And Now The News …


Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, December 10, 2019: Department of Forestry’s new management plan is so vague it’s meaningless, critics say

Oregon Department of Forestry officials will meet Wednesday with commissioners from the so-called forest trust land counties, the first such gathering since those counties won a $1.1 billion damage award in a lawsuit against the agency for failing to maximize logging on state forests. The purpose of the meeting is to review the agency’s new vision for managing 613,000 acres of forests in Western Oregon. It could be a lively discussion. The 180-page draft document laying out that vision, called a Forest Management Plan, was six years in the making. It’s inherently controversial because of the competing demands on state forests to provide various economic, social and environmental benefits. Indeed, the last version of the plan and the agency’s implementation of it landed the agency and the counties in court. This version could prove just as contentious. Barely a week after its release, stakeholders from across the spectrum are criticizing the draft plan as lacking the specifics they were expecting from the agency. They say it doesn’t deliver on the agency’s directive to come up with a plan that improves both financial and conservation outcomes. And as it stands, they say, it falls woefully short of something they can support…

Boston, Massachusetts, WCVB-TV, December 10, 2019: Tree company worker killed on the job in Wakefield, officials say

A worker for an independent tree company died while on the job in Wakefield, officials said Tuesday afternoon. The 34-year-old man was working around 11 a.m. in a wooded area at a residence near Greenwood Street, according to Wakefield police and fire officials. Authorities got to the scene and discovered the worker had suffered “traumatic” injuries, officials wrote in a statement. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene. His name is being withheld pending positive identification and family notification, officials said. Officials did not release information about exactly how the worker became injured. The name of the tree company was not released. A witness told WCVB News that a tree snapped, throwing the worker into the woods. Wakefield police have secured the Greenwood Street area as the investigation continues. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office will also investigate the death…

Lahore, Pakistan, The Daily Times, December 10, 2019: Elm trees are making a comeback in Britain thanks to the development of new breeds

Elm trees could make a comeback after dying in their millions during the 1970s when they were ravaged by disease. Varieties that are more resistant to Dutch elm disease have been identified and could be used to repopulate the country. The Future Trees Trust has found mature specimens around the country that have successfully resisted the fungal infection – and elm saplings have been bred which are not harmed by it. Karen Russell, co-author of a report into the elm, said: ‘It was our second most important timber broadleaf tree after oak. Private individuals and organizations now have a great opportunity to enable the return of elm to our countryside and communities.’ The Daily Mail’s Be A Tree Angel campaign is calling for readers to donate money or Nectar points to help plant trees across the UK – creating a greener country and fighting climate change at the same time. Part of the project is planting 1,000 orchards in 1,000 schools. The report on the elm said European and North American species had little resistance to the disease – a fungus called ascomyta spread by the elm bark beetle…

Austin, Texas, KVUE-TV, December 9, 2019: Residents band together to stop removal of 104 trees, Williamson County says it’s too late

Between 2012 and 2014, Hairy Man Road – which turns into Brushy Creek Road – had 47 accidents on the road, according to data collected by Williamson County. Only one resulted in a fatal crash, but others led to drivers or passengers getting injured, vehicles getting damaged, and/or trees getting damaged to the point of dying. The county used that data and continued to collect more through 2019 to justify expanding the roadway to two feet on each side to create a shoulder with a rumble strip. “You can add a rumble strip so if your car veered out of the lane, it hit that rumble and – oh! – you wake up. You’re conscious again and you pull back into your lane,” County Commissioner Terry Cook said. The public safety changes to this road are taking place within Cook’s precinct. She added at the heart of this issue, it’s up to drivers to be better. “The county would not have to spend one penny on this road – except routine maintenance – if drivers were responsible,” Cook said. “This is not big government coming in to take out our trees.” However, a Facebook group argues this is not the answer…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Telegram, December 9, 2019: Thieves cut top off blue spruce tree at west Omaha event center

Tree thieves ran off with most of a blue spruce tree they cut outside the Arbor Hall event center. “I’m sure that someone is using it right now as a Christmas tree,” said Molly Pagels, who operates Arbor Hall at 14040 Arbor St. “We have (surveillance) video of them cutting it down, but it was 2:30 in the morning, so it’s hard to see them.” The incident occurred Nov. 28 near a back corner of the hall, which is rented for weddings and other special events. The surveillance video shows two people with a handsaw cutting off the top 6 feet off the tree and carrying it toward nearby apartments. At one point in the video, Pagels said, a car drove by, prompting the thieves to drop the tree and lie on the ground until the vehicle passed. Pagels estimated the value of the tree, planted four years ago, at $250…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tribune, December 9, 2019: Harrison tree service company emphasizes safety as they reach new heights

B.J. Schaltenbrand recalls the time BeaverJack Tree Service received a request that was out of the ordinary. A woman from Pittsburgh called the Harrison-based company because her parrot had flown 50 feet up into a tree, and she needed help getting it down. “She was in panic. (She said) ‘I can’t get the firefighters. I can’t get anybody here. I need to get this parrot down. He means so much to me,’ ” said Schaltenbrand, who owns the tree and landscape maintenance company. Schaltenbrand contacted one of his climbers — the employees who climb trees to maintain them — with a new assignment: rescue the parrot. “He’s like, ‘Whatever it takes. Let’s go,’ ” Schaltenbrand said of the employee, who rescued the bird and reunited it with its owner. “I think that that was one of the most extraordinary calls that we’ve ever received…”

Phys.org, December 9, 2019: Scientists accidentally discover a new water mold threatening Christmas trees

Grown as Christmas trees, Fraser firs are highly prized for their rich color and pleasant scent as well as their ability to hold their needles. Unfortunately, they are also highly susceptible to devastating root rot diseases caused by water molds in the genus Phytophthora. Scientists in Connecticut were conducting experiments testing various methods to grow healthier Fraser trees when they accidentally discovered a new species of Phytophthora. They collected the diseased plants, isolated and grew the pathogen on artificial media, then inoculated it into healthy plants before re-isolating it to prove its pathogenicity. “Once the organism was isolated, the presence of unusually thick spore walls alerted us that this may not be a commonly encountered species,” said Rich Cowles, a scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station involved with this study, “and so comparison of several genes’ sequences with known Phytophthora species was used to discover how our unknown was related to other, previously described species.” In fact, they had discovered a new species altogether. The fact that these scientists so readily discovered a new species of Phytophthora infecting Christmas trees suggests that there could be many more species waiting to be discovered…

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, December 9, 2019: Is planting trees in Denver the natural thing to do?

The Downtown Denver Partnership released its annual report outlining a plan to try to double the percentage of tree canopy coverage in the coming years. But is Denver really supposed to have that many trees? “There’s a lot of things that make it less than ideal for trees,” Mike Bone said. He is a horticulturist and the curator of Steppe Collections for Denver Botanic Gardens. Bone said first, prior to people, trees never thrived on the land that Denver sits on. “We’re smack dab in the middle of the Great North American Steppes,” Bone said. “So, there’s not a lot of trees that are native to this site.” Denver is supposed to be short grass prairie land with trees growing only near water because water is a problem here. “The dry rain shadow of the Rockies makes it very difficult for trees to survive here,” Bone said. The climate is a factor too, he said. “Extremes of hot summers and cold winters and especially when the weather changes dramatically as it does from time to time…”

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, December 8, 2019: Aggressive action in Minnesota slowing spread of tree-killing beetle

The state’s population of ash trees should have been ruined by now. Instead, the invasion of a tree-killing beetle has dramatically slowed, leaving millions of ash trees still standing. “We got kind of lucky,” said Jeff Hahn, an entomologist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Hahn is not declaring victory over the emerald ash borer, which is expected to eventually destroy most of the state’s 1 billion ash trees. But he is noting that on the 10th anniversary of the bug’s arrival, its advance has been slower than was originally predicted. In Michigan, in only 10 years, the beetle wiped out 30 million ash trees, and spread to almost all of its 83 counties. But after a decade in Minnesota, the destruction has been limited to 17 counties, mostly in the metro area and southeast Minnesota. “It’s remarkable that we still have ash trees in the metro area,” said Rob Venette, director of the U’s Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center. The beetle was first spotted in St. Paul in 2009. Its arrival led to fears every ash tree in the metro area would soon be killed. Experts believe that Minnesota’s cold snaps to minus-30 degrees help kill the beetle. Michigan’s winters are more mild — compare St. Paul’s record cold of minus 41 degrees to Detroit’s minus 13…

Digital Journal, December 8, 2019: How to Check for Signs of Spotted Lanternfly Before Purchasing a Christmas Tree

Finding the perfect Christmas trees is one of the highlights of the holiday season. However, with the recent invasion of the Spotted Lanternfly, many Pennsylvanians are left wondering if they should be hesitant about bringing a possible tainted topiary into their home. The experts at Giroud Tree and Lawn explain what to look for on Christmas trees before buying one. Spotted Lanternfly came from Asia, where natural predators keep the species from multiplying too quickly. Unfortunately, here in the United States, it’s spreading rapidly because those known predators aren’t around to keep it in check. While Spotted Lanternfly have invaded Pennsylvania heavily in the last few years, there’s not much cause for concern on your Christmas Conifer. The PA Department of Agriculture and Penn State have been working closely with the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association, and they have been diligently training all tree growers on proper inspection practices. Although the Spotted Lanternfly has been seen on many species of trees, they don’t appear to show an interest in the varieties used for Christmas trees. In a recent article published by the Penn State Extension, Tanner Delvalle, a horticulture extension educator explains, “Christmas trees are not a preferred host for spotted lanternflies, so the probability of finding a spotted lanternfly or an egg mass on Christmas trees is low and should not be a reason for anyone to forego having a live holiday tree…”

Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Journal, December 8, 2019: How to best maintain your Christmas tree

Any tree can be successfully maintained to outlast the holidays, but Ray Guries, professor of forest and wildlife ecology at UW-Madison, said fir trees are easier because they hold the needles best. Fraser, balsam and Douglas firs retain needles better whereas spruce and pine trees are prone to shedding, he said. Laura Jull, associate professor of horticulture at UW-Madison, said balsam firs and Fraser firs are more aromatic. She said any type of spruce tree should be avoided because their needles drop quickly. Buying the freshest tree possible ensures the least amount of needle shedding, Guries said. The longer it has been since the tree was harvested, the drier and therefore more likely it will be to shed the twigs and needles. Guries suggests going to a u-cut farm and harvesting your own tree. Once the tree is home, keep it in a cool place out of the wind before putting it on display, and put the cut-end in water. Before putting it up, cut at least an inch off the trunk to remove the resin seal so the tree can keep taking in water. A fresh tree that has been handled correctly will continue to transpire, which means it is able to conduct water through the stem, branches and needles, Guries said…

New York City, WABC-TV, December 8, 2019: Tree vendor in SoHo selling 20-foot fir for $6,500

A vendor in SoHo Is selling what is likely the city’s most expensive Christmas tree. ‘SoHo Trees’ is offering 20-foot Fraser firs at $6,500 a pop. Other vendors nearby are selling similar trees for less – but not by much. The salesman insists the high tree price – at $325 per foot isn’t fazing buyers. Vendors blame the hefty price tags on a shortage this season of the favored Fraser fir…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, December 5, 2019: It’s time to band trees in Charlotte. What for, and are those green worms going away?

It’s an annual tradition in Charlotte. Cooking up a big Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for presents, decorating for Christmas and — banding your trees to battle the cankerworm. The pesky, lime-green, leaf-eating worm makes itself most annoying in the spring, when millions of them drop from the trees of Charlotte, littering your porch, hitch-hiking on your dog, or even worse, getting caught in your hair. The good news: after spending decades and millions of dollars battling the insect, it appears the city of Charlotte may actually have conquered the canker. [In 2016: 38,948 worms; in 2017, 32,434 worms; in 2018, 4,963 worms; and in 2019, 184 worms.] For those of you who prefer math, that’s a 99.5% decrease. “While we don’t know for certain what the cause is, our best guess is that in back-to-back years, we had several consecutive nights of hard freezes in early spring that may have killed the newly hatched caterpillars at the tops of the trees, as well as the foliage in the trees that they need to feed on,” said Laurie Dukes, assistant city arborist. Besides being a nuisance, the cankerworm is a voracious eater, chowing down on the leaves of the city’s larger trees. The sheer number of worms can severely damage or kill these old and fragile trees…

Newsweek, December 5, 2019: Tree Farmers Upset About Commercial That Calls Artificial Christmas Trees More Eco-Friendly

A holiday commercial from retailer Canadian Tire has tree farmers upset because it positioned artificial Christmas trees as an eco-friendly alternative to cutting one down. Canadian Tire, which has 1,686 locations in the country, released its Christmas commercial a few weeks ago. In the clip, a father and daughter walk through a snowy forest, saw in hand, to cut down a tree for the holiday. After the young girl shows her dad that the trees are home to a wide variety of animal life, he reconsiders and they head inside to decorate an artificial tree for their holiday. Although the advertisement might seem anodyne, tree farmers are protesting the implication that their livelihood is damaging to the environment. Jimmy Downey of Downey Tree Farm & Nursery spoke to CBC News about the clip. He pointed out that the majority of artificial trees are made in China of nonbiodegradable plastics, and even though they can be used for multiple years they still represent a larger carbon footprint in manufacturing, shipping and disposal. “Natural trees live in the environment for 15 years, producing oxygen for us, and they are recycled. Ultimately, they are better for the environment…”

National Geographic, December 5, 2019: How to live with mega-fires? Portugal’s feral forests may hold the secret

When the speeding BMW emerged out of the smoke of burning eucalyptus trees, heading straight for her firetruck, Filipa Rodriguez had no time to react. “I had time only to think, ‘We’re going to crash,’” she says, massaging the burn marks on her arms, and then the car plowed into them, and the five volunteer firefighters stumbled out from their ruined truck into an inferno. It was high summer in 2017, and they had just crossed into the outer bands of the worst firestorm to ever hit Portugal, a presage for a new age of mega-fire that would soon stalk across landscapes from Spain to Australia. Rodriguez, then 24, stepped outside and her safety goggles immediately melted to her face; as she ripped them off, skin came with them. She blinked through the smoke at eucalyptus trees flying by, burning, in the winds of the biggest flames she had ever seen. Rodriguez was not a professional—like three generations of her male relatives, she was a member of the bombeiros, the volunteer firefighting corps that since the 1950s has served as first line of fire defense for the towns of the rugged, hardscrabble, limestone hills of the Portuguese interior. Every summer all types—doctors, teachers, mail carriers, college students—take their vacations at the local fire station, where they wait round the clock for word of fire…


Imperial Beach California, Eagle & Times, December 5, 2019: How To Choose A Christmas Tree: Tips From Expert Arborist Mark Chisholm

There’s more to decking the halls with just the right Christmas tree than many people realize. Here are seven hints that can help. Before you head to the lot or store to pick out this year’s tree, you must be certain of where you want to place the tree and the space available. Try to avoid spots near heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces, heating vents and even televisions or sun-drenched windows. Also, try to tuck the tree into a low-traffic area to avoid accidental bumping and possible safety issues. Next, you’ll need to measure the space dimensions you have to work with, bearing in mind that a tree stand will add a few extra inches of height, as will a star or angel to finish the top. If you’re like me and look forward to contributing to the spirit of the season while picking a tree, you can look for charitable lots. One I like to shop at donates all of its proceeds to a children’s hospital. Another option would be to get an extra tree and then donate it to a family that can’t afford one or to an organization that will find that tree the right home. At the lot you will likely see three or four common varieties of trees. Some things to consider when choosing are the color, shape and feel of the tree. Some trees are dark green, and others have gray or white shades. There are trees with tight branching patterns and some with more spaces. One thing to remember is that if the tree looks very full while absent of ornaments, it may be difficult to decorate…

 

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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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