JSCA Newsletter- Premises Liability Edition

•March 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

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Trees in History- Trees from the Moon!

•February 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Trees Growing in Indiana from the Moon!

There are trees growing in Indiana from the Moon! “What”, you say, “Trees don’t grow on the moon!” True, but during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, which included Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa, the astronauts were allowed to take a personal kit. Many remember Alan Shepard’s famous golf shot from the surface of the moon but few remember that Stuart Roosa carried 400-500 seeds in his kit as he orbited the moon.

Moon tree and park office.

Upon return to earth it was thought that the seeds were lost because the canister that they were in burst open during decontamination but afterwards they successfully germinated and the seedlings were used to mark the American Bi-Centennial in 1976. Unfortunately, records were not kept as to where the seedlings were sent, but some known plantings include the White House, Valley Forge, Washington Square in Philadelphia, Brazil, Switzerland and possibly Japan.

In Indiana, a sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) was sent to Camp Koch Girl Scout Camp, a sycamore was sent to Lincoln State Park, two sweetgums (Liquidambar styraciflua) were sent to the U.S. Forest Service for their office at Tell City and a sycamore was sent to the State House in Indianapolis.

Seedlings were in hot demand for the bi-centennial as Senators and other dignitaries clambered for a tree from “out of this world”.

The project became known as the “Moon Tree Project”. If you know of another Moon Tree please contact Dave Williams at NASA. Dave.williams@nasa.gov

Trees in History! Anne Frank’s Chestnut.

•January 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment


Anne Frank Chestnut sprout at the National Plant Germplasm Quarantine Center

Anne Frank’s Chestnut Lives Again!

“Our chestnut tree is in bloom. It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.” Anne Frank wrote to her diary May 1944.

For those who have read The Diary of Anne Frank, you might be familiar with the entries about the chestnut tree that she could see from the attic window. The tree no doubt brought her hope and joy.

The Anne Frank Museum reports that the tree was a White Horse Chestnut and was close to 170 years old. It stood outside Anne Frank’s house and was reportedly one of the oldest in Amsterdam.

In 2007 a dispute erupted when the tree was deemed unstable and was slated for removal. Local conservationists argued that the tree was a treasure and that it should be retained. A metal structure was created to support the tree and local horticulturists predicted the tree could live fifteen or more years.

In August of 2010 the tree suddenly snapped in the midst of a windstorm, at about three feet off the ground, falling across a fence, missing the Anne Frank House which is now a museum.  Fortunately, no one was hurt and the house was not damaged.

Though the tree has fallen and been removed, it still brings hope because seeds from the tree were gathered and germinated. Seedlings have been sent all around the world, including some which are at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Coincidently, the Children’s Museum will open a display celebrating the tree soon.

Trees in History! Osage Orange in Kentucky?

•January 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Osage Can You See !

The osage-orange (Maclura pomifera) is native to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, yet the unofficial national champion osage-orange can be found in Kentucky.

There are many debates as to how this tree even ended up in Kentucky, let alone how it grew as large as it is. This magnificent osage-orange can be found at Old Fort Harrod, in Harrodsburg Kentucky which was originally built in 1774. The tree is America’s unofficial national champion for the species. The national champion can be found at Red Hill Patrick Henry’s National Memorial in Virginia. The tree in Kentucky is taller and broader than the osage-orange in Virginia, but it cannot be dubbed as “the national champion” because of its split-trunk.

The fruit of an osage-orange is green and fleshy. They’re about the same size as a large grapefruit you might buy at a grocery store. They have dark ridges that make the surface of the orange easy to compare with the surface of a human brain. This fruit attracts a lot of squirrels and small mammals and is said to detract spiders when stored in a crawlspace. Early uses for osage-orange trees were for Native American bows (thus the name Bois D’Arc, or Bodark), pioneer fences (thus the name hedge apple) and for pesticides and dyes.

Was this tree brought to Fort Harrod in the late 1700-1800’s by a pioneer, did Lewis and Clark bring it back during their travels or was it planted by Indians because of its good bow making properties?  No one seems to know who planted this tree but it is a sight to be seen if you are in the Harrodsburg area.

Trees in History, series provided by Jud Scott, who is a lover of trees and history. If you need help preserving a tree or resolving a tree conflict, Jud can be reached at 317-815-8733

The unoffical National Champion Osage Orange!

or by email at Treeconsultant@aol.com.

Trees in History! Sycamore Row- Indiana Street Tree Planting?

•December 24, 2010 • 1 Comment

Indiana’s First Street Tree Planting?  Sycamore Row

In north-eastern Carroll County Indiana, along State Road 29, there is a double-row of sycamores that have the appearance of an early street tree planting. These trees are aptly named “Sycamore Row” and at one time numbered thirty six on the west side and fifty plus on the east. The trees create an allee along an abandoned section of the old Michigan Road. There are many stories that surround these trees with one noting that early residents remembered the trees as saplings in 1868.

The best explanation for this beautiful allee of sycamores is that they sprouted from the fresh cut ends of logs that had been laid to form a “corduroy road”. The creation of a corduroy road was a practice used in early road construction to create a crossing through a wet or swampy area. The concept of this practice is that trees would be cut and the trunks would be laid side-by-side with the ends nailed to each other to keep them from moving. Sometimes mud or gravel would be laid on top to even out the road and to lessen the jolting that would be felt as a wagon bumped from log to log.

Some of these trees may be the original saplings remembered by the early county residents in 1868 and some may be sprouts from trees that died or were cut over the years. Either way, these trees stand as a testament to our earlier ancestors and their tireless struggles to expand Indiana.

Notes: a) Dr. William Hoover, Professor of Forestry at Purdue University has indicated that this type of re-growth (from a live buried log) is possible and is called Vegetative Regeneration. b) A State Highway Commission’s historical marker says they sprouted from trees laid down in the 1830s, but it is more likely that they were from the 1850s when the road was upgraded.

Trees in History” series provided by Jud Scott, who is a lover of trees and history. If you need help preserving a tree or resolving a tree conflict, Jud can be reached at  317-815-8733 or by email at Treeconsultant@aol.com.

Sycamore trees along Sycamore Row!

Trees in History- Gnaw Bone Indiana, Tulip Poplar Tree.

•December 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A Living Memorial

In 1850 in the southern Indiana town of Gnaw Bone (pop. 8), John Allcorn was killed by a falling tulip poplar tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). This was a tragic event but not unheard of in the day.

Tulip in the Crouch cemetery.

There were no undertakers within twenty miles, so neighbors hollowed out a large tulip poplar (some accounts say the same tree that killed John) to make a coffin.

Local lore tells us that soon after the burial a “poplar” sprouted at the head of John’s grave as a living monument.

A recent visit to Crouch Cemetery could not reveal a headstone for John Allcorn but did find the magnificent tulip poplar in the adjacent photo. The tree appears to be the right age to be John Allcorn’s Living Monument.

Notes: After discussion with Dr. William Hoover, Professor of Forestry at Purdue University, it was determined that this type of re-growth (from a live buried log) is possible and is called Vegetative Regeneration. Watch next issue for another regenerative tree story.

Stories about the name Gnaw Bone vary. Some say that it was named by French immigrants for their home town of Narbonne France and Hoosierized . Other more colorful stories are that when a passerby asked about the where-abouts of an area resident the reply was “I seed him settin” on a log a-gnawing on a bone”, and that a local pack of wild dogs killed a group of sheep and were seen “Gnaw-in on the bones”.

Trees in History series provided by Jud Scott, who is a lover of trees and history. If you need help preserving a tree or resolving a tree conflict, Jud can be reached  at 317-815-8733 or by email at Treeconsultant@aol.com.

Consulting Arborist Corner- To top or not to Top?

•December 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

An Arborist’s View of the Topping

This is an extreme example of topping!

Almost thirty years, ago Alexander Shigo, a world-renowned tree expert, started talking about the harm that was being done by topping trees. Yet we are still topping trees today.

National, State and Local tree organizations recommend against topping trees but the procedure is still seen throughout Indiana.

Topping is often used “to reduce the height of a tree”. This technique is antiquated, un-necessary and simply bad for your tree.

Many people think that topping a tree makes it “safer” by making it shorter. But in actuality, as the limbs grow out they are weak from the topping and fall more readily than if they were left in their natural state.

Five reasons not to top trees:

  • Stress:  Topping takes off so much of the tree crown that the tree is often starved for food due to the removal of foliage. A tree needs leaves for the photosynthesis process. Topping also exposes bark that has been protected from sunlight. This results in sunscald and more stress.
  • Insects & Diseases: Large stubs are left where the limbs were when a tree is topped. The tree has a very difficult time healing these wounds.  As a result, the stubs are vulnerable to insect and disease attacks and greater amounts of decay.
  • Weakened Limbs: When a scaffold limb is topped, epicormic sprouts grow to replace the missing foliage. These new sprouts are often not properly attached to the trunk, making the junction weak and more susceptible to decay and storm damage.
  • Ugly Trees: A topped tree is an unnatural, ugly sight. The tree will never be able to grow back to its natural state.
  • Expensive: The initial cost for topping is often more than the cost to properly prune the tree.  Also, in the long run, there can be hidden costs such as: increased future maintenance, and the removal and replacement cost if the tree dies. Potential liability due to the increased hazard of a weakly-attached limb is a factor as well.

Instead of topping, a tree should be properly pruned. Use a company with a Registered Consulting Arborist or a Certified Arborist on staff. A trained arborist will write his work specifications with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications, when pruning, that are healthy for your tree and can achieve the look you want.  Some of these specifications are:

  • Crown Cleaning: removes the dead, diseased, and/or broken branches.
  • Thinning: removes selected branches to allow for better light penetration, air movement, and overall density.
  • Crown Reduction: reduces the height and/or spread of the tree of the tree by cutting it back to the lateral limbs properly. With proper pruning, the tree will maintain correct structure and will be able to thrive. (This is different from topping in that it removes no more than ¼ of the foliage and limbs are pruned to laterals).
  • Crown Raising: removes lower branches over sidewalks, roofs, etc.

“Consulting Arborist Corner” is brought to you by Jud Scott a Registered Consulting Arborist. As a Consulting Arborist, Jud is available to assist you with tree care and tree conflicts that may arise. 

Consulting Arborist Corner- Say it with a contract!

•December 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Consulting Arborist Corner

Haste Makes Waste!

It is winter and you are rushing to get your proposals out for spring. Your proposal to ABC Homeowners Association promises “landscape maintenance that will maintain a beautiful entrance to the neighborhood.” Your proposal is accepted and you begin to mulch, edge, trim, mow, fertilize, and add seasonal flower displays. In your mind, when completed your work has exceeded your goal of creating a “beautiful entrance” and you have fulfilled your contract.

Summer storms come, and a mature tree in the entrance lawn loses a limb which falls and strikes a bicyclist on the road, breaking his arm. Soon after, you receive a legal notice that you have been named in a lawsuit and must supply documents concerning your contract, personnel, and provided services.

You ask, “Why am I being sued?” In your mind, you have completely fulfilled your contract by creating a beautiful entrance to the neighborhood.  However, the plaintiff’s attorney suggests that your proposal implies otherwise.  In the plaintiff attorney’s mind, your contract reads that you are “to maintain the entryway.”  He argues that the entryway includes mature trees and that it was “your duty” to provide proper tree care, and not “performing this duty” resulted in injury to his client.

So how does haste make waste? Because in your haste to get out your proposals, you failed to add a clause such as follows:

Landscape Maintenance-

XYZ Landscape (Professional) proposes to perform landscape maintenance for ABC Condominiums (Assoc) and to utilize the required level of knowledge, education, and training to perform these duties.  Professional shall not be required to detect every condition that may lead to harm or to inspect trees or limbs. Professional is not providing safety or security consultation, other than might be part of standard care performed during landscape maintenance procedures.

Professional shall be required to exercise reasonable care in the performance of all of Professional’s duties under this agreement. The extent of work to be performed by Professional is as described in the contract and does not extend to any other condition of the property that may exist, including fixtures, tree maintenance, or permanent structures.

While this clause is not a guarantee that you will not be sued, it provides you with some coverage by limiting your scope of services.

Consulting Arborist Corner is brought to you by Jud Scott a Registered Consulting Arborist. As a Consulting Arborist, Jud is available to assist you with tree care and tree conflicts that may arise.

Note: Jud Scott does not intend to provide legal advice and would like to thank E. Davis Coots for assistance with the contract language. For further counsel on contracts or expert legal advice, call E. Davis Coots Esq., at Coots Henke and Wheeler 317-844-4693.

Consulting Arborist Corner- Irrigation Irritations!

•December 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Irrigation Irritations!

Irrigation systems are a vital part of many landscapes. But an irrigation system can harm a tree if it isn’t installed with tree roots in mind. This goes for backflow devices as well. There are a few things you need to consider before you install an irrigation system or backflow device into your client’s landscape.

Tree roots aren’t as deep as many people might think they are. They’re generally only 2-3 feet below grade. Irrigation lines are installed 10-14 inches below grade. If irrigation lines are not installed with tree roots in mind, they could irreparably sever the roots of a tree. When installing an irrigation system, it is important to make sure you do not harm the tree’s roots.

Backflow devices may not be the most attractive facilities to have in the landscape, but it’s important to make sure they are installed with roots in mind as well. A lot of times a contractor will attempt to hide the backflow device by placing it closer to a tree, but by doing this they may cut the roots causing stress to the tree.

Stand pipe near a beech tree!

Ken Barthuly of Barthuly Irrigation says, “If possible backflow devices should be installed near the foundation of the home or business, so that the installation of the lines will not disturb the roots of trees.”

When planning an irrigation system for a client, visit the property and clearly mark and measure the drip line of trees on the site plan. Then as you plan the installation, route the lines outside the drip line and retrofit the heads to reach areas under the tree.

Plan the system installation with trees in mind and your client will be happy in the end, and so will the trees!

“Consulting Arborist Corner” is brought to you by Jud Scott a Registered Consulting Arborist. As a Consulting Arborist, Jud is available to assist you with tree care and tree conflicts that may arise.

Answers to the December Consulting Arborist Quiz

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

December Quiz Answer Sheet