Category Archives: Care

Our Endorsement for Mayor Is …

… the candidate who is most persuasive in arguing that he or she will ensure that Atlanta works as well as it can for everybody who lives here.

Rich, poor, and in-between.

Older and younger folks.

Black, White, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, American Indian, and multiracial individuals.

Property owners as well as people whose few possessions fit into a plastic bag with room to spare.

Political independents, Democrats, and Republicans.

Those whose families have been here for generations, and those who got here last week.

From Buckhead (geez, take a deep breath and calm down, Buckhead) to Mozley Park.

Tree lovers, tree skeptics, and the many people who rarely if ever think about our trees.

The city needs to work. Departments and offices should meet and exceed minimal thresholds for effectiveness and efficiency. Problems, especially basic problems, should be addressed in a timely manner: police officers or firefighters showing up when they’re summoned, trash and recycling picked up on schedule, streets promptly repaired, and so on.

Continue reading Our Endorsement for Mayor Is …

Who actually owns our street trees?

The answer should be clear.

It’s not, at least not to me.

  • “The City of Atlanta owns them, Jim. That’s obvious. After all, they’re in the public right-of-way. You’re forbidden by law from removing or injuring those trees, but the City itself can do whatever it wants with them. Clearly, the trees belong to the City.”
  • “You own them, Jim. After all, you’re the one who’s legally responsible for maintaining that strip along the street (e.g., keeping it level with the sidewalk, keeping it free of holes and weeds, pruning the trees themselves). If the City has to step in and do the maintenance for you, it can charge you with the expense. If the City abandons its right-of-way along the road, you’re the one with the reversionary right. And so on. Clearly, the trees belong to you.”

Totally confusing.

Continue reading Who actually owns our street trees?

Trees and Lightning

Results from a 10-year investigation of lightning and thunderstorm activity surrounding Atlanta identified increases in thunderstorm intensity, rainfall, and lightning over and downwind of the city center during the summer months of June, July, and August.


Mace Bentley, Tony Stallins, and Walker Ashley, “The Atlanta Thunderstorm Effect” (2010)

Lightning is not something to be taken lightly. In 2020, Georgia ranked second only to Florida for number of homeowners insurance claims due to lightning losses (4,686).

In Atlanta, lightning is common. The urban heat island effect, so-called “canyon” winds (i.e., the lifting of warm, humid air over the city center), and air pollution combine to increase the frequency of lightning events and strikes. Flash “densities” in the northeast quadrant of the city are as high as those found along the state’s coastline (Leanna Shea Rose, “A Spatial Analysis of Lightning Strikes and Precipitation in the Greater Atlanta, Georgia (USA) Region,” 2008). Here’s a map showing lightning events clustered east of the urban core during periods of westerly winds:

Bentley et al., “The Atlanta Thunderstorm Effect”

It may be worth noting, too, that Inman Park is adjacent to the subcontinental divide (Dekalb Avenue and the rail lines). In the map below, the pink areas are higher in elevation than the areas shaded yellow, green, and blue.

Here and there throughout these areas of higher elevation are trees that are somewhat taller than their neighbors. You get a sense of that from this photo taken during Festival, looking west from Poplar Circle.

Which is why I recently asked master arborist Chris Hastings about lightning protection for trees. We were standing at the base of a tall tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) growing within several feet of two houses.

If you have a mature tree that you dearly love, or a tall tree very close to your house, you may want to consider asking a reputable tree care company about lightning protection. Not cheap, of course, but then the cost of removing a large tree in Atlanta these days can be more than $10,000.

I’m 60 years old, and twice in my life I’ve been within a few dozen feet of a lightning strike of a tree. The second time, it killed a century-old white oak growing in front of our then home in Virginia-Highland.

Absolute Torture

I wish I could tell you that walking around our leafy, shady, drop-dead-gorgeous neighborhood is a continual source of unmitigated joy for us tree guys and tree gals.

It ain’t. Not always, anyway. Sometimes it feels like torture.

Here’s the problem. (Cue the violins.) Everywhere a tree guy looks, he sees work that needs doing. And work that should have been done but wasn’t. And work that he did but now needs doing again.

Sigh.

Here’s an example.

That’s a live oak (Quercus virginiana ‘Cathedral’) which Tree Watch planted several years ago, and which one of our neighbors (it seems) has now had “pruned” by his yard crew (I’m guessing), which should definitely be calling itself Jack the Ripper Lawn Care Services.

It’s like a person going for a pedicure and coming home with two bleeding stumps instead of legs.

It’s like that oak tree dissed his mama. Twice.

You know what happens when a person abuses a tree like that? One day, it falls on somebody’s head.

Here’s another example.

You’re wondering where the tree is. Me, too. It was there two days ago, and I well remember the morning that Melissa and her family planted it.

A tree guy thinks, “I should have pruned that live oak again, before the homeowner got frustrated with it.” He thinks, however illogically, “I should have known that there were new owners of that house, and thought to talk to them about the white oak tree we planted in that yard.”

Sigh.

Trees can be like our children. The dad or mom looks at their son and thinks, “I sure love him, but gosh does he need a haircut and a new pair of blue jeans.”

Contact Info for Tree Services

This is a list of tree services that have done work in Inman Park, to my knowledge, or with which I am otherwise familiar. I do not warrant their work. Always get more more than one quote, and make sure that anyone doing tree work on your property has an arborist on staff who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture and that the company has up-to-date insurance coverage. (May 27, 2021)

AKA Tree Removal 470-881-8853

Appleseed Tree Service 404-378-2774

Arborguard Tree Specialists 404-299-5555

Arbormedics 770-715-1713

Bartlett Tree Experts 770-496-9848

Boutte Tree Service 404-647-0558

Caldwell Tree Care 770-992-1973

Casey Tree Experts 770-498-7000

Davey Tree Service 866-235-7422

Gunnison Tree Specialists 404-351-8929

Murphy Tree Service 770-944-7498

SavATree 404-288-8733

(Featured in the photo is Chris Hughes of Brookwood Tree Consulting.)

Splinting

I visited a lovely back yard today. It belongs to our neighbors the Crouses.

(As our recent Tour of Gardens revealed, back yards are definitely where it’s at in Inman Park.)

Four years ago, Marge and Gray invited Tree Watch to plant a blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’), ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), and a Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii) in their back yard, as well as an American linden (Tilia americana) in the sidewalk planting strip out front.

We said, “No way.”

Just kidding. We said, “Fantastic!” In fact, here’s our friend Chris Hrubesh finishing up his planting of their oak tree.

The Crouses’ trees are thriving. That oak in the photo is probably 15-18 feet tall now.

But Marge and Gray did report to me that their ginkgo, for reasons only it knows, had decided to start growing sideways at a point about four or five feet off the ground.

A word or two about the remarkable ginkgo or maidenhair tree. Here’s the introductory paragraph from a 2020 New York Times article:

The ginkgo is a living fossil. It is the oldest surviving tree species, having remained on the planet, relatively unchanged for some 200 million years. A single ginkgo may live for hundreds of years, maybe more than a thousand. They’ve survived some of our world’s greatest catastrophes, from the extinction of the dinosaurs to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

They’re amazing trees! Check out the beautiful specimen in front of The Natalie on Waverly Way. This ginkgo at the High Museum is another fine example.

Notwithstanding how impressive a mature ginkgo tree can be, young ones are slow-growing and often gawky. For years, they just sit there looking goofy. Eventually, when they’re finally ready, they start putting on one to two feet of new growth each year. And so I suspect that when that time comes, the Crouses’ tree will straighten itself out.

But I can’t be sure. And so I decided to splint the tree for a few months.

In tree parlance, splinting is not staking. We stake a tree primarily to stabilize it while the root system develops.

Source: Urban Tree Foundation and International Society of Arboriculture

We splint to straighten out the trunk or a branch. As you can read in the upper right-hand corner of this photo, a bamboo pole is tied to the trunk without being driven into the soil.

I tied two bamboo poles together, and then with Marge’s help, attached the bundled poles to the ginkgo in three places. I used a pieces of a soft, flat, polypropylene strap and some felt that Marge happened to have.

With the weight of the splint attached, however, the tree needed to be staked, which you can see here.

It’s never ideal to make a tree rigid. Movement is an important factor in ensuring a tree’s proper development as it grows. So I’ll be removing the splint and the stakes as soon as the tree adds enough annual growth rings to hold the tree in the corrected position.

Wish us luck.

Thanks to our volunteers

On Wednesday, October 21, Steve and Marge Hays, Dave Darling, Chuck Young, and Jim Abbot pruned trees in Poplar Circle and along stretches of Hurt, Elizabeth, and Euclid. Below are (L-R) Steve, Dave, and Chuck. Our next pruning workday will be on Wednesday, November 18, at 9:00 AM. Meet at 946 Waverly Way (intersection of Waverly and Hurt).

On Saturday, October 24, Lynn Curtis Koehnemann, Dave Darling, Chuck Young, David Bikoff, and Jim Abbot cleaned and adjusted the granite markers in the Inman Park Arboretum. Below are David and Chuck resetting the marker for a pignut hickory (Carya glabra) along the Freedom Park trail.

Thank you to all of our volunteers!

Updated Volunteer Opportunities, March-April 2019

 

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.
Tree Ordinance Talk & Information Session at Trees Atlanta’s Kendeda Center in Reynoldstown. The City of Atlanta has begun a critically important process to rewrite our tree protection ordinance. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that will have a bigger longterm impact on our urban forest than this revised ordinance. At this information session, Trees Atlanta will have pizza, explanations, opportunities for you to comment and ask questions, and the like. Here’s more info on the event.

Saturday, March 16, 9:00 a.m.
We’ll be back in the southern half of Springvale Park to continue removing woody invasives. Meet as usual on the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Waverly Way.

Saturday, March 23, 9:00 a.m. 
We’ll be installing nifty “bioswales” in two bump-outs on Highland Avenue, at its intersection with Washita. Here’s more info.

Saturday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. 
We’ll be mulching trees within the Festival zone.  Meeting spot TBD, but probably along Euclid Avenue at Poplar Circle, near the intersection with Hurt Street.

We Need Volunteers in 2019!

Saturday, February 16, 2019, 9:00-Noon
Springvale Park Forest Restoration

Help remove invasive plants from Inman Park’s crown jewel, emerald-green Springvale Park. This project is best for ages 12 and up, children to be accompanied by an adult. No prior experience is necessary – we’ll provide tools and teach you what to do. Physical activity such as bending, sawing/snipping, and lifting is required. Meet in the park near the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Waverly Way.

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00-Noon
Freedom Park Shade Tree Planting

Help plant trees in Freedom Park to shade and cool the path, clean our air, reduce stormwater runoff, dampen noise, and provide habitat for critters. No prior experience is necessary — we’ll provide instruction and tools. All ages welcome, though children should be accompanied by an adult. Physical activity is required: digging, bending, lifting, etc. Meet in Freedom Park near the intersection of Sinclair Avenue and Austin Avenue.

Date and Time TBD
Installation in New Stormwater Planters

Help install plants in new stormwater planters that will soon be constructed along Highland Avenue at the Washita intersection. Check back here later for details.

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 9:00 AM-Noon
Inman Park Pre-Festival Tree Maintenance

Help mulch trees in Inman Park to get the neighborhood looking pretty for Festival. No prior experience is necessary — we’ll teach you everything. This activity is best for ages 12 and up, with children to be accompanied by an adult. Physical activity is required: filling and lifting buckets of mulch, walking, etc. The meeting place for this project is TBD, though in past years it’s been along Euclid Avenue at the Poplar Circle section of Freedom Park, near the intersection of Hurt Street and Euclid Avenue.