Tree Glossary

From species of trees to special services, there are many terms in the realm of tree care that you might not have heard of. To help make your experience with Trusty Tree Services as simple as possible, our team of Edmonton arborists has put together this glossary of common definitions.

Arboriculture: The cultivation, management, and study of perennial woody plants such as trees, shrubs, and vines. This study focuses on how plants grow and react to their environment and cultural practices. Techniques within the field include planting, fertilization, pruning, shaping, selective removal of branches, and pest and disease control.

Arborist (Arboriculturist): Someone who studies and practices arboriculture. They are the ones that carry out planting, fertilization, selective pruning, and other techniques to help plants stay healthy. Arborists also employ risk management practices, and take legal issues and aesthetics into mind to maintain both pirate and public wooded areas.

American Elm: Though it originates in the US, the American Elm is one of the most commonly found trees throughout Alberta. At full maturity they reach up to 25 meters in height and have a diameter of about 12 meters. This species is fast growing and enjoys full to partial sun and deep, moist soil.

Ash: Ash trees make up 60% of boulevard trees in Edmonton. The species found in Alberta is predominantly Green Ash. Ash trees have several identifying features, including branches that grow directly across from one another and compound leaves. A strong wood, the Green Ash is a hardy, fast growing tree that produces an ample amount of shade.

Ash Anthracnose: A disease that frequently affects the Ash species of trees. Caused by a fungus, Ash Anthracnose looks like water-soaked spots on the edges of young leaves or roots at the base of the tree. Over time, these spots turn black or brown as the disease spreads from the bottom of the tree to the top.

Ash Borer: Also called the Emerald Ash Borer, this insect is found throughout Alberta and puts the Ash species at risk. A day-flying moth with clear wings, the Ash Borer is native to North America. The moth’s larvae tunnel holes through Ash trees, weakening young stems and increasing breakage. This can lead to the death of younger trees and inhibit the growth of more mature ones.

Balsam Fir: A slow growing boreal species, the Balsam Fir is found in central and eastern Canada from Alberta to Newfoundland. They like to grow underneath other species of trees and thrive in moist conditions. The Balsam Fir is tall and narrow and produces a sticky resin at its trunk. This type of wood is often used to create lumber, paper, and other wood-based products. Making up 3% of Alberta’s softwood, Balsam Fir grows 14-20 meters tall.

Bark: The outer layer of a tree. It protects the inner layers from disease, pests, and other external dangers such as fires and extreme temperatures.

Beaked Hazelnut: This tree has many different shoots and limbs. It flowers and produces an edible nut, and is a unique choice for Alberta homeowners in search of a tree for their property, however, they are more often found in forests and enjoy a bit of shade.

Black Knot: Caused by the fungus Apiosporina morbosa, this disease affects select fruiting trees such as cherry, apricot, and almond. It leads to swelling in the twigs and branches, as well as discolouration, girdling, and dieback on the branches and trunks. It looks like a warty, light brown knot on new shoots before turning the entire limb black.

Boreal: Northern regions or a northern biotic area known for its coniferous forests.

Branch Collar: Where a branch departs from a trunk. Branch collars often have thicker or rougher bark. During pruning maintenance, this is where cuts are made to remove the branch. It can also be referred to as a stem or shoulder.

Bracing: Tree bracing involves installing steel rods through certain tree limbs and branches to shift them in a specific direction. This process is carried out to provide support to parts of the tree that need it while influencing them to grow in a different way.

Bucket Trucks: Used for pruning and tree trimming, these trucks feature a bucket-like vessel on the end of a hydraulic arm that extends to help them reach high trees.

Bud: The undeveloped part of a tree or plant. Initially shaped like a teardrop, this is where the new growth of a plant happens. A branch will continue to grow out of the bud at its tip.

Buttress Root: A root that grows out of the ground near the base of a shallowly rooted tree. Also known as Plant Roots, they are often found in nutrient-poor soils.

Cabling: Often grouped together with bracing, cabling uses multiple cables to hold a tree branch or entire tree in place. The cables are incredibly strong and can support a tree in storms and high winds. This process is also used to support weak branches and can help them grow in different directions.

Cambium: The part of a tree trunk that grows. It’s found beneath the bark and the phloem, just above the sapwood. The cambium produces sapwood and phloem, and is responsible for creating concentric rings.

Cankers: Cracked bark patches or lesions that ooze liquid that stains tree bark. They can be caused by bacterial and fungal infections and girdle a tree to weaken it, making it more susceptible to other plant diseases and pests.

Canopy (Crown): The upper part of a tree made up of branches, stems, and leaves or needles. Canopies range in size and shape depending on the type and species of tree. Some canopies are widespread while others are close together.

Climbers: Tree service professionals and arborists that climb trees for pruning, cabling, bracing, or removal. They are specially trained and adhere to certified safety measures.

Concentric Rings: A series of rings that radiate outwards from the centre of a tree trunk. They are used to identify the age of a tree.

Conifer Trees: A common type of tree across North America. Most are evergreen and have needles. They also produce large cones and include Fir, Spruce, Larch, and Pine species.

Crown Cleaning: This term is also called dead-wooding and is a pruning method. It removes dead, diseased, or damaged limbs so that they do not spread disease to the other branches on the tree. This process can also help improve a tree’s structure and make it look a lot cleaner.

Crown Raising: A type of pruning technique that clears away the lowest branches of a tree’s canopy. This is done to create space for cars or people to pass under or to create a better view. This tricky process must ensure the correct balance of the tree's canopy and trunk is maintained or else the tree may suffer.

Crown Reduction: Helping to promote the tree growth of new branches, this tree pruning technique cuts back old branches to the lateral branch that supports them.

Crown Thinning: This tree pruning technique will cut away branches in a tree’s crown to thin it out. It’s done for increased air circulation and to let light through to all branches of the tree. These two things help a tree flourish and lessen the risk of storm damage.

Deciduous Trees: Trees that flower and lose their leaves in the fall. Grown in Alberta or their beautiful features such as flowers, fruit, and colour-changing leaves. They include tree types like Maple, Oak, and Ash.

Deep Root Fertilizing: A type of fertilizer application that helps unhealthy trees grow and thrive. It uses high-pressure equipment to push nutrients and organic elements into the soil around a tree’s roots.

Dieback: When a tree starts to decay from the leaves or roots to its trunk. This condition is caused by diseases, pest infestations, or environmental stressors such as extreme weather.

Dutch Elm Disease: A deadly disease that affects all Elm Tree species in Alberta. Caused by a fungus, it clogs the tree’s water conducting system and kills the tree. This disease is spread by 3 different species of beetles which seek out weak trees to breed. Once adults, the beetles fly to other trees and spread the fungus.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce: An evergreen conifer that grows about 13 feet tall. With a pyramid-like shape, it’s a relative of the spruce family with trees that exceed 100 feet. The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is commonly used for foundation plantings across North America. It grows slowly and has aromatic needles.

Girdling: A technique that kills trees by cutting through their bark in a strip around the stem down to the wood. By severing the vascular cambium, it restricts nutrient flow from the roots to the foliage. 

Grounds Maintenance: From mowing to spraying for weeds and removing debris, grounds maintenance is a broad service that cleans up your yard or keeps it looking aesthetically pleasing in the winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Hazard Avoidance: A technique performed by an arborist to assess trees for potential risks and hazards. Aspects such as failure potential, environmental risks, and decay may be identified to help prevent injury or property damage.

Heartwood: The centre layer of a tree. It is the oldest layer of bark it has and is also the strongest.

Infill Removals: The process of developing under-used or vacant land in already developed urban areas. It can involve demolishing a building and replacing it with something else, or developing commercial, residential, or institutional vacant lots.

Jack Pine: A common species of tree found throughout Alberta. With short, sharp needles that grow in pairs, they have curved cones that open after forest fires. This species is often used in paper, pulp, and lumber production.

Lot Clearing: The process of clearing properties of underbrush and trees to keep them looking tidy, organized, or accessible.

Phloem: The layer of cells that sits between the cambium and bark. It carries sugars from the leaves to the rest of the tree. Produced by cambium, as it dies, it will become part of the outer bark of a tree.

Root Ball: The accumulation of roots at the bottom of a tree or plant. During relocation, this part will be replanted into the soil.

Root Pruning: Cutting roots to prevent damage to a tree from excavation or construction located near to the plant. Root pruning is also done to prepare a large tree for transplant.

Sapwood: The inner layer of bark on the tree. Sapwood lies beneath the cambium and transports nutrients and water from the roots to the leaves. Sapwood eventually dries out when new layers of it are created, becoming hardwood.

Shoots: New, leafy stems found above ground on the soil or a plant.

Stump Grinding: A service offered by Trusty Tree Services, our grinders can take on stumps with a depth of 8” to 30”. Used to remove large and small stumps from your backyard, this turf-friendly machine won't damage your grass and doesn’t leave behind any mess.

Stump Removal: The process of removing a stump from the ground with heavy machinery. It involves deep digging so that the entire root system is uprooted from the ground. It’s a long process that can do damage to your yard, and requires ample space for excavators or backhoes.

Topping: Trimming the entire canopy or crown of a tree. This process will cut away all of the tree’s upper layers and is often done as an emergency solution as it puts the tree at serious risk. Topping is usually reserved for trees that have become a health and safety hazard.

Tree Trimming/Pruning: Tree trimming and pruning are similar processes concerned with maintaining the health and safety of trees via the removal of plant parts. It is used to improve a tree’s structure, clear roadways, improve views, or increase flower and fruit production and involves the removal of dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Trimming can also involve thinning, reduction, and raising techniques.

Tree Removal: The technique of safely removing trees from the ground. While not recommended in every case, sometimes this process is necessary for the safety of your home or the convenience of a roadway.

Tree and Shrub Planting: This process improves the aesthetics of your yard by planting young trees and shrubs in a viable location. Correct planting techniques are essential to the health and survival of trees, and arborists will ensure all rules are followed so that each one will thrive.

Verticillium Wilt: Caused by a soil-borne fungus, this vascular disease enters tree roots through damaged spots and causes leaf wilt and dieback. It’s a fast working disease that can kill off a tree in a few months.

Water Sprout: Tiny shoots that pop up on the trunks and branches of trees due to stress, improper pruning, and weather. These nutrient-sappers should be cut back quickly to prevent the tree from taking on damage due to poor health.

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