Nov 3, 2017
Trees are the Gentle Giants of our
Gardens and today we are so fortunate to learn
from Master Arborist and Beloved Industry
Expert Rex Bastian.
Trees are so essential to our lives. They give us oxygen. They
anchor the soil. They provide shelter and store carbon. In
the garden, trees provide so very much, yet many gardeners often
feel uncertain about caring for their trees; unsure of how
to properly care for them and unsure of how or when to prune
them. Indeed, when problems arise, we can be at a loss for
how to best help our trees. Without much baseline knowledge,
most of us have much to learn about trees.
Today’s guest Rex Bastian will share
some insights and practical tips to get you started on the path
toward better tree stewardship. Increased knowledge about tree
stewardship not only benefits our trees, but also our gardens,
our environment, wildlife, our communities, the economy, our
health, and even the future.
I learned so much from my chat with Rex. I wanted to give you
a preview of five things I learned from Rex that I
think are valuable insights to help you take better care of the
trees in your garden. When you hear Rex talk about these in the
interview - you’ll know to pay particularly close
attention to these key points.
1. Trees don’t heal. They seal off. So
when there is a wound or a problem, that’s how trees respond.
It’s their way.
2. Trees shed branches and leaves to make
handling their large mass more manageable. This is something
we need to be more aware of as we become better monitors of our
trees and their health.
3. Trees must grow. They are committed
to increasing their mass. If they stop growing, they die.
We’ve all seen Russian nesting dolls and the rings on trees.
Trees grow like those russian nesting dolls
- adding a whole layer to the tree every year. So
whether they are growing fast or slow - it only matters that they
grow. In the world of trees - it’s grow or die.
4. The "Decline Spiral" of trees can be
stopped - if it’s caught early enough. So knowing your
trees is very important.
5. The phenomenon that occurs every fall - when the
leaves on the trees change colors and fall off - is awe-inspiring.
But, the science behind it is often misunderstood. Most
people think that cool weather alone causes leaves to change color.
But actually, the lengthening of night-time hours -
increasing darkness is the most influential factor among many.
I find we always underestimate the power of light
and darkness when it comes to plants and their behaviors.
Now for a little bit of information about today’s
guest. Rex Bastian is a technical advisor for
The Davey Tree Expert Company and he recently
received a 2017 Award of Distinction from
The International Society of Arboriculture
(ISA). Rex was honored with ISA’s 2017 Award of
Merit, the ISA's highest honor for outstanding service
in advancing the principles, ideals, and practices of
Jim Zwack, general manager of the
Davey Institute, the Davey
Company’s premier research development and innovation
division. , says this about Rex,
“Rex has a unique combination of breadth and depth of
subject matter expertise, and it is difficult to find a topic for
which he lacks a qualified opinion. He masterfully combines an
enthusiastic teaching style with years of wisdom accrued by
observing and assessing the plant health care services we provide
for our clients.”
Rex started with The Care of Trees
(TCOT) in 1989 and joined Davey in 2008 through the
TCOT merger with Davey. He works as a regional technical advisor
with emphasis on education and training and diagnostics. He holds a
Ph.D. in entomology from Iowa State University,
and he is an International Society of Arboriculture Board
Certified Master Arborist.
Rex is getting ready to retire later this year - so I’m
thrilled I got the chance to speak with him before he
starts the next chapter in his life. Rex has influenced and
educated thousands over his career, and I’m so thrilled that he
gets the chance to make a difference yet again with the
listeners of the Still Growing Gardening Podcast.
Without further ado, here’s Rex Bastian.