And Now The News …

Los Angeles, California, Times, October 20, 2020: $28 million to go to family of woman killed by falling tree at wedding in Whittier park

The family of a San Pedro woman who was killed by a falling tree at her daughter’s wedding nearly four years ago has reached a tentative $28-million settlement with the city of Whittier, according to court documents filed by the plaintiffs’ attorney. Margarita Mojarro, 61, was at Whittier’s Penn Park in December 2016 when a 70-foot blue gum eucalyptus fell onto the wedding party as they posed for pictures. Mojarro was killed, and several others were injured, including a 3-year-old girl who suffered irreparable brain damage. “There is no amount of money that can bring back family members or heal the damage that was done,” said Brian Leinbach, the plaintiffs’ attorney, “but they are pleased to put this tragic event behind them, and they feel good about that.” The lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleged that the city should have known about the danger of the tree, which the suit said was “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly maintained in dangerous character and condition attributable to advanced rot and decay.” The tree was over-watered and situated at a dangerous 20% grade, according to the suit, and the city both failed to remediate the threat or warn parkgoers of any danger. The case has been fiercely litigated for more than three years. The city initially maintained no fault in the accident, which it called “an unforeseeable Act of God,” and said that park managers had inspected the tree “three or four times” in the two years prior and found no cause for concern. The “failing” of the tree, which weighed several thousand pounds, followed several days of heavy rains that could have loosened the soil and unearthed its roots, arborists said at the time…

Baltimore, Maryland, WJZ-TV, October 22, 2020: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Asking Property Owners To Plant Trees In Effort To Reduce Greenhouse Gases, Increase Tree Canopy

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and increase Baltimore County’s tree canopy, county executive Johnny Olszewski is calling on property owners to plant more trees. He says residents can request trees to be planted on their property for free, or they can do it themselves. Olszewski is also asking everyone to track the trees they plant [Video]…

Open Culture, October 23, 2020: Daisugi, the 600-Year-Old Japanese Technique of Growing Trees Out of Other Trees, Creating Perfectly Straight Lumber

We’ve all admired the elegance of Japan’s traditional styles of architecture. Their development required the kind of dedicated craftsmanship that takes generations to cultivate — but also, more practically speaking, no small amount of wood. By the 15th century, Japan already faced a shortage of seedlings, as well as land on which to properly cultivate the trees in the first place. Necessity being the mother of invention, this led to the creation of an ingenious solution: daisugi, the growing of additional trees, in effect, out of existing trees — creating, in other words, a kind of giant bonsai. “Written as 台杉 and literally meaning platform cedar, the technique resulted in a tree that resembled an open palm with multiple trees growing out if it, perfectly vertical,” writes Spoon and Tamago’s Johnny Waldman. “Done right, the technique can prevent deforestation and result in perfectly round and straight timber known as taruki, which are used in the roofs of Japanese teahouses.” These teahouses are still prominent in Kyoto, a city still known for its traditional cultural heritage, and not coincidentally where daisugi first developed. “It’s said that it was Kyoto’s preeminent tea master, Sen-no-rikyu, who demanded perfection in the Kitayama cedar during the 16th century,” writes My Modern Met’s Jessica Stewart…

Phys.org, October 22, 2020: Soil fungi act like a support network for trees, study shows

Being highly connected to a strong social network has its benefits. Now a new University of Alberta study is showing the same goes for trees, thanks to their underground neighbors. The study, published in the Journal of Ecology, is the first to show that the growth of adult trees is linked to their participation in fungal networks living in the forest soil. Though past research has focused on seedlings, these findings give new insight into the value of fungal networks to older trees—which are more environmentally beneficial for functions like capturing carbon and stabilizing soil erosion. “Large trees make up the bulk of the forest, so they drive what the forest is doing,” said researcher Joseph Birch, who led the study for his Ph.D. thesis in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. When they colonize the roots of a tree, fungal networks act as a sort of highway, allowing water, nutrients and even the compounds that send defense signals against insect attacks to flow back and forth among the trees…

Ann Arbor, Michigan, News, October 21, 2020: Lawsuit over Ann Arbor utility rates ignites council debate about funding for trees

A lawsuit over Ann Arbor’s water and sewer rates and how the city is spending money from ratepayers has sparked debate among City Council members. The lawsuit, which claims the city owes utility customers tens of millions of dollars in refunds, in part calls into question the city’s use of stormwater funds for trees. Up for council approval Monday night, Oct. 19, was a $674,020 contract with the Davey Tree Expert Co. for routine pruning of trees along city streets, funded by stormwater fees. The city has for several years funded trees and their maintenance using stormwater fees paid by utility customers. The city maintains trees provide important stormwater management benefits, intercepting an estimated 65 million gallons of stormwater each year. Last month, council approved using $160,775 from stormwater fees to plant 500 trees…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, October 21, 2020: Councilman ‘alarmed’ after Lakewood removes 6 trees along Detroit Avenue

The removal last Thursday (Oct. 15) of a half-dozen sunburst locust trees from the south side of Detroit Avenue, between Lakeland and Westwood avenues, caused quite the social media outcry in Lakewood. “This is part of regular maintenance of our tree canopy,” Mayor Meghan George said. “Apparently, the prior administration had some sort of verbal agreement with LakewoodAlive that any removal of trees in a business district would be verbally communicated with them in advance.” The mayor said she and her administration were never notified about such a handshake agreement. She noted that the trees in question were safety hazards that required removal prior to a full sidewalk replacement project starting this fall. “Even with the prior agreement, at the end of the day, this is a safety issue,” George said. “The brick surrounding the trees were inches apart.” City Arborist and Tree Forestry Manager Dan Sullivan said the trees, which despite being trimmed by utility companies were in the overhead wires, had been a source of complaints to the building department by second-floor apartment tenants. Even if the sidewalk wasn’t being replaced, it was Sullivan’s recommendation that the trees be removed…

Norfolk, Virginia, Virginian Pilot, October 21, 2020: North Carolina’s champion persimmon tree is the center of attention at the Dismal Swamp State Park

A tall tree with a champion’s title stands on the western bank of the Dismal Swamp Canal. Way up high in the tree’s top, orange-colored persimmons grow. “They’re a little hard to see because it’s so tall,” said Katie Sandford, a ranger at the Dismal Swamp State Park in Camden County. The persimmon tree stands 98 feet tall, about 50 feet more than the typical height for the species. Its trunk measures 96 inches in circumference and the spread of its canopy is 52 feet. Those three measurements are the factors that led to the tree being labeled the champion persimmon tree in North Carolina. The tree is the center of attention this time of year for the park wildlife when persimmons ripen and become really sweet, earning the nickname of sugar plum. Its genus name of diospyros means fruit of the Gods. When the fruit falls to the ground, it’s like a banquet for opossums, raccoons, bears and birds. Sandford believed a raccoon must have feasted recently based on droppings found at the base of the tree Tuesday…

Vancouver, British Columbia, Sun, October 21, 2020: Company fined for cutting Kerrisdale tree with nesting nuthatches, killing chicks

A tree-pruning company has been fined after it cut branches off a tree at a Kerrisdale apartment building in the spring, disrupting a nest of red-breasted nuthatches and killing at least three chicks. Environment Canada announced the fine this week after months of investigation into the violation that was reported by a 12-year-old bird-lover who had been visiting the birds every day. Clay Zhou-Radies was shocked when on one of his visits in May he found the nest and the nuthatches and a couple of northern flickers gone. He reported the incident to Environment Canada, and officers investigated under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. “During the course of this inspection, carcasses of migratory bird chicks (nuthatches) were collected by officers,” said spokeswoman Veronica Petro in an email. She said Environment Canada doesn’t reveal the identity of those issued violation notices or the amount of the fine…

Sacramento, California, Bee, October 20, 2020: Court monitor slams PG&E for falling behind on wildfire tree trimming across California

PG&E Corp. is still missing dangerous trees in its quest to keep limbs from crashing into power lines and igniting major wildfires, a court-appointed investigator has found. Mark Filip, a Chicago lawyer who is the court-appointed monitor in the utility’s criminal probation, reported this week that the utility’s “enhanced vegetation management” program appeared to backslide this year after making strides in late 2019. “Although there were meaningful improvements within 2019, that improvement appears to have, at best, plateaued, and perhaps actual regression has occurred,” Filip wrote in a report to U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco. The monitor, a partner in the Kirkland & Ellis law firm in Chicago, said the number of “missed hazard trees,” after declining late last year after a critical report, has risen again. In one case, Filip said his team spotted just three weeks ago a tree that was supposed to have been pulled down in mid-August. The leaves on the tree actually made contact with utility equipment and the leaves were singed. The tree has since been removed…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, October 20, 2020: Man once sentenced to jail for IOP tree cutting now faces lawsuit from the city

A man who faced jail time for cutting down protected trees is being sued by the city, which says he still needs to pay the value of the growth he destroyed. In a lawsuit filed last week, Isle of Palm leaders say Jonathan James Gandolfo completed his sentence for the infraction but has failed to either donate replacement trees or pay the cost of replacing them, a part of the city’s tree ordinance. The complaint estimates the cost at around $57,000. IOP is asking both for the tree replacement cost and additional punitive damages of an unspecified amount. An attorney for the town declined to comment beyond the specifics in the complaint. Alice Paylor, an attorney for Gandolfo, said Tuesday she is in the process of filing a motion to dismiss the suit. She said the statute of limitations has run out on the ordinance, and that Gandolfo can’t be forced to pay the fees because he did not own the land where the trees were cut. Gandolfo was convicted in a 2018 jury trial of improperly cutting down two trees, one significant and one historic, on an Isle of Palms property. He attempted to buy the property the trees were on but ultimately the sale did not close…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, October 20, 2020: Alien-looking hairy red pods spouting from ‘stressed’ trees in Hawaii, experts say

In yet another example of 2020’s endless supply of bad omens, hairy looking red pods are now growing from trees in a volcanic park on the Island of Hawaii. A photo showing two of the growths dangling from Ohia tree limbs was posted Oct. 10 on Facebook by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a turbulent area that “includes two of the world’s most active volcanoes.” Classic science fiction warns such pods are foreboding evidence of an alien invasion, like the pods that assume the shape of people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” A US Geological Survey drone captured lava erupting at the fissure 8 cinder cone near Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano on July 14. According to the USGS, the lava emerging from the cone was traveling at a speed of 13 to 16 miles per hour. But the National Park Service says the “red nests” are indicative of a different kind of trouble — one that has nature acting in reverse. The Ohia trees are so stressed, officials said, roots are popping out above ground on their limbs. “Stress may come from the cracking of the tree’s bark (either from natural growth or injury), fire heat or smoke, insects, or disease,” the post said. “In the park, the phenomenon has been especially documented in trees that were defoliated during the eruptions of Kīlauea Iki in 1959 and Mauna Ulu in the early 1970s…

Tucson, Arizona, Arizona Daily Star, October 20, 2020: The best way to plant a tree in Tucson

How do you plant a tree? As the old joke goes, green end up. In Tucson, it’s a bit more complicated, and one big reason for that is caliche. Caliche is a hardened soil layer common to desert soils. It is made up of calcium salts and minerals (mostly calcium carbonate) which are naturally present in the soil. In rainier places, minerals and salts in the soil are flushed through by rainfall. In drier climates like ours, over time these salts and minerals build up and form a hard layer (also called hardpan) anywhere from several inches to several feet thick. Anyone who’s tried to dig a hole by hand in Tucson knows what it’s like to try to dig through caliche — a pick or a caliche bar will be your best friend. For larger jobs, you may need to rent a jackhammer, or even a backhoe. This hard layer makes it tough on new plants — particularly trees — because their roots won’t get the drainage or the room they need if you leave the caliche in place. In addition, if a tree’s roots end up growing shallow due to the caliche layer, the tree will be in danger of toppling once it gets taller. This would not only kill the tree, but potentially be a hazard to property and people. The University of Arizona Extension Office has a helpful handout on managing caliche…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Advocate, October 19, 2020: How to deal with damaged trees after a storm

Trees are very important features of our landscapes, providing shade in summer, allowing heat to radiate into the house in winter, adding aesthetic beauty and actually improving the value of our homes. For those of us who really love trees, they are priceless. However, when a storm blows through, the damage they leave behind can be devastating to homeowners and commercial industries. Hurricane Laura took out 757,538 acres of timber, according to LSU AgCenter specialists. In Louisiana, forestry and timber rank No. 1 in the top 10 agricultural commodities at $3.49 billion, so that kind of loss is enormous. For homeowners, once a storm has passed, you need to figure out what type of damage your tree has incurred. If major limbs or the tree’s central main branch is damaged or down, you’ve likely lost your tree. Such extensive damage makes it very difficult for the tree to recover. Large wounds will take a long time to heal. In some cases, it is possible the tree will survive, but it will be definitely be stunted in addition to being a big target for pests and disease…

New York City, Spectrum NY1, October 19, 2020: Chicopee Christmas Tree Farm Prepares for Holiday Season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Paul Bunyan’s Farm and Nursery as they prepare their Christmas trees for the holiday season. Susan Lopes, business owner and Christmas tree farmer at Paul Bunyan’s Farm & Nursery, said she looks forward to this time of year because she loves seeing the joy the trees bring families. “I think I have the best job in the whole world. I love, love growing Christmas trees,” said Lopes. She spends her days out in the field making sure every tree is perfect. “I live Christmas year round. When you grow Christmas trees, it’s Christmas every day around here, at least for me,” said Lopes. Even though the pandemic canceled a lot of activities and events, it didn’t cancel Christmas and the beginning of the farm’s annual tree tagging in September. “It was a really special time for them,” said Lopes. “And for me, knowing all my hard work in the summer months paid off.” In a way, the farm provides a sense of normalcy for some in a time far from normal…

Seattle, Washington, Times, October 19, 2020: Prune trees for great looks — and safety

Whether your home is surrounded with mature trees and shrubs or you have new landscaping, you’ll want to make the most of your greenery. Properly pruned trees are graceful and elegant, shading your home in summer and creating much-needed privacy on smaller city lots. By contrast, an out-of-control tree is not only an eyesore, its branches can post a hazard to your gutters and roof — or to your neighbors’ property. “The key to living with trees is regular maintenance,” says Jeff Warrick, an arborist with Eastside Tree Works. “You are doing yourself and the tree a huge favor. Routine pruning costs much less than dealing with a tree in an emergency.” Warrick helps people assess the health of their trees and shrubs and create a plan for maintaining them. It’s especially important, he says, when you have Douglas firs, big-leaf maples, or Western hemlocks on your property…

Phys.org, October 19, 2020: Trees bring benefits to society, regardless of their origin

Trees planted in urban spaces provide a multitude of ecosystem services: they reduce air pollution and noise, provide habitat and shelter for other species, and reduce erosion during heavy rains. They also offer opportunities for relaxation, attenuate urban heat islands and contribute both to landscapes and a sense of place. At the same time, trees can be a source of allergens, generate maintenance costs and cause accidents or threats to native biodiversity if introduced from elsewhere. This last point is the subject of an ongoing debate: do introduced species contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem services? Environmental scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) – working in collaboration with the Botanical Gardens and Conservatory of the City of Geneva—have analyzed a large data-base of trees found in the Geneva region, and systematically assessed the services and inconveniences they generate. The results of the study, to be published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, show that most tree species in Geneva are non-native, and that trees provide roughly the same ecosystem services to Geneva’s urban spaces regardless of their origin…

Washington, D.C., Post, October 16, 2020: Human-driven climate change is changing the colors of fall foliage, scientists say

In the 19th century, eastern forests looked very different. Huge American chestnut trees, their trunks up to 10 feet in diameter, dominated forests from Maine to Mississippi. Their bright yellow foliage gilded Appalachia every autumn. Then, a shipment of imported trees arrived in New York in 1876 carrying a stowaway: Cryphonectria parasitica, a fungus native to Asia. Within a few decades, the fungal blight wiped out hundreds of millions of chestnuts. Oaks, hickories and red maples took over, turning yellow autumn forests more scarlet and bronze. The pattern continues as human activities transform not just the health and composition of forests, but their colors, too. Introduced pests, pathogens and invasive species are causing immediate changes to the fall color palette. And scientists are beginning to see a framework for how climate change may shape the forest colors of the future. “These species have been adapting for millions of years, and we’re putting them through a stress test in a very short period of time. It’s shocking their system,” said Tanisha M. Williams, the Burpee postdoctoral fellow in botany at Bucknell University. “But they are adapting.” Autumn’s longer nights and cooler days kick-start the seasonal color change, known as leaf senescence. Trees respond to the difference in temperature, precipitation and light by slowing photosynthesis. As the chlorophyll — the energy-producing compound that makes leaves green — breaks down, new chemical compounds emerge. Carotenoids, the same pigments in carrots and buttercups, make leaves appear orange, yellow and amber…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, October 16, 2020: Invasive insect, a danger to vineyards, beer hops, found in Connecticut

An invasive insect that has devastated vineyards, beer hop fields, orchards and other crops in several mid-Atlantic states, may be finding a home in Connecticut. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven announced this week that adult spotted lanternflies were detected in New Canaan. A single example of the insect was seen in Stamford. Last month spotted lanternflies were also found in Greenwich and West Haven. State and federal plant inspectors are conducting surveys to determine the extent of the infestation. The spotted lanternfly, native to China, India and Vietnam, first appeared in the U.S. in 2014. There were sightings in Farmington in 2018 and Southbury in 2019.“This insect has the potential to cause a great deal of damage, says Deputy State Etymologist Victoria Smith. The lanternfly has affected crops in several states, particularly in Pennsylvania. It has also been found in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. There’s another danger, associated with how the insect sucks and digests sap from fruit. Smith says there have been incidents where people broke arms or legs slipping on accumulated lanternfly excrement…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, October 18, 2020: Mushrooms are a healthy sign in your lawn — but can mean trouble on a tree

After an autumn rain, they suddenly appear: mushrooms. They pop up in the lawn, in the mulch around the base of trees, and among the perennials.
Some homeowners are alarmed by them, but mushrooms should be a welcome sight. They’re delivering good news about the health of your soil. “Mushrooms mean fungi,” said Meghan Midgley, a soil ecologist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. And fungi are one of the major ingredients of healthy soil that is good for your plants. “Fungi are natural composters,” she said. They do most of the work of breaking down each year’s batch of fallen leaves. “If you see mushrooms, it’s a sign that your soil has a healthy soil food web,” Midgley said. Along with other microorganisms, fungi consume all kinds of organic matter — the remains of dead plants, animals and other living things — and release useful nutrients into the soil to be absorbed by plant roots. Gardeners might wonder why they would want a fungus in their yards, when fungi are the source of plant diseases such as powdery mildew and cedar-apple rust. But though some kinds do cause disease, far more fungi are beneficial. They are essential to good soil, thriving plants and healthy ecosystems all over the world…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, October 17, 2020: Clear away dead trees before winter storms hit

Winter is nearly here, which means many homeowners should think about clearing away dead trees on their property. “It is very important to cut down dead trees,” said Cameron Kenny of Edmunds Trucking Excavation and Logging, a fully insured, family-run operation in Ossipee for the past five years. “You should never have them around your house because they could fall on and damage it,” he added. “Dead trees can also fall and hit a healthy tree. One good gust of wind could be all it takes.” In addition to removing dead trees, Kenny said they do everything from hauling wood and general tree service to firewood and excavation. The length of time for a particular kind of job varies, it depends on the nature of the work. For a small house lot with little trees and brush, he said they can usually clear 1-acre on a daily basis. For logging, he said they can clear 2-acres daily. “It all depends on what is on the acreage and land,” said Kenny, who noted they practice conventional logging with a chainsaw and skidder versus mechanized logging and “millions of dollars in equipment.” For pricing, he cited two different models. They buy the wood if there are 4 to 5 acres of good, healthy and mature trees, the latter characteristic defined differently depending on the tree…

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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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