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November 2012

Tree Clean-Up Tips

Severe storms and weather events can cause major damage to trees. In a time of disaster, a fast recovery is desirable, but not taking the time to hire a reputable tree service may create greater problems in the future. Be an informed consumer to protect yourself and your trees.

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) recommends following this checklist when hiring an arborist:

  • Certification – Ask if the arborists on staff hold an ISA certification. ISA offers a range of certification credentials from Certified Tree Worker/Climber Specialist to Board Certified Master Arborist.
  • Licensing – Some states require licensing for tree care companies operating within that state. Virginia only requires a business license and insurance.
  • Professional Affiliation – Ask about membership in professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and/or one of its chapters.
  • Advertisement – Most reputable tree care professionals do not go door-to-door soliciting business. Check the local yellow pages directory or newspaper for arborists who list themselves as ISA Certified and/or state licensed arborists.
  • Insurance – Ask for proof of insurance, and then verify coverage with the insurance company. A reputable arborist should have insurance to cover personal and property damage as well as worker's compensation. If you hire an uninsured tree expert, you can be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur while they are on the job. If you hire a company that is from another state, verify that his insurance covers him for work done in your state.
  • References – Ask for references from past customers. Check them or visit the locations where the company or individual has done tree care work.
  • Estimates – You should ask for an estimate, and you should get more than one. You should not always select the lowest bid. Examine the bids and consider the specifications and credentials, work to be done, and the skill and professionalism needed to protect your investment. You should get it in writing. Many arborists will have the customer sign a contract, so be sure to review it, and do not be afraid to ask questions.

It is important to remember that good tree work by qualified professionals is worth the additional expense. Poor work, no matter the price paid, can cost you a great deal in the long run.
For more tree care information, or to find an ISA Certified Arborist, visit

Plow and Hearth Donates 110,000 Trees

Madison-based Plow and Hearth has donated 110,000 tree seedlings for planting in spring 2013 around the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since partnering with the Virginia Department of Forestry in 1991, Plow and Hearth has donated more than 2.6 Million trees that help clean the air, protect our waterways and enhance the quality of life across the state.

VDOF Forester Jack Kauffman said, “Plow and Hearth cares deeply about the community and has a tremendous track record in this regard. The company’s ‘Planting Two For One’ program donates two tree seedlings for every one used in the production of its catalogue. The Virginia Department of Forestry gets the donated seedlings into the hands of private landowners, schools and other groups so that they can be planted each spring. The trees absorb carbon dioxide; prevent pollutants from fouling our waterways; provide shade in the summer; are esthetically pleasing year ‘round, and provide more than 5,000 forest products we use every day. It’s a terrific partnership!”

Plow and Hearth President John Haydock said, "Plow and Hearth is proud to be able to plant two trees for every one used in the production of the catalogue. Our longstanding partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry enables us to give back to the community. We support all the values that healthy forests provide, values that we can appreciate every day from our Madison office."

Bald Eagle Released on Zoar State Forest

A bald eagle that was nursed back to health by the Wildlife Center of Virginia has been returned to the wild. A bald eagle that was nursed back to health by the Wildlife Center of Virginia has been returned to the wild. The release took place on the 378-acre Zoar State Forest, which is adjacent to the Mattaponi River in King William County. Bald eagles and their nests have been seen on the forest.

“The river and the streamside forest make this area an ideal habitat for the birds,” said David Slack, area forester for VDOF. Fish and waterfowl are the eagle’s primary source of food and are plentiful along the Mattaponi River.

The adult eagle was rescued by an animal control officer at the King and Queen County landfill in early October. After a physical exam, the center's veterinarians treated the eagle with antibiotics and fluids.

Since its founding in 1982, the center has cared for more than 60,000 wild animals. So far in 2012, it has admitted 30 bald eagles.

51 Virginia Communities Earn Tree City USA Status

Ceremonies celebrating Tree City USA took place in 51 communities across Virginia. The towns, cities and military installations that have achieved Tree City USA certification satisfy guidelines from the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF).

“Trees are much more than a pretty face,” said Barbara White, urban and community forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). “They’re vital to our quality of life and the environment. They help clean the air we breathe and the water we drink. And, when properly placed beside a home, trees can even help us conserve energy.”

The ADF reports 48 percent of Virginians live in a Tree City USA Community and local government spending on community forestry programs averages $6.28 per capita annually.

View the 2012 designees on our website. Criteria include: having a Tree Board or Department; a Tree Care Ordinance; a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Share Fire Safety This Season

Holiday safety should be on your “to do” list during the holiday season. Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry are offering these safety tips to help homeowners celebrate safely and reduce the risk of fire.
Holiday Trees

  • DO NOT use candles on or near the tree.
  • Place the tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and heaters.
  • Keep your holiday tree in a sturdy base filled with water. Check the water level daily.
  • Safely dispose of your tree before it becomes dangerously dry. NEVER burn the tree or tree parts in your fireplace.

Holiday Lights

  • Use “UL” approved lights.
  • Examine all indoor and outdoor lights for frayed cords - replace if necessary.
  • Never use lights that have an empty socket.
  • Lights should not touch combustible materials.
  • "Indoor" lights should never be used outdoors.
  • Avoid using extension cords, but if you do follow instructions carefully.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits, such as wall outlets and extension cords. Use a circuit strip.

Holiday Gift Wrap

  • Keep combustible materials away from heat sources.
  • Never burn wrappings in your fireplace.