And Now The News …

Gainesville, Georgia, Times, January 26, 2023: Treasured tree’s fate up in air as roundabout is being planned

A 40-foot American holly tree is at the center, quite literally, of public outcry involving a long-awaited Gainesville road improvement. The possible loss of the beloved landmark to a roundabout project at one end of busy Green Street has residents and community leaders hoping and pushing for a possible solution. “This tree is a community treasure,” said Dale Jaeger, a Gainesville landscape architect in comments to the Georgia Department of Transportation. “Its loss will be profound.” The tree, maintained by the Rotary Club of Gainesville, sits in a triangular median between West Academy Street, Green Street and E.E. Butler Parkway — or the heart of where GDOT wants to put a two-lane roundabout. “I recommend GDOT explore ways to retain the tree,” Jaeger said to GDOT, which received public input on the project through mid-January. “There are countless examples of trees being removed from a project site, protected during construction and replaced following construction.” Jaeger has been involved with keeping the tree up to par since 2010, after the tree caught fire in June 2009. “One of the primary things that the Rotary Club has done is trying to protect the health of the tree long-term for its survival,” she said in an interview last year…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, January 26, 2023: Cleveland’s re-constituted tree commission lays out goals for saving, growing the Forest City’s canopy

The city of Cleveland’s Urban Forestry Commission kicked off this week with an inaugural meeting that laid out goals for preserving and expanding the city’s dwindling tree canopy. The body replaces what was previously known as the tree commission, which went dormant in 2000s for unknown reasons. City Council, with the backing of Mayor Justin Bibb, passed legislation in June to revive it under the new name and grant it new duties. Among them, the commission is tasked with providing policy recommendations to city departments to help take better care of the city’s tree canopy, which has been declining for decades. Cleveland continues to lose about 97 acres of tree cover each year, administrators said last year. Asked about Cleveland’s declining canopy on the campaign trail, Bibb told the commission Tuesday that “At first, I thought it was a silly question,” given apparently more pressing city issues like gun violence. But Bibb said his thinking changed when he started to realize the long-range health, environmental and economic impacts that fewer trees have on residents of neighborhoods that are losing them…

Houston, Texas, KRIV-TV, January 26, 2023: Trees damaged after Houston-area tornadoes: Should you remove them or save them?

Many people have trees down and damaged in their yards after Tuesday’s tornados. But which trees can be saved and which ones should be removed? It’s best to have an ISA Certified tree trimmer determine whether the tree is still healthy or if branches could come crashing down.That’s a widow maker basically. Every time I went to clean yesterday, wind was blowing, and I was scared,” said homeowner Jenna Zumparelli about a tree branch hanging over her roof. Zumparelli is ready to take down some of her trees after a tornado swept through.”It’s almost 50 years old. His mom planted all these trees,” said Zumparelli. So how do you know which trees can be saved and which can’t? Jose Garcia with Tree Solutions of Texas showed us the signs of a dying tree. “A cavity is when a tree starts rotting from the inside, as you can see right here,” Garcia showed us on an old tree. “That right here is a weak structure…”

Scientific American, January 26, 2023: This Overlooked Scientist Helped Save Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Trees

In 1909 the mayor of Tokyo sent a gift of 2,000 prized cherry trees to Washington, D.C. But the iconic blossoms that are now enjoyed each spring along the city’s Tidal Basin are not from those trees. That’s because Flora Patterson, who was the mycologist in charge of mycological and pathological collections at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recognized the original saplings were infected, and the shipment was burned on the National Mall. In this, the second episode of Lost Women of Science Shorts, host Katie Hafner and assistant producer Hilda Gitchell explore Patterson’s lasting impact on the field of mycology, starting with a blight that killed off the American chestnut trees, and how she helped make the USDA’s fungus collection the largest in the world. Gitchell and Hafner go from the forest to a fungus archive—and then into the kitchen, with a fungus recipe in hand—to tell the story of her life and work…

West Chester, Pennsylvania, Daily Local News, January 25, 2023: Large trees being felled in West Chester as part of new PECO project

You might be hearing “timber” as some big, older trees are coming down near Hoopes Park, along Hoopes Park Lane, and North and South Locust Lanes. this week. Borough resident Roy Smith regularly explores the borough by foot. “I walk all over the borough five or six times a week,” Smith said. “Now that I see what PECO was allowed to do in the Hoopes Parke area, every time I see a large tree near a utility pole I wonder “is that one next? “And now knowing PECO has plans for additional utility work in most of the rest of the northern part of the borough, the concern is even greater. At the rate trees are disappearing in the borough, it wouldn’t surprise me if we had our TREE CITY U.S.A designation revoked.” Chain saws are squealing as part of $7.8 billion PECO electric and natural gas systems improvements. “This project is part of our Reliability and Resiliency Plan, which will help to prevent customer outages, modernize the electric grid, reduce the impact of extreme weather on electric infrastructure, and support the adoption of clean energy resources,” wrote Madison Davis, PECO senior communications specialist, as part of Wednesday release.  “All year long, we work hard to safely keep the lights on and natural gas flowing for our customers…”

Boston, Massachusetts, WFXT-TV, January 25, 2023: Tree worker injured, knocked unconscious, by falling branch in Cohasset

A tree worker was taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after he was struck on the head by a falling branch at a jobsite. Cohasset Police say the victim, a 27-year-old Quincy man, was working near the intersection of Beechwood Street and Wheelwright Farm Drive around 10:00 a.m. when a tree limb was cut by a coworker and fell on him. The victim was knocked unconscious as a result of the impact. Authorities say he was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident and regained consciousness when police and fire crews arrived…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, KELO-TV, January 25, 2023: Rabbits are getting their fill of tree bark

As the snow piles up, a certain long-eared animal is causing problems for homeowners. This winter, with grass and plants buried by snow, rabbits have fewer food options. Unfortunately for homeowners, tree bark is now on the menu. “They can’t get to any other food so they’re taking off anything that they can find,” Oakridge Nursery & Landscaping owner Daemon Coughlin said. Daemon Coughlin owns Oakridge Nursery in Brandon and says rabbits often target sweet tasting trees. “They’ll go after fruit trees, flowering crabs are kind of their favorites and any of those younger trees. Usually, if you get an older, mature tree they’re not going to bother it as bad,” Coughlin said…

Seattle, Washington, Times, January 25, 2023: What’s that growing on my tree? Everything you need to know about lichens, moss and algae

Now that deciduous trees are bare, trunks and branches have taken center stage, and you might be noticing nuances and irregularities that evaded your attention over the summer. For instance, what are those green masses growing on your trees? Those growths could be either lichens, moss or algae, and the good news is that none are cause for alarm. Because they usually grow on stressed or declining trees, many people assume these organisms are responsible for making their trees sick. But they aren’t parasitic; they’re opportunistic, which is to say they like to grow on trees that are already ailing or growing in poor conditions. Lichens are symbiotic organisms of fungi, algae and possibly yeast that live off each other, not your tree. They typically present as pale green or gray (or sometimes orange) crusty or leafy masses on tree branches and trunks, rotting logs and wood fences…

Sacramento, California, Bee, January 23, 2023: 350-year-old Port Royal tree an ‘endangered species.’ Owner seeks public money to save it

Beaufort County is being asked to earmark public conservation funds to buy and preserve 12 acres in Port Royal that features the county’s largest and oldest tree — and the 205-year-old grave of an enslaved woman who purportedly once studied in its shade. Merry Land Investments, LLC, the land owner, had previously planned to sell the same property to a developer that wanted to build apartment buildings. Now it is applying for Beaufort County monies set aside to preserve open spaces. Beaufort County, which is considering the request, has not a made final decision on whether to pursue the property. But the application was welcomed by residents who are fighting to save the monster oak tree, additional trees on the property and the final resting place of Mary Pope, the woman was buried under the tree. The property was once part of the Cherry Hill Plantation. “We’re thrilled,” said Hope Cunningham, a resident of Pinckney Retreat, which is located next door to the land, said of the funding application…

New York City, New York Times, January 19, 2023: How New York City’s Trees and Shrubs Help Clear Its Air

Andrew Reinmann looked past the buildings on a recent afternoon in Harlem and focused instead on the trees. Along St. Nicholas Terrace, Dr. Reinmann noted rows of London planes and oaks embedded in cement. In a park dotted with river birches, he saw a savanna. New York is surprisingly verdant for a city inseparable from its glass-and-steel towers. And its greenery may affect the city’s carbon footprint much more than previously known, according to new research by Dr. Reinmann, a forest ecologist at City University of New York, and his colleagues. The tree canopies, shrubs and lawns cover nearly 35 percent of the city, according to the study. During its growing season in the spring and summer, the greenery takes up enough carbon to absorb as much as 40 percent of the human-caused carbon emissions in the New York City area…

London, UK, BBC, January 23, 2023: The ancient trees at the heart of a case against the Crown

A small indigenous community is fighting a historic land rights claim in Canada – and they are using ancient trees and famed British explorer Captain Cook’s journal to help make their case. Wearing her red cedar hat and with a microphone in hand, Mellissa Jack stood in front of the British Columbia Supreme Court on a warm autumn day with a message. “We have proven who we are, where we come from, and we are not going anywhere,” she called out, to cheers from a gathered crowd. In September 2022 Ms Jack and about 100 others had travelled from all over the province of British Columbia (BC) to be together outside the court as hearings in a closely-watched land rights case being fought by their indigenous community – Nuchatlaht First Nation – were drawing to a close. The Nuchatlaht case not only has significance for Ms Jack and her people, but is being watched for its potential impact on indigenous land claims in Canada and what it means for the provincial government’s commitment to reconciliation. As one expert put it, the decision could be “the first tile in the Aboriginal rights game of dominos”. And to help win their case, the Nuchatlaht are using a unique piece of evidence that they say is not only a part of their cultural heritage, but also an important living artefact that must be cared for to restore a damaged land…

Wooster, Ohio, Daily Record, January 23, 2023: Callery pear is illegal in Ohio. If you have this tree, here’s why you should cut it down

As of Jan. 1, Callery pear is now illegal to grow, sell, or plant in Ohio. This is a good move; it is just about 20 years late. The ones planted are spreading exponentially and are causing serious problems if not kept in check. When Callery pear was initially introduced, it was believed that it was unable to reproduce by seed and had sterile fruit. The problem is, cultivars can cross pollinate with each other, which produces viable seeds. Some of these cultivars included Bradford, Cleveland select, autumn blaze, and Chanticleer, to name a few. Birds gorge on the plentiful, but low-energy fruit then drop the seeds in their waste everywhere and the next tree takes off creating an endless and devastating cycle. Callery pears are weak structured with steep V-notched branches that are prone to breaking off in ice, snow, and windy conditions. They will get to roughly 10 to 15 years old and then start falling apart. The other issue is the waxy leaves decompose very slowly causing headaches in landscape and street tree settings, as well as compost piles…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2023: Sue Thy Neighbor: Homeowner Spats Over Fences, Trees and Additions Get Nastier

Daniel Belzil, an attorney who represents plaintiffs in insurance disputes, has been in plenty of legal battles. None prepared him for the acrimony that ensued when his neighbor erected a chain-link fence across what he viewed as a legally shared unpaved driveway. “This was a bare-knuckle boxing match,” he said. Mr. Belzil said his neighbor in the upstate New York village of Fleischmanns, the Vasquez family, built an ugly fence that blocked his family from driving onto his own property. His neighbors argued they built the fence to keep Mr. Belzil from parking on what they viewed as an easement—meaning it was their property, although Mr. Belzil was allowed to drive through it. In November 2020, 12 days after the fence went up, he sued. The case lived on even after his neighbor sold the house. It finally settled in October. Lawyers for his former neighbor didn’t return calls seeking comment…

Associated Press, January 22, 2023: Florida Rep. Steube out of hospital after accident at home

A U.S. congressman from Florida who was seriously injured in a tree-trimming accident in Sarasota said Saturday he has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering at home. Rep. Greg Steube said in an evening tweet that he remains “endlessly blessed by the prayers and support from our friends, family, and community.” He added that his office “will provide updates next week on how my recovery will impact my return to Washington.” On Thursday a tweet posted to the congressman’s official profile said Steube had been “knocked approximately 25 feet down off a ladder while cutting tree limbs on his Sarasota property” the previous day…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, January 21, 2023: Tree damage in winter probably not deer — here’s the likely culprit

Q: I recently discovered damage to the bark on my dawn redwood. Could this be caused by deer? What can I do to prevent more damage?
A: The peeling bark on your dawn redwood was probably caused by squirrels. Deer damage — which is caused by rubbing antlers against the trunks of trees — usually occurs in fall and not winter. Deer also prefer young, smooth-barked trees to rub. If the damage on the tree goes up into the crown, this indicates it was not a deer rubbing the trunk of the tree. The bark will appear more shredded when a deer is rubbing against the trunk. The small scrape marks on the trunk of the tree could be from the squirrel’s teeth. I have observed similar damage to maples in this area, with the damage occurring higher up the in the tree. Branches can be girdled and killed if the bark is completely removed from around the branch…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, January 22, 2023: New ordinance aims to protect Torrington’s trees

Torrington’s many parks are filled with trees. In fact, there are so many species and varieties that the city’s ordinance subcommittee, with help from Public Works Director Ray Drew and City Planner Jeremy Leifert, have updated and enhanced a tree ordinance to further protect them. “Being the tree warden, I love trees,” Drew said, adding, “My kids call me the Lorax.” The ordinance is found in Chapter 181, trees, shrubs and woody vegetation, and addresses their planting, maintenance, protection and removal on city property, according to the document that was presented Jan. 17 to the City Council. “We want to have this information available to residents,” Drew said…

Salt Lake City, Utah, January 19, 2023: Expert says ‘Trees are the enemy’ when it comes to water production

One of the state’s leading experts on hydrology and snowpack said “trees are the enemy” — conifers that is — as Utah’s forested acres become overcrowded with millions of trees that need attention. Randy Julander, who was the Utah Snow Survey supervisor for 28 years with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service and is now retired, told a caucus of lawmakers Thursday that of the five million forested acres in the state, 1.2 million acres of those consist of dead trees. “Why? You don’t have enough water in the watershed to support that many trees,” he said. Julander came out in support of an effort led by Salt Lake County Council member Dea Theodore, whose district includes the Wasatch canyons like Little and Big Cottonwood. She recently flagged the issue for Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and leadership in a letter imploring action this session. Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, is rounding up support from county commissioners and other lawmakers across the state to get funding from the state Legislature for tree-thinning projects that may include mechanized means, prescribed burns or other methods. Julander warned that such efforts will be met with staunch opposition and often take years, if not decades, to complete…

San Francisco, California, KRON-TV, January 18, 2023: Arborists perform tree maintenance between storms

With a break between the storms, arborists are busy doing preventative work on trees. “With a lot of saturation and big winds, I would not have wanted to be sleeping or be underneath the tree,” said certified arborist and Waraner Tree Experts co-owner, Dustin Waraner. He said some trees may look safe, but if it grows in a confined space, the roots are unable to spread out properly, leaving it with a weak foundation. One homeowner became concerned during several weeks of storms and decided to have the tree taken down before it falls. “We’re gonna make the last cut, get the tree out of here, grind out the stump and then put in a new tree that’s going to beneficial for the next 30 to 50 years,” said Waraner…

Santa Rosa, California, Press-Democrat, January 17, 2023: Woman found dead next to fallen tree branch in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

A woman was declared dead on Saturday evening after she was found lying next to a fallen tree branch in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, officials said. The incident was reported just after 5 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Drive and 30th Avenue, Jonathan Baxter, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Fire Department, wrote in a text. “A jogger observed an elderly female down next to a large tree branch and called 911,” Baxter wrote. Paramedics, firefighters and the San Francisco Police Department responded to the scene and provided life-saving measures but despite the efforts, she was declared deceased. Baxter said the official cause of death is under investigation by the San Francisco Medical Examiner. The Medical Examiner was not available for comment before this story published. The tree associated with the incident is a pine, said Daniel Montes, communications manager for San Francisco Recreation and Parks. “Back-to-back storms, flooding and extreme winds following a years-long drought has toppled hundreds of trees and snapped off countless limbs in San Francisco, including in our parks,” Montest wrote in an email. “We are heartbroken that one of our park users tragically lost her life during the Jan. 14 storm when a limb fell from a pine tree in Golden Gate Park…”

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, January 18, 2023: How to safely remove snow from your trees

A January cold front has brought heavy, wet snow to Colorado’s Front Range, much to the chagrin of your tree branches. Here are some tips for removing snow from trees: • Be aware that accumulating snow, ice, or wind could cause limbs to break and fall at any time; • Check to make sure the tree is safe and clear of all utility lines prior to removing snow; • Do not attempt to shake snow off a tree if a utility line is going through its branches or is within contact distance; • If the tree is clear of utility lines, use a broom to remove as much snow as possible from branches by brushing off or gently shaking. Avoid large, rapid movement as this could cause the limb to break; • Do not attempt to climb a tree or use a ladder to reach higher limbs…

San Francisco, California, SFGate, January 18, 2023: California tree with bald eagles at center of feud, PG&E backs down

After weeks of protests, prayers and the threat of activists chaining themselves to a tree containing a pair of nesting bald eagles, PG&E appears to have backed down. Plans to cut down a 120-foot ponderosa pine in Mendocino County were met with outrage from environmental groups and the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians after a pair of bald eagles were observed to have returned to the tree in recent weeks in preparation to nest. The tree, on a private ranch in Potter Valley, was permitted for removal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, allowing PG&E to cut it down, despite the fact that since the 1990s, it has provided a nesting place for the iconic raptor. “Chopping down a historic nest tree should never be the first option, particularly as bald eagles have returned for the breeding season,” said Peter Galvin, director of programs at the Center for Biological Diversity. “A multibillion dollar company has the means and ability to avoid this reckless act, if it wanted…”

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, January 18, 2023: How to report dangerous trees, branches after storms

Heavy snow can present a hazard near city streets and around neighborhoods when it piles up on trees. The sheer weight of all of the snow can cause even the sturdiest-looking branches to fall. “If you look around, you can see kind of where some of those old trees can fall,” said one Washington Park resident. Some branches could be heard snapping. “You can hear them all night, cracking and coming down,” the homeowner said. Other branches may take hours and even days to finally come down. The City of Denver told FOX31, crews regularly inspect trees near streets and other areas accessed by the public. Property owners are responsible for their own downed trees and branches. Dangerous trees and tree branches that obstruct public access should be reported by calling 311. If the dangerous trees or branches are on private property, the owner will receive a bill. The city will prioritize where crews are sent based on immediate danger and public safety. Property owners are responsible for clearing debris from the public right-of-way and should not dump branches in public areas…

Santa Rosa, California, Press Democrat, January 17, 2023: Roofers, tree trimmers in Sonoma, Marin counties weary from unrelenting storm calls

The wind and rain that have hammered the North Bay this month with little let up until now have led to some very busy days for tree and roofing crews. Their help has been in such demand that even some of the largest and long-tenured companies have struggled to keep up. “It’s been nutty,” said Steve Clements, whose Mill Valley-based Clements Tree Service employs a dozen tree trimmers and has been in business since 1988. He recounted a recent run-in with a customer who became irate with him when he told her he’d been called away from her appointment to deal with an emergency removal of a large tree that had fallen on a house. It was just one of the tough work calls and decisions he’s had to face nearly around the clock in recent weeks, he said. “If someone has a tree blocking the driveway and they can’t get their car out, that takes second place to someone who’s got a tree on top of their house and the water is coming in,” said Clements, whose company specializes in the removal of large trees…

TechCrunch, January 18, 2023: This gentle drone collects loose DNA from swaying tree branches

Understanding the biodiversity of forests is crucial to their conservation or restoration. Collecting “external DNA” left behind by animals is a good way to find out what lives there without having to spot them or even be there at the same time — and this drone from Swiss researchers makes taking samples from tree limbs safer and easier. External DNA can come from lots of forms — dead skin or feathers, waste, fluids — and can be found in soil, water or on surfaces like rocks and tree branches. Basically anywhere an animal might hang out, it leaves a trace of itself and we can detect that. Until recently this type of DNA amplification and analysis might have been too complex or expensive, but the tools to do it have become much cheaper and easier to use. There remains the matter of collecting the DNA, though, and while biologists can certainly collect soil and water samples or scrape the sides of trees, high-up limbs where birds, small mammals and insects live their whole lives are inaccessible without special equipment. Try telling your department head you need an extra $20,000 to get a tree-climbing team because there wasn’t enough guano on the forest floor…

St. Louis, Missouri, KTVI, January 17, 2023: Fatal tree incident does not add up, expert says

A tree expert says it was no accident that killed a Normandy city worker trimming trees last Monday. Instead, he says it’s important to call it an avoidable incident that killed the father of nine. A memorial of flowers and candles now marks the tree that killed 56-year-old Harold Parker. Parker was the father of nine children. He was reportedly an expert landscaper who was trimming trees on Jan. 9 with Normandy’s Public Works Department. Drew Brauner, who runs another city’s public works department, says he’s cut down thousands of trees. “It was 100% preventable,” he said. “…not an accident at all.” “Trees are a lot like a gun. When you put a chainsaw into it, you’ve loaded it,” Brauner said. “There’s no real accidents. It’s now incidents.” He says hollow trees, like the one that killed Parker, are unpredictable…

Lafayette, Colorado, Colorado Hometown Weekly, January 17, 2023: Colorado State University Extension: Your trees and the big freeze

When a polar vortex rolls through Colorado, everyone is miserable, even our poor trees. Dramatic temperature swings, winds and bitter cold can do serious damage. It’s not uncommon for the damage to reveal itself much later — even after a year or two. Here are some things you can do to help your trees that do so much for you. First, give your trees a thorough looking-over. Any cracked or broken branches that you can safely reach should be removed. Use a sharp hand saw and cut directly before the branch collar — the place where the branch joins the trunk (look for rougher bark and a little bulging). If you cannot reach the cracked or broken branch, consider calling a certified arborist for help. Do not, under any circumstances, climb a ladder while you are carrying a chainsaw. This is an extremely dangerous task and should be left to a certified arborist. Check out the website from the International Society of Arboriculture at treesaregood.org to find a certified arborist in your area…

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