And Now The News …

Africa News, March 4, 2021: Where are the world’s tallest trees and why are they so important?

California redwoods are some of the tallest, most ancient trees on earth. Estimating their exact size, however, can be a difficult task. Until recently, the only way of working out just how big these trees were was to climb up them, approximate using the diameter of their trunks, or cut them down. But these methods are not particularly reliable and can have a large margin of error. Now, scientists at University College London and the University of Maryland have developed a way to calculate their total mass using lasers. It has allowed them to gain “unprecedented insights” into the 3D structure of these giant redwoods. Among the trees scanned was the 88 metre tall Colonel Armstrong. Located in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in California, US, it is 88 metres tall and estimated to be over 1400 years old. It was found that Colonel Armstrong may weigh around 110 tonnes or as much as roughly 10 double-decker buses. They discovered that these large trees could be as much as 30 per cent bigger than previously thought…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, March 4, 2021: North Olmsted focuses on urban canopy, seeks Tree City USA designation

Arbor Day will have a special feel this year, with the city currently reviewing and renewing its efforts to preserve and enhance its urban tree canopy for future generations. One of the first dominoes expected to fall is North Olmsted regaining its Tree City USA designation, which it had held for more than a quarter of a century before it lapsed in 2010. “We’re working on regaining our status as a Tree City USA this year,” North Olmsted Director of Planning and Development Kimberly Lieber said. “We’ve started fact-finding around the process and criteria, and are planning some type of Arbor Day recognition.” Arbor Day is April 30. Regarding Tree City USA criteria, Lieber said North Olmsted is in good shape. Not only does it have a forestry department and a tree ordinance on the books, but the city is currently spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry needs…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, March 4, 2021: ‘Trees don’t get COVID’: Sugar shacks reopen in Massachusetts after being closed during 2020 season due to COVID pandemic

After closing early due to the COVID pandemic in 2020, sugar shacks in Massachusetts have reopened their doors for another season. “We are boiling,” Steve’s Sugar Shack in Westhampton posted to Facebook on Feb. 26. In February, the sugar shack posted it was already fully booked for opening weekend, which is March 6. Due to COVID-19 regulations, seating is by reservations only. Coupled with a shorter season, the sugar shack expects these time slots to fill up quickly. “As you consider when to come, please note that we will only be open for total of 8 days, and we expect reservations to fill up fast,” the website states. As of Monday morning, there are still many open slots for the season, although there are some slots already booked through the last weekend Steve’s Sugar Shack plans to be open. They’re not the only ones. There are about 300 maple producers in the state. About 20 of those have restaurants and many more allow visitors to encourage sales. “Trees don’t get COVID and they’ll be making sap, so sugarmakers will be making maple syrup,” the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association website states. The season typically starts in mid to late February and lasts four to six weeks, “all depending on the weather,” Massachusetts Maple Producers Association said. The Maple Weekend is celebrated March 20 through March 21 this year…

Jamestown, North Dakota, Sun, March 4, 2021: Jamestown considers tree inventory project

There are a lot of trees on the public properties of Jamestown, although nobody is sure just how many, according to Eric Laber, Jamestown city forester. “The last inventory was in 2015,” he said. “Somewhere around 10,000 to 12,000 trees on the boulevards and in the parks in Jamestown alone.” Laber is proposing a project to update that inventory this summer and possibly include the Stutsman County Park Board in the project to count all the trees in its parks. “There is an economy of scale to do the project together,” Laber said. “The same inventory program and person could do all the work.” The tree inventory would only include trees on public lands such as street boulevards and parks. It would not include trees on private property. The project is not just a count of the trees but will include a breakdown by species. “It will be interesting to see how many elm have been lost to Dutch elm disease,” Laber said. “There are other trees that have been lost to the wind over the past few years too.”Previous inventories of trees in Jamestown have indicated about 45% were ash trees. “That is too much of one species,” Laber said. Laber said the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect from Asia that could decimate the ash tree population, is in the region, with confirmed reports in South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. The forestry department is part of a trap and identify program checking for the presence of the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle that also can kill trees…

National Geographic, March 3, 2021: Tree of heaven is a hellish invasive species. Could a fungus save the day?

Many trees would be lucky to be as beautiful as Ailanthus anltissima, also known as tree of heaven, a deciduous tree with quill-shaped leaves, light gray bark, and red-and-yellow-tinted seeds that resemble a sunset. But outside its native China, the plant has also earned the nickname “tree of hell,” due to its highly invasive nature: it can grow three feet a year, cloning itself via underground “suckers,” or through the hundreds of thousands of seeds each tree produces every year. The notorious plant wipes out native species with its dense thicket and toxins it excretes into the soil. It also emits a bad smell from its flowers; has no natural predators; and serves as a sanctuary for destructive invasive insects, such as the spotted lanternfly. (See pictures of 11 sacred and iconic trees.) Since its introduction by enthusiastic horticulturists to the United States nearly 240 years ago as a shade tree and botanical specimen, Ailanthus has spread to all but six U.S. states, and has gained a foothold on every continent except Antarctica…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, March 3, 2021: Galveston’s iconic palm trees struggling to survive after deadly freeze

Galveston’s majestic palm trees could be another casualty of Texas’s four-day freeze last month. The cold snap that left millions of Texans without power and caused burst pipes across the state has also had a pronounced effect on local vegetation. Days after the freeze, with the winter weather now normalizing to mild temperatures for the region, many trees in Galveston remain in a torpid state — with brown leaves, broken branches and a general hang-dog appearance. “Your Queen Palms, Japanese blueberry trees, citrus trees, olive trees — there’s probably a 90 percent chance that those are just really not going to come back,” said Orvis Himbaugh, owner of Tree Worxx, a company that specializes in tree servicing in Galveston County and the Houston area. Galveston’s iconic palms, synonymous with the island’s laid-back ethos, bore the brunt of the impact from the harsh weather. The lofty trees — there are more than 20 species of palms on Galveston island — are surprisingly resilient, able to withstand the region’s volatile climate from hurricanes and tropical storms to the occasional frost. But the sustained subfreezing temperatures and vicious winds in February proved too severe for the trees to overcome…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, March 3, 2021: Oakland woman impaled by tree branch in ‘fair’ condition

An Oakland woman was listed in fair condition Wednesday at an Augusta hospital after a tree fell on a car she was traveling in and a branch penetrated the dashboard, impaling her Tuesday in Sidney. Theresa Roy, 79, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe being driven north on the Pond Road by her husband, David Roy, 78, at 10:06 a.m. Tuesday when the crash occurred, according to Lt. J. Chris Read of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. “High winds caused a large pine tree to snap and fall onto the vehicle as it traveled,” Read said Wednesday in a news release. “This caused heavy damage to the vehicle and a branch penetrated the dashboard, ultimately impaling Theresa…”

Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 26, 2021: Wolverine Worldwide submits PFAS remediation plan for House Street property

Wolverine Worldwide recently submitted a feasibility study to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy outlining a comprehensive plan to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances at its House Street property. The proposal combines multiple remediation methods while working to preserve sizable greenspace that “complements the area’s rural character,” the Rockford-based maker of footwear and apparel posted on its blog, WeAreWolverine. The feasibility study and the remediation of the company’s House Street property is one component of its efforts to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the area stemming from historic disposal of waste containing chemicals that were part of a previous formula for 3M’s Scotchgard product that Wolverine used to waterproof its leather shoes beginning in the late 1950s and early ’60s. PFAS have been linked to certain types of cancers and other health issues… The remediation plan for the House Street property combines two remediation methods to remove PFAS from the ground and further reduce the impact of PFAS on groundwater, Wolverine said. The first method, phytoremediation, is a process where the roots of trees planted on the property will pull PFAS out of the ground over time. The second method, strategic capping, involves installing specially engineered membranes over the thickest areas of PFAS, preventing that PFAS from getting into the groundwater. This “phyto-cap” plan addresses the remediation objectives outlined in the consent decree and has the added benefit of preserving a 76-acre green space in the middle of a rural residential area, Wolverine said…

Chicago, Illinois, Lake County News-Sun, March 2, 2021: Fate of centuries-old Waukegan oak tree unclear after being pruned in the name of progress

The bur oak tree on the corner of Green Bay Road and Grand Avenue in Waukegan was alive and growing before European settlers had even arrived in the area, then known as Little Fort. It survived as the town grew, even after roads were paved, streets and traffic lights were installed and two recent developments threatened its destruction. Now, the roughly 230-year-old tree is just a glimmer of its former glorious self, according to a Waukegan man and his two grandchildren who helped save the tree from being removed in 2015. This winter, “Commonwealth Edison has come along and cut half the tree down to string a new electric line,” said Pat Carry, who lives four blocks away from the tree. “I’m sure ComEd did have the right to do that, but seeing that the tree is so old, they could have gone around it.” The number of oak trees has been declining in northern Illinois, including in Lake County, for decades. ComEd said the pruning done on the tree was necessary to erect a new power line at the busy intersection to provide electricity to roughly 335 customers…

Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press, March 2, 2021: Ash borer expected to kill 17% of Mankato’s trees

The inevitable arrival of the tree-killing emerald ash borer is expected to take one in every six trees in Mankato in the next decade or so and leave hefty bills in the laps of homeowners with large backyard ash trees. A report to the Mankato City Council Monday night also warned of $1.5 million in expenses just to deal with the estimated 2,500 ash trees on city land. And the report sets out proposed processes for identifying infested trees on private property and requiring their removal at the property-owner’s expense, although options may be provided to pay the bill — which could top $1,000 for large, difficult-to-remove trees — over several years. “It’s going to have a big financial impact on all of our residents as well as the city of Mankato,” said Ashley Steevens, the city forester and superintendent of parks. An “Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan” was originally to be presented to the council a year ago before being delayed by a more pressing scourge — the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the invasive beetle closing in on Mankato from all directions, city staff said preparations for the ash borer can’t wait much longer. “With an estimated 17,400 ash trees on public and private properties combined in Mankato — including 2,500 in boulevards, parks and city managed properties — the city is at risk of losing approximately 17% of its existing tree population in the next 10 years,” the report states…

Boston, Massachusetts, Christian Science Monitor, March 2, 2021: For this community, trees bring more than shade. They represent justice.

The grumble of car engines whizzing by seems to fade when Yvonne Lalyre talks about the trees. Her eyes sparkle above her mask as she walks the row of natural sentinels between her neighborhood, Roxbury, and the asphalt urban artery that is Melnea Cass Boulevard. “They’re like lungs,” Ms. Lalyre says, looking up in reverence at the canopy of green. “Without the trees, we would just …” Her eyes dim as she trails off with a sigh. “I don’t know. It would be so much worse.” The trees that line the boulevard have been at the center of tensions between Roxbury residents and the city of Boston for the past year. City plans to overhaul the boulevard included cutting many of those trees, thus removing a large portion of the tree canopy in the low-income and largely Black and brown neighborhood. In cities across the United States, research has found that tree canopy typically inversely correlates with income – and that the lack of greenery is making those neighborhoods hotter and more polluted, among other detrimental effects. But in Boston and other cities, there appears to be a shift in thought. As more communities start to map their trees, more residents are getting involved in the conversation…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Post-Gazette, February 27, 2021: Felling trees for safety

Dozens of decades-old trees have been felled at the Short Line Hollow Park trail head in Ross as part of ongoing efforts to stabilize the hillside. In the wake of the work, a volunteer group that had been working with township officials to improve trails and access to the park has decried the denuding of the land, with one such volunteer proclaiming the park “dead” in a passionate post on the Friends of Short Line Hollow Park Facebook page. Municipal officials, as a matter of course, should work hard to preserve trees, especially those in green spaces — for their environmental value, their beauty, their history. However, when those trees stand in the way of safety or land stability, they must be carefully and minimally pruned, thinned or even cleared. The issue for Short Line Hollow Park began in 2019, when the nearby Reis Run Road experienced a landslide that blocked the moderately trafficked road with thousands of tons of “fill.” Township officials chose to dump some of the fill at the Short Line trail head on Cemetery Lane to reopen the road as quickly as possible, temporarily closing it to hikers and bikers and promising a multiyear plan to increase parking and make the trail head — formerly accessible only to experienced hikers — more accessible to the general public…

The Nature Conservancy, March 12, 2021: New Study: U.S. Needs to Double Nursery Production

In order to realize the potential of reforestation in the United States, the nation’s tree nurseries need to increase seedling production by an additional 1.7 billion each year, a 2.3-fold increase over current nursery production. Currently the nation produces 1.3 billion seedlings per year. These numbers, taken from a new study, show the promise of increased nursery output as a way to fight climate change, create jobs, and recover from uncharacteristically severe wildfires. With more than 200,000 square miles in the United States suitable for reforestation, ramping up nursery production could offer big benefits for the climate. Restoring forests is an important nature-based solution to climate change and a complement to the critical work of reducing fossil fuel emissions. “To meet the need for reforestation, we’ll need to invest in more trees, more nurseries, more seed collection, and a bigger workforce,” said the study’s lead author, Joe Fargione of The Nature Conservancy. “In return we’ll get carbon storage, clean water, clean air, and habitat for wildlife.” The new study, published in the science journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, was co-authored by 18 scientists from universities, nonprofits, businesses, and state and federal agencies…

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, March 1, 2021: Forest fires out West cause lumber prices to skyrocket here in Georgia

The cost of building a new home has spiked and it’s all because of forest fires. Last year’s wildfires out West destroyed millions of acres of trees that were supposed to become 2-by-4s. Now, there has been a huge increase in the price of lumber. Gwinnett County lumber yard owner Michael Johnsa told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen when he saw what was happening, he knew it would turn the lumber industry upside down. “Most of the people who sell that building supply material have had a hard time getting it because of that. When you see something like that, it does strike you as a problem,” Johnsa said. Last year’s wildfires out West burned through millions of acres of trees that were supposed to end up in the form of lumber for new homes. Prices have skyrocketed. Even a do-it-yourselfer like Ray Phillips told Petersen that wood costs more everywhere. “Most of the retail stores like Home Depot and Lowes,” Phillips said. The pandemic also had a hand in this by forcing the sawmills to shut down. While many are back in business, socially distanced operations can’t cut nearly as much lumber…

Santa Rosa, California, Press Democrat, March 1, 2021: 224-acre logging plan above Russian River near Guerneville awaiting approval

A plan to log 224 acres of steep land above the Russian River, on the outskirts of Guerneville and Monte Rio, is expected to win approval in the coming days despite heavy opposition from residents and activists alarmed by the project’s proximity to rural communities and the natural landscape that draws tourists there. Representatives for the Roger Burch family, which owns the property and the Redwood Empire Sawmill in Cloverdale — where logs from the Silver Estates timber harvest would be milled — said the forest is overstocked and badly in need of thinning to promote the growth of larger trees and reduce excess fuels. But opponents say they remain unsatisfied by the planning process and have myriad outstanding concerns — everything from effects on wildlife habitat to soil stability, wildfire risks and visual impacts. They say the plan is governed by “outdated” forest practice rules that fail to account for climate change and heightened wildfire risks where wildland abuts or mixes with settled areas. “I still feel like we’re living with the legacy of Stumptown, and we still have to make amends,” said John Dunlap, a leader of the local Guerneville Forest Coalition. Stumptown was the nickname acquired by the community during the logging boom at the turn of the 20th century, when timber from the area helped rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fires. “It’s sort of like we’re not really listening to what the environment is telling us…”

Better Homes and Gardens, March 1, 2021: Money Almost Grows on Trees—When You Plant Them in Your Yard

Money may not actually grow on trees. But every leaf on every branch not only boosts curb appeal; it increases the value of your home in plenty of ways, including those you might not expect. Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value, according to the USDA Forest Service. They reduce heating and cooling costs, increase privacy, soften noise, attract birds and pollinators, and create priceless memories. Like money, though, trees perform best when viewed as a long-term investment. To ensure your tree thrives, consider these tips based on a tried-and-true arborist rule: Plant the right tree in the right place at the right time. One tree can serve a variety of purposes. It can screen out a neighbor’s yard, add spring or fall color, create wildlife habitat, cut strong winds, and even cool a house with its shade. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Aside from aesthetics and practicality, consider the easy outdoor recreation possibilities, from bird-watching to picnicking beneath the boughs. Fifteen years ago, I planted two river birches. In addition to shading the sunny front lawn in summer, softening the wind that whips down the street from the north, and hosting a variety of birds, they sport a much-used hammock tied between them…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, February 28, 2021: Young Graduate Beginning His Career Killed by Falling Tree in Burlingame

The family of a young physics researcher at a Bay Area COVID-19 testing lab was in mourning Sunday after he was killed by a falling tree near the facility in Burlingame. Kahlil Gay had just graduated from Cal State East Bay in December and started working at the company. “At a very early age, he knew that he wanted to be in the physics or engineering field. He knew actually where he was going in life,” said the victim’s aunt, who declined to provide her first name. Family members said Gay was excited about his new job — working for Color, a health tech company that provides COVID-19 testing for several San Francisco city-run sites. “Kahlil had just called his parents to check in (before the tragedy,)” said the victim’s aunt. But that excitement quickly turned into a tragedy on his third day at the Color campus located on Mitten Road. “He was walking with a co-worker of his,” said Kahlil’s older brother, Darryl Gay, when the accident happened. Authorities told the family that around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, Kahlil was walking with a co-worker on campus when he was struck by the tree. His injuries proved to be fatal. There’s no word on whether or not the co-worker was injured…

Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times, February 28, 2021: It’s time to stop pruning oaks

The recent warm weather has given Midwesterners a taste of spring, which means it’s time to finish pruning oak trees for the year to prevent the spread of oak wilt. “The best way to prevent the spread of oak wilt is to not prune any oak tree between the end of March and the start of October,” said Tivon Feeley, forest health program leader with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “However, the warm weather conditions indicate that spring might be a bit early this year and for that reason, we recommend finishing your oak pruning by the end of the second week in March.” Oak wilt is caused by a fungus and has been present in the Midwest for many years. It most commonly impacts red, black and pin oaks, but can also infect white and bur oaks. If black, pin, or red oak are infected by the fungus they usually die within the same summer they are infected. White oak and bur oak can often take a number of years before they succumb. “A healthy tree can be infected by this fungus two different ways. The first is through open wounds during the growing season where the fungus is carried from a diseased tree to a healthy tree by a small beetle,” Feeley said. “The second is through root grafts between oak trees of the same species. For example, if a red oak is infected and there is another red oak within 50 to 100 feet there is a good chance that the roots of these trees are grafted and the fungus can move from the diseased tree to the healthy tree…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, February 25, 2021: Holden Arboretum launches People for Trees campaign to green up balding patches of Cleveland, Northeast Ohio

Government can only do so much to solve the tree-cover crisis that’s spreading bald patches across Northeast Ohio, making communities uglier, less livable, more polluted, and more vulnerable to flooding, erosion and heat waves. That’s why the nonprofit Holden Forests & Gardens is launching a “People for Trees,’’ a campaign to enlist volunteers to plant 15,000 trees across the region by 2025. Holden, which operates a 3,500-acre arboretum in Kirtland and the 11-acre Cleveland Botanical Garden in University Circle, hopes to enlist some of its 17,000 members, 1,500 volunteers and 380,000 annual visitors to buy, plant, and care for the trees on private property, in yards or businesses. logic behind the campaign is that private property accounts for 85 percent of land within the region. If the public sector is responsible for only 15 percent, the private sector needs to step up, said Jill Koski, the president and CEO of Holden Forests and Gardens.That’s why the organization, which operates America’s 14th largest public garden, is reaching out to members and visitors two months ahead of Arbor Day, April 30. “We know who these people are,’’ Koski said. “We want to do more than a campaign. We want to start a movement. Long term, it’s not about a single organization. We need to bring more people into the fold…”

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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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