And Now The News …

Washington, DC, The Hill, November 27, 2022: That new chestnut? USDA plans to allow the release of GE trees into wild forests

Although many Americans still associate the winter holidays with chestnuts, the tree that once produced them — the American chestnut — no longer does so, except in a few rare cases. During the first half of the 20th century, billions of chestnut trees died from an exotic fungus, which was brought into this country on Japanese chestnut stock. The loss of the American chestnut was a historic event, because the trees not only supplied nuts but also wood for home, coffin and furniture construction, and the raw material for making railroad ties, shingles, telephone poles, fences and leather tannins. In the 21st century, there are those who believe the trees can be resuscitated via genetic engineering (GE). In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just released a draft environmental impact statement and draft plant pest risk assessment that will allow the unrestricted planting of blight-tolerant GE chestnut trees on public and private lands. If approved, the tree would be the first genetically engineered plant released with the purpose of spreading freely into the wild. Although the agency is recommending the tree’s release into wild forests, they are also requesting public input regarding their recent decision to do so…

Charlotte, North Carolina, WFAE-FM, November 27, 2022: Worm Wars: Charlotte’s cankerworms are nearly gone, but tree bands are still going up

If you’re new to Charlotte, let’s catch you up on an unusual holiday tradition that takes place around this time of year, but seems to be declining. It’s called cankerworm banding. Every year around Thanksgiving, many of us buy rolls of plastic and insulation, wrap them around tree trunks, then coat the plastic with sticky, resiny-smelling goop. Charlotte City Arborist Laurie Reid Dukes got an early start this past week on a tree in Elmwood Cemetery in uptown. The tree sat on a hill surrounded by old tombstones. Dukes walked slowly around the trunk, spreading the goop with a small paint spatula. “It kind of reminds me of like, caramel ice cream topping,” she said, noting the goop’s brown color. Why do we do this? For years, these sticky tree bands have been the main weapon in Charlotte’s ongoing war against the little green cankerworm…

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, November 27, 2022: Gardening: What to look for when seeking the perfect live Christmas tree

The Thanksgiving Day dinner leftovers are just about gone, another Ohio State-Michigan game is in the books, and December arrives this week, so it must be time to start hunting for the perfect live Christmas tree for your family. While it is too early to put up a live tree indoors if you expect it to remain fresh and retain its needles through New Year’s Day, it’s not too early to determine what type of live tree will be best for your family and begin the hunt for a memorable tree. Purchasing a live tree every year may be more expensive over time than displaying an artificial tree each year, but live trees are more environmentally friendly than artificial trees, which at the end of their useful lives, will spend hundreds of years in a landfill. Live trees preserve wildlife and beneficial insect habitats, reduce soil erosion, sequester carbon in the soil in which they are grown, and purify the air. Live trees are biodegradable and can add organic matter to soil when they are recycled through chipping or composting…

San Francisco, California, SFGate, November 26, 2022: Selecting, keeping Christmas tree looking its best

The hunt for the perfect tree is oftentimes an important part of family tradition. Buy local whenever possible by supporting local Christmas tree growers. Purchasing locally grown trees also reduces the risk of spreading unwanted pests into your landscape. Your local Extension Service and Department of Natural Resources provide updates on any threats. Family tradition may dictate your tree choice. Many prefer the fragrance of balsam fir and needle retention of other firs like Fraser, white, Grand, and Noble. Though not a true fir, Douglas fir needles have a wonderful aroma when crushed. White pine lacks the fragrance that many prefer. Its pliable branches only support lightweight ornaments, but the soft needles have less bite than the popular Scots or Scotch pine. This evergreen has stiff branches that support heavier ornaments and its needles hold even when dry…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, November 25, 2022: Don’t wait to get your Christmas tree from these Connecticut farms

For many, it’s tradition after the Thanksgiving feast has been eaten and the turkey coma has subsided to go out and find the perfect Christmas tree. It’s time to start thinking about glittering lights, dazzling ornaments, a list for Santa and presents under the tree. Head out with family to buy a tree — cut-your-own or pre-cut. Most farms open the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas tree sales and you don’t want to wait. With the high demand during the pandemic and trees needing time to mature, farms could run out any day, so check websites or Facebook pages, before you get in the car. According to many of the Christmas tree farms, due to high demand during the pandemic, there are trees, but the larger ones may be harder to find…

Cision, November 23, 2022: Planting Over Seven Million Trees in Partnership with Forests Ontario

Canada is dedicated to helping restore and expand Canada’s forests from coast to coast. Trees are essential to our lives; they capture carbon, improve air quality and support wildlife — they are allies in our fight against climate change. That’s why today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, alongside Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, and Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, announced a $12.7-million contribution to Forests Ontario to plant 7.2 million trees over a span of three years through the 2 Billion Trees program, aimed at partnering with governments and organizations to plant two billion trees over 10 years. As part of the 2 Billion Trees program, this project by Forests Ontario will increase forest cover and improve forest conditions. These trees will provide a nature-based climate solution by sequestering significant amounts of carbon, contribute to habitat restoration, including species and habitats at risk, and provide the many social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits that trees and forests offer…

MLive.com, November 24, 2022: Michigan’s famous Christmas Tree Ship sank 110 years ago this week

The shipwreck legend of Michigan’s famed “Christmas Tree Ship” remains shrouded in equal parts myth and mystery. But what we do know is this: 110 years ago this week, that worn-out schooner helmed by a man nicknamed “Captain Santa” and weighed down heavily by a load of U.P. Christmas trees bound for Chicago was fighting a mighty battle against intensifying winds and waves of a coming storm. In their final minutes, the Rouse Simmons’ crew had thrown out the schooner’s port anchor into Lake Michigan, hoping to hold her into the wind, archeologists later discovered. In the words of the dive team who pieced together her last tragic moments: “something had gone seriously wrong aboard the vessel.” Overcome by large waves, the three-masted schooner went down hard on the afternoon of Nov. 23, 1912, her bow leaving a 10-foot-deep gash in the bottom of Lake Michigan. Lost with her were 16 souls – her captain, crew, and a group of lumberjacks who were hitching a ride to the Windy City so they could get home for the holidays…

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune, November 23, 2022: Christmas trees were scarce and expensive last year. This year might be worse, growers say.

Last year, issues ranging from robust demand to labor shortages and a lack of mature crops conspired to push Christmas tree prices up and drive availability down. This year? “It’s going to be even worse,” said Andrew Vultaggio, who owns AV Tree Farms Inc. and grows his own trees in Michigan. “Last year I said, ‘That was the low of the lows.’ I didn’t expect this year to be so bad.” Christmas tree growers and dealers said consumers should shop early and be prepared to travel further and spend more than they have in the past — and be willing to explore alternate options if their dream trees aren’t available. Matt Frost, who owns Urban Roots Garden Center in the Irish Channel, said that for the first time in the shop’s 10-year history, they won’t stock Christmas trees due to “skyrocketing” prices and an 1,100-tree order minimum from his supplier. He’s suggesting cypress trees, boxwoods and Norfolk pines to his customers as alternatives to the popular Fraser firs…

GoBankingRates, November 21, 2022: Christmas Trees Will Cost More This Year, But No More Than Shoppers Expected

With inflation hitting every corner of Americans’ lives, it’s no surprise that even Christmas trees will cost more this year. But this is not deterring consumers from buying them, and people are ready to shell out the extra dollars. A survey by The Real Christmas Tree Board (RCTB) found that a whopping 71% of tree growers cited a likely wholesale price increase of 5% to 15% compared to last year. Meanwhile, only 11% of respondents anticipated increasing their wholesale prices by a smaller amount — up to no more than 5% over last year. In addition, another 11% of tree farmers expect to increase their prices between 16% to 20% more than last year, and 5% expect their price increase to hit 21% or more. The survey also found that the top concern among tree growers was supply issues, with 44% of those polled saying as much. This concern was followed by the impact of inflation on consumer spending (35%), and labor availability and cost (21%). Despite the price hikes, Americans are ready and willing to spend more for a Christmas tree this year. Indeed, according to a survey by Trees.com, more Americans plan to buy real Christmas trees this year as compared to last year — and nearly one in five (18%) are willing to pay $200 or more for their Christmas tree…

Phys.org, November 21, 2022: Nitrogen deposition promotes tree growth and drives photosynthate allocation into wood in temperate and boreal forests

Human activities have greatly increased reactive nitrogen (N) emissions to the atmosphere, resulting in an increasing global atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Existing stimulated nitrogen deposition experiments are carried out mostly in forests with low background nitrogen deposition, whose treatment durations are often short. In China, nitrogen deposition levels have remained steady in the last ten years at a relatively high level. Our understanding of how tree growth responds to long-term nitrogen addition is limited. Photosynthetic carbohydrates allocation among different tree organs is an important factor determining forest carbon (C) sink capacity. Nitrogen deposition may affect the allocation of photosynthates, and thus affect forest carbon sink capacity….

Knoxville, Tennessee, WVLT-TV, November 21, 2022: Real or Fake: Which type of Christmas tree should you get?

Each year, thousands of people head out to Christmas tree farms searching for the perfect tree, but studies reveal which is better for the environment. That’s exactly what the Murphys have been doing for the last three to four years. They said Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm in Anderson County is one of their favorites. “So this one of the only farms that is open before Thanksgiving and that you can cut on your own without traveling too far,” Jeremy Murphy said. After some searching, they were able to find the perfect tree for their home. “It’s symmetrical, full, and green. It looks well put together and majestic,” Murphy said. Being able to go out and choose your own tree is always a special time with your family, but did you know that getting a real tree is actually better for the environment than buying an artificial tree? Real trees are around ten times more eco-friendly in comparison to artificial trees. While artificial trees only have one use during the Christmas season, real trees can provide a more lasting impact. Burning trees and using them for mulch is the best way to lower carbon emissions with landfills being second. A huge spike in emissions occurs once you choose to go with the artificial tree; however, of course, there are certain circumstances in which an artificial tree is needed…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, November 21, 2022: From air quality to flooding, trees matter. But which species are in Stamford’s urban forest?

A consultant recently inventoried the trees in the downtown, providing a snapshot of the tree population in that one area of the city. The Board of Representatives now wants an inventory of the trees that have been planted on city property across Stamford. The board approved a resolution Nov. 7 recommending that Mayor Caroline Simmons set aside funding in her next budget proposal for a geographic information system-based inventory. It also suggests that Simmons include money in her proposed budget for a water tank truck, an additional parks maintenance worker and for planting new trees in Stamford’s downtown. Downtown Special Services District President David Kooris said the downtown tree inventory, which was conducted in August, “tells us some very concrete things: Where we should prioritize planting, what types of trees we should prioritize for those empty pits or trees that need to be replaced, and what our priorities should be for pruning and maintenance of the existing trees.” For instance, the study found that 22 percent of the trees in the area are honey locust…

Seattle, Washington, Times, November 20, 2022: Christmas trees will be more expensive this year

Inflation has struck again, and this time it’s jacking up tree prices for the holiday season. According to a September report from the Real Christmas Tree Board, 2022′s Christmas tree market will look much like last year’s. “The real Christmas tree industry met demand last year and it will meet demand this year,” Marsha Gray, executive director of the Real Christmas Tree Board, said in the report. “This is essentially a year without surprises.” According to the survey, 86% of real Christmas tree buyers said they had no problems finding a place nearby to buy their tree last year. And 87% found the tree they wanted at the first place they looked. The report expects this year to be no different and demand to be healthy. In addition, retailers should see steady consumer interest in real Christmas trees and right now supply is pretty well matched to that interest, the report said. “The majority — 67% of the wholesalers we talked to — said they expect to sell all the trees they plan to harvest this year. In terms of volume, more than half — 55% — said they expect to sell about the same amount of real Christmas trees as they did last year. The balance was divided: Some expect to sell more, some less,” the report said…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, November 19, 2022: Red buckeyes are attractive, small, spring-flowering trees — whose seeds require action if you intend to plant

Q: A friend gave me a handful of what she said were red buckeye seeds from a tree in her yard. She told me to plant them and I could have my own tree. I have no idea what to do with them. Just stick them in the ground and wait and see what happens? Do I want a buckeye?
A: Red buckeyes are lovely, small, spring-flowering native trees. They can grow readily from seed, but you do need to plant the seeds fairly quickly, as the seeds do lose viability rapidly. You have a couple of options. Buckeye seeds need to go through a cool, moist storage period before they will germinate. They get this naturally outdoors, so you could plant the seeds where you want the tree to grow. If you aren’t sure where you want it to grow, then you could put the seeds in a container outside. Buckeyes form a taproot very quickly after they germinate, which makes transplanting them later a challenge. By containerizing them, you are containing the root system, so transplanting later will be easier…

New York City, WCBS-TV, November 17, 2022: Neighbors stunned to find several blocks of trees, plants cut down next to LIRR tracks in Greenlawn

Several blocks of trees and shrubs along railroad tracks in one Long Island hamlet are suddenly gone. Greenery that provided safety barriers, created privacy and muffled sounds. As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, the homeowners are asking the LIRR “why?” Lorraine Hartnett just bough new curtains to muffle sound and protect her privacy. “With all the vegetation gone, you can see through my front window, out my back door,” Hartnett said. Across the street, where trees and shrubs once stood, stumps and lumber remain. There is nothing to block the sights and sound of Long Island Rail Road trains. “Forced to live in a cave, because I feel I’m in a goldfish bowl,” Hartnett said. Homeowners on Railroad Street in Greenlawn, Town of Huntington, are decrying what they call an aggressive, unannounced hatchet job by the Long Island Rail Road. “I’ve lived here 33 years, and they’ve never done this in 33 years. I wish they would have reached out to us, because it’s just awful,” said homeowner Douglas Purslow…

Good News Network, November 20, 2022: Planting Trees in a City 30 Years Ago May Have Lowered the Risk of Deaths From Diseases

Planting trees destined to live long healthy lives is believed to be a good way to save the planet, but what about ourselves? 30 years after a mass tree-planting event in Oregon, research has shown those who live near them are at lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease, as well as other non-accidental deaths. The study took advantage of a unique opportunity, namely that the non-profit Friends of Trees planted nearly 50,000 street trees in Portland, and kept detailed records of when and where they were planted. A research team made up of scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and the United States Department of Agriculture looked at the number of trees planted per census tract (blocks of 4,000 inhabitants) in the following 5, 10, and 15 years, and compared them with mortality data provided by the Oregon Health Authority. In neighborhoods where more trees were planted, mortality rates were lower; 6% lower for cardiovascular disease, and about 20% for non-accidental excess mortality. Furthermore, the association was higher the older the trees were, suggesting that preserving mature trees in neighborhoods perhaps should be considered a public health issue…

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