And Now The News …

New York City, The New York Times, May 23, 2019: As California wildfire season looms, finding tree trimmers is a new problem

Pacific Gas & Electric has a big problem. Its equipment keeps coming into contact with dry trees and shrubs and starting devastating wildfires. So the company is scrambling to trim or cut down hundreds of thousands of trees across its vast Northern California territory. But it has another problem: finding people to do that work. Beyond the tight labor market, there is the challenge of enlisting a certain kind of worker for the difficult and dangerous job. To trim trees well, especially the 200-footers in the Sierra Nevada forests, contractors must be strong and agile, and able to handle fear and adrenaline surges. When all goes well, “it’s like Cirque du Soleil up in the trees,” said Jose Mercado, founder of the Hispanic Arborist Association, who climbed trees professionally for more than two decades near Los Angeles. “You’re in the best physical condition of your life.” When things go wrong, the consequences can be deadly. Since 2017, the Labor Department has tracked 127 deaths related to tree work nationally, including 20 in California. Among the top causes of injury or death are strikes by branches, electrocution and falls. PG&E and other utilities farm out tree work to a network of contractors. Those businesses, in turn, cast a wide net to find qualified workers, with entry-level wages starting at $15 an hour…

Wilmington, Delaware, News Journal, May 23, 2019: ‘Like Edward Scissorhands’: Residents angered by ‘aggressive’ tree work on Del. 52

Greenville and Centerville residents are enraged about Delmarva Power crews “aggressively” trimming trees along Del. 52 (Kennett Pike). The butchered trees and their remains have opened up views of private property and ruined areas along the picturesque drive northwest from Wilmington to Pennsylvania. “You don’t go on somebody else’s land and cut down their trees,” attorney and Kennett Pike resident Richard Abbott said. After angry calls from residents and the Kennett Pike Association, the power company has agreed to walk the area with a local arborist and notify residents when tree removal is planned, Delmarva Power’s spokesman Timothy Stokes said. Abbott, who had trees cut down on his own property and also represents another resident along Del. 52, said the Delaware and Maryland electric company cut down several of his client’s trees and destroyed dozen of others. “I just want them to be a little less like Edward Scissorhands,” Abbott said…

Crystal River, Florida, Citrus County Chronicle, May 23, 2019: Businessman receives second citation for tree removal

A Homosassa businessman who was cleared in February by Citrus County commissioners of illegal tree-removal allegations was cited this week for essentially the same thing. Citrus County Code Compliance accused Vision VI Investments LLC of illegally removing trees on property adjacent to the Riverhaven community on Halls River Road. Principal Byron Rogers, who also co-owns Crump Landing at the former KC Crump’s site, will hear the allegations at a June 19 special master hearing. According to the county code, he faces a fine of up to $15,000. Rogers could not be reached for comment. Frank Fazioli, who lives in Riverhaven nearby, said he called the county’s code compliance division when he saw trees being removed from the property. “I’ve complained several times, as a matter of fact,” Fazioli said. “This county commission has rolled over and let them do what they wanted…

Washington, D.C., Post, May 23, 2019: Want to understand the biodiversity crisis? Look at the trees in your backyard.

Wander into the woods in most places in the eastern United States and you’re likely to come across a towering trunk with sandy-colored, diamond-shaped ridges rising to bare forking branches and little holes peppering the bark, signaling where small, green beetles have crawled out and flown away after doing their dirty work. This decaying monument is — or rather, was — an ash tree. Its kind will not be back in your lifetime, perhaps ever. If you live in the other half of the country, just wait a few years. The emerald ash borer is coming for your trees, too. Humans are setting in motion a mass extinction of life, only the sixth in Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history. A recent United Nations report put this in stark numerical terms: As many as 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of annihilation. Such an astronomical figure, while intended to impress, can actually make the threat hard to relate to…

North Andover, Massachusetts, Eagle-Tribune, May 22, 2019: ‘The tree looked like it had a mullet’: Resident questions utility contractor’s tree trimming plan

When Martin Cannard heard tree trimming outside of his home recently, he didn’t think anything of it — until his 16-year-old son Sebastian alerted him that something was wrong. When Cannard saw the family’s beloved 18-year-old Christmas tree in the front yard, he saw it had been shaven down beyond repair. “The tree looked like it had a mullet,” Cannard said of the tree, which had been cut by contractors with the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative. “It just seemed like a really odd thing to do.” The nearly 20-foot-tall tree was untouched at the crown, but all of its branches were removed in the front. According to Cannard, the top of the tree is about 10 to 15 feet lower than the powerline. Cannard contacted arborists for NHEC to find out why the tree was cut the way it was. According to Cannard, an arborist said the tree would have been cut differently if it were him, adding that trimming a few feet off of the top and some on the side would do. Cannard called the company soon after the tree was trimmed to cut the tree down completely…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, May 22, 2019: New at MOCA: The surprisingly active life of a dead tree

It looks like an autopsy: the white ash rests on its side on the Museum of Contemporary Art’s third floor, ready for your examination. The roughly 60-foot tree has been cut into sections and reassembled on top of metal sawhorses. Its root ball hangs from a gantry at the far side of the room. The in-house researcher puts its age at around 150 years, but it’s already been dead at least a year. And though the researcher can’t definitively name its killer, the tree is riddled with evidence of the emerald ash borer, an invasive Asian beetle that has speedily pushed Ontario’s ash tree population toward extinction. The exhibition invites viewers to study the remains. While a close encounter with a deceased tree may sound unexceptional, shown in this irregular context — the majestic ash extracted whole, transported inside the usually sterile white cube space and presented in exploded view — what becomes startlingly evident is just how alive a dead tree really is. There are patches of fungi and moss, a crust of blue-green lichen, spiderwebs just hours old and an assortment of arthropods, including several ant species, which have already begun colonizing the gallery floor. (Is it OK that they’re doing that?) There are so many that you can hear them. They sound like boiling water…

Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019: Leaning tree of DC: Park service lifts toppled Washington Monument mulberry tree

A mulberry tree on the grounds of the Washington Monument in D.C. that toppled due to saturated ground from heavy rain was raised by the National Park Service. But not by much. The white mulberry tree that predates the 1885 dedication of the monument fell over during Mother’s Day weekend, and the park service mulled options on how to save it. On Wednesday, NPS announced that they successfully raised it by 10 degrees, the right conditions for root generation without causing additional stress on the root system. NPS said that the exposed roots will be pruned and covered with topsoil. NPS had hoped for a partial raise and a custom prop, according to NPS arborist Jason Gillis in a tweet. While the tree’s roots were exposed, they were watered twice a day…

San Antonio, Texas, KENS-TV, May 22, 2019: ‘What does it take for it to be an issue?’: Uvalde family demands city to cut down aging tree that killed 6-year-old

For a city that praises itself as Tree City, USA, it’s exactly that that’s left Uvalde resident Olga Cano and her family devastated. “He was my baby,” said Olga, Giovanni’s mother, as she began to cry. “That was my baby, no matter what.” On Sunday, Uvalde Police responded to South Hight Street after calls that a child was hit by a tree limb. Police say the branch was partially hanging near the roadway when Giovanni Cano was playing with it. The limb broke off and hit the 6-year-old. He was quickly rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Now his family is demanding answers as to why the old tree was still up in the first place. “I still feel like this can’t be real,” said, Veronica Cano, Giovanni’s aunt. “That branch was falling. I don’t know how the city workers and all the police officers that pass daily, multiple times…this street was way too active for them not to see it. “It was falling.” Neighbors told KENS 5 someone reported the downed tree earlier that Sunday, but no one from the city came to clean it up. Uvalde Police tell KENS 5 that, to their knowledge, there were no reports before the incident that killed Giovanni…

New York City, WCBS-TV, May 21, 2019: Tourist critically injured after being hit in the head by falling tree branch in Washington Square Park

A tourist from Virginia was hit in the head by a falling tree branch in Washington Square Park Monday evening. Police identified the victim as Penny Chang, 55. She was sitting on one of the benches on the west side of the park at around 7:30 p.m. when the 30-foot branch broke off and slammed into her head. Her 19-year-old son Jacob was sitting with her and wasn’t injured. Chang was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in critical but stable condition. She has a fractured skull and spine. Savage says there may have been a few seconds of warning before the 30 foot branch broke off and slammed into Chang’s head. “I heard a cracking sound and I didn’t know what it was. I looked around scared,” Manhattan resident Betty Savage told CBS2’s Marc Liverman. When Savage looked around, she saw a woman lying on the pavement right in front of some benches. “People were running over to her, screaming ‘Get a doctor! Get a doctor!’ She was not moving at all,” Savage said. “I was very shaken up. It was horrible. I was scared to death.” Another witness told Liverman that warning sound may have been the only reason no one else was hurt. “People were trying to get away, and she was trying to get away too, but the tree hit her, boom, right on the head and she fell on the floor,” Lower East Side resident Tyrone Taylor said…

Do It Yourself, May 21, 2019: How to Combat Blight on Trees

Blight is a quick and deadly tree disease that can potentially affect almost any tree in the U.S., which makes it a huge problem. Knowing how to combat blight is essential. If you don’t treat this problem as soon as it strikes, it can kill not just one tree but entire tree populations. There are several types of tree blight, but the treatment is generally the same for all these different diseases. Fire blight causes discoloration, usually on the bark of trees, though it can also affect blossoms and roots. There is no cure for fire blight. Once it affects your trees, your only hope is to completely eliminate the blight by pruning it off the tree. To successfully remove fire blight, you actually have to over-prune. You need to cut 12 to 18 inches above and below the areas of the tree that are visibly affected…

Derby, UK, Telegraph, May 21, 2019: How Brexit could make these two types of tree extinct in Britain

Palm and olive trees could be at risk of extinction on British shores post-Brexit, claims a leading online garden centre. Experts from GardeningExpress.co.uk have claimed that plants of Mediterranean origin are at risk of supply shortages should import restrictions be tightened after the UK finally leaves the EU. Gardeners’ warm weather favourites such as palms and olives are susceptible to plant diseases that are only found in that region of South Europe and North Africa. With a natural range from Portugal and Morocco to the Levant, the olive tree has been popular since prehistory and its branches are a symbol of peace. Palm trees, meanwhile, are one of the most cultivated species worldwide and can bring a touch of tropical greenery to UK gardens. Currently their quantity and quality is monitored before potential quarantine, with importation regulated by EU laws…

New York City, WPIX-TV, May 21, 2019: Property owners and city disagree about tree ownership on Staten Island street

Three trees off Taylor Street on the North Shore of Staten Island are growing into a controversy. An abandoned house was recently demolished and the property owner has new plans for the corner lot. Frank Martarella with thinkDESIGN Architecture is working on the new multi-family, residential building on the property. Zoning regulates the number of off-street parking spaces and the placement of driveways and curbs. “Based on numerous regulations required for curb-cut locations, we are forced to remove several trees,” Martarella said. They say the permit for tree removal would be $592,000. “Nobody is against trees. We have been planting within the property, at the street and the curb, for decades. We understand the importance,” Martarella said. Some Staten Island property owners have filed a lawsuit to challenge the NYC Parks Department process. Attorney Robert Fishler represents some of the owners and developers and calls it a case of property rights…

Asheville, North Carolina, Mountain Express, May 20, 2019: From CPP: To cut or not to cut? Disagreement over US Forest Service’s plans for trees

The U.S. Forest Service plans to harvest the majority of trees at 16 sites in Nantahala National Forest beginning next year as part of its Southside Project. Conservation organizations argue the trees at several of these sites represent exceptionally older and rarer growth than the Forest Service has recognized and are calling for the project to be withdrawn or revised after the Forest Service completes the revision of its land management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in Western North Carolina, a draft of which is expected later this year. “Only one-half of 1 percent of the forest is old growth in the Southeast,” Buzz Williams of the Chattooga Conservancy told Carolina Public Press. “That is the reason within itself to leave it alone.” Williams recently visited a 23-acre site on a ridge below Round Mountain, near the headwaters of the Whitewater River in Jackson County. He removed a sample of wood with the diameter of a chopstick from the core of a towering chestnut oak growing on the ridge. By viewing the rings that are visible in the sample, Williams estimated that the tree is nearly two centuries old. And it’s not alone: Scattered on the ridgeline are aging white oaks and other tree species that eluded the heavy logging of the region a century ago…

Los Angeles, California, KNBC-TV, May 20, 2019: Judge OKs Trial For Family’s Suit Over Woman’s Death From Fallen Tree

Family members of a 61-year-old woman who died when an 80-foot tree fell on her at her daughter’s wedding party in Whittier in 2016 can take their lawsuit against the city to trial, a judge ruled. Norwalk Superior Court Judge Kristin S. Escalante heard arguments on the city of Whittier’s dismissal motion on Thursday, then took the case under submission before issuing a final ruling Friday. Trial is scheduled Sept. 30. The relatives of the late Margarita Mojarro filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2017, alleging wrongful death and that a dangerous condition of public property existed. The case was later transferred to Norwalk Superior Court. The plaintiffs include the woman’s husband, Feliciano Mojarro; and four of her children, including the bride, Patricia Mojarro…

Pennlive.com, May 20, 2019: Native plants amazingly resilient when invasives removed, says Penn State study

When invasive shrubs are removed from the forest, native plants can rebound more strongly than expected, according to researchers at Penn State. The native plants demonstrated unexpected ability and vigor to recolonize spots from which invasive shrubs were removed. “The regeneration of native plants that we saw where invasive shrubs had been removed exceeds what we expected from looking at uninvaded parts of the forest,” said researcher Erynn Maynard-Bean, who recently earned her doctoral degree in ecology. “We believe that’s because invasive shrubs take up residence in the best spots in the forest. They are most successful where there are the most resources — sunlight, soil nutrients and water. Then, when invasive shrubs are removed, the growth of native plants in those locations beats expectations.” Maynard-Bean arrived at that conclusion through a long-term project that spanned 7 years in the Arboretum at Penn State. Researchers repeatedly removed 18 species of invasive shrubs and then monitoring the response by native plants…

Phy.org, May 20, 2019: Can a hands-on model help forest stakeholders fight tree disease?

When a new, more aggressive strain of the pathogen that causes sudden oak death turned up in Oregon, scientists and stakeholders banded together to try to protect susceptible trees and the region’s valuable timber industry. Sudden oak death is a serious threat. Since 1994, the disease has killed millions of trees in California and Oregon. If the disease spreads from an isolated outbreak in Curry County, Oregon, to neighboring Coos County, the impact could be severe: a 15% reduction in timber harvest, loss of 1,200 jobs and about $58 million in lost wages, according to an Oregon Department of Forestry report. Researchers with North Carolina State University’s Center for Geospatial Analytics reached out to help in Oregon, offering Tangible Landscape, an interactive model that allows people of all skill levels to control complex simulation models with their hands and collaboratively explore scenarios of management decisions…

Couer d’Alene, Idaho, Press, May 19, 2019: The mighty oak tree has long been revered in history, with 600 different kinds around the world — but none native to Idaho

After starting as a small acorn, oak trees can grow to a huge size and survive life facing torrential rains, bitter winters, drought, disease and raging fires — but not man’s ax. The oak is a treasure to humans and animals and is well recorded in history since ancient times — not really surprising because people are like oak trees: “The acorn does not know that it will become a sapling. The sapling does not remember when it was an acorn, and only dimly senses that it will become a mighty oak. The oak recalls fondly when it was a sapling, loves being a mighty oak, and joyfully creates new acorns,” says writer J. Earp. Idaho’s biggest oak tree is a bur oak (Quercus macrocarp) in the Julia Davis Park in Boise, standing 105 feet tall with a trunk waist just over 14 feet. Sadly, it receives little mention by Boise Parks & Recreation. Oaks are not native to Idaho, but in addition to the Boise bur oak, there is at least one English oak and one northern red oak…

Oakland, California, KNTV, May 17, 2019: Vandals rip out 2,000 cherry trees out of Former 49er Newberry’s Brentwood orchard

A former San Francisco 49ers player turned cherry farmer is now experiencing a sour note. Jeremy Newberry was set to start his first Brentwood cherry harvest season, but instead he arrived this week to find thousands of his newly-planted cherry trees ripped from the ground. “Literally this whole area was ransacked,” Newberry said. “I was sick to my stomach.” Newberry discovered Wednesday someone vandalized his orchard, ripping out 2,000 newly-planted cherry trees. “They yanked them out of the ground at the root and snapped them in half so you can’t replant them,” he said. Newberry plans to sleep in a trailer on the property to keep watch over his new field of dreams…

Virtual Strategy, May 20, 2019: A massive willow tree fell in Richboro, and Giroud Tree and Lawn saves it by…

April showers bring May flowers, but heavy showers can bring big problems for trees with compromised root systems! That was the case with a beautiful Willow Tree in Richboro, Pa. when it crashed down during a windy storm. The homeowners were worried the tree would have to be removed. Thankfully, Vice President and ISA Certified Arborist, Drew Slousky, from Giroud Tree and Lawn determined that the tree could be saved and stood up again. Check out the incredible video showing how Giroud Tree Crew Leader, Leonardo Marquez worked with the Giroud Crew to stand up the Willow Tree. Disasters such as this one can leave homeowners wondering what could have been done to prevent such a big problem on the property. “Sometimes when Mother Nature calls, there are tragedies that just can’t be prevented,” explains ISA Certified Giroud Arborist, Rob Nagy. “When conditions are the perfect mix of saturated soil with too much wind, trees can just uproot. But there are many things you can do strengthen your trees so they are better prepared for these situations…”

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 20, 2019: To save the species, conservationists work to build a tougher butternut tree

Conservationists in southwestern Ontario are working to fight back against an insidious, tree-killing canker that threatens butternut trees across Eastern Canada. Never an overly abundant species, butternuts are revered by woodworkers and were an important food source for Indigenous people. But a canker first found in Wisconsin in 1967 had, by the early 1990s, taken root in Ontario. Butternuts are found throughout Ontario and as far east as New Brunswick. John Enright is a forester with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA). He’s also a big fan of the butternut tree. One reason? He believes the nuts they drop in the fall exceed walnuts when it comes to flavor. “I know most people haven’t had a chance to eat a butternut but if you ever do get one, they are excellent, much better and sweeter than walnuts,” he said. “They’re a good nut for human consumption but also for wildlife…”

New York City, Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2019: G&E Caused Fire That Killed 85, California Concludes

California investigators found that PG&E Corp.’s equipment sparked the deadliest wildfire in state history, putting additional pressure on a company already facing billions of dollars in fire-related liability costs. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Wednesday it had determined that a PG&E electric-transmission line near the town of Pulga, Calif., ignited last year’s Camp Fire, which spread quickly across dry vegetation in the forested foothills of the Sierra Nevada, killing 85 people and destroying the town of Paradise. State fire investigators also said they identified a second point of ignition where vegetation blew into the company’s electric-distribution lines, starting another fire that was consumed by the first one. Cal Fire sent its investigative report to the Butte County District Attorney’s office, which will determine whether the company will face criminal charges. The findings—which end months of speculation about the utility’s role in the massive wildfire—raise the likelihood that PG&E could face billions of dollars in liability costs related to its role in the November fire. PG&E sought bankruptcy protection in January in anticipation of more than $30 billion in potential liability costs. It said earlier this year that its equipment was probably the cause of the Camp Fire. State fire investigators previously determined that the company’s equipment contributed to sparking 18 blazes that together killed 22 people in 2017…

Chatham, New Jersey, Patch, May 16, 2019: Cutting Down Trees Could Cost Chatham Property Owner $25K

A Chatham property owner could face upwards of $25,000 in fines for clearing too many trees from a property located at the corner of Mountainview Road and Fairmount Avenue, according to Chatham Township Administrator Robert Hoffman. There were a total of 29 summonses issued to the property owner that are related to the illegal removal of trees. “They were issued to both the property owner and Tree Service,” Hoffman told Patch. According to Hoffman, the property owner attempted to use the fact that he is not a native speaker of English and that English is his second language as a reason for the additional tree removal. Hoffman noted there was a permit issued to authorize the removal of eight trees and that the tree service used understands English. “Math is international,” Hoffman said. “Numbers don’t change from one language to another.” Hoffman said the homeowner will have to appear in court and will have to explain to the judge why he took down three times as many trees as he was allowed…

Shelton, Connecticut, Herald, May 16, 2019: Eversource rights of way: Tree, brush removal has some residents seeing red

Darlene Masciola and her husband bought their Dickinson Drive home 15 years ago knowing an Eversource right of way — with a transmission tower at the property’s rear left corner — traversed the lot. While the Masciolas own the land, Eversource must maintain these rights of way by trimming or removing trees and shrubs to help protect the towers and lines. But what happens when this work leaves unhappy residents? Just ask the Masciolas and another nearby homeowner, the Fernandeses on Webster Drive. “This is just ugly,” said Masciola as she stood in her backyard, looking at what she termed a mess left behind from subcontractors who clear cut the entire section of the right of way on her property, leading back to adjoining lots, late last year. This is view Darlene Masciola sees when looking at her yard, which sits in an Eversource right of way. Eversource subcontractors trimmed trees in January, and Masciola has been unsuccessful in attempts to get the area cleaned up with new shrubs planted for screening. “I work hard on the rest of my property. Now I look out from my backyard, and I am just sick,” she said. “What I see makes me sick.” “I was shocked, devastated,” said Kathy Fernandes. “I was so depressed, I cried. What was worse was that I could not get in touch with anyone. I wanted them to see what was done. I understand they can do work in the right of way, but I did not sign up for them to destroy my backyard…”

Whittier, California, Daily News, May 16, 2019: Lawsuit filed after a falling park tree killed a grandmother may survive Whittier’s request to dismiss it

A Norwalk Superior Court judge said she’s likely to allow the lawsuit against the city of Whittier, brought by family members of a 61-year-old grandmother killed when a Penn Park tree toppled onto her, to continue. Margarita Mojarro of San Pedro was attending a wedding in December 2016 when a massive eucalyptus fell on the the party as it was posing for photos. Twenty people were injured in the injured in the tree collapse, but Mojarro was the only person killed. The city of Whittier had asked Judge Kristin S. Escalante to dismiss the case. But on Thursday, she said she’s inclined not to grant that wish. Escalante, who is expected to make a final ruling in the next couple of days, said she based her tentative decision on opinions of experts who examined the remains of the 80-foot tree and concluded the city should’ve known its poor condition. In a declaration filed by the Mojarros’ attorney, Matteo Garbelotto, who holds a doctorate in forest pathology and microbiology, said it was obvious the tree was compromised…

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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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