Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why does my tree look like that?!

After the stormy times of 2014, I found that a lot of folks in the surrounding area became very “tree aware”. I got a lot of phone calls asking “is my tree safe?” I would generally respond that all trees in our care do pose some degree of risk, and that I would assess the risk, with a few caveats. With the tough weather we have had over the past two years – hot, dry summers, and cold, dry winters, I am now getting a lot of calls wondering why their tree looks the way it does.

When assessing a tree with an eye to possible pruning, or removal, I work through the  pyramid, or three legged stool: Safety – Health – Appearance. Some of the questions I ask around safety are: how close is the tree to buildings, public walkways, powerlines? What kind of tree is it, how has it been pruned in the past, what is the overall structure? Then I assess if the tree is healthy, leafed out, fighting off bugs, mushrooms, pathogens. Appearance can definitely be subjective, and sentimental value is always a consideration.

When there is a question of infection, I prepare samples and send them away to a lab to test. We are generally not big proponents of chemically treating trees, that may just need water and pruning. It is important to know what the concern is, and we can discuss lab results when they come back.

Caring for your tree is the best defense. Trees are like us. They have a circulatory system, scars from injuries, neighbours.  Caring for your tree means regular haircuts (pruning for species and age as recommended by a certified arborist), watering your trees when we go weeks, or months without rain in the summer, and monitoring for the signs of decline (mushrooms, dead branches in the crown, root plate shifting, splits at unions, and premature leaf or needle loss are among the most obvious)

If you have questions about your trees, please call Reta at 204-730-0368

If you want to know what questions to ask – 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

Saying goodbye to one of my favourite trees

Tiny man or giant stump?

Oh dear poplar – you fell over so majestically.

And we just got to prune this year!

Has spring sprung?

I find the older I get, the more opportunity I have to make the same jokes that I make every year. It feels like both a badge of honour and a recognition of the march of time.

We always planted the garden on May long when I was a kid. Chris and I tried once in Wpg. We had a bunch of stuff started, ready to go — and it snowed. Like super, wet cold snow. So our poor seedlings got all leggy and didn’t really do as well as they could.

Sometimes you need to dance with nature. The sunshine really seems like it’s here! A lot of folks have called me regarding fruit tree pruning, and I’m sorry to say that unless I do it in the next ten minutes, we will need to look at it for the fall.

If you want to talk pruning or puns, call Reta at 204-730-0368

Industry Trends

Once a year or so, Vermeer Winnipeg puts on a day of continuing education for arborists. It’s usually brutally cold, really fun, and very informative (they also provide lunch!)

I (Reta) have not been able to come for the last few years – Vermeer skipped a year when they were changing locations, and I’ve been at home with the munchkin for the past two.

Chris and I are nerding out pretty hard discussing the differences between Double Rope Technique and the new hotness, Single/Static/Stationary Rope Technique. We rarely need an excuse to buy more gear, and they are some aspects that seem helpful. But I am always wary of a cure all. It is definitely something for the tool box.

We are both voracious readers, and are constantly looking for better or more efficient solutions to add to our literal and figurative tool boxes.

If you have a challenging tree, call Reta at 204-730-0368 and we can talk felling plan.

Tight spaces and catching branches

We recently had the opportunity to remove a spruce tree that was cuddling the power lines! After a quick hair cut from the MB Hydro crew, Chris and I got to work. 

It was actually a pretty hilarious situation. There was not enough room to use rigging. 

Oh you read that right. 

So close, I could nearly reach out and touch him


I caught the branches. Out of the air. 

Look out, Cirque de Soleil (do you think they need a branch juggler?)

If you want to throw us a curveball, call Reta at 204-730-0368

Tree Houses

Chris pruning back the willow tree house

Thank you for choosing us as your tree people. I’ve said this repeatedly this season, as we enter our 5th year in Brandon and Westman. We have returned to the yards of so many previous customers, and this has afforded us a chance to see how the changes we made 2,3, or 4 years ago are faring. 

It has really been a treat. Obviously, we see the outcome of pruning decisions that came before us all the time. But to see the (positive) outcomes of our own work – it is very gratifying. I know, we are tree nerds. But there is a real difference between book learning and experiential learning – and only time gives you the second. 

If you would like to join our previous customer club, call Reta at 204-730-0368 and we can talk pruning, and time. 

Do you got the back lane Blues?

If you are like many Brandonites over the past few days, you have received a letter from the City of Brandon indicating that your trees or hedges are encroaching into the back lane! Well, there goes the long weekend beer money!

Does your back lane look like this? You may be in violation of the City Bylaws, making life difficult for garbage trucks and other vehicles!

I have contacted the city and they have told me that everything needs to be cut back to the property line, thirteen feet up. Depending on what is hanging into the back lane, this may be a simple branch prune or removal. And it may be a more complicated endeavour. Read more

Ahh the weather!

What a cold and dreary week! With gusty winds and drizzle, it is tough sledding up in the tree.

My birthday was Monday and while I was enjoying the lovely weather, twice in life I couldn’t ride my birthday bike because of snow. And more times that I remember, May long gardening plans have had to be postponed. So I usually haven’t fully committed to the summer season until at least June. 

My great grandfather saw snow in Manitoba every month except August. But he lived to be 105. 

But Chris is still having fun!

If the weather is affecting your trees, call Reta at 204-730-0368

And try to stay warm out there! 

Blue Skies!! Right around the corner

The recent warm spell afforded us a rare opportunity – elm pruning at the beginning of the season. You see, the rules of elm pruning are pretty strict, to prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease. So between April 1st and July 31st – it is forbidden to prune elm trees (removal is still allowed)

Normally we are still in the thick of winter at the end of March and most people are still trying to stay warm! 

But this year! What a great winter! And the lovely warm spell! 

Call Reta today at 204-730-0368 to book elem pruning for August, generally marvel at the weather, or talk about the trees in your yard. 

Shelter Belt Pruning

 We love the technical challenges of working in town – around fences, homes, wires – it is deeply satisfying to take a tree apart safely and improve your yard. We use ropes and pulleys – remember those simple machines from when we were kids? Yep, we use those everyday (also a ramp or incline plane for loading and unloading the stump grinder, but I digress) 

Every once in a while though, it is lots of fun to go out to the country and take care of a lot of trees in one day. 

We are able to chip in place, if you would like mulch cover around your trees. We can load it up in our dump truck and leave it anywhere on your property, or take it to one of our chip loving farmers! 

Call Reta today at 204-730-0368 if you have a technical challenge that needs solving or a shelter belt that needs some attention. 

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