And Now The News …


Washington, D.C., Post, January 12, 2022: Judge shames 72-year-old cancer patient too weak to tend to his lawn

In the three years since he was diagnosed with cancer, Burhan Chowdhury has had a difficult time maintaining his yard and keeping his property in suburban Detroit in good shape. At a recent Michigan state court appearance over Zoom, the 72-year-old man struggled to breathe as he explained to a judge that he was “very weak” and unable to clean up the grass that had overtaken the property over the summer. But 31st District Judge Alexis G. Krot had no sympathy for Chowdhury. Instead, she shamed the cancer patient for the neighborhood blight in Hamtramck, Mich. — and told him the punishment she wished she could have given him. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” Krot said on Monday. “If I could give you jail time on this, I would.” After issuing Chowdhury a $100 fine for failing to keep up with home maintenance, Krot called the amount of grass on his walkways “totally inappropriate.” When Chowdhury reiterated that he was “very sick,” Krot said his inability to keep up with his property was inexcusable…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, January 14, 2022: The biggest problem plants have with a warm December? It’s not the high temperatures

If you enjoy more cool fall-like conditions than bitter cold, you were not disappointed with the weather patterns of December 2021. According to the National Weather Service, last December in Kansas City was the third warmest on record, at 10 degrees warmer than usual. Not only was it warm but it was also dry. With only a half-inch of precipitation, it was the 23rd driest month on record. December also goes down in the record books as only the second time to record no snowfall in the past 134 years. These weather patterns have local gardeners worried. How these patterns affect plants has been a common question at the Johnson County K-State Extension office. Warm weather resulted in people noticing spring bulbs poking out of the soil and buds on some trees and shrubs. In addition, some buds are plumper than normal as they start their spring expansion. For the most part, the warm December had little negative effect on plants. They are smarter than we give them credit for…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times, January 14, 2022: Vermont Avenue tree removal, sidewalk project: Asheville asks for public input

Asheville is asking for public input on a sidewalk improvement project set to remove characteristic trees from a popular West Asheville street. According to a release Jan. 13, the city hopes to hear from the public on which of three options folks favor to address about 1,200 feet of sidewalk on Vermont Avenue in West Asheville between Haywood Road and just south of Olney Road. The project, balancing the pressing needs for infrastructure improvements and protecting the city’s urban tree canopy and character of a beloved neighborhood, went before the city’s Urban Forestry Commission in November. Alongside replacing the sidewalk with an Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant concrete sidewalk, the city says the project includes curb rehabilitation, driveway apron reconstruction, ramps and crosswalks, work that will require the removal of at least 12 large maple trees. In November, city officials reported that the project is on track with its $927,000 budget, with plans for the design phase to wrap up at the end of March and construction by the end of September. The city often seeks input on neighborhood projects like the Vermont Avenue sidewalk work, said city spokesperson Polly McDaniel…

State College, Pennsylvania, Centre Daily, January 12, 2022: PennDOT could remove 90% of trees along part of Atherton St. How to provide input on the plan

Nearly 60 trees along Atherton Street — about 90% of the street trees along a 1.2-mile stretch — could be removed as part of an upcoming roadwork project by PennDOT, a move that State College Borough’s tree commission has flagged as antithetical to the community’s values. State College — which has boasted a “Tree City, USA” designation for 37 years — could see the trees removed as part of the state’s $17 million South Atherton Street Project, which includes roadway improvements and the relocation of several utility lines. That work starts in the spring, between Curtin Road and Westerly Parkway. The tree commission also worries those 56 trees could be just the beginning. The second phase of the roadwork plan, beyond Westerly, could see even more trees removed along a different stretch, they said. “We looked at where those 60 trees would be taken from,” tree commission vice chair Elaine Schuckers said during a council meeting last month. “Please take a drive or take a walk, and think about 60 trees vanishing from that area. … A quick estimate of the value of those trees is $200,000…”

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, January 12, 2022: New California Law Doubles Workers’ Comp Insurance Rates For Tree Trimming Companies

A new California law for tree trimming companies doubles their workers’ compensation insurance rates for those using the state fund. It will impact thousands of companies in the industry across the Golden State and their options. Max Echols is on the hunt for a new insurance policy for his tree care business after workers’ compensation rates went up 100%. “It’s just going to be ridiculous,” he said. “It could put businesses under.” Echols used to pay the state fund $25 for every $100 he pays his employees. As of 2022, that rate jumps to more than $50. “As a small business, I can’t afford something like that,” Echols said. “I’m not going to name any names, but I know a number of companies that have people off the books because they have to.” The state workers’ compensation fund is the insurer of last resort. Echols has been in business long enough that other companies will provide coverage. “I think they probably took a look at how much claim dollars they were spending versus how much premium they were intaking, and there was a mismatch,” he said. Anderson says doubling premiums for tree care companies was a cut the other ten industries the state fund covers…

Reno, Nevada, KOLO-TV, January 13, 2022: The City of Reno wants your input to update tree protections

January will be an important month for the future of Reno trees. Local leaders are hoping to reduce the environmental impact of our area’s rapid growth. “Reno, Nevada, one of the fastest-warming cities in America, sometimes at the very top,” said councilwoman Naomi Duerr. “We want to change that whole dynamic.” This month is your chance to weigh in on the proposed changes. The city is working on updates to tree protection standards after efforts to do so were stalled due to the pandemic in 2020. “Our tree canopy sits at around five percent, most high-desert cities like us, maybe like Boise or Salt Lake, most of those kinds of cities have 10 to 15 percent tree canopy,” said Duerr. Duerr, who is also a liaison for the Urban Forestry Commission says preserving the city’s urban forest has social, environmental and economic benefits for the community. “Trees provide a unique benefit to help us with that cooling effort and also when homes have trees, they’re generally perceived as having greater value,” said Duerr…

Greenbiz.com, January 13, 2022: Sorry, folks, but there’s no such thing as an ‘ancient’ forest

Branding the world’s primary forests as ancient is probably one of the slickest con jobs in recent environmental history. Because ancient forests (in the normal sense of the word) are few and far between, if they exist at all. Back in 2006, Greenpeace proclaimed the boreal forest of Canada “one of the largest tracts of ancient forest in the world” (emphasis added). But Greenpeace did not define ancient forests in terms of how old the trees were. “Ancient forests are forests that are shaped largely by natural events with little impact from human activities,” it declared. So basically, in its view, forest minus humans equals ancient. In subsequent years, a Vancouver-based conservation group called Canopy has taken the “ancient” campaign to another level, promoting the Ancient and Endangered Forests brand and boosting an Ancient Forest Friendly logo scheme that corporations can buy into and then brag about their environmental credentials. The media has got into the act as well, with journalists and bloggers slipping in the word ancient to describe forests or trees, with little or no consideration as to whether its use is appropriate or accurate. Let me be very clear here. The cause of conserving and protecting the world’s remaining primary forests is commendable. And many of these forests are certainly endangered. I don’t have a problem with the cause. My objection here is to the hijacking of the meaning of the word ancient for emotional and commercial purposes, and to the media’s continued and inaccurate use of the word…

Decatur, Georgia, Decaturish.com, January 12, 2022: Decatur Planning Commission votes ‘no’ on tree ordinance update

At its meeting Tuesday, the Decatur Planning Commission voted against recommending approval of updates to the city’s tree ordinance, citing discomfort with provisions they felt would disproportionately harm individual homeowners in the city. “It’s just too much,” Planning Commission Co-Chair Michael Travis said during discussion of the proposed measure. “It’s like throwing the kitchen sink and the pantry into this ordinance when we could take the existing ordinance and make a realistic attainable goal.” A key sticking point was the proposed elimination of the ability of property owners to remove up to three healthy trees on their property within an 18-month period without requiring city approval beyond a tree information permit, as is allowed under Decatur’s current tree conservation ordinance. The proposed new ordinance would require city approval for removal of any tree with greater than six-inch diameter, as well as require the owner to plant replacement trees or pay into the tree bank if the city agrees. For example, a homeowner who wanted to have a healthy tree removed would be required to ensure that they replanted another tree or trees to keep the tree canopy on their individual property at 60 percent of the land area. Smaller replacement trees would be credited at only a percentage of their potential canopy when mature, not as a one-to-one replacement…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, January 12, 2022: Duo charged in theft of $28,000 Black Walnut tree, one of state’s largest, from Metroparks in Strongsville

A brother and sister are accused of working together to chop down a century-old Black Walnut tree in Cleveland Metropark’s Mill Stream Run Reservation that was one of the largest in the state and worth an estimated $28,000, according to police and park officials. Todd Jones, 56, of Bay Village, and Laurel Hoffman, 54, of Elyria, are charged with grand theft and falsification, both fourth-degree felonies. Their arraignments are set for Jan. 20 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Jones and Hoffman, in separate phone interviews with cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer, said they believe the tree belonged to them. Jones owns property adjacent to the park and said his family for years believed the tree was inside their property lines. Jones and Hoffman both said they should not face any criminal charges. “This is so ridiculous that they’re doing this,” Jones said. “This is insane. There was no ill intent.” Black Walnut trees are highly sought after because of the high-quality lumber they produce. The lumber is often used to make furniture, musical instruments and veneer, among other items. Black Walnuts also serve as homes for several animals, and between 23 to 100 kinds of caterpillars, Metroparks Director of Natural Resources Jennifer Grieser said. The tree cut down in Strongsville is massive by most standards and is one of the largest in the state, Grieser said…

Phys.org, January 11, 2022: Without urgent action, these are the street trees unlikely to survive climate change

Cities around the world are on the front line of climate change, and calls are growing for more urban cooling. Many governments are spending big on new trees in public places—but which species are most likely to thrive in a warmer world? Numerical targets such as “one million trees” dominate tree-planting programs in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Melbourne and Sydney. But whacking a million trees into the ground won’t necessarily mean greener suburbs in decades to come. Often, not enough attention is paid to selecting the right trees or providing enough water so they survive a hotter, drier climate in future. In our recent research, we assessed the effects of extreme heat and drought on urban tree species. Some much-loved tree species, widely planted across our cities, did not handle the conditions well. It shows how important decisions must be made today for urban greening programs to succeed in a warmer world…

The American Conservative, January 11, 2022: Burning The Forest For The Trees

The FTSE 100 British energy giant Drax was recently booted from the S&P Global Clean Energy Index on the determination it wasn’t actually producing “clean” energy, that is, carbon neutral. It was a huge blow to the Drax Group (not to be confused with Drax the Destroyer from Marvel Comics), which has vowed to become the world’s first “carbon-negative” energy company by the end of the decade. Most importantly, it’s not because Drax was doing something wrong per se, it’s because its product—energy from burning wood pellets—was rightly deemed to be a net carbon dioxide producer. Earlier, the index dropped French biomass generator Albioma which, like Drax, has used wood chips to replace coal in its power plants. That’s bad news for woody biomass producers everywhere. Woody biomass has become progressively more popular in Europe, although not so here in the U.S. At least not yet. Here, total biomass consumption accounts for only about 5 percent of all energy produced, including transportation. But much of that isn’t woody, rather other sources, especially ethanol (which I’ve been writing against since a 1987 National Review cover article, so I’ll give it a break here and focus on woody). Biomass generally benefits from confusion over two vastly different terms that often are used interchangeably: “renewable” (or sustainable) and “carbon free.” Both appeal to the touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy set, but they are not necessarily the same. If you accept the anthropogenic global climate change thesis, your concern is (or should be) carbon neutrality. That is, reducing emissions of so-called “greenhouse gases.” “Carbon-free” sources such as wind and solar are both, but not everything that is one is the other…

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Tribune, January 11, 2022: Landowners, conservationists worry MNDOT will ‘clear-cut’ trees along Lake Country Scenic Byway

A road project that calls for removing trees along one of Minnesota’s most picturesque byways has landowners and conservationists concerned and calling for a different approach. The Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to thin the trees along the roadway and will hold a virtual public meeting about it this week to seek input. The project, estimated at $9 million, will resurface Highway 34 in an area between Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids in the summer of 2023. The stretch is part of what’s known as the Lake Country Scenic Byway, one of 22 designated roadways in the state. Matt Davis, co-president of the Prairie Woods Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, a longstanding conservation organization, said the scenic byway shouldn’t be treated like any other road. “Once you cut those trees, there’s no going back,” Davis said. Specifically, the road work would involve a 21-mile stretch from Becker County Road 29 to old Minnesota Highway 225, just west of Osage…

New Haven, Connecticut, YaleEnvironment360, January 10, 2022: Across the Boreal Forest, Scientists Are Tracking Warming’s Toll

A sign hanging above the door of a giant open-top glass chamber in a remote part of Minnesota’s Marcell Experimental Forest explains why so many scientists from around the world have worked hard to get a piece of this boreal woodland. “Welcome to the Future” the sign reads, and that is literally what researchers get when they come to do research at Marcell. The experiment — a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory — features 10 open-top glass chambers. Each is 30 feet high, 40 feet in diameter, and designed — by controlling temperature and CO2 levels — to mimic what will happen to boreal peatlands under various global warming scenarios. They range from no change to a very realistic increase of 4 degrees F, to 7 degrees F, and even to a frightening 12 degrees F and higher. The Marcell Experimental Forest was established in 1962 to investigate the ecology and hydrology of the boreal forest, which in North America extends from the Lake Superior area of the northern United States to northern Canada and Alaska. Boreal woodlands — the world’s largest forest system, holding vast carbon-rich peatlands — also cover Scandinavia and much of Russia…

Squamish, British Columbia, Chief, January 10, 2022: How are our trees handling all that weather has thrown at them?

Heat dome, atmospheric river events, heavy and continuous snow – the salty stuff often pushed up against their trunks – and then the ice storm. How are Sea to Sky trees coping with all that has been thrown at them? The Squamish Chief caught up with local tree service owner Paddy Vero of Vertigo Trees to find out what he has seen in the corridor. What follows is an edited version of that conversation.
Q: How did last week’s ice storm impact local trees?
A: It’s just so much weight, right? Because our trees haven’t been subjected to it since they were young, they aren’t adapted to it. So they fail. It definitely affects certain species worse than others. It’s just a case of our climate not being the norm.
Q: Is it mostly branches coming down or whole trees?
A: If I go purely off the calls I have received, it’s mostly pieces of tree or branches. But there are trees down. I would say branch damage predominantly. That’s certainly one thing that readers should be aware of, is to look up and see — are there loads of hanging branches that are stuck in there? There might even be some stuck in the snow. Just because they didn’t come down yet, doesn’t mean they’re not going to come down. Those things can come falling out of the tree at any point. It’s not a bad idea to either have a look yourself or call a tree service. Get them to look. If there are hazards, we can get up and clear them…

The Conversation, January 10, 2022: Without urgent action, these are the street trees unlikely to survive climate change

Cities across the world are on the front line of climate change, and calls are growing for more urban cooling. Many governments are spending big on new trees in public places – but which species are most likely to thrive in a warmer world? Numerical targets such as “one million trees” dominate tree-planting programs in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Melbourne and Sydney. But whacking a million trees into the ground won’t necessarily mean greener suburbs in decades to come. Often, not enough attention is paid to selecting the right trees or providing enough water so they survive a hotter, drier climate in future. In our recent research, we assessed the effects of extreme heat and drought on urban tree species. Some much-loved tree species, widely planted across our cities, did not handle the conditions well. It shows how important decisions must be made today for urban greening programs to succeed in a warmer world…

Buffalo, New York, WIVB-TV, January 10, 2022: DEC encourages residents to report invasive insects on hemlock trees

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging residents to report sightings of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). The DEC said this tiny insect is a big problem for forests and water resources in the northeast. HWA threatens the eastern hemlock, which makes up large portions of the canopy in many New York forests and maintains water quality in streams by providing shade. The DEC said HWA lives, reproduces and feeds on hemlock trees, killing trees within four to 10 years. Residents can see where this invasive species has been reported on the NY iMapInvasives website. The website shows HWA has been reported in the Capital Region. You can help by checking your trees for HWA and reporting your findings to iMapInvasives.Keep an eye out for small white “fuzz balls” on the undersides of hemlock twigs – the DEC said those are HWA egg masses…

Ewing, New Jersey, WKXW-FM, January 9, 2022: NJ says 2 counties should be sprayed for tree-killing caterpillar

New Jersey in 2022 is trying to get ahead of population outbreaks of the gypsy moth caterpillar, following a few quiet years for the tree-killing pest. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has proposed treating approximately 5,000 acres of residential and county-owned properties this year. The NJDA held an informational session in Ewing on Wednesday to outline its 2022 Aerial Gypsy Moth Suppression program, the product of egg mass surveys that were conducted from August to December of 2021. “The treatment program has proved very effective during the last several years and has significantly decreased the gypsy moth caterpillar populations across the state,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. “By treating these areas now, we can prevent this insect’s spread and keep the populations at a minimal levels for the years to come.” Less than 200 acres were recommended for treatment last year, and no areas of the state were recommended for treatment in 2019 and 2020. Approximately 4,000 acres of properties in Burlington, Morris, Passaic, and Warren counties were flagged as problem areas in 2018, a reduction of about 80% compared to 2017…

Waco, Texas, Tribune, January 7, 2022: City replacing trees destroyed by elements, feral hogs at Lake Waco Wetlands

Feral hogs and the vagaries of Central Texas weather have taken their toll on trees that volunteers planted years ago at the Lake Waco Wetlands. Now City of Waco officials are giving it another shot. City utilities workers started just before Christmas to plant 400 tree saplings in a field near Eichelberger Crossing Road. The wetlands were originally built as part of an environmental mitigation project started in 2001 to make up for the habitat destroyed when the city raised Lake Waco by 7 feet. The new saplings, grown by the Texas A&M Forest Service, are mostly buttonbush trees, smaller oaks and Eastern redbuds. Lake Waco Wetlands Coordinator Nora Schell said in a year or so, another 4,000 trees grown by the state agency will be planted on 1,000 acres in 14 designated areas around Lake Waco. She said weather conditions and improper planting by volunteers might have contributed to the loss of those original trees over time, but mostly she blames the hogs…

Salisbury, Maryland, WMDT-TV, January 7, 2022: Arborist gives tips for caring for trees before next snowstorm

As officials continue cleaning up after Monday’s snowstorm, a Maryland Arborist is helping residents prepare their trees for the next weather event. According to a local arborist, part of the clean-up after a snowstorm is fallen trees, limbs, and branches. Which we’re told happens because of heavy snow, ice, and wind that can cause damage to trees, and at times become a hazard for houses, cars, and even people. That’s why they say it’s important to be practice caring for your trees such as fertilizing, watering, and pruning. So when the next storm hits, the trees will be in a healthier condition to bear the effects of a winter storm. “The tree will heal faster and it will heal more appropriately which again goes back to proactive work which allows for less access for those diseases and pathogens,” says Lou Meyer, a Maryland arborist. He adds, “Caring for them either professionally like we do or emotionally life homeowners do is an important thing to ensure that our environment is a success…”

News-Medical.Net, January 9, 2022: Composition of poplar tree microbiome changes dramatically over time, study finds

Recent work shows that the plant microbiome-;the microorganisms in a plant and its immediate environment-;influences plant health, survival, and fitness. The initial assembly of the microbiome is particularly important. Assembly refers to the processes that produce the types and numbers of species within the microbiome. This research characterized the initial assembly of the microbiome in several types of poplar trees. The study found that the composition of the microbiome changed dramatically over time. For archaea and bacteria in the microbiome, the passage of time caused the amount of variation to decrease. However, variation among fungi in the microbiome was shaped by several processes. The poplar trees’ genetic makeup proved to be less of a factor than researchers had expected. The initial assembly of a plant microbiome may help set the microbiome’s future. This can determine the overall future health of the plant. However, while scientists know much about the initial microbiome assembly of grasses and agricultural crops, they know less about the initial microbiome of long-lived trees, such as poplar. Poplar trees may be excellent candidates for biofuels and other applications. If scientists gain a better understanding of the plant’s microbiome, they can make greater use of these trees. For example, the findings of this new research could help scientists use microbes to improve the health and growth of popular trees…

Sacramento, California, KCRA-TV, January 6, 2022: Extreme drought conditions may have contributed to tree damage, power outages in the Sierra

It’s not unusual for wet snow to fall at elevations of 4,000 feet and below in the Sierra. It’s also not unusual for that heavy, cement-like snow to bring down a few tree branches and cause some scattered outages. But the damage following last week’s snow that many are still cleaning up from IS unusual. Snowfall totals between Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 were a bit higher than a typical snow event for places like Grass Valley, Placerville and Georgetown but they weren’t exceptional when compared with a storm like what came through in 2009. The extensive damage without an absurd amount of snow got the KCRA 3 weather team thinking “something had to be different this time.” The hypothesis: recent extreme drought conditions had weakened trees and branches making them more likely to topple under heavy snow and gusty winds. Frank Telewski, a woody plant physiologist and Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University says that in a case of extreme drought “the tree may begin to shut down less important branches” in order to conserve water and energy and “then you’ll actually see some dieback in the canopy…”

Discover, January 6, 2022: ‘Super Trees’ May Be Key to Helping Houston and Other Cities Combat Environmental Impacts

Houston…we have a solution. A recent study from Rice University, the Houston Health Department’s environmental division and Houston Wilderness discovered the numerous benefits of planting “super trees” – native trees that benefit the environment in a particular area the most – and now, researchers are sharing their findings so other urban areas can benefit. Like all urban areas, Houston has a high amount of pollution and carbon dioxide in the air. It currently ranks 11th in U.S. cities with high ozone days by the American Lung Association. The high level of pollution has led to preventable asthma attacks in school-age children and caused an increase in cardiac arrest. Not to mention, Houston has been greatly impacted by other effects of climate change, like extreme heat and flooding. To mitigate the high pollution levels, planting trees seems like a natural and long-lasting solution. Planting trees and maintaining groves is a crucial part of combating climate change and preserving public health, but determining how, where and what kind is key – and that is exactly what researchers set out to learn…

Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, January 6, 2022: Why do trees break in Kentucky during ice storms? We asked an expert

Power lines down, branches crashing onto parked cars. … I’m always amazed by what that little bit of ice can do to disrupt our 21st century way of life. So the obvious question is: Why so much damage from what amounts to just an overly healthy dose of Jack Frost? Why do some tree species come through with shining colors while others are turned unceremoniously into large piles of future wood chips? The answer is both wood strength and tree architecture. Wood strength is pretty straightforward. The faster they grow, the faster they come crashing down. Fast-growing species produce wood that is significantly less dense. The torque produced by wind, snow and ice loads on a branch generates a tremendous strain, and when that strain exceeds the strength of the wood, we all know what happens. Fast-growing and soft-wooded species include our friends the pines (Pinus species) and many other conifers (which is why we sometimes refer to the group as “softwoods”), the silver maples (Acer saccharinum), the Callery pears (Pyrus calleryana, including “Bradford”) and the dreaded Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila.) We saw plenty of their branches on the ground after the ice storm…

Portland, Oregon, KOIN-TV, January 6, 2021: Heavy rain helps trees after dry summer, OSU professor says

While the rain might be causing flooding, landslides and road closures across Oregon and Washington, an Oregon State University forestry expert said it’s a welcome arrival for vegetation in the region. Chris Still is a professor at the college of forestry at Oregon State University. He said after two years of severe drought, the rain is badly needed for trees and other plants in Northwest Oregon. He also said the snow last week was a good sign. The trouble for trees comes when the snow is very heavy, or most concerning, when there’s an ice storm. “Those are the ones you see where they will take out you know treetops and lots of branches fall and lots of trees die and those tend to be the more damaging events,” Still said. KOIN 6 News contacted Still to ask if vegetation in the region would be more susceptible to cold temperatures during the winter after the stress of the record-breaking temperatures during the heat dome and the ongoing drought. He said he suspects it will be more susceptible to damage during the winter, but scientists are still waiting to see. He said the heat dome and drought could have weakened trees and plants going into the winter…

Washington, D.C., WTOP Radio, January 5, 2022: How not to get ripped off hiring a company for tree service

Several inches of snowfall with the consistency of mashed potatoes have damaged lots of trees. A D.C.-based consumers’ group with tips for hiring a tree service expects scammers will be coming out of the woodwork. “They’re going to be coming to your door saying things like, ‘Oh, I’m doing work just right around the corner. And if you gave me a certain amount of money, a couple of hundred bucks, I can get started dealing with your problem,” Kevin Brasler, executive editor with Consumers’ Checkbook, warned. “You definitely want to not use these companies. You don’t want to use companies that are going door-to-door; that’s not a proper way to solicit business,” he said. Unlike Maryland, Virginia and D.C. do not require tree care services to be licensed. Brasler said anyone hired to work on your property anywhere should be able to show certificates of current policies for liability and workers’ compensation insurance. “That protects you from a big risk. Tree care work is very dangerous,” he said. Workers’ compensation covers the company’s employees. “So, if someone’s injured on the job, you don’t have to pay for the medical bills, the company’s insurance policy does,” Brasler explained…

New Scientist, January 5, 2022: Newly identified tree species named in honour of Leonardo DiCaprio

A tropical, evergreen tree from Cameroon, the first plant species to be named as new to science in 2022, has officially been labelled Uvariopsis dicaprio today in honour of the actor Leonardi DiCaprio. It adds to the list of the strange and spectacular plants that scientists have named in the past 12 months. Martin Cheek at the UK’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and his colleagues – including researchers at the National Herbarium of Cameroon and the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon – analysed photos and specimens of the tree, which is found in Cameroon’s tropical Ebo forest. They determined it was previously unknown to science, and also appears to be unknown among local communities. The team named the species after actor and environmental activist DiCaprio to commemorate his campaigning efforts to protect Ebo forest from logging. Standing at around 4 metres tall, U. dicaprio can be identified by the distinctive and vibrant glossy yellow-green flowers that grow on its trunk. It is closely related to the ylang-ylang tree (Cananga odorata) which is native to India, South-East Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia…

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