Common Forest Trees of North Carolina: How to Know Them, a North Carolina Forest Service publication, includes details on size, shape, range, and other characteristics of multiple NC species.
Tree Owner’s Manual, a USFS publication, highlights proper tree care from installation to maintenance, with many easily understood images and text.
Tree Owner’s Manual, a North Carolina Urban Forestry Council publication, covers from selection to maintenance, and everything in between.
Tree Care Tips, a TCIA publication, is packed with content designed to help homeowners care for their trees and protect their landscapes.
TreesAreGood, an ISA publication, helps increase awareness of the benefits of trees and provides homeowners and other tree owners with access to resources to help sustain trees in an urban environment.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map provides a summary of drought conditions across the United States and Puerto Rico. Often described as a blend of art and science, the map is updated weekly. Helpful to determine if supplemental watering is needed.
Organic Land Care Best Management Practices Manual, a Rutgers NJAES publication, provides recommendations on best management practices for effectively conducting organic land care.
Selecting Trees and Shrubs as Resources for Pollinators, a UGA Extension publication, provides options for selecting flowering woody plants that are attractive to bees and butterflies. Anyone can promote pollinator health by selecting and planting appropriate species using this guide.
Q: How much water does my tree need?
A: The amount of water a tree needs depends on many factors, including the age, health, species, time of year, weather, and soil type. But during extended periods of drought and/or in certain compromised states, supplemental watering is imperative.
Q: What’s the best time of year to prune my tree(s)?
A: For several reasons, the late dormant season (Feb – Mar) is generally the best time to prune deciduous trees. The same goes for evergreen (coniferous) trees, except for pine trees. Pines seldom need pruning, but are best pruned in May when new growth is in the candle stage.
Q: What type of tree(s) do you recommend I plant?
A: The answer to that question ultimately depends on your goals and site suitability. The Arbor Day Foundation has excellent resources for putting the right tree in the right place. RTS staff can also work with you to select something appropriate.
Q: What size tree(s) do you recommend I plant?
A: Research has revealed that smaller container-grown trees overcome transplant stress more quickly, grow faster, and often equal the size of their larger container-grown counterparts after just 3-5 years. Accordingly, we typically advise planting something in the 1.0-1.5″ caliper range in most instances.
Q: How long will my tree(s) live?
A: Some helpful info to answer that for undisturbed forest trees may be found here. However, keep in mind the average life expectancy of urban trees is considerably shorter due to urban stress – insufficient soil volumes, compacted and nutrient-poor soils, under and over-watering, heat island effects, pollution, vandalism, etc.
Q: How can I quantify some of the benefits my tree provides?
A: i-Tree can help with that. i-Tree is a set of free tools built on science that:
- Quantifies the benefits and values of trees around the world
- Aids in tree and forest management and advocacy
- Shows potential risks to tree and forest health
- Are based on peer-reviewed, USDA Forest Service Research in the public domain
Q: How should I mulch my tree(s)?
A: Unfortunately, misapplication of mulch is epidemic. The proper way to mulch may be found here. And contrary to popular belief, the use of fresh wood chips is perfectly acceptable.
Q: Should I use a wound dressing on my tree(s)?
A: No, wound dressings were once thought to accelerate wound closure, protect against insects and diseases, and reduce decay. However, more recent research has shown that is not the case with one exception.
Q: Is it okay for someone to spike my tree(s) while climbing?
A: Spiking (aka using climbing spurs) needlessly harms a tree in most instances. That’s because climbing spurs penetrate the protective bark layer and create a wound channel into the tree’s vascular system. Consequently, pathogen entry is facilitated, making the tree more susceptible to disease. That said, there are a few legitimate exceptions where the use of climbing spurs is permitted – the most common being complete tree removal.
Q: Are algae, lichens, and/or moss harming my tree(s)?
A: No, but they can be an indicator of poor tree health, and further investigation may be warranted.
Q: Is ivy harming my tree(s)?
A: It depends. Some ivy (English, poison, or otherwise) typically is not harmful. However, too much of it can be problematic, and in those cases it should be killed-in-place and/or removed.
- Trees and ivy rely on the same supply of water and nutrients. If the ivy is too aggressive, your tree(s) may not be getting enough of either
- Ivy can hide structural defects – cavities, decay, cracks, etc
- Ivy can weigh trees and tree parts down, putting them at a higher risk of failing
- Once in the crown, ivy can block the sunlight that a tree needs to make food. If too much sunlight is blocked, decline may occur due to a lack of food production.
Q: Should I be concerned if there are mushrooms growing on my tree(s)?
A: Potentially. Fruiting bodies (aka mushrooms) often indicate poor tree health and/or the presence of serious decay; a risk assessment to further evaluate the tree’s health and/or propensity for failure may be required.
Q: Is it true that sunlit water drops from watering cause leaf burn?
A: It depends. As per this study, sunlit water drops residing on smooth, hairless leaves are unlikely to damage the underlying leaf tissue. However, as per the same study, water drops held above leaves by leaf hairs can indeed cause sunburn, if their focal regions fall on to the leaf surface.
Q: Do you offer any “organic” treatment options?
A: Yes, in most instances we advise, prefer, and use OMRI Listed® products for our PHC treatments.
Q: Can wood from my tree be turned into something artistic and/or functional?
A: Yes, there are several local artisans that can do that; Green River Woods in West Asheville is one such example. RTS also has the ability to cut your wood into slabs using an Alaskan mill.
Q: Where can I find more info on selling wood from my tree(s)?
A: Excellent resources on selling timber can be found here and here. RTS also has connections with several local sawmills and artisans.
Q: Is it true that glyphosate (Roundup®) causes cancer?
A: No, according to the Nov 2017 results from the comprehensive Agricultural Health Study, which monitored the health of nearly 90,000 people in Iowa and North Carolina from 1993 to 2010. Similarly, the EPA by itself has also reached this conclusion. More info on glyphosate here and here.
Q: Does the City of Asheville regulate tree removal?
A: Yes, and there are substantial fines for not complying with ordinances that cover both Steep Slope Zones and designated Local Historic Districts. Removal of any tree 6″ in diameter or greater in those areas must be pre-approved by the City using the applicable process and form.