And Now The News …

Los Angeles, California, Times, January 17, 2021: Consortium wants to cut down L.A. County Arboretum trees to make room for storm water treatment

Officials at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden are in an uproar over a plan to manage storm water and boost climate resiliency by cutting down “specimen trees” — some 70 years old and more than 100 feet tall — to make room for groundwater recharge ponds and a pump station. The strategy was crafted by a consortium of five foothill cities and Los Angeles County Public Works. They believe a portion of the 127-acre paradise of flowering trees and shrubs in Arcadia, which draws more than 500,000 visitors each year, is conveniently located to capture, clean and store storm water pumped out of the nearby Arcadia Wash. Construction of the facility that would consume up to 4 acres of the arboretum’s Australia section could begin within a year or two, according to the group, which comprises the cities of Arcadia, Bradbury, Duarte, Monrovia and Sierra Madre, plus the county. In the meantime, opponents led by executives of the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1947 to raise financial support for the botanic garden, are sounding the alarm…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Masslive, January 19, 2021: Springfield police asked the city to cut back trees; lawyers claim it sabotaged a drug suspect’s defense

Terrence D. Gaskins and his lawyer Lisa J. Steele contend the police department’s request for the city forester to trim trees on Fort Pleasant Avenue — one day after the court ordered police to arrange a site visit for the defense team — amounted to the “destruction of exculpatory evidence” that could have been favorable to Gaskins’ defense at trial. Springfield police spokesman Ryan Walsh said the allegations are empty, and that the department’s request to trim the trees had nothing to do with Gaskins’ case. The tree work was done, he said, to improve visibility after a surveillance camera was installed in response to a string of shootings. Attorneys for Gaskins have made the argument twice before, and it has been rejected both times. Once was at Gaskins’ May 2019 jury trial, where he was found guilty and sentenced to two years in jail. The trial judge at the time expressed doubts about the timing of the police request and whether it was coincidental, but allowed the case to continue. The other time was last month, when the state Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict and rejected Gaskins’ bid to have it tossed out…

Chicago, Illinois, WBBM-TV, January 16, 2021: 311 Calls To Trim Dangerous Trees Are Being Marked ‘Completed,’ Sometimes With Claims There’s ‘No Tree’

We’ve reported on stories across the city of 311 requests being marked completed before the job was done – from trash cleanup to an abandoned car. Now, as CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas reported, a South Side alderman says the same thing has been happening in his ward with tree-trimming requests. “These are the ones that keep falling off,” said Selene Arroyo as she showed us branches on a tree. And Arroyo knows money doesn’t grow on trees. “I can’t spend my savings on unnecessary things,” she said. She said the tree at 56th Street and Hoyne Avenue in West Englewood is costing her money. “I have called several times because the branches keep falling,” Arroyo said. “They’ve actually broken two of my windshields already, and an antenna. Records from 311 show a June 10 tree-trimming request at Arroyo’s address. In November, the request was marked “completed” in 311, but she said no one ever trimmed the tree. In fact, a city worker even noted “no tree.” Arroyo wishes that were true…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, January 15, 2021: Maine wants to pay landowners to fight climate change with their trees

Denis Gallaudet is a retired banker, so he knows the value of things. Take, for example, his trees. There is value in the carbon that his 25-acre woodlot in the town of Cumberland sucks out of the atmosphere and converts into lengthening branches and thickening trunks. That’s because large companies, including Amazon and Disney, are willing to pay landowners for tree growth in order to offset their own carbon emissions. But Gallaudet, a member of Sierra Club Maine, can’t sell his carbon because it’s not financially feasible. The markets where sequestered carbon are bought and sold, including California’s “cap and trade” market, are only available to forest landowners with tens of thousands of acres, due to the high costs of quantifying and verifying projected carbon sequestration in trees. That could soon change. A variety of groups are ramping up efforts to open up the multi-billion dollar carbon offset market to small forest landowners. They want their efforts to financially boost small landowners while also enlisting more corporate polluters to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change on the nation’s most forested state…

London, UK, The Guardian, January 15, 2021, One, two, tree: how AI helped find millions of trees in the Sahara

When a team of international scientists set out to count every tree in a large swathe of west Africa using AI, satellite images and one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, their expectations were modest. Previously, the area had registered as having little or no tree cover. The biggest surprise, says Martin Brandt, assistant professor of geography at the University of Copenhagen, is that the part of the Sahara that the study covered, roughly 10%, “where no one would expect to find many trees”, actually had “quite a few hundred million”. Trees are crucial to our long-term survival, as they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global heating. But we still do not know how many there are. Much of the Earth is inaccessible either because of war, ownership or geography. Now scientists, researchers and campaigners have a raft of more sophisticated resources to monitor the number of trees on the planet. Satellite imagery has become the biggest tool for counting the world’s trees, but while forested areas are relatively easy to spot from space, the trees that aren’t neatly gathered in thick green clumps are overlooked. Which is why assessments so far have been, says Brandt, “extremely far away from the real numbers. They were based on interpolations, estimations and projections…”

Berkeley, California, Berkeleyside, January 14, 2021: UC Berkeley removes hundreds of trees in the Oakland hills to ensure fire evacuation route

John Radke is a UC Berkeley associate professor who specializes in fire modeling. As part of his coursework, he likes to lead students into the winding thickets of Claremont Canyon in the Oakland hills, where the underbrush can reach chest-high, to show them the likely site of one of the next major East Bay fires. “I was up there one day in the fall and you could hear the leaves cracking they were so dry,” Radke said. “Going in, my students said they were doing great – this is wonderful, we’re out in nature. Then after describing how the fire would burn, I asked them, ‘How do you guys feel?’ They said, ‘We can’t wait to get out of here. Because it’s a fire trap.’” The funneled geography of the canyon and the vegetation that grows in it – vegetation that’s becoming drier each year in our warming climate – creates a natural chimney that’d be devastating in a fire. Winds blowing from the west would drive heat and radiation upslope in a ferocious purge. In Diablo conditions, with gusts surging over the ridge from the east, flames would pour downslope wiping out vegetation and homes – similar to what happened with the destructive 2018 Woolsey Fire in the L.A. region…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, January 14, 2021, Diagnosing why some fruit trees produce inconsistently

Lately I have received quite a few inquiries about inconsistent fruit production in citrus and other fruit-bearing trees. Why does a fruit tree produce so much one year, then hardly anything the next year? This phenomenon is called “alternate-year bearing” and is common to almost all fruit and nut trees. Tree branches have spurs, little twig-like growths that can produce either flowers/fruit or leaves. Not surprisingly, it takes much less energy to produce leaves than fruit. If the tree has undergone some sort of stress, it will reduce its fruit production in favor of leaf production. This stress could be environmental (drought, extreme heat, frost), pest or disease, or improper pruning. When a tree is happy and healthy (not stressed), its leaves produce plenty of sugars that are stored in the branch wood near the spurs. These sugars are used to fuel blossom and fruit production the following spring. Improper pruning can remove these food stores and result in diminished fruit production…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, January 12, 2021: Bangor neighborhood complaint against Versant Power dismissed after tree-trimming

Maine’s Public Utilities Commission has dismissed a complaint against Versant Power from 13 residents of Bangor’s Fairmount neighborhood, though the commission found the complaint about power reliability in the neighborhood had merit. The complaint, sent Oct. 31, 2020, alleged that Bangor’s Fairmount neighborhood had experienced an unreasonable number of long-lasting power outages, and that the outages had grown worse over the last five years. There were at least three multi-hour or multi-day outages in large swaths of Fairmount in 2020, with other, smaller outages occurring in smaller areas of the neighborhood. The Fairmount neighborhood is roughly the area between Third Street, Union Street and interstates 95 and 395. Versant in October 2020 blamed the neighborhood’s high prevalence of tall, old trees situated near power lines. When a branch from one of those trees falls, it can knock out power to multiple streets, or even the entire neighborhood. Though Versant had already done work to improve reliability in the neighborhood, including moving most of the neighborhood off an old substation on Webster Avenue and onto a more reliable one in Hampden, outcry from residents on social media appears to have prompted an extensive tree-trimming effort by Versant last year…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, January 13, 2021: ‘For our environment’ Branford tree planting helps offset carbon emissions

The town Community Forest Commission and Department of Public Works planted 55 trees on town property in 2020, helping to offset carbon emissions and preserve the environment, said Patrick Sweeney of the Community Forest and Conservation and Environment Commissions. Over their predicted lifetime, this year’s planting will sequester 422 tons of carbon, Sweeney said — equivalent to the carbon produced by more than 80 typical passenger vehicles in a single year. The town sets a goal to plant about 50 trees on town property each year. In 2020, it exceeded that goal, Sweeney said. “Planting new native trees and ensuring the well-being of those we already have is one of the most important things that the town can do for our environment and the health of our residents,” Sweeney said in a release…

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, January 11, 2021: McKinney Resident Tries to Dispose of Christmas Tree in Fireplace

The City of McKinney is reminding residents to properly dispose of their Christmas trees after a fire damaged a McKinney home on Saturday. According to the McKinney Fire Department, officials responded to a call about a structure fire in the 4400 block of Rancho Del Norte Trail. Officials said firefighters arrived to find that a Christmas tree had been placed into a home fireplace. Only the top of the tree was in the fire, so the flames traveled down the tree and out of the fireplace, officials said. According to the McKinney Fire Department, the fire was quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived. The damage was limited to the area right around the fireplace, and one person was treated for minor smoke inhalation at the scene, officials said…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Advocate, January 11, 2021: Now is the time to plant a tree

Consider this Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” That is especially true in Louisiana. Planting during December, January and February provides plants with several months to develop a strong root system before they put out a new flush of leaves and flowers in spring. Nurseries are bringing in woody trees and shrubs to plant now. Tropical plants will be available later in the warmer season when they are less likely damage by colder temperatures. The National Arbor Day Foundation has started the “Time for Trees” initiative to highlight how “trees clean our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities and feed the human soul.” Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872 in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where an estimated 1 million trees were planted, Arbor Day is celebrated every year. While much of the country celebrates Arbor Day on April 30, the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, 4560 Essen Lane, will hold its annual Arbor Day event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 23. Free and open to the public, the event will feature educational talks on native trees given by experts from the LSU AgCenter. You can plant a tree while there and get GPS coordinates so you can come back and visit “your” tree and watch it grow for generations to come…

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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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