What is a Certified Arborist?

An Arborist is an individual who specializes in the proper care for trees. Arborists are knowledgable in the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to perform work on individual trees. Timberland Tree Service only uses Manitoba certified arborists to perform tree work. We are also a member of the International Society of Arborculture.

When Should I Prune My Trees?

This depends to a large extent on why you prune. Light pruning and the removal of dead wood can be done anytime.  One of our certified arborists can help you decide on the proper course of pruning for your trees.

Why Topping Is Bad For Trees?
Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include “heading,” “tipping,” “hat-racking,” and “rounding over.” The most common reason given for topping is to reduce the size of a tree. Home owners often feel that their trees have become too large for their property. People fear that tall trees may pose a hazard. Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not reduce the hazard. In fact, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long term. Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. Yet, despite more than 25 years of literature and seminars explaining its harmful effects, topping remains a common practice.

Topping Stresses Trees

Topping often removes 50 to 100 percent of the leaf-bearing crown of a tree. Because leaves are the food factories of a tree, removing them can temporarily starve a tree. The severity of the pruning triggers a sort of survival mechanism. The tree activates latent buds, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible. If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do so, it will be seriously weakened and may die. A stressed tree is more vulnerable to insect and disease infestations. Large, open pruning wounds expose the sapwood and heartwood to attacks. The tree may lack sufficient energy to chemically defend the wounds against invasion, and some insects are actually attracted to the chemical signals trees release. 

Topping Causes Decay

The preferred location to make a pruning cut is just beyond the branch collar at the branch’s point of attachment. The tree is biologically equipped to close such a wound, provided the tree is healthy enough and the wound is not too large. Cuts made along a limb between lateral branches create stubs with wounds that the tree may not be able to close. The exposed wood tissues begin to decay. Normally, a tree will “wall off,” or compartmentalize, the decaying tissues, but few trees can defend the multiple severe wounds caused by topping. The decay organisms are given a free path to move down through the branches. 

Topping Can Lead to Sunburn

Branches within a tree’s crown produce thousands of leaves to absorb sunlight. When the leaves are removed, the remaining branches and trunk are suddenly exposed to high levels of light and heat. The result may be sunburn of the tissues beneath the bark, which can lead to cankers, bark splitting, and death of some branches. 

Topping Can Lead to Hazardous Trees

The survival mechanism that causes a tree to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut comes at great expense to the tree. These shoots develop from buds near the surface of the old branches. Unlike normal branches that develop in a socket of overlapping wood tissues, these new shoots are anchored only in the outermost layers of the parent branches.


Caring for Mature Trees

Newly Planted Tree Care
The number one reason why newly planted trees die is because, they are not watered at all, or enough.  Soil must be monitored to prevent drying out, if rain fall is inadequate, the soil around the plant roots should be watered once every 7 days, or more if conditions are hot and dry.

How To Water Your New Tree
Using the garden hose, allow a slow trickle to saturate the soil surrounding the tree for 5-10 minutes to get a deep saturation of the ground.  If using watering cans/buckets 3-4 should due.  Watering should be done in the evening.

How To Check Soil Moisture
Check soil moisture under mulch every 2-3 days.  Insert a soil trowel to 2 inches depth and pry back, if the soil is moist to the touch the tree does not require water

Mulch is placed on the soil surface over the tree root system.  Mulch helps conserve soil moisture, regulate soil temperature and control weed growth.

Mechanical Support
Most smaller planted trees (5-10 gallon container trees) do not require staking.  Trees that are not staked will develop strong trunks when allowed to move freely with the wind.  If stakes are required they should be removed after the first growing season.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a highly invasive and destructive insect that has killed millions of ash trees in the U.S. and in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.  Since EAB is very hard to detect in the early stages, it often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. For this reason, EAB has been difficult to control and manage. Prevention measures and early detection are the best defense against this devastating invasive forest insect.


TreeAzin® Systemic Insecticide is a botanical injectable insecticide formulated with azadirachtin, an extract of neem tree seeds (not neem oil). TreeAzin provides up to 2 year control of Emerald Ash Borer and other insect pests in Canada.  TreeAzin is injected under a tree’s bark, directly into the conductive tissues, and moves upwards with the flow of water and nutrients.  TreeAzin kills insect larvae feeding on the tree’s tissues by regulating growth and disrupting normal molting.  In certain groups of insect pests, like Emerald Ash Borer, TreeAzin has also been shown to reduce fertility and egg viability when adult females feed on a treated the tree’s foliage.


What is the cause of Dutch Elm Disease?

Dutch elm disease is caused by two strains of an aggressive fungus (Ophiostoma-ulmi Ophiostoma-novo-ulmi) that provoke elm trees to die regardless of their health. It is considered the most costly shade tree disease and will remain active in a community as long as there are susceptible trees. The fungus invades the water transporting vessels and produces toxins to which the tree reacts. In defense to the toxins, the tree produces tyloses designed to block the spread of the fungus. The combination of the toxins and the defense mechanisms of the tree inhibit water flow to the crown, which causes wilting and tree death.

What are the symptoms of Dutch Elm Disease?

Dutch elm disease symptoms begin to develop 4–6 week after infection. The first noticeable symptom that results from the fungal occupation of the water conducting vessels is wilting or “flagging” of one or more branches, usually starting at the branch tip. Leaves on infected branches turn dull green to yellow, curl, and become dry and brittle. As the infection spreads, the wood beneath the bark displays a brown discolouration.

How does Dutch Elm Disease spread?

Female elm bark beetles lay their eggs beneath the bark of dead and dying elm trees. If the elm is infected with Dutch Elm Disease, the newly hatched beetles will emerge from the tree carrying the deadly fungus on their bodies. The beetles fly to healthy trees to feed on 2-4 year-old branches, and thereby spreading the disease.

Dutch elm disease can also be spread by root contact/root grafting from one diseased elm to a healthy elm.

What can I do if my tree is already infected?

Sanitation is the most important tool for controlling Dutch elm disease on a community-wide basis. It involves identification and rapid removal of diseased elms. Such practices eliminate beetle breeding sites and reduce the number of disease carrying beetles.

Dutch Elm Disease Resource

Click this link for more information at bioforest.ca