Talking Trees with Davey Tree

Trees to be Thankful For

November 24, 2022 The Davey Tree Expert Company Season 2 Episode 45
Trees to be Thankful For
Talking Trees with Davey Tree
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Talking Trees with Davey Tree
Trees to be Thankful For
Nov 24, 2022 Season 2 Episode 45
The Davey Tree Expert Company

Jason Parker from Davey’s North Philadelphia office talks about what trees give us benefits, his favorite trees and what else he is thankful for.  

 

In this episode we cover:  

  • The different benefits of trees (0:46)  
  • The benefits that big trees provide (1:50)  
  • Tree planting season in Philadelphia (2:50)  
  • Right tree, right place and diverse planting (3:30) 
  • Jason’s favorite trees (5:50)  
  • The difference between oak species (7:05)  
  • Wildlife and planting (10:27)  
  • How to find a specific tree (12:50)  
  • What Jason looks for in new trees (16:10)  
  • Why Doug is thankful for his Davey arborist (17:20) 
  • Why Jason is thankful for clients that care for their trees (18:25)  

 

To find your local Davey office, check out our find a local office page to search by zip code.  

To learn more about the benefits that trees provide, read our blog, For The Benefit of Planting Trees. 

To learn more about why you should be thankful for your trees, read our blog, 4 Reasons to Thank Your Trees. 

To learn more about the importance of a certified arborist, read our blog, Why You Should Hire a Certified Arborist. 

 

Connect with Davey Tree on social media:
Twitter: @DaveyTree
Facebook: @DaveyTree
Instagram: @daveytree
YouTube: The Davey Tree Expert Company
LinkedIn: The Davey Tree Expert Company 
 

Connect with Doug Oster at www.dougoster.com

 
Have topics you'd like us to cover on the podcast? Email us at podcasts@davey.com. We want to hear from you!    

Show Notes Transcript

Jason Parker from Davey’s North Philadelphia office talks about what trees give us benefits, his favorite trees and what else he is thankful for.  

 

In this episode we cover:  

  • The different benefits of trees (0:46)  
  • The benefits that big trees provide (1:50)  
  • Tree planting season in Philadelphia (2:50)  
  • Right tree, right place and diverse planting (3:30) 
  • Jason’s favorite trees (5:50)  
  • The difference between oak species (7:05)  
  • Wildlife and planting (10:27)  
  • How to find a specific tree (12:50)  
  • What Jason looks for in new trees (16:10)  
  • Why Doug is thankful for his Davey arborist (17:20) 
  • Why Jason is thankful for clients that care for their trees (18:25)  

 

To find your local Davey office, check out our find a local office page to search by zip code.  

To learn more about the benefits that trees provide, read our blog, For The Benefit of Planting Trees. 

To learn more about why you should be thankful for your trees, read our blog, 4 Reasons to Thank Your Trees. 

To learn more about the importance of a certified arborist, read our blog, Why You Should Hire a Certified Arborist. 

 

Connect with Davey Tree on social media:
Twitter: @DaveyTree
Facebook: @DaveyTree
Instagram: @daveytree
YouTube: The Davey Tree Expert Company
LinkedIn: The Davey Tree Expert Company 
 

Connect with Doug Oster at www.dougoster.com

 
Have topics you'd like us to cover on the podcast? Email us at podcasts@davey.com. We want to hear from you!    

Doug Oster: Welcome to The Davey Tree Expert Company's podcast, Talking Trees. I'm your host, Doug Oster. Each week, our expert arborist share advice on seasonal tree care, how to make your trees thrive, arborist's favorite trees, and much, much more. Tune in every Thursday to learn more, because here at the Talking Trees podcast, we know trees are the answer. Well, this week, in honor of Thanksgiving, we are talking about trees to be thankful for, which trees provide us with many benefits. I'm joined by Jason Parker. He's a district manager at the North Philadelphia office. How are you, Jason?

Jason Parker: I'm doing good, Doug.

Doug: When you think about that, when you think trees with benefits, where do you go with that? What's your first thought?

Jason: Boy, it's a tough place to start because there are just so many benefits that they provide. I think I start to think about the scientific ones first, because I'm a little bit of a tree geek. Things like, they use the carbon up that we, of course, breathe out. All the benefits around water and runoff, erosion controls. There's just so much. Then you get into the maybe the less-- the ones that other people probably think about more, things like shade and privacy, things like that. There's an awful lot to be thankful for when it comes to trees.

Doug: Of course, you and I are thankful for trees, because they give us a way to make a living.

[laughter]

Jason: Yes, there's that piece too, but not only do they give us a way to make a living, because we obviously do a lot to care for them, but we need other people who care for them too because if customers didn't care about their trees, then I wouldn't have a job.

Doug: Let's talk a little bit about big trees and what they can provide for us.

Jason: Big trees provide a ton of benefits. Just like small trees, it's very similar in the list of items that they provide for us, they just do it that much more. Bigger tree is going to soak up that much more water, it's going to block that much more wind, it's going to create that much more shade. In a lot of cases, there's some value that goes beyond that, in what they do for property values. Typically, you move into a place that's got all small trees, it's going to have some curb appeal, but to move into a place with big trees, and at least for a lot of people, not everyone, that's really going to be an attraction because they don't have to wait for those trees to mature in order to provide those larger benefits that a larger tree provides.

Doug: Now, at this point in Philadelphia, are trees still being planted, or are we done?

Jason: No, we're definitely still planting. Certain species are not good to plant in the fall, but you can generally plant until the ground freezes. The big question is, are people's outdoor spigots still on so they can still do some watering if we're not getting regular rain? The way the weather has been in Philadelphia area for the last several years, we've been planting well into December.

Doug: Actually, that's a good reminder. When we're done, I'm going to have to run out and shut down all that water, because it's going to get cold. I don't want anything to freeze. Of course, when you're going to plant, let's say you're planning to have some big trees in your landscape, and you're planting them, you have to know how big they're going to get. We know how critical that is.

Jason: Yes, absolutely. We go to the right tree, right place, adage that definitely applies. Hopefully, if you're planting trees, you've got all the options, you'll be meeting with an arborist, discussing what your goals are for the property, for that specific area, so that you do get something that's not going to overgrow the spot or not do well there because it doesn't have enough room. If you're stuck with the trees that are already on your property, now we got to figure out how we can make them survive in what may not be the perfect spot for them.

Doug: Well, I've got big trees all around me. I'm happy to have them. I love the shade, but in a declining oak forest, I am so glad to have my local Davey arborist to guide me through this, what needs to be cut, what can wait. Seriously, they're here at least once every six months, because I do have these mature trees, and every time I lose an oak, I'm planting something else in its place that I just want more diversity in my woodlands. I got four acres of woodlands. One of the trees that I've added is American hornbeam. I like that one a lot. What are your opinions of that one?

Jason: Yes, I love hornbeams, and I love what you hit on with the diversity piece. That is so, so critical, especially as we've seen insect, pests come through and wipe out entire species of trees in areas. We've seen streets lined with ash trees that are just completely barren now. Having that diversity is really critical. The hornbeam is a great one, it's got a nice narrow habit, so you can put it in a lot of spots where you don't have a ton of space. It still has nice privacy barrier, gets some decent height to it. I'd say that's a great choice, Doug.

Doug: If we're talking about some other big trees, and we're-- in my situation, or the situations where you have a long-term planning for a space, and you want to put in a big tree, talk about some of your favorites, and maybe some that are really great for wildlife, too.

Jason: Yes. Definitely, my favorites are going to be probably in the oak family. I really love the white oaks. It has a very symmetrical, very what I would consider typical tree-like shape to the canopy. They don't have a ton of insect and disease problems, just a couple of little things to keep your eye on, but they're really nice mature shade tree. I love them. Of course, you get into the red oak family, there's a lot of stuff there.

Get into any of the maples, the sugars, the red maples, you're seeing those fall colors right now, a spectacular year for fall color. Those things really pop out in the fall. They're another good one. I like sycamores a lot. London planetrees is actually the hybrid version that's available in most nurseries now. That's just another really nice one. Quick-growing, it's got some really interesting bark, gives it that camouflage look, that is really neat. It's got some interest all year long. All great big mature shade trees.

Doug: I need you to school me on a couple things. I don't know the difference between my oaks. How do I learn that? Do I do that by leaf identification? Because on all these interviews that I have, people always talk so highly of oaks. When my local arborist comes, he says, "Oh, that red oak" or, "That white oak," and then I hear about swamp oaks and pin oaks. How do I learn about that on my property? What's the best way to do that?

Jason: All right. Well, the easiest thing to do is going to be to break them up in one of two categories, red oak and white oak. Those are the two mains. Things like pin oak fall into that red oak category. Things like swamp oaks typically fall into the white category. You're going to be able to get pretty close by just identifying the family. The biggest difference there is, for the most part, white oaks are going to have a rounded end to the leaves, whereas red oaks are going to be more pointed. That'll get you close. Then within that, there are so many varieties that you probably need an expert after that.

Doug: Then I need help on sycamore and London plane. I know they're different, but how are they different? To me, they look the same, but how are they different?

Jason: Yes. That's a tough one to really tell the difference. Some people think the bark is a little bit whiter on one of them. I tend to see them both very, very similarly. I think that is more of a question of exact location. I don't think that's a good way to go. The best way to go is the fruit comes as either a single fruit per stem or they come in pairs of two, and sycamore is single.

Doug: In most cases, if I go to the nursery, is it going to be a London plane?

Jason: Most cases, because the sycamores get a disease called anthracnose, so they're trying to breed that out with the London planes. They've done a pretty good job of that. You could probably still buy a sycamore. It's not like an ash where they're, no way is anybody going to sell one of those, but most of what you're going to find is the London plane.

Doug: You're going to be better off with the London plane. Is that right, because of its disease resistance?

Jason: Absolutely, yes. Same thing with dogwoods and things like that. These hybrids that they're putting out there, they're going to be your best bet. I know sometimes people want to stay with the natives, which is great, but sometimes the native isn't going to be the most insect and disease-resistant. You got to weigh your options there.

Doug: I'm so thankful for my big forest here, and like I said, the shade and the beauty. The beauty of these trees, not just the canopy, but the bark, the nuts, the seeds, but let's talk specifically wildlife. When I think of wildlife, I'm always thinking oaks because of all those acorns, and caterpillars love them, but let's talk a little bit about wildlife from your standpoint.

Jason: I would say, in an urban environment, obviously, we get deer and things like that in this area as well, but birds, squirrels, if you're trying to do something for the nature that you probably have in your backyard, those are the kinds of things that you're going to want to go for. Two go-tos there that are smaller size ornamentals are going to be anything in the crab apple family. Again, there's a lot of hybrids available out there, you can get them in white flowering, pink flowering. They're one of the first ones in the spring, so they've really got some nice interest. A lot of them have pretty decent fall color as well.

The other one that we go to a lot is the hawthorn. You do need to have the right spot for that because it does have a thorn on it, that is not going to be something you want it eye level where you got kids playing or something like that. However, you got the right spot for it, has a nice red berry that stays on all through the winter. There's some other varieties that have different color berries as well, but they're really nice. They're very vibrant, and the birds seem to love them. Couple of good options there.

Doug: All right, let's go back to crab apple, because I have the old-fashioned crab apple of every other year, maybe even more, so I'm getting apple scab. I'm losing foliage. I'm sure you've seen it, but these hybrids are also more disease-resistant, right?

Jason: Absolutely. That's the right way of putting it too, it's disease-resistant, they're not disease-proof, doesn't mean that they can't still get some. The idea being that the hybrids are, even if they do get a little bit of apple scab or rust, they're not going to drop their leaves, that's what's really hard on the trees is when they have to produce a second set of leaves in the same season. If we can get them to keep their leaves on, either through treatments or through planting the hybrids, it's going to go a long way to keep them around and healthy for you.

Doug: Well, can I put you on the spot for some hybrid crab apples that you like? I've seen them out there, but how do I find-- I'm a sucker for double flowers. I love doubles. I've seen some crab apples out there, not a lot, but here and there with double flowers, what would be my best way to find something like that? Is it just at my local nursery or do I have to go to a big catalog? How would you do that? If you were like me, and you wanted a double flowering crab apples, because I love crab apples, but I want something more modern, more disease-resistant, but also with a cooler flower.

Jason: Absolutely. What I would probably start with is I want to say stay away from your garden centers but go to a nursery that professionals use, sometimes they're wholesale only, so you may not be able to get in the door, but if you can find one that is also open to the public, they're probably going to have your highest quality plants. Reason being everybody who's doing a lot of planting is usually providing some sort of warranty, they're only going to buy from people that are providing high-quality plants, just from a good business standpoint. Go there.

Typically, you're going to have one or two guys on staff, guys or girls on staff that are really knowledgeable when it comes to some of those more exotic versions. The only thing you want to watch for is if you get too exotic, you may pick something that's not right for the area or isn't going to thrive. Balance between that. There's a lot of hybrids out there. There's probably hundreds of varieties of dogwoods. Chances are pretty good they'd be able to point you in the right direction and let you know if there was a chance that it was going to make it.

Doug: Crab apple, you said dogwoods.

Jason: [laughs] Sorry, Doug.

Doug: This is so funny because I had dogwoods on my mind. I was just going to throw out that scarlet fire dogwood that I've seen. I did a story on it years ago when it first came out. Have you seen those, and are they viable for our area?

Jason: They are. What's interesting is every nursery has got its own twist on how they name them. You got to narrow it down to exactly what your nursery is calling that one or whoever they're getting it from. Again, the best thing to do is talk to someone who plants locally because they're going to know. You go online, and they're going to tell you that anything is good and this category and-- that may not actually be accurate. The professionals that are out there doing it every day, they're going to be able to give you the best advice for sure.

Doug: Once you've said that, I know of two places, and I'm in Pittsburgh, I know of at least two places like that, that the pros use, but are also open to the public. That's what I'm going to do to find my crab apple, and maybe my dogwood too, I want to find one of those. Something like that scarlet, just with a, not Cherokee Princess, not the pink, I want that Retter one if I can get it.

This opens up an interesting question. When all these newer hybrids are coming out, how do you know when it's okay to put it into someone's property, that it's going to do it? If you had a customer like me who's like, all hot and heavy about new, new, new, I want something different, I want something new, but you have to know that it's going to do the job. What kind of tests do those new introductions have to pass for you?

Jason: That's a good question, too. There's a couple of things. First of all is, the nurseries that we buy from, they do their own vetting. What they'll typically do is something that's new, they might get two or three in one year, and they might plant them at either a customer's property or a relative's property, something where they can monitor it on a regular basis. They're going to do their own testing locally to see if what they feel like is probably a good choice for the area actually is.

That's my key is by the time they're starting to bring things in, in any sort of real quantity, they're comfortable with it, and that means a lot to me. Anything first year, I would test it out on my own property, but I'm not going to test it out on a customer's. You're spending that kind of money making that kind of investment with us, we want to make sure that you've got the right tree for the right spot, and we know that it is that tree.

Doug: Makes good sense. I like that. We'll finish up with a few little thankful comments. Like I said, for me, I'm so thankful to have these trees, but I'm not blowing smoke when I say I'm so thankful to have my local arborist to help me manage this, because without it, I wouldn't know what to do. These are big trees, and if one looks bad, I just had one removed that I didn't even know.

I'm supposed to be the guy, I'm hosting a Talking Trees podcast, I'm supposed to be looking up and looking down. I had a huge tree right over my garage that I didn't realize was on its way out. It's a big one, where they had to come in with trucks and a big, what do you call that thing, a bucket, but thank goodness, that when my arborist comes, he's not just there for my one little thing that I want to talk to him about, he's looking through everything. I'm thankful for that. All right, you finish this off, Jason, with some other thankful thoughts about trees and working with trees.

Jason: Absolutely. I think that that goes both ways, Doug. We're thankful to have customers like you, that really care about the environment, they care about their trees, and they're interested in preserving them. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people out there that get bad advice from people who are not arborists or not concerned about caring for their trees, and so the advice they often get is to remove them. Unfortunately, once we hit that stage, there's not much more we can do, obviously. We're thankful to have people who are interested in preserving their trees that reach out to us, and we can start those relationships.

Doug: All right, Jason, that is a great way to finish. I thank you for joining me again. It was very fun, and you schooled me on a lot of good stuff. I like that, and I'm sure the listeners do too. Thanks again for your time.

Jason: Thanks a lot, Doug.

Doug: It's always good to take a minute to be thankful, don't you think? Tune in every Thursday to the Talking Trees podcast from the Davey Tree Expert Company. I'm your host, Doug Oster. Do me a favor, subscribe to the podcast so you'll never miss an episode. As always, we'd like to remind you, on the Talking Trees podcast, trees are the answer.

[music]

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