And Now The News …

Southern Pines, North Carolina, The Pilot, April 21, 2019: Controversial tree-cutting bill withdrawn

State Sen. Tom McInnis has withdrawn controversial legislation that would have prohibited towns and counties from regulating tree removal on private property without the General Assembly’s permission. “This bill has been robustly debated and discussed,” McInnis said in a statement late Thursday afternoon. “The intention of the legislation was to highlight the need to balance private property rights with the needs of the community. I will continue to work with stakeholders to reach a balance that does not trample on an individual rights and the rights of property owners. “I have received comments from proponents and opponents who are very passionate about this issue. My goal remains clear: one of a government’s main objectives is to ensure that all citizens’ individual liberties are preserved.” The proposed legislation generated strong opposition from municipal and county government officials. The N.C. League of Municipalities and N.C. Association of County Commissioners argued that it would restrict the ability to protect neighboring property owners from development that could harm property values and take away more local control over development. The N.C. Urban Forest Council also opposed the measure, contending that local tree ordinances can help address flooding issues, preserve historic districts and allow for utility line maintenance…

San Diego, California, Union Tribune, April 21, 2019: The attack of the neighbor’s killer pepper trees

Q: My neighbor’s pepper trees have encroached on my property and caused significant damage to my pool and deck. He agreed to remove the trees if I proved they caused the damage, and I did that with multiple arborist reports and a civil engineer’s report. He has since put his house up for sale; he’s currently in escrow. There is an open claim with his insurance company, which is accepting liability for the damage. But they won’t cover tree removal, and without that, the encroachment and damage will continue.
A: As the poet Joyce Kilmer famously observed, only God can make a tree. And as you have painfully learned, only a tree can quickly morph from a graceful sapling into a fierce marauder. Problem trees are a common source of neighborhood disputes because there seem to be as many types of tree damage as there are tree species. Jacarandas rain down sticky purple flowers that corrode car paint. Gingko trees shed yellow berries that emit a stench when crushed underfoot. So-called “privacy trees” like juniper and cypress block scenic outdoor vistas. The brittle wood of weeping willows can turn branches into storm-tossed projectiles. Eucalyptus is prone to fall over and smash anything under it. But the pepper tree may be the champion destroyer of neighbor relations. It is so notorious that several states include it on official “invasive plant” lists and professional gardeners put it on their “trees you should never plant” rosters…

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, April 21, 2019: City working faster on efforts to save trees

A tree preservation ordinance could be put on a faster track, nearly two years after the Rochester City Council brought up the topic in the wake of several large trees being removed during redevelopment of the former Golden Hill School site along South Broadway. Members of the city’s Committee on Urban Design and Environment plan to have a proposed ordinance ready for discussion next month. “They would prefer us to come in with an incomplete tree ordinance they can build off of,” CUDE Chairman Paul Sims said of what he heard in a Rochester City Council discussion earlier this month. Progress has been delayed as the committee sought support for developing a citywide Urban Forest Master Plan. The plan would set in motion work to assess current tree coverage throughout the city and offer ways to develop a larger canopy through policies such as a preservation ordinance. Rochester City Forester Jeff Haberman estimates the city’s current canopy covers nearly 26 percent of the city, but that number is threatened to shrink. Embattled ash trees make up 13 percent of the overall coverage…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, April 21, 2019: Leave the leaves on your trees

As a fairly dedicated “tree type,” one of the things that I do is work with is what I think of as “sick trees.” I also answer numerous questions from people who think either that their tree is in distress or are concerned that it might be. For instance, I’m getting a fair number of questions concerning live oaks, because most of them are in some stage of spring molt, and during that they can look pretty rough. By the way, I go out of my way to not blithely tell people, “Don’t worry about it, it’s supposed to look bad right now.” Trees can have several things going on at once, and taking for granted that a live oak looks bad only because it’s the time of year for it to drop its leaves, is a mistake. One of the other things that I get questions about concerning stressed trees is pruning. Regular readers of my column, or people who have heard me state my opinion about this, know that I’m against the unnecessary removal of living tissue in trees, even when pruning healthy trees. And there are lots of good reasons for my thinking…

Atlas Obscura, April 18, 2019: How Easter Egg Trees Almost Became an American Tradition

In the spring of 1895, Louis C. Tiffany, of stained-glass and jewelry fame, held a lavish “Mayflower Festival” to benefit a local hospital. “Among the evening’s entertainments,” writes culinary historian Cathy K. Kaufman, “was an Easter egg tree, dazzling with different colored eggs.” This wasn’t unusual at the time. In the era before plastic eggs, many Americans carefully emptied whole eggs of their contents and colored them brightly for Easter, occasionally hanging them on tree branches with scraps of ribbon or thread. In 1890s New York, it was even something of a craze. But despite brief bursts of popularity, Kaufman writes, today “egg trees are a dismal failure when compared to Christmas trees, found only in a few public fora and very scattered homes.” Much like the Christmas tree, the custom likely came to the United States with German immigrants, entrenching itself among the Pennsylvania Dutch…

Richmond, Virginia, WWBT-TV, April 18, 2019: Tree trimmer took woman’s $1,200, but didn’t finish the job

The Better Business Bureau says scammers come out of the woodwork when severe weather strikes. One Henrico woman, who wanted to be identified as “Elizabeth,” is learning that lesson the hard way after she says she paid $1,200 to an independent contractor cut down her trees. Months later, she says the job is still unfinished. “I waited about six months, before he came and did anything. So that should’ve taught me a lesson,” Elizabeth said. She said she and the contractor settled on $300 for the blue spruce tree in her front yard, and $900 for the work on her gumball tree in the back yard. She says she’s called the man dozens of times in the past two months, even offering to let him keep half of the money. “I told him ‘You could give me $600 back, and I’ll get someone to come out here and knock the work out in a couple of hours’, and he never commented on that,” Elizabeth said…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, April 18, 2019: Pearing down: Why even tree-huggers want St. Louis to cut down these pretty Bradford pear trees

At first glance, the white flowering trees lining Interstate 270 and Highway 40 look lovely. The roadside thicket where the highways meet burst this spring with some of the first blooms in St. Louis. But, conservationists say, the trees are more like a menace in disguise — an unexpected result of decades of neighborhood landscaping that are putting local plants and animals at risk. They are the often-maligned Callery pear tree species, a group of ornamental trees that include the popular Bradford pear, common in landscaping. Once considered a near-perfect tree to adorn subdivisions and doctors’ office entrances, Bradford pear trees soon revealed their dark side: They tend to collapse within 15 to 20 years, splitting like a peeled banana and taking out property on their way. They stink with an odor sometimes described as old fish. And, most concerning to conservationists, their rapid spread is choking out native plants that can support far more animals and insects than the pear trees, which were brought to the U.S. from China…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, April 18, 2019: A historic compromise’: Builders and advocates finally agree on how best to protect Tampa’s trees

Many metaphors were employed Thursday to describe the arduous route taken to reach an agreement on protecting Tampa’s trees without stifling development. Council member Mike Suarez compared the often fractious negotiations to a three-year-long flight. One tree advocate referenced the gestation period of an elephant. After more than an hour of discussion, the council approved the measure by a 5-1 vote. But not before a final stand was made by some opponents to remove a provision requiring private property owners to get a $120 permit to trim tree limbs thicker than 4 inches…

Pasadena, California, Pasadena Now, April 17, 2019: Attorneys for girl injured by tree branch accuse City of destroying evidence

Lawyers representing Adelaide Palmstrom, who suffered traumatic injuries when the branch of a tree on City property fell on her, are asking the court to sanction the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Unified School District for disposing of the branch. Palmstrom was a two-year-old preschooler when the branch from an adjacent City-owned park injured her on Aug. 29, 2017, as she played at Linda Vista Children’s Center. Her injuries included traumatic brain injury, fractured skull (with subdural hematoma), vertebral and left tibia fractures, torn cervical spine ligament, and a lower left leg injury, according to court documents. Representing the Palstrom family is the firm of Panish, Shea and Boyle, which has now filed a motion seeking court-ordered sanctions against the City for its “willful destruction and spoliation of the most critical item of evidence in this litigation, ie., the subject tree and tree branch that failed and collapsed on two-year-old Adelaide Palmstrom causing her catastrophic injuries,” the motion stated. Plaintiffs’ filing said the City contracted to have the tree inspected by Board Certified Master Arborist Cris Falco. “Shockingly, however, while Mr. Falco was on his one-hour long lunch break, and before he or any other party could assess the failed tree and try to determine the cause of failure, Defendant School District destroyed the tree and the branch, cutting it down and chopping it up into dozens of pieces,” the motion alleged. “This happened within 72 hours of the incident…”

Fresno, California, KFSN-TV, April 17, 2019: 100-year-old Fresno woman locked in battle with city over tree in her yard

A 100-year-old woman in Fresno is having a problem with City Hall. She has a water leak in her yard that’s costing her hundreds of dollars a month and she believes a tree planted by the city decades ago is to blame. Cornie Reed is paying for that water and she and her daughter want the city to make it stop. Reed’s lived in that home for 60 years. The water leak appears to be caused by the roots of a tree planted by the city of Fresno, and it is turning into a battle against city hall. The tree seems to have busted a water line, causing water to run continuously and raising Reed’s water bill. The water can be seen pooled beneath the tree. It’s flooded the city water meter and runs into the street. Reed’s daughter, Ailene, says it started last year. “My mom’s water bill went from $79 to $110, then it was $234 then it was $247. We couldn’t afford it,” she said…

Mongabay, April 17, 2019: Shade or sun? Forest structure affects tree responses to Amazon drought

Small trees in the Amazon rainforest understory are more vulnerable to drought than their larger counterparts, but their fate depends on their local environment, according to a study published in New Phytologist. Marielle Smith from Michigan State University and an international team of researchers used hand-held lidar to complete monthly surveys of the surface area of leaves at different heights in Tapajós National Forest in Pará state in the Brazil Amazon between 2010 and 2017 to obtain their results. The portable lidar instrument uses a laser to map the leaves in the forest canopy in two-dimensional slices up through the forest structure. Across the whole forest, they found that trees in the upper canopy tended to gain leaves during the dry season and lose them again in the wet season, whereas trees in the lower canopy showed the opposite behavior. This opposing trend between the upper and lower canopies matches the results of a previous satellite-based study of seasonal changes in leaf area, and is thought to be due to limited light availability in the lower canopy…

Kansas City, Missouri, KMBC-TV, April 17, 2019: Contractor fulfills promise to finish tree removal after resident contacts KMBC 9 Investigates

A tree removal contractor has fulfilled his promise to complete a $4,700 job after a Peculiar man contacted KMBC 9 Investigates for help. Charles Roper said the contractor, a man named Jack Sawyer, cut down and removed trees in his front and side yards, but did not remove one stump or haul away debris as promised in late February. After multiple calls to the contractor over several weeks, Roper finally called KMBC 9 Investigates. “I just want to get him back out there, and make him do his job,” Roper said. KMBC 9 Investigates called the number on Roper’s contract. A man answered, but hung up. Hours later, a man named Alan Sawyer called back, saying he would complete Roper’s job within seven days…

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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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