposure to risk on the work site. If done the same way each time, your pre-work and site assessment can become a habit—a good habit. Never underestimate the value of a habitual process that reduces the likelihood of forgetting or missing something.

Evaluating the tree twice adds another level of safety before someone works on the tree. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. But hard work and patience can reduce those mistakes: assess the tree first to create an estimate or to develop a work order, then assess it again when the crew goes out to do the actual work.

The tree risk assessment we do before we send out a crew can set them up for success or failure, from a safety standpoint as well as an expense standpoint. Have you ever been involved in a job in which the initial assessment was more of a drive-by look, from one perspective, which you later found out had missed a significant concern? Hypothetically speaking, if a more thorough assessment was within the range of possibility, you might have considered enlisting different people with the appropriate skills and equipment (e.g., aerial lift, crane). The question then becomes, does the crew decide not to do the job and to come back another day with the appropriate equipment and personnel, or does the crew attempt to complete the job with what they have to avoid the additional, unplanned expenses?

Evaluating the tree twice adds another level of safety before someone works on the tree. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. But hard work and patience can reduce those mistakes.

A thorough tree risk assessment can help us avoid putting our crews in this very predicament. It is easy to not do a thorough tree assessment, thinking that the tree looks good from a distance and assuming the crew is going to look at it closer before they work on it. But the assessment needs to be the same, regardless of whether we are climbing the tree or planning to work using an aerial lift. For example, if a tree or tree part fails while we are using an aerial lift, there is a high risk of that part hitting the lift. We cannot operate under a false sense of security. We must not assume we do not need to conduct a thorough risk assessment because we are not tied to the tree.

Returning to our truck analogy—as one approaches a truck to do a pre-trip inspection, one looks for major signs of concern (e.g., oil on the ground, flat tires). We should approach trees and the sites we work on with the same big-picture observation, looking for and identifying obvious signs of concern. On a work site, we should be looking for power lines, signs of recent site disturbance (e.g., new sidewalks, curbs, or driveways), changes in grade, or vehicle traffic.

Following an overview of the work site, we should look for major signs of concern as we approach the tree(s) we plan to work on. Things that are easier to spot on approach include tip dieback, sparse canopy foliage, or excessive sprouts along major branches. Be aware that this may indicate root problems and consequently a loss of structural stability. Know the signs of poor or weak branch attachment, like codominant stems or narrowly angled branch unions. Develop a keen eye for dead or broken limbs, large cavities or cankers, or the absence of a visible trunk flare at the ground line. If there is no trunk flare, then there is a good chance the site has seen a change in grade, potentially causing damage to the root system and a loss of structural integrity.

In the case of a thorough, pre-trip assessment of a work truck, a close-up inspection of all the critical parts of the vehicle will be necessary—lifting the hood to check the engine, checking brakes, taking a look at the suspension. The same goes for us arborists as we get closer to the tree we plan to work on—the closer we get, the more critical we should be of the tree’s canopy, branches, and trunk. Having a pair of binoculars handy is very useful to get a better view of things that are difficult to see from the ground. On this closer inspection, we are typically able to identify smaller or less obvious defects that we could not see from a distance. Things like cracks, loose bark, or fungal fruiting bodies let us know there is dead tissue, and we should explore further to see how extensive the dieback and decay really is. Looking down at the base of the trunk, we can search for girdling roots, or heaving soil or root plates, among other concerns. We should use a mallet to sound every tree we work on to help identify cavities.

A process like the ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) is one method for helping arborists keep to the same, thorough process to reduce the likelihood of missing something. Some professionals prefer to customize their own process (or forms) to better fit their personnel and work requirements. Some document their assessment with a pen and paper, while others prefer to do everything electronically. Still others carry out the assessment but choose only to document significant concerns. Regardless of the method, the key is to follow a thorough, systematic process that is the same with each use. It may take some time and purposeful action to make your chosen process part of your routine. Be patient and persistent!

 

Don Roppolo is a manager of Arboricultural Training with The Davey Tree Expert Company. He is an ISA Certified Arborist (#IL-1393ATL).

Need funding? You have come to the right place.

Applications for competitive research grants, the Ohio Chapter ISA Education Grant Program, and all scholarships open Jan. 15.

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