Who is Better Qualified to Opine on Root Damage, Civil Engineer or Certified Arborist?

I was retained by a defendant attorney to determine whether her client’s tree was responsible for lifting the adjacent civil sidewalk that resulted in a plaintiff trip and fall lawsuit.  Based on the photographs and tree species, White mulberry (Morus alba), I was fairly certain her client’s tree was responsible for the sidewalk damage. The attorney retained me and requested a site inspection and tree root assessment.  I trenched adjacent to the sidewalk and within a short time, encountered a three-inch diameter root growing under the sidewalk.  Further excavation revealed a network of two to four-inch diameter roots that had … Read More

Finally, A Turf Block Driveway With Thriving Turf!

Rarely have I seen a successful turf block driveway.  Turf block, turf stone, turf pavers are systems installed as living turf driveway alternatives.  The material provides structural support via plastic or concrete cells that are filled with a soil media for turf installation.  The block is designed to support vehicular traffic on driveways while providing a green alternative to concrete or asphalt driveways. Turf blocks have been used for decades, but rarely have I seen thriving  turf grass within the block.  Not because of the product, but usually due to turf establishment and failure issues.  Due to reduced soil root … Read More

Redfin Summer Tree Care

I was a recent contributor for a Redfin summer tree care article, read about it at https://www.redfin.com/blog/summer-tree-care-checklist/

Trip, Slip and Fall Hazard: Hidden Depressions in Grade

Successful landscapes require: Proper grading, drainage and amended soil. An automatic irrigation system achieving 100% head to head coverage. Properly installed, high quality plant material. Each of these functions may require a specific type component, installed at a specific height or location to reduce the potential of creating a site hazard that may result in an accident.  In commercial applications, landscape plans usually include details and specifications dictating type of product and how it should be installed. Many common landscape products may be improperly installed including: Pop up heads may be incorrectly set to grade against a sidewalk. Valve or … Read More

A Horticulturists Local Neighborhood Walk

I took my usual walk through local neighborhoods surrounding Balboa Park in San Diego.  A glorious spring day, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beautiful ornamental landscape trees, shrubs and vines in bloom everywhere!  Very uplifting, glad plants are not affected by the virus!

Arborist Online Learning Opportunities in the Covid Era

In a recent blog, I discussed using online media for a site online site inspection involving a Torrey pine tree root conflict with adjacent asphalt paving.  That marked the first time I used an online media tool rather than being physically present at the site.  My client and I used Facetime to conduct the real time inspection. As the restrictions ease, I believe the use of online media such as Zoom, Hangouts, Facetime etc will increase.  I have already presented this concept to a legal client in Northern California concerning an irrigation inspection.  Do I really need to fly from San Diego … Read More

Online Site Inspections with Corona Virus: A New Paradigm?

The corona virus and resulting stay at home order has prevented me from scheduling or attending site inspections.  I require site inspection for most forms of consulting work, including as a consulting arborist or expert witness. Tree failures, health and risk assessment Tree inventories Tree and nursery appraisals Tree roots and infrastructure damage. Landscape appurtenances creating trip and fall hazard. Obscured landscape hazards, grade changes Irrigation operation, maintenance issues A client wanted me to attend and observe asphalt paving taking place adjacent to an 80 year old Torrey Pine.  I had previously consulted on preserving this tree during construction on … Read More

Old Growth Redwood Destruction Continues

I read an L.A. Times article discussing ongoing logging of redwoods in Humboldt County.  In a battle spanning several generations, tree sitters and eco-activists are putting their bodies on limbs in redwood tree tops to prevent logging. This is not the first time tree activists have climbed hundreds of feet up old growth redwoods to prevent logging the tree and surrounding trees.  It reminded me of a remarkable novel I read called “The Overstory” by Richard Powers.  The novel is about people and their interaction with and the affect specific trees and forests. It primarily focuses on loss of old … Read More

Joshua Tree Extinction by End of Century?

I just read an article in the Los Angeles Times about a potential listing of the Joshua tree as an endangered species.  The western Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia, is one of two genetically distinct species that occur in California.  It range extends from Joshua Tree national park westward along the northern slope of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains, northward along the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada and eastward to Death Valley. Approximately 40% of the western tree range is on private land, the eastern range is centered in the Mojave National Preserve and eastward into Nevada. After decades … Read More

California Olive Trees Dying from Exotic Pest Infestation

With so many trees dying in natural and landscape settings, I’ve observed a disturbing trend throughout San Diego, and I assume most of the state.  Property owners allowing dead and declining trees, palms and shrubs to remain in place.  The problem with this practice, aside from aesthetics, is the dead plant may serve as a vector, whereby flying insects such as beetles, leaf hoppers, spittle bugs etc. may spread the disease to other uninfected trees. Over the past decade, drought and climate change has taken a toll on millions of trees throughout California.  Drought weakened trees succumb to secondary invaders … Read More