The Eugene Branch is in the heart of its pruning season, and has already hosted several successful community pruning events. They’ve been keeping these pruning events small and intimate so that each volunteer gets more hands-on experience. Pruning can feel like an art as much as a science, and it’s something that takes a lot of practice before you feel comfortable with it. Each pruning event has just 15 volunteers, and they split into five groups, with one Friends of Trees staff member on each team.
“Young tree pruning is the most cost effective thing you can do for an urban forest,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke. Eugene prunes in late summer, rather than in the dormant season, because it slows the trees down. Fast growing trees are tougher to manage for strength and stability.
When you walk up to a tree that needs to be pruned, it can be tough to know where to start. Every tree is different. You have a number of goals you want to achieve, but you can only prune so much. Each pruner might make different little decisions toward the same overall goal of forming the tree.
“It’s so personal, the approach each person takes,” Erik says. “We all do it totally differently and no one way is right.” The small pruning teams allow for a collaborative decision-making process, which grows a volunteer’s experience and confidence. And with experience and confidence, a small team can accomplish just as much as a big group.
“Teaching is a great way to learn, and with each season, you learn more.”
You’re not the only one who’s noticing that the days are getting shorter. Our trees are noticing, too, and they’re taking it as a sign that the growing season is over. How do they notice? A hormone response is triggered by the shorter daylight hours, the angle of the sun, the cooler temps.
For now, the best thing we can do is watch the weather, just like our trees. Continue your watering regime until we’ve had one inch of rain in a week. After that, we’ll be out of the dry season and beyond the growing season when trees actively expand their canopies as they photosynthesize. And it happens to coincide with the timing for our trees to transition into winter dormancy, when their sap returns to their roots.
By Halloween, which is now right around the corner, most of our trees will be dormant. As the seasons change, so do the needs of our young trees. So watch the weather, and stay tuned to Treemail for best practices for each season!
What we can do in response to this invasive species
The discovery of the emerald ash borer in Oregon has many people rightfully worried about the fate of ash trees in our region. The emerald ash borer, or EAB, is an invasive wood boring beetle that feeds on ash trees. There are thousands of wood boring beetles in the world, and most cause no problems at all, but EAB isn’t native to North America, where it has fewer natural predators and the ash trees have no natural defenses.
Ash trees make up 5% of Portland’s street tree canopy (1 in every 20 trees!) and there are at least 9,000 ash trees on streets and in parks of Eugene.
Friends of Trees staff members are taking trainings, doing research, and formulating our best response to the EAB presence in our community. It is important to know that preemptively removing ash trees in large numbers will not stop EAB. The ash trees we have, as long as we have them, still provide tremendous benefits to us and our environments. We will need to monitor the situation as long as we can to learn, adapt, and hopefully one day recover.
“We have a huge community of people with tree knowledge. If we can accurately take notice of trees in distress, we can make a difference.”
-Green Space Specialist Harrison Layer
Show love for your tree with a Friends of Trees yard sign!
Do you have a tree from Friends of Trees in your yard or planting strip? We want to celebrate your tree and the benefits it provides with a beautiful yard sign! We designed these signs as part of a visibility campaign: We want people to know how important trees are to their communities, and to see the impact that Friends of Trees and its supporters have made throughout western Oregon and southwest Washington.
For now, we are only distributing yard signs to people who have a thriving tree from Friends of Trees (visible from the street or sidewalk), whether it was planted last year or 30 years ago. Think of it as your tree’s sign, rather than your own!
We will have our first yard sign pickup window at the Friends of Trees Portland Office this Saturday, October 1, 12-2pm!
Become a Crew Leader!
Our planting season is just around the corner and we’re still looking for crew leaders! It’s one of our most fun and rewarding roles. By investing just a little more time with Friends of Trees this planting season, you can become a pivotal part in making these community planting events meaningful for every volunteer.
Whether you’re guiding a crew from tree to tree and house to house in a neighborhood planting, or you’re captaining a crew planting a hundred native plants in a natural area, it’s always amazing what we can accomplish when we work together. Our Crew Leaders are instrumental in making that happen.
Registration is open for our Fall trainings! You can choose between our Neighborhood Trees and Green Space program to find the best fit for you. Learn more here.
If you can’t be a crew leader but still want to plant trees, check out our event calendar!
Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the world around them through a simple solution:Planting Trees. Together.