Country Life A7 • lyndentribune.com • Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Tips to repair tree storm damage
Barn Buddies members toured a Christmas tree farm in December. (Courtesy photo)
BARN BUDDIES Tabitha Revak, reporter On Dec. 27 Barn Buddies members, leaders and guests met outdoors in 30-degree weather and snow for a tour at a member’s Christmas tree farm. It was a bit of a change from our normal meeting place in our leader’s warm home. But other than the painfully cold feet and fingers, everyone present seemed to enjoy the experience. Several clarifying questions were asked during the tour, and we were surprised to learn about the time and labor invested in growing the tree that stands decorated in our house for just a month each holiday season. It takes a seedling around 7 to 10 years, depending on the species, to grow into a mature Christmas tree. A few months after tree sale season ends in late winter, new seedlings are planted. Then in the summer trees are irrigated and sheared, and in the autumn the tree field is cleaned in preparation for the next sale season. Alongside these seasonal tasks, tree diseases and pests are continuously monitored and managed accordingly. After learning about the process of raising Christmas trees and some of the tools used in the process — such as the dibble, a metal planting tool, which had been unknown to almost everyone before the tour — we reassembled indoors for our club business meeting. After warming
up and settling, we began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-H Pledge, then moved on to reading the previous meeting’s minutes, treasurer’s report and reporter’s presentation. We proceeded to discuss old business, topics from our previous meeting, such as the impact of the expenses of membership dues and the Small Animal Experience on our club treasury. As we discussed this, we were able to identify a couple of specific SAE expenses that we anticipate for the upcoming year, such as a large wheelbarrow for cleaning and food for exhibit workers and volunteers. With these potential expenses identified, we were able to identify ways in which we can manage them, and set up committees in order to do so. At this point in the year, there is not much new business to discuss, as we are not yet actively planning out the details of the week of the Northwest Washington Fair. Mainly we focused on future meetings. Members seemed to agree that it would be interesting to try to tour and learn about different aspects of local agriculture at some of this year’s meetings. COUNTRY PARTNERS Sarah Klem, reporter Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you had a wonderful winter break. Country Partners put together a great live nativity at the Everson Elenbaas Store on
Dec. 9. The kids had great costumes and there were many animals involved in the scene. The public seemed to really enjoy seeing the kids and animals. Elenbaas was impressed with the great turnout. We look forward to doing another one next year. The Country Partners 4-H Christmas party was held on Dec. 14. It’s always fun to play games and get presents. Our 4-H club has a meeting on Jan. 11 in Everson to discuss new business planned for the new year. We had an officers’ meeting on Jan. 4 where the officers came together to plan fun events for the club, and how to improve it. We have a Teen Night Out coming up later in January. It takes place in Lynden. It’s a progressive dinner where we go around to fast-food restaurants and play a fun game with each other. We do it every year and the kids seem to really enjoy it. We can’t wait to see what the new year brings to our 4-H club.
Days of sub-freezing temperatures, a dusting of snow, stiff winds and a north-county ice storm for the record books. Suffice it to say, winter has been in full swing in the Pacific Northwest, and whether you’re in the midst of cleaning up after the last storm or just want to be prepared for the next round of wicked weather, here are some tips to take care of your trees. First, take time now to assess the damage to any trees around your yard. If any tree limbs have cracked or a multi-trunk tree has split but has not separated completely and the bark is still attached to the tree, you may be able to repair the damage. Prune back the branching to remove some of the weight around the edges of the canopy first. Then, with proper help, lift the limb back into place and drill a hole through the broken portion of the branch and through the tree. Slide a bolt or threaded rod through the hole and thread nuts and washers onto both ends to hold the limb in place. If you’re able to relieve enough of the weight on the branch beyond the break to close the split or crack, you may be able to stabilize the tree enough for the wound to
By David Vos
heal properly. Also, for damaged branches where the bark tore away from the tree but remains partially attached, you may be able to salvage the bark using electrical tape. As soon as you can catch a break in the rain, tape the bark back onto the tree and wrap the tree with electrical tape as you would wrap a sprained wrist or ankle. Over time, the tape will stretch as the tree grows and eventually break and fall off, but in the meantime it will secure the bark in place and allow the tree to heal. If, however, your tree has sustained damage beyond repair, you may have no choice but to finish the pruning job that the storm started. When pruning a tree, whether large limbs or small branches, it is key to choose the right place to prune in order to help the tree recover properly. The ideal place to prune off a branch is just beyond the point at which it diverges from the trunk or another branch. Look
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closely at the place where a branch splits off the trunk of a tree and you’ll see a swollen area around the base of the branch called the collar. When pruning, always cut at a slight angle away from the bottom of the joint to preserve the collar; doing so will allow the tree to heal properly. Never cut branches flush to the trunk or the adjoining branch as a tree is unable to properly scab over such a cut and may eventually rot. Finally, the most common inquiry I’ve received in the days since the ice storm is what do I recommend using to seal wounds on a damaged tree. My answer? Nothing! Pruning sealants — whether paint-on or aerosol — provide an imperfect seal at best, and eventually water will work its way in behind the sealant. At that point, the wound will be unable to breathe properly and rot can easily develop. So the best sealant is a combination of proper pruning and the tree’s natural ability to heal. Although the weather has moderated, winter is far from over, of course. Last year, February brought snow, ice and cold weather for nearly the entire month. So get your trees back in shape and arm yourself with the tools and knowledge you need to help your trees recover from whatever the next storm brings! David Vos is general manager of VanderGiessen Nursery in Lynden.
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Published on Jan 10, 2018