Bat Houses and Best of WNC!
Bat Houses from SFTW
We are happy to announce that we are now offering handcrafted bat boxes as part of our commitment to conservation. With our love of heights and unique abilities to ‘get on up there,’ it seemed a perfect fit to provide this service. On these warm summer nights, it is a wonder to watch the bats swoop and dive in their sonar-driven flight. Their beauty is made even more poignant because they are chowing down on mosquitoes! Pregnant or nursing mothers of some bat species will consume up to their body weight in insects each night. One little brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night! (You know those nasty white Tomato Moths that lay the huge green caterpillars that can eat an entire kale plant in one night… yah, bats LOVE those!)
Bats are wonderfully beneficial creatures that provide invaluable services to natural ecosystems, so we want to do what we can at Smart Feller to promote bat education and conservation. Bats are very adaptable and can live in trees, under bridges or in old buildings, where they give birth and rear young. As the population of our area grows and trees are cleared for houses and businesses, it is becoming harder for bats to find homes to live, putting our local population at risk. Of the 17 bat species that occur in North Carolina, three are listed as federally Endangered and one is listed as federally Threatened. To help combat this, we decided we want to add Bat Houses to our services. This meant doing a lot of research to find what makes a successful bat box!
What do you need in a bat house? Our goal is to make a bat house that mimics the space between bark and a tree trunk, which is the bats’ ideal nursery. That’s why the space inside a bat house is very narrow, unlike a bird house which would house a nest. Bats like tight spaces and need it nice and warm for the babies. According to the National Wildlife Foundation and Bat Conservation International, we make our bat houses to the following standards:
- Roost chambers at least 20 inches tall and at least 14 inches wide
- Houses with at least three chambers are more likely to provide appropriate ranges of temperature and better accommodate the larger numbers of bats typical of nursery colonies
- Coated deck screws or other exterior-grade screws are used instead of nails to assemble houses
- All seams must are caulked, especially around the roof, prior to painting, to keep as much heat in as possible
- The inside panels are roughened with a saw to create holds that simulate bark and allow the bats to hang inside (This takes an extra hour or so to complete, but worth it! Many of the inexpensive houses available don’t have grips or use metal mesh that will rust and fall out and are dangerous to the bats.)
- Houses have a 3- to 6-inch landing areas extending below the entrance
- We use a dark or medium shade of stain to hold heat in
- Front panel includes a ½ inch vent allowing for proper air flow
So now you are intrigued about our bat houses, let’s see if you have a place to hang a few…
Best location for your bat houses are poles, dead tree spars or buildings with:
- Lots of sun
- ideally a water source nearby (so the mother bat doesn’t have to leave her young for too long)
- at least 15 feet off the ground (to protect against predators); and
Bats are less attracted to houses mounted on living trees with extensive canopies. A few reasons for this:
- It’s too easy for predators to get bats as they exit
- The branches causing obstructions to exiting bats which drop down then up into flight
- It’s too shady from branches above
If you are interested in buying a Smart Feller Tree Works Bat House and having it installed, view our webpage here or contact Kelan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-545-5503
Best of WNC!
A big thank you to all of you who voted for us in this year’s Best of WNC contest. We are honored and humbled to have been voted the best Tree Service in WNC for five straight years!
It really has been an exciting summer so far with numerous intense wind/rain storms that have our phones ringing nonstop. Many of those calls are from Asheville residence who have experienced some downed trees or limbs during one of these storms or from those who are quite concerned at the possibility of eminent tree fall damage and danger. Many of the prominent tree species in our yards grow far larger than anticipated, 50-80 or more years prior when they were planted. These massive trees cause us worry as well as sadness as their size and location become threatening. In some cases we are able to prune back a healthy tree making its canopy a safer size for a tight urban setting. In other cases, the tree may be unhealthy or have a concerning structure that causes more worry than enjoyment and we advise these be removed. Recently we removed a large oak that had a dramatic lean and was also growing on a bank, which can cause more concern when directly up hill from several houses.
The new owner of the tree decided it best we take it down before any more storms came through. Luckily enough, her son was able to enjoy the tree one more time in a different way: watching the highly technical rigging removal of the tree from the top down. He watched our crew for the whole day!
It was an exciting set up with the large sections of truck wood being lowered along a zip line connected to the mini (or ditch witch). As arborists, we have a strong love and appreciation for trees, especially large ones. While we know when and where we must remove trees, removal is never our favorite job and it makes it a little more fun to have an excited and attentive audience!
It’s that time again! Voting for the Best of WNC X Awards 2017 opened yesterday! You may vote by following the instructions at this link https://mountainx.com/bestofwnc/ Voting is open until midnight on April 26.
If you appreciate our work and want to help us compete for Best Tree Service, then please cast your vote for Smart Feller Tree Works, LLC!
Here we had to close a road in order to remove a dead Hickory tree with very advanced trunk rot. We had to bring in the big crane from Dover Crane! Click here to see the set up: Crane Job March 2017
A stunning view of Asheville from the branches of a White Oak, Quercus alba.
There are parts of our jobs as arborists that may seem to be extreme. For example beginning the work day at 7:00AM, everyday, OUTSIDE all winter long, or climbing in the biting cold, our fingers exposed for every task whether it is tuning up our machines and vehicles prior to work everyday or tying/untying our safety and rigging ropes. We know that those watching see us at great heights with all the risks involved, but what most don’t see are the breathtaking views we see from up there, the early morning skies blistering with color from our pole-barn shop, the crisp clear beauty of forests aloft in winter. It is a different picture by far from the lush, welcoming canopies of spring and summer, however we can see even more sky and branch structure in winter without the thick curtain of leaves. Climbing can be exhilarating, but also peaceful and serene. If we are blessed with sunshine and our schedule allows, we may eat our lunch in the trees we are working in or stay after for a little sunset viewing too!
Sunrise yesterday from a pre-work rec-climb near our shop:
The Latte bucket making a steady delivery:
T-shirt weather in January! Climbing does have a way of warming you up:
What tree work looks like when you are also in a tree 🙂
We are so elated to announce that as of January 1st, 2017 we are providing personal healthcare for our employees! Our employees are who makes our business everything that it is and we want our wages and benefits to reflect the appreciation we have for them. We believe in giving back to our employees and have always paid $15.00 per hour minimum as a starting wage and include numerous other perks such as supplying and updating climbing and safety gear. While we have always covered our employees with workers comp while they are at work, we have never before offered them personal policies. Smart Feller employees tend to be gregarious, outdoors types, with higher risk hobbies such as mountain climbing, rock climbing, and recreational tree climbing, to name a few. We believe it is important for their quality of life to be in top heath condition and covered in the case of accidents, as well as it being critical for the longevity of our company and to insure that the quality of work we deliver to our clients stays top notch. A big thanks to our employees! You Fellers rule!
Many people love special holiday lights because it brings a special pop of color to the somewhat bleak natural color palate of winter after all the leaves have fallen and faded. We decided it was time to illuminate the upper canopies of Asheville with festive lighting. We are making our own light globes and hanging them just for fun! Check out the two trees we have decorated in Montford. One tree is as the intersection of Montford Avenue and Cullowhee Street:
We also hung globes in a massive Sycamore on Cumberland Ave across the street from where Montford Park Place intersects it:
If you are interested in having us hang globes in your trees for the holiday season 2017, please contact us for pricing!
Arrr! Tree Pirates! Actually, no, this hook is not used for evil but for good! We use this high strength hook to quickly access different parts of a tree or even another tree nearby to where we are already climbing. After setting one line as our primary safety point we then use other rigging in order to safely and comfortably get into all parts of the canopy. The hook is specifically shaped to self locate the best grip on the branch it is tossed onto. By using Captain Hook we can increase our speed maneuvering around the tree and is especially helpful while pruning.
Below you can see how a climber can now ascend this rope, anchored with Captain Hook, up a different limb of the tree.
Before and after pictures were fun in September, but we may have just come up with something even more exciting: a tour of our equipment! Arborists come in all shapes and sizes and the gear they use is just as varied. We at Smart Feller’s use the most non-invasive and the highest quality gear we can, updating our collection regularly for safety and for efficiency as we learn new techniques. We have old favorites and new favorites, both for the most common procedures and for the more rare circumstances. We hope you all find this both fun and informative!