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The Arbor Advisor
SPRING 2009
> Collier Compost Tea
> Winter Turf Issues
> Arctic Blast Damage
> Terrill Collier — Chair of TCIA
> 6 Beautiful Trees — a poem

Winter Turf Injury

A lawn with severe winter turf injury. A lawn with severe winter turf injury.

Now that the snow has melted we can see the impact of prolonged snow cover on our lawns. A variety of turf diseases are causing dieback and decline of our lawns.

Snow cover can protect dormant turfgrass from desiccating wind and frost but can also produce an environment conducive to low temperature, turf damaging fungi. Gray snow mold (Typhula incarnata) and Red thread (Laetisaria fuciformis) are two turf diseases that have been active throughout the Northwest this winter. Snow mold appears as a mat of brown, straw-like grass blades that have died back to the roots. Red thread appears like tufts of pink cotton causing tip dieback and some cases back to the root system. Both of these diseases are directly causing turf health and vigor to decline resulting in thinning turf, weak grass plants, and overall decline in appearance.

Close-up of damaged areas. Close-up of damaged areas.

Try our new Organic lawn care program featuring compost tea and organic fertilizer to speed turf recovery and to help stop the diseases. Also watch out for Crane fly damage which can be identified by thinning turf density and the presence of brown grubs in the soil.

6 Beautiful Old Trees
— A Poem —

Root balls of fallen trees. Fallen trees that inspired a poem.

Bill Voight, neighbor to one of our long time clients, felt compelled to pen the following lines after watching six firs succumb to the pressures of Mother Nature. He shared his poem with our client, who, in turn, shared it with us. We wish to share it now with you.

6 Beautiful Old Trees, reaching majestically to the sky.
Had no way of knowing,
on the morrow, they would die.

They stood proudly, doing,
their dance in the breeze.
This they did daily,
the same as all other trees.

They were six among many,
though they put on a show.
When the wind reached 80 mph.
they had to bow, to the blow.

When the wind reached itís peak,
It was seven am, and just getting light.
And it was their time to go,
To the winning wind, they lost the fight!

The biggest, about three feet through,
started leaning, and never came back.
They fell like dominos, one pushing the other,
It happened so quick, and the wind had the knack.

I had been chosen, to witness,
Their majestic demise.
The cold feeling I got,
was of no surprise.

It was just for a second,
and then it had passed.
I felt reasoning take over,
and realized, nothing will last.

Written By Bill Voight
Author of: A book of Poetry, Dancing through Life

 

Western Red Cedar — natural foliage drop. Note tips are green.
Tom Townsend prepares a batch of compost tea in his 300 gallon brewer. Timely applications can help landscapes become lush and healthy.

Improve Plant Health with Collier Compost Tea

For the past two years, our 72-year-old Portland area tree and plant care firm has been experimenting with replacing its conventional —and even its organic — pest and plant nutrition programs with the world’s oldest answer to plant nutrition and disease and insect problems: compost tea.

“We don’t know exactly how old the idea of compost tea is, but we know it was used by the ancient Egyptians and the Romans. This is the way healthy crops were encouraged before there were chemical fertilizers,” said Collier Arbor Care President Terrill Collier. “This is the greenest of the green. We’re aiming to be a leader in the area of sustainability and replacing conventional fertilizers and pesticides with compost tea is about as sustainable as you can get,” he said.

Under the guidance of Collier Production Manager Tom Townsend, a certified arborist, Collier has been brewing its own brand of compost tea in a 300-gallon aerated tank at its Clackamas headquarters since last September. The tea is Townsend’s own particular mix of water and organic products including Alaska humus (extreme Alaska temperatures help provide a particularly rich soil), humic acid, kelp and fish hydrolasate (a type of fish fertilizer). After brewing the tea the result is a concentrated complex of billions of beneficial biological organisms and natural nutrients that is then applied as either a foliar or soil treatment. This in turn promotes healthy biological soil processes that naturally releases plant nutrients, improves soil structure and helps prevent harmful disease and pest problems.

“I’ve been tweaking the formula as I’ve evaluated the results and now I’ve got a pretty effective mix for all our purposes,” said Townsend, who has 20 years of pest management experience and who called himself a skeptic when he accepted the challenge to develop the compost tea application from Collier a couple of years ago.

Besides seeing the results of satisfied customers, Townsend has also been treating the landscapes of Collier employees over the last two years. He has been amazed at the successes. “I put this on my garden and it grew like crazy even though I didn’t use any fertilizers. After seeing results like that, I became a real convert,” he said.

Compost tea will be used in the following three Collier Programs to promote healthy plants in your landscape:

    1. Organic Plant Health Care  Compost tea will be used along with other organic pest control products to manage insect and disease problems.
    2. Soil Management Program  All natural compost tea, organic fertilizer, and beneficial mychorrihazae will be applied to improve soil and promote healthy biological activity and nutrients to plants.
    3. Organic Lawn Care Program  Compost tea along with organic fertilizer will be used to improve soil and provide nutrients for healthy lawn growth naturally.

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A row of hebe that died from the Arctic Blast in December 2008.
A row of hebe that died from the Arctic Blast in December 2008.

Arborvitae all over town took a major beating from the excess weight of the snows.
Arborvitae all over town took a major beating from the excess weight of the snows.

Arctic Blizzard Causes Plant Injury

The arctic blizzard that blasted the Northwest this winter has left storm and cold damaged trees and plants in its wake. Two distinct types of injury occurred:

  • Cold temperatures in the teens froze many tender plants causing burnt foliage, dead buds and branches, even killing plants.
  • Strong winds, heavy snow and ice caused trees to uproot, disfigured hedges and broke many branches.
Cold temperature injury
Symptoms like brown burnt foliage, dead buds and branch dieback have already started showing up. Plants that are affected include: daphne, escalonia, viburnum, hebe, cotoneaster and mock orange just to name a few. This list will certainly grow larger as we get into spring.

During the frigid weather, the ground froze preventing roots from picking up needed moisture. Then the cold gale-force winds dried the foliage, causing windburn symptoms. The cold temperature can split bark, damaging or killing plant tissue underneath, killing buds and also killing tender plants outright.

Assessing Storm Damage
Minor damage: When only the smallest branches of the tree are injured this usually results in little or no permanent injury to the tree. All that is required is cleanup of the broken twigs and branches and perhaps a crown cleaning or thinning prune to restore a pleasing shape.



More severe damage: Large broken branches, split crotches, removal of bark, and splitting or splintering of the trunk — can be caused by strong winds and heavy ice storms. When a tree is severely damaged, the first question that must be answered is: “Is the condition of the tree such that keeping it is worthwhile?” A Collier Arbor Care Certified Arborist should be consulted to answer this question.

“Our arborists will take the time and effort to save a tree only if the tree will still be healthy, attractive, and of value to the property owner after repairs,” explains Terrill Collier, Board Certified Master Arborist. “We may recommend removal of a tree that has brittle wood and a branch structure that makes it vulnerable to additional damage from future storms. Trees that have been topped by storms are prime candidates for removal.”

Help For Cold and Storm Damaged Plants
  • To assess cold damaged plants, wait until spring to clearly see where damage occurred and remove dead plant parts
  • Evaluate trees with large cavities, structural problems, or extensive trunk or root decay and remove if deemed hazardous
  • Thin crown-thick trees by removing 10-20% of the branches and foliage to reduce weight and wind resistance
  • Crown-clean trees to remove dangerous deadwood and hangers
  • Remove large leaning trees with cracked soil and exposed root balls
  • Remove or cable branches with v-crotches or weak branch attachments
  • Use compost tea and organic fertilizer from our soil management program to help speed recovery and reduce stress of damaged plants

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Terrill Collier Selected as Chair of TCIA

Terrill Collier

At this year’s TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association) Winter Management Conference held in the Grand Bahamas, Terrill Collier, Board Certified Master Arborist, and President of Collier Arbor Care was installed as the new TCIA Chair of the Board.

TCIA’s Board of Directors is made up of 10 men and women who are proposed by the membership, selected through the Nominations Committee and the board, and elected by the members by mail ballot. The role of the board is to set policy and to strategically direct the future of the association.

Established in 1938 as the National Arborist Association, today’s TCIA is a trade association of more than 2,000 commercial tree care firms and affiliated companies. TCIA develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice, and management information for arboriculture firms around the world.

Through TCIA’s Accreditation program, consumers can be assured of hiring a professional, ethical tree care company that has been inspected by TCIA for proper business practices, professional employees, quality service and customer satisfaction. They provide continuing education, training, conferences and publications to promote the safe and appropriate practice of tree care.

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