ISA Certified Arborist Chris McVey from Osprey Tree Service in Victoria has answers to some of your most common questions. For a free quote, call 250-474-7993 or email info@ospreytreeservice.ca.

ISA Certified Arborist Chris McVey from Osprey Tree Service in Victoria has answers to some of your most common questions. For a free quote, call 250-474-7993 or email info@ospreytreeservice.ca.

Ask an arborist: Is the heavy rain damaging my backyard trees?

Victoria arborist answers common questions about west coast tree and hedge care

After a year of heat domes, fires and floods, have you found yourself wondering about the health of trees in your yard? ISA Certified Arborist Chris McVey from Osprey Tree Service in Victoria has answers to some of your most common questions.

How can I tell if heavy rain is going to make my tree fall?

“I’ve seen three different willow trees tip over in just the last few weeks, and they typically thrive with lots of water. It’s definitely wet out there,” Chris says.

To spot a dangerous tree, look up close for signs of roots lifting or cracked earth. Stand back to see if the tree is leaning — is it leaning more than it was before? Are the branches evenly distributed, or clumped more heavily on the sunnier side?

“An arborist can do a more thorough assessment on-site, and we can also do things like evening out the branch load on a lopsided tree to help it stay upright.”

This healthy willow tree fell over due to excessive water during the recent atmospheric river.

This healthy willow tree fell over due to excessive water during the recent atmospheric river.

Is my tree dying, or is it just stressed from the heat dome?

“The extreme heat this summer definitely caused trees to be more stressed than normal, and it can take time for some symptoms to appear,” Chris says. “It’s normal for a tree to drop a few dead branches or needles in response to stress, but there are a few signs that your tree may be in more trouble.”

Trees naturally lose leaves and branches from the bottom, but if the top half of the canopy is has dead branches your tree may be suffering. Mushroom and fungus growth on the trunk of an otherwise healthy-looking tree is also an indication of interior decay in the trunk, which could pose a serious threat to your home. If you have any concern, call Osprey Tree Service for a free assessment.

An otherwise healthy Douglas Fir tree near My Chosen Cafe snapped off mid-trunk shortly after the June heat dome. The tree had developed a strong lean and an uneven branch load, prior to failing.

An otherwise healthy Douglas Fir tree near My Chosen Cafe snapped off mid-trunk shortly after the June heat dome. The tree had developed a strong lean and an uneven branch load, prior to failing.

How can I collect greenery for holiday decorations without harming trees and shrubs?

“My general rule of thumb is never cut more than 25 per cent of a plant, and to take branches from the bottom and work your way up,” Chris says.

If you trim from the outside of a plant the branches are likely to grow back. If you take from the interior where there’s less light, that spot may not recover.

Is winter a good time to do tree maintenance?

“Many people stop caring for their trees and shrubs when they stop gardening in the fall, but winter is actually the best time to do pruning and trim hedges,” Chris says. “We’ve actually had a late fall — Victoria hasn’t experienced the frosts that make plants go dormant — so December and January will be a perfect time to get that pruning done.”

Osprey Tree Service is based on the West Shore of Victoria, BC and serves southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Their qualified team of certified arborists, forestry professionals and wildland firefighters offers residential and commercial tree removal, maintenance and assessments. Learn more at ospreytreeservice.ca. For a free quote, call 250-474-7993 or email info@ospreytreeservice.ca.

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