Singing Tree Crew Leader is Now an ISA Certified Arborist

After being on staff for almost a year, Singing Tree is pleased to announce that Evan Little is now an ISA Certified Arborist. Evan has been working hard to bring more expertise to his experience here at Singing Tree. This winter, he became Singing Tree’s first ever TCIA Certified Crew Leader. A month later he passed his Certified Arborist exam with flying colors. He now joins, Emily Brent and Kevin Bingham as the third ISA Certified Arborist on staff.

Being a Certified Arborist is valuable for many reasons. It shows that Evan is committed to the health and well being of trees. He knows how to assess and implement strategies for improvement. He knows the fundamentals of tree biology and how to keep people and their environs safe from tree related dangers. Having an arborist certification also brings with it knowledge of best practices for safety for the individual and crew.

Evan’s recent certification as a TCIA Crew Leader shows impeccable commitment to crew safety and best management practices. Evan is working in conjunction with the rest of the Singing Tree crew to ensure our company is top notch. His commitment to learning and arming himself with valuable certifications helps Singing Tree follow best practices for Arborculture. He is a key player in making Singing Tree LLC a wonderful company for our customers and our employees. Keep up the good work Evan!

Kevin Bingham Wins MTCC 2018

Do you know that some professional arborists compete in tree climbing competitions? When I was a kid there were lumberjack competitions on ESPN 2. Maybe you’ve seen these? I watched them. Tree climbing competitions are similar. Contenders make their best shot at events that highlight the moves they make daily as professionals. The International Tree Climbing Competition (ITCC) sanctions statewide, regional and national events around the world. The format is the same for all the ITCC sanctioned events. There are 5 competitions in the preliminaries. These are: Throwline, (a weighted ball and skinny line are thrown into the tree to simulate what a climber must do to access the tree, more points are awarded for higher tie in points). Aerial Rescue, (a dummy must be rescued in 5 minutes in a simulated emergency at height). Work Climb, (a climber must hit 3-5 targets with a blunt saw, showing the climber’s ability to move around a tree efficiently). Belayed Speed Climb, (a climber climbs a tree vertically as fast as possible, on belay). Open Ascent, (a climber climbs a rope as fast as possible). After climbers compete in these 5 competitions in the preliminaries, the three top climbers go to the Master’s Competition. Here, the climbers must climb a tree from start to finish hitting targets along the way, in the fastest time with the least deductions.

On September 15th, 2018, 40 climbers competed in this year’s Michigan Tree Climbing Competition in Traverse City, Michigan for a chance to climb at Internationals. After a long morning of prelims, Kevin Bingham (owner and top climber of Singing Tree LLC), came out on top. The masters competition was a huge success and once again, Kevin won. This was Kevin’s Fifth run as Michigan’s tree climbing champion. Winning this competition is a feat of skill and strength, but international top climbers also must demonstrate an impeccable commitment to safety. Great Job Kevin!

How To Mulch A Tree

If you look at trees in an urban environment, you will notice that a good many of them are mulched.  Look closer and you might notice that the mulch often forms what looks like a volcano around the base of the tree.  In the industry, we refer to these as mulch mounds or mulch volcanos. Layers of mulch that surround the base of the tree are detrimental to the tree's health.  I like to think about it in terms of the human body.  Imagine that you have wrapped duct tape around your arm and left it there for a year, or two, or 10.  What do you think would happen to your arm?  It would rot.  That is what is happening to the trunk of the tree that is buried in the mulch, it is rotting.  Tree health depends on oxygen circulating around and through the tree and the tree's respiration system.  Proper mulching is necessary to keep trees strong and happy.  

To properly mulch a tree:

  • Remove grass and plants from the base of the tree (give 3-10 feet depending on size of tree).  
  • Use natural mulch in a circle around the base of the tree.  Keep mulch at 2-4 inches deep.  
  • Keep the mulch from touching the base of the tree.  

If you follow these guidelines, your trees will be better off.  If your tree is improperly mulched, consider a root crown excavation.  Removing debris from the base of a tree with a shovel or other  mechanical device can injure roots and bark.  Singing Tree LLC uses a pneumatic air device to blow pressurized air into the dirt, debris and mulch, thus clearing the trunk without damage to the roots and base.  

Singing Tree Rope Wrench

In 2012, Kevin Bingham, pushed the Rope Wrench into the market.  The Singing Tree Rope Wrench is a revolutionary design and concept that has changed the way tree care professionals approach tree climbing.  Instead of relying on a dynamic rope (doubled rope, DRT) system, it facilitates climbing on a static rope (single rope, SRT) system.  By taking weight off the system, the ST Rope Wrench allows a climber to ascend and descend with ease, without making complicated and timely switches of equipment aloft.  The ST Rope Wrench is not a life saving device, meaning it functions in conjunction with a hitch that is tied by the climber his/herself.  For some this is a very crucial point, the life of the climber is in their own hands, not in the hands of a mechanical device.  Additionally, the ST Rope Wrench is a lower cost item compared with mechanical tools that serve a similar function, thereby making it accessible to climbers who want to get their "feet wet" climbing on a Static Rope System and to large companies who seek to implement its use into company wide climbing procedures.  

The Importance of Integrated Landscape Services

By Jeremiah Sandler


Arms of the industry

Nature is absolutely full of complex systems. Entire professional fields have developed through examining and understanding these systems. There are several professional fields that come together to ultimately form the landscaping industry. Each of these fields address a specific system, and how it relates to other systems.

Ever notice the mowers and plant healthcare technicians are almost always from different companies? The typical property, residential or commercial, will have a tree company, a healthcare company, a mowing company, and a landscape company, a sprinkler company, all working simultaneously throughout the year on the property. Each arm addresses their particular field within your landscape. With several different arms needing to work together, subpar results are achieved because of a single thing: Lack of communication.

Landscape companies will contract with other companies. For instance, a landscape company can hire a mowing company to do all of the mowing for them on the properties they manage. In other setups, every service can be fulfilled by a single company (kind of like the Wal-mart of landscaping). Regardless of how the company offers its services, communication between each arm will yield the best results.


Ideal communication examples

The plant healthcare technicians fertilizing the lawn can often times find problems caused by inappropriate mowing habits. In an ideal situation, should the technician find a disease associated with grass blades being cut too short, he or she simply informs the mowers to raise the mower on that specific property, which will cut the grass to a longer height. This gets rid of the disease without resorting to any fungicide. Keeping all unneeded chemicals out of your environment.

A very common and unfortunate example observed is the piling of construction materials on the root zone of trees. If a hole must be dug, the soil has to go somewhere, right? Just put it over there. Lots of people have done this. A seemingly mundane action can have very dire consequences to trees if left unchecked (compaction, grade change, etc.). The inclusion of an arborist during the construction phase will minimize damage to the trees on a property. It is easier to prevent tree damage than to fix it.

People and companies understandably get busy, and that is especially true in the landscape industry come spring time. It’s easy to get forget to contact one another or simply not want to jump through the many possible hoops. But there is a way.


How to achieve Integration

One aspect of your landscaping can adversely affect another. But the opposite is also true, in that one aspect of your landscaping can improve another. Communication between crews working on the same property will ensure crews never compromise each other’s work, in order to maximize professional results. Properties maintained to the highest and healthiest level because the arms working on your property are integrated.

In any phase of landscaping or planting or construction, whomever is managing the entire operation should organize meetings and synchronize all of the arms. It may not be entirely obvious who is facilitating the entire operation. In such a case you, the homeowner, should assume the responsibility if you are to ensure the success of whatever the landscape goals are. Call each company and arrange for representatives to all meet at the property with you. They’d be more than happy to oblige because they want their work to be successful too.

Companies in each arm of the landscaping industry prefer to work with proactive homeowners. Forming a good relationship will elicit both responsibility and a genuine desire to work on your property. And that’s what everyone wants.