Newsletter – October 2016




Getting to the Root of the Problem

   From Apr 12 2016

One of the major causes of tree failure is root damage. When a tree’s root system has been extensively damaged, the whole tree can fall to the ground…or onto your house.

“Most homeowners look up to assess the trees in their landscape,” notes Tchukki Andersen, CTSP, Board Certified Master Arborist and staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association. “Unfortunately, a significant amount of the information on tree health and structural integrity lies unseen below ground.”

Trees can fall over because the roots are no longer able anchor their weight. In the urban and suburban landscape, roots can be lost or damaged by excavation, trenching, soil compaction, excess fill, paving, fungal decay, or environmental stresses such as drought or flooding.

“Some of the indicators of root problems can be detected by homeowners, while others can only be diagnosed by a professional arborist using specialized examination methods,” says Andersen.

Homeowners should look for signs and symptoms that could indicate root problems. Common symptoms include decline in the tree canopy, usually starting at the top but occasionally affecting one side or major branches throughout the canopy. A tree with an increasing lean, especially with soil heaving around its base, is another sure symptom of root problems. Signs of root problems include dead roots, broken roots and presence of fungal fruiting bodies (mushrooms) at the base of the tree or radiating out from the base.

Roots sustain the live branches and leaves above the ground. When the relationship is disrupted by root disease, decay or loss, leaf cover will thin and branches will begin to die as the tree’s energy reserves dwindle.

On the Way Down: Causes of Root Damage

Sometimes it is obvious that utility trenches, repaving, grading or soil compaction occurred in the tree’s root zone. To determine how much damage the root system sustained, a professional arborist can estimate how much of the rooting area was affected within the Critical Root Zone (CRZ). The CRZ is a circular area around the stem of the tree, usually smaller than the area defined by the outer reaches of the tree’s branches, known as the drip line.

Think of the tree as both a structure and a living organism. As a rule of thumb, up to 40 percent of the root system can be damaged – causing problems for the living organism – before the tree’s structure is seriously impaired. Conversely, the tree can be biologically healthy while the main roots it counts on for support are deteriorated. Factors to consider include a leaning tree, direction of prevailing winds relative to decayed roots, soil conditions, etc.

It can be difficult to assess damage to the root system. A tree may have a restricted root system because of impervious soils, or limited space to grow due to building or sidewalks. If new curbs or sidewalks were installed or trenches dug for utilities, essential roots could have been damaged or removed during the construction. If any of the main roots inside the CRZ are damaged or missing, the risk of tree failure is greatly increased.

What Can You Do?

Be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of root damage. These symptoms can be subtle, even undetectable to the untrained eye. A professional arborist can accurately diagnose roots problems and potentially take corrective action. Click here to find one in you ZIP Code!

Image Credit: William Fountain, University of Kentucky,


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In the United States, pumpkins go hand in hand with the fall holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. An orange fruit harvested in October, this nutritious and versatile plant features flowers, seeds and flesh that are edible and rich in vitamins. Pumpkin is used to make soups, desserts and breads, and many Americans include pumpkin pie in their Thanksgiving meals. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a popular Halloween tradition that originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Back then, however, jack-o’-lanterns were made out of turnips or potatoes; it wasn’t until Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered the pumpkin that a new Halloween ritual was born.

  • Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was in 2005 and weighed 2,020 pounds.
  • Pumpkins have been grown in North America for five thousand years. They are indigenous to the western hemisphere.
  • In 1584, after French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America, he reported finding “gros melons.” The name was translated into English as “pompions,” which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin.”
  • Pumpkins are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron.
  • The heaviest pumpkin weighed 1,810 lb 8 oz and was presented by Chris Stevens at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minnesota, in October 2010.
  • Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.


America’s Favorite Chocolate Candy Is…


Although we may buy a lot of candy for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween, Americans love chocolate year ‘round.


24/7 Wall St. wondered which brands we like the best. By analyzing the units of candy purchased in supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations, convenience stores and mass market retailers, 24/7 Wall St. identified the top 10 most popular chocolates.


America’s top 10 favorite chocolate brands:


  1. Snickers (Mars)
  2. M&Ms (Mars)
  3. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (Hershey)
  4. Hershey Bar (Hershey)
  5. Kit Kat (Hershey)
  6. Twix (Mars)
  7. 3 Musketeers (Mars)
  8. Milky Way (Mars)
  9. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme (Hershey)
  10. Peter Paul Almond Joy (Hershey)


Fun facts to know and tell:

  • Two companies dominate the list: Mars and Hershey. Between them, they produce every brand in the top 10 most popular chocolate candies.
  • Eight of the 10 most popular chocolates were introduced more than 50 years ago.
  • The newest candy on the most popular list, Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme, is almost 20 years old.
  • More than 15 million Snickers bars are produced each day.
  • When Hershey first introduced Almond Joy in 1946, it sold for 10 cents a bar. Today, the average price is $1.08.
  • First released in 1923, the Milky Way Bar was the first candy bar Mars sold.
  • Want something a little healthier? According to Mars, 3 Musketeers has 45 percent less fat than the average fat content of the leading chocolate brands.
  • During World War II, Hershey’s produced more than 1 billion Hershey’s bars as rations for U.S. troops.
  • M&Ms were originally sold exclusively to the military. It was also the first candy to be sent into outer space.


–From the Editors at Netscape

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