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Now is a good time to take a good look at the trees in your yard and determine what care they may need. If you have concerns don't hestitate to call an arborist.

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Rick Castro is the district manager of The Davey Tree Expert Company located on Columbia Boulevard in northeast Portland.

Although this winter's weather has been relatively mild, the experts at The Davey Tree Expert Company in Portland encouraged homeowners to take a good look at the trees in your yard.

"Give your trees a safety check," said Davey Tree Expert Company District Manager Rick Castro. "Look for broken and hanging branches that could damage property if they fall." With spring around the corner homeowners will have clues to watch for to assess the health of trees on their property. The spring check list includes:

Clean up — remove critical risk trees, meaning those that could fall and damage property. Prune dead, diseased and unsafe branches. Weed the flower beds, cut back perennials and trim fall flowering shrubs as appropriate.

Prepare — look for good, naturally strong U-shaped branch structures; branches which have grown together are a weak union and could be reinforced with a cable or other support, or removed entirely. Prune the overhead canopy so wind flows freely through the tree, rather than being caught like a sail in the branches and leaves.

Plant and care — Do you have a planting plan for your yard? Plant new trees and shrubs as needed, and mulch trees and shrubs as appropriate. Fertilize as part of your normal maintenance program.

Inspect — Nobody knows your trees better than you do. Inspect trees and shrubs for standing water and/or flood damage; and for splits in the bark. Inspect trees and shrubs for insects and diseases and treat appropriately.

After storms Castro reminds homeowners to take a look at the lean of your trees. Are they leaning more than they did before the storm? Leaning trees may need to be cabled for support, or removed. Is the soil cracked or heaving at the base of the tree? Is ground at the base of the tree spongy and soft? The ground should be solid support for the tree; lose ground indicates a lax root system.

Trees growing in tight proximity to others may have leaning trunks, but Castro says the upper third should be growing relatively straight as it self-corrects as it grows toward the sunlight.

Are there areas on the tree where the leaves are smaller in size or non-existent? That could indicate health issues that are preventing the tree from absorbing water properly.

Homeowners can find advice on tree issues at local gardening stores and online, but when they need guidance they should consult with a certified arborist.

"Arborists have years of experience identifying tree issues," said Castro. "They know the species and how best to address issues in tree care."

The good news Castro says is that not every situation calls for tree removal.

An arborist is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining individual trees. They are knowledgeable about the needs of trees species and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Certified Arborists have achieved a level of knowledge through experience and have passed a comprehensive examination developed by the nation's leading experts on tree care.

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) offers an ISA Certification through which individuals can measure their knowledge and competence required to provide proper tree care. Administered by the ISA, it is a way for tree care professionals to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and the industry.

To learn more visit the arborist advice section online at davey.com or call 503-287-2282.

Contact Lake Oswego Review/West Linn Tidings reporter Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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