Time For Spring—The London Spring Home & Garden Show!

April is a great month. It welcomes back the return of birds, the emergence of the first flowers and of course the long-awaited unfurling of a new season’s leaves. Bring on Spring!

You know what the return of spring means, don’t you? It means that the 39th Annual London Spring Home and Garden Show is right around the corner! And of course CLC Tree Services will be there.

This year’s show runs from April 10th – 12th, 2015. Hours will be 12-9 pm on Friday, 11 am-8 pm Saturday, and Sunday 11 am-5 pm. General tickets cost $12, seniors are $9 and children under age 12 are FREE. Plus, if you need to return to see more of the show or to make a purchase, you can also return for free.

So what do you have to look forward to at this year’s show, you wonder? Well, you get the chance to meet some of the CLC Tree Services team at booths 705 and 706 of course. But there are a few other people to see as well, like Nicholas Rosaci (DIY GUY for Cityline and Dabble Magazine), Kathy van Gogh (from van Gogh Furniture Paintology), Sara Collins (Colour Expert for Color Company Decorating Centre), and Ben Porchuk (Ecologist & Native Plant Expert).

Plus don’t forget to visit the stages found throughout the Western Fair Agriplex building. You might learn something at one of the shows on the Ideas Stage, Gardening Stage or at Porky’s Grilling School. Be sure to stop and smell the flowers at the Spring Flower Show and Competition too. And don’t forget your wallet for the Home and Garden Marketplace. It is always full of amazing deals! Plus, you can get a head start on your spring planting by stopping by the Home and Garden Plant Sale, sponsored by Baseline Nurseries. If you are looking for freebies though, don’t forget to bring a pen to enter a ballot to win 1 of 10 great prizes.

A special treat this year will be some cool demonstrations by area chainsaw carver Ted Hayes. Not only is he a local—he’s a graduate of Beal and Fanshawe College of Arts program—he has also contributed to the London Tree Trunk Tour. And he’ll be there carving all three days of the show just outside the main entrance! You can’t miss him.

We hope to see you there!

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Spring Tune-up for your Trees

Spring has officially been marked on the calendar. Yup, it’s here! I know that you can still see motley mounds of snow around London, Ontario, but it is fading fast. You know what that means, right? It’s almost time for spring cleaning!

groan…

I have an idea. Why not avoid the winter-streaked windows by heading out to do yard cleanup instead. Before you run out onto your spongy lawn though, why not take a minute to think about what you need to do. It’ll prevent you damaging your dormant grass and save you time and energy in the long run. With a few helpful tips from CLC Tree Services that is!

Maintenance for your Trees this Spring

  • First things first, if you wrapped any of your trees for winter, now is the time to take off any burlap coverings. While wrapping a tree (depending upon the species and its needs) will protect it from potential winter damage, once spring arrives for good, your tree will need to breathe once more. Your trees are begging for that spring sunshine too!
  • Dead limb

    This limb has been dead long enough to make for a tasty treat for area birds and insects

    Before the leaves on your trees begin to unfurl, take a look at your trees to see if they received any damage over the winter. Are there broken branches that need to be removed? Do you see limbs that are absent of buds (a sign of a dead limb)? Now is the time to get a good look at your trees and assess their health. Dead or damaged branches should be removed to deter insect infestation and disease. If you aren’t sure, contact a certified arborist to inspect your trees and advise you whether they would benefit from a pruning.

  • Fertilizing a tree helps to promote growth in young trees and healthier mature trees

    Fertilizing a tree helps to promote growth in young trees and healthier mature trees

    Spring is also a great time to fertilize your trees. Wait until they are active again—late spring or early summer—before applying fertilizer. At CLC Tree Services, we offer tree fertilization via injection just under the soil’s surface where the feeder roots lie. This is the best and fastest way for your tree to receive the nutrients they need to thrive.

  • Another service you might want to consider is aeration. Tree roots require oxygen. Soil compaction can prevent your tree’s roots from getting sufficient air to them though. By aerating the soil around your tree, you improve the tree’s ability to absorb oxygen through its roots. That makes for a healthier tree and a happier you!

The best part about trees in your landscape though is that they are relatively low-maintenance. Their buds will burst when they are good and ready, and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the show.

Soon enough area trees will dazzle us with their spring colours

Soon enough area trees will dazzle us with their spring colours

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A Maple Syrup Story

A father set out to go hunting early one spring morning.

“Can I come with you?” his son asked.

His father shook his head. “No, you are still too young,” he replied. “It is better you stay home and help your mother.” 

Disappointed, the boy watched his father leave. His mother handed him a birchbark bucket and told him to collect water from the nearby stream. The boy took along his tomahawk to practice his throwing skills, hoping to impress his father with his skills when he returned. As he walked, the boy threw the tomahawk into the many stumps he passed. When it wedged fast into a tall sugar maple, the boy struggled to remove it. He pulled and pulled, but the small axe was wedged tight. In exhaustion, the boy sat under the tree to think on how he could get the tomahawk out and fell fast asleep. 

The boy woke a few hours later with a start. He knew his mother would be wondering where he was with the water, so he jumped up and grabbed the bucket to continue to the stream. To his surprise, the bucket was full. He raced back to his mother and presented her with the birchbark bucket. That night’s dinner was one of the best they had ever had.

“Where did you get the water from?” his mother asked the boy.

He took her to where the tomahawk was wedged into the tree. Sap flowed from the wound it had made. They realized that the tree’s water was sweet and the tapping of maple trees began.

A happy accident with a tomahawk led to the discovery of maple syrup by the First Nations people many years ago

A happy accident with a tomahawk led to the discovery of maple syrup by the First Nations people many years ago

~~~

Native Canadians would have used hollowed out logs to heat sap to create maple syrup

Native Canadians would have used hollowed out logs to heat sap to create maple syrup

This legend of how the First Nations people came to discover maple syrup is told at the Kinsmen Fanshawe Sugar Bush each spring. A historical display is set up to show you how the tapping of maple trees has changed over the years. You can dip your fingers into one of the over 1200 buckets that collect sap, while you listen to a guide explain how the process of making maple syrup has changed; from hot rocks dropped into carved out logs filled with sap, through cauldrons hung over outdoor fires in the 1800s, into more modern times when flat pans, then evaporators were used to extract the sweet liquid into our favourite breakfast treat—maple syrup.

Guide explaining how maple sugar has been made through the years

Guide explaining how maple sugar has been made through the years

One thing hasn’t changed though; our appreciation of Acer saccharum (sugar maple trees). The tapping of sugar maple trees in the spring is a tradition that people can never get enough of. Out at Kinsmen, over 1000 people a day flock to the sugar bush to sample the Kinsmen’s pancakes and take home some maple syrup of their own. They are open from 9am – 4pm every day during March Break and every weekend in March. All proceeds collected from the $10 per carload entry fee ($3 for adults and $2 for children), go back into the community, as the Kinsmen Sugar Bush is entirely run by volunteers. Between the horse-drawn wagon rides, guided tours, educational displays and walking trails, there is plenty to see and do.

As spring weather has arrived though, don’t forget one thing—appropriate footwear. The warmer weather makes for a pretty muddy walk. A little mud is more than worth it for the sweet taste of spring with the family though.

No place for heels

The Sugar Bush is no place for heels

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Frost Cracks

Frost crack on crab apple

Frost crack in a crab apple

Frost crack; What Is It?

Winter in the northern climes can be hard to survive. It’s cold and often dark, and many would prefer to hibernate or migrate than face our long winter months. Trees don’t have that option, so most go into a dormant state until spring arrives. And while people and animals revel in the sunny days that break up the dull winter expanse, that sunshine isn’t often as kind to our friends the trees.

Long splitWe all know that a sunny day increases the temperatures, at least marginally. When we get a sunny day in the dead of winter it warms up. But when night falls, temperatures plunge again. What does this mean for trees? Well, their bark warms in the sun’s rays, but quickly contracts again after it sets. The inner wood however takes longer to react. This can cause a split to occur, otherwise known as ‘frost cracks’.

Norway Maple

Frost crack in a maple tree

While cracks can be unsightly, they aren’t always dangerous to a tree’s health. When warmer weather returns, the cracks often close. That being said, the tree is then susceptible to the wound reopening again in successive winters. And while a tree might tree to heal the wound, it becomes a weak point where diseases and insects may attack.

The good news is that not all trees are affected by frost crack. Coniferous trees typically are immune to this winter ailment, as their needles protect their trunk and limbs from the temperature fluctuations due to the sun. Young trees with thinner bark however are not so lucky. Neither are sycamores, maples, oaks, walnuts and fruit trees, to name a few.

Reopened frost ribOnce a frost crack appears, there is little you can do about it. The tree may develop a frost rib at the site where the cracking occurs, but it won’t prevent future cracking. Keep an eye on the tree for sign of decay or insect infestation, fertilize as necessary, prevent soil compaction with aeration, and make sure your tree isn’t allowed to dry out in drought conditions.

IMG_4618

There are a few things you can do to prevent frost crack from happening in the first place though. Planting evergreen shrubs around the base of the tree will help insulate it, plus shield it from direct sun. Applying white paint or white tree wrap to a tree’s trunk can also help to deflect the sun’s rays and reduce the risk of both frost crack and winter sunscald.

Sunscald is similar to frost crack, as it is also caused by fluctuating winter temperatures. In the case of winter sunscald though, the sun warms the tree promoting growth and when a rapid freeze follows, the inner wood freezes and dies, resulting in sunken wood, peeling bark and cracks along the tree. Like frost crack, it is usually seen on the southwest side of trees, as that is where the most direct sun is received later in the day.

If you are concerned about your trees, feel free to contact CLC Tree Services at (519) 685-0257. We would be more than happy to advise you on how to promote the health of your trees.

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Tree Pollarding

You can tell that Spring is around the corner. People are slowly starting to think about trees and tree care again. We couldn’t be more excited, as it has been a long, cold winter and we are ready for some warmer weather ourselves. Over on Twitter, the folks at ReForest London are talking tree planting and a great question was posed to us from TREA Ontario.

“Pollarding – Do you do that?”
~ from TREA Ontario

Tree Pollarding

Tree Pollarding

We thought you might be curious too, so decided to share our answer here on the CLC Tree Services Blog. For starters, some of you might be wondering what exactly pollarding is. The Royal Horticultural Society defines it as such;

Pollarding is a method of pruning that keeps trees and shrubs smaller than they would naturally grow. It is normally started once a tree or shrub reaches a certain height, and annual pollarding will restrict the plant to that height.
~ Royal Horticultural Society

For CLC Tree Services response as to whether we perform this service, we go to Calvin for the answer;
Pollarding a tree

“Pollarding is a glorified term for tree topping. Typically we stay away from any type of topping, with a few exceptions;

1. Fruit trees. Ex. Apple, pear and plum trees are often trimmed this way to stress the tree, therefore producing more fruit. It also keeps trees at a manageable and pickable height.

2. Catalpa trees are often pollarded when lining a driveway. Every year the new growth is trimmed back to a nub… And come spring time the tree puts out new sucker growth giving the tree a globed shape every year

Pollarding3. We will do it to Large trees that have been previously topped or pollarded only because the new growth produced after pollarding is weak and usually not safe to climb on. Therefore we will trim new growth back to previous cuts to maintain climbing safety.

4. Willow trees and Manitoba maples are the only two trees that we will regularly pollard. Both varieties of tree  grow at a very rapid rate and have very soft and weak wood. In Our experience they tolerated the heavy trimming well and typically look quite good after a year of new growth grows in.

Note: due to weak branching structure and climber safety, anyone that is considering pollarding or topping a tree should be prepared to do the same process every 1-3 years.”

~Calvin McCallum, CLC Tree Services Arborist

That gives you something to think about before you decide whether or not to heavily prune your trees. We aren’t butchers and won’t harm a healthy tree. CLC Tree Services has been protecting the trees of the Forest City for over 25 years and aims to keep it that way.

If you have further questions, contact us on Twitter, Facebook, check out our website, or contact our office at (519) 685-0257. We are here to help.

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