And Now The News …


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 27, 2021: Toronto agreed to buy a home to save a 250-year-old tree. Now, the seller wants a higher price

A legal battle is brewing between the City of Toronto and the property owner of a 250-year-old heritage tree refusing to sell — the latest snag in a years-long community push to protect the famous red oak. The city entered an agreement with the home’s owner, Ali Simaga, in December 2019 to purchase the North York house for $780,000 with certain conditions, including that the community raise $400,000 within a year to go toward the purchase and maintenance of the tree, according to the city’s court application filed this May. The plan was to demolish the house and transform the property into a parkette to showcase the gigantic tree, the last remnant of the ancient oak forest that once spanned the area. But that plan may now be in jeopardy, with Simaga changing his mind about the agreement after watching house prices soar throughout the pandemic. He’s now looking for the city to match the current market value of other homes in the area. “I’m afraid I’m going to be homeless with my family with this price,” Simaga told CBC News. He acknowledged they currently don’t live in the house, but rent it out, and own another house elsewhere in the city. This spring, the city requested the Superior Court of Justice to order the purchase complete and put the property title in its name. The case will be heard in October…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, KYW-TV, July 27, 2021: ‘Everyone Keeps Passing The Buck’: Tree Threatens Philadelphia Family’s Home With No Help In Sight

A tree, which looks like it could fall on a house at any moment, is causing one South Philadelphia family many sleepless nights. They say their calls for help are falling on deaf ears. Every night this family goes to bed they pray that their home is not destroyed by a tree in their backyard that’s just barely hanging on. This mother-daughter duo reached out to CBS3 in hopes that someone will see their story and help. Right now, they say they are running out of options. Due to physical limitations, Ginny Bowen is restricted to the first floor of her home, a place she’s lived in for more than 20 years. “As long as I can take care of myself, I will. I want to stay,” she said. But is it safe? Bowen’s daughter, Cindy Candelore, shows us what they use to call their backyard. “There’s actually wires hanging in between those branches as well,” she said…

Chicago, Illinois, WBEZ Radio, July 27, 2021: A New City Agency May Try To Save Chicago’s 4 Million Trees — And Plant More

Everybody has a tree story. That’s the mantra of Michael Dugan, the Director of Forestry at Openlands, one of the main organizations that helps the city of Chicago plant hundreds of trees a year. As he walked through Douglass Park, an expansive city park on the Southwest Side of Chicago, Dugan rejoiced about the benefits of green space, and the attachments to which Chicagoans place the trees within them. “Everybody talks about a tree as they’re growing up,” he said through a smile. “… Interacting with a tree, climbing a tree, having a picnic under a tree, planting a tree with family members.” But Dugan and other environmental advocates in Chicago want residents — and the aldermen who represent them — to think more consciously about the trees they walk past in their everyday adult lives. They say that if so-called “tree inequity” — how some neighborhoods that lack resources also are lacking in tree canopies — is fixed, that could lead to better health and community outcomes. In Chicago, there are nearly 4 million trees to consider. But, until now, there hasn’t been a single city agency to oversee them in a unified way. Instead, the departments of Streets and Sanitation, Transportation, the Park District, aldermen typically field individual requests for tree trimming or tree planting by residents who need it. That’s opposed to an overall plan that looks at the environmental impacts of the trees the city plants…

New York City, The New York Times, July 26, 2021: A gnarly brown Christmas? Tree farms dry out in the Pacific Northwest.

When Jacob Hemphill pulled into the driveway at his 200-acre Christmas tree farm in Oregon City, Ore., on the second night of a record-breaking heat wave late last month, his stomach dropped. That morning, a vast field of about 250,000 green trees had adorned his property. But now, it was patched over with large swaths of singed brown. All of his seedlings were gone, and some of his mature trees, too — a tremendous loss that he estimates could cost him about $100,000. The deadly heat wave that scorched the Pacific Northwest in late June also upended Oregon’s typically prosperous Christmas tree market. More Christmas trees are grown there than anywhere else in the country, followed by North Carolina and Michigan. Farms like Mr. Hemphill’s dot the country roads southwest of Portland. But now, he said, “There’s nothing left.” Climate change was already having an impact, even before the most recent heat wave. A recent U.S. Agriculture Department report found that from 2015 to 2020, the amount of acreage in the state growing Christmas trees dropped by 24 percent as wildfires and drought reduced the harvest. Over the same time period, the average cost of Oregon trees — which are primarily sold on the West Coast — nearly doubled, the report said, from about $18 to $31 each…

Phys.org, July 27, 2021: Lack of species depth threatens mangroves

Marine ecologists have revealed mangroves might be threatened by a limited number of crustaceans, mollusks and other invertebrates for each ecological role. The international study found that low functional redundancy, or number of species performing similar roles in mangrove forests, suggests even a modest loss of invertebrates could have significant consequences. “Mangrove forests have been disappearing at alarming rates worldwide,” said Professor Shing Yip Lee from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Adjunct at Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University. “The ecological functions and services they provide depend upon the relationships between their individual plant and animal components. “There is no viable mangrove forest without a healthy community of invertebrates sustaining it.” Although mangrove ecosystems support a broad range of specialised invertebrates, little is known about the effect of deforestation and human impact on the functional diversity and resilience of these resident fauna…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, July 27, 2021: Mecosta County residents should plan now for next year’s gypsy moths

Mecosta County residents saw significant tree damage from an infestation of gypsy moth this summer, leaving many asking why county and city officials were not taking action to prevent or manage the infestation.
DNR forester Cheryl Nelson recently told Big Rapids city commissioners that large-scale spraying was not necessarily the best option when dealing with gypsy moths. “The gypsy moth became naturalized in the 1990s — it became part of our ecosystem,” Nelson said. “We deal with two- to four-year outbreaks every seven to 10 years. These populations are kept in check by natural predators — the NPV (Nucleoplyhedrosis) virus and the Entomophaga maimaiga fungal pathogen.” Spraying will not eliminate the gypsy moth from an area, and large-scale spraying can have a negative impact on the gypsy moth of denaturalizing them from an area, Nelson said. “Spraying is about 80% effective and can disrupt the naturally occurring predators that control the virus on their own,” she said. “With that cycle disruption, the outbreaks may not naturally correct.” Nelson said that without the caterpillars, the viruses and the fungus that control the populations cannot be maintained, and without those, there are no natural predators there when the new caterpillars hatch out…

Fort Wayne, Indiana, WANE-TV, July 26, 2021: Invasive insect known for damaging trees found for first time in Indiana

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is reporting that the Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) has been found in Indiana. The insect turned up recently in Switzerland County in extreme southern Indiana which is the farthest west the insect has been found. This federally regulated invasive species negatively impacts plant growth and fruit production, especially in vineyards and orchards. A homeowner in Vevay contacted DNR’s Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology (DEPP) with a picture that was taken outside his home of a fourth instar, or developmental stage, larvae. DEPP staff surveyed the site and discovered an infestation in the woodlot adjacent to a few homes in the area. The site is within 2 miles of the Ohio River and the Markland Dam. DEPP and USDA are conducting an investigation to determine exactly how large the infestation is and where it could have come from, as well as how to limit the spread and eradicate the population. Spotted lanternfly is a planthopper that originated in Asia. It was first discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture tried to limit the spread of this pest, but it excels at being a hitchhiker and is often spread unknowingly by humans…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, July 27, 2021: Fairy Creek protesters defend felling small trees in order to impede police

A protest group is defending the actions of its members who cut down some small trees to impede police enforcing a court injunction against blockades that have been set up to prevent old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island. The RCMP said in a news release Saturday that protesters had cut 18 trees with chainsaws and laid the trunks across a road in the Fairy Creek watershed area. The group, dubbed the Rainforest Flying Squad, responded in a statement on Monday, saying its members cut the small, second-growth trees in order to slow police progress in reaching other protesters who were chained to structures. They say Pacheedaht First Nation elder Bill Jones, who supports the protest group, does not disapprove of their felling of small trees to protect old growth. A statement from Jones released by the group says it’s common practice in logging to cut down young trees growing at the side of roadways and that’s not a threat to ecology. The Rainforest Flying Squad says very little of the best old-growth forest remains in B.C., and the province’s temporary deferral of old-growth logging across 2,000 hectares in the Fairy Creek and central Walbran areas falls short of what’s needed. The RCMP have made 494 arrests since they began enforcing the injunction in May…

drought210726Phys.org, July 26, 2021: Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado’s subalpine forests

Even in the absence of bark beetle outbreaks and wildfire, trees in Colorado subalpine forests are dying at increasing rates from warmer and drier summer conditions, found recent University of Colorado Boulder research. The study, published in the May print issue of the Journal of Ecology, also found that this trend is increasing. In fact, tree mortality in subalpine Colorado forests not affected by fire or bark beetle outbreaks in the last decade has more than tripled since the 1980s. “We have bark beetle outbreaks and wildfires that cause very obvious mortality of trees in Colorado. But we’re showing that even in the areas that people go hiking in and where the forest looks healthy, mortality is increasing due to heat and dry conditions alone,” said Robert Andrus, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at Washington State University. “It’s an early warning sign of climate change…”

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen Times, July 26, 2021: Answer Man: Downtown bathrooms MIA? Tree of Heaven downright evil?

Update on the ‘tree-of-heaven’: Last week I fielded a question about the nefarious and invasive “tree-of-heaven,” which apparently is even more evil than I suggested. Cooperative Extension Service Agent Alison Arnold gave a good rundown on the tree, encouraging homeowners and others not to plant them and to eliminate them where possible. Andy Tait, co-director for forestry at EcoForesters, an Asheville forestry nonprofit, reached out with some “even more alarming facts about tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima),” as well as a good tip. “1. It is allelopathic, which means it exudes a chemical which inhibits other plants from growing, giving it a competitive advantage,” Tait said via email. “2. If you just cut it down, it aggressively re-sprouts from all of it’s underground roots — so literally 100s of baby trees will spring up to take over if you just cut it down and don’t use herbicide on the freshly cut stump. I’ve seen pure monoculture stands of totally worthless (both to wildlife and as timber) tree-of-heaven after disturbances without trying to control the invasive tree-of-heaven first…”

moredrought210726Vancouver, Washington, The Columbian, July 25, 2021: Proper care can help stressed trees in Clark County weather dry times

As wildfires burn across the West, many are casting a wary eye toward sun-scorched trees right here. Vancouver’s urban forester, Charles Ray, said he has been answering worried calls from homeowners ever since last month’s record heat. “The heat dome in June was unprecedented, on the heels of the driest spring on record,” Ray said. “I don’t think we know all the impacts on trees because we really haven’t experienced it before.” Michael Laster is among those who have noticed trees that look distressed and dead, with desiccated needles cascading down every time the wind gusts. “It is especially noticeable on the western sides of evergreen trees, where the needles have turned brown. Many deciduous trees also show wilted, dried and falling leaves,” said Laster, a Felida resident and Vancouver’s fire code officer. Although his expertise is in fire-suppressing sprinkler systems, Laster said he’s getting terribly worried about heat waves, wildfires and the future of local trees. “I think the concept that climate change is not happening is foolish. It’s obvious that it is. Our temperatures hit an all-time high, three days in a row. After three days, we see damage to the trees — not just a few of them but all of them,” Laster said. “And dead trees tend to burn more than live trees do…”

Plattsburgh, New York, Press Republican, July 26, 2021: Emerald ash borer and ash trees – a new approach is being taken to protect and preserve the species

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a half-inch long, green buprestid or jewel beetle. It’s an invasive insect native to Asia, believed to have made its way to the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or on airplanes. EAB was first discovered in the United States in 2002, near Detroit, Michigan. Around that time, it was also found across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) initiated a domestic quarantine program for areas infested with the extremely destructive wood-boring pest of ash trees, but the insect still managed to progressively advance and expand its range. EAB is now present in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 Canadian provinces and is responsible for the destruction of hundreds of millions of ash trees in forests, rural areas, and urban and suburban landscapes. It has become the most destructive and costly invasive forest insect in North America. States in the eastern U.S. produce nearly 114 million board feet of ash saw-timber annually, with a value of more than $25 billion. The compensatory value of the 8 billion ash trees on U.S. federal, state, and private forest land potentially infested with EAB is estimated to be $282 billion. EAB was first discovered in New York State in the spring of 2009, after two USDA Agricultural Research Service employees recognized damage to ash trees in the Town of Randolph, in Cattaraugus County…

drought210723North Bend, Oregon, KEZI-TV, July 22, 2021: Scientists Still Surveying Scope Of Tree Damage Following Heat Wave

Scientists are still trying to figure out the extent of the damage to western Oregon trees after a historic heat wave scorched leaves and needles across the state. Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Forestry are trying to map the damage, which they believe happened mostly in the Willamette Valley and coastal range west of the Cascades. Lauren Grand, OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension agent for Lane County, said the sun scorched some trees and damaged tissue during the heatwave, causing them to die. Other effects are less visible and happening inside the trees which are struggling to get water, Grand said. “You’re probably going to see this if you’re going hiking in the coast range or in the Cascade Mountains on the western side. If you notice something and you want to help report the damage that’s going on, reach out to your local extension office and let us know,” Grand said. There’s also the ongoing heat and drought across the state making matters worse. “Trees can also die just outright from drought and high-heat weather. We’re just going to see a lot more… tree mortality on the landscape,” Grand said. Even trees that are typically more tolerant of droughts, like Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar and Hemlock trees are starting to see issues from the conditions. Trees that manage to survive the heat and drought can in turn become more vulnerable to other ailments…

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun Sentinel, July 22, 2021: Real estate Q&A: Can my HOA charge me $1,000 to have a tree removed?

Q: I would like to remove a tree on our homeowner association’s property in front of my house. My association wants to charge me around $1,000 for removing the tree, stump grinding and replacing the sod. My question is, can I be charged for this procedure?
A: Landscaping on your community’s common property belongs to the community as a whole, not just the member whose home it is in front of. Your association must maintain the common areas for the entire community’s benefit, not just one member. Each homeowner pays regular maintenance dues to their association to cover the costs of running the community. In your case, you are asking to have a change made to the landscaping that only benefits your property. Your board has determined this change is acceptable for the neighborhood’s look and feel. Even so, the board does not want the cost of making your requested change shared among the entire community. When I received your email, I was a bit surprised that the board approved this, even with you paying for it. Most calls I get on similar issues involve the board flat out refusing this type of request. Removing a tree is an expensive proposition that often involves getting a permit from your city’s building department. The removal, stump grinding, and sodding are necessary to keep your community looking nice and may even be required by your local building code. Fortunately, it seems that you are living in a community with a reasonable board willing to work with individual member’s requests. Now you need to decide if it is worth spending the money to have the tree removed…

treevandal210723Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, July 23, 2021: Author charged over felled trees set to surrender

A man accused of causing over $100,000 worth of damage to forestry on Central Arkansas Water land will surrender today on a warrant of arrest issued by the Pulaski County District Court. The warrant issued on Wednesday for Dennis Rainey, a Christian author, podcast host and co-founder of FamilyLife, charges him with felony first-degree criminal mischief regarding an tree-cutting incident. On May 12, Roland resident Rhonda Patton discovered the tops of some trees cut and others completely chopped down while walking along the Ouachita trail running alongside Lake Maumelle. When she asked those cutting down the trees, they told her they were working for Rainey, 73. “I was mad. My husband was shocked,” Patton told the Democrat-Gazette in May. After surveying the area, Central Arkansas Water initially determined between 75 and 100 trees were cut without knowing how many were completely chopped down. The warrant states Central Arkansas Water contact Raven Lawson, who also spoke to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, told investigators 111 trees were cut, with an approximate value of $109,899 and $12,000 being the cost for cleanup. Lawson said in an interview after the incident that many of the trees, which have taken years to grow to 20 foot heights, could die…

Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, July 23, 2021: Why do trees grow so much better in the wild than in your yard?

Many years ago when I was a University of Illinois grad student, a local resident wrote to the department’s Cooperative Extension office with a question. After a bit of a preamble, the question emerged … “How long do I need to compost fresh cricket manure before using it to fertilize my plants?” Well, those of us self-appointed to the horticultural glitterati had a good laugh. I mean I had completed a four-year college curriculum in horticulture and a whole year of grad school. These silly people and their silly questions. … Obviously, the letter writer had spent too much time in the sun. Of course what she meant to ask about was chicken manure (not an uncommon organic fertilizer), not cricket manure. Who on earth would ever amass enough cricket manure to have to worry about composting it before using it as fertilizer? Turns out, the letter writer’s son was at the time owner of the largest live fishing bait company in the eastern USA. They grew and sold about a hundred zillion live crickets a year and, well, you can imagine how much cricket manure that number of Jimminys can produce … Our dear letter writer wanted to share her botanical booty with her fellow garden club members but wanted to make sure she properly processed it before sharing it with her friends. Laugh’s on us! Some questions just need to be asked, no matter how silly they might seem on the surface…

TNLBGray140407

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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