And Now The News …

Hartford, Connecticut, WFSB-TV, May 22, 2018: Neighbors question who downed tree belongs to

It’s been a week since deadly storms moved through the state, knocking down many trees in the process. Now, many homeowners have questions about the cleanup, especially when it comes to trees that don’t belong to them. In Naugatuck, a resident had a tree come down, causing damage in her yard. “I saw the tree crack. I heard it, it fell down and all I could say was ‘please don’t put a hole in my roof, please don’t put a hole in my roof’,” said Kim DiMarco, of Naugatuck. It didn’t damage her home, but the force from the pine during last week’s deadly storms crushed the mailbox and came several feet from her front door on Brook Street. The tree is on the boundary between her property and her neighbor’s, and it’s close enough to the road where it might belong to the town. She didn’t know who would be responsible for removal, so she called the town of Naugatuck. “Why shell out the money if it’s not my tree,” she said…

Salt Lake City, Utah, Salt Lake Tribune, May 22, 2018: Beware, Utah tree trimmers, what you cut could kill baby birds

For the sake of trimmed trees, many Utahns are unintentionally killing a lot of baby birds and leaving “oodles” homeless.
Screech owls have a reason to screech when a careless tree trimmer cuts down their nest. “This is exactly the wrong time of year to be doing this,” said DaLyn Marthaler, executive director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, a nonprofit based in Ogden. “This is very bad for the baby birds.” A lot of the baby birds (and squirrels) don’t survive the impact when their nests hit the ground. But the center has been receiving up to 40 birds a day, which “feels like more this year than other years,” she said. “And it doesn’t have to be happening. This is not the right time of year to be trimming trees.” That’s a chore best left for the fall, long after baby birds have flown their nests…

Georgetown, South Carolina, South Strand News, May 22, 2018: Georgetown County planners consider ‘significant’ changes to tree ordinance

If proposed changes to the county’s tree ordinance go forward, county officials say more types of trees will be protected and developers and some residents may have to get permission from the county to remove large trees on their own property. The county Planning Commission heard proposed changes to the tree ordinance, in draft form, from planning staff during its May 17 meeting. The Planning Commission will consider a recommendation for the ordinance changes at its next meeting on June 21 and then County Council will consider the changes in three readings, starting at its June 26 or July 10 meeting. Planning Director Boyd Johnson told the commission the changes to the tree protection ordinance are significant, including regulations against developers clear cutting trees, protecting trees mostly based on size rather than type and creating overlay zones where different rules apply. “We are actually recommending two overlay zones: one for the urban area, on the Waccamaw Neck, and one for the rural area, which is on this side along the river,” Johnson said. “Basically, occupied has been exempt, so if someone lives in the house, the tree ordinance does not apply. What we are proposing in the Waccamaw Neck overlay zone is that it now does (apply), but only to protect the ‘grand trees…'”

Great Bend, Kansas, Tribune, May 22, 2018: Who pays for damage caused by downed trees?

Strong spring storms across Kansas can bring high winds, toppling trees onto homes and vehicles. But, once the storm passes and clean up begins, what may not be clear is who pays for repairs.  “The wild weather we often face in Kansas this time of the year is an important reminder that anyone in any part of the state may be vulnerable to wind-related damages to their home or vehicle,” says Alex Greig, Insurance Manager for AAA Kansas. “It is important to understand what your insurance policy does and does not cover to avoid unexpected financial hardship.” AAA Kansas tips on insurance coverage for vehicles and homes vehicles:
• Physical damage to a car caused by heavy wind or fallen tree limbs is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.

• If your car is damaged by a fallen tree or limbs, you would need to file a claim using your vehicle policy’s comprehensive coverage.

• If your tree falls on your house, your insurance will cover removal of the tree and home repairs due to damage.
• If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s homeowner’s policy would provide insurance coverage. The same holds true if your neighbor’s tree falls on your home; you would file a claim with your own insurance company.
• If a tree falls in your yard, but doesn’t hit anything, you would pay for its removal in most cases. Additionally, if a tree on your property is weak, damaged, or decayed, but you do nothing about it, and it crashes down on a neighbor’s home (or vehicle), you could be held liable for damages…

Ft. Myers, Florida, WINK-TV, May 21, 2018: Officials urging homeowners to avoid giving trees the ‘hurricane haircut’ ahead of storm season

Collier County issued a warning to residents to manage their palm trees ahead of hurricane season. Many neighbors in Regent Park do their own landscaping. Steve Watts—who caught a lucky break before Irma—noticed trees dangling too close to power lines in his backyard. “I got my ladder out and cut those down. After the hurricane, most of that tree landed on those wires and it was almost down to the fence line,” Watts said. Dealing with trees during storms is a part of life in SWFL. But if you’re over-pruning palm trees, Collier County says you’re doing it wrong. “It’s a double edged sword. You want to protect yourself but also not have it be a damaging situation,” Watts said. Tree experts say what you’re looking to avoid is what they call the “hurricane haircut.” It’s what happens when you cut the palm fronds too sparsely, leaving the trunks thin. Many people think this will save their homes during a strong storm, but it actually makes the trees themselves weaker…” 

Eureka, California, Times-Standard, May 21, 2018: Miserly neighbors and dangerous trees

…Our next-door neighbors who inherited the house from their parents. Soon after moving in, their lack of respect for a lovely old home, its well-maintained yard and several tall eucalyptus trees which had always been carefully trimmed became all too evident. The trees are in a straight row — leaning toward our property, with large branches coming over our fence, which is on the property line. We both have horses and corrals near the property line. When it is windy, the trees bend over, and we have been afraid that one will snap and crash down. To address this issue, we paid a licensed arborist who met with all of us and gave her opinion as to the danger presented by the eucalyptus trees. Her written report — which our neighbors have — stated that the trees are top-heavy; many show evidence of disease which weakens them, so that even a modest storm creates an imminent risk of splitting in two, crashing down on both of our homes and should be trimmed or removed immediately. Even though the dangerous trees are on their property, we offered to pay half to eliminate the risk, but they didn’t want to spend the money…

Montpelier, Vermont, VTDigger, May 21, 2018: Tent caterpillars on sugar makers’ minds, if not in their trees

A decennial pest species called the forest tent caterpillar is midway through an outbreak in Vermont this year, and egg masses have just begun to hatch, according to state officials. The caterpillar is native to Vermont and every 10 years or so an outbreak of the species will defoliate large areas of deciduous trees. The last big outbreak in Vermont began in 2004 and continued for about three years, stripping foliage from more than 300,000 acres of forest. Maple sugar makers are among those keeping a wary eye out for the bugs as summer fast approaches. “Everything looks good right now — the leaves look fantastic,” said Peter Purinton, owner of Purinton Maple in Huntington. But, as is the case in any agricultural operation, he said, “when you think things look good, look out, because something’s after you.” Purinton said he’s been hit more than once by forest tent caterpillar outbreaks since he began his sugarbush in the late 1970s. The most recent infestation before this one was around 2010. “They just eat the leaves and leave the trees with no leaves,” he said. “The first of July, it’s like it’s January…”

Missoula, Montana, KPAX-TV, May 21, 2018: Dead trees pose real threat to people

There are many dangers that Montanans may face in the wilderness. Bringing enough water, supplies and bear spray all steps people can take to make sure they’re safe though. But what does a person do when the threat in the forest is the very trees themselves? A tree snag is defined as any standing tree that is dead or dying. Snags are a natural part of a forest’s life cycle and provide habitats for many wildlife. However, by being a snag it means that the tree’s structure is compromised and will eventually fall. When a tree falls, depending on its size, it can bring hundreds or even thousands of pounds of force with it. Jay Hedrick is a 10 year veteran forester who works for the USDA Forest Service. Hedrick says he’s seen firsthand just how dangerous a tree snag can be. “No matter how long you’ve been doing it, it is a pretty frightening situation especially if you’re witnessing these trees come down,” says Hedrick…

Hagerstown, Maryland, Herald Mail, May 20, 2018: Potomac Edison tree-trimming crews branch out across area

Potomac Edison will be sending crews this summer to trim more trees near power lines in Western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia as part of its parent company’s $33.7 million vegetation-management program for 2018. The trees are being cut back because “branches coming in contact with lines is one of the top causes of (power) outages,” said FirstEnergy spokesman Todd Meyers. FirstEnergy is the parent company of Potomac Edison… “In Maryland, we do the cycle once every five years, so we get about 20 percent of the system per year,” Meyers said. “It’s like painting a battleship; it’s never done…”

Elko, Nevada, Daily Free Press, May 20, 2018: The science of elm trees

Trees in Elko County are a rarity. When lucky enough to have a few on your property you pamper them like children, hoping they make something of themselves someday. As the leaves begin budding out this time of year you say keep going and growing – do your job. Here in Ryndon a tree is something one is not careless about. Settling down from California 20 years ago I was determined, by gum, to make this barren landscape into a fruited plain. With the precision of a passionate architect I dug holes that first spring of my arrival and began seriously planting as many different types of trees as possible. Buying stock of all kinds from the old Builders Mart (now Ross, Petco and JoAnn) I forged a grand experiment that taught a deep yet sad lesson in dendrology – the study of trees. I don’t want you to think that I willy-nilly planted any tree that was offered. In researching the “Hardiness Zone” listed on description tags I made a rule that as a minimum the plant would have to withstand at least negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit, a rarity yet a potential possibility. Although the list became shorter with such a specification, I purchased willow, apple, pear, cherry, ash, locust, birch, maple, cottonwoods and quaking aspens. All eventually died except the last two, and now after two decades the cottonwoods are slowly giving up their ghosts…

St. Augustine, Florida, Record, May 20, 2018: UF study: Termites can weaken trees before hurricanes

Nobody likes a termite. Except for mongooses. And bats. And other predators. But termites aren’t loved in Florida. The Asian subterranean termite, though, as made a home for itself in the southeast part of the state by way of human maritime operations. And they’re taking down and killing trees, according to a study done by a University of Florida assistant professor. Thomas Chouvenc, an assistant professor of urban entomology, with former UF student Jeremiah Foley published in the journal Florida Entomologist that the Asian subterranean termite, originally from India, can hollow out oak trees and stress pine trees from the outside. The hollowed oak trees then become at risk for falling during hurricanes. During Hurricane Irma last year, Chouvenc said, some trees that had fallen had been eaten from the inside by these termites. Slash pine trees have a hard, sappy core, Chouvenc said, so it’s hard for termites to get into. Instead, the research found, the termites stay along the outer ring of the tree, in dead bark, and eat around the tree, girdling and eventually killing it. The termite, the article states, has the potential to “irreversibly alter the urban forest composition…”

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, May 17, 2018: Please Don’t Plant That There! 8 Epic Mistakes People Make With Trees and Shrubs

Have a home with a yard? Then you might be pining to plant something to make it lush. Only problem is, many homeowners are at sea in big-box garden centers, selecting species that just won’t thrive—or even survive—in their yards. To the rescue, we’ve asked some green thumb experts for the biggest mistakes people make planting (and caring for) trees and shrubs. Read up on these bloopers to avoid before you dig in! Swaying palm trees channel a vacation vibe, and you’ll see them everywhere in Los Angeles, Florida, and other warm-weather areas, but here’s a little secret: They aren’t native to these areas—and can even be dangerous if you plant them near your home. “I wish homeowners would not plant this tree,” laments Cassy Aoyagi, president of FormLA Landscaping. Many palms, particularly the Washington fan variety, are highly flammable, so when brush fires pass nearby, they can bake these plants from down below and cause them to burst and rain fiery embers underneath…

Los Angeles, California, Times, May 17, 2018: $700,000 for family of San Diego musician killed by falling tree

The parents of a San Diego musician who died after a giant tree fell on her car settled their lawsuit against the city for $700,000, officials confirmed Thursday. The tree, estimated to be 100 feet tall, 6 feet wide and more than 50 years old, fell across Ingraham Street near Fortuna Avenue during a powerful storm on Jan. 31, 2016. It crushed three parked vehicles and a passing car driven by Nicki Lyn Carano. She died before she could be taken to a hospital. Her parents,  filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging city authorities had “actual and/or constructive knowledge” that there was a defect in the tree that caused their daughter’s death. They also claimed the city had a duty to inspect trees near the roadway for flaws and have a hazardous tree management plan in place. They contended the city failed in its duties to keep the area safe and warn the public of any hidden danger…

Westchester, New York, Journal News, May 17, 2018: When a tree falls, who’s responsible?

Tuesday’s storm hit the Lower Hudson Valley hard. It wasn’t particularly wet, but wind gusts were as high as 63 miles per hour and two tornadoes, with winds of 100 mph, touched down in Putnam County. The winds knocked down trees, caused widespread power outages and even temporarily shut down Metro-North. And the cleanup? Here’s what you need to know about trees felled by a storm. It’s up to you to get rid of it. Whether it started on your property or not. “Basically, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility,” said Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. Feiner said sometimes the town will recommend a resident get rid of a tree, but on private property they can’t force anybody to remove anything. Your homeowner’s insurance could cover a portion of removal and replacement, according to the Insurance Information Institute…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, NEXT Pittsburgh, May 17, 2018: With thousands of trees lost, Pittsburgh fights to preserve and improve its tree canopy

From tree-lined streets to our beautiful parks, Pittsburgh has its share of leafy shade. In fact, in 2013, we were cited by National Geographic for the city’s impressive amount of urban tree cover, coming out ahead of cities including Portland, Austin and New York. But a disturbing report from Tree Pittsburgh shows that the tree canopy in our region is suffering. Allegheny County lost 10,000 acres of its tree canopy between 2011-2015, according to the report. A two percent change from 2010 (56 percent canopy coverage) to 2015 (54 percent) may not sound like much, and yet it is. In more vivid terms, our county lost the equivalent of more than 7,500 football fields of trees. The city alone lost six percent of its canopy coverage. Some trees were lost to the emerald ash borer, a non-native pest that arrived in Pittsburgh around 2009. Others died in an oak wilt fungus outbreak that spread in Schenley Park. Around 3 to 5 percent was due to the removal of trees that were naturally aging and dying. But much of the loss is man-made…

Washington, D.C., WTOP Radio, May 17, 2018: Why some trees are more likely to topple than others

Much like it’s easy for you to slip on a wet floor — tree roots can slip out of the ground when there’s wet soil. And, some species are more susceptible than others. Trees with shallow root systems that are more likely to topple include the tulip poplar, magnolias, some maples and Bradford pears, according to an expert arborist. “They have strange, ropy root systems that don’t have a lot of root hairs and because they don’t have as much surface area, they sometimes are not as well anchored as some other species,” head of horticulture and education at the U.S. National Arboretum Scott Aker said. Trees that are more likely to come down also include those that are unbalanced from the loss of branches on one side, that are leaning from recent wind storms or have damaged roots…

Miami, Florida, Herald, May 16, 2018: It’s invasive and filled with bugs. It’s also pretty, and now Key West’s official tree

What’s invasive, notoriously messy and prone to termite infestations? The new official tree of Key West: the Royal Poinciana, known for its fiery orange-red blooms that dapple across the island this time of year with their wide-spreading branches. The Royal Poinciana has its problems and its detractors, but it also has a strong fan base in Key West, where locals and tourists enjoy its beauty. “The Royal Poinciana is perfect for Key West,” said local photographer Ralph De Palma. “It’s one of the first trees that stunned me with its natural beauty.” “My parents loved this tree. My grandparents loved this tree,” said Mayor Craig Cates, who presented the item to the City Commission on Tuesday night. “The whole idea is to preserve the tree and encourage people to replant this tree.” Cates said he knows hundreds of locals who support naming the Royal Poinciana Key West’s official tree. If the city continues its rate of replanting the tree, there are local children who will never get to see one, Cates added…

Fremont, Nebraska, Tribune, May 16, 2018: Mulch volcanoes compromise tree health

You’ve seen this before—mulch piled so high around a tree that it resembles a volcano with a stick coming out of the center. So goes the plight of trees trying to survive under such conditions. Despite the research indicating how bad this is for trees, we see it time and again. Exactly how do mulch volcanoes compromise tree health? There are two compelling reasons. First, tree roots need oxygen to survive. In most soils, oxygen is found in the top 18 inches or so of the soil. It’s no accident, then, that roots readily exist, thrive and grow in the top 18 inches of soil. When mulch is heaped around trees, this puts the lowest tree roots out of the range of oxygen penetration. Under these conditions, roots begin to die back, slowing tree growth and potentially causing tree death. The second reason mulch volcanoes are a bad thing has to do with the tree trunk itself. To explain this, a better understanding of plant function is necessary…

Science Daily, May 16, 2018: Whole-tree logging may not hinder plant biodiversity

As much as we love our two-by-fours and toilet paper, many of us have mixed feelings about logging. Those feelings can morph into straight-out hostility when it comes to removing the branches and treetops, which are increasingly chipped and burned for electrical power generation. “People think, ‘It’s bad enough to log, and now you are going to take away the branches that decay and then nurture the ecosystem?'” says Robert Froese, a forest scientist at Michigan Technological University. “But we wondered, what really is the role of branches?” So, with funding from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and Weyerhauser, Froese’s team decided to find out. What they discovered surprised them: when it comes to plant diversity, harvesting the whole tree does not have dire consequences. The results of their study have been published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management…

Westchester, New York, Journal News, May 16, 2018: Storm: What to do with fallen trees and how to prepare

As homeowners clean up after Tuesday’s devastating storm that brought tree-toppling winds to the lower Hudson Valley, many are left to assess the risk of trees on their own property. “We live in a county where there are a lot of trees that are bigger than the houses that they’re around,” said Jerry Giordano, a senior horticulture consultant at the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s office in Westchester County. “Are we going to take all those trees down? Probably not, people like trees, but you have to decide the degree of risk you’re willing to live with,” he said. If a tree is injured by a storm, the next step is to call a professional to gauge the damage and come up with a plan, Giordano said. Hanging or cracked branches can be a hazard. Giordano said cabling, or tying an injured branch to a healthy limb, is a viable option to reinforce a damaged tree — although experts debate whether this contributes to the long-term health of the injured branch…

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2 thoughts on “And Now The News …

  1. Rest In Peace Sweet Tripp Halstead. No more hurting. You can go play in the Lords garden. We love you. We will miss you. My heart breaks for a little boy I never met. Prayers for his family. 😭😭🙏🏻

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