Sid Mullis: The proper pruning and trimming of trees after ice storm is crucial

The cutting down of trees and tree trimming continues since the ice storm. And as we all know, tree removal companies are everywhere, many from all over the country, trimming limbs and cutting down trees. Unfortunately, I have seen what I would call erroneous practices on pines, two in my own neighborhood.


While coming home from work about two weeks ago, I rode past a house where the tree removal company was “pruning” a pine tree that was 40-50 feet tall. At the time they had completely removed every limb on one side of the tree. I assumed that they were going to cut the tree down and had just made it that far before dark and were going to finish it the next day. Well two weeks later nothing more has been done. Cutting all the limbs on one side of a tall pine tree is not good. A tall tree like that has had 30, or 50 years to adapt to what we call wind load. Trees sense structural stress and attempt to minimize failures through reactive growth. They modify their structure over time as they are challenged by the wind. Trees are biologically designed to sustain average wind loads. Removing one side of the tree has just changed the developed wind load and dynamics of the tree. It is much more likely to fail or go down now than ever before.The tree is also under a lot more stress and will be more susceptible to pine beetle attacks and possible fungal infections. There may also be some possibility for root death due to pruning. Trees need foliage for photosynthesis. The final danger comes when we might possibly have another ice storm, even a minor one. All the weight is on one side of the tree making it much more likely to fall down on the side of the foliage

I don’t know if this was something the homeowner asked for or was suggested by the company. Unfortunately a lot of companies will do what the homeowner asks regardless of whether it is the correct thing or not. They just want to get paid.

Do your homework before having tree work done so you will do the right thing for your tree.

Miner Bees

Within the last week I’ve had a couple of homeowners tell me they’ve seen small bees going in and out of holes in their yard. These are miner (also called Mining) bees. These bees are small, about ½ to 5/8 inch long, and look much like honey bees. Some individuals may be metallic green in color. Although many miner bees may nest in a general area, they are solitary to sometimes semi-social unlike honeybees, yellow jackets, etc., whose nests contain thousands of insects.

There are several families of miner or ground nesting bees. The adult female digs a tunnel in the soil to lay an egg. She then provisions the burrow with food for the larvae that hatches later in the spring. They are active for only a few weeks.

The bees are important pollinators and are considered beneficial. They are not aggressive and will not sting unless provoked. The only situations which might require treatment would be if the bees were present in sensitive areas such as a child’s sandbox or playground area, or nesting in such large numbers where there are mounds everywhere in the yard. Sevin dust or spray, Ortho, Bayer Advanced, Spectracide, etc.all do a good job. The mounds they create can simply be raked down.