Road Salt and Urban Forestry

Sodium Chloride, the most predominant salt used on streets for melting snow and ice, is the lubricant of the modern lifestyle in northern climates during wintry weather conditions. These same streets and parking lots are also the battleground where urban foresters strive to build green infrastructure for canopy coverage, stormwater management and aesthetics.  It is all too common to observe the damages and casualties on roadsides in spring, when plants start to display the impacts of salt through discoloration and canopy loss.

Diagnosing Herbicide Injury in Landscapes and Nurseries

Herbicides provide highly effective and efficient means to eliminate unwanted plants (weeds) in landscapes and nurseries. Unfortunately, with vague labels and misunderstandings about the chemicals in herbicide products, mistakes often happen, leading to impacts on non-target plants. These impacts may cause symptoms ranging from minor cosmetic concerns to severe injury and to plant death. When valuable plants such as trees are involved, liability for mishaps may be staggering; herbicide toxicity issues are often catastrophic compared to other mistakes.

Distinguishing Oak Afflictions

Oak trees (Quercus sp.) represent increasingly important components of the Michigan Landscape, whether the landscape is urban or is natural woodlands/forests. The loss of important species of trees (examples: Ash, Elm, and Chestnut), coupled with seemingly almost daily new introductions of pests and diseases (examples: Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, Beech Leaf Disease, Pear Trellis Rust), makes it vitally important that we learn to distinguish the myriad of Oak maladies so that we can properly manage and preserve this important genus of tree.

Will This Tree Fail? Recognizing and Mitigating Conditions of Concern in Urban Trees

Trees are built to withstand the forces they have grown to endure. Given enough time, however, all trees will develop structural defects. Many defects pose negligible risk to the surrounding environment or to the tree itself. On the other end of the spectrum, severe defects can lead to catastrophic failure. While many defects such as large cavities or broken branches are easy to recognize, others can be more subtle.

After the Storm: Crown Restoration Pruning of Storm Damaged Trees

Storm damage is a common issue faced by urban tree managers. Sometimes trees are severely damaged and need to be removed. Many more, however, receive moderate levels of damage and can be saved. When tree branches get damaged during storms they typically respond through the production of sprouting branches. Sprouts are a critical component in replacing the tree’s photosynthetic capacity. As the new branches grow and develop, restoration pruning becomes an important process to help improve the structural integrity of the tree crown.

Introducing the Tree Diversity Reporting Index: A New Tool to Assess Urban Forest Biodiversity

In recent years, it has become a growing priority to establish and maintain resilient urban forests. This has been motivated, in part, by significant tree loss following varied pest and pathogen infestations, and in part, due to concerns regarding urban tree survival in changing climatic conditions. Plans for urban forest resilience are rooted in principles of urban forest biodiversity, begin with comprehensive inventories of urban tree cover, and are often laid out in urban forest management guidance documents.

Can Soil Additives Improve Tree Transplant Success? A Look at the Science Behind the Hype

An array of products are marketed to improve tree establishment. These include natural products such as mycorrhizal inoculants and biostimulants as well as plant growth regulators, polymer gels and other synthetic compounds. Nearly all of these additives have a theoretical basis for why they should improve tree establishment. In practice, however, tree responses to additives often do not match the hype.

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