Newsletter – November 2016


Cleaning up Oil Spills on Customer Driveways

The last thing any tree worker wants to see at the end of a long day is that inevitable spot/puddle of oil on the customer’s driveway where the truck/chipper was parked. Especially if the long day was spent at a difficult customer’s property. The best-seller book “The Toil of Foiling Oil That Soils and Spoils” has yet to be written, but thankfully, there are a few inexpensive and easy clean-up methods available that will work on spilled oil. Assuming that the truck/chipper dripped a small puddle of oil, and did not create a replica of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, quick action will be the best thing to apply to the situation. A spill kit should be in every vehicle, especially if that vehicle is known to leak. Quickly use any of the following methods to absorb and clean the driveway surface:

For concrete driveways

Absorbent cloth – first get an absorbent cloth and mop up any excess oil.

Stiff brush – use a bristle brush for cleaning, not a wire brush. A wire brush will damage the pavement.

Kitty litter – sprinkle kitty litter over the fresh oil spill. Grind it into the concrete with your boots until it turns into powder. This will help the litter to reach and absorb most of the oil. Brush the litter up with a stiff broom or brush (not wire) and hose the area off. Properly dispose of the litter as a hazardous material. While using kitty litter is an effective method, it only works well on wet areas, not established oil stains.

Liquid dish soap – Squirt some liquid dish soap on the oil spill and add water from a garden hose. Use a push broom or scrub brush to create the emulsion. It will not take much work at all. Rinse with clear water and the oil should be completely gone. If you do see the rainbow coloration in the water after rinsing you need to add more soap and scrub. Industrial cleaners – Simple Green or Purple Power are industrial, all-purpose cleaners. Use either of these with a stiff brush (not wire), and rinse using a pressure washer to make the clean-up task easier. It will take multiple applications and rinsings, but it is cheaper than replacing the entire driveway.

For asphalt driveways

An asphalt driveway is different from a concrete driveway, so be sure to know which you have when going about cleaning oil stains. What works for concrete can and will ruin asphalt.

Soap and water – Only use soap and water. Solvents will damage asphalt.

-From November 2016 TreeWorker Magazine by TCIA – can be found online at


The Giving Tree By Shel Silverstein

Once there was a tree…. and she loved a little boy. And everyday the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide-and-go-seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree…. very much. And the tree was happy. But time went by. And the boy grew older. And the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said, “Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy.” “I am too big to climb and play” said the boy. “I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money?” “I’m sorry,” said the tree, “but I have no money. I have only leaves and apples. Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money and you will be happy.” And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was happy. But the boy stayed away for a long time…. and the tree was sad. And then one day the boy came back and the tree shook with joy and she said, “Come, Boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy.” “I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy. “I want a house to keep me warm,” he said. “I want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house ?” ” I have no house,” said the tree. “The forest is my house, but you may cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy.” And so the boy cut off her branches and carried them away to build his house. And the tree was happy. But the boy stayed away for a long time. And when he came back, the tree was so happy she could hardly speak. “Come, Boy,” she whispered, “come and play.” “I am too old and sad to play,” said the boy. “I want a boat that will take me far away from here. Can you give me a boat?” “Cut down my trunk and make a boat,” said the tree. “Then you can sail away… and be happy.” And so the boy cut down her trunk and made a boat and sailed away. And the tree was happy … but not really. And after a long time the boy came back again. “I am sorry, Boy,” said the tree,” but I have nothing left to give you – My apples are gone.” “My teeth are too weak for apples,” said the boy. “My branches are gone,” said the tree. ” You cannot swing on them – ” “I am too old to swing on branches,” said the boy. “My trunk is gone, ” said the tree. “You cannot climb – ” “I am too tired to climb” said the boy. “I am sorry,” sighed the tree. “I wish that I could give you something…. but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry….” “I don’t need very much now,” said the boy. “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.” “Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, “well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.” And the boy did. And the tree was happy.

Written by Shel Silverstein, this poem was pulled from

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