And Now The News …

Newsweek, May 19, 2022: Rainforest Trees Have Been Dying at Faster Rate Since 1980s

Tropical trees in Australia’s rainforests have been dying at double the previous rate since the 1980s, seemingly because of climate impacts, according to the findings of a long-term international study published Thursday in the Nature journal. This research has found the death rates of tropical trees have doubled in the last 35 years, as global warming increases the drying power of the atmosphere. Deterioration of such forests reduces biomass and carbon storage, making it increasingly difficult to keep global peak temperatures well below the target 2°C (35.6°F), as required by the Paris Agreement. Today’s study, led by researchers from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and Oxford University, and French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), has used uniquely long data records from across Australia’s rainforests. It finds average tree death rates in these forests have doubled over the past four decades. Researchers found trees are living around half as long, which is a pattern consistent across species and sites across the region. And the impacts can be seen as far back as the 1980s, according to the team…

Atlanta, Georgia, WGCL-TV, May 24, 2022: After abandoning job, Georgia tree trimmer pledges to ‘make it right’

A metro Atlanta couple paid a local tree trimming service more than $3,000 to remove three trees, but the crew only cut one and then abandoned the job after only two days. “I don’t understand how you can go to bed at night and treat people this way,” the grandson of Annette Hudgens, 85, said of Toby’s Tree Service in McDonough, Georgia. Hudgens and her husband had used the service before. Hudgens had given up hope the company, owned by Toby Spires, would return. A month later, her husband Bill passed away at age 90. Hudgens’ grandson and her neighbors said they made several attempts to reach Spires, but never got past the company’s receptionist. Toby’s Tree Service has been in business for 22 years. Spire’s company has good reviews, but several customers complain online the company disappeared before completing the work. One customer started his complaint on the Better Business Bureau’s website with one word: “Run!” The BBB issued an F rating…

Dallas, Texas, Culture Map Dallas, May 20, 2022: Tree experts demand urgent action to rescue Dallas’ beautiful ash tree

An invasive beetle that kills off ash trees has been discovered in Dallas County, and tree experts are calling for immediate action. The beetle is the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a wood-boring beetle that targets all ash trees. According to a release from Texas Trees Foundation, the beetle poses a substantial threat to Dallas’ urban forest, on both public and private land: EAB kills unprotected ash trees within 2-3 years of infestation and can eliminate entire stands of ash trees within 10 years. The urgency has escalated because, on May 19, the Texas A&M Forest Service confirmed the presence of EAB in Dallas County. Native to Asia, the emerald ash borer beetle was unknown in North America until its discovery in southeast Michigan in 2002. Since then, it has spread to 35 states including Texas, where it was first detected in Harrison County in Northeast Texas in 2016…

Ottawa, Ontario, Citizen, May 24, 2022: The trouble with trees: Why did so many come down in the storm?

Wind is a powerful force in the lives of trees. It helps them reproduce by spreading seeds and pollen, it governs their growth and height, and it brings down the old and the weak. Such was the case Saturday when thousands of trees in Ottawa were damaged or uprooted during the powerful spring storm that battered the region with what have been described as “hurricane-force” winds gusting to 120 km/h. Hydro Ottawa said the storm did significantly more damage to the local electrical distribution system than either the 1998 ice storm or the 2018 tornadoes. Much of that damage was done by downed trees and limbs. Ian Laidlaw, district manager for Davey Tree Ottawa, said the firm has responded to hundreds of calls for service in the past three days — more than anyone at the tree service can remember during the past 45 years. So why did so many trees crack or topple in this storm? Many factors were at play, but the essential element was wind, said Michael Petryk, a certified arborist and director of operations at Tree Canada, an Ottawa-based non-profit dedicated to improving the country’s tree canopy…

Los Angeles, California, KNBC-TV, May 21, 2022: Why Trees Are Not Part of LA’s Two-Day Outdoor Watering Restrictions

Two-day-per-week outdoor watering restrictions are set to begin June 1 in Los Angeles. But there’s an important exception to the rule in place to reduce water use during the region’s dry spell. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday that the water restrictions do not apply to tree watering. The mayor said the region needs its trees to keep things from getting worse. Trees can capture stormwater, improve water quality and reduce flood risk, along with helping air quality and the impacts of heat waves. Nearly 60 percent of California is in extreme drought, the second-most severe category in the weekly US Drought Monitor report. That includes a large swath of northern Los Angeles County. Ninety-five percent of the state is in severe drought. Garcetti met with California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot Friday. “Even here in Los Angeles, one of the true conservation capitals of the world, we need to continue to take advantage of the tools at our disposal that will help us get through drought,” Garcetti said. “We need to conserve now more than ever, and watering our trees is a critical part of our work to become a more sustainable and drought resilient state…’

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, May 23, 2022: Tree removal companies swamped as homeowners clean up after late May snow

Derek Wasiecko usually scouts jobs ahead of time, and his clients typically mull over the quotes he delivers. But Tree Climbers of Colorado is swamped after a late May snowstorm brought branches raining down on homes, cars and lawns across the Denver metro area. “It’s crazy, I started at 7:00 a.m. yesterday, and probably worked until 7:30 p.m. or something,” Wasiecko said. “But it was good. Can’t turn down a bunch of people coming to me.” Good for business, but bad for trees. Jennifer Newton pulled up a chair and watched as Wasiekco and his crew cleaned up the branches from her yard and climbed through her 60-foot-tall ash tree, chainsawing snapped limbs and guiding them safely to the ground. “It hasn’t killed my house. The ones that have been falling are good,” she said. “I’m crossing my fingers. I’ve done a lot of praying.” Newton’s ash tree has been through this before. She said there’s a late snow every few years that weighs down the tree’s branches and causes some damage. She estimates it’s 90 years old, and hopes it bounces back from the damage like it has so many times before. “I’ve been in this house 32 years, so I’ve been watching this tree get smaller and smaller every storm,” she said…

Phys.org, May 19, 2022: Climate change is killing trees in Queensland’s tropical rainforests

In recent years, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeast coast has seen multiple events of mass coral bleaching as human-caused global warming has driven sustained high temperatures in the ocean. Alongside the Coral Sea is another spectacular natural wonder: the rainforests of the World Heritage-listed wet tropics of Queensland. It turns out the same climate change forces contributing to coral bleaching have also taken a toll on the trees that inhabit these majestic tropical rainforests. In new research, we and our co-authors found that mortality rates among these trees have doubled since the mid 1980s, most likely due to warmer air with greater drying power. Like coral reefs, these trees provide essential structure, energy and nutrients to their diverse and celebrated ecosystems…

T&D World, May 23, 2022: Davey Tree Builds Training & Research Center in Ohio

The Davey Tree Expert Company is building a new science and learning campus — the Davey Tree SEED (Science, Employee Education and Development) Campus in Kent, Ohio. The 170-plus acre property, which formerly housed the Oak Knolls golf course and Franklin Elementary School on State Route 43, will be the new home to Davey Tree’s specialized training and research facilities. It is being designed to ensure that Davey continues to attract and retain the most qualified, well-trained and engaged employees possible. Planned facilities include a 25,000-square-foot training center and associated offices, a 10,700-square-foot indoor climbing center, 18 spans of non-energized utility right-of-way, laboratories and greenhouses, a container nursery and multiple research plots and fields. The training center classrooms will more than double the size of the current classrooms at the Davey Institute across the street at Davey Tree’s corporate headquarters. The classrooms are used to teach many of Davey’s educational and training programs, including the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences (D.I.T.S.) classes, which is Davey’s flagship training program in biological sciences, safety, tree and plant care and management techniques. The anticipated completion of the SEED Campus is 2026. Research and training have started taking place on the property, including tree and shrub plantings on research plots and utility and safety training…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, May 20, 2022: Brother, sister who cut down and sold 200-year-old black walnut tree in Cleveland Metroparks plead guilty to felony theft

A brother and sister who hired a company to cut down a 200-year-old black walnut tree on Cleveland Metroparks’ property last year have pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge. Todd Jones, 57, of Bay Village and Laurel Hoffman, 54, of Elyria agreed to repay the Metroparks $20,000 as part of the plea deal, which the pair entered Wednesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Judge Timothy McCormick ordered the pair to serve six months in the Cuyahoga County Jail, but he suspended the sentence. The pair will not have to serve jail time. Prosecutors said Jones and Hoffman hired a tree felling company in September to cut down the tree that was located about 7 feet from Jones’ property line in the Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville. Jones told the company, including in writing, that the tree was on his property, prosecutors said. After the tree was cut down, Jones and Hoffman sold it to a Geauga County sawmill for $2,000, prosecutors said. Metroparks rangers learned of the tree being cut down more than a week later. The park estimated the tree was worth about $28,000 and said that it cost more than $100,000 to clean up the area because of the mess…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, May 21, 2022: Across Connecticut, once-lush beech trees are dying

Last year, when John Lucak took his daily, four-mile walk in Waveny Park in New Canaan, the world was green and beautiful. This year, not so lush. The 300-acre park has groves of near-defoliated beech trees with stunted, ruined leaves. “They look horrible,” Lucak said. Welcome to beech leaf disease, and a world where one of the most important trees in our forests may go the way of the American chestnut — lost in a decade or two. It’s not just in New Canaan. Geordie Elkins, operations manager at Highstead, the arboretum and land conservation organization in Redding, said he’s seen beech leaf disease there for the first time this year. Far to the north, at Great Mountain Forest, whose 6,000 acres straddles Norfolk and Falls Village in Litchfield County, forester Jody Bronson found the disease in a stand of beech trees deep in the woods. “This is a place that’s miles from any road,” Bronson said…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, May 23, 2022: Toronto is barking up the wrong official tree — we should have gone with pine, not oak

The official tree of Toronto, after a sadly almost entirely ignored public online vote, is the… oak. This doesn’t surprise me, or you. Ask a Torontonian to name a tree and well, how about oak, something he associates with wine barrels. If you asked them to name a wood, they’d say Ikea, which means MDF (medium density fibreboard) with a laminate veneer, but Ikea doesn’t make trees (yet) so let’s have oak for the municipal win. The poll also included maple, birch and pine. I suspect people don’t think of the maple as a tree but as a leaf. I wanted to vote for birch but didn’t want to offend anyone. On the other hand, city trees are for urination, unofficial bike stands, centres of root stifling and compression, poster-stapling and tagging. A white birch, so very peelable, wouldn’t last a week. That left the pine — there were two kinds listed compared to eight kinds of oak — which would have been the best choice. We are a winter city that needs evergreens to soften the angles of its drab, boxy architecture…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, May 22, 2022: Bruce Kreitler: Are our trees tough enough to survive the drought?

Boy, I sure wish it would rain. As I have said many times in the past, because of the 2011 drought, I’m mentally damaged — or maybe what I mean by that is I’m more mentally damaged than I was before the drought. Anyway, since I certainly do remember the 2011 drought — and the nasty, record-breaking, hot summer that went with it — these dry, 100-degree-plus days in the middle of May are making me nervous. As I have said before, I liken how I now feel about drought with the way the people who went through the great depression felt about money and the ups and downs of the economy. The one thing that is a positive is that our lakes are in decent condition for water. Oh well, June is almost here, and it’s supposed to be our rainiest month of the year. So hopefully something will develop there. So, thinking about the dry times right now, and the 2011 drought — which by the way, lasted three years — it actually has bearing on our current dry times, vis-à-vis trees…

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…

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