Sunday Gratitude – The Ash Tree Test

Whte ash. Photo credit: Arbor Day Foundation

For the seven years the Owl has lived here, a backyard ash tree has been declining. Every year a new tree company was called, and the answer was always the same: take it down. The ash is far from the house, and the only damage it could do in the backyard is a possible smacking of the neighbor’s metal fence, but it would take a mean trick of fate to direct hit like that. Over the years, it drops one or more branches, and these become firewood.

Native ash trees are incredibly important to wildlife, as well as being lovely large trees. Many insects call the ash tree home, including long-horn beetles and caterpillars. Birds love them. Deer love their foliage, and some bats nest in them. If you have a healthy one in your yard, you are so lucky. Go hug it. In the case of our dying ash tree, woodpeckers enjoy breakfast at this 55-foot diner.

When I heard about Tree Specialists, a company out of Holliston, it was from a Lincoln chat site. Lincoln usually knows what’s going on and this recommendation was seconded by the New England Wildflower Society in Framingham. A phone call last fall brought out Rolf a couple of weeks later, who evaluated all of the trees, gave me insight on making life better for the giant red oaks in front, and then as we rounded the house corner to view the ash, he said “oh, I wish you had called me a couple of years ago–I think this one would have had a chance.”

Once I got over my guilt at calling the wrong company for six years (!!), I asked if there was anything to be done. And Rolf said “yes, let’s cut off the top branches and leave the rest of the trunk for the wildlife.” It was in this moment that I realized that I had found the right arborist–one who “got me”. If I can’t save it for myself, I want to save it for the beasties who still call it dinner.

From the Tree Specialists webpage

When you read the Tree Specialists webpage, you will see if they are right for you. They are about preservation, not mowing down. If you’re a white pine hater, you might want to skip that phone call–they will suggest cabling and pruning, not scorched earth cutting. Prepare to learn a lot about roots and compaction, the right place for the right tree, and the importance of getting the soil and watering right. It’s an arboriculture class in one consultation. Note that they do not plant trees–they specialize in preservation–but will give you advice on which trees will do well.

While the Owl is not paid for endorsements, nor is this an ad, the gratitude is there for finding the contractor who is right. The one who passes the Ash Tree Test. Last week, the company (this time Dave) came out to look at town trees at Land’s Sake at my request. On a visit to golden larches and dawn redwoods, Dave spied a hemlock that needed treatment and added it to their schedule.

Thank you, Tree Specialists, for getting it.

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