Even as late as five hundred million years ago, the earth had not yet developed the conditions necessary to support spontaneous spreading fire. Naturally occurring atmospheric fire did not have chemical elements available in the proper mixtures of fuel and oxygen. It took major earth changes to form and make available the chemistry necessary to support what fire scientists call the fire triangle.
According to the geologic coal carbon record, earth's first wildfires occurred during the life-exploding Devonian period. Life on earth created and provided the supporting elements of atmospheric fire. Life adapted to wildfire's presence and much later the first humans learned to use and control fire.
Human fire activity is the primary cause of wildfires in North America and outnumber natural starts (lightning) by nearly ten times. Most of these human fires result from accidental causes but, unfortunately, some are purposely set and cause serious damage to life and property annually.
More via History and Causes of Forest Fire
From birth we are taught to love trees (remember Joyce Kilmer). It is almost a sacrilege to "hate" a tree. But there are trees we don't like in certain settings; trees that excessively litter or that destroy sidewalks or that invade and overwhelm the entire forest. Many of these trees can still be beautiful and interesting and worth the effort to keep. It would take a really bad tree for you to consider for extermination and that you would not miss one bit if it were to become extinct tomorrow.
That's the tree I want you to select here. You may actually think no tree is bad...
I have listed 10 trees people are frequently telling me they need to get rid of! These trees are the most often mentioned and selected out of discussions with both the forestry savvy and the general population. It actually surprised me that the topic would stir such strong opinion. People love to loathe "bad" trees and are very opinionated about trees they don't like.
Please take the time to vote in this poll and select the most hated tree in North America...
Fields, pastures, forests, wetlands and waterways, natural areas, and right-of-ways are being invaded by trees of dubious distinction. Most are non-native trees and also referred to as exotic, alien, noxious, or non-indigenous invasive plants that are impacting native plant and animal communities by displacing native vegetation and disrupting plant and wildlife habitats.
Totally not cool!
Drawing on recent publications by the USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA APHIS PPQ and the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council, a great web site covers identification characteristics, distribution, and control options for 14 trees that are invading the eastern United States. Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States: Identification and Control actually lists nearly 100 plants that are intent on changing our native plant communities. Here are 14 trees that Invasive.org feels are rapidly spreading out of control:
Tree sucker sprouts and watersprouts are vigorous, upright, epicormic shoots that grow from dormant buds on older wood. They are mostly a problem on fruit and landscape trees, can grow very large in one season and occur most often under stressful conditions like drought, after severe pruning and limb loss.
Both kinds of sprouts should be removed immediately while remembering that a watersprout can be used to develop a new main trunk if there is severe damage to the old trunk. Watersprouts are easily pulled off. Suckers are much harder to deal with as they are attached at or below ground level and should be removed with as much of the root or basal material as possible.
You need to fertilize trees and shrubs to insure their good health which prepares them to fight off pests, disease, and environmental stresses. A proper fertilization program can't solve all tree problems and over fertilization can do harm. Still, tree fertilizing at the appropriate time and with the appropriate formulation will help your tree(s).
Ideally, growing trees should be fertilized throughout the year. The greatest amounts should be applied during the early spring and summer months. Right now is an excellent time to fertilize trees.
For young trees, good times to put out fertilizer is late March through early June, and while you are at it, proper mulching will aid in proper nutrient and water uptake. When a tree reaches the desired height you may decrease the fertilizer application to only once a year.
If you use a chainsaw, I recommend you become familiar with 11 essential parts that run your saw. Knowing these chainsaw parts will familiarize you with your saw, will assist you in maintaining the saw and ultimately help you make that chainsaw less dangerous to you and those around you.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration REQUIRES that all chainsaws have many of these parts. I have identified in bold italic text the required parts. Chain saws placed into service after February 9, 1995 must also meet the requirements of ANSI B175.1-1991, Safety Requirements for Gasoline Powered Chain Saws.
Tree roots usually invade through water and sewer lines that are damaged and in the top 24 inches of soil. Sound lines and septic systems have trouble with root damage mostly at weak points where water is seeping out. The larger, faster growing trees are the biggest problem trees. Avoid planting these trees near your service and watch very carefully these kinds of trees near your lines.
The University of Tennessee recommends these steps for prevention of tree root damage:
- Plant small, slow-growing trees near sewer lines.
- If faster-growing species are desired, plan to replace trees every eight to 10 years.
- Even slow-growing trees will eventually interfere with sewer lines. These trees must be replaced periodically.
- When building new sewer lines or improving existing lines, consider landscaping plans and potential root intrusion from trees.
A good tree-care program includes looking for hints of trouble caused by tree wounds. There are signs and symptoms that indicates tree decay development. They may go unrecognized. Early recognition of these signs and symptoms, followed by proper treatment, can minimize the damage caused by decay.
A tree is considered to be wounded when its bark is broken so that either its inner bark or wood is exposed to the air. Tree wounds are caused by many agents but all tree wounds can be classified into three types, depending on their locations: branch wounds, trunk wounds, and root damage.
Water is the single most limiting essential resource for a tree's survival and growth. Most of us understand the need to water trees during dry times, especially in the landscape. But what we often forget is that a tree can also be harmed by too much water. Unfortunately, the symptoms for a water-starved tree can be the same as symptoms caused by water-logged tree roots.
Symptoms for both under-watering and over-watering are wilted and scorched leaves. Both conditions can prevent tree roots from effectively transporting water to the top of the tree and that tree will express these symptoms. In addition, too much tree water can also shut down sufficient oxygen to the roots. Some tree species can handle "wet feet" but many trees can not.
Tropical hardwood hammock forests are found in the southern half of Florida, with large concentrations in the Florida Everglades and in the Florida Keys. South Florida hardwood hammocks develop only in areas protected from fire, flood and salt water and on limestone outcrops or "ridges" several feet above water level. The roots of the trees must be out of the water and must have adequate aeration. A tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem is complex and critical to the health of the Florida Everglades.
Gumbo-limbo Hardwood - Photo by Kim Nix