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Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, May 18, 2022: Mother of man crushed to death by tree limb in 2020 sues Portland for $2 million

A wrongful death lawsuit claims Portland failed to properly prune a towering oak tree that fatally crushed a man near the border of Powell Park in 2020. Jonathan D. Nichols, 45, was inside a van parked on Southeast 22nd Avenue when a thick tree branch suddenly cracked and fell onto the van, killing Nichols and injuring another person just before 9 a.m. June 25, 2020, according to the suit and first responders. Nichols’ mother, Pamela S. Nichols of Boise, seeks $2 million from the city of Portland for failing to trim the 93-foot-tall red oak, which was part of the city’s heritage tree program. The “unbalanced” tree branch extended beyond the natural shape of the canopy, causing it to splinter due to “excessive end weight,” according to the lawsuit, filed in late March in Multnomah County Circuit Court. “The city knew or should have known that trees at Powell Park, including the red oak, constituted a hazardous condition,” the suit says, noting that a limb on another heritage oak in the park fell on an unspecified date before Jonathan Nichols’ death…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, WCCO-TV, May 16, 2022: Good Question: How Do Trees Know When To Bloom?

In a matter of days, we’ve gone from a cold spring to one that’s bursting with warmth and color. That had us wondering: How do trees know when to bloom? And did it take longer than usual this year? Good Question. Jeff Wagner explains why nature follows its own schedule and not ours. From the edge of the Mississippi River to parks and yards, another sign that spring has sprung hangs from above like a colorful canopy. “It’s so much more green and everything’s blooming,” said Anna Doolittle, a student at St. Thomas University as she walked with a friend along a trail near the river. “It’s crazy the difference.” “When they get what they need, they’ll leaf out and they’ll bloom,” said Val Cervenka, forest health program coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. How do trees know when to bloom? “It depends on the tree…

Syracuse, New York, WSYR-TV, May 18, 2022: Gas prices impacting tree service and lawn care businesses

Joshua Lashomb owns Josh’s Tree and Landscaping out of Liverpool, and he says he’s shelling out more money because of gas prices. As of Wednesday May 18, the average price for a gallon of gas in Onondaga County was $4.79 according to AAA. Lashomb said he’s paying over $2,500.00 per week to fill up all of his equipment, when in 2021 he was paying around $1,500.00 per week. “Interesting for sure, adapting, adjusting to either you know a shortage, gas/diesel being crazy expensive,” said Lashomb. He said he’s had to make some changes. “So instead of leaving that chipper on for instance, we’ll leave it on idle and we’ll shut it off a lot.” He says it help saves them on gas. Lashomb told NewsChannel 9 he’s charging, on average, around $100.00 more per job to help cover the costs. “Most customers this year when they got their renewal letters for lawn mowing they completely understood. We sent a fuel letter out saying if fuel reached over $4.00 a gallon you know prices will be x-amount…”

Martha Stewart Living, May 18, 2022: How to Grow and Care for Flowering Cherry Trees—Plus, the Prettiest Varieties to Plant in Your Yard

Flowering cherry trees are some of the common tree species you’ll find in the United States. The ones that put on a show everywhere from Seattle to Boston, are cultivars of popular Southeast Asian natives, which were crossed together hundreds of years ago. “Japan famously gifted [some] to Washington, D.C., in the early 1900s,” says Blake Watkins, the Operations Partner at Monster Tree Service. Since these show-stopping beauties, which break into blossom at the start of spring, are such a joy to behold, you’re likely wondering how to introduce them to your own yard. Here, Watkins explains how to grow and care for this tree type, which blooms all across the United States. Flowering cultivars are grafted, says Watkins, and their root stocks can be large and aggressive despite the tree’s small stature. This is why it is important to “use caution when planting near hardscapes,” like a driveway or sidewalk, he explains; cherry trees’ root systems can compromise their integrity. He suggests triple-checking the planting directions for your specific tree, since each variety has its own special needs—but as a general rule of thumb, they should be planted 20 to 40 feet apart in a hole that is as deep as the root ball and twice as wide…

USA Today, May 16, 2022: ‘This is our forest’: Climate change means uncertain future for maple trees, syrup season

For centuries, the Abenaki people of the northeastern U.S. and Canada looked at maple sap as a gift from their creator, arriving at a time just before spring when their ancestors’ food reserves were low. But the sweet, amber syrup and the people who produce it today face an uncertain future. The continent’s iconic sugar maple trees — revered for their sap and fall colors — can’t escape the changing climate. Rising temperatures affect the maple trees, with the warmer climate bringing more weather extremes, an earlier sap flow, shorter sugaring seasons and invasive insects. And some believe it may get too hot in parts of the northeastern U.S. for the sugar bushes, as the Abenaki call them, to remain where they’ve stood for centuries. When you add drought and disease, “you’re throwing multiple threats at these tree species, and they’re dropping out of the forest and weakening entire ecosystems,” said Andy Finton, landscape conservation director for The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts…

Phys.org., May 12, 2022: What we’re still learning about how trees grow

What will happen to the world’s forests in a warming world? Will increased atmospheric carbon dioxide help trees grow? Or will extremes in temperature and precipitation hold growth back? That all depends on whether tree growth is more limited by the amount of photosynthesis or by the environmental conditions that affect tree cell growth—a fundamental question in tree biology, and one for which the answer wasn’t well understood, until now. A study led by University of Utah researchers, with an international team of collaborators, finds that tree growth does not seem to be generally limited by photosynthesis but rather by cell growth. This suggests that we need to rethink the way we forecast forest growth in a changing climate, and that forests in the future may not be able to absorb as much carbon from the atmosphere as we thought…

Phoenix, Arizona, Republic, May 13, 2022: How does Arizona stop a catastrophic wildfire? The answer lies in low-value trees

Arizona’s early start to the wildfire season is just the latest example of suffering the consequences of the 20th century strategy that suppressed blazes and let forests grow abnormally dense. Add historic drought, extreme heat and the results are predictable. Yet it’s not too late to make northern Arizona’s forests more resilient and resistant to fire. Doing so also brings the added benefit of increasing water supplies and battling climate change. Efforts are under way. A public-private partnership launched the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, or 4FRI, with a goal of restoring 2.4 million acres of national forest land. The program, for a variety of reasons, has never come close to reaching its annual goals. Work by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with industry and the U.S. Forest Service has identified a suite of business practices and innovative efficiencies that may allow the initiative to achieve its potential and make efficient use of new federal funding…

New Haven, Connecticut, Register, May 15, 2022: Opinion: State government must protect our trees

Gov. Ned Lamont is taking many good steps to lower Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions, making the state more environmentally resilient to climate change. Now it’s time for the governor to take action to protect our trees, our strongest natural allies in our efforts to maintain biodiversity and slow climate change. Perhaps you’ve noticed all the work removing trees along parts of the Wilbur Cross Parkway? We have, and we don’t understand it. Both the Wilbur Cross and the Merritt parkways were conceived as linear parks, beautiful places for drivers. In addition to beauty, the trees and shrubs along those roads — and many others in our state — provide essential benefits. Trees and shrubs help calm drivers, reducing road rage. Properly planted, they can provide protection for vehicles that leave the road. They can help with sun glare, reduce the road noise in nearby neighborhoods, and dramatically lower the air and surface temperature on the road…

Fremont, Ohio, News-Messenger, May 16, 2022: Today is: Love a Tree Day

Trees are important to the existence and diversity of life on Earth, and to maintaining the Earth’s ecology. Their root systems store carbon dioxide, move water, and produce oxygen. Trees hold stream and river banks, help with erosion control, conserve water, and prevent floods. The organic matter of soil is made from remnants of trees, which recycle nutrients such as nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen. On top of this, trees give us shade. With all these benefits, what’s not to love about them? Trees may be pteridophytes such as tree ferns, gymnosperms such as conifers, and angiosperms, which are flowering plants…

Los Angeles, California, Times, May 13, 2022: Heed the warnings of this palm tree, a 200-year-old drought survivor

About 200 years ago, a palm tree was planted in downtown Los Angeles. The fan palm was originally from the Southern California desert, a newcomer to the city like so many who would arrive later. And like so many who settled here, this young migrant prospered while adapting to the changing times. It grew up as humble landscaping for a home on San Pedro Street in what’s now Little Tokyo, while Los Angeles transitioned from Spanish to Mexican to American rule. Its quick growth and ample top earned it fame as the dusty pueblo turned into a boomtown…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, WCCO-TV, May 13, 2022: Maple Grove Launches 20-Year Plan To Save Ash Trees

A Minnesota city is getting aggressive in saving its trees. In Maple Grove, a 20-year plan is now in place to fight a deadly invasive species. What once was a great ash tree is now a stump in front of Jim Erdmann’s home. “I was ecstatic because I get my yard back,” he said. Erdmann wanting it gone wasn’t why the city of Maple Grove cut it down last fall. “They confirmed that it was infested,” he said. Infested with emerald ash borer, a beetle species that kills ash trees. “The trees here don’t have any sort of natural resistance so it quickly builds up in numbers and frankly devastates trees in metro areas,” municipal consulting arborist Ryan Spencer. Spencer says almost one in five trees in the Twin Cities metro are ash trees, and thus susceptible to the deadly EAB…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, May 14, 2022: Use trunk flare to determine how deep to plant a new tree

Q: My neighbor told me my tree was planted too deeply. How do I determine the proper planting depth?
A: Trees are often planted too deep by homeowners and professionals, so it is a good idea to understand how to position a new tree at the proper depth. Recently planted trees that resemble telephone poles coming out of the ground are probably planted too deep. Generally, this will not cause problems in the early years, but it can be a major factor in the decline or even death of the tree in the future. Look at the base of the tree where it meets the ground to determine if your tree is at the proper depth. Mulch should be pulled a couple inches away from the base of the tree. The majority of the roots will develop in the top 12 to 18 inches of soil, though this varies depending on the type of tree and garden soil. The tree’s root system will develop at a shallower depth in heavy clay soils versus better-drained loamy or sandy soils…

Eurekalert, May 12, 2022: Climate change increases risks of tree death

Planting a tree seems like a generally good thing to do for the environment. Trees, after all, take in carbon dioxide, offsetting some of the emissions that contribute to climate change. But all of that carbon in trees and forests worldwide could be thrown back into the atmosphere again if the trees burn up in a forest fire. Trees also stop scrubbing carbon dioxide from the air if they die due to drought or insect damage. The likelihood of those threats impacting forests is increasing nationwide, according to new research in Ecology Letters, making relying on forests to soak up carbon emissions a much riskier prospect. “U.S. forests could look dramatically different by the end of the century,” says William Anderegg, study lead author and associate professor in the University of Utah School of Biological Sciences. “More severe and frequent fires and disturbances have huge impacts on our landscapes. We are likely to lose forests from some areas in the Western U.S. due to these disturbances, but much of this depends on how quickly we tackle climate change…”

Allentown, Pennsylvania, WFMZ-TV, May 12, 2022: ‘X’ marks the spot: Township ordinance requires residents cut down trees

If you’ve taken a drive through Hereford Township, Berks County recently, you may have noticed that “X” marks a lot of spots. “I had no idea what it was,” said resident John Yanan. “I had to find out. It looked like graffiti all over the roads.” The township marked trees that residents are to have taken down, on their dime. It’s part of township ordinance number 2021-01, on the county website, which states residents must “….cut and remove trees if the condition of trees unreasonably interferes with the health safety and welfare of the public…” “My neighbor’s driveway had three trees marked 80 feet up his driveway,” said Matt Ferdock. “I have trees sixty feet off the road that have been marked.” Residents aren’t pleased…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, May 12, 2022: Browntail moths are expected to terrorize Maine again if we don’t get more rain

Bad news for Mainers: It’s likely to be another bad season for browntail moths. While Mainers have been enjoying picturesque, sunny spring weather in recent weeks, it’s not the type of weather that will help reduce browntail moth caterpillar populations ― and the tree defoliation and rashes they cause ― in coming months. Forest insect experts predict that this year’s browntail moth conditions will be as bad as last year ― the worst Maine has ever experienced ― unless more rain falls in the next month and a half to help bolster the spread of diseases that kill the caterpillars. Without wet weather, folks in areas that have had high populations of browntail moths in recent years ― especially along the coast and adjacent inland counties ― will likely not get a reprieve from these irritating caterpillars…

Fast Company, May 12, 2022: Lawns are terrible for the environment. California’s water restrictions may finally kill them

After years of on-again-off-again drought conditions and decades of precarity relying on imported water, Southern California has instituted major limitations on how residents can use water. Within weeks, residents will only be allowed to irrigate their yards once a week. Lush lawns and abundant flower gardens, your days may be numbered. This is likely just the start. Climate change is wreaking havoc on water systems around the world, and drought conditions are projected for the Western United States through 2030 at least. What’s happening now in Southern California could soon be seen in broader swathes of the West. Watering limitations could dramatically reshape the look of the outdoors. The new rules were put in place by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which delivers water to 19 million people in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties. In late April it declared a Water Shortage Emergency, barring residents from watering more than once per week starting June 1. Individual water agencies within the district that are found to be exceeding limits will face fines, which will likely trickle down to individual water users. If conditions get worse, the district could enforce even stricter limitations, including an all-out ban on any non-essential outdoor irrigation. With an estimated 30% of a family’s daily water use going to outdoor irrigation, cutting down watering can be an impactful way to save water…

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