Choosing Trees for a Wildlife-Friendly Yard in Vancouver, BC


Tree service experts of British Columbia discuss how native flora attracts native fauna.

These Trees Will Bring Wild Visitors To Your Yard

While many plants may grow in a Vancouver garden, not all plants are beneficial to local wildlife. In order to provide sanctuary for local bees, butterflies, and birds, it is best to use native plants. The local plants and animals have evolved together and have an interdependent relationship that humans can help facilitate. This article will outline a few of the native trees that not only complement a yard but also give wildlife a place to rest and nourish themselves. 

The Bitter Cherry

The bitter cherry is a smaller deciduous tree that tends to grow in a rounded shape and rarely grows above 25 feet tall. Though its very small greenish white flowery are unobtrusive, they have a pleasant almond smell and attract large numbers of butterflies. It is known to be a frequent nursery tree for both butterfly and moth larvae. Its bright red fruit, while unappetizing to humans, is loved by birds, particularly the cedar waxwing.

  • Sun Preferences: The bitter cherry prefers full sun to partial sun
  • Soil Preferences:  It is drought tolerant and does well in dry to moist soil. 
  • Similarly-Sized Native Trees: These native small trees and bushes provide similar nourishment and habitats for wildlife: Cascara, dogwood, red elderberry, evergreen huckleberry, Indian plum (osoberry), salmonberry, and vine maple.

The Douglas-fir

Though the Douglas-fir is not actually a fir tree, it is an evergreen conifer and adds a great deal of beauty to any yard. They are often harvested for wood and can grow quite tall. They grow in an attractive pyramidal shape and are favored as Christmas trees. Their branches provide great shelter and nesting for many birds and the seeds from their cones are a year-round food source for birds and small mammals like squirrels.

  • Sun Preferences: The Douglas-fir needs full sun to thrive, which is expected of a tall overstory tree.
  • Soil Preferences:  This tree doesn’t mind slightly dry soil, though it does well with moist, well-drained soils.
  • Similarly-Sized Native Trees:  Though rarely bested in height, the Douglas-fir serves similar animal populations as the western hemlock and the grand fir.

Western Red Cedar

The western red cedar is the provincial tree of British Columbia. This evergreen conifer can reach a massive 60 m in height. Long-lived and prized for its decay-resistant wood, the western red cedar also provides year-round nourishment for various birds (like the pine siskin) and mammals(including rodents and larger animals like deer and elk). Spotted owls and Vaux swifts often use these trees for nesting. It is often used for hedges due to its dense foliage and long life.

  • Sun Preferences: This native tree is highly adaptable and can function well from full sun to shade.
  • Soil Preferences:  The western redcedar prefers wet or moist soil.
  • Similarly-Sized Native Trees: Though very few things grow as tall as the western redcedar, there are trees that provide similar habitats for wildlife, such as the shore pine, bigleaf maple, and the grand fir.

About VI Tree Service

Since 1990, VI Tree Service has been providing excellent tree health care and tree removal services to Vancouver and the surrounding areas. We offer excellent customer care along with 24-hour emergency response. Call us today for a free estimate.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like An Uprooted Tree?

Tree experts of British Columbia outline steps to salvage a tree after it has been uprooted.

What to Do With An Uprooted Tree

When a storm blows through and pulls a tree up by the roots, it may seem that the tree is a lost cause. If the tree has most of its roots intact and there is only minor damage to the branches, the tree may actually be able to be saved. Trees have an intrinsic value for their beauty and their ability to clean the air and produce the planet’s much-needed supply of oxygen, but they also have a historical and sentimental value to the people who live their lives around them. There are ways to preserve these lovely landscaping trees. 

What Increases the Risk of a Tree Being Uprooted?

Even though a storm or high winds are the main cause of a tree being pulled up, there are many other factors that increase a tree’s susceptibility to being knocked over by the wind. These are usually related to issues with either the soil or with general tree health. A few of the major reasons that contribute to a tree’s risk of falling are included in the following list:

  • Age of Tree: If the tree is nearing the end of its life and its roots are weakening, it may be at a higher risk of wind uprooting.
  • Tree Disease: If a tree has an infection of some sort, whether viral, bacterial, or fungal, this will affect the tree’s ability to withstand wind and storms.
  • Pest Infestation: If a pest such as a wood borer has taken up residence in the tree it will be weaker and more susceptible to being uprooted.
  • Erosion: Loss of soil around the roots can cause the tree to be uprooted.
  • Change in Soil Quality: The composition of the soil can change over time through natural occurrences or human machinations. This is a process that typically happens over years and affects the grip of the roots.
  • Soil Saturation: If there has been a lot of precipitation, the dirt around the tree may be so filled with water that it becomes loose around the roots and they can pull free with only a small amount of pressure.

Call An Arborist

The best way to handle a tree falling is to call in the experts. A tree service company isn’t just in the business of tree removal and tree trimming, they are also about tree health care. Arborists are experts on how trees grow and their proper care and feeding, so if you are needing to save a tree, an arborist should be the one you call. 

They can perform a tree risk assessment on any of your landscaping trees to see if they are susceptible to disease or to being uprooted. They can determine if a tree can be saved or if it should be removed. They can also advise and help you through the process of righting an uprooted tree.

The Procedure for Salvaging a Fallen Tree

If a younger tree has fallen, then there is a chance that it can be put back in the ground and survive as though its roots never saw the light of day. The process for fixing the tree goes something like this:

  • Cover the exposed roots with dirt to prevent drying out.
  • Prune broken or dead limbs.
  • Lift the tree up. Move it in as straight a line as possible to prevent further root damage.
  • Secure the tree in place by packing dirt and other support as necessary.
  • Make sure the tree gets plenty of water. 
  • Avoid fertilizer that can damage the injured root structure. 
  • Monitor the tree for transplant shock.

If this list seems intimidating, remember that an arborist is available to do this for you.

About VI Tree Service

Since 1990, Vi Tree Service has been providing Vancouver and the surrounding areas with spectacular tree service and great client care. With affordable prices and free estimates, VI Tree Service is the one to call for 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

These 5 Trees Love June in Vancouver, BC

These 5 Trees Love June in Vancouver, BC

Tree care professionals of British Columbia offer suggestions of a few trees that love Vancouver summers.

5 Trees that Contribute to a Vibrant Summer Garden

Trees are a valuable part of almost every ecosystem on the planet. They are no less valuable in the man-made habitats that are today’s urban and suburban areas. People often want trees for beautification, but they contribute so much more. If you are considering planting a tree in your yard, the following trees may be good choices for you.

Red Alder

This native tree is a host for nitrogen-fixing bacteria and is often a great choice for land restoration. They are fast-growing and have strong wood that has often been used by First Nations people.  The bark of the red alder is used to make a red dye; from this, the tree derives its name. It grows easily and tall with an elegant white bark.

  • Sun preference: Full sun
  • Soil preference: Moist
  • Notable Attributes:  Fast growth, easily propagated, good for woodworking, helps renew soil

Paper Birch

The paper birch is so named for its lovely white bark that comes off in thin papery strips. Its leaves turn yellow in the fall and it is often home to birds such as the woodpecker and the nuthatch. It is the favourite tree of the yellow-bellied sapsucker.

  • Sun preference: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil preference: Various
  • Notable Attributes: Papery white bark, favoured by many birds for nesting

Red Maple

The red maple is a very common native tree that is spread across most of the North American continent. It grows quickly and does well in a wide variety of soils. Its leaves change from green to bright red, orange, and yellow during the autumn, providing some of the most beautiful colours of the season. 

  • Sun Preference: Full sun
  • Soil Preference: Adaptable
  • Notable Attributes: Fall foliage, helicopter seeds, provides food for wildlife 

Western Red Cedar

This tree has a long history among the First Nations people and is the provincial tree of British Columbia. The Western red cedar is a giant tree, reaching over 100 feet tall, and long-lived, often living in excess of 150 years. The wood is used for many types of building projects and is decay and pest resistant.

  • Sun preference: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil preference: Adaptable 
  • Notable Attributes: Distinctive scent from bark and leaves, pest resistant, home for birds and other wildlife 


These large bushes with heavily scented clusters of purple flowers are perfect for almost any size yard. They are highly attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies in the spring and summer and they are hardy enough for the dry, cold temperatures British Columbia sometimes experiences. Lilacs take very little care to produce a beautiful plant and only require a bit of yearly pruning.

  • Sun preference: Full sun
  • Soil preference:  Slightly alkaline and moist
  • Notable Attributes: Light purple flowers that grow in large clusters on the ends of branches, resistant to cold, good for smaller spaces 

About VI Tree Service

With more than 50 years of experience in the business of trees, VI Tree Service is the one to call for any tree health care needs in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. We strive not only to satisfy our customers but to protect the wildlife that is intimately connected with the life of trees. Call us today for more information about our affordable prices and emergency service.

A Quick Guide to Tree Care with Tips for Fertilization

Tree health care experts in Vancouver, BC give tree owners tips to help them care for their trees. 

Every tree owner knows that there are certain things they have to do to ensure that their trees thrive. Some of the common tree care practices that come to mind when thinking of tree care are tree trimming and treating tree disease. A step that is often overlooked when it comes to caring for trees is seasonal fertilization. 

Spring is the right time to fertilize trees. Don’t know how? Local arborists are here to offer a few tips. 

Picking the Right Fertilizer

What is fertilizer? The short answer is that it is a health supplement that provides extra nutrients for trees and plants. The long answer is a little more complicated. 

Fertilizer is a synthetic supplement that can be used on any plant to help it grow. In many settings, trees are crowded and they have to compete for nutrients with other plants in the landscape. Fertilizer helps relieve the stress of the competition and ensures that the tree has what it needs to thrive. 

Fertilizers that are purchased at hardware stores and nurseries will have a three-digit code in the form of 00-00-00. These three numbers represent the nitrogen: phosphorus: potassium ratio that is present in the fertilizer, respectively. These three nutrients are what trees need to make all of the biological machinery to make food from sunlight. By adding a balanced fertilizer, trees are empowered to grow faster and more healthily. 

Why is Fertilizer Important for Plant Health?

The benefits of fertilization to tree health care cannot be understated. When trees are starved of the nutrients they need, they can show signs of suffering that leave them weak, even to the point that they could die. Instead of taking the risks, consider the benefits of fertilizing trees: 

  • Minimizes Tree Disease: Trees have defence systems similar to an immune system. When they don’t get the necessary nutrients, they can’t repel diseases and insects that prey upon them. Good nutrition allows them to stand their ground. 
  • Fuels Stronger Growth: With more nutrients available, the tree can grow faster and stronger. Stronger foliation leads to limbs that are more sturdy and ready to stand up to adverse weather conditions. 
  • Enhances the Aesthetic: Trees with less dieback and stronger limbs look better. The thicker canopy attracts more wildlife and casts better shade, making for a more appealing environment. 

When to Fertilize? 

Spring is a great time to apply fertilizer around the landscaping at the home or business. Spring growth in plants has to be powered by nutrients that are absorbed by roots. Over the years, soils become depleted and can’t provide what plants and trees need in adequate volume. When plants show signs of wavering, fertilization is just what the plant doctor ordered!

Fertilize plants in the spring with all-purpose fertilizer before vigorous growth is seen. In the case of flowering or fruiting plants, fertilizing too late in the spring season can interfere. Early season feedings provide necessary nutrients to get the plant through the summer. In the fall, more fertilizer can be added to help the plant prepare for winter. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application. 

About VI Tree Service

VI Tree Service is a local, highly-rated tree care company. Their reliable crews are ready to help with any tree care needs. Call (844) 884-8733 today to schedule tree fertilization or tree risk assessments. 

3 Trees Vancouver Homeowners Need in Their Yard Now!


Vancouver, BC, Canada arborists want to share information about tree health care with homeowners. 

These Three Trees Are Perfect For a Vancouver Spring

One of the things that makes spring so amazing is all of the budding trees and plants. Of course, homeowners have to know which plants are native to their area before investing. The last thing a homeowner needs is to pay for a tree to be delivered and planted in their yard that doesn’t have the capacity to withstand the weather in their area. There are three trees that are perfect for a Vancouver spring and every homeowner in the area should have them planted in their yard this year! 

1. The Cherry Blossom Tree

The Cherry Blossom Tree is probably the most common spring-blooming tree found in Vancouver, but for good reason. This tree is notorious for sprouting beautiful pink and white flowers all over the top during the spring. Many people would drive a long way just to take a photo of a Cherry Blossom Tree. So, to have one planted in the homeowner’s yard would most likely increase the property’s value. 

Caring for the tree is also rather easy:

  • Adaptable to many soil types
  • Prefer acidic soil
  • Only water during dry months
  • They do not like soggy soil
  • General granular fertilizer once a year
  • Require full sunlight 

This tree can turn any backyard into a dreamy getaway. They are best planted a little further away from the home and away from the shade of other, taller trees. 

2. The Pacific Dogwood Tree

The Pacific Dogwood is a large and magnificent tree! It has a large canopy that covers in white blooms in the spring months. These trees are so large with large canopies that they require a lot of room. So, homeowners with large properties will benefit the most from this type of tree. 

Here are a few care tips to remember: 

  • Require partial sunlight with access to afternoon shade
  • Well-drained moist soil
  • Do not overwater
  • Prefer slightly acidic loam soil 

3. The Laburnum Walk Tree

Another extravagant Vancouver spring tree is the Laburnum Walk tree. This is also a tree people would drive far for a chance at a photo-op. They grow somewhat tall and have long-hanging branches with yellow flowers on them in the spring. These trees almost look like yellow weeping willows. 

Planting a few Laburnum Walk trees in a row – on a walkway – could create a movie-worthy scene right in the homeowner’s back yard. They grow easily when given a lot of water and sunlight and can be relatively easy to care for. 

VI Tree Service Is There No Matter What

The VI Tree Service is a professional tree service company in Vancouver, BC, Canada. They always take the best care of their customers and their properties because they understand how important it is to keep trees strong, healthy, and safe. They work hard to give homeowners in Vancouver peace of mind. Call today for incredible tree service in Vancouver! 

Big Mistakes That Homeowners Make When Pruning Their Trees


Tree Care Experts From Vancouver, BC, Canada Discuss the Big Mistakes Homeowners Should Avoid When Pruning Their Trees

Why Homeowners Should Hire an Arborist for Tree Care

Homeowners may think that tree trimming is a breeze and could be done by anyone, but the truth is that there is a right way and a wrong way to prune a tree. Tree pruning during the wrong type of year or with the wrong type of shears can destroy tree health, and even lead to tree removal if the tree becomes too sick. 

To prevent tree disease and tree removal, homeowners should trust an experienced tree service company with tree trimming and pruning. Here are some of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when pruning their trees. 

Tree Service During the Wrong Time of Year 

Most homeowners only remember to prune their trees when the trees begin to look overgrown. However, the physical appearance of the tree is not the only reason why it needs to be pruned. There are specific time frames during the year which are best for pruning. Pruning during the wrong time of year can ruin the tree’s health and lead to disease, insect infestation, and ultimately tree removal. 

Flowering trees such as fruit trees need to be pruned at a specific time of year in order to promote the growth of healthy blossoms. Trimming too early or too late can ruin the production of fruit from the tree for the year. Seasonal insects may also be attracted to the sap dripping from freshly pruned branches, causing tree health problems. For most trees, from late winter to early spring is the ideal pruning season. 

The exception to the rule is dead branches. When the branch is already dead, it is fine to cut it off any time of year. It is best to remove dead branches right away to prevent the spread of potential tree disease to the rest of the tree. 

Neglecting Plant Health Care

One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is neglecting tree health care. Just like humans and animals, trees are susceptible to getting sick. Tree disease can spread from one tree to another, which is why it is important to identify signs of illness early on. Tree diseases can be caused by fungus, bacteria, viruses, or insects. 

During a tree risk assessment appointment, the arborist will check for signs of illness. In some cases, tree removal may be necessary to prevent the spread of the disease to other trees. Diseases can be spread between trees because of DIY tree trimming. 

When moving between trees with contaminated shears, the homeowner increases the risk of spreading the infection from one tree to another. Cleaning the shears with rubbing alcohol in between trees and removing the trimmings from beneath the tree can help to prevent tree disease from spreading. 

Using the Wrong Type of Shears for Tree Trimming 

For tree trimming and pruning, it requires a special type of shear. Homeowners sometimes make the mistake of using whatever shears or scissors they can find in their homes. Dull shears require multiple attempts to cut through the branch and the hacking results in a wound that takes longer for the tree to heal. 

Cutting the wrong branches or cutting too close to the base of the branch can also take a toll on the tree’s health. For the best tree trimming results, homeowners and arborists should use the right type of shears to achieve a clean cut and leave about an inch of the branch left at the base to avoid cutting through the branch collar. 

About VI Tree Service 

VI Tree Service is a Vancouver, BC, Canada tree service company that is known locally for its outstanding rates, outstanding customer service, and experienced arborists. They provide comprehensive tree care services and have been in the tree business for over 50 years. Give them a call today to schedule a tree service appointment in Vancouver, BC, Canada! 

An Insider’s Look at the Tools of the Tree Care Industry


Vancouver tree service experts give you a peek inside their toolbox. 

Even in times when money is tight, it’s always a better choice to hire a professional to do a job. Why should tree care be any different? A common misconception about the tree care industry is that there are no standards of training, however, this is incorrect. A good tree health care company is run by a trained professional called an “arborist” that is held to international standards of tree care. Along with the training and experience, the tools that arborists use to help them complete jobs make them true professionals of the tree care industry. 

Here is a quick list of tools that arborists use to perform their duties when there is absolutely no margin for error. 

Tree Removal Equipment

Arborists are most known for removing trees. Tree removal can be an incredibly dangerous job. Not only is the work done high off the ground, but it is also usually done near power lines, structures or other trees that cannot be damaged. 

To remove trees with such tight tolerances, they need the best equipment available to help them safely complete the task.

Some of the tools they use for tree removal are: 

  • Bucket trucks
  • Lifts
  • Rope and rigging
  • Sharp chainsaws
  • Slings
  • Pulleys
  • Hard hats

By using their training to know how to make precise cuts along with this equipment, a tree care crew can take apart a tree piece by piece and safely lower it to the ground. After that, powerful shredders and grinders can be used to remove the debris and the stump so the area can be quickly repurposed. 

Tree Trimming and Pruning Tools

While arborists are known for their skills in tree removal, they also perform many functions that are vital to the healthy growth of local trees and shrubs. One of the most important aspects of tree health care is periodic tree pruning and trimming. Trimming trees removes dangerous growth that encroaches on power lines and structures. It also serves to rebalance trees that have lost large amounts of growth due to weather-related events. 

Tree pruning, on the other hand, focuses on shaping a tree and promoting strong growth. Under the watchful eye of an arborist, tree pruning removes weak growth and suckers that rob nutrients from more vigorous branches. The result is a stronger and more beautiful tree that is less susceptible to health problems. 

Some of the tools that are used to trim and prune are:

  • Hand-held loppers
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Small power saws
  • Hand saws
  • Shredders for removing green waste 

Tree Risk Assessments 

The greatest tool an arborist may have is their training. While trees add value to a property, they can also be a liability. To help determine how big of a threat a tree may be, arborists use a standardized tree risk assessment process to figure it out. 

During the process, the arborist will determine the health of a tree by looking for dead spots in the trunk of the tree or main branches. These dead spots can greatly weaken the tree and increase the likelihood that it will fail catastrophically. 

An arborist goes through the tree risk assessment process to determine if the tree may be saved or if it should be removed. 

About VI Tree Service

VI Tree Service has been putting its tools to work for Vancouver for over 50 years. Their professional and experienced crews are run by certified arborists. Call (844) 884-8733 today for routine or emergency service. 

Permits for Residential Tree Removal in Vancouver, BC

Tree care professionals of British Columbia, Canada outline the city codes for tree removal.

Do You Need A Permit to Cut Down Your Own Tree?

Trees are a well-known part of the landscape in the beautiful province of British Columbia. There is no debate about the importance of trees not only to the pleasure of the eye but also to the continued health of the entire planet. Many cities have ordinances regarding the planting and removal of trees on both public and private property. Vancouver is no different. 

Residential Tree Removal: Reasons and Motivations

No tree lasts forever and human ingenuity is continually looking for ways to improve life. Sometimes removing a tree is the best choice for an area. The major reasons for tree removal fall into the following categories: hazard, health, or construction.

  • Hazard: When a tree is threatening imminent damage to a home or property, due to a recent accident or natural occurrence, there is likely a need for removal.
  • Tree Health: Just as diseases can be spread between animals, tree disease can be passed along through roots and soil. If a tree is dying due to a fungal infection or a pest infestation, removal may protect other trees in the area.
  • New Construction: A tree grows where it will and may be within the lines of an approved building project.

Vancouver Tree Preservation Regulations: When is a Permit Required?

The rules that have been enacted by the city of Vancouver, BC regarding the removal and replacement of trees are fairly straightforward.  Those trees that require a permit are those that are fairly well established or were a stipulation of previous development. 

Requirements for a permit include the following:

  • The tree is greater than 30 cm in width or diameter.
  • The tree or hedge is 1.4 meters in height with a spread of more than 30 cm. 
  • The tree was planted as a replacement or was a requirement for a previous construction permit.

If any one of these requirements is met, then a permit is needed prior to removal.

Applying for a Permit

Applications and applicable fees can be submitted online and will be reviewed as soon as possible by the appropriate Vancouver city employees. After the approval process is complete a homeowner can get rid of the tree in question. Keep in mind that a replacement tree may need to be planted depending on the situation.

Don’t Forget to Hire a Professional

Just because you have a permit to remove a tree doesn’t mean you should do it by yourself. Tree care in all its forms (tree trimming, tree pruning, and tree health care) should be done under the supervision of a certified arborist. A tree service company has the training and the equipment to do the job right without injury to person or property, and they have the experience for a proper tree risk assessment. After you have gotten that permit, choose a professional tree service to remove that tree.

About VI Tree Service

Providing both residential and commercial services, VI Tree Service has been serving the Vancouver, BC area for more than 30 years. We fully guarantee their work and offer free estimates. Call us today for a consultation.

Watch Out for Common Tree Diseases!


Arborists in Vancouver, BC, Canada offer information about common tree diseases

Tree Diseases to Look Out For

Many homeowners know that proper tree health is important, but not all homeowners understand the extent to which this is the case. Failure to carry out proper tree care and monitor plant health care can be detrimental considering the number of tree diseases out there that can wreak havoc on homeowners’ trees.

There are a number of different diseases that can affect all different parts of the trees, including the leaves, the stems, and the roots. These include fungal diseases, pine needle diseases (such as pine decline), and a number of other diseases that can result in wilting, rotting, and other nasty consequences. Homeowners should be sure to understand the main causes of the most common tree diseases and take action accordingly.

Main Causes of Tree Diseases

Tree diseases can result due to a number of different factors. One of the most common causes of tree diseases is drought. When trees do not get enough water, their overall health begins to deteriorate. As this happens, the tree gets more exposed to things like external pathogens. Overcrowding is another major cause of tree diseases.

Two areas where homeowners should be on the lookout for to help monitor tree health care are the stems and the roots. If there is damage to the stems, then this exposes the trees to infection. Root damage does the same, offering a ripe opportunity for pathogens to infect the trees. This also can impede water absorption, which can contribute to drought in trees and further expose the trees to diseases.

There are a number of other tree diseases, but these are some of the most common. Homeowners must take immediate action and consult a tree service company if they suspect their trees are diseased.

Tree Types that are Affected

Nearly any and all trees can be prone to disease at any point in time. As such, it is on homeowners to ensure that their trees are getting the care they need. Oak and pine trees are particularly susceptible to disease in Canada, so owners of those types of trees should be on the lookout even more so.

Key Times to Look Out for These Diseases

One of the best times to keep the eyes peeled for diseases is during the early spring, as this is when the symptoms usually occur if there is some sort of disease. The trees are coming out of a cold winter and as they grow and take on more foliage, it will become easier to spot the signs of potential diseases.

Some of the most common signs of tree disease include things like decaying, wilting, mildew, spotting, rusting, large cankers, and more. If these show up out of the blue or if homeowners notice any other unusual signs, they must take action.

Take Action if you Notice the Signs

If homeowners notice any of the signs listed previously, then they should call for professionals to conduct a tree risk assessment. From there, these arborists can decide the best plan of action. Tree removal may be required if the disease has progressed significantly, but it may also jut be a minor disease that can resolve itself in time.

Even if homeowners just need help with the basics like tree pruning or tree trimming, they should call professionals to make sure that the job is done right!

About VI Tree Service

VI Tree Service of Vancouver, BC, Canada believes in providing environmentally responsible tree services and has been doing so since 1990. With 50 years of combined experience, their team of skilled arborists offers free estimates, honest pricing, efficient solutions, and responsible safety measures for all their clients. Call them for tree help today!

Determining Whether a Tree is Dead or Dormant

Expert tree service in Vancouver, BC, Canada teaches tree owners about tree dormancy. 

Defining “Dormancy”

Deciduous trees are marked by periods of rapid growth over the summer and periods of dormancy in the winter. Dormancy is the time of the year where the tree rests and prepares for another vigorous growing season next year. 

Dormancy is displayed in all trees, both evergreen and deciduous but it is more obvious in deciduous trees. Dormant deciduous trees will lose their leaves and look nearly identical to dead trees while dormant evergreen trees simply stop growing over the winter. 

Staying dormant over the winter is a tree’s natural defence against the ravages of winter. Deciduous trees are not adapted to harsh winter conditions like evergreens so instead of staying metabolically active they go dormant until growth conditions are more favourable. 

Signs That a Tree is Dormant

Despite all appearances, trees that are dormant are not dead. In fact, there are some quick ways to distinguish between dead and dormant trees. Some of these signs are:

  • Flexibility: Bend a branch 90 degrees perpendicular to itself. If it breaks then that section of the tree is dead. If it bends and whips back into place it is living. 
  • Scratch Test: Make a thin scratch in the bark with a knife or fingernail. If the bark yields easily then the tree is alive. Also, there will be moisture and a greenish colour in the wood. 
  • Healthy Bark: Trees that are dead will have bark that is flaky and may show signs of fungus or insect infestation. Just like skin, when a section of tree is unhealthy, the bark will look different. 

Being able to distinguish between dead and dormant trees is important when it comes to seasonal trimming that takes place in the winter while the tree is dormant. If it is intended that only dead limbs are removed then being able to tell the difference is vital. 

Caring for Dormant Trees

Dormancy doesn’t mean that the tree isn’t biologically active. It just means that the normal outward signs of life like leaves and fruit aren’t there. A dormant tree can still benefit from good practices like watering and fertilization. Mulching is a great way to preserve moisture and protect its roots over the winter. 

For trees that are late to exit dormancy in the spring, most of the time simply waiting will be all it takes. Trees are subject to light cycles and ground temperatures. Often these two factors can contribute to a microclimate that makes the tree slower to come back to life in the spring. 

Signs a Tree is Dead

Dead trees can look like dormant trees to the untrained eye but there are few things to look out for that can tip an owner off that a tree is dead. The first thing is pests and fungus. As a tree dies, it usually takes a few years before it is obvious. This allows fungus and pests to start to decay dead sections in the tree. Even in the winter, the signs of infestation are an obvious sign that the tree is dead. 

The second sign a tree is dead is brittleness. Dead trees don’t hold moisture so their bark and twigs become brittle. Signs of brittleness usually litter the ground around the tree in the form of flaking bark and small broken limbs. 

Dealing with Dead Trees

If trees are already dead, there is nothing more that can be done. Removing a dead tree can prevent it from damaging property or causing injury. Dead portions of trees can break off and hit people or structures. Professional tree removal is a good option when scheduled from a reputable tree removal arborist. 

About VI Tree Service

VI Tree Service is the local Vancouver, BC tree service. With a team of over 80 professionals, they specialize in tree risk assessments and tree health care. Call (844) 884-8733 to schedule an assessment of the health and safety of the trees around a home or business.