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Tree Care Tips

Climate Change-Resistant Tree Care

Between wildfires, heat records and excess rainfall, climate change is a big topic this summer. What does climate change mean for your trees, and how can you conduct climate change-resistant tree care?

Trees are a key part of our climate and ecosystem, so there are many ways they can impact climate change. There are lots of things you can do and that an arborist can assist with to make your trees and yard resistant to climate change!

Tree Pruning

Arborist high up in large leafy tree conducting tree pruning

The first question we ask about tree pruning is what your goals are. Often, people want a branch removed because of shade or because it’s close to a house or other building. Sometimes, these branches can be dangerous or damaging the house.

Tree limbs around your walls, roof and windows can help keep your home cool and keep your air conditioning and heating bills lower. That also means fewer carbon emissions from your HVAC system, making it a win for both the planet and your wallet!

Beneficial Pruning

Regular pruning on a smaller scale can be beneficial, however. Pruning can promote healthy growth, remove damaged branches, and redirect branch growth in appropriate directions. This means you can see greater benefits from your trees in helping your house with cooling and heating!

Pruning can also help increase branch resistance against storm and wind damage. This helps you avoid the risk of a more costly limb or tree removal later. When limbs become overextended, they are subjected to more wind load. During summer storms and winter ice storms, this can make branches more likely to fail.

Heat Deserts and Your Trees

If you take a walk along King Street through the Financial District on a hot day in July, you’ll feel much hotter than walking along a residential street in Forest Hill or Leaside. Toronto is full of heat deserts — areas where large amounts of concrete and unshaded open spaces collect heat, with few or no trees and grassy areas to provide a cooling effect.

You may not think removing one tree would make a difference. But if every person on your block removed one tree, your neighbourhood would suddenly start getting warmer. Toronto and the GTA already deal with this in many urban areas. Tree removal on residential streets can make the problem worse.

Re-Greening and Tree Replacement

That’s why the City of Toronto requires planting replacement trees when tree removal permits are granted. Replacing a tree isn’t always that simple, though. Some species of trees will benefit from replacement with a native species (more on that later). Younger, smaller trees are also easier to replace. But a large, mature tree may be irreplaceable.

Older trees that predate your home or neighbourhood were able to grow strong and tall. Replacement trees, in most cases, won’t be able to grow as large. Old trees had more access to sunlight and space for roots to spread as they were growing. As urban areas become more built up with pavement and buildings, trees don’t have the ability to grow as large. Climate change and hotter summer temperatures may also affect a new tree’s growth.

Choosing the Right Tree Species

You’ve probably heard about the importance of native plants in eco gardening and climate change-resistant gardening. That goes for trees as well. If you’re planting a new tree, choosing a tree native to Ontario benefits the ecosystem.

Native trees will have the easiest time growing in the local conditions. They’ll also help support local animals, bees and other insects. Native species are more resistant to pests and weather conditions. That means you’ll likely have an easier time keeping your new tree healthy.

Choosing a strong-wooded tree species also helps make the tree more resistant against pest and storm damage. Planting the right species also protects against stress and droughts. An arborist can help you choose the right tree for your space, whether you’re replacing a tree after a removal, or planting a new tree.

Tree removal isn’t always bad, if you have a non-native invasive species like a tree of heaven or Norway maple. Replacing trees with a native species can often benefit your yard and soil. It can also help other native plants to grow, as invasive trees can cut off shade to other plants and drop seeds that out-compete native species.

Fertilizing and Soil

An arborist can assist you with ensuring your soil is in good shape for your trees to keep them healthy. Applying a good fertilizer in the fall or spring improves soil quality.

Other ways arborists can help you with your soil include covering or uncovering roots to avoid damage and retain moisture. We can add amendments to your soil to improve the quality and your trees’ health. Soil compaction, or dense, hardened soil can affect a tree’s ability to take in water and nutrients. We can use a tool called an air spade to loosen soil.

We’ll also recommend mulch, fertilizer, or compost for your space as appropriate.

Rainfall and Climate Change

It’s no secret to GTA residents that we’ve been experiencing record-setting storms and flooding in the past decade. Unfortunately, this trend seems likely to continue. This means it’s even more important to set your property up for succsss around climate change.

Flash storms can, ironically, result in trees not getting enough water. Fast, heavy rain isn’t ideal for trees. They won’t retain the water properly. Slow, steady rain throughout the day is better for trees and plants.

That’s why we recommend watering trees heavily once or twice a week, instead of a limited amount every day. And in times of drought or limited rainfall, it’s important that you water your trees regularly. This especially applies to young, recently planted trees.

Treating soil issues and planting native trees and plants helps offset the effects of flash storms and flooding. If you live in a flood-prone area of the city or have trees in a low-lying space with poor drainage, you may also need help to improve soil drainage.

Trees Against Climate Change

There are many ways you can use your trees to help the planet, from keeping power bills low for you and your neighbours, to helping local bees and wildlife. Keeping your trees healthy is the first step towards planning an eco-friendly yard. Treatments like regular pruning and fertilizing are easy ways to keep your trees healthy.

Healthy trees and soil help you avoid many threats from storm damage, unpredictable weather conditions, wind, heat, and excessive rainfall.

For more tips on climate-resistant tree care, or for your consultation on how we can help you keep your yard healthy, contact Vista Tree now!

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Cheryl Cooke
James responded quickly to my request for a quote and he and his crew did an extremely professional job with perfect cleanup. I would recommend these guys in a heartbeat. James is an excellent communicator and a pleasure to work with. Thanks for giving my garden a great jump on Spring.
Lawrence Tavers
James and Michael have been the best arborists I’ve ever dealt with. First off, they were friendly and professional. They didn’t just throw out a number, they went through the job and what needed to be done and what didn’t and gave me a reasonable price. On the day, the crew came and did a fantastic job. It was a hard one but they made it look easy. And the clean up was perfect, my yard looked better than it did before they came. They’re my go to from now on.
Johnathan Melnick
I got two trees removed for a renovation project, and vista was on it right from the start. Report came through right away, permits right after but then due to some cost over runs I had to delay for 4 months and hold off on the removals until last month. Trees came down so well, crew was really professional. They left the site looking CLEAN and thats saying a lot as it had a lot of builder garbage around .stump grinding happened right away. James and Mike went above and beyond to manage this and help me out when the unexpected happened. Definitely recommend.
Ronald Romick
Very professional work. We are very satisfied with the quality of the work done. We would recommend Vista 100 percent. Great quality, performance and professional.
John Rydzkowski
I had James and his crew cut down and remove my 40'+ blue spruce before the wind blew it over. There was an urgency in getting the work done and they were there for me. They were very professional, worked safely and cleaned up when they were finished. They also showed me proof of insurance and WSIB which is very important as a home owner. I'm happy to recommend them to anyone. Thanks 😊
Marlee Pinsker
Vista Tree Management came to our house and did a wonderful job helping to protect the roof from squirrel damage. James walked around the perimeter of the house with me and pointed out every tree branch that might possibly be the instrument of a squirrel finding its way to the roof. He then set up a time, came over promptly, and in short time cut down many tree limbs and branches. He consulted with me about whether anything else needed to be done, and when I pointed out one last branch, he cut it down. I feel I have finally found a tree service which has the knowledge and expertise to help with my property. My husband and I are more than satisfied! The staff at Vista Tree Management were so very helpful.
Kristian Alexander Kennedy
We had the pleasure of working with Vista recently and we could not have asked for better service. We have a small apple tree and hedge in our front yard that we wanted pruned. As part of the quote, we had also requested that some time be spent with us as the pruning occurred so that we could learn how to properly care for our garden going forward. James was prompt, responsive and incredibly thorough. He completed the tasks exactly as we had discussed and as was quoted. He was patient and spent lots of time teaching us the various pruning methods that he was utilizing. Not only does he have excellent attention to detail while pruning, but he also takes great care in cleaning up all the plant debris once he was finished the job. We can’t thank him enough for the excellent service provided. We will be sure to reach out to Vista for all of our future pruning/landscaping needs. Thanks James.
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