February 19, 2008

February is a Time to Teach

This year, I have decided to teach my son the complete seasonal cycle of a tree. I picked a fruit tree for the following reasons:

- Fruit trees bloom early
- They set a tangible, recognizable fruit
- The qualities of the tree will stimulate the senses: smell, taste, touch

The victim, er uh, subject, is a lone Kieffer Pear at the bottom of a short road embankment near our neighborhood. The tree is in the street right-of-way, making the pear a 'public' tree. We don't want to be trespassing, now, do we? Since we roll by the tree regularly on both walks and drives, my son and I will be able to monitor the tree as it blooms, breaks leaves, produces fruit, and turns color. The grand climax, of course, will be picking some pears and feasting on the fruits of the tree's labor.

Creating an extended relationship between a student and his subject of study is one of the most effective and exciting teaching methods. It is far better than the typical institutional model, where a kid's exposure to outdoor plants and trees consists of a few crammed field trips to an urban nature center.

February 12, 2008

Tree Climbing Championship Draws Near

Registration for the 11th Annual 2008 Georgia Arborist Association Tree Climbing Championship is filling up fast. The event, to be held Saturday, March 1, is at:
The United Methodist Children’s Home
500 South Columbia Drive
Decatur, GA 30030
As always, admission to the event is free and the public is encouraged to come and experience the thrill of competitive tree climbing. These types of events are a great way to see the skill and professionalism required in tree work.

There will be sponsors and prizes for the event. Companies such as Vermeer, Premier Tree Care, Davey, Bartlett, Stihl, American Chainsaw, Rayfield Tree Care, Bishop co., and Baileys have either donated resources or have offered valable prizes to the contestants. Anyone interested in sponsoring or donating can do so online at the GAA website.

Much preparation of the event site is required. Trees need to be pruned, blocks set in trees, ropes run, and competition areas delineated. Anyone interested to volunteer for the Site Prep Day should block out time on February 23.

Potential competitors, sponsors, and volunteers can register online.

Questions or concerns about the events and activities, can contact Executive Director Donna Rayfield at 770-554-3735.

February 8, 2008

Trees Recommended for Screening

Erica Glasener is recommending the perfect trees for screening in the Atlanta area. As homes get larger and lot sizes seem to shrink, there is less space between houses to plant. Glasener, writing in an article published today in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, recommends some unusual exciting varieties and some old favorites that will work in small and medium-sized landscapes. Her hot list of trees includes:
'Little Gem' Magnolia
'Bright N Tight' Cherry laurel
Hinoki cypress
Italian cypress

For smaller, narrow spaces, Glasener recommends:
'Stricta' Norway spruce
'Sky Rocket' Rocky Mountain juniper
'Fastigia' Japanese plum yew
'Sky Pencil' Holly
Bamboo planted in large pots (to avoid spreading)

Deciduous trees are often forgotten. Varieties of European Hornbeam and European Beech, closely spaced, make dandy lattice-like barriers in the winter, and transform into dense walls in the summer. For the full article, go to ajc.com