Arbor tape killing a healthy young sweetgum.

The Unfulfilled Promise of Urban Tree Planting

This is a utopian view from a commercial – and maybe somewhat jaded – arborist who has seen hundreds of examples of bad work. Luckily, I have not had to deal with bureaucracy, the pressure of town residents, low-budget bids or property managers with no loyalty. That said, my intention here is not to cast […]

The long tassels of the holly demonstrating pruning

American Holly Pruning

Pruning should always be a very specific process. The intent: What are you trying to accomplish? The timing: What time of year is best to accomplish your intent? The amount or dose: How much foliage can you remove without hurting the plant? How often will you need to prune this plant to achieve your goal? […]

Fall leaves and mountains show a warming world

What a Warming World Means for Plants and Arthropod Pests

Last year was the fifth hottest year in recorded history. This year followed suit, with June, July and August of 2023 being the hottest months ever recorded globally, according to the European Union Climate Change Service. Here at home in the United States, if you feel like your town was toastier than normal, you are […]

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Recent media headlines have highlighted the importance of heat waves on human health. Sadly, climatic modeling predicts that this trend is likely to continue throughout the 21st century. While the importance of planting trees with tolerance to de-icing salts, drought, soil compaction and waterlogging within urban landscapes is recognized, surprisingly limited information exists regarding the […]

Desert woodrat, Neotoma lepida, in a century plant.

Who Knew You Could Be Allergic to Agave Americana?

Until this summer, my only known allergy was to the Australian silk oak, Grevillea robusta, which I wrote about in the July 2020 issue of TCI Magazine (Safety Forum: “Beware the Australian Silk Oak.” Quite recently I suffered another, albeit less serious, case of contact dermatitis from direct exposure to the sap of an Agave […]

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