Insects are an important part of our ecosystem, but they aren’t always a tree’s best friend. When splitting this black locust log, Kevin noticed that a pest made a system of tunnels within the trunk. The culprit in this case is likely the locust borer (Megacyllene robiniae).
Woodpecker HQ is thrilled to encounter an elm log in the woodshed, but not everyone is as enthusiastic about burning elm. Elms hold moisture for a long time, and need to dry out in the right conditions before being thrown in the stove. It’s also more difficult to split with an axe, since its fibers interlock and resist being pulled apart. Thankfully, the Woodpeckers have access to a hydraulic log splitter that makes short work of a stubborn elm.
This log was about to go onto the fire when Kevin noticed some giveaway signs of one of the most common problems we see in urban trees.
The woodshed is plentiful with specimens this week, and has given us another woodshed wonder. We found another poplar with an old pruning cut, but this story didn’t end as successfully for this tree.
A closer inspection tells us that after this tree was cut, decay set in before the tree could contain it.
Towards the end of our working season, when the mornings get dark and nippy, the Woodpeckers can be found surrounding the wood stove (coffees in hand). Us tree nerds love to muse over each interesting log before we throw it on the fire. For the newer recruits, it becomes an impromptu lesson on tree biology based on the findings of “the Father of Modern Arboriculture” Alex Shigo. We thought it would be fun to share our “woodshed wonders” and unpack how they came to be, with the help of our friend Shigo.
Kevin Anderson, owner of Woodpecker Tree Care, was given one of his first lessons in Shigo’s teachings from instructor and researcher Tracey Mackenzie. Tracey is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie, and encouraged Kevin to examine his woodshed for valuable lessons on the inner workings of trees.
Our first “Woodshed Wonder” comes from Kevin Anderson’s pile: a poplar with telltale signs of an old injury.
But how do we know that this poplar was injured? It’s with the help of our trusty guide, Alex Shigo.