Trees: What you don’t know can hurt you… and your tree


A lot of people out there have no clue what being a tree owner really entails.

Take me, for instance, I love trees. It’s just always been that way…but when I married my wife, I realized there was so much to trees that I really had no clue about.

For instance… Did you know that evergreens are not all pine trees?

That’s one of the biggest pet peeves among arborist that I know. They want you to know that Evergreens can be spruces (no… these are not pines), pines and larches.

All of them are unique and different. Actually… larches are not evergreen so see?  I still get it wrong!  They look like pine trees to me but they actually drop their needles every year just like any other deciduous tree.

So let’s get to the nitty gritty. What kind of things do you think you know about trees and how can that knowledge help or harm you?

Let’s start with tree identification.

One of the main reasons you need to know what type of tree you are dealing with is so that you know how to take care of it.

Many types of trees take many different approaches if you want to be a successful tree owner (or just someone who lives around trees).

The number one most shocking thing you should know?


Yup, you read that right. Like you, I thought trees were just innocent plants doing much of nothing, but NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Those big organisms can take you out in no time and here’s how:

  1. Large Trees have large branches.  If not properly trimmed and pruned, their old branches can fall on you, your house, your car and that’s it. Trust me. I know about this one. I’m not dead, but I did pay well over $13,000 to get my crushed car fixed. I could have just found an affordable tree removal service and had it taken down for less than 2 grand. Needless to say, I learned my lesson about this type of deadly tree. Saving money is not always the best option when dealing with older and larger trees.
  2. Small Trees Can Slap You.  I know this one sounds strange, but I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve actually been slapped by a small branch or tree. If you are driving an SUV or a Quad around and you run over one of these spry little trees, they can ricochet up and slap you or your friends right in the face. Think of all the times you might have taken a walk or hiked in the woods and someone held a branch back for you. Tension is a pretty strong force and if you take a whole tree down, you are talking some serious tension, unless the tree snaps which rarely happens with green trees.
  3. Roots Can Take Down Houses.  This one is not as well-known but after reading this you will get it. Planting a tree too close to home not only poses a danger to the future with large branches that can fall but also poses a threat to the foundation of the home it is planted near. Most people don’t realize that the amount of limbs and leaves you see above ground is equaled by the same number of roots below ground. There is a HUGE mass of organism growing and thriving in the Earth and water travels along these roots like small trickling rivers. If the roots are close enough to the home, they can damage the foundation with the pressure they put on the concrete walls of your foundation, uplift the slab and even deteriorate the walls with the water that travels alongside the root during really rainy events.So how does this kill you? Really? You need to ask?If the foundation busts, what happens to your home?  That’s right….It all falls down. Ring around the Rosy, Pocket full of….well…it’s a pocket full of roots!
  4.  Trees can cause respiratory problems. This is often a common misunderstood problem. Most people don’t think of trees as the “killas” they actually are. If you have sensitive lungs or suffer from allergies (yes…allergies can kill) then you may have already been attacked by this vicious tree secret. While most people think of goldenrod and ragweed as the main reasons they suffer from pollen allergies, they often forget that the largest green organisms on this Earth, the trees, are also spewing out all sorts of pollen (tree sperm) all over the place.One of the worst culprits?Pine Trees and Cottonwood.Pine Trees are generally responsible for 99% of that yellow dust you see on your car when you know the pollen is bad.  You know what I’m talking about?  That really dusty time of the year in the spring (or sometimes fall) when you see a bunch of dust on your car and you have no idea how it got there?Next time you see it, take your finger and scoop up a swipe of the dust and then check it out on white paper. You’ll find thousands of yellow grains that go into your lungs and infiltrate your respiratory system causing an alert response (for some severe) to your body. The cottonwood looks like those little white fairies floating around. A lot of people mistake cottonwood seeds for Dandelion Seeds and nothing is further from the truth. Cottonwood furries are way more prevalent and a lot more people are allergic to them. I never had allergies that I knew of until one day I was caught in a snow storm in the middle of summer.I’m not kidding. It was insane.You could not see anything because on that particular day the cottonwood trees (a member of the poplar family) decided to release their seeds at the same time. I’ve never been more miserable in my life. I suffered breathing issues, watering eyes so bad that I couldn’t see (literally), and a very itchy tongue.  NOTHING is worse than an itchy tongue. I do not recommend trying it out.

So the next time you’re out and about in nature and you’re considering buying one of these killer trees, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Trees can break easy if they are made of soft woods or they can wreak havoc on your respiratory system if they spread a pollen that affects you.

If you’ve been suffering around trees all or your life or even if you are deciding on what trees to buy for your back yard, it’s best to consult a professional tree consultant to help you make the best decisions for your needs so that you are not surprised in the future of the care and uptake it actually takes to be a tree owner or to even live near trees.

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