And Now The News …

Newsweek, September 26, 2022: Giant Hickory Horned Devils Are Emerging From Trees in Southeastern States

The hickory horned devil is one of the largest caterpillars in the U.S., and they are starting to descend from trees en masse as they prepare to pupate. Images of an “impressive” hickory horned devil were shared by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division after a member of the public found one in Jefferson County. The caterpillars are the larvae of the regal moth, Citheronia regalis, one of the country’s largest flying insects, with a wingspan of up to six inches, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. The caterpillars can grow up to 5.5 inches long, and their appearance is truly bizarre. They are blue-green in color, with big orange spikes on their heads and black patches at the front of their heads. The species is found largely in deciduous forests in the southeastern United States where they feed on a variety of tree species including walnut, persimmon and, of course, hickory…

Greensboro, North Carolina, September 26, 2022: Experts urge people to cut trees back ahead of storm

Duke Energy said the leading cause of power outages in our state is due to fallen limbs or trees onto power lines. Experts said in order to prevent situations like this people should take action now. Limbs are being removed ahead of storms rolling through this weekend “Most of the time when a storm comes through what it’s going to do is it’s going to attack the weaker trees and the weaker limbs,” co-owner Dalton Dillon said. Every single day, Dillon Tree Service is out in the triad. Cutting down trees and limbs in order to prevent outages, damage and even injury. “We do quite a bit of storm work. Honestly, a lot of our work comes from people who may have seen a tree fall in their neighborhood or on their normal route to and from work and what it does is it worries them,” Dillon said. He said it is important to take precautions now, ahead of the winter months as well as Hurricane Ian making its way to the United States. “Due to its track it could bring that weather up through the Carolinas and we’ve seen this before…we’ve seen storms that don’t hit us directly that still cause a lot of damage, a lot of wind, and a lot of rain,” Jeff Brooks with Duke Energy said…

East Lansing, Michigan, Michigan State University. September 26, 2022: Leaf scorch or oak wilt: What’s plaguing my tree?

In recent weeks, Michigan State University Extension has received a number of questions from homeowners about trees with browning or scorching of leaves. For owners of oak trees, there is the added fear that the tree may have oak wilt, a disease that can quickly spread to decimate entire stands of mature oaks. In many cases, the problem was not oak wilt but leaf scorch, which involves the discoloration and death of leaf tissue beginning at the outer edge, and sometimes progressing inward toward the main veins of the leaf. Frequently, leaf scorch results from environmental factors. Factors can include drought stress, over-fertilization or lack of certain essential nutrients, like potassium or magnesium. Many areas in Michigan experienced mild to moderate drought this summer, which coupled with high temperatures creates the perfect environment for leaf scorch. Much of the water taken up by a tree exits through the leaves in a process called transpiration, which is important for cooling leaves on hot days. When transpiration cannot sufficiently cool a leaf, the leaf tissue may be directly damaged by high temperatures. This damage may be uniform throughout the tree canopy or localized to sections of the tree. Leaves exposed to direct sunlight near the top of the tree may show browning because the radiant heat of the sun can cause the temperature at the leaf surface to be many degrees higher than that of the surrounding air. Leaves near roads or other surfaces that reflect or absorb and radiate heat may also be affected…

Burlington, Vermont, WCAX-TV, September 26, 2022: How drought and inflation could affect your Christmas tree this holiday season

It’s the first day of fall which means the holiday season is quickly approaching. The pumpkins are already out at farm stands across the region. But when it comes to Christmas trees, dry conditions this summer have put a damper on things. The steady rain is a welcome sight to farmers across the region whose crops have suffered because of a lack of water, and that includes tree farmers. Three inches of rain in the last 36 hours is more than the Mt. Anthony Tree Farms in North Pownal saw all summer. Because of that, the young trees planted on the 16-acre plot did not fare as well as usual. Farm owner Jim Horst is also the executive director of the New Hampshire-Vermont Christmas Tree Association. “We have no rain this summer, and the trees that were planted in the spring were after some rain and they didn’t get it, so they struggled. I’ve lost probably 20 to 25% which doesn’t make me feel good,” Horst said. Vermont and New Hampshire make up only a fraction of the trees grown across the country. North Carolina and the Northwest are the major players in the industry. However, nationally, supply is also down. It takes about eight years for a tree to be ready for market and eight years ago, prices dropped, so farmers planted fewer trees. “There is going to be a tight supply of trees this year. I think people will be able to get a tree, I don’t think it is going to be a disaster but it is going to be a tight market,” Horst said…

London, UK, Guardian, September 23, 2022: ‘It’s a miracle’: Gran Abuelo in Chile could be world’s oldest living tree

In a secluded valley in southern Chile, a lone alerce tree stands above the canopy of an ancient forest. Green shoots sprout from the crevices in its thick, dark trunks, huddled like the pipes of a great cathedral organ, and water streams down its lichen-streaked bark on to the forest floor from bulbous knots in the wood. “It was like a waterfall of green, a great presence before me,” remembers the climate scientist Jonathan Barichivich, 41, of the first time he encountered the Gran Abuelo, or “great-grandfather”, tree as a child. Barichivich grew up in Alerce Costero national park, 500 miles (800km) south of the capital, Santiago. It is home to hundreds of alerces, Fitzroya cupressoides, slow-growing conifers native to the cold, wet valleys of the southern Andes…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 25, 2022: Wine Country is reeling from ‘mass attacks’ on trees. Here’s what is going on

The loathed bark beetle has munched its way into the Wine Country hills. The beetle, which recently caused a massive die-off of conifers in the Sierra Nevada, is doing the same thing in Napa County and nearby areas — stirring grave concerns about fire risk and ecological turmoil. So worried is Napa County about its dying trees that officials recently declared an emergency. Lake County made a similar proclamation in May, and other counties — such as Mendocino and Sonoma — may also want to consider emergency declarations, according to Michael Jones, a forestry adviser with UC Cooperative Extension. “Fire and insects do not observe boundaries,” Jones said. Many trees have been killed by drought and wildfire. But those that escaped are significantly weakened — making them vulnerable to the bark beetle, which preys on conifers like ponderosa pines and Douglas firs. The problem is so significant that even some oak trees are being affected in Napa County, Jones said. “That’s how you know things are kind of really bad, when you see oaks succumb to drought stress,” he said…

Saranac Lake, New York, Adirondack Almanack, September 25, 2022: Tree Slime – Who You Gonna Call?

Cast members of the new Ghostbusters film aren’t the only ones getting slimed – trees sometimes get slathered in slime flux as well. Many kinds of trees are subject to sludge assaults, with elms, apples, oaks, maples, and walnuts being among the more vulnerable species. Tree-goo, unlike the Psychomagnotheric Slime in Ghostbusters, is basically harmless. In fact, it can be beneficial. Also known as bacterial wetwood, slime flux is pretty much what it sounds like: wet nastiness that oozes from a bark crack, V-shaped trunk union, or pruning wound like an eternal fountain of fetid foam. It is also perennial; once a tree has it, there’s no way to cure it. Sort of like herpes for trees, I guess. At its mid-season peak, slime flux can seem dire, and is often a source of concern for the homeowner. Although dramatic, slime flux is not even a disease, precisely. It can involve one or more of about a half-dozen different types of native soil bacteria, including Clostridium and Klebsiella. If these names ring a bell, it’s because a few species in those genera cause human illnesses like botulism, tetanus, pneumonia, and meningitis. Don’t worry – bacterial wetwood can’t make you sick any more than gardening or simply touching the ground can. For bacterial wetwood to get started, three conditions must be met. The key requirement is a stressed-out tree, which is most always a result of root damage…

Jamestown, North Dakota, Sun, September 24, 2022: Properly trimming trees prevents long branches, hazards

Properly trimming trees when they are smaller will help prevent a costly bill for major work in the future, according to Mike Lacher, owner of Artie’s #1 Tree Service. If trees don’t get properly trimmed while they are smaller, it will lead to longer and larger branches known as leaders that run horizontally off the tree, Lacher said. The leaders are prone to breaking from high winds, he said. “All the weight is way out there and it’s not up in a V,” he said, referring to a large leader branch that he was trimming recently. He said tree branches will grow toward the sunlight. He said if the lower limbs don’t get trimmed off the tree, they will grow wide because the branches above them are shading them out. “So they need to go to the light so they keep going horizontally and downward because they are shaded out from above,” he said. “The horizontal low branches are always going to grow down.” He said a tree can be trained when it is younger and maturing to grow upward instead of outward by taking the lower branches off the tree. If the lower branches are taken off, it will help the tree grow taller because the roots will force the nutrients into other branches, prominent vertical growth…

San Francisco, California, SFGate, September 22, 2022: Why so many trees are dying in Lake Tahoe

There’s a spot on Highway 89, driving southbound down the West Shore, where the road opens up to a gorgeous view of the lake and a forested ridgeline. That’s where I noticed it first — the sheer number of burnt orange trees punctuating the forest green landscape. At first, I didn’t think much of the dead and dying trees. Such is the way of the forest. But as the summer progressed, the orange-hued needles seemed to spread from tree to tree. My eyes were not deceiving me. White fir and red fir trees are dying at a fast clip in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the U.S. Forest Service confirmed. Rita Mustatia, forest silviculturist for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, said the trend is reaching “higher levels than we’ve seen in the past,” and it’s most noticeable on the forested slopes at higher elevations near Fallen Leaf Lake and around North Lake Tahoe…

London, UK, Guardian September 21, 2022: Forbidden fruit trees: Canadian national park urges locals to remove bear-attracting bushes

The waning days of summer and a bounty of ripe fruit have pitted hungry black bears against park rangers in a fight over a Canadian mountain town’s fruit trees. Residents living in the Jasper national park townsite have been warned that fruit trees on their properties are luring in black bears and need to be removed as soon as possible. “The continuous presence of bears in the Jasper townsite, often in residential yards just metres from people, is an unacceptable safety risk for visitors and residents,” Parks Canada said in a recent statement. “Bears living in constant proximity to people and residences have an increased likelihood of gaining access to human food or garbage, and of accidental aggressive physical encounters…”

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2022: Inconsistent Fall Foliage Leaves Travelers Guessing on Finding

Booking a trip to New England to catch the vibrant reds and golds of peak fall foliage could be tough this season. This year, drought conditions across much of the country, followed by recent rains in the Northeast, have complicated timing for trips, scientists and veteran leaf peepers say. Invasive species drawn to trees made vulnerable by drought are also damaging leaves in some areas. In Maine, some trees are turning earlier than usual, while prior drought conditions in New York are pointing to a shorter foliage season, according to state departments of conservation. Leaf peeping is big business in the U.S., especially in the Northeast. About one-fifth of Maine’s visitation and 25% of annual trips to New Hampshire’s White Mountains occur in the fall, according to tourism officials in those destinations. The maples, birches and other trees in the region create a color show or reds, oranges and golds not seen in other parts of the country. Because of demand, many travelers book months in advance for travel that often takes them to small towns with limited lodging. The unpredictability is something businesses in these destinations have navigated for years, leading them to plan a slew of harvest festivals and other events in town to make sure visitors are entertained. In Vermont’s Mad River Valley, the Hyde Away Inn & Restaurant has seen the season extend compared with prior years, owner and general manager Ana Dan says…

Fast Company, September 23, 2022: This tree owns itself—and is fighting for its own survival

On a few square feet of land on the campus of the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, a black gum tree has been planted that could change the world. In a complicated arrangement, the tree is a legally autonomous entity that owns the land on which it’s planted. As it establishes its roots, care for the tree will be provided by the Carnegie Museum of Art. The tree is an attempt to rewrite the rules of conservation, on behalf of the entirety of the nonhuman natural world. The tree and its unconventional legal framework are a project of Terra0, an artist group based in Germany that is exploring the use of novel technologies and legal frameworks to protect ecosystems through established human laws on personhood. Commissioned and planted as part of the 58th Carnegie International art exhibition, opening September 24, the tree will attempt to become a legal precedent, showing how nonhuman species can gain the autonomy and protection of personhood…

Phys.org, September 21, 2022: Trees can’t outrun climate change. Should humans give them a lift?

One tree at a time, David Saville has made it his life’s work to bring back West Virginia’s red spruce forests—and maybe help preserve the species hundreds of miles farther north while he’s at it. Last year, Saville spent weeks hiking up peaks like Panther Knob, Dolly Sods and Top of Allegheny to collect hundreds of pounds of the tree’s pinky-sized cones. At home in Morgantown, he kiln-dried and tumbled them to extract their seeds. Now they are tiny trees. Next spring the seedlings, bearing genetics from the southern end of the tree’s range, will go into the ground in Vermont and New Hampshire. The hope is when they start making their own cones in 30 years, they’ll be able to survive in a warmer northern climate. “We’re anticipating Mother Nature would migrate the red spruce northward,” Saville said. “We’re just accelerating that.” He’s one of hundreds of foresters, arborists, scientists and researchers working to give species like the red spruce a lift north to outrun a climate that’s changing faster than they can keep up with. Although still somewhat controversial, as the extent and speed of temperature rise becomes clear, such “assisted migration” is increasingly being contemplated. “The goal,” said Tony D’Amato, a professor of forestry at the University of Vermont, who’s overseeing the experiment, “is to help them deal with these really unnatural conditions that don’t have an analog in the past…”

Best Life, September 21, 2022: If You See This on the Trees in Your Yard, Scrape It Off and Kill It Immediately

Trees are not just aesthetically pleasing—they also clean our air, help prevent flooding, and provide us with much-needed shade on a late-summer day. With that in mind, if the trees in your yard are being threatened, odds are that you’ll want to be proactive about protecting them. One thing in particular could be putting your trees in danger, and if you notice it, you’ll need to take immediate action. Read on to find out what you must be vigilant about identifying. Invasive species are those that are non-native to the U.S. and likely to cause harm to the economy, environment, or human health, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Invasive Species Information Center. These can be plants, animals, or other microbes, most often introduced by human actions. Invasive species can have serious implications for biodiversity, and even cause native species to go extinct. Recently, experts have issued warnings about the detrimental effects of invasive plants such as the Bradford pear tree and garlic mustard, as well those that you can inadvertently buy at Home Depot or your local garden center. Now, there’s an invasive insect devastating trees across the country, and experts are calling on you to help stop the spread. The invasive spotted lanternfly has been top of mind lately, as officials in several states have asked residents to kill the bug on sight. But the spongy moth is another dangerous insect that shouldn’t be overlooked, according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Entomological Society of America (ESA)…

Boston, Massachusetts, WFXT-TV, September 21, 2022: Redwood trees will be planted in neighborhoods across Boston. Here’s why

Mayor Michelle Wu on Wednesday unveiled a plan to plant redwood trees in neighborhoods across Boston in an effort to fight climate change. While speaking at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Wu announced that the botanical research institution had gifted 10 dawn redwood trees to help the city bolster its tree canopy in a push to enhance livability and public health. “Trees are our best green technology to fight climate change and build healthy, beautiful communities, especially as heat and storms intensify,” Wu said. Wu also launched a new Forestry Division within the Boston Parks and Recreation Department that will be tasked with maintaining existing and planting new trees. “Dedicating staff and resources to our new Forestry Division will empower the City of Boston to strengthen our tree canopy citywide so every community benefits from these treasured resources,” Wu added. Redwoods are the tallest trees on Earth and can live for thousands of years. The tallest living redwood on record is said to be about 365 feet. City officials stressed that tree canopy is a critical part of Boston’s infrastructure, noting a thriving urban forest reduces heat levels while removing pollutants from the air. It also supports water quality and reduces the impact of flooding by intercepting large quantities of water during and after rain storms…

New York magazine, September 21, 2022: The City Quietly Stopped Pruning a Lot of Its Trees

It’s Climate Week in New York City and the mayor is talking about trees. “I’m proud that we have ramped up tree plantings significantly this past year,” Adams said of the 13,000 trees planted this fiscal year. There are more trees to come, but there’s just one detail he left out: The Parks Department hasn’t actually been able to prune any of the city’s trees in Brooklyn and Queens for the past year. Let’s hope the new ones don’t grow too fast. If you have perhaps been wondering about that precariously dangling branch on your block, it’s because, as the Brooklyn Paper reported this week, the Parks Department had to suspend its contract with Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping over the small matter that they are currently being sued for massive insurance fraud. The city’s in-house tree-maintenance teams are apparently only dispatched for emergency situations. (Like maybe, for example, when a tree hasn’t been pruned for a year and its mighty branches are about to crush a passerby.) A simple fix might be hiring new contractors to snip our trees, perhaps ones who are not accused of misclassifying their workers in order to cheat them out of $1 million in insurance premiums. Problem is, the Parks Department told the Brooklyn Paper that the $12 million contract was already awarded to the Dragonetti Brothers and cannot be terminated and rebid to someone else. (“This matter is currently under review,” a Parks Department spokesperson told the Paper.) The workers have suffered and now so must the trees. Meanwhile, a quick search of 311 tree-service requests reveals unsettling entries like “overgrown tree” that is “hitting building” or “damaged tree” that is “leaning.” If you have a perilously overgrown tree on your block, feel free to tip us off…

San Diego, California, Union-Tribune, September 20, 2022: Fallen branch renews tree fight between neighbors in Del Mar

Trees and ocean views can be lovely things, but when they clash there can be trouble. Tree disputes in Del Mar can mean a trip to the City Council with a consultant, an arborist, photos, maps and lots of paperwork. The conifers in question are five Torrey Pines owned by Harvey and Sheryl White who live, appropriately, on Ocean View Avenue. Their house, worth $5 million according to Zillow, was built in 2001 and with a plan to preserve the trees growing on their lot at the time. The Torrey pine is a rare and endangered species of tree that grows only in coastal San Diego County and on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara. It has long gray-green needles in clusters of five and can grow more than 50 feet tall. To the dismay of some of their neighbors, the hillside trees have continued to grow, obstructing their views of the Pacific Ocean and the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Discussions with the tree owners were not fruitful, and the owners declined an offer of mediation. Then two families living behind the Whites filed complaints under the city’s trees, scenic views and sunlight ordinance. The city’s Planning Commission upheld the neighbors’ complaints, and on Dec. 7, 2021, it appointed a subcommittee to work on a plan to restore the view by carefully trimming the trees’ branches. The owners retained the services of a planning consultant and the certified arborist Mark Wisniewski to work out a solution acceptable to all parties. Together they developed a five-year plan of periodic pruning to gradually reduce the size of the largest tree by 40 percent and the others by 20 percent. After that, the trees would be cut back every two years in perpetuity. The Planning Commission signed off on the agreement Aug. 9. However, three days later, a big branch fell off the largest tree. That unexpectedly accelerated the pruning schedule and, apparently, altered the deal…

New York City, Brooklyn Paper, September 20, 2022: Tree pruning in Brooklyn and Queens axed since last year due to alleged insurance scam

A tree grows too much in Brooklyn! Municipal tree pruning has been suspended for the past year in Brooklyn and Queens because the city dropped its contractor following its principals’ indictment in a massive insurance scam, a Parks Department spokesperson confirmed to Brooklyn Paper. The nugget was tucked deep in the Mayor’s Management Report, a 500-page compendium of city agency performance over the past year, released on Friday afternoon. The report notes on page 144, in the Parks Department section, that while funding for tree pruning had been restored in Fiscal Year 2022 following COVID-era cuts, the program still was axed owing to “unforeseen legal issues with pruning contractors,” which the city intends to resolve this Fiscal Year…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, Gazette, September 20, 2022: What you’re really doing when carving an aspen tree in Colorado

To carve an aspen tree — to take a blade to the trunk for the sake of your initials, for example — is to do harm. Harm to a being with a life expectancy much like our own: 100 years, if we’re lucky. To leave your mark, “it may sound cool,” says Dan West, an aspen expert with the Colorado State Forest Service. “But that tree might not survive because of what you’re doing.” A cut to the human arm is a possible portal for infection. Same for an aspen tree. Though the risk might be greater in aspen, considering “aspen are one of the most diseased and infected trees in North America,” West says. On our travels to behold the golden displays, we’ve all seen it. Gashed groves. White bark disrupted by black scars that look nothing like nature’s doing. There’s someone’s name. There’s someone’s message that doesn’t matter. There’s some date marking what might be some romantic occasion. There’s a heart housing the names Megan and Jon. Paul Rogers, director of the Western Aspen Alliance based at Utah State University, came by this one once. A harsh revision was made — an “X” over “Megan” and a message above: “MEGAN IS A SKANK.” “It didn’t work out over time, their relationship, apparently,” Rogers says. But the advocate scientist cares not for such drama. Nor do the trees care for our drama and whatever vain impulses lead us to scarring their skin…

San Francisco, California, Examiner, September 20, 2022: Tracing trees: San Francisco’s most popular species

In a city bustling with parks, and known for its proximity to nature, the street canopy is notoriously lacking. In 2014, San Francisco had one of the smallest urban forests compared to other major U.S. cities. The City opted to expand this network of foliage, aiming to go from an estimated 105,000 to 155,000 in 2034, according to the San Francisco Planning Department. SF now has over 124,000 trees, managed by San Francisco Public Works. These are the most common, according to data available through DataSF: (1) Sycamore, London plane. The London plane tree, also known as the Platanus × hispanica, is a deciduous tree that populates much of the northeastern zone of San Francisco. The tree is a hybrid of two like plants, dating back to the 17th century. They can be found in cities such as Buenos Aires, London, and New York; (2) Brisbane Box. As the name suggests, this San Francisco sighting is native to Australia. The official name is the Lophostemon confertus. This magnificent evergreen covers the eastern end of The City. It can grow beyond 130 feet and has a dense, dark green canopy…

New Scientist, September 19, 2022: Global warming could kill many of the tree species that cool cities

Cities around the world may need to start planting different types of trees and shrubs that can tolerate warmer and drier conditions. By 2050, about three-quarters of the species currently grown in urban environments will be at risk as a result of climate change, a study has found. “By ‘at risk’, we mean these species might be experiencing stressful climatic conditions,” says Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez at Western Sydney University in Australia. “Those trees are likely to die.” City trees have many benefits, from making cities look beautiful and providing a refuge for wildlife to keeping places up to 12°C cooler than they would otherwise be in summer. Losing tree cover would lead to cities becoming even hotter as the planet heats up. To assess the threat, Esperon-Rodriguez and his colleagues used a database called the Global Urban Tree Inventory to work out the conditions required by 3100 tree and shrub species currently grown in 164 cities worldwide. The researchers then looked at how these conditions would be affected by climate change under a medium-emissions scenario called RCP6.0. By 2050, 76 per cent of these species will be at risk from rising average temperatures and 70 per cent from decreasing rainfall, the team concludes…

St. Louis, Missouri, KTVI-TV, September 19, 2022: One-of-a-kind tree is making a comeback in Pineville

One of the most unique trees in America, in terms of its historic significance, is showing signs of “branching out” after Pineville city officials initially said it was vandalized. Pineville, Missouri, recognized as a “Tree City,” received the special “Tulip Poplar” in 2017 by the Arbor Day Foundation. It was then planted by the Missouri 4-H in the Pineville bike park along Big Sugar Creek Road. In July of this year, the tree was heavily damaged by what Pineville city officials thought was vandalism. While the Pineville Marshal’s Office worked to find out what or who damaged the priceless living piece of history, a leaf from the Tulip Poplar was sent to a nearby arbor nursery in an attempt to save as much of the tree as possible. The bottom portion of the tree was carefully reshaped and is now sprouting new leaves and branches…

Bergen, New Jersey, Record, September 19, 2022: There’s a new tree disease spreading across NJ, and officials are asking for help

Threats to New Jersey’s trees have long been a problem — from the chestnut blight of last century to more recent invasions such as a beetle wiping out thousands of ash trees and spotted lanternflies feasting on fruit trees. Now state officials are warning the public about a new malady: beech leaf disease. The New Jersey Forest Service began asking the public on Monday to report any signs of the disease, which begins with dark bands between leaf veins that may only be visible at first when a leaf is held up to light. Leaves may become brown and leathery as the disease progresses, culminating with defoliation and the death of the tree in two to seven years. First discovered 10 years ago in Ohio, the disease has spread across several states in the Midwest and Northeast. It was found in Bergen and Essex counties two years ago and has since been observed in 10 more New Jersey counties. The disease could infect New Jersey’s 12 million beech trees, which are found across the state in backyards, along main streets and in forests. “To lose beech trees from the landscape and ecosystem will have significant environmental impacts, which is why we are asking for the public’s help,” said John Cecil, assistant commissioner of state parks, forests and historic sites…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, September 19, 2022: Arkansas efforts to restore vanishing Ozark chinquapin trees take root and grow

Al Knox has spent years here as a volunteer and trail supervisor. It was as a volunteer, in 2002, that he found the Ozark chinquapin. The chinquapin is a tree in the chestnut family, a species mostly wiped out in America by an invasive blight from Asia. Lots more about that soon. Back to Al Knox. He was cutting weeds with a string trimmer in one area — a small area, given the park’s 12,054 acres — when he came across a bush. Not a tree. A bush. Knox recognized the bush as an Ozark chinquapin, because he remembered eating the nuts from a tree as a boy. Knox is 87, found the chinquapin when he was 67, and ate those nuts a long time ago. “I almost ran my face into the burrs,” he said of the Hobbs discovery. “I recognized it as a chinquapin, which I had not seen in 50 years since I was a kid.” That bush and its burrs (fuzzy bundles in which the nut grows) became part of the effort to restore the Ozark chinquapin to its native habitat. Now, according to Steve Chyrchel, a park interpreter who Knox said knows more about the tree than anyone in Arkansas, the habitat is mostly Arkansas, with pockets in several surrounding states…

Portland, Oregon, Oregonian, September 17, 2022: Oregon Supreme Court won’t hear case that tried to collect $1 billion from the state for failing to cut more trees

The Oregon Supreme Court on Friday declined to reconsider a lawsuit that claimed the state shortchanged rural counties and local districts out of more than $1 billion for failing to harvest more trees from state forests and share the profits. Friday’s denial marks a big win for the state Department of Forestry, environmental groups and outdoor recreationalists. It also ends a six-year-long legal saga that started in 2016 with Linn County filing the lawsuit for itself and similarly situated counties. In 2019, a Linn County jury decided the state must pay $1.1 billion to 13 counties and 151 local taxing districts for lost profits from timber that wasn’t harvested over close to two decades on land that once belonged to the counties. The state appealed the verdict and in April 2022 the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the 10-figure jury award. The counties asked the Oregon Supreme Court to rule on the case. But Friday, the high court said it would not. Now that the state has prevailed, it won’t have to pay the $1.1 billion plus hundreds of millions in interest that has racked up. The lawsuit’s conclusion also reinforces the state’s authority to manage state forests for purposes other than maximizing timber revenues. The department had maintained those other purposes could include protecting wildlife, maintaining clean water and promoting recreation…

San Francisco, California, SFGate, September 17, 2022: Delaware American chestnut tree deemed ‘precious resource’

After the species was devastated by an Asian blight in the early 20th century, a single American chestnut tree in Centreville has been deemed a “precious resource” by the Delaware Nature Society. Jim White, a senior fellow at the Delaware Nature Society, said the tree discovered at Coverdale Farm Preserve is the largest and oldest he’s seen in his 50-year career. “For people who are interested in trees, that’s kind of a holy grail-type thing, to see a big American chestnut,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything that size anywhere, and very few people have.” The tree is estimated to be about 50 years old and 70 feet tall, with a circumference of at least 35 inches, White said. “That size is what’s uncommon,” said Sara Fitzsimmons, chief conservation officer at the American Chestnut Foundation. “Eighty percent of the remaining trees are an inch in diameter or less.” Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” as Nat King Cole once sang, was once a common winter scene in Delaware and throughout the eastern United States. Humans, mammals, birds and insects alike dined on the hearty brown nuts, which were plentiful prior to the 20th century, according to the foundation. There used to be about 4 billion American chestnut trees in eastern U.S. forests, until chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) arrived in New York via infected plants and spread rapidly, nearly wiping out the majestic trees. The giant chestnut trees that used to dominate forests are all but gone; however, the fungus doesn’t affect the roots of the trees. The centuries-old root systems sprout new trees over and over, just for them to die young due to the blight. The species is considered “functionally extinct…”

Longview, Washington, The Daily News, September 18, 2022: Longview has 1,500 fewer trees than usual. City staff is working to fix that.

Longview officials are revving up tree planting as the city’s oldest and tallest growths approach 100 years old and some have to be removed. Among the city’s 14,000 designated spots for trees, 1,500 are empty. Without as many trees, neighborhoods get warmer, and drivers tend to speed more often, said Longview Parks Director Jennifer Wills. Trees take on decades of disease or weather events — from surprise snow in April to stifling summer heat waves — that can make them more vulnerable. The city’s team of arborists work to plant two trees for each one they have to remove. But lately, Wills said, they have been removing trees faster than they have been replacing them. “As they get older, there is a point when a tree simply can’t stay standing,” Wills said. The department is working to revamp tree planting, especially after tree service delays during the pandemic when crews were working with 300-plus requests. This year, with the added staff, they are fielding about 60 requests…

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, September 17, 2022: Harford Circuit Court grants temporary restraining order to halt Abingdon Woods tree clearing

A Harford County Circuit Court judge on Friday granted Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s request for a temporary restraining order to halt the deforestation of Abingdon Woods. As a result, the developers of the Abingdon Business Park project – Harford Investors LLP and BTC III I-95 Logistics Center LLC— will temporarily not be able to clear trees from the 300-acre site. “We’re pleased with the decision,” Josh Kurtz, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland executive director, said in a statement. “This restraining order will ensure that should CBF receive an injunction and win this case on the merits, that there will still be trees to protect.… “Forested land is a public resource that is protected by state law. Ensuring that the law was followed before more trees are cleared should be the minimum requirement before this project can proceed.” Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the tree clearing was granted after the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled last month that the nonprofit was allowed to appeal the forest conservation plan for the development of Abingdon Business Park. The appeals court said a citizen can contest a construction project’s approved forest conservation plan regardless of whether overall project plans have been approved. The ruling allows the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to have a court hearing to determine whether Harford County and the developers are abiding by the state Forest Conservation Act with the project’s forest conservation plan…

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