Reducing Irrigation During the Drought? Don’t Forget Your Trees!

I have been getting an increased number of calls from people concerned about their tree(s) starting to dieback. They want a certified or registered consulting arborist to evaluate the tree health condition, determine the cause of the tree decline, and recommend treatment options or removal. For the past two to three years, I have noticed the increasing number of declining trees throughout San Diego. Especially noticeable is the tree dieback in the backcountry as well as local canyons and open spaces. Even drought tolerant Eucalyptus, Oak and Pines trees are struggling to survive. The cause of our tree decline and … Read More

A “Super” Way to Watch the Game!

Yesterday, while taking our usual walk through North Park heading toward Balboa park, my wife and I came across these two guys comfortably hanging out watching the Superbowl pregame show underneath towering Eucalyptus trees. They worked for a company that integrates new technologies and were promoting wireless, cable-less TV under the trees! It was really pretty nice to be able to sit under the trees on a beautiful San Diego day watching the game, best of all worlds! PS, I did inspect the trees surrounding the site for any significant defects! PSS, I don’t know anything about their company but … Read More

A Better Way to Protect Trees and Pedestrians

Through a business acquaintance, I had the good fortune to meet with Mr. Christian Rodriguez, a company representative from Blue Drop, Inc.  We met at a downtown San Diego street intersection where Blue Drop, Inc. had a contract with the City of San Diego to replace old cast iron tree grates with their new product called Safe Path. Tree planters within pedestrian sidewalks are typically small confined spaces surrounded by concrete with lots of pedestrian traffic.  Tree grates were installed around the planter pit primarily to protect people from tripping over tree roots.  The grate also allowed watering to occur beneath … Read More

“Arborgeddon” – PTCA Hosts Another Great Seminar and Field Day

The Professional Tree Care Association (PTCA) of San Diego hosted their annual seminar and field day, a two day event on Friday, August 22 and Saturday August 23, 2014. This was the 25th annual event and like many of the previous seminars, this was another informative, educational experience bringing together a wide diversity of speakers and audience! The seminar was on Friday and this years theme centered on the ongoing California drought and ramifications to trees. There were a number of great speakers, starting with Mr. Ron Matranga who provided an overview about trees in times of drought, current and … Read More

Tree Protection Versus Construction Reality

It is not unusual for trees to conflict with infrastructure projects.  Whether a new road or highway, electrical distribution system or cellular tower, these improvements are often located in areas containing existing urban forests.  I often work as a sub-consultant to engineering and landscape architectural firms, providing tree inventories, designing specifications and best management practices (BMP’S), for tree protection during construction, field implementation, and monitoring.

Landscape Contracting Practices Resulting in Trip and Fall Litigation

Landscape design, construction and maintenance, these three building blocks are required for a successful landscape project.  A landscape architect provides a functional, aesthetic design.  The landscape contractor uses the plans and specifications provided by the landscape architect for bidding the project. If awarded the contract, the plans become contract documents that the contractor adheres to during the construction process.  Following construction, the landscape maintenance contractor (who might also be the installation contractor) provides regular ongoing maintenance to ensure the installed irrigation and plant systems operate and flourish. Whether a residential, commercial or public works landscape project, these three separate but … Read More

Landscape Contractor, Do You Utilize Construction Project Management?

(Landscape Contractor Standard of Care, Part 3) In part three of the series of articles addressing landscape contractor standard of care, we examine the role of the landscape contractor during the construction process, the importance of construction project management, supervision, communication and coordination and landscape contractor deficiencies that may result in customer dissatisfaction and potential legal action.

How Did Plants Figure a Way to Survive In Freezing Environments?

I read a fascinating article on how trees and plants evolved to cope with harsh, freezing environments. Fossil evidence depicts flowering plants first survived in warm, tropical climates. As they spread into upper latitudes and higher altitudes, plants needed to adapt to cope with the colder, freezing conditions. Unlike animals, plants cannot just get up and move to a warmer location, nor are they capable of warming themselves. While colder environmental were a challenge, the real problem was dealing with icy conditions. How did plants manage to adapt and evolve to live in such harsh climates? Read the article at: … Read More

Botanical Skills by Matt Ritter, Ph.D, A Great Workshop!

With the intent to continually learn new information, stay up on new industry trends, laws and practices, I attend lots of seminars, workshops and continuing education courses. Most of the seminars have been informative and useful, and for the most part, the speakers have been entertaining in presenting their material. Lets face it, learning new information is not always fascinating or interesting, especially when the topic is technical in nature. Or, the topic might be informative but the speaker might not have the best oratory skills to keep one fully involved and listening or absorbing the message. When I attend … Read More

Trees and Solar Power – Environmental Conflict or Can the Two Co-Exist?

I attended a recent seminar in San Diego entitled Trees and Solar Power:  Natural Partners, sponsored by the California Urban Forest Council (CAUFC).  It was a very informative seminar, bringing together professionals from the solar and tree industries, as well as city planners, landscape architects, arborists and related professionals. Even with decades experience as a landscape contractor, certified arborist, professional horticulturist and land development infrastructure project manager, I was not aware of the current solar and arboriculture laws.  For example, the State of California and many other states enacted solar legislation decades ago.  Due to the oil crisis in the … Read More