November 28, 2006

Georgia Arborist Association Breaks Loose with 10k Grant

The Georgia Arborist Association is charging forward in its efforts to organize local tree care companies, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Georgia Foerstry Commission through its Urban & Community Forestry Grant program. The 14-year old professional association of tree workers, arborists, and tree enthusiasts is using the grant to fund the GAA's first executive director position, a move that promises to pump fuel into the growing organization.

On October 12, the GAA announced that the new executive director, Donna Rayfield, would take over the day-to-day operations of the association. This bold step will free the board of officers to lead rather than administrate. Rayfield is currently the secretary of Rayfield Tree Care, and will serve as a part-time director. Her strengths in business management, web administration, and business networking will add new depths of talent to the GAA. "We want to move the GAA from a local focus to a state and regional focus," Rayfield commented. "Right now the GAA is primarily an Atlanta organization, but it needs to pull together all tree care companies that operate in Georgia." When asked how the GAA will accomplish this, Ms. Rayfield responded, "Right now, the most value the organization can provide is professional networking, training opportunities, and business development."

As a benefit to members, GAA offers safety and technical training for tree workers, continuing education credits at their bi-monthly meetings, and social networking opportunities. The GAA also sponsors the Tree Climber's Jamboree, an annual competition for professional tree climbers held in March.

November 10, 2006

Giant Pecan Tree Still Going Strong

Mulberry Park residents and shoppers are treated daily to the grandeur of a landmark tree, a 54" diameter Pecan tree located at the entrance to the live/work community. Mulberry Park is a new multi-use development outside of Braselton, GA. The tree was saved during construction of the site in 2003 and 2004, when the new community was transformed from farmland. The tree used to be hidden next to an abandoned barn, struggling among thick undergrowth and rampant-grown swamp privet. Early in the project stages, Sivica Communities hired tree preservation expert, Jesse Milton, to join the team dedicated to saving this unique tree.

The tree was given plenty of room for its roots to remain protected. Milton worked closely with the landscape architect, Hughes Good O'Leary and Ryan, to design a drainage system under the proposed road that would assure that the Pecan didn't drown. A lightning protection system was even installed in the tree canopy.

Three and a half years later, the tree is still very much alive and thriving. The site, just 1.5 miles north of Chateau Elan, is easily recognized by the tree presence at the back of the retail area of Mulberry Park. This Pecan's 100-foot wide canopy and massive trunk provide a striking monument at the entrance to the residential areas, and serves as a testament to the benefits of teamwork during tree preservation.

November 3, 2006

Piedmont Park is Focus of Important Tree Study

The Piedmont Park Conservancy has had enough, and they aren't going to take it anymore. Last year, one of the largest trees in the fell victim to Ambrosia beetles, after an estimated 12 trees died over the past several years.

Fueled by a generous grant from The Home Depot Foundation, the Conservancy hired Bartlett Tree Experts to conduct a study of the insect at the Piedmont Park. The study concentrated on determining the population levels of the beetle and the threat it poses to the park's forest. The results of the study, which was just recently completed, has led to the development an integrated management program for control of the pests on mature and young trees in Atlanta's most important park.

On October 12, the Conservancy hosted a formal presentation of the findings of the report to concerned green industry professionals, property managers, and park supporters. Onebark Consulting Arborist is particularly interested in the findings of this report, since the arboricultural consulting firm deals with the protection and care of mature oaks on such a routine basis. Onebark hopes to analyze the findings of the study and use the information to help homeowners and communities champion their historic and high-value oaks.

There are hundreds of species of ambrosia beetle, however it is the imported beetles that are the main concern for live, apparently viable trees.