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Business Spotlight: Arborist grows in her field

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Trees > Ponderosas will be focus of upcoming class

By Gina Velasquez

Trees are a crucial to the Earth’s balance. Arborist Laural Hardin is a private consultant for people that have issues with the trees on their property. It can be issues with pests or dead trees and Hardin will find a solution to the problem.

Hardin has been certified through the International Society of Arboriculture since 2011, and she’s been consulting since 2008. Her subspecialty has her carrying the title “Integrated Pest Management Specialist.” The Los Alamos resident finds a holistic approach to managing pests and disease in trees.

When Hardin is needed she travels all around Northern New Mexico to consult with clients and assess the problems they are having with trees. She assesses the tree’s health and risk factors.

She is a private consultant for owners of private property and has no ties with the Forestry Service.

“I have traveled as far as Questa and have clients in Santa Fe,” Hardin said. “I am a consultant throughout the year, even in winter.”

Hardin said her assessments may vary due to certain factors, because foliage is different in all parts of the state.

“There is no shortage of problems that plague trees,” she said.

Environmental conditions can wreak havoc on a tree’s health and humans are a big factor as well. People tend to pave over roots and poor pruning may also contribute to tree illness.

There are indigenous trees in the forests, like the Ponderosas. There are also urban trees planted for shade and aesthetics. Trees in a city area or residential area are also considered urban.

Fires are an obvious danger to the Ponderosa’s around the Los Alamos area. Yet, Hardin said the Ponderosa has evolved to deal with fire as part of its natural progression. The fire will take out any unnecessary weeds and vegetation around the tree trunk and keep the tree flourishing. The Ponderosa is a fire-adapted species. If the area around the trees becomes overgrown, the fire will envelop it and this endangers the crown of the Ponderosa and that is the primary cause of the decline in Ponderosas around the area, Hardin said.

People tend to blame beetles for the problems with Ponderosas yet, the tree has evolved with the beetles. “There always have been beetles,” Hardin said. Beetles are just another factor.

On Sept. 19, Hardin will teach a class at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center called, “Ponderosas in the Urban Landscape.” She will present a detailed look at the issue of the Ponderosa’s mortality rate in urban areas. She will cover the most detrimental contributing factors to tree failure and what can be done to preserve trees on private property.

“Many factors contribute to the decline of the urban forest,” Hardin said. “Climate change is equally affecting trees along with environmental factors.”

The class is an intensive study on the health of the Ponderosa.

Hardin teaches many classes through PEEC. Before she became a certified arborist, she worked with greenhouses. Earlier this month, Hardin taught a class in greenhouse utilization and how to make the gardening season last longer.

If there are trees that need assessments, Hardin is available by appointment only; to make an appointment call 575-571-6377.