News Links – 2018

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Minneapolis, Minnesota, KARE-TV, December 31, 2018: Recycling your Christmas tree? Give it to goats

Your real Christmas tree may no longer be lighting up your home, but it can still be a holiday treat – at least for local animals. Goat Dispatch, a Minnesota company that specializes in land management using goats, is once again looking for donations of real Christmas trees and wreaths. It’s the fifth year the organization is collecting them. The trees and wreaths are a good winter snack for the goats during plant-free months, and the animals help recycle the trees through their natural digestive processes, according to Goat Dispatch. If you want to recycle your tree and help feed some hungry goats, you can bring it to White Sands Dog Park at 900 Lyndale Avenue North in Faribault. There is an area marked for tree donations in the northwest area of the parking lot. Trees cannot have ornaments, metal, or stands. They also can’t be flocked…

Knoxville, Tennessee, Shopper News, December 31, 2018: Residents galvanized to halt Island Home tree-cutting

The day after Christmas, residents of Island Home near their park were seriously surprised to see a Cortese tree truck in their park cutting several trees to the ground. They were mostly sycamore trees. Island Home Airport, which falls under the airport authority, every four or five years tries to cut trees in the flight path of planes approaching the airport. In the past, the cutting has been actually trimming and not clear-cutting to the base of the trees. Former city councilman and vice mayor Nick Pavlis was always alert to these matters and prevented clear-cutting by the airport. Citizen input should be a matter of course. Nancy Campbell, president of the Island Home neighborhood association, contacted greenway backer Will Skelton. Citizens also reached Eddie Mannis, who chairs the Airport Authority. He immediately understood the issue and directed that tree cutting be suspended until full meetings with the neighborhood, affected citizens and council can occur. The tree cutters were not there the next day. There is now time to bring all affected parties together to secure a rational policy based on real public participation…

Mother Nature Network, December 30, 2018: How to make beer from your Christmas tree

Christmas is over and soon you’ll be seeing dead Christmas trees lining the sidewalks, waiting to go where dead Christmas trees go. Sometimes, it’s into a chipper to be turned into mulch. Sometimes, it’s into the landfill — but you wouldn’t do that, right? Sometimes dead Christmas trees can serve a higher purpose, such as the trees that became makeshift dunes after Hurricane Sandy ravaged parts of the East Coast shoreline in 2013. But before any Christmas tree reaches its final destination, it can have a chance at a second life — or at least its needles can. The needles can be snipped and used to create a spruce beer or ale. This may seem like some new hipster, DIY idea, but in reality, spruce beer dates at least back to the ancient Scandinavians, according to NPR. They believed it would give them strength in battle and increase fertility as well as combat scurvy. In the 18th century, the British Navy brewed spruce beer to help sailors combat scurvy, too. The needles have vitamin C in them, although modern scientists aren’t convinced enough of the vitamin remains after boiling for the pine to work its scurvy-fighting magic…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, December 30, 2018: Plano physician killed, her son injured by falling tree at Tennessee national park

A Plano pediatrician was killed Thursday at Great Smoky Mountains National Park when a tree fell on her, striking her and her young son, officials said. Laila Jiwani, 42, was hiking with her husband and three children on the Porter Creek Trail at the park in Tennessee when the tree was knocked down by high winds, park spokesman Mike Litterst said. Her 6-year-old son, Jibran, was airlifted to a hospital and underwent surgery Saturday, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. His injuries weren’t life-threatening, Litterst said. Jiwani’s husband, Taufiq, wrote on Facebook that his wife took most of the impact of the falling tree, saving her son’s life. A staff page for Cook Children’s Northside Neighborhood Clinic in Fort Worth said Jiwani was a pediatrician there…

St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press, December 26, 2018: Wisconsin raises alarm after invasive tree pest found in evergreen Christmas decorations

Wisconsin residents are being asked to burn or bag some Christmas decorations after highly invasive tree-eating beetles were found on wreaths, swags and other holiday items made with real evergreen boughs. State tree inspectors on Wednesday said they found the tiny insects, called elongate hemlock scale, or EHS, on wreaths, swags and boughs as well as evergreen boughs used in hanging baskets, porch pots, mugs and sleighs sold at several big-box retail stores statewide. It’s unclear how many infested items were sold. “Burn them if you can. If you can’t do that, bag them and send them to the landfill,” said Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The insect already has survived Maine winters “so winter weather will not kill it. As a result, if you compost this material, the insects may well attack conifers in your yard or neighborhood and spread from there.” Inspectors found the insects on decorations made with real evergreen boughs sold at Menards, Home Depot, Kmart, Steins and Pick N’ Save. The stores cooperated and destroyed any infested stock they had on hand, said Donna Gilson, spokesman for the state agency. But many infested items were likely sold before the discovery was made…

Jacksonville, Florida, WJAX-TV, December 26, 2018: Time to toss the tree? How to do it safely, avoid fire hazard

With Christmas now in the rear-view mirror, many Floridians might be getting ready to take down the decorations and discard the Christmas tree this weekend. For those planning to start the new year with a tree-free home, Florida Forest Service has some advice for how to properly dispose of your Christmas tree. Dry limbs and needles from discarded Christmas trees can be an ignition source for fire if not properly cleared away from homes and natural areas, according to FFS, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. One way to avoid this potential fire hazard is by recycling Christmas trees. Many communities offer tree recycling services, such as curbside pick-up, recycling centers and mulching programs. Check with your local city or county government or utility service for more information about Christmas tree disposal and recycling programs…

San Diego, California, KNSD-TV, December 26, 2018: Helicopters Airlift Palm Trees Out of Urban Canyon in Tierrasanta

Hundreds of palm trees are being removed from canyons in the Tierrasanta neighborhood this week as the result of a project between the city of San Diego and local conservancy groups. Palm trees are not native to San Diego’s urban canyons but seeds from the trees move by a stream and spread into the canyons. The palm trees take over space from the native trees that should be there like Coast Live Oak, Willow and Sycamore trees. “When a palm tree catches on fire, it’s like a Roman candle,” said Eric Bowlby, Executive Director of San Diego Canyonlands. So beginning at 8 a.m. every day this week, crews will remove approximately 300 mature palm trees that have grown in the urban canyons. Cutting the trees began around Dec. 10 and this week a helicopter will lift the trees from the canyons and deliver them to the Sycamore Landfill. In the meantime, public access to Rueda Canyon Open Space Park will be restricted. Bowlby said removing the trees that are not well maintained is a matter of safety…

Charlotte, North Carolina, WBTV, December 26, 2018: Here’s what happens to your Christmas tree when you trash it

It’s a huge space. Covered in mounds of mulch, branches, leaves. Welcome to the Christmas tree graveyard. “We get about 500 tons of Christmas trees every year,” Jeff Smithberger says. Smithberger runs Mecklenburg County’s solid waste department, where he collects those hundreds of Christmas trees yearly. But this isn’t the true resting place for these festive pines. “We’ll grind them up and mulch them and turn them into compost material,” he says. People who live in the county can leave them out to the curb for their respective jurisdictions to collect, or bring them in themselves. “We have even had people bring Christmas trees to us in April,” Smithberger says. But fire crews over in Harrisburg, focused on the household safety of it all, warn to take care of it sooner rather than later. “Today or tomorrow, go ahead and take down your decorations and your Christmas tree, depose of it properly,” Captain Jack Gonzalez says. Gonzalez and his crew lit a dry Christmas tree for WBTV to show just how fast it can be engulfed in flames. They say a scene like that is most likely to happen in your house, after December 25th…

Westchester, New York, Journal News, December 26, 2018: Falling Yonkers tree starts lawsuit

A tree that fell on top of a car on the Bronx River Parkway has started a lawsuit. Althea Crawford alleges that she was driving her car on the parkway just north of one of the Bronx River Road exits on March 2 when a large tree fell on the parkway and struck the roof of her vehicle. Westchester County experienced a nor’easter storm between March 2 and March 5 that included heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 64 miles an hour at the Westchester County Airport, according to the National Weather Service’s summary of that weather event. According to Crawford’s Dec. 17 lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court, she suffered “serious injuries to her head, back and shoulders.” Crawford seeks unspecified damages from Yonkers and Westchester County and her lawsuit accused both entities of negligent tree maintenance…

Greenville, South Carolina, WYFF-TV, December 25, 2018: Study says millennials are to thank for boost in real Christmas tree industry

Millennials are often blamed for leading to the demise of certain industries and praised for boosting others. Now, a new study says millennials are helping the real Christmas tree industry thrive. A study by Square Inc. said the generation born between 1981 and 1996 is credited with driving up real Christmas tree sales. The figure is based on more than 1,000 Christmas tree sellers using Square software. The study said the price of trees has increased 17 percent in the past two years. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, millennials’ love for live trees is making its financial mark. The group said 95 million Americans were expected to put up trees this year. The survey said 82 percent of the trees will be artificial and 18 percent will be real trees…

Popular Science, December 25, 2018: The most environmentally-friendly ways to get rid of your Christmas tree

When you set up a Christmas tree, you bring a little bit of nature into your home. Real or fake, your spot of green creates warm holiday cheer at a time when the forests outside have grown cold and brown. But once you’ve unwrapped the presents, scarfed down the leftovers, and safely stowed away the ornaments, your glorious display piece instantly transforms into waste—specifically, one of the biggest pieces of trash you’ll have to deal with all year. How we collectively disperse the carbon, metal, and plastic that went into our trees makes a real difference for the environment that provided those resources in the first place. Take artificial trees: Producing one of these contributes about 40 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The key to making it sustainable is to reuse it. By spreading that 40 pounds out over a certain number of years—estimates range from five years to twenty—it eventually will break even with the smaller impact you would see from buying a new natural tree year after year…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, December 26, 2018: Aerial surveys show dead trees in Arizona, New Mexico

Aerial surveys of forested land in Arizona and New Mexico show large swaths of dead trees following an unusually dry winter that aided pests such as bark beetles. Arizona saw its largest uptick in tree mortality since the early 2000s when about 1.7 million acres (688,000 hectares) were affected. New Mexico saw a similar pattern, though surveys done earlier this year don’t account for an expected loss of pinon trees, said Andrew Graves, an entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Southwest Region. The surveys included national forests and other federal land as well as state, tribal and private land…

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, December 21, 2018: Centennial seniors couple fight $400 tree bill, say they never agreed to service

A Centennial couple is furious after they were billed $400 for a tree service they never agreed to. Contact7 decided to look into it.  Leta and Vincent Long used Home Advisor to get quotes for tree service in July. Fit Turf called them but didn’t make a great impression. “He was just so pushy,” Leta Long explained. “It was 8 o’clock in the morning and he was loud, he talked fast and he was just being obnoxious.” The Longs decided to keep looking. A few days later they returned home to find Fit Turf signs in their yard and a $400 bill on the front door.  That’s when their son Michael decided to step in and contact customer service.  “I said, ‘do you have a written agreement?’ ‘No we do not.’ I said, ‘well, what gives you the right to perform the service?’ She said, ‘Well we sent a couple of emails and they never responded, so we assume that gave us permission’…”

Nassau, New York, Newsday, December 20, 2018: Southold gets restraining order against Santa over tree-farm permit

Southold Town has taken Santa to court. A state judge issued a restraining order against Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue after town officials alleged the evergreen grower was operating outside the scope of its farm-stand permit. The Main Road business features an 8,064-square-foot building that’s open from April through January as a Christmas décor store in addition to selling Christmas trees, according to its website and a complaint filed in State Supreme Court in Riverhead on Dec. 14.  Southold Town requires that 60 percent of merchandise sold at farm stands be grown by the farm. Town code also limits the size of farm stands to 3,000 square feet. Town code enforcement officer Michael Chih, after a Nov. 25 inspection of the operation, estimated that 75 percent to 80 percent of Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm’s merchandise for sale consisted of nonagricultural products not grown by Santa’s. Chih also determined the business used almost the entire building as retail space, according to the lawsuit…

Cleveland, Ohio, WOIO-TV, December 20, 2018: ‘Excessively pruned’ trees in Cleveland neighborhood now designated for removal

Residents in a Cleveland neighborhood are worried about orders to cut back more trees and get rid of some altogether. It comes just two weeks after the councilman representing Ohio City says other trees were “excessively pruned.” Councilman Kerry McCormack says the tree trouble is part of two different projects, which happen to be affecting the same residents. They say they’re losing shade, fresh air and the look of their neighborhood. Elisa Bredendiek says her house is shaded by the trees on Monroe Ave. “The trees provide significant shade and obviously cool down the temperature, so I appreciate them for that alone,” Bredendiek said. One of the trees outside her home is now marked with an orange X…

Sacramento, California Business Journal, December 20, 2018: SMUD checks Sierra Nevada tree health with LiDAR modeling

Crews from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District are using LiDAR technology to identify and model trees with high fire danger near its transmission towers and poles high in the Sierra Nevada. Though it services the mostly flat Sacramento County with electricity, SMUD owns and operates hydroelectric dams in the Sierra Nevada on the Upper American River. In an average rain year, SMUD gets about 20 percent of its electricity from those 11 reservoirs and eight powerhouses, according to its website. The action comes at a time when another Northern California utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., is facing increased liability for wildfires allegedly sparked by its remote power lines. This autumn, SMUD began using Light Detection and Ranging, LiDAR, to identify potential fire danger in vegetation in the forests along its transmission line routes. “This technology saves us time, effort and money in helping us quickly determine which trees need to be cut or pruned, and which can be left alone,” said SMUD chief energy delivery officer Frankie McDermott, in a news release…

Portland, Oregon, KOPB-TV, December 19, 2018: How thick forests can reduce snowpack

Much of the Willamette Valley’s water arrives in the winter as snow in the forested Cascade mountains. New research shows that the ways we manage those forests can influence how much water flows into rivers during the spring and summer melt. Anne Nolin, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, is part of a group of researchers modeling the Willamette Valley’s watershed. They were interested in the ways precipitation travels from where it falls in the Cascade Mountains down to urban centers in the lower Willamette Valley. Reservoirs behind dams act like a valve between the uplands and the lowlands, Nolin said. Although the reservoirs primarily exist for flood control, they also store water in the winter and spring, and then release it in the summer and fall to ensure flows for salmon and people. But there’s an even bigger store of water in the Cascades: snow. And snowpacks are declining. “There are a lot of reasons that we want to increase snowpack, because that’s a natural storage capacity,” Nolin said. “And in many watersheds, the natural storage in the snowpack exceeds the storage in our reservoirs manyfold, like two or three times…”

Columbus, Nebraska, Telegram, December 19, 2018: Important winter tree care tips


Winter weather, especially extremes in weather, can be hard on trees and shrubs. And while Nebraska is known for its often changing weather, broader extremes are becoming the norm. We humans appreciate above average winter temperatures, but plants prefer an average and steady temperature. Warm, sunny winter days increase the risk of sunscald injury and winter drying. Lack of snow increases dessication injury while heavy, wet snows lead to broken branches and wildlife damage. For young, thin-barked trees like fruit and maple trees, bark splitting and sun scald can be prevented by wrapping trunks with tree wrap or painting them with white latex (not oil-based) paint. It is most important to protect the south and southwest facing sides of young, tender barked trees. Evergreens most risk of winter drying are newly planted evergreens but even established Arborvitae, Japanese Yew and some Junipers are susceptible. Evergreens planted in the last year or two and those planted near south facing walls of light colored homes are more at risk…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WFYI-TV, December 19, 2018: DNR: Adding popular tree species would delay invasives ban

The public comment period for Indiana’s ban on several invasive land species ends Thursday, Dec. 20. Some people at a public meeting Wednesday expressed disappointment that the state did not add two popular invasive trees to the list.  Several groups support a ban on the sale of Callery pear and Norway maple. Rick Haggard is the executive director of the Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association. He says some of its member nurseries have been removing the trees from their fields. “Now the ones that are not members — some of the big box stores and everything — we have no control over. We can tell them that they need to look at other options, but they don’t necessarily have to,” Haggard says. Megan Abraham is with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources division of entomology and plant pathology. She says adding Callery pear and Norway maple to this current proposal would mean the state would have to start all over again — with a new assessment and economic impact study…

Chico, California, Enterprise-Review, December 19. 2018: Nature has Plan B for fire’s burned trees

Due to the high heat a lot of trees died in the Camp Fire, unfortunately Mother Nature has a plan “B” which stands for “beetle” for those that didn’t. But there are things we can do to minimize the fire’s collateral damage. Bark beetles attack trees that are low on water due to drought or injury.  The adults bore into the bark and lay eggs, the eggs hatch and the larvae mine around between the bark and the wood. The mining severs the tree’s nutrient-moving vessels, killing the tree. The culprits are the mountain and western pine beetles, the red turpentine beetle, and the Douglas fir beetle. Some of these can have multiple generations per summer when conditions are right. The beetles will attack recently killed and weak trees first, then as the beetle’s numbers increase they will move to healthy trees.  The best offense is to debark recently felled pine and Douglas fir logs between now and spring. Also, chip or burn all limbs greater than 3 inches in diameter. In spring and summer fall and debark trees that show lots of globs of pitch on the bark. This greatly reduces the amount of breeding habitat…

Phys.org, December 18, 2018: Trees grow more efficient leaves to compensate for hurricane damage

Some tree species heal from the ravages of hurricane damage by growing replacement leaves optimized for greater efficiency, according to a Clemson University field study presented at the British Ecological Society’s annual conference. This new, optimized growth is an apparent attempt to fight back when hurricane winds rip away limbs and leaves. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last year, ecologists at Clemson’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in Georgetown, South Carolina, took the opportunity to study how hurricanes affect tropical dry forests in the Caribbean. The worst natural disaster on record to affect the U.S. territory, the hurricane stripped numerous trees bare of their leaves and disrupted their ability to absorb the light needed for growth and survival. Clemson researchers sought to determine whether the trees were capable of compensating for the significant damage by increasing resource acquisition in newly produced leaves. At Tuesday’s conference, which brought together 1,200 ecologists from more than 40 countries to discuss the latest research, doctoral student Tristan Allerton presented findings from the year-long field study. “Our study took us to the Guánica State Forest in southwest Puerto Rico, which comprises one of the best parcels of native dry forest in the Caribbean,” said Allerton. “Rainfall here is extremely erratic, with huge variability within and between years. The forest also sits on limestone from an ancient coral reef, which is extremely porous, meaning trees have little time to capture water as it travels through the underlying rock. As a result, organisms are uniquely adapted to cope with unpredictable water availability…”

Science Daily, December 18, 2018: Experts identify ‘tipping point’ in tree disease outbreaks

New models which can predict the critical point at which plant pests and diseases shift from being a localized problem to a major outbreak could help us in our fight to save the world’s woodlands. Infectious disease outbreaks in plants are a major threat to the world’s ecosystems, agricultural crops and food trade. Currently, several fungal diseases are devastating forests world-wide and under particular threat are key UK species such as oak and ash. Now new research led by mathematicians at Newcastle University, UK, together with the University of Leeds, has identified a way to model disease progression and predict the ‘tipping point’ of a disease, providing early warning indicators that an epidemic is imminent and action needs to be taken. Lead author Dr Sirio Orozco-Fuentes, a physicist at Newcastle University, explains: “Predicting and controlling disease spread is incredibly difficult because of the interaction of all the different components involved. It’s not just about the type of tree or the hardiness of the disease, it depends on the environment — temperature, humidity, wind speed, the types of trees planted nearby and how close they are. So the presence of disease doesn’t automatically lead to an outbreak. A change in the weather, for example, may kill the pest before it becomes a problem without any need for human intervention…

Spokane, Washington, KREM-TV, December 18, 2018: Artist turns 100-year-old tree in Coeur d’Alene into little library

A Coeur d’Alene artist’s project right outside her home is receiving lots of attention online. The artist, Sharalee Armitage Howard, created a “little free library” inside a more than 100-year-old cottonwood tree stump outside her home near midtown Coeur d’Alene. A Facebook post about the project from Howard has since been shared close to 30,000 times. Howard told KREM that her family decided to remove most of the tree after branches began to fall dangerously on cars and the sidewalk below. The core of the tree was starting to rot, Howard said. After having previously created a separate little free library for an unrelated project, Howard said she felt inspired to create one inside the stump that remained from the tree. The library features a swinging glass door, steps, and interior and exterior lights…

Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, December 18, 2018: Virginia Tech completes database of every single tree on campus

There are more than 8,000 living trees on tech’s campus right now, a few hundred dead trees and a total of 10,000 cataloged over the last 10 years. But now the university essentially has a Rolodex of every single tree on the central campus, which they say is already being put to good use. It’s a gorgeous day on Virginia Tech’s campus and the resident tree guy is taking in the view. “It’s pretty varied,” he said of the campus foliage. “It’s something like 200 species.” That tree guy is graduate assistant Peter Stewart, who has personally taken inventory of nearly every single living tree on tech’s campus. “Well I definitely got to know every corner of campus pretty quickly.” he said. He’s helped finish work that started more than a decade ago in Professor Eric Wiseman’s undergraduate class. It’s an effort to document all the trees rooted on campus and those now long gone. “First of all be able to understand what we have and where it is, and that becomes important for a lot of things that go on on campus,” Wiseman said. Professor Wiseman said this catalog of trees revealed more than 200 species, most of which are in good condition…

Houston, Texas, KPRC-TV, December 17, 2018: Hundreds of trees being removed by community association in Sugar Land

Hundreds of trees are being removed as a part of a First Colony Community Association project. The tree removals began Nov. 20, according to the association. Officials said 150 trees on Elkins, 43 trees on Cartwright, 15 trees at The Oval and 26 trees in Oyster Point will be removed when the project is complete. The remaining budget will be used to remove trees on Sweetwater starting at Colony Park and moving along Sweetwater toward Highway 59. After trees are removed, FCCA said it will replant the area with a different species of tree that will not grow as tall and require trimming by the utility company. The association said: “Mature tree-lined streets with thick leafy canopies have become synonymous with First Colony. While aesthetically pleasing, the maturation of these hardwoods has presented First Colony Community Association with many maintenance challenges. The high density of hardwood trees has resulted in increased competition for sunlight and nutrients, and the weaker trees are being overcome by their larger healthier counterparts. Other maintenance challenges include diminished or no turf growth, increased siltation, damage to sidewalks, irrigation and utility infrastructure caused by dense root systems, and obstructed street lighting…

Mobile, Alabama, WALA-TV, December 17, 2018: Four of five trees in “failing health” won’t be cut down

The City of Mobile has made a decision on the possible removal of five trees in Bienville Square because of safety concerns. An arborist who works for the city said four of the five trees will not have to be cut down. City crews were out at Bienville Square Monday morning concentrating on two of the five trees cited by the city as being in declining health and that might have to be cut down. One tree near St. Francis and Conception had been roped off for the public’s safety, but the yellow tape was taken down after crews finished their work. City of Mobile Urban Forester Peter Toler said, “We removed the hazardous parts to bring the overall risk level of this tree from a ‘high’ down to a ‘moderate,’ to where we can actually deal with it, monitor the tree, and assess its health after that.” Crews also worked on another one of the five cited trees, also along Conception Street…

Northampton, Massachusetts, Daily Hampshire Gazette, December 17, 2018: Cahill tenant takes on tree safety — and gets the attention of Smith College

For months, tenant Shelly Neumann has complained about falling tree limbs in the parking lot and near the dumpster at Cahill Apartments, fearing for her safety and the safety of others. “I have called housing about this issue … at least eight times,” Neumann said. “Nobody came out.” After she complained directly to Smith College, which owns some of the property containing the troublesome trees, the college cut down and trimmed its trees. The Northampton Housing Authority then followed suit. “I did this — not housing,” Neumann said. Neumann said she tried contacting Smith College four or five months ago but that nothing came of it. However, on Nov. 14, she tried again, and Bob Dombkowski, grounds supervisor at the college, was notified via the college’s public relations office. “I said, ‘I’m coming right down,’” Dombkowski recalled. Once Dombkowski saw the trees, he acted swiftly, getting in touch with the owner of Howes Tree & Landscaping Cummington. “I called Chad Howes right there from the site immediately,” Dombkowski said. Dombkowski said he saw trees with dead limbs that needed attention, as well as fallen limbs on the ground. That was back in November. Because of the snowstorm predicted to hit the next day, Howes was not able to come out until the following Monday. “There were two trees there that were really bad,” said Dombkowski…

Gardening Knowhow, December 17, 2018: Do trees need berms – Tips on how and when to build a tree berm

Every tree needs adequate water to thrive, some less, like cacti, some more, like willows. Part of the job of a gardener or homeowner who plants a tree is to provide it with enough water to keep it healthy and happy. One technique that assists you in this task is constructing a berm. A berm is a sort of basin constructed of soil or mulch. It serves to keep water in the right place to drip down to the tree’s roots. Planting trees on berms makes it easier for the trees to get the water they need. If you are wondering how to make a berm, it isn’t difficult. To build a berm, you construct a circular wall of soil that goes all around the tree trunk. Don’t put it too close to the tree, or only the inside of the rootball will get water. Instead, built the berm at least 12 inches (30 cm.) from the trunk. How to make a berm wide enough? Use soil or mulch to construct the wall. Make it about 3 or 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm.) high and twice that wide. Lots of trees grow perfectly well in fields and forests without berms, and most trees in the backyard may not have berms either. Any tree that is easy to irrigate may do just as well without a berm. But planting trees on berms is a good idea when the trees are isolated on the far corner of your property or located somewhere that is difficult to irrigate. Trees in remote locations require the same amount of water they would if planted nearby…


Winston-Salem, North Carolina, News & Observer, December 16, 2018: ‘Speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues’: Quoting ‘The Lorax,’ judges reject permit for pipeline across Appalachian Trail

A federal appeals has thrown out another key permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, increasing the likelihood that work on the 604-mile multistate project could be held up until this summer if not longer. The appeals court in Richmond, Va., on Thursday invalidated a federal permit for the planned pipeline to cross 21 miles of national forest in Virginia, including a section of the Appalachian Trail. The court said that the U.S. Forest Service ignored federal law and its own agency rules in granting the permit, which will clear a 125-swath of habitat during construction and leave a 50-foot wide lane in perpetuity for maintenance. The same court last week rejected a permit by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to cut trees and grade land in sensitive habitats that are home to four endangered wildlife species. The consortium building the $7 billion pipeline, led by Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy and Richmond-based Dominion Energy, vowed to appeal the ruling and fight to get it reversed…

Nassau, New York, Newsday, December 16, 2018: Pests may have hitched rides on Christmas trees heading for LI, Schumer warns

Holiday boughs could be infected by a Grinchy red invasive pest that might devastate local crops, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned on Sunday, as he called for an additional $17.5 million in federal funding to help New York stop the spread of spotted lanternflies. Eggs of the spotted lanternfly, which have a taste for grape vines, fruit trees and local forests, might have hitched rides to Long Island on cut Christmas trees trucked in from out-of-state, he said. A live spotted lanternfly and several dead ones were found at a Deer Park nursery this fall, in a shipment that originated in a quarantined area in Pennsylvania. State and local farm officials fear the insect could cause widespread devastation in New York’s agriculture and tourism industries if the insect proliferates here, and have asked the public to report any sightings of the moth-like insect. Schumer, the Senate minority leader, in an interview Sunday, said the United States Department of Agriculture has already committed $17.5 million in Pennsylvania to research the insects native to Asia, which have no natural predators here. “I’m asking for the same amount of money to go to New York,” Schumer said…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2018: Trees of Life and Wonder

My family never had a pink-frosted Christmas tree, though Lord knows my 10-year-old self really wanted one. Every year my family went to Sal’s Christmas Emporium on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, where you could buy neon-colored trees, mechanical trees that played Christmas carols, blue and white Hanukkah bushes or even a real Douglas fir if you wanted to go retro. We were solidly retro. Decorating the Christmas tree remains one of my most treasured memories, and according to the National Christmas Tree Association, the tradition is still thriving in our digital age: In 2017 Americans bought 48.5 million real and artificial Christmas trees. Clearly, bringing a tree into the house, especially during winter, taps into something deeply spiritual in the human psyche.  Nearly every society has at some point venerated the tree as a symbol of fertility and rebirth, or as a living link between the heavens, the earth and the underworld. In the ancient Near East, “tree of life” motifs appear on pottery as early as 7000 B.C. By the second millennium B.C., variations of the motif were being carved onto temple walls in Egypt and fashioned into bronze sculptures in southern China…

Valparaiso, Indiana, Northwest Indiana Times, December 16, 2018: Porter County man crushed by fallen tree while working in yard

A 50-year-old Porter County man died Sunday night after a tree fell on him while working in his yard, according to the Porter County Sheriff’s Office. The man had been cutting back trees on his property in the 800 block of North County Road 500 East in rural Jackson Township when one tree fell toward the man, trapping him beneath. Porter County Sheriff’s officers, Liberty Township Fire Department, Washington Township Fire Department and Porter Regional EMS responded to the scene around 4:30 p.m., according to a Porter County Sheriff’s Office news release. Family and first responders attempted to cut the tree back to remove the man, however, the man was pronounced dead at the scene…

Wilmington, North Carolina, WECT-TV, December 13, 2018: Judge bars tree-removal company accused of price gouging from collecting fees

A Superior Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction against an out-of-state tree removal company which keeps the owners from operating in North Carolina and collecting exorbitant fees they charged victims in Castle Hayne in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. “This out-of-state operator tried to rip off North Carolinians coping with the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m grateful that the court has blocked them from taking advantage of any other North Carolinians as we continue this case. My office will not stand for anyone who preys on the misfortune of others in violation of our state’s price gouging statute.” Stein announced that his office had filed a lawsuit against Scotts Tree Service and its owners, Scott Lacey and Randy Shannon, during an October stop in Wilmington. The judge’s order will remain in place until the trial, according to Stein. Homeowners from Castle Hayne testified that the company billed them $14,500 to remove two fallen trees without first discussing or getting an agreement on the price. The homeowners also testified that the work took approximately an hour and involved eight employees, which comes to more than $1,800 per man-hour. Lacey testified that he pays his employees around $30 to $60 per hour. The homeowners further testified that Scotts Tree Service had one of the homeowners sign a statement of work to be done and later filled in the document with the $14,500 price, which the homeowner had not agreed to. After the homeowner refused to pay, the company sent the invoice to a bill collector, Goldberg & Donovan, Inc., a Massachusetts-based company. Earlier this year, a judge granted an injunction against Goldberg & Donovan, barring them from doing business in North Carolina…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, December 13, 2018: Initiative aims to restore American chestnut trees

Volunteers have planted more than 600 American chestnut trees at Eastern Kentucky University in an effort to restore the tree to the Daniel Boone National Forest. WKYT-TV reports the university has partnered with The American Chestnut Foundation and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in an effort to restore the trees to the region. A blight in the early 1900s killed millions of the trees across the Eastern U.S. Daniel Boone National Forest supervisor Dan Olsen says 615 seedlings were planted in late November at The American Chestnut Federation Regional Seed Orchard. He says officials hope to harvest seeds from the orchard in the future…

San Francisco, California, Patch, December 13, 2018: 75 Cloned Redwood Trees To Be Planted In San Francisco

Seventy-five coastal redwood tree saplings will be planted Friday morning in San Francisco’s Presidio to help alleviate climate change. A team from the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive will plant the saplings, which are clones from five local tree stumps, from 9 a.m. to noon. Organizers said the trees will be highly resistant to wildfires, disease and pests and can gather water from fog. Organizers said each redwood tree can remove up to 250 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over its lifespan, compared with one ton for more average trees…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, December 13, 2018: Isle of Palms man sentenced to jail time for cutting down trees

An Isle of Palms man may spend five days in jail after he cut down two significant trees on the island — on land that he didn’t own. Jonathan Gandolfo, who has been battling the town over the tree cutting incident since 2016, was found guilty Tuesday of two counts related to the removal of two trees at 408 Carolina Blvd. He did not cut the trees himself but directed their cutting by a contractor, according to an IOP police incident report. Gandolfo was sentenced to 30 days in jail on each count, with the sentence suspended so that he would instead spend one day and then two consecutive weekends in the Charleston County jail, and then spend two weekends completing community service. He must also pay a fine of $1,087… At the same time, Gandolfo still may face civil penalties from the town, which also has the ability to fine him for violating the tree-cutting ordinance. Gandolfo did not own the land where the trees were cut, but its owners have not pressed charges against him to date. Their property previously was under contract with Gandolfo as the buyer, but the sale didn’t close, Cornely said. According to the police incident report from 2016, the contractor who cut the trees had texts on his phone from Gandolfo urging the contractor “be a ninja about it and be quick so the code guys don’t interrupt you…”

Cincinnati, Ohio, WLWT-TV, December 12, 2018: Fallen tree critically hurts man in Clermont County; who’s at fault?

A man was rushed to the hospital Thursday after a large tree snapped, smashing his car as he drove in Clermont County. A woman who saw it happen is calling for better oversight to prevent this from ever happening again. The man who was badly hurt was driving down a road many people use every day. Now, he’s in critical condition and facing surgeries for his injuries. “When I close my eyes, I see it, over and over again,” Melissa Morganthaler said. It’s a horrific scene Morganthaler can’t forget. She said as she left the grocery store on Loveland-Miamiville Road in Loveland, she witnessed a tree snap and a large part of it landed on a car. “It hit the car and, just, almost like an explosion, just, this horrible loud boom,” Morganthaler said. Photos WLWT obtained showed a mangled BMW sedan, where the man had been trapped. He was badly hurt and bleeding, according to people who called 911 dispatchers as they stayed by his side. “The top of the roof has came in on the person’s head and it’s bad, they’re trying to breathe right now,” a man said to a dispatcher. Morganthaler was there as well, assuring the man. “You’ve got to be calm because there’s chaos all around you, and somebody has to be calm. I just felt so sorry for the poor man,” Morganthaler said. Emergency crews hurried to the scene, cutting the man out of the car in about 12 minutes before they rushed him to University Hospital. Even after the scene cleared, Morganthaler’s mission only began. She called the Clermont County Engineer’s Office because she said the trees in the area where the incident happened are dead and need to be removed. Engineers told WLWT the trees are not in the county’s right-of-way, meaning they are on private property and officials cannot cite the owners…

Phys.org, December 12, 2018: Researchers reverse engineer way pine trees produce green chemicals worth billions

Washington State University researchers have reverse engineered the way a pine tree produces a resin, which could serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to a range of fossil-fuel based products worth billions of dollars. Mark Lange and colleagues in the Institute for Biological Chemistry literally dissected the machinery by which loblolly pine produces oleoresin. Before the arrival of petroleum-derived alternatives in the 1960s, the sticky, fragrant oil-resin mixture was central to the naval stores industry and products ranging from paint and varnish to shoe polish and linoleum. Meanwhile, the international demand for oleoresins has risen. Naturally occurring oleoresins—from sources like loblolly pine—are often preferred. A 2016 analysis by Grand View Research predicted that global sales of oleoresin will approach $1.7 billion by 2022. The Lange lab’s discovery of how it is made “could inspire new engineering approaches for the production of renewable, green chemicals,” says Dutch biologist Harro Bouwmeester in a commentary accompanying Lange’s research in the Journal of Experimental Botany. As natural factories go, said Lange, plants are industry leaders. Humans, he said, produce roughly 3,000 metabolites, the small molecules that occur in human metabolism. “Plants make hundreds of thousands,” he said, “and most of what’s out there in terms of chemical diversity is probably unknown. It would probably be in the millions…

Kelowna, Saskatchewan, castanet.net, December 12, 2018: Broncos – trees block view

A consulting firm says sight lines are a safety concern at the rural intersection where the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash happened. A 70-page safety review done for the Saskatchewan government says a stand of trees, mostly on private property, obstructs the view of drivers approaching from the south and east — the same directions the bus and semi-trailer were coming from when they collided. Negotiating with the landowner to remove the trees is one of 13 recommendations included in the report. Rumble strips, larger signs and painting “Stop” and “Stop Ahead” on the road are some of the other suggestions. Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured in the collision at an intersection north of Tisdale in April. The bus was travelling north on Highway 35 and the semi was westbound on Highway 335. Both roads have speed limits of 100 km/h. Highway 335 has a stop sign. Highway 35 does not. The review notes that because Sidhu’s charges are still before the court, RCMP investigators would not talk to consultants from McElhanney Consulting Services about the causes of the crash. The report’s authors found six collisions at the intersection between 1990 and 2017 and another 14 on roads nearby…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter, December 12, 2018: Evergreen trees more susceptible to damage from snow

Now that we’re well into December, which means winter is just a few days away, we recently had a good reminder of what winter weather can be like. And, by a good reminder, I mean cold temperatures and snow. Personally, I don’t remember a lot of December snows during my time in the Big Country, but what the heck, I’m getting pretty old, and maybe my memory is failing me. I do remember a lot of severe January/February snowstorms, but I’m kind of drawing a blank on tons of December snows. Think about it this way: How many white Christmases have we had over the years? I can recall some white Easters, but very few white Christmases. Well, cold and snow certainly means bundling up for us, but what do they mean for trees? One interesting aspect of the cold part of weather is that for plants it’s all about severity and timing. During December, temperatures in the low-30s and high-20s are no big deal, and our trees should have little trouble taking such temperatures, or even lower ones, in stride…

Portland, Oregon, KPTV, December 11, 2018: Oregon Christmas tree farmers to millennials: Buy real, not fake

Area Christmas tree farmers are losing business year after year to fake trees, and now, they are trying to buck the trend. When you move into your first house or apartment, that’s when traditions are made. Cutting down the perfect tree and putting it up around Christmas could be one of those traditions, but more and more, people are opting for fake trees. Casey Grogan with Silverbell Trees harvested 60,000 trees this year. That sounds like a lot, but it’s half of what he did just ten years ago. “We are about half the size we used to be, and I think a lot of farms are in a similar position,” Grogan said. He says, partly to blame are artificial trees, now a $1 billion business. “We’ve seen a rise in sales of artificial trees,” Grogan said. “That makes it a real challenge for real tree growers to estimate how many to put in the ground.” Artificial trees are becoming more realistic, come with pre-strung lights, and are easy to store. Between 75% and 805 of Americans who have a Christmas tree are using an artificial one…

Salt Lake City, Utah, KUTV, December 11, 2018: Read this before you cut down your own Christmas tree

Investigators are looking for the person – or persons – who felled a spruce tree on federal property. This happened on Dec. 2 by the Castle Rock campground near Richfield. That tree had been growing there, since the late 80s. A second tree was also chopped down illegally inside the campgrounds. John Zapell, with the National Forest Service, says this is not uncommon because people think they are going to get away with it. A newly-planted tree also just went missing from outside Timpanogos Cave. Zapell says if you are going to chop down your own tree, you first of all need to have a permit. Those will set you back up to $20, depending on the size of the tree you are cutting down, with the tallest being 20 feet high…

Saginaw, Michigan, News, December 11, 2018: Truck carrying Christmas trees crashes, giving unexpected gift to Saginaw County residents

A flipped semitrailer hauling hundreds of Christmas trees to Virginia became a blessing for less fortunate families throughout Saginaw County. On Monday, Dec. 10, Buena Vista police officers, firefighters and the township’s inspector delivered Christmas trees to residents who expressed they needed a tree. The truck overturned on opening day of deer season – Nov. 15 – near Sanford. Mike’s Wrecker Service of Saginaw and Cole’s Wrecker cleared the scene and the semitrailer was towed to Mike’s Wrecker’s tow yard at 2522 Hess. Bill Giorgis, co-owner of Mike’s Wrecker, worked out a deal with the insurance company and bought 500 trees the truck was hauling for $1,500. He’s selling the trees for $10 each or a donation, but also giving them to needy families who want, but can’t afford, a real tree for Christmas. Over the weekend, Giorgis donated 50 trees to Old Town Christian Outreach. He later received a call that they were running out of trees, so Giorgis had 50 more delivered. Sgt. Russ Pahssen and Officer Devin Heyn, of the Buena Vista Township Police Department, Deputy Fire Chief Aaron Hoeppner and Township Inspector Jeff Cain delivered about a dozen trees with tree stands to residents on Monday…

Mankato , Minnesota, Free Press, December 11, 2018: Plea deal for farmer who cut down memorial trees

A Beauford area farmer has pleaded guilty to cutting down a dozen trees planted as a memorial to veterans along Highway 22 last year. But he likely won’t have a criminal record if he pays restitution. Steven Peter Trio, 56, pleaded guilty to felony damage to public property Monday in Blue Earth County District Court. A similar gross misdemeanor charge was dismissed. Trio admitted to cutting down trees on highway right-of-way in July 2017 because the roots were clogging his drainage tiles and killing his crops. Many of the trees were planted along the highway in the 1950s as a tribute to veterans of World War I. The plea deal calls for Trio to receive a stay of adjudication — meaning the charge will be dismissed — if Trio pays restitution and completes probation…

Wired, December 10, 2018: The science of growing a perfect Christmas tree

Every winter, millions of Americans descend on farms and lots across the country with the express purpose of inspecting, and ultimately choosing from, their local selection of coniferous evergreen trees. I’m talking, of course, about Christmas tree shopping—the widely practiced pastime of publicly scrutinizing spruces, pines, and firs in search of the ideal yuletide centerpiece. Many people are practiced at picking the perfect tree. They’ll judge on things like color, size, shape, needle quality, and bushiness. But behind the annual selection of a coniferous house guest—some 30 million of them a year, in the US—is a ton of science. To Bert Cregg, identifying exactly what makes a tree perfect is more than a holiday tradition, it’s a major part of his job. He’s a forest researcher at Michigan State University and a renowned expert on Christmas tree production. His work covers two main areas: genetics and culture techniques. “Basically, how can we identify species and seed sources that are going to lead to better Christmas trees, and how can growers manage their farms to produce better trees,” he says… 

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, December 10, 2018: Christmas tree farmers combat popularity of artificial trees

Rosa Villarreal’s three young sons jumped and ran around the field of Christmas trees like jackrabbits, their excitement palpable as they raced from evergreen to evergreen. The boys, ages 2, 4 and 6, were picking out a real tree this year — a new tradition their young parents hope will create lasting memories. “I saw this video where the big tree, the mom decorates it, and the little tree, the kids get to decorate it,” she said, as her husband, Jason Jimenez, snapped a photo of their toddler posing with a tiny tree just his size. Christmas tree farmers across the U.S. worry families like Villarreal’s are slowly dwindling. Artificial trees, once crude imitations of an evergreen, are now so realistic that it’s hard to tell they are fakes even though many are conveniently pre-strung with lights and can fold up for storage at the push of a button. Between 75 and 80 percent of Americans who have a Christmas tree now have an artificial one, and the $1 billion market for fake trees is growing at about 4 percent a year — even though they can be reused again and again. To combat this trend, Christmas tree farmers have joined forces as the Christmas Tree Promotion Board and are running a social media ad campaign this holiday season to tout the benefits of a real evergreen. The campaign, called “It’s Christmas. Keep It Real!,” is funded by a 15-cent fee that tree farmers pay for each tree they harvest. It’s a modern-day attempt at such famous agricultural ad campaigns as “Got Milk?” and “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner…”

Salem, Massachusetts, News, December 10, 2018: Historic tree to see new life at Artists Row

One of the city’s oldest and tallest trees came down on Monday, but its spirit will live on in the form of wooden bowls, table tops and more. The 85-foot-tall European beech tree, believed to be nearly 200 years old, was one of the last vestiges of the historic Manning Garden in North Salem. The tree stood at the corner of Orchard and Dearborn streets until Monday, when it was carefully removed by Essex-based Mayer Tree Service, after losing a brief battle with phytophtora citricola, a plant pathogen. As the tree was taken down, the Rainville family and close friends hosted a celebration honoring the tree, complete with pastries and appetizers. More than a dozen feet of the tree’s best wood was then taken by Tom Gagnon of Boston Woodturning, a shop at Artists Row downtown, to be turned into all sorts of gifts for the Rainvilles and eventual sale to the public. “The tree, we think, was planted in 1825,” said Loretta Rainville, who bought the property in the early 1960s and raised a family under the tree’s towering branches. “According to Rebecca Manning … for some reason, she was 99 when she was interviewed and she said it was (planted in) 1875 for the centennial. So there’s a controversy here…”

Woodworking Network, December 10, 2018: Forest Service to remove 360,000 acres of dead trees in huge project out West

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a vast removal of more than 360,000 acres of dead trees from the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming and Colorado. The Medicine Bow, which stretches across more than 2.2 million square miles in Wyoming and Colorado, has been devastated by beetle infestation. Millions of dead trees now fill the landscape – fueling wildfires, interfering with wildlife, and endangering campers. The proposal is to clear-cut 95,000 acres, perform selective logging on 160,000 acres, and carefully burn and hand-thin another 100,000. This amounts to roughly 30 percent of the entire forest. The plan comes at a time of common claims that forest fires are the result of mismanagement. It’s also a strong departure from the Forest Service’s usual approach, which has been focused on restoration.  “We hear a lot of comments that the forest fires today are so common or so bad because of poor forest management during the past 100 years,” says Gene Wengert, the Wood Doctor. “This statement has some truth in it, but we do need to understand that a forest fire is a natural event in nature. For example, in California, away from the coast, there’s evidence that the typical region should be burned every 27 years, thereby “cleaning up” the forest by removing the fuel source. When fires do not occur from time to time, the fuel level increases year after year. The eventual, inevitable fire is then ferocious…”

Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, December 9, 2018: Using fallen trees for eco-friendly reconstruction promoted in disaster-hit northern Japan

Three months have passed since a strong earthquake hit Hokkaido in early September. In disaster-affected areas, an increasing number of people are using large numbers of trees felled by landslides. The central government, Hokkaido government, local forestry cooperatives and paper-manufacturing companies plan to cooperate with each other to use fallen trees, such as by making the shift to renewable energies by turning them into fuel for stove heaters and biomass power generation, as well as making paper and lumber from them. Through such efforts, they aim to achieve eco-friendly reconstruction from the earthquake. “There are no parts of a tree that can be throw away. We can use fallen trees as energy sources without wasting any parts,” Tatsuo Kobayashi, 46, an official at the Hobetsu processing center of the Tomakomai wide-area forestry cooperative in Mukawa, Hokkaido, said in late November, while looking at piles of logs…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, December 9, 2018: One person dies after tree falls on car in Matthews

One person is dead after a tree fell on a car, officials say. According to Medic, paramedics responded to a report on East John Street and Charles Buckley Way in Matthews. One person was pronounced deceased by the paramedics. Matthews Police Department officers responded to the area at approximately 4:16 p.m.  According to police, the vehicle was struck by a falling tree just before the intersection of Charles Buckley Way. After the tree fell on the car, the vehicle drove through the front lawn of Matthews Church of God on the 500 block of East John Street. The vehicle then struck the front of the church, causing minor damage, before coming to a stop in the next door residential yard, police say…

Brainerd, Minnesota, Dispatch, December 9, 2018: The last Christmas: Central Minnesota tree farm to close, neighbor faces uncertain future

Hidden from view along a country lane north of Baxter is a humble meadow dotted with young evergreens. But for many lakes area families, it’s so much more than that. It’s a patch of land that’s witnessed the unbridled joy of children for two generations, offered countless neighborhood teens first jobs as “elves” and provided thousands of Christmases with the season’s most cherished symbol — the tree. And this December will be its last. “I used to say somebody would drive in here and they’d be all grumpy,” said Susan Schmidt, co-owner of Christmas tree farm Love Lake Trees, “and then they’d leave with a big smile on their face.” Susan and husband Allen Schmidt have been preparing for the farm’s closing chapters — they quit planting new firs, spruces and pines two years ago, and are sharing the news with regular customers who’ve come for this year’s tree. Age — they’re both in their early 70s — and the call of warm weather are factors in the Schmidts’ decision to end the farm’s run, but two consecutive summers of violent storms hastened its exit…

Paonia, Colorado, High Country News, December 9, 2018: In Oregon, a mysterious tree grove conjures a colder time

Botanists have a joke about time, distance and themselves. Where most people walk about three miles in an hour, botanists will tell you they dawdle along at one mile every three hours. After all, it is only when you pause that the green blur of a forest resolves into individual species. Joe Rausch, head botanist for the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, claims to be different, though. The barrel-chested 44-year-old looks more like a firefighter than someone fascinated by the genetics of miner’s lettuce plants. “I am impatient for a botanist,” he said. This “impatience” is relative. It’s true that Rausch strode down the trail, deep in central Oregon’s Aldrich Mountains, well ahead of forest geneticist Andy Bower and former Forest Service Northwest region botanist Mark Skinner, who stopped every 20 feet to inspect a new wildflower, exclaiming, “You don’t want to walk by all this stuff, do ya?” But as we switch-backed down a hot, bright slope of yellowing grass, Rausch also lingered over his fair share of plants, especially trees emblematic of the mountain range’s parched climate — juniper, ponderosa pine, mountain mahogany dangling with horsehair lichen. It was a good thing, too: Our destination was the kind you can easily miss, where a few steps take you into a different world…

Phys.org, December 6, 2018: Missing the forest for the trees: An unexpected picture of New York City forests

In recent years, most efforts to expand New York City’s tree canopy—and thus strengthen the urban environment—have focused on planting new street trees or replacing non-native species with native trees in the city’s remaining forests. Yet citywide assessments have found that non-native trees have come to co-dominate the city landscape, calling into question these management strategies and the very value of urban forests. Those assessments might have been looking in the wrong place, according to a new study by Yale scientists and the Natural Areas Conservancy. In a comprehensive inventory of the city’s expansive yet overlooked “forested natural areas,” the team of researchers found that native species still comprise about 82 percent of New York City’s forest stands. And it is in these natural areas where the majority of the city’s trees are located: more than 5 million in these landscapes compared with about 666,000 street trees. Forested natural areas are essentially places that look and feel like “the woods” or “forests” as they are more traditionally known, as opposed to urban forest areas typified by street trees and park trees in addition to natural areas. Natural areas exist in stands, or groups of stands, often growing together in patches across the landscape…

Hollywood, California, Patch.com, December 6, 2018: Hollywood trees spared from ax after legal battle

Fourteen of 18 ficus trees in Hollywood that are the focus of a legal battle and demonstrations after the city had slated them for removal will be spared, Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu said Thursday. The trees on the 1200 block of Cherokee Avenue were scheduled to be cut down according to a summer report from the Bureau of Street Services, which said the removals were needed in order to fix the sidewalks. Two groups, United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles and Eastside Nature Alliance, took legal action to try and stop the removals, and a court injunction put the final decision in the hands of the City Council. Ryu said he worked with the Bureau of Street services on a solution, and a new report issued by the bureau concludes that 14 can be spared the ax. “When I was first told that all 18 of these beautiful, mature trees had to be removed to fix the broken sidewalks on Cherokee Street, I thought `there must be a better way.’ We cannot pit sidewalk repair against protecting our urban canopy,” Ryu said. “This report makes clear – we can do both…”

Houston, Texas, KTRK-TV, December 6, 2018: Special tree holds place of honor over Pres. George HW Bush

President George H.W. Bush and his family will forever be shaded thanks to a local farmer. Residing about an hour north of Houston is a tree farm that takes its products very serious. “We’re a mom and pop operation,” U.S. Trees of Texas owner David Kleimann said. U.S. Trees of Texas has more than 60 types of trees including hedges, evergreens, and ornamentals. “They are the top beauty of any live oak tree I’ve ever grown, and I’ve been doing this for 35 years,” Kleimann said. The Cathedral Live Oak tree is cell produced and is known to stand above any other tree. “What that means is that you look at each and every other tree that’s in this line,” Kleimann said. “Each and every limb are in the same place on every tree…”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tribune, December 7, 2018: Murrysville native works to ‘Fight the Blight’ among Slippery Rock pear trees

Main Street in Slippery Rock is lined with a large number of Cleveland Select flowering pear trees, whose snow-white blossoms typically appear for a few weeks in April.  Unfortunately, many of the trees look as though they have burnt leaves, the result of a contagious pathogen called fire blight.  Luke Gregory, a Slippery Rock University senior and Murrysville native, is hoping to change that.  “Plants don’t complain,” Gregory said. “Trees are often overlooked so people have to look out for them. This fire blight has swept through and infected a lot of them (along Main Street), so we’re trying to remove the trees that have it and plant a greater diversity of trees.” With that in mind, Gregory and SRU biology professor David Krayesky started  Fight the Blight . The project’s goal is to remove infected pear trees and replace them with new species such as Kousa dogwoods, redbuds and Washington Hawthorns, while increasing the variety of species near Main Street to include hornbeams, ivory silks, Linden trees, Prospector elms and royal burgundy flowering cherry trees…

South Bend, Indiana, Tribune, December 5, 2018: Elkhart resident and his son feel like Grinch stole city Christmas tree from their yard

The community will gather Friday night at Civic Plaza for a ceremonial lighting of a Christmas tree, historically a symbol of life and hope during the holiday season. Here in Elkhart, it’s part of the Winterfest celebration. But the way this year’s Christmas tree was obtained has angered a property owner and his father, a situation city Building and Grounds Department head Mike Lightner says he regrets. About 9:40 a.m. on Nov. 26, Dennis Morman said he was surprised to wake up and look out his window to see a city crew cutting down the 33-foot Colorado Spruce from the tree lawn, the city-owned area between the street and sidewalk, next to his yard at 800 W. Lusher Ave. Dennis said he had recently trimmed the tree back because its branches had overtaken the sidewalk, prompting a visit from a city employee who warned him that if he trimmed it again, he could be held liable for damaging the tree, which the city had valued at $16,000 to $18,000. “It was a gorgeous tree,” Dennis said. During that initial visit, the municipal employee said the city might use it for the Civic Plaza display, but nothing was certain, Dennis said. He and his son, Kyle, a South Bend native who lives in Georgia and rents the home to his father, said the city should have shown them the courtesy of at least discussing its removal with them first. Their anger highlights the confusion some people have about city tree lawns. Residents are required to cut grass and weeds there, but the city maintains its trees, Lightner said…

Rockford, Illinois, Register Star, December 5, 2018: Tree fungus ‘as detrimental as Dutch elm’ disease affects blue spruce, including Rockford’s official Christmas tree

If you peer past the ornaments and outer branches at the base of the city’s official Christmas tree— a broad and bulky 40-foot-tall blue spruce — you’ll find yellow and brown needles along with bare limbs more fitting for Charlie Brown’s famously sad seedling than downtown’s holiday centerpiece. The tree that’s the focal point of the city’s Stroll on State is a victim of a widespread problem disfiguring blue spruces across the region. It suffers from a disease called Rhizosphaera needle cast — pronounced rye-zo-sphere-uh — which has drawn comparisons with the Dutch elm disease epidemic and emerald ash borer that nearly wiped out those trees in northern Illinois. Arborists and other tree care experts say the scourge of Rhizosphaera has surged over the past three to five years, forcing landscapers and homeowners to take down the ornamental tree known for its dense, powder-blue needles. “I think their time has passed here,” said Tim Gruner, garden curator for Anderson Japanese Gardens, the region’s premier public garden. “I wouldn’t plant a blue spruce anywhere in the region…”

Durango, Colorado, Herald, December 5, 2018: Need a tree? Take the train

The San Juan Mountains are chock-full of trees. So many, in fact, that the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has to cut some down to help prevent potential wildfires. Now, as the holiday season approaches, the railway is enlisting the help of its riders to reduce fire risk – giving residents a chance to cut down a tree for the holiday season. D&SNG is offering trips to the high country for residents to pick out, cut down and bring home a tree from the mountains for the holiday season. The train has been making the opportunity available for the past four years, said Christian Robbins, spokesman for the D&SNG. Robbins said the service began with a question that sprouted in mind: Why don’t people go to the San Juan Mountains for holiday trees anymore? He did it when he was a kid, but not many people have continued the tradition. And the trees need to be cut down anyway, so why not put them to good use, he said.  Robbins took some time the next summer in Cascade Canyon to look at the trees that need to be cut down. They’re all short trees, the ones that burn most in wildfires. Those trees also make for perfect indoor decorations. The D&SNG makes a trip through Cascade Canyon anyway, so why not bring people there to cut down trees for the holidays, Robbins said…

Providence, Rhode Island, Star, December 5, 2018: Environment: Hot, dry summers have killed trees covering nearly 50,000 forest acres

About 13 percent of Rhode Island’s forest trees are dead, state environmental officials have concluded, the result of an unprecedented combination of heat, drought and insect infestations from 2015 to last year. The area of dead trees is concentrated across the western half of the state, from Hopkinton to Burrillville, with pockets on Prudence Island and the Sakonnet Peninsula, according to the just-completed assessment by the state Department of Environmental Management. While there are some large contiguous swatches of mortality — in places such as Richmond, West Greenwich and Foster — the tree death is, for the most part, diffuse, with pockets spread throughout rural and suburban communities. All told, the area of death totals about 45,000 to 50,000 acres, short of initial estimates that put the number at nearly twice as much, but still a large portion of Rhode Island’s 369,000 acres of forest. The assessment by Paul Ricard, forest health program coordinator for the DEM, was based on an aerial survey he conducted in September. The tree mortality may be a sign of things to come. Recent research summarized in the scientific journal Forestry found that climate change can facilitate the spread of both native and invasive forest pests and weaken the resistance of trees to these pests. The new update to the National Climate Assessment, released last month, makes a similar warning…

London, UK, BBC, December 4, 2018: Ash dieback: ash woodlands ‘may flourish once again’

Scientists say there is hope that some ash forests will be able to survive a devastating tree disease. Surveys around Europe reveal mortality rates from ash dieback as high as 70% in woodlands and 85% in plantations. A previous study found almost all ash trees could be wiped out. The disease has swept across Europe over the past 20 years, causing widespread damage to woodlands. In many cases the fungus will eventually kill infected plants. “Although the numbers seem grim, the percentage of trees that are still alive is encouraging from a long-term perspective,” said Prof Richard Buggs, of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Queen Mary University of London.  “If this survival is due to heritable resistance, then conservation policies targeting breeding programs or natural selection may allow ash populations to flourish once again.” The researchers pulled together surveys of ash dieback across Europe, including England, Ukraine, Scandinavia and the Baltic States. They found that even in forests that had been exposed to the disease for 20 years, not all trees were lost…

San Bernardino, California, Press-Enterprise, December 4, 2018: Inland firefighter fleeing falling tree made doomed run for safety

The Idyllwild-based U.S. Forest Service hotshot crew member who was killed in 2017 when a tree struck him in Montana inadvertently tried to escape directly in the unexpected path the tree was falling, Forest Service reports published this year said. Brent M. Witham, 29, was a resident of Mentone and a graduate of Redlands East Valley High. He had been a member of the Vista Grande hotshot crew for two years and a Forest Service firefighter for six. On Aug. 2, 2017, during the lightning-caused Lolo Peak fire, which burned more than 53,000 acres, Witham was cutting down a tree that suddenly fell. The impact caused broken bones and internal injuries. He died within minutes. Before releasing the reports, the Forest Service had not previously said that Witham was felling the tree or explained why he was hit. Witham’s death, like all Forest Service fatalities, resulted in a number of reports. The lessons-learned report examined the culture within the Forest Service, firefighting in an environment that produces more intense fires, communications and supervisors’ qualifications. The field report, through discussions with a focus group and interviews with firefighters, administrators and academic specialists, assessed tree-cutting techniques, escape routes and safety equipment…

Phys.org, December 3, 2018: Massive need for growing trees on farms

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent. Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed physically, and therefore produces less or supports less life. This is mostly caused by the loss of soil, changes in the quality of the soil, or changes to land cover – like trees being cut down. About 20% of agricultural land and 40% of forests are degraded. Degradation reduces our capacity to feed a world population that will reach at least 9 billion people by 2050 and it destroys ecosystem services – like the supply of clean water. Also when soil is degraded and trees destroyed, the carbon they contain is released into the atmosphere. Having high levels of carbon in the atmosphere is a major cause of climate change.  Because a great deal of land has been changed to produce food, agroforestry, the practice of deliberately introducing trees into farms, is an important way to restore degraded land. These trees, outside of forests, have tremendous commercial and ecological value…

US News and World Report, December 3, 2018: Hawaii rapid Ohia tree-killing disease spreads on Kauai

A fungal pathogen that kills trees native to Hawaii has been discovered in two more areas on Kauai. Three more trees have tested positive for rapid ohia death after it was found for the first time on the island in 14 trees in the Moloaa Forest Reserve in early May, The Garden Island reported. The new trees are located on privately-owned land in Halelea Moku and near the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have identified two different species of rapid ohia death, Ceratocystis lukuohia and Ceratocystis huliohia. Only the less aggressive form, Ceratocystis huliohia, has been found on Kauai. “At this point, only one of the two fungal pathogens has been confirmed on Kauai,” said Melissa Fisher, Kauai forest program director. “Now we need everyone to be extra vigilant to prevent further spread of the existing disease and help to keep the other ROD-causing pathogen off our island as well.” Following the initial discovery of the disease, researchers have conducted aerial surveys of the island, finding 22 areas with ohia trees showing symptoms consistent with the disease. They have collected 76 samples this year and have submitted those for lab testing, said Tiffani Keanini, project manager of Kauai Invasive Species Committee. A collection of local, state and federal agencies as well as private organizations are conducting the work…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WGHP-TV, December 3, 2018: Large trees removed over safety concerns in Burlington neighborhood

In a way, Todd Henderson with Southern Tree Service, is watching a delicate surgery. Henderson looks on as a co-worker in a bucket rises 60 feet into the Alamance County sky to cut down a huge branch that still towers above him. “They are so big,” Henderson said. “You got to be careful because they are so tall.” A crane operator in a nearby truck brings the large branch to the ground by guiding it between a lamp post and a home. Once on the ground, the rest of the crew revs up their chainsaws and cut the branch into smaller pieces. Southern Tree Service is removing 11 massive trees, mostly oak, because they are a safety hazard. A certified arborist tested 26 trees in Burlington’s West Davis Street/Fountain Place Historic District. According to the arborist, 11 trees in the city’s right of way were in danger of falling. When Southern Tree Service began taking the trees down, their trunks were hollow. “It makes them weaker,” Henderson said. “They are more likely to break in the ice or wind or no wind at all.” The next step is to grind the tree’s stumps or dig them out. Jeff Parsons is Burlington’s cemetery and grounds superintendent. He explains the tall trees, some of them over 100 feet tall, damaged sidewalks and repairs need to be made. “Trees do push up sidewalks and curbs as they try to grow roots,” Parsons said. “Anything in their way, they will push up or over…”

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, December 3, 2018: No, vodka won’t keep your Christmas tree fresh, but here’s what will

Vodka, 7-Up and aspirin might sound to some like a hangover remedy, but believe it or not they are used by lot of people to keep their Christmas trees fresh. But do they really work? No, according to Chal Landgren, a Christmas tree specialist at Oregon State University. He said one of his research colleagues at Washington State University actually conducted an experiment putting Christmas trees in water mixed with things like vodka, 7-Up, aspirin or sugar. He found none of those things helped. “Just plain old water is all you need, and the only trick is to make sure you keep the water in the stand and don’t put it near a heat source like a wood stove or right above the heater vent,” said Landgren. Landgren said there are some things you can do to keep your Christmas tree fresh. For starters, when you get it home, put it in water right away. If you’re leaving it outside for a bit, go ahead and fill a bucket with water and set the tree in there. If it’s been more than 24 hours since the tree was cut, or if you bought it from a lot, cut the end of the base off. About a quarter inch will do. The fresh cut will allow the water to more easily make it up into the tree…

Salt Lake City, Utah, KSL-TV, December 3, 2018: Evergreen tree stolen out of front yard, property manager says

A real-life Grinch in Salt Lake City didn’t steal the Who pudding or the roast beast, but what they took left a big hole. The alleged thief stole a tree right out of the front yard. “It’s frustrating,” said Kipp Lee. “It’s not in the spirit of Christmas.” Lee planted the tree, along with a dozen others, about 13 years ago on the property he managed at 528 South 1100 East. Saturday afternoon, the tree was gone. “I just noticed a void in the yard, because we had this lush tree over here. All of a sudden I just noticed there was 2 feet of a tree left,” said Lee. “Obviously, somebody must have chopped it that morning while I was at work.” The only evidence left behind was a stump where a beautiful, 8-foot Black Hills spruce tree used to stand. “(It was) definitely not an accident,” said Lee. “It was very deliberate and well planned.” Lee didn’t know the person’s motive but said he had a good guess. “Somebody obviously needed a Christmas tree,” he said. “To the person who stole it: I hope you enjoy the tree…”

Mongabay.com, December 3, 2018: Tropical trees grow most easily where they are rare

Tropical forests are incredibly diverse ecosystems, and ecologists have long wondered why. New research studying a specific Panamanian tree – the yellow-flowering Handroanthus guayacan – has provided an answer. But the conclusion is counterintuitive. Rather than growing more abundant in areas where it is common, the tree actually increased its numbers in areas where it is rare. Researchers at Brown University and the University of California, Los Angeles, published their findings recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They used high-resolution satellite images to investigate the long-term population of this tree on Barro Colorado, a 6-square-mile [15.5-square-kilometer] island in the Panama Canal. Using these data over a 10-year span, they confirmed a scientific hypothesis that has been around, but unproven, for decades. Developed in the early 1970s, it’s called the Janzen-Connell hypothesis after ecologists Daniel Janzen and Joseph Connell, who proposed the idea independently. It maintains that high diversity is a response to predators. Foraging efficiently, predators will hunt for their favorite foods in areas where resources are abundant, rather than in places where these resources are sparse…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, December 2, 2018: Man-sized saws slicing 20-foot tree trunks: Some things never change at 70-year-old Medina sawmill

Jerry Hatfield never planned to own a saw mill, but when his father-in-law died in 2005, it fell upon him to take it over. Now it seems it was meant to be. The R.M. Wood Company has been around since the 1950s, tucked away on Old Mill Road among the Amish farmers’ fields and woods outside the village of Spencer along the western edge of Medina County. The small, open-air mill produces more than a million board feet of lumber a year. It is one of about 200 saw mills in the state, which range from large, modern mills that operate with machines, lasers and technological advances to one-man mills run by a guy with a portable saw. Hatfield’s operation is on the small to medium side of an industry that collectively contributes $24 billion a year to the state’s economy. Saw mills once were plentiful in every city and town in Ohio, but these days they are relegated to rural areas. Hatfield’s mill has found a comfortable niche supplying wood for furniture, floors and interior woodwork for houses…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, December 1, 2018: Hartford adding protections for city’s valuable trees

Storms, invasive pests, disease and old age have reduced Hartford’s “urban forest” by thousands of trees in recent years, and city officials hope a newly update ordinance can help slow or prevent more losses. Hartford’s budget problems also have cut drastically into the city’s efforts to replant trees to make up for the dwindling forest cover. The number of trees planted using municipal funds dropped from more than 1,000 in 2013-14 to nothing in the past two years, according to city records. “The [city’s] tree planting budget for this fiscal year … is zero,” Jack Hale, chair of Hartford’s Tree Advisory Commission said. Hartford has lost about 1 percent of its total urban forest since 2011, according to Hale, but many of the trees that have been cut down were old, very large trees that provided a disproportionately large share of the city’s foliage…

Taos, New Mexico, News, November 21, 2018:Thin the forests to save the trees

We have been thinning our forest here on Llano de la Yegua in Northern New Mexico since 1987. It is a monumental job that does not get accomplished without an incredible amount of time, money, energy and commitment. Our ponderosa forest needs to have around 85 percent of the trees taken out to return it to the tree density numbers nature had before humans screwed up the plan. When I tell people, seeing our work for the first time, that we are removing 85 percent of our trees, the response is always comical. But the effort needed to cut trees, burn the branches and remove the wood is way beyond comical. In the early years, we were lucky to accomplish two or three acres each year. Now we are thinning around 50 acres a year. With over 250 acres in the mostly completed stage, the reforestation makeover completely changes the landscape. Now, instead of dense almost impenetrable thickets of spindly, sick, insect- and disease-infested trees, we have open parklike views of individual trees surrounded by grass and shrubs. The tree ring growth rates tell the tale. An eighth of an inch or less is what the trees were growing in the past. After thinning, we have three-eighths to half an inch of tree ring growth a year. It is amazing what an increase in sunlight and water can do for tree health…

McAllen, Texas, Monitor, December 1, 2018: Historic native trees still worth planting

It’s tree planting time in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s cooler, the sun is not so strong, making November through February the best time to plant trees. During these cooler months, newly planted trees can concentrate on root growth and getting established and will then be ready to prosper with the spring rains. Consider planting one of the Valley’s old standards like ebony, anacua or mesquite, or a not-so-familiar tree such as brasil, or guayacán. Any of these trees will benefit your yard and attract birds and butterflies — for your enjoyment as well as for the health of a native habitat. These five trees are stand-alone as they will eventually take up considerable space. In the meantime, native shrubs and plants can grow alongside the young tree. Texas Ebony (Chloroleucon ebano) can grow to 50 feet tall. It keeps its leaves all year and is a host plant to sulfur, blue and skipper butterflies. It provides great cover for wildlife and nesting sites for birds. Branches have paired spines…

Summerside, PEI, Journal Pioneer, November 29, 2018: Admitted to taking down endangered trees: Lake Louise ski resort to be sentenced

A judge is to sentence a world-renowned Alberta ski resort today for cutting down endangered trees five years ago. The Lake Louise resort in Banff National Park pleaded guilty last December to taking down a stand of trees, including some whitebark pine, along a ski run in 2013. The resort is to be sentenced in a Calgary courtroom on two charges — one under the Species At Risk Act and the other under the Canada National Parks Act. A total of 132 trees were removed, but the actual number of endangered whitebark pine has been disputed. The Crown originally said 39 were removed, but the defence said the number was much lower. The maximum fine under the Species At Risk Act for each tree destroyed is $300,000, while the maximum per tree is $250,000 under the National Parks Act. “We’ll be relieved when it’s finally over,” said Dan Markham, communications director for Lake Louise Ski Resort…”

San Francisco, California, KRON-TV, November 29, 2018: Storm causes trees to collapse around the Bay Area

Heavy rainfall likely caused some trees to fall around the Bay Area. KRON4’s Philippe Djegal was in the East Bay where tree trimmers are in the midst of their busy season. Veteran trimmer Phillip Byers said an old oak tree toppled over on Richmond Boulevard in Oakland due to over-saturation and poor upkeep. He said, “We got the call this morning, but it happened at around 11 o’clock last night.” Byers works for Vega’s Tree Service and says another company maintained the oak over the years but didn’t recognize in the leaning limbs were hazardous. “The tree wasn’t trimmed correctly,” Byers said. “The water, it got saturated in the ground and because all the weight is onto the left-hand side. Heavy rain – it’s inevitable for it to fall…”

Ithaca, New York, The Cornell Daily Sun, November 30, 2018: An epidemic among ash trees: Up to 100,000 Cornell trees to die from invasive beetle

This October, the over-a-century-old tree on Libe Slope located near the Sesquicentennial Memorial died and was cut down. This tree marks one of over 2,100 ash trees on Cornell grounds that will be cut down within the next few years because of emerald ash borer, an invasive insect species that kills ash trees. The larvae of the emerald ash borer beetle feed on the inner bark of ash trees, preventing the trees from transporting water and nutrients and gradually killing them. Since EAB entered the United States from Asia over 15 years ago, the insect has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in the United States, spreading across 35 states, according to the USDA. In the spring it was confirmed to have reached Tompkins County. Once EAB invades, it only takes two to four years for an ash tree to die. Within one year of dying, ash trees begin to fall apart. Most of the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 ash trees covering Cornell grounds will succumb to EAB, according to Todd Bittner, director of natural areas at the Botanical Gardens. The University is attempting to provide proactive measures and treatments to deal with EAB for a small subsection of the trees, and around 165 trees have already been treated with a pesticide that will protect them from EAB for up to three years. These trees largely consist of rarer types of ash trees and trees with historical or geographical value…

New London, Connecticut, The Day, November 29, 2018: Cutting trees to restore the Hoffman Preserve

More than a half-century ago gold miner Robert D. Hoffman planted some 100,000 pine, spruce and hemlock seedlings in what is now a nature preserve in Stonington, hoping to recreate the Canadian forest he so revered while prospecting on snowshoes and canoe through remote regions of Ontario and Quebec in the 1920s. Today many of those now full-size evergreens are dead or dying because of insect predation, drought and storms, and so plans are underway for a forest management program that calls for carefully planned, significant tree-cutting. The Avalonia Land Conservancy, which owns the 198-acre Hoffman Preserve, approved the plan Wednesday night, and logging crews are expected to begin work soon. “The main issue is it’s become dangerous (because of the threat of falling limbs and trees),” said Beth Sullivan, Avalonia’s steward for the town of Stonington. So much dead wood also poses a risk for forest fires, she added…

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, November 28, 2018: Michigan senator wants to cut local communities’ control over trees

Should cities and townships be able to regulate trees and where they can be in their jurisdictions? A state senator doesn’t think so. State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and his “Vegetation Removal Prevention Act” would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or charters “prohibiting or restricting the removal of trees or other vegetation.” The bill, Senate Bill 1188, and six other related bills were passed on a party-line vote Wednesday out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee Casperson chairs, and will now go to the full Senate floor for a likely vote. Casperson, whose family has operated a log trucking company in the Upper Peninsula for three generations, says it’s a matter of private property rights. “When we’ve got personal property being managed by an individual, if they want to thin their forest out, especially if there is disease or invasive species, who’s in a better position to make that decision?” he said…

Fresno, California, Bee, November 28, 2018: Did you notice diseased-looking leaves on your peach tree? Late fall is time to repair

Peach leaf curl and shot hole disease of peaches are common problems for the backyard gardener. Both are fungal diseases that are treated with copper-based fungicides in late fall after all the leaves have fallen from infected trees. The same copper product can be used to combat both diseases. Leaf fall dates change every year depending on weather patterns. During the next couple of weeks, monitor your peach and nectarine trees for complete leaf fall and check the weather reports for predictions of rain. Rains and overhead irrigation can wash off the fungicides. The most obvious symptom of peach leaf curl occurs in spring during cool, wet weather as the new leaves on peach and nectarine trees turn red instead of green and become thick, curled and distorted. The thicker sections of infected leaves turn yellow and then are covered with a grayish white fuzz of fungal spores. The infected leaves usually fall off and are replaced by a new crop that shows fewer or no symptoms of the disease. Peach and nectarine trees infected with untreated peach leaf curl disease decline in vigor over several years; the fruit is affected, as well…

San Francisco, California, Examiner, November 28, 2018: SF looks to grow revenues for planting more street trees

The head of San Francisco’s new street tree program called for patience Wednesday, saying it will take an additional three years to get to all of the approximate 125,000 street trees citywide. Meanwhile, street tree supporters are calling on The City to spend an additional $12 million a year to plant thousands of more street trees to grow the urban forest.  Since the voter-approved StreetTreeSF program launched in July 2017, The City has pruned more than 20,000 street trees, or 19 percent of the total, using a team of contracted arborists.  There were 2,020 trees removed last fiscal year after they were deemed unhealthy or structurally unsound — more than the 742 tree removals the previous year, according to information provided to the San Francisco Examiner by Carla Short, superintendent of Public Works’ Bureau of Urban Forestry (BUF). Short told the Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee Wednesday that arborists are working in sections of the city based on the highest density of trees in the worst conditions. The plan is to prune all the trees by the end of fiscal year 2020-2021…

Reading, Pennsylvania, Eagle, November 28, 2018: Pennsylvania grows 31,000 acres of Christmas trees, or enough to cover all of Bethel Township and then some

Now that Thanksgiving is over, getting a Christmas tree is probably high up on your holiday to-do list.  Pennsylvania  has plenty of options if you adore the tradition of cutting your own at local tree farms.  The state has more than 1,400 Christmas tree farms, with sales generating $22 million a year. The state also ranks fourth in the national in annual Christmas tree harvests, at more than 1 million. Only Oregon, North Carolina and Michigan produce more Christmas trees. The state also ranks fourth in acres devoted to growing Christmas trees, at 31,577. That’s more than 49 square miles, or enough to cover all of Bethel Township — Berks County’s largest municipality — and then some. Is the spotted lanternfly a threat to Christmas trees? Not really. The Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association says the pest does not appear to eat conifers. While the insects lay their eggs on a variety of outdoor surfaces in the fall – firewood, grills, sheds, vehicles and the trunks of a number of trees – the eggs aren’t commonly found on Christmas trees. Even if a resident discovers eggs on his or her tree – the spotted lanternfly lays between 30 to 50 eggs in one mass, noticeable for its waxy gray or muddy inch-long covering on the trunk – it’s unlikely they’ll hatch in your home, according to Tanner Delvalle, a Penn State Extension educator…

Palo Alto, California, Palo Alto Weekly, November 27, 2018: Tree-trimming company fined $18,600 for fatal accident

A Hayward-based company has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines for safety violations related to the death of a tree trimmer at the Stanford West Apartments last May, according to public documents. California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued the $18,600 citation and fines against Arborwell Inc. on Nov. 16. The penalties are for a May 19 incident when an employee was killed after his climbing rope became caught in a chipper. The company plans to appeal the fine, a spokesman said. Arborwell crew members were pruning a line of sycamore trees at the apartment complex, which is located at 700 Clark Way. Jesus Silva Romero, 36, of San Jose, and three others were assigned to prune trees at the green space or lawn area at a child care center on the property. After their lunch break, one of the employees moved a truck and chipper between two trees. Romero climbed one of the trees, another employee entered the other and they began trimming, according to the Cal/OSHA report. The employee who had moved the chipper began moving a pile of branches from under Romero’s tree to add to the chipper. He noticed that Romero’s climbing rope was entangled in some of the cut branches at the far end of the pile. He did not think he had gathered any of the rope when he took the branches to the chipper, he told investigators. As he turned away, he heard a loud sound. Romero was hanging from the line, immobile, after his rope had been fed into the chipper, according to the Cal/OSHA report. Romeron sustained head, neck and torso injuries as he was pulled through the branches by the rope. Workers sought to rescue him. A Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office report found he died from blunt-force trauma to his head and neck…

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, November 27, 2018: Portland first city ever to chronicle personal ‘tree stories’

Wedding proposals, wind storms, epic climbs, rope swings and cooling shade. Trees can remind us of lots of things, and we love them here in the Northwest. So much so, Portland is the first city in the world to create an interactive map to tell their stories. “This tree is an amazing tree, it really is. It’s called Monkey Puzzle tree,” said homeowner Walter Poz outside his Laurelhurst neighborhood home. At over five stories tall, and native to Chile, the tree was planted around 1905. “They supposedly grow to be a thousand years old,” Poz said. The tree holds many memories in the 25 years he’s lived here. “We set the teepee up in the yard right under it for a couple of years. And when my son was seven or eight, we put out this water slide and for some reason my son decided he wanted to launch off the slide and grab this tree, you know how boys are. He ended up flying off the top and crashing on the ground,” Poz recalled.  It’s those kinds of memories Portland State Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Vivek Shandas wants written down for posterity. “How do we tell stories, what’s the human side of cities, how do we think about community through the perspective of trees?” Prof. Shandas said. In the past year, he and a colleague have received about 300 stories on the website CanopyStory.org. They’re hoping for 1,000. The website shows a wide map of the Portland-metro area. You can zoom into neighborhoods, and further down into the green dots marking trees 50 feet or higher. The dots were able to be mapped thanks to a 2014 radar flight above the city that created a high-definition, 3D map that is able to discern living things like trees and grass, with buildings and map their heights…

Couer d’Alene, Idaho, Press, November 22, 2018: Jury sides with Morris family in this unusual Christmas story

A federal jury recently put the West Hayden Estates Homeowners Association on Santa’s naughty list for religious discrimination in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, ordering $75,000 in compensatory damages to go to the Jeremy Morris family.  Prior to the verdict, media coverage of Morris’s dispute with his HOA revolved around crowds, Christmas lights, and not-in-my-backyard sentiment. After examining drafts of letters issued by the HOA to neighborhood residents, sworn affidavits of the people who sold the home to the Morris family, recordings of conversations with HOA board members, and voluminous other pieces of testimony, the federal jury saw it differently. It all started years ago when the Morris family began to organize a Christmas event for the public at their previous home in Hayden. All the usual window dressing of Christmas in America was there, such as candy canes, Santa Claus, and beautiful lights. But the purpose and message of the event was the birth of Christ. Visitors to the Morris’s Christmas program, which would last from 6 to 8 p.m. for five nights before Christmas, would sing traditional hymns, learn the story of the nativity of Christ, and hear a message of faith. Even the candy canes given to visitors included an explicitly religious message. “Look at the Candy Cane, what do you see? Stripes that are red like the blood shed for me,” began the message on the candy canes’ tags. The Morris family paid for the event out of their own pockets. They did not charge admission, or charge for food and drinks their visitors received. They did ask visitors for money to benefit local charities…

Detroit, Michigan, News, November 28, 2018: Canton Township ‘tree police’ feud fuels legislative fight

A Canton Township feud is fueling accusations that local “tree police” are harassing businesses, prompting a push by state lawmakers to rein in local government rules that limit tree removal or force a business to pay replacement fees. Republican legislation teed up for a possible Senate vote this week during the so-called lame-duck session would allow local governments to regulate the cutting of some large “heritage” trees but ban more aggressive ordinances regulating smaller trees and vegetation in industrial, business, commercial or agricultural zones. Critics argue the proposal is an overly broad response to a local battle in Canton Township, which this month sued businessmen Gary and Matt Percy. The Wayne County township alleged they cleared an estimated 1,500 protected trees from an industrial property without seeking approval through a local permitting process or paying to plant replacements on public property. Canton officials asked the brothers to pay up to $550,000 into a “tree fund” — more than the Percys paid last year for the full 16-acre property, which “essentially was blighted” and plagued by an invasive species, said attorney Michael Pattwell, who argued the legislation is a “narrowly tailored” way to prevent abusive local rules…

Newsweek, November 27, 2018: Why are Christmas trees so expensive? X-mas tree shortage causing price increase

Christmas tree prices continued rising this year as a result of growing shortages dating to the Great Recession, the Miami Herald reported. The 2008 financial crisis put many growers out of business, and the decrease in companies fostering seasonal trees, which take between eight and 10 years to be ready for sale, has yielded a lower supply, driving prices up. The tree shortage exacerbates a problem that has, for consecutive years, plagued Americans who celebrate Christmas. While the supply depletions are widespread, the shortages most impact smaller sellers. “Larger retailers are impacted less by the shortage because they buy a variety of trees in large volume. Liz Simone, the store manager at the Home Depot in North Miami, said her store’s stock is just fine. She expects the store will have enough to last through the 25th,” the Miami Herald reported. At the same time, local retailers are spending more money than previous years and receiving fewer trees. “Last year was bad; this year is horrible,” Chris Winkler, a seller in Miami said. “I’ve invested more money this year and I have less trees.” Approximately 27.4 million real Christmas trees and 21.1 million fake trees were bought last year, according to statistics from the National Christmas Tree Association…

Houston, Texas, KTRK-TV, November 26, 2018: Elderly woman says two men posing as tree trimmers stole jewelry from her Pearland home

An elderly couple says they no longer feel safe in their own home after they were targeted by thieves posing as tree trimmers. Video captured a man knocking on the Pearland couple’s door, wearing a reflective vest. “I see that he’s got a jacket on with neon stripes like he’s a worker,” said the homeowner, who didn’t want to be identified. When the homeowner answered the door, the man said, “Hello there, sweetheart. I’m so sorry for bothering you. The man claimed he worked for a tree trimming company and he needed to access some cables that may be in the yard. She says he asked if she could take him to the yard. “He said ‘Can I come in and go out through the back?’ and I said, ‘No, you can’t come in…'”

Techcrunch, November 26, 2018: That night, a forest flew: DroneSeed is planting trees from the air

Wildfires are consuming our forests and grasslands faster than we can replace them. It’s a vicious cycle of destruction and inadequate restoration rooted, so to speak, in decades of neglect of the institutions and technologies needed to keep these environments healthy. DroneSeed is a Seattle-based startup that aims to combat this growing problem with a modern toolkit that scales: drones, artificial intelligence and biological engineering. And it’s even more complicated than it sounds. A bit of background first. The problem of disappearing forests is a complex one, but it boils down to a few major factors: climate change, outdated methods and shrinking budgets (and as you can imagine, all three are related). Forest fires are a natural occurrence, of course. And they’re necessary, as you’ve likely read, to sort of clear the deck for new growth to take hold. But climate change, monoculture growth, population increases, lack of control burns and other factors have led to these events taking place not just more often, but more extensively and to more permanent effect…

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, November 26, 2018: About half of all Coloradans live in areas at risk of wildfires, state forest service says

Half of all Coloradans now live in an area that’s considered to be at risk for wildfires, according to a new assessment from state researchers. About 2.9 million people lived in what the Colorado State Forest Service calls the wildland-urban interface (WUI) in 2017, the news release said. CSFS defines that as “the area where human improvements are built close to, or within, natural terrain and flammable vegetation.” Their newest figure is 50 percent higher than when the forest service last updated its maps five years ago. Changes in infrastructure, vegetation, weather, and population are all reasons, CSFS said, and the new population numbers are based on a few factors: more people living in the area, more specific data and changes in land use. “The largest increases in population growth within the interface are in areas where agricultural lands are being converted to grasslands and subdivisions. Although these areas are considered in a low-risk category by the assessment, they are still at a higher risk for wildfire than more urban areas,” the report said…

Biloxi, Mississippi, WLOX-TV, November 25, 2018: Coast Christmas tree lots see high demand but tight supply

Chip Speaker wasted no time after Thanksgiving this year to pick out a tree at Robert Anderson Christmas Trees in Biloxi. “I’ve come here several years, and I waited too late last year, and they were out of trees,” he said, “And so, I came early this year, and so I’m pleased with what I got.” It’s a good thing Speaker learned his lesson the first time. “Everybody seems to be going to a real tree this year, so we’re predicting to be out in the next three to four days. This will be the earliest we’ve ever been out,” said John Schill, employee at Robert Anderson. Schill said they order around 1,000 Fraser Firs to fill the lot each year. This year, they only received 500. Why the tight supply? Go back a decade ago to the Great Recession. Tight budgets forced growers to plant fewer trees. On top of that, Schill said Hurricane Florence’s destruction in the Carolinas also dented supply. Now, it’s going to take some time to boost the supply again to meet demand…

Durham, North Carolina, WTVD-TV, November 25, 2018: Fallen tree causes 5,300 gallons of wastewater to flow into Sandy Creek

Roughly 5,300 gallons of wastewater overflowed into Sandy Creek after a tree fell onto a sewer line in Durham. Officials with the City of Durham Department of Water Management said the incident happened on Friday. Reports state that a tree fell and broke the 16″ gravity main along 2989 Cameron Boulevard, causing the sewer water to run into a tributary that flows into Sandy Creek. Officials said the spill lasted from 3:30 p.m. to 1:20 a.m…

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Journal, November 24, 2018: Buying a tree on Amazon or sifting through tree lots, N.C. trees are ‘lush, beautiful’

While some people turn to the internet to find the perfect gifts for under the Christmas tree, others are turning online to find the perfect tree. Live 7-foot Christmas trees can be bought online from Amazon and the websites of tree farms across the country and delivered right to your doorstep. “People in the business know online Christmas tree buying has gone on for well over 20 years, Amazon is just breaking into the market this year,” said Doug Hundley, a seasonal spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association. “It’s a very small percent of buyers, 1 or 2 percent of tree sales. But 1 or 2 percent is still significant when you’re looking at 27 million trees sold,” Hundley said. James Pitts, an owner of the Sugar Plum Farms tree farm in Avery County, said he began shipping trees to individual homeowners all over the country about 12 years ago. He warned, however, that it adds a good $75 in shipping costs to the price tag…

Visalia, California, Times-Delta, November 25, 2018: Tulare County gets grants for dead tree removal effort

As California fire officials deal with the devasting impacts of wildfires, local agencies are working to prevent such disasters from happening in Tulare County. Recently, county administrators secured state grants for five projects to remove dead trees and brush — materials that typically fuel wildland fires. The money will help local authorities deal with the fallout from the California drought and widespread tree mortality in parts of Tulare County. Tulare County Supervisors also approved the transfer of general fund money to hire additional firefighters, provide training and tools needed to increase fire safety. “It’s important to take the steps we can,” said Steve Worthley, Tulare County supervisors. “These are much-needed projects.” Supervisor Mike Ennis, whose district includes part of the areas affected by tree mortality, said he welcomes the projects. “It’s important to move those hazardous trees away from the road,” he said. “[Having a road blocked] could be really bad…”

Rock Island, Illinois, Dispatch-Argus, November 22, 2018: Moline Christmas tree farm closed for the season because trees are too small

Rick Wyffels knew the year was coming. He knew at some point the Christmas tree farm he operates with his wife, Kathy, wouldn’t be open for the tree-buying season. He knew their driveway wouldn’t fill up with cars on the morning after Thanksgiving. They wouldn’t meet first-time visitors, and they wouldn’t see regulars — the ones who had been coming since the tree farm opened in 1997 — for their annual catch-up. Wyffels had been bracing for it since 2012, when a drought killed the roughly 2,000 trees he and Kathy had planted. “Uh oh,” he remembers telling his wife that winter. “There’s going to be a year where we’re not going to be able to sell, because we’re not going to have tall enough trees.” He’s sad to say it, but this is that year. “We just can’t be open,” Wyffels said. “People want tall trees. They want the tallest tree they can find…”

Arlington, Virginia, Sun Gazette Newspapers, November 23, 2018: Civic Federation resolution targets loss of tree canopy on public land

The Arlington County Civic Federation in December will weigh in on the development plan of Upton Hill Regional Park and, more broadly, on Arlington government policies on retaining or removing trees during redevelopment on public land. A resolution demanding a temporary halt to current development plans at Upton Hill was introduced at the Civic Federation’s Nov. 13 meeting and will be debated and voted on Dec. 4. “We’re gravely concerned” about the Upton Hill plan, said Barbara Wien, secretary of the Bluemont Civic Association, pointing to more than 60 trees that will be removed (although others have been planted elsewhere on the site). Passage of a Civic Federation resolution likely would have no practical impact, as Upton Hill is under control of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks). Members of the Arlington County Board have said they have neither the power nor desire to micromanage the regional body’s decision-making…

London, UK, Time Out, November 23, 2018: Things you only know if you’re a Christmas tree supplier

…according to Mike De Butts, 38. Putting up trees is serious business: ‘A 60ft tree with its stand and ballast could weigh 15 tons. At Pines and Needles we put up big outdoor trees using cranes, with help from structural engineers. Then we can say the people who’ve been involved in putting up a tree are also capable of putting up skyscrapers.’ Bigger isn’t always better: ‘I got called up once by somebody saying, “I want the tallest tree in London.” But when the tree gets too big, it starts to be a different proportion. The Trafalgar Square tree got slated a couple of years ago because people thought it looked like a cucumber.’ Some spruces need sprucing up: ‘Nature isn’t perfect, and trees often require a bit of a facelift to make them look as nice as they should. When we’re up on the cherry-picker adding the decorations, we usually add in some extra branches to fill in the gaps. In some cases, suppliers will basically stick two separate trees together. That’s happened before for the tree in Covent Garden…’

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, November 22, 2018: Fresh Christmas Trees Cost More in Texas Than Any Other State

Fresh Christmas trees will cost more for Texans, on average, than for people in any other state. People in Texas pay, on average, about $104 for a live Christmas tree, which is $31 more than the national average of $73, according to data gathered by Square and the National Christmas Tree Association. That added cost is largely due to decreased supply from some of the largest tree-producing states – Oregon is the top in the country – and the expense of trucking them across the country. But they are expecting a record demand for sales at Christmas Traditions in McKinney, and that is largely attributed to increased interest from the millennial generation…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, November 20, 2018: Christmas tree arrives at Boston Common from Nova Scotia

Under foggy skies and an icy drizzle Tuesday morning on Boston Common, city officials and school children breathed in the joyful holiday spirit and welcomed a towering 46-foot Christmas tree from Oxford, Nova Scotia. “I love it,” said James H. Stewart, a town crier from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, who officially presented the tree to the city. “It’s such a wonderful tradition, and really, when it’s tree time, it’s like, ‘OK, Christmas is coming.’ ” The white spruce, which made its way into the Common in a Boston police escort, is emblematic of the friendship between Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Boston — a partnership that began 101 years ago, after the city of Boston sent aid to Halifax following an explosion in the city’s harbor that killed nearly 2,000 people on Dec. 6, 1917. “You have these two cities, two different locations, two different countries, and you have the spirit of unity and connection between them,” Chris Cook, Boston parks commissioner, told the Globe. “I just think it’s symbolic of the best we can be…”

Roanoke, Virginia, WSLS-TV, November 20, 2018: Farmers credit fall weather for exceptional Christmas tree crop

Christmas tree lots are popping back up across Southwest Virginia. Sweet Providence Farm started selling trees last weekend. Farmers said this year’s trees are some of the best they’ve seen, thanks to the weather. Even last week’s winter weather, which knocked out power to the Floyd County farm for a few days and made it difficult to transport the trees, didn’t set them back. “The wet weather’s been way better than last year. Last year, we had a lot of problems with trees just being drier. We were worried about them lasting through the Christmas season. Everything turned out OK, but this year’s a lot better, so we’ve got a lot fuller, kind of healthier trees,” tree farmer Nathan Kinzie said…

Jacksonville, Florida, WJAX-TV, November 20, 2018: Don’t buy your Christmas tree on Black Friday or Cyber Monday

If you haven’t yet gotten your Christmas tree, you may want to resist the urge to rush out and buy yours on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That’s because those days tend to be some of the most expensive times to buy a Christmas tree, according to a new report from the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) and Square.​​​​ Using 2017 sales data from Square, the report found Black Friday is the first major tree-buying day with average prices reaching $77 before they peak at $81 on Cyber Monday. Looking for a bargain? The best deals are found on Christmas Eve when trees fetch an average price of $47. But if you can’t wait that long, you can still save big the week before Christmas. The seasonal average is $73, so if you find a nice tree for cheaper than that, you’re in good shape…

Bay Journal, November 20, 2018: Depletion of nitrogen in forest soil could reduce trees’ ability to offset climate change

Forests worldwide are using up the nitrogen in their soil, a new study found. That’s a bit of good news for the Chesapeake Bay, which is ailing in large part from too much nitrogen getting into the water. But the study’s authors warn that a widespread decline of nitrogen in forest soils bodes ill for efforts to prevent global climate change. The study, published recently in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, analyzed the chemistry of more than 43,000 leaf samples collected from hundreds of tree species worldwide from 1980 to 2017 and found that the levels of nitrogen in them, which fuel the trees’ growth, has declined. Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and longer growing seasons from warmer temperatures are promoting increased tree growth, the authors suggest. As a result, they wrote, forests’ demand for nitrogen is outstripping what’s available in the soil…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, November 19, 2018: The descendants of this 2,000-year-old tree in Oaxaca can actually thrive in North Texas

Some of you gardeners and landscape folks probably wonder why I didn’t mention Montezuma cypress in my recent column about trees I have personally planted at my home and office. I love this tree and it’s true that I have planted it. Mine is an offspring of the famous 2,000-year-old El Arbol del Tule in Oaxaca, Mexico. David Creech, a horticulture professor at Stephen F. Austin University, gave me the small start. Instead of a trunk almost 50 feet in diameter like the one in Oaxaca, which has the widest girth of any tree in the world, mine is young and only about a half-inch at this time. I wanted to address this very special tree separately because along with its fabulous features, it has a slight flaw that can be serious in certain cases. Montezuma cypress or Montezuma bald cypress is wider growing and a much more graceful tree than regular bald cypress. It is fast growing, has soft and beautiful foliage, does not have the typical cypress knees, and is almost evergreen here in zone 8 and warmer areas. That last point is where the possible problem jumps up. Because of its near-evergreen trait, it always holds its foliage through the fall and into cold weather. If heavy sleet storms hit while the foliage is still holding on tight, damage to limbs can happen. I have seen that here in Dallas winters twice since I have been acquainted with the tree. It’s not fatal, just a cosmetic problem…

Newsweek, Tuesday, November 20, 2018: Amazon delivering real Christmas trees, sparks family tradition debate about picking trees

Amazon began officially selling real, full-size Christmas trees Monday, which allows for six-to-seven foot real trees to be delivered to customer doorways.  Amazon announced it would start shipping its first real Christmas trees November 19 — including Fraser Firs, Balsam Firs and Black Hills Spruces — for people in a rush to get their trees up as early as Black Friday. The trees are delivered within three to 7 business days to customers with free Prime shipping and CNET reported that Amazon couriers deliver them in a box wrapped in twine. Amazon told ABC News the trees are supplied by local growers in North Carolina and Michigan. But many tree farm owners said Amazon can’t deliver the traditional experience of going out with one’s family to pick out a tree to bring it home together. “Parents say these are the memories their kids are going to remember,” Natalie Sare, the owner of Santa’s Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay, California, told ABC News. “Walking through the field, cutting down the tree together and putting it on the car.” “Buying a Christmas tree can be a divine experience,” Monday’s Good Morning America segment noted. “But will this web disruptions make your life easier or take one of the last local traditions out of Christmas?…”

Fort Edwards, New York, Post-Star, November 19, 2018: A tree garden: Christmas trees and timber are what’s growing in Fort Edward

Snow crunched beneath Gary Hill’s feet as he brushed past prickers and bramble into the forest off Reservoir Road. It was a brisk but sunny day on Nov. 14, a good day for Hill to take advantage of the weather to spray paint markers on trees, something that had been difficult with all the recent rain. Hill, a forester, has been managing the 350 or so acres for the village for about 25 years, occasionally helping with bids for loggers to come in and thin out the tree stand. While the logging practices aren’t new, Hill is helping the village take on a new forestry project in the same vicinity — growing Christmas trees. Both projects are a way for the village to make a little extra money, although it’s not clear yet how much. “Christmas trees are going to be new and something we thought may be a good use for the property,” said Mayor Matthew Traver, in an email. “It will take several years to see any results from those plantings.” Most of what Hill does takes “several years,” even lifetimes…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, November 19, 2018: Natural Christmas trees get a bad rap

This year, for a change, I thought I would write about Christmas trees before many people have already gone out and got one, or pulled one out of storage if they go the artificial route. Like many people, I don’t want to talk about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, and being a guy, I also do a little procrastinating before I finally get that column done. Usually, I end up talking about Christmas trees long after most people have taken care of that chore. To start with, I think that real trees have gotten bad press over the last couple of decades. There’s a big push in this country to not do anything to hurt the environment, and as part of that, I think the “living” Christmas tree business has suffered a lot. Generally, I think there are a lot of people out there who consider “killing” a tree, just to bring it in the house for a one-time use as an environmentally bad thing. Au contraire, not everything is as it seems. I could certainly consider cut, living trees, used as Christmas trees, to be a bad thing if the way they were harvested was by somebody going into the nearest forest and cutting down a bunch of young trees. However, that isn’t how it goes at all. Christmas tree growing is big business, or at least it was before using real trees started being looked down on. Not only that, but that “big business” is quite often parceled out among mom-and-pop tree farms. I can think of three tree farms off the top of my head, right here in the Big Country where a married couple is growing trees for income, and Christmas trees are either a big part of what they are growing, or the only thing they are growing…

Salt Lake City, Utah, Tribune, November 18, 2018: The juniper mystery: Why is a tree that’s supposed to withstand drought suddenly dying in southern Utah?

The Utah juniper is considered the West’s most drought-tolerant and resilient conifer, withstanding even the worst dry spells while nearby pinyon and ponderosa drop their needles and die. So it was with some alarm for Kay Shumway, a retired science educator from Blanding, when he noticed yellowing among the juniper on southeastern Utah’s Moki Dugway last spring, a time of year when these trees’ needles should carry a vivid shade of green as they ramp up their photosynthetic capacity. “During summer, the dying junipers were such a bright yellow color. It was easy to see. You could look out over the landscape and see thousands of those dying trees. Now a lot have dropped their needles and are becoming a skeleton,” said Shumway, a former botanist who has kept himself busy as a nature photographer since retiring from the College of Eastern Utah 20 years ago. “They are dying. They are not going to come back [even if they get] some moisture. He frequents the Moki Dugway on the southern tip of Cedar Mesa, which provides photogenic views of the buttes and canyons falling toward the San Juan River in what was initially part of Bears Ears National Monument. Shumway has since documented dying juniper in other parts of San Juan County, which is in the midst of a severe drought. “My first reaction was the drought was causing it. The interesting thing is the pine trees, which are the most susceptible to drought, aren’t affected. They are still green and healthy,” Shumway said. “There were more and more of [the juniper] turning yellow. By July, I went all over the county, like Mustang Mesa and Alkali Ridge [east of Blanding]. Lo and behold, it was happening there, too…”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, KDKA-TV, November 16, 2018: Winter storm damage keeping tree service crews busy

The sights and sounds after the storm… power saws and tree shredders. Michael Cashdollar, the owner of Keystone Tree Techs, says calls began coming in around 10:30 p.m. Thursday and they haven’t been able to keep up with them. Edward Hill says he heard a loud thud around 10 a.m. Friday; turns out, it was a fallen tree in his backyard. “Lots of ice in these trees and I’ve got another old one back there dropping branches, hope no more fall,” he said. Cashdollar says they didn’t expect the storm to cause this many trees and branches to fall. This process isn’t cheap and insurance doesn’t cover it unless there is property damage.“You are looking at anywhere from $250 is usually the minimum for tree care, anywhere up to, we’ve done jobs where we’ve had to bring in cranes and pick them off of houses and you’re upwards of $4,000 or $5,000 and even higher. It just depends on the job and the risk and the equipment you need to accomplish your task,” Cashdollar said…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2018: I came, I saw, I stunk (but they were great)

It is cold and drizzly, in the way you expect a cold and drizzly Vermont afternoon in late autumn to be, and in a wet field behind the forestry science lab, I am watching college students happily throwing axes. When an ax strikes its wooden target, it emits a satisfying thunk, and the students whoop with applause. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. These college ax-throwers, as it turns out, are frighteningly good. I want them on my side in a horror movie. This is a practice for the University of Vermont Woodsmen—a club team that competes in burly events involving saws and axes and other timber items that city slickers like myself should use only under heavy supervision, or not at all. I’m here for the third installment of Go Away Jason, at the recommendation of Journal reader Kate Fannin, who suggested the visit because Fannin’s niece, Sydney Wolff, is a Woodsmen co-captain. That’s right: these Woodsmen are co-led by a woodswoman. Wolff meets me in the team’s shed before practice starts. A 21-year-old senior majoring in health science, she’s dressed in UVM green and wearing a baseball cap that reads NASTY WOMAN. She tells me she never imagined going to school all the way up here—she’s from San Antonio, and grew up around ranching, livestock, camping, and riflery. (“One of my friends recommended UVM, and I said ‘Are you kidding? There’s only cows and maple syrup up there!’”) One day on campus, she was in the student center and ran into a bearded dude wearing jean shorts and a flannel. “He’s just got this ax propped up on this log of wood,” Wolff recalls. This was her introduction to the Vermont Woodsmen. “I was like, ‘This is the coolest thing…’”

Portsmouth, UK, The News, November 18, 2018: Man hit with £45,000 bill after being taken to court for cutting down trees in his own garden


A man has to pay more than £45,000 for cutting down trees in his garden that were protected by tree preservation orders. Fareham Borough Council prosecuted Simon Woodhams after he illegally caused or permitted the cutting down, uprooting or wilful destruction of 24 trees at his property in Sarisbury Green. Mr Woodhams was found guilty of the offences at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on November 7 and was fined £25,000. He was also ordered to pay £20,000 in costs to the council, plus £300 in court surcharge. Council officers had met at Mr Woodhams’ property in 2015 to discuss the management of the trees and development of the house. An application was received by the council for permission to crown lift seven trees, reduce 17 trees, coppice one tree and fell 36 trees which was granted… 


Seattle, Washington, KUOW-TV, November 15, 2018: In season of Christmas peace, there’s a serious tree-marketing war over your family

The companies behind each type of tree are going at it with ad campaigns online, trying to convince you that their tree is better. In one video, upbeat tinkley music and fresh-faced American tree farmers chirp: “That smell, that wonderful fresh Christmas tree smell. That beautiful scent that fills the house. Smells like Christmas — that can’t be manufactured.” The fresh Christmas tree farm industry will spend more than $1 million this year asking you to “Keep It Real,” sort of like the ubiquitous “Got Milk” campaign of the 1990s and 2000s. These online videos are developed and funded by tree growers, as part of a program overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Casey Grogan is one of those growers in Oregon, about an hour south of Portland. His crews are working to cut and ship about 60,000 Christmas trees in 10 days from his Silver Bells Tree Farm…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, November 16, 2018: Viewer complains about dangerous tree growing under mobile home

Countryside Village Mobile home park is a very large complex. It is a mixture of those who own their mobile homes and those who rent. During an I’m Telling Ken Community session, James Diaz and Debbie Spencer came with a complaint about Countryside Village. “Code enforcement came out and she said yes, this tree needs to go,” said Debbie Spencer. Spencer owns her manufactured home, but rents the lot. She said the rent varies because utilities are included but it averages about $600 a month. “I have lived there since 2015 and I have never been late on the rent,” she said. Spencer said in 2016 she filed a complaint with the park management about the pine trees and the danger they pose to her home. “No one has stepped inside to see the danger,” said James Diaz. “If you put a bearing on the floor it will roll from one side to the other.”  The tree’s root system has damaged the driveway, it is cracked in the middle, and it has caused the foundation of their mobile home to shift. “We couldn’t get out of the back door,” said Spencer. “Which code enforcement said if we did not correct they would condemn the property…

Salamanca, Spain, DICYT, November 15, 2018: Tropical trees in the Andes are moving up — toward extinction

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, an international team of scientists led by University of Miami biologists has found that tropical and subtropical forests across South America’s Andes Mountains are responding to warming temperatures by migrating to higher, cooler elevations, but probably not quickly enough to avoid the loss of their biodiversity, functional collapse, or even extinction. Published November 14 in the journal Nature, the study confirmed for the first time that, like many other plant and animal species around the world, trees from across the Andean and Amazon forests of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and northern Argentina have been moving upward. But unlike species from the world’s temperate or boreal forests, which are far more accustomed to dramatic seasonal shifts in temperature, tropical trees are running into environmental roadblocks at higher, cooler elevations that are thwarting their migration and threatening their survival. “In the Andes, the ecosystems can change very fast and very dramatically, for example, from sunny and dry premontane forests to sopping-wet cloud forests. These changes, called ecotones, appear to be blocking species migrations,” said lead author Belén Fadrique, a Ph.D. candidate who designed and carried out the study with her advisor, Kenneth J. Feeley, UM’s Smathers Chair of Tropical Tree Biology. “These ecotone barriers make it hard for plants to relocate their populations–and if they can’t relocate, they will go extinct…”

Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Daily News, November 15, 2018: 5 tips for using a chainsaw safely for downed trees in winter

With downed trees across the region, people are cutting down trees and branches in their yards and on streets. Before you pull out the chainsaw, remember there are some safety tips you need to follow. A chainsaw has more power per inch than most other tools, which requires extra attention to safety, Lowe’s advises. Here’s what you need to know for cutting down trees: 1. Use protection: Always wear protective clothing and gear including leg protection, a hard hat, gloves, eye protection, boots or shoes with steel toes, Lowe’s advises. 2. Full speed: Whether you’re cutting down a tree, cutting a fallen limb or trimming small, low branches from a tree, run the chainsaw at full speed. It’s not only faster, it’s safer. Running at high speed reduces the chance of the chain binding and causing the chainsaw to fly back at you, according to Sears…

Kennewick, Washington, Tri-City Herald, November 14, 2018: She died in a Kennewick park when a tree limb fell. Benton City family seeks $2 million

The family of a Benton City woman killed by a falling tree limb in a Kennewick park is seeking $2 million from the city of Kennewick. The family of Stephanie Murray Judd filed a tort claim with the city on Oct. 30. The claim serves as notice that the family could sue after 30 days. Judd, 37, died Sept. 22 in Columbia Park while attending the Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Fair with her husband and son. Steady winds, with gusts of up to 25 mph, are thought to have knocked a large limb from a sycamore tree. It struck Judd, who was sitting on a bench near an outdoor stage with her school aged son. Her son was not physically injured. “It’s a tragic case,” said attorney Ned Stratton, with Johnson Law, a Kennewick firm representing the Judds. Stratton said Judd was the primary breadwinner for the household. She was the office manager for Washington Vision Therapy Center’s Tri-City office. The firm believes there is potential liability for the incident, but Stratton said its investigation is ongoing. The city immediately removed the tree, hindering the law firm’s investigation. The city operates the 363-acre park, but the land itself is federally owned, under the control of the Army Corps of Engineers…

Reason.com, November 14, 2018: Georgetown ‘Tree Killer’ Fined $53,000 for ‘Excessive Pruning’ on His Own Property

The Washington, D.C., Department of Transportation (DOT) is fining the owner of a Georgetown mansion more than $53,000 for the “excessive pruning” of two of his own trees. Accu-Crete CEO David Hudgens, the homeowner hit with the fine, says the trees were interfering with the maintenance of the Newton D. Baker House, named for the secretary of war who lived there from 1916-1920. Built in 1794, the house was once owned by former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, then Yolande Fox, a singer and socialite who died in 2016. Hudgens is the current owner, and his preferred method of maintaining the property has outraged his neighbors in Georgetown. At least five trees have been removed or trimmed. The Washington Post reported earlier this month: Neighbors say the trees began to disappear soon after Hudgens, who owns two other houses on the street and lives next door, bought the home. In January, the city removed three trees in treeboxes along the street, then last month he cut down a magnolia on his property and trimmed branches off another. It’s the latter two trees that Hudgens is in trouble over. “When the current owner of that property ‘trimmed’ the two trees to a very large extent, thereby removing much of the volume of the trees, the Georgetown community expressed its outrage,” reads a resolution passed by the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) late last month. “Appropriate sanctions should be imposed to preserve the trees in Georgetown both for ourselves and for future generations.” The DOT has now acted, fining Hudgens $53,611.20, according to the Post. DOT spokesperson Terry Owens explained why in a statement to Reason. “The fine was for the excessive pruning of 2 magnolia trees. Both trees are legally protected under the Urban Forest Preservation Act of 2002,” he said…

Pocatello, Idaho, Idaho State Journal, November 14, 2018: Burley man killed, another injured in tree trimming accident

A Burley man was killed Tuesday and another man injured during a tree trimming accident in the Jackson area of Cassia County. Cassia County Detective Kevin Horak said Corbin Bowers, 28, was killed and Emmett Koyle, 26, also of Burley, was injured. Koyle was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, Horak said, and is in critical condition. The accident occurred at 1:45 p.m. at 780 N. 1150 East, where Bowers and Koyle were in a bucket truck about 60 feet above the ground, Horak said. “They were in the bucket together and had tied off a branch to the bucket,” Horak said. “When they cut the branch, it pulled the arm and bucket down to the ground. The branch was just too big.” Bowers was killed on impact…

Youngstown, Ohio WFMJ-TV, November 14, 2018: Mysterious disease killing trees in Northeast Ohio

American beech trees are dying in Northeast Ohio and several other states and providences nearby due to beech leaf disease. Researchers at Ohio State University are conducting a study of the disease to find out why. Enrico Bonello, a professor of plant pathology in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), oversees the study.”There’s no similar forest tree disease that we are aware of anywhere,” Bonello said, “It’s really a black box.”The disease was first discovered in Lake County in 2012 but has subsequently spread to American beech trees in nine additional counties in Ohio, eight in Pennsylvania, one in New York, and five in Ontario. The disease, which young trees appear to be more susceptible to, starts out as dark stripes on the leaves of the trees and then deforms them. The disease can eventually kill the trees.  Carrie Ewing, a doctoral graduate student assisting with the study, is comparing the genes of microorganisms present in leaves that have symptoms of beech tree disease and those that do not. Ewing is hoping to identify the microorganisms that are associated with the disease in order to determine if they are viruses, fungi, bacteria, phytoplasmas or nematodes…

Atlanta, Georgia, WXIA-TV, November 13, 2018: Hurricane Michael destroys 6-decade old pecan farm

South Georgia farmers took a massive hit during Hurricane Michael and for some, it will take nearly a decade to get back on their feet. The Georgia pecan is a pride of the state and a triumph of patience. It takes months to harvest a nut, years to grow a tree, and decades to build an orchard. One of the orchards destroyed during the massive storm was Pecan Ridge Plantation, located south of Bainbridge. “Within five seconds I knew … it’s gonna take all we can, not to lose our farm over this,” said Pecan Ridge co-owner Eric Cohen. Eric and his brother run the plantation and have since been cleaning up the grounds and assessing how much damage they have. Some of the pecan trees on the grounds have been there for over six decades…

Greenwich, Connecticut, Greenwich Time, November 13, 2018: Town searches for a new tree warden

A very important town position is being filled soon. The Town of Greenwich’s superintendent of parks and trees and town tree warden is being replaced. Bruce Spaman, who held this position for 16 years as an arborist and professional forester, has recently retired. During his tenure, Bruce was instrumental in: creating town tree policies including Greenwich’s restrictions on ground to sky tree trimming by utilities; passing a Town Public Tree Ordinance; enabling our public-private partnership that has resulted in more than 3,500 trees being planted over the last decade on public lands in Greenwich; inspiring us to inaugurate the Greenwich Town Arboretum thus far labeling trees in four historic town parks. We also collectively have held Arbor Day tree plantings and celebrations at schools in Greenwich. On a state level the town tree warden is a member of the Tree Warden Association, represents Greenwich on several state boards and commissions and can be instrumental with testimony when trees are in jeopardy. Trees and green space are an important part of our town fabric. This position is very important to the welfare of the town’s 2,000 acres of landscape which includes: 1,100 acres of parks, 250 acres of school campuses and 650 acres of roadside forest. The annual operating budget is close to 5 million dollars and the position has 60 direct reports…

Phoenix, Arizona, KSAZ-TV, November 13, 2018: Laurel non-profit cancels annual Christmas tree sale, says 2009 recession to blame

A nationwide Christmas tree shortage is forcing a Maryland non-profit to cancel its tree sale this year. Usually around this time of year, members of the Laurel Lions Club would be busy setting up for their biggest fundraiser – installing everything from fences, platforms and trailers – so they can start selling Christmas trees on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But for the first time in 61 years, the organization will not be selling trees in the parking lot of the Laurel Shopping Center. “It’s going to be very much missed,” said Darren Davis. “I can tell you that because I know families that do come over here.” “They usually make a lot of money for charity and stuff,” said April Beroid. “It’s for a good reason. I’m sorry to hear that.” The non-profit sent out nearly 1,000 mailers informing customers they would be canceling their largest fundraiser of the year, which will impact the local programs that count on their donations…

Washington, D.C. Examiner, November 13, 2018: Stink bug invasion halted, but new pest threatens vineyards, trees

For the first time since it hitched a ride from Asia to Allentown, Pa., in 1998 and went on to invade 44 states and four Canadian provinces, the government is cautiously optimistic that it is winning the war against the brown marmorated stink bug. “Yeah, it is good news. It’s pretty good,” said Tracy C. Leskey, the key Agriculture Department research leader on stink bugs and other invasive pests. Ironically the credit goes to another Asian hitchhiker, the so-called “samurai wasp,” a comma-sized bug that lays its eggs in the eggs of the stink bug. The stink bug’s native enemy in China, the wasp, scientifically known as “Trissolcus japonicus,” has been spreading into areas with heavy populations of stink bugs. And, Leskey said, it appears to have no negative impacts. Federal, state, and university scientists for nearly two decades have been trying to wipe out the flying, crawling stink bug that initially had few natural enemies in the United States. Not only does it put out a foul odor when threatened or killed, it damages fruits and vegetables and invades homes to overwinter…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, November 12, 2018: Why California burns — its forests have too many trees

The reason wildfires are burning California with unprecedented ferocity this year is because our public forests are so thick. It is our fault. We don’t manage our forests, we just let them grow. That is the simple truth. However, it is easier to deny the truth and blame a warming climate instead of admitting our guilt and taking action to prevent wildfires. Hot, dry weather doesn’t cause catastrophic wildfires. It only makes them worse. In order for any fire to burn, it must have fuel. To spread wildly, it must have abundant fuel. Efforts in the 20th century to prevent fire and preserve forests have been too successful — they have disrupted the ecological balance and allowed more and more trees to grow. Some California forests have more than 1,000 trees per acre when 40 to 60 trees per acre would be ideal. These overcrowded forests are filled with dead trees, piles of logs, and thickets of small trees. The perfect conditions for severe wildfires…

San Diego, California, KGTV, November 12, 2018: Dangerous trees scheduled to be cut down at Spreckels Park

Five trees at Coronado’s Spreckels Park may need to be cut down before they fall down. The trees, all of them Sugar Gum Eucalyptus, are either at “High” or “Moderate” risk of failure, according to an arborist’s report presented to the City Council last week. One tree, the one deemed the highest risk, is already scheduled for demolition. That will happen Tuesday, starting at 6 am. That tree is in the Northeast corner of the park. The other four will be monitored, including two trees with branches that hang over the children’s playground. The city hired West Coast Arborist to study all 95 trees in the park after a pine tree collapsed in September. City Code gives the Department of Public Services the authority to decide which trees should or should not be cut down. According to the rules, trees will be removed if they present, “a condition that is hazardous, are in declining or poor health and the condition cannot be corrected by pruning or any other means…”

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Leader-Telegram, November 12, 2018: Ready for the Holidays: Christmastime preparations come early for Barron County tree farm

Thanksgiving turkeys are yet to be carved, but it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Snowshoe Valley Christmas Tree Farm north of Almena. Like a pair of Santa’s most industrious elves, Joe and Sue Clark already are weeks deep into preparations to welcome people in search of the perfect centerpiece for holiday gatherings. With some 11,000 trees on 10 acres from which to choose, they’re likely to find it at Snowshoe Valley. “The best part … is all your customers are coming here and they’re happy; you always have happy customers,” Joe said. “It’s a memory they won’t forget, and you see the generations coming back.” Joe said his parents bought this Barron County farm when he was 12 years old, operating it as a small dairy. When Joe took over, he modified the barn into a shop, keeping seven stanchions “just in case.” But it wasn’t long before notions of milking cows were relegated to the past. He started planting trees in 1987 and offered his first Christmas trees for sale in 2001. “When we bought the farm, the fields where trees are were all ag,” Joe said, adding that they rented the land out to a neighbor for corn, hay and other crops…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, KRQE-TV, November 12, 2018: Squatters refuse to leave New Mexico homeowner’s house

It’s like a nightmare for some New Mexico homeowners after squatters moved into their vacant home, and then refused to leave. “I felt the sense of hopelessness,” said Willis Johnston. A mess of a situation is finally behind these Carlsbad homeowners, but it took months of fighting. “Shock and utter disbelief. I could not believe that someone would stoop so low,” said his wife, Aimee Johnston. Complete strangers turned the Johnstons’ house into their home, acting like they owned it, even without a deed. “She said I own the property, I have a tax receipt. That’s their M-O,” said Willis Johnston. Willis Johnston lived in the house on Oak Street as a boy, and inherited it from his grandmother after she died in 2005. “One of the great possibilities is, is they’re watching the obituaries in the newspaper,” he said…

Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, November 8, 2018: Bent Mountain tree sitters face charges in Roanoke County courtroom

“Stand with Red” became a rallying cry for opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. On Thursday afternoon, Red and Minor Terry had a crowd of supporters when the two tree-sitters faced misdemeanor charges in Roanoke County General District Court. The mother and daughter climbed into their tree stands in early April, in an effort to prevent crews from cutting trees on their property. And they came down in early May, after a federal judge found them in contempt and threatened hefty fines. During the hearing Thursday, their attorney Tom Bondurant questioned officers about the police presence on the Terry property… Minor Terry said the women began their protest after a deadline for cutting in areas with endangered bats passed at the end of March. And she said they came down after a federal judge ruled against them…

Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer, November 8, 2018: When and why you should trim your trees and shrubs

Here is the most often asked question in mid to late fall: is it ok to prune my trees and shrubs now’? It’s as if many homeowners are frustrated barbers that, like their own hair, their plants need to be trimmed several times a year, while some may think just once.   All plants need some yearly pruning. Why do we need to prune our trees and shrubs? 1. We believe all trees and shrubs should look like bowling balls, nice and round. 2. You brought a cute little Sweet Bay Magnolia and now 7 years later, you can’t see the house.  3. Got a new chainsaw for my birthday and should use it often to please the gift giver, Me! 4. My trees are getting too tall There are other reasons you might have and there are a few good reasons that pruning and lopping shears should be used, but only when needed and not for an annual ritual. Pruning can be a very intimidating process for most homeowners.  Let’s take away some of the causes of that fear…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, WCCO-TV, November 8, 2018: Rogers Tree Trimmer Opens Up About Nearly Drowning

A tree trimmer who got pinned in a pond last spring shares his story for the first time. Willie Hamer almost drowned when his arm got stuck under his cherry picker in Rogers. Eight months later, he’s navigating a new life– but he’s not alone. Hamer doesn’t know exactly how a cherry picker in his backyard slipped down the hill, forcing him into the water. “I didn’t see it coming at me. My back was turned to the machine and it came down and hit me from the back,” he said. Suddenly Willie was trapped with just his nose and eyes above the icy water, with his arm pinned under 6,000 pounds of equipment. By the time police got there, the cold was already taking its toll. “Luckily, I had the jacket on at the time because if I had just a T-shirt, I would have froze to death. I was dying,” Hamer said. After several attempts to move the cherry picker, Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen ordered everyone out of the pond to lower the water level on Hamer. He got in with a cold water rescue suit and kept Hamer alert…

Greenfield, Massachusetts, Recorder, November 8, 2018: ‘Untouched’ not always best forestry plan

One hundred and ten years ago, a major forest fire swept through Wendell State Forest, resetting the forest ecosystem with new trees of a uniform age. One hundred and ten years later, this 88-acre parcel is cherished by many residents “as a living, wild and natural asset” with towering oaks that are approaching “old growth” status. Beyond the benefits of scenic beauty, wildlife habitat and recreation, the forest helps deter climate change by sequestering carbon in its trees. So when the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation announced, in 2016, its plan to start timber harvesting in Wendell State Forest, opposition by nonprofit groups like RESTORE: The North Woods, the Partnership for Policy Integrity, the Wendell Historical Commission and private citizens quickly coalesced. The protesters’ campaign included weekly vigils along Route 2 in Erving, a notice of intent by at least one protester to sue the DCR, and a petition with 1,148 signatures delivered to Gov. Charlie Baker asking the governor to spare this “stately, 80-acre old oak forest that is just beginning to reach an old-growth condition — something that is rare in Massachusetts. Located between the two ponds, this forest is one of the most visited and cherished areas in the state forest, and we want it to remain exactly as it is — untouched by human interference.” Last week, state officials delivered their response — “No” — along with the rationale behind it. According to DCR’s experts, “untouched by human interference” is not necessarily the best course for forest management nor the best response to climate change…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WGHP-TV, November 7, 2018: Burlington neighbors heartbroken that historic trees must be removed because of safety concerns

Some of Burlington’s most attractive homes are in the West Davis Street/Fountain Place Historic District. Jeff Parsons is Burlington’s cemetery and grounds superintendent. To him, what really stands out about the community are the trees. “When folks want to show off Burlington, you come down to Davis and Fountain Place,” Parsons said. Massive oak trees line West Davis Street. Some say the trees were planted over 70 years ago to honor local World War II veterans. The oaks and some maples were planted with the best intentions. But now, the tall trees are a growing problem. ​”Didn’t expect any damage,” Parsons said. “I just happened to find the tree one morning. It blew over and onto the property.” No one was hurt and no homes were damaged when the tree fell into a homeowner’s yard in early September. But a stretch of bright white cement shows were Burlington repair crews fixed the sidewalk after the root ball of the giant tree tore through the walkway. After the early September event, City of Burlington staff along with a certified arborist tested 26 huge trees that were in the city’s right of way. Eleven trees, mostly oaks, were declared unsafe, marked with a pink dot and scheduled for removal…

Sonoma, California, Napa Valley Register, November 7, 2018: Microbursts can blow down trees in the mountains

A couple of weeks ago I saw one patch of lodgepole pine trees on the side of the mountain that had all blown down. The trees were all pointing in the same direction. It was like a giant Paul Bunyon had chopped down a bunch of trees all at once with a huge ax. The downed trees made me wonder: What had caused only that one patch of timber to fall while all of the other trees around it were still standing? Sometimes trees are blown over by what’s known as a microburst. A microburst is a strong downward draft of wind. That wind can reach 60 mph as it speeds to earth. When the wind hits the ground it’s like water splashing out in all directions. When the wind splashes it may move even faster, creating straight winds that can blow at speeds up to 120 mph. Seems like either one of those speedy winds could take down a shallow-rooted lodgepole pine…

Galveston, Texas, Daily News, November 8, 2018: Golden rain trees handsome, but also troublesome

Recently, some strikingly-handsome trees have appeared around the island to much acclaim, known as golden rain tree or Chinese lantern tree (Koelreuteria paniculata). These trees are indeed impressive in the landscape with beautiful summer and fall color. There’s good news — and bad news — about this tree. First the good news. Golden rain tree is a small- to medium-sized landscape tree that’s native to eastern Asia. It was introduced to Europe and North America in the mid-18th century, and is a popular landscape tree worldwide. It usually has low branches with a rounded crown, reaching 30-feet tall and wide with an open and often multi-trunked growth habit. Early to mid-summer is when the show begins, with the appearance of long spikes of bright yellow flowers. When the flowers fall they shower the ground with their color, giving the tree its name. Blossoms are followed in late summer by 1- to 2-inch light green seed pods that look like Chinese lanterns that ripen orange to pink, and then to brown as they persist through fall and winter. These seed pods are the showoffs right now…

Lewiston, Idaho, Tribune, November 7, 2018: Consider tree season

With increasing urgency, arborists and urban foresters are studying trees in cities, public gardens, parks and the countryside to try to determine which trees are the most adaptable to changing climate conditions, including extreme weather events such as droughts and flooding. The Chicago Botanic Garden started its Trees for 2050 project specifically to help the garden decide how to replace about 400 trees recently lost to infestations of the emerald ash borer. Of 50 different kinds of trees at the botanic garden, the study found that 40 of the native and well-adapted exotic species remain good choices until 2050, says Phil Douglas, curator of woody plants at the garden. By 2080, as the climate continues to change, only 11 of the species in the initial study will continue to thrive in Chicago and the Upper Midwest, he says. The Garden’s research resulted in an interactive online database to help residents of Chicago — and throughout the Midwest — make the best choices for their home gardens. Gingko, pecan, zelkova and parrotia trees are among the most adaptable and viable trees for the long term in the Midwest, Douglas says, but these trees are just a starting point. Much more work needs to be done to identify the best trees for the Midwest’s changing climate, and for every area of the country. Shawn Kingzette, an arborist with the Davey Tree Expert Company and a regional manager for the company in the Chicago area, recommends diversity, above all, to help ensure a future with healthy trees. “It’s not enough to plant native trees that can resist bugs and blights,” he says. “Natives are susceptible, too…”

Science News, October 30, 2018: How researchers flinging salmon inadvertently spurred tree growth

How much salmon would scientists sling if scientists could sling salmon? For one research team, the question isn’t hypothetical, and the answer is … tons. During 20 years of monitoring salmon populations in one southwest Alaskan stream, ecologists have found and flung a total 267,620 kilograms of dead fish into the forest. Those rotting carcasses leeched enough nutrients to speed up tree growth, researchers report October 23 in Ecology. Some of the fish had died of old age, while many were torn apart by brown bears or gulls, says ecologist Thomas Quinn. He’s been counting salmon, both dead and alive, in Hansen Creek every year since 1997 with a rotating cast of students from the University of Washington in Seattle. For each dead fish, students catalogued the cause of death, then chucked the carcasses to one bank of the river to avoid double-counting. That toss is something of an art. The researchers use a gaff, a long pole with a hook on one end. The ideal motion is like a checked swing in baseball, when a batter starts to swing but instead lets the ball pass, Quinn says. If all goes well, the salmon carcass launches off the gaff in a graceful arc and lands far enough away that it won’t be washed back into the stream…

Springfield, Missouri, KYTV, October 30, 2018: Missouri State University researchers seek a better black walnut tree

The black walnut harvest in the Ozarks is happening now. But Missouri State University students are doing much more than just harvesting them. They are investigating how to breed better black walnut trees. We all see black walnut trees all over the Ozarks, and you can identify them this time of year by the nuts that have fallen to the ground. But the yield can be very unpredictable. At MSU, a research team is taking a closer look at the nuts, leaves and every aspect of the trees. They’re trying to breed a better walnut tree with a more consistent yield that is disease-resistant, has a thinner shell and a large kernel. They’re using DNA technology to identify the varieties of trees that have the best qualities and are creating a hybrid, known as Football Cross Sparrow. The research team has planted some of those hybrid black walnut trees on the MSU Mountain Grove campus. They’re working closely with the MU Southwest Research Center as well as Hammons Black Walnuts in Stockton, Mo., the largest producer of black walnut products in the U.S…

Green Bay, Wisconsin, WBAY-TV, October 30, 2018: Trees shed leaves early, slows annual city-wide collection

Trees continue to lose their leaves, falling to blanket yards and roadways. The City of Green Bay Department of Public Works is picking up that yard waste right now and is finding it to be quite the task this season. In the fall, Maureen Trafford-Braun puts on her leaf blower to help her neighbors and family members clean leaves out of their yards. “Usually around this time it’s always like that,” said Trafford-Braun. “With trick-or-treating we always walk through the piles on the streets. So, that’s why I kind of wanted to get it cleaned up.” She piles the leaves on the curb for collection by the City of Green Bay Department of Public Works. “We generally try to follow the trash or recycling collection routes, but we’re not day for day pacing those routes,” said Steve Grenier, Director of the City of Green Bay Department of Public Works. “It all depends on how much material is out for collection at this time.” Right now, Grenier says there are more leaves already on the ground than usual…

Montreal, Quebec, Gazette, October 30, 2018: Tomkinson: Street trees add more than just ambiance and increased property values

Without trees, a neighborhood just doesn’t feel neighborly. The world seems too hard and boxy. There’s no rustle of leaves or chirping of birds to buffer the drone of lawnmowers and hissing of tires. The sun shines too bright. The wind blows too hard. I can’t imagine living without the filigree of snow-laced branches in winter, an ephemeral blaze of color in autumn, and that magical, jubilant pop of green when new leaves bud in spring. Trees add more than ambiance. They also increase property values. Depending on other neighborhood factors, researchers have found homes with street trees sell from five to 18 per cent more than those without. And there are other benefits too. Street trees are linked with improvements to pedestrian safety, reductions in car crashes and better drainage in rainstorms. They cool hot streets in summer, improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and converting harmful gases to oxygen. Even just looking at trees has been shown to reduce stress…

West Lebanon, New Hampshire, The Valley News, October 29, 2018: 16 Chestnut trees found in Enfield’s Smith Pond Shaker Forest

The 16 chestnut trees found during the six-week Chestnut Challenge at Smith Pond Shaker Forest have given the Upper Valley Land Trust hope that there are even more in the 995-acre property that the nonprofit organization has owned since 2015. “What we found on the property were three distinct groups of mature trees and two seedlings found not near any other trees,” said Alison Marchione, programs director at the Upper Valley Land Trust. “The trees range in size from seedlings, young trees and up to at least seven mature trees.”  Additionally, the largest tree found was 35 feet tall with a diameter of 7 inches, she said. Five of trees were 25 feet or taller. There were also five trees that are producing chestnuts. “Given the number of trees found in a relatively short search time and in multiple easy-to-reach locations, we suspect that there are many more trees still to be found on the property,” Marchione said via email. “Having multiple groups of several mature trees is a good sign that the trees are pollinating and potentially producing viable seeds…”

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, October 29, 2018:  Man electrocuted while trimming trees at West Oak Cliff home

A man was electrocuted Monday while trimming trees in west Oak Cliff. The homeowner came into contact with a high-voltage wire shortly before noon at a home in the 2800 block of West Jefferson Boulevard, near Ravinia Drive, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said. He was unresponsive when rescuers arrived. Authorities lowered the 44-year-old to the ground from a lift and confirmed that he was dead, Evans said…

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Leader-Telegram, October 29, 2018: Fast-growing, soil-grabbing trees a good fit for some farms

The old adage “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now” is a favored saying among some financial consultants and other professional advisers. The idea is to get things started now to achieve goals a few decades down the road. But when it comes to actual tree planting, new hybrid varieties can help landowners enjoy the benefits of trees in a fraction of the time. “Find the right tree for soil conditions and the response is amazing,” said UW-Extension’s Jason Fischbach. Whether it’s an erosion buffer, windbreak or agroforestry project, recently developed hybrid trees may fit right into future land management plans, while providing habitat benefits to local wildlife. Fischbach, a food and energy woody crops specialist, has spent eight years working with some 70 genotypes of hybrid poplar, willow and tamarack in northwest Wisconsin. Test plots in Ashland, Bayfield and Washburn counties feature a variety of soils, along with some unique growing conditions near the Lake Superior shoreline. The right tree in the right spot produces growth of up to 8 feet a year. “There are a lot of possibilities with the variety of species available,” Fischbach said. “Trees can be financially valuable to farmers as a crop and as a way to improve soil quality and prevent erosion…”

Denver, Colorado, Post, October 29, 2018: Wolf Creek Ski Area removes 4,000 beetle-killed trees

Wolf Creek Ski Area in Pagosa Springs says it has removed an estimated 4,000 trees killed by spruce beetles over about 150 acres. Owner Davey Pitcher told The Durango Herald that the removal mitigated some of the fire danger at the southwestern Colorado resort and also got rid of hazardous trees. But he says it also allowed a new ski lift to be built and created some new beginner and intermediate trails.The trees were dead for five or six years so only about 20 percent of the wood was good enough to be sold to the timber industry. The rest will be used as firewood or burned in a slash pile. The southern San Juan Mountains, including the ski area, were hit hard by a spruce beetle infestation in the mid-2000s…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2018: Stressed southern timber growers get hit again

Owners of forest land along the Florida Panhandle and beyond are grappling with at least $1.6 billion in timber losses after Hurricane Michael snapped and mangled trees across the region, according to state authorities. Forestry officials in Florida, Georgia and Alabama estimate the hurricane damaged more than five million acres of woodland in the region when it roared through this month. The destruction marked a fresh blow to timber growers already saddled with historically low prices brought on by a glut of mature trees in the South. The storm hardly dented the oversupply. But it wiped out decades-old investments and triggered heavy cleanup costs for local timber owners, most of whom are individuals and families. Forester Will Leonard said nearly all of his family’s roughly 8,000 acres of Florida Panhandle pine were damaged. This includes 100-foot slash pine that could have fetched up to $60 a ton as utility poles before the storm, but now might be worth $2 to $3 a ton as pulp…

Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, October 28, 2018: Time to remove fallen leaves, buckthorn trees

After a killing frost, remove dead plant debris from annual and vegetable beds. Sanitation is especially important if you have had disease problems in your planting beds. Remove all diseased foliage or fruits and do not add affected materials to your compost pile, because most home compost piles do not get hot enough to kill disease organisms. Buckthorn is an invasive tree and common throughout the Chicago area. It tends to hold green leaves later than other deciduous trees in fall so it is easy to spot. Cut buckthorn at ground level and quickly treat the stump with an herbicide to kill the root system. Smaller trees can be dug out with a sharp spade. Shredded leaves make good mulch for your garden beds. For the serious gardener, a shredder can be rented but be aware that they are very noisy, so it is best to use ear and eye protection when using…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, October 28, 2018: Are fruit trees that flower at the wrong time early or late bloomers?

Question: Do you know why my Ranier cherry tree is blooming now (Sept. 30)? It doesn’t look so good, but earlier this year it produced a decent amount of cherries.
Answer: I came across this reader’s question on a gardening Facebook page with photos of her flowering cherry tree. A grower in Edgewood, provided a great response post: “Very common on fruit trees that have been stressed from lack of water. They basically go into a semi-dormant state, and then when monsoons hit with suddenly lower temps, water to the roots, and higher humidity they come out of the dormant state and first thing they do is bloom, just like in spring.” He went on to recommend watering deeper and out beyond the small tree’s dripline, where the majority of the hard-working, water absorbing roots are expected to grow. He also suggested a fat layer of wood-chip mulch, which made me happy as a clam. Other group members started chiming in that their fruit trees were also blooming. A pear here. An apple there. And my interest was piqued. Weeks went by as I wrote about soil amendments, deadheading flowers and how to deal with extra green tomatoes. Last week I saw an NPR headline that practically jumped off my screen: “In Japan, A Strange Sight: Cherry Blossoms Blooming in the Fall.” In this short article, Laurel Wamsley describes a situation in which hundreds of people have reported blooming cherry trees all over Japan. It is suggested that this phenomenon was spurred by typhoons that occurred just weeks before. The stress from being defoliated by wind combined with salt sprays and warm temperatures may have shocked these trees into bloom…

Upper Southampton, Pennsylvania, Patch, October 28, 2018: How this Phoenixville man is changing minds one tree at a time

When Randy Morin first moved to Phoenixville, he was instantly drawn to the town’s tree-lined streets. He quickly joined the town’s Tree Advisory Committee in hopes of making his new home even greener by planting more trees. What Morin didn’t expect, however, was that not all residents in town would be as excited about the additional foliage as he was. So while his volunteer work has involved planting trees, it has also required him to change the minds of some of his neighbors. As a scientist at the US Forest Service, Morin has always appreciated trees and their many benefits. “The trees are a benefit to the residents of a town because it makes the town look nice. It can even cause property values to be higher if you have nice tree-lined streets,” he says, also citing trees’ impact on health…

London, UK, The Guardian, October 26, 2018: The secret lives of trees: what to expect in autumn

“The trees are in their autumn beauty,” wrote the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. “The woodland paths are dry.” Immersed in rich colour and deliciously crunchy underfoot, a woodland walk in autumn is surely one of the most pleasurable and relaxing activities offered by the British countryside. Yet, those excursions are not always quite as straightforward as they appear. For one thing, British trees are rather complicated in their leaf-shedding habits and really vary according to location – autumn takes a while to arrive across the whole country. In the Scottish Highlands, for instance, the woods of the glens are already steeped in golden yellow as early as mid-September. Their canopies are also susceptible to immediate demolition should an early Atlantic storm pass through. In Derbyshire, many woods can often be cleared of vegetation by late October – yet, at the same date in Norfolk, which is more than 300 metres lower in altitude, there are oakwoods looking as emerald green as they did in midsummer. Come November, many trees seem to have barely cast a leaf. Another interesting thing about that leisurely autumn stroll is the environmental intensity that underpins it. Poet John Keats may have famously called it the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, but it is anything but. What really drives those glorious colours in the trees is the stress of hard work. The element of almost all plants responsible for making summer so green is chlorophyll. But as well as being the miracle worker that turns sunlight to sugar during photosynthesis, chlorophyll is also a precious protein. Before they shed their leaves at the end of season, deciduous trees devote themselves to breaking it down and storing it away for another year…

Akron, Ohio, Beacon Journal, October 25, 2018: Akron tree contractor sentenced to 3 years for bilking elderly customers

After Akron contractor Thomas Rardon was sentenced to three years in prison for bilking elderly people out of tree repairs, he argued with the judge. “It’s just not right,” Rardon told Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien. “I’m not supposed to go to prison!” O’Brien cut Rardon off and deputies led him from the courtroom in handcuffs past several of Rardon’s unhappy customers. “I hope you rot in hell!” Rardon hissed at them. “Back at you,” replied Jim Collver, who painted a message to Rardon earlier this year on a half-felled tree. “You piece of garbage!” This was the dramatic end to Rardon’s sentencing Thursday afternoon. Rardon, 41, pleaded guilty in September to two counts of theft from a person in a protected class, fourth-degree felonies; one count of theft from a person in a protected class, a fifth-degree felony; one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony; and one count of petty theft, a first-degree misdemeanor…

Los Angeles, California, Times, October 25, 2018: This elite team’s job: Eradicate a bug you’ve never heard of from trees you’ve never seen

Most New Yorkers think Antony Massop’s badge is fake. A tree inspector in Brooklyn just sounds like a scam, which is why the job requires the savvy of a homicide detective, the agility of a cat burglar, and the tenacity of a pit bull. “Access is a problem, so you gotta be creative,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service supervisor explained as he boosted himself atop an abandoned television in an overgrown yard in Bedford-Stuyvesant one recent morning. He vaulted over a bramble and shimmied behind a full-sized Chevrolet van and up an ivy-covered fence, where he raised his Nikon binoculars to inspect a particularly thorny patch of New York’s urban jungle. “We saved a lot of taxpayer money just now,” he said. Part urban arborist and part social worker, Massop has spent the last 18 years hunting the Asian long-horned beetle, an invasive, wood-boring pest that first appeared in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in 1996 and looms as an existential threat to the state’s timber industry. The insects, which like to hitchhike on shipping pallets, have been found in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and warehouses in Los Angeles, and Ohio, Massachusetts and New York all host active infestations. Last year alone, inspectors in New York City and Long Island visited more than 80,000 properties and checked more than 117,000 trees, all in an effort to evict the transplants before they can relocate to upstate New York and its lush forests…

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, October 25, 2018: Darlington woman charged with stealing nearly $180,000 from Clayton Tree Service

Darlington woman is charged with allegedly stealing nearly $180,000 from an Aberdeen tree company over 18 months, according to court records. Lynn Ann Bowman, 21, of the 2100 block of Glen Cove Road, was indicted Oct. 16 and arrested last Friday on charges of theft more than $100,000 and theft $25,000 to $100,000, conspiracy to commit theft more than $100,000 and theft $25,000 to $100,000 and embezzling or misappropriating, according to court records. She was taken to Harford County Detention Center, where she was released on $25,000 bond according to online court records. Between Sept. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017, Bowman allegedly stole $122,095.19 from Clayton Glassman, owner of Clayton’s Tree Service, according to an indictment filed in Harford County Circuit Court. Between Oct. 1, 2017 and March 7, 2018, she allegedly stole $57,083.78 from Glassman, according to the indictment…

Cincinnati, Ohio, WCPO-TV, October 24, 2018: Woman says Cheviot killed her trees, won’t pay

The yellow tape on a quiet Cheviot street does not signify a crime scene. But to homeowner Kathy Stoutimore, what the tape surrounds is indeed a crime. Stoutimore says a city-hired sidewalk contractor sliced through the big roots on her two giant oak trees, killing them. “They had a tree guy come out and cut the roots of the trees to lay the new sidewalk,” she said. Now, one year after her new sidewalk was installed, both trees are dying, and dropping dangerous large limbs.  Several arborists she called for help said the trees cannot be saved.  “They say the cutting has killed the trees,” she said…

Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, October 24, 2018: Tree company’s bookkeeper skimmed $300K to pay her credit cards bills, cops say

A Bergen County woman who worked as a bookkeeper for a tree service company has been charged with stealing more than $300,000 from the business to pay off her credit cards, police said Tuesday. Julie Shih, 39, of Closter, was the bookkeeper and office manager for the Mahwah company for the past seven years, according to police Chief James N. Batelli. “It is believed Mrs. Shih had been stealing from the company since 2015,” Batelli said in a statement. Batelli did not name the company, but said the owner reported a review of financial records showed business checks had been cashed or deposited into bank accounts without authorization…

Los Angeles, California, KNBC-TV, October 24, 2018: Insect carrying disease known to kill citrus trees detected in Duarte

An insect no bigger than a grain of rice called the Asian citrus psyllid, carrier of a bacteria that causes a serious plant disease that is not harmful to humans but kills citrus trees, has been detected in Duarte, city officials said Wednesday. California Department of Food and Agriculture employees are going door-to-door in the community to inspect citrus trees for Huanglongbing or HLB disease, also known as citrus greening disease, for which there is no cure. City officials said residents will be able to recognize the CDFA employees by looking for a department patch on their uniforms. They also wear tan shirts and CDFA badges. The CDFA tracks the presence of the pest and disease, and establishes quarantines to help protect California citrus trees. The insect feeds on citrus leaves and stems, and without proper inspection and treatment, may go unnoticed…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, October 24, 2018: Why dozens of trees along the Dallas North Tollway — at Forest Lane! — are getting axed

Some time this week, dozens of trees that line the Dallas North Tollway will be chopped down. Pines, live oaks — could be a hundred, easy. They run in a straight line for about half a mile, in an easement on the eastern side of the toll road that stretches from Forest Lane north to Harvest Hill Road. Yes, that’s right — Forest Lane. About four miles east of the Home Depot where all those trees were butchered last year. Forest, I guess, is just destined to become less foresty every year.  Oncor’s doing the deed so it can replace old transmission towers with new ones — “to support the increased demand for electric power” in that stretch of North Dallas and beyond. So says the energy provider in notices sent to residents along Quincy Lane about to lose the backyard barrier separating them from the noise and exhaust coming from the tollway…

Los Angeles, California, Times, October 23, 2018: National Park Service cancels controlled burn near Earth’s largest tree

A National Park Service plan to set fire to an ancient sequoia grove in western Sierra Nevada has been canceled for the second time this year, further delaying a delicate forestry operation aimed at triggering new growth near the world’s largest tree. The controlled burn in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks was expected to blacken 483 acres in the Giant Forest, a cathedral-like grove of sequoias straddling Generals Highway. The carefully tended fire was expected to last seven days, but was canceled Friday after a test fire failed to consume vegetation fast enough for the plan to work, according to Mike Theune, a fire information officer with the National Park Service. California’s famed General Sherman Tree and other giant sequoias have evolved in a manner that allows them to not only survive periodic wildfires, but also thrive in their aftermath. The towering trees are wrapped in a thick, fire-resistant bark, and their cones release seeds when exposed to heat. Fire also helps to clear the forest floor and expose nutrients that allow the fallen seeds to germinate…

Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, TapInto.com, October 23, 2018: A tree toppled onto the car and the crackling of electricity was loud and clear. A victim was trapped inside.

At 4:24 AM a tree loaded with powerful electrical wires crashes down on an unsuspecting driver at Belmont Avenue near Rockhill Road.  Fortunately for the driver, whose details are unknown, he/she was in Lower Merion.  Police were on the scene in under a minute, the situation was assessed, and the victim was told not to move and no matter what stay in the car.  The Power lines were active and occasional sparks and the sound of electricity crackled in the quietness of the early morning.  The police had closed the roads leading to the scene. The fire department was dispatched simultaneously with the police and the brave men and women mostly volunteer arose from their beds to respond to the firehouse to man the apparatus.  Two fire company rescue trucks were sent one from Station 22 -Belmont Hills and the other from Station 21 -Penn Wynne.  Rescue 22 from Belmont Hills arrived with its paid professionals and the volunteers. PECO Energy was notified to respond immediately and asked to cut the power.  The situation could be dire. Paramedics from Narberth Ambulance were on the scene, and Penn Wynne Fire Company’s “Heavy Rescue” unit stood by while awaiting the “all-clear” from PECO Energy who owns and maintains the electrical distribution network…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHNL-TV, October 23, 2018: Bonsai tree worth big bucks stolen from a respected grower on Hawaii Island

Bonsai trees are a respected form of artwork in Japan. The prestige has carried over to Hawaii where the carefully sculpted and beautifully groomed trees can be worth thousands. And a recent theft of a tree on Hawaii island has left a respected grower feeling like a part of him was stolen. “It was a tremendous sense of loss. It’s almost as if my daughter got kidnapped, you know?” David Fukumoto of the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center said. “I mean, you know, if you do good bonsai you have a very strong attachment to specific trees and it was very depressing to realize that someone would kidnap such a tree,” he added. The small tree was stolen from the center in Kurtistown sometime in late September…

Atlantic City, New Jersey, The Press of Atlantic City, October 23, 2018: Penalties for cutting trees illegally should reflect public’s intense interest

Few things so consistently provoke public opposition as cutting down trees that they enjoy. The latest instance is a small one but unfortunately not unique. David S. Dempsey, a Pennsylvanian who has a second home in Avalon, cut down some trees growing on a dune between his house and the ocean. He pleaded guilty to damaging borough property. This is done occasionally, said Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi, by people “who want to improve their views from private property.” A citizen spotted Dempsey cutting the trees and reported him to the police. Public interest in keeping trees and stopping those who would cut them is strong enough that a report to police might be the least one could expect from such disregard for nature and public property. Currently, residents in the Bass River Township area are vigorously protesting a state plan to cut enough of a tree farm around a watchtower so spotters can see and report fires before they become a danger to 50,000 area residents and firefighters…

Berlin, Germany, Deutsche Welle, October 22, 2018: German beaver fells tree onto yacht

Police said a couple making their way down the Müritz-Elbe waterway were “very lucky” to have survived the incident. Once on the brink of extinction, the beaver is making a comeback in Germany and across Europe. A German couple narrowly escaped death when a large tree came crashing down on their yacht, state maritime police said on Monday. A beaver felled a tree when the couple was traveling through the Müritz-Elbe waterway in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The beaver had managed to bite its way through a 20-meter-high (65.6-feet-high) poplar tree. The felled tree caused thousands of euros in damage to the yacht. “They were very lucky,” said a police spokeswoman. “Luckily the yacht was made of metal, so it was able to continue on its journey…”

Digital Journal, October 22, 2018: Tree removal: A dangerous business for all but the professionals


Despite what many people think, tree removal is a tough business that claims the lives of over 100 Americans each year, while injuring well over that number as well.According to tree care industry watchdog Dripline.net, as of October 18, there have been 84 fatalities in 2018 because of tree removal and trimming accidents. The surprising factor here is that a clear majority (36%) of the fatalities are civilians, as opposed to tree service professionals, who are trained in arboriculture and often highly experienced. The percentage of civilian deaths actually represents an improvement year over year from 2017, where 48% of reported deaths were untrained civilians. “It’s a fact of life that when you’re dealing with large or even mid-sized trees; there is always going to be a lot of risk,” said Glen Markstrom, General Manager at All Clear Tree Service in San Diego. “There are always going to be a lot of factors at play with a tree removal, including winds, tools used and equipment. Add to that the fact that larger trees can weigh hundreds or thousands of pounds, and you have a situation where the amateur may be in considerable danger…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, October 22, 2018: Why aren’t the leaves changing color in Northeast Ohio?

Have you noticed? Northeast Ohio’s famous fiery fall foliage is nowhere to be found. Take a ride through the Valley, in Cleveland Metroparks’ Rocky River Reservation. The historic Green Barn is now fire engine red and the park is a sea of green. Halloween is around the corner and it still looks like August. The leaves are barely changing. What’s up with that? “In Ohio,” reports FoliageNetwork.com, “things are still slow to get going.” Its maps mark the area as “low color.” It’s not just us. For the Mid-Atlantic, notes the Washington Post, “The Foliage Network’s latest update cuts right to the chase. ‘The bizarre foliage season continues! In the 10 years we have covered this region, we’ve never seen anything like this. The fall color is still on hold.'” What’s up with that? The short answer is that the unseasonably warm and wet fall has us on a two- to three-week delay in the leaves changing color…

Los Angeles, California, LAist, October 22, 2018: First pines, now firs: California’s trees are still dying

Remember three years ago when California had its worst drought on record? We might have more water than we did back then, but trees are still suffering. It’s just a different kind of tree. When it all started, it was the pines that were suffering. That’s because they live at lower elevations, where the drought hit the hardest. This year, California red and white firs are the biggest losers, and they live much higher up. That’s according to the latest aerial detection survey of the Southern Sierra, which the U.S. Forest Service released this month. Researchers flew over all the national parks and forests from Eldorado down to Sequoia and recorded how many of the 6.5 million acres contain dead or dying trees. Turns out it’s 11 percent. If you’re counting just the dead firs, that number would be nearly 10 percent. Jeff Moore manages the regional aerial survey program. He said tree mortality has two main causes: drought and bark beetles. And, yes, the drought is over, but the beetles are still here. “Trees at lower elevations have already been heavily impacted by the drought,” he said. “Now the beetles are just trying to find whatever’s leftover, and often times that’s in higher elevations…”

Toyko, Japan, Japan Times, October 21, 2018: What season is it? Cherry trees seen blooming across Japan

Even cherry trees aren’t sure what to make of this year’s run of unusual weather. Cherry blossoms, which usually bloom in the spring, have recently been flowering across the nation, likely due to typhoons that brought in warm air and salty seawater, according to Weathernews Inc. and other experts. The Chiba-based company said it received reports of the Somei-Yoshino variety of cherry tree blossoming from 354 people in 39 prefectures earlier this month. Experts say it is rare for cherry trees to blossom out of season in so many locations. Weathernews said it started receiving reports of blooming around Oct. 9. One report from the city of Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture, included a photo of a couple of Somei-Yoshino cherry blossoms flowering on a tree with almost no leaves left, the firm said…

Associated Press, October 21, 2018: Falling palm tree kills woman in hammock in Florida

Florida officials say a woman lying on a hammock was killed after a palm tree fell on her. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s officers say 20-year-old Isabel Melendez was in the hammock on Egmont Key Park on Saturday in late afternoon. The palm tree crashed on her, and she was taken to a hospital in St. Petersburg, where she later died of her injuries…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, October 21, 2018: Beetle kill trees being removed at Monarch Ski Area

As snow signals ski season is just weeks away, logging equipment can be seen moving across Monarch Ski Area. Mountain regulars are aware of what’s going on, an operation to remove trees killed by Spruce Beetles. Remaining slash piles are large, but smaller than the ones seen earlier this summer. The first year of work removed trees from 120 acres, and several hundred more acres will be treated over the next couple of years. This will be just one piece of a much larger infestation on Forest Service land. Monarch works with the U.S. Forest Service, as the ski area operates with a special use permit from the agency. Along with maintaining lifts and supporting winter recreation, there is an attitude of good stewardship toward the forest land. The removal process takes out beetle kill and leaves healthy trees behind, leaving thick stands of trees noticeably thinner…

Athens, Georgia, Banner-Herald, October 21, 2018: Fragile trees, shrubs need some help getting through winter

Winterizing fragile trees and shrubs is a simple and prudent exercise in landscape management. Mulching and watering before the ground freezes up can save you a bundle of time and money. “As long as the soil drains well, water the trees through autumn at least once a week unless there is a lot of rainfall, lot of rainfall,” said Gary Johnson, an Extension professor with the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota. “Soil moisture should be to a depth of 8 to 12 inches for the roots to take up water.” Apply insulating mulch but don’t overdo it. Piling mulch volcano-style against a tree trunk is the same as burying a tree too deep, Johnson said. Most tree and shrub damage in winter is not cold-related, he said. “Animal damage is the most common,” he said, recommending protective fencing around trees if deer are a problem, “or at least stem protectors like hardware cloth or plastic protectors.” And then there are the troublesome bark- and root-eating squirrels, rabbits and voles. Tree guards and chicken wire generally are used to keep them away…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, October 18, 2018: Canker diseases are a common killer of trees, and can spread easily

When a branch falls or a tree dies, one common reason is a group of diseases with an especially ominous name: canker diseases. “Canker” comes from the same root as “cancer.” Like cancers, cankers can spread. Cankers — usually oval or elongated areas of dead, discolored, cracked or sunken tissue — can be caused by a variety of pathogens, although most are fungi, according to Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist in the Plant Clinic at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Over time, the pathogen can spread from the original canker into the water-carrying vessels under the bark, cutting off the supply of water and nutrients to a branch or to the entire upper part of a tree. The canker also can create entryways for insects and decay organisms, which can lead to years of rot. Canker diseases have one big thing in common: They exploit weakness. “These aren’t strong attackers,” Yiesla said. “In order to get under a tree’s bark, they have to find a wound.” The breach may be bare wood from recent pruning, the torn tissue of a broken branch or a nick in a young tree’s bark from careless handling during planting…

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, October 18, 2018: Neighbors fear developer will kill iconic North Portland tree

Neighbors in North Portland continue fight to protect Heritage Tree. The massive white oak tree sits atop Overlook Bluff in North Portland. Neighbors in the area consider it an icon. About a year and a half ago, Portland developer Brandon Brown bought the plot of land on which the tree sits with plans to build six homes on the site. But he also pledged to protect the iconic tree. Brown said he followed city guidelines in his planning. A city planner even recommended Brown’s plan. But neighbors argued, under the plan, the homes would be built too close to the tree and would damage its roots, causing the tree to eventually die. “Oregon white oak roots are very shallow which means they’re very sensitive to any digging construction,” said Friends of Overlook Bluff chair Chrystal Smith…

Salisbury, North Carolina, Post, October 19, 2018: Money does grow on trees

Managing your forestland can be an excellent long-term investment. Over the years, income from managed timber stands has exceeded that from most other crops in terms of value added per acre per year. Even managed pre-salable timber stands have increased the property value of forestland substantially over bare or unmanaged, cutover woodland. Annual returns from 0 to 40 percent are possible from forest management. The range of returns is wide because of variations in soil productivity, stand condition, tree species, markets (both availability and price fluctuations), intensity of management, and availability of financial incentives. In today’s world, it is easy to track investments and watch them grow. In forestry this is not so easy. It is not easy to see trees grow, but they do increase in size, as well as value. In as little as 35 years a well-managed stand of Southern pines can go from being seedlings to being harvested as sawtimber. If this stand is well managed it is capable of accumulating 250 to 500 board feet of volume per year…

Tucson, Arizona, KGUN-TV, October 18, 2018: TDOT reminding people not to trim city trees

The Tucson Department of Transportation wants to remind people to not trim the city’s trees. Illegal pruning is an issue TDOT deals with a few times per month. Gary Wittwer, landscape architect for the TDOT, believes someone took it upon themselves to prune a city-owned tree on 5th Street and Stone Avenue instead of calling the city to do the job. He says the tree may have been blocking the stop sign or oncoming traffic, which is a safety concern the department would take care of as quickly as possible.”We really want to try to have professional people prune our trees, because it really is important to prune them correctly. Improper pruning can cause damage to the tree and long term disease,” Wittwer said…

Bloomberg News, October 17, 2018: Trump Threatens to Cut California Firefighting Aid Over ‘Old Trees’

President Donald Trump lashed out at Democrat-governed California on Wednesday, warning its leaders to clean up forests that he said are full of dead trees posing a wildfire risk. “California’s a mess,” Trump remarked at a Cabinet meeting after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said his department is “making forests work again… It’a a disgraceful thing,” the president continued. “Old trees are sitting there rotting and dry and instead of cleaning them up, they don’t touch them, they leave them, and we end up with these massive fires.” California has experienced 5,322 fires that burned about 621,000 acres so far this year, costing it $773 million for firefighting, according to the state. Fire is a perennial threat in the state, though it has experienced more than twice as much burned acreage so far this year than average…

Wilmington, North Carolina, Star-News, October 17, 2018: $29,500 to remove a tree: More price-gouging lawsuits filed

Four more companies have been sued by the state for alleged price-gouging in Wilmington after Hurricane Florence. N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein came to Wilmington on Wednesday to announce a pair of lawsuits against companies involved with tree removal. One suit names Action Tree Pros and Premier Landscaping and Lawn Care, both of Kentucky, and the other names Scotts Tree Service, of Ohio, and Goldberg & Donovan Inc., a debt collection agency based in Massachusetts. According to the first suit, after Florence struck Action Tree Pros — owned by Nick Downey — gave a property owner a $5,000 estimate for tree removal. But after the work was completed, the company billed the owner for $10,565. After that, the property owner told Downey not to do any tree work on any of her other properties. Stein said that Downey disregarded this and allegedly contracted with Premier Landscaping for more work. That included charging $29,500 to remove a single tree, and charging homeowners $78,865.02 for a total of five trees, Stein said…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, October 17, 2018: Consider tree roots before digging ditches

Personally, as someone who thinks a lot about keeping trees healthy, and preserving them, in areas of intense human activity, I think winter is a great time for those big remodeling/rearranging type projects around our houses. The reason is the demands the canopy of a tree puts on its root system are not nearly as intense in the winter. So, if we’re going to disrupt the roots with some kind of construction or changes, winter is a much better time to do it than summer. While there are lots of consequences of heavy construction and/or large changes for trees, there are four main problems that occur during this kind of activity — damage to the root systems, soil compaction, problems of toxicity, and drainage changes. You would be surprised how easy it is to do any, or all, of these things, during construction. As you can imagine, these kind of issues are going to be tough for a tree to deal with, and it’s a lot better if they start trying to adapt to such changes in the wintertime, rather than abruptly in the middle of the summer…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Herald, October 17, 2018: Phone scammers and unapproved tree trimmers trying to get money out of OPPD customers

OPPD is warning that scammers are calling its customers, pretending to work for the utility company and demanding money. Some tree trimmers also are falsely presenting themselves as OPPD crews. As of 4 p.m., the Omaha Public Power District had received about 125 reports of scam phone calls, the utility said Wednesday in a statement. “This is one of the highest totals of reports we’ve seen in a single day,” said Jodi Baker, spokeswoman. Scammers have been targeting utility customers across the country for years, OPPD said. The scams occur several times a year, sometimes after large outages such as Sunday’s, which cut off power to about 57,000 customers. The scammers often use spoofing technology so that caller identification appears to show a legitimate OPPD phone number. Callers pretend to be OPPD employees, demanding payment on bills they claim are overdue. In some cases, they claim customers need to pay for meters or other equipment…

New York City, New York Post, October 15, 2018: ‘Top Chef’ star admits to poisoning neighbor’s tree

Bad boy celebrity chef Adam Harvey has turned over a new leaf, admitting Monday that he did, in fact, attack a neighbor’s tree. Harvey, who copped to a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief, must serve 20 days of community service as part of the plea deal. The onetime “Top Chef” star had been accused of boring holes in the trunk of a maple tree adjacent to his Windsor Terrace property, and inserting some sort of poison into the holes after his neighbor refused to cut it down. “Yes sir,” the chef-turned-lumberjack responded Monday when asked by Judge Joseph McCormack if he’d used a “drill to cut and drill multiple holes into the bark” of the tree, which was blocking the solar panels on his $1.5 million Windsor Terrace home. His guilty plea follows a September appearance in which Harvey turned down a plea offer on the same charge — but which included 35 days community service. He’d faced up to a year behind bars prior to cutting a deal…

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, October 16, 2018: 11-year-old girl critically injured by tree being cut down

Authorities say an 11-year-old girl was struck and critically injured by a tree that was being cut down outside a home in western Michigan. The Ottawa County sheriff’s office says the girl arrived at the home with her family on Monday evening in Allendale Township and ran into the front yard to greet a family friend who was using a chainsaw to cut down trees. One of the trees fell as she approached, striking her in the head. The girl was taken to a hospital in Grand Rapids, where she was listed in critical condition…

Tyler, Texas, KLTV, October 16, 2018: Rain-soaked ground could lead to falling trees

With so much rain falling across East Texas, the rain-soaked ground could put trees at risk for falling, and the danger will linger long after the rain is gone. When a tree comes falling down in Rusk County, Richie Spencer at Spencer’s Nursery and Landscaping is often one of the people who gets the call. “The concern is the saturation around the root structure of the tree,” Spencer said. With much of East Texas getting a multi-day dousing, Spencer expects more and more trees to come crashing down. “Pine trees are probably the worst,” Spencer said. “That’s because they don’t have much of a root structure. That’s the problem you’ve got to worry about.” Spencer says it’s important to keep an eye on rotting trees and look for cavities or discoloration on the tree’s bark. But despite the clues, Spencer says when a tree’s ready to come down, it will. “There’s no real warning of a tree coming down,” Spencer said. “Once it’s on it’s way, it’s going…”

Greensboro, North Carolina, WGHP-TV, October 16, 2018: Greensboro residents look for tree services to clean up yards

As cleanup continues, some homeowners are finding out who is responsible for damage left by Tropical Storm Michael. Joyce Longmire learned she would have to find someone to clean up her damaged yard on Lawndale Drive, even though her neighbor’s tree caused it. “Had it gone a little bit further it would have fallen through my house, through my window,” she said. She said her insurance will cover the damage, but it’s been hard finding a tree service with so many homeowners reporting damage. Brent Burgess, a licensed agent assistant, said homeowners are responsible for damage on their own from fallen trees. She added that your neighbor could be liable only if their tree was sick or dying when it fell and you had notified them previously of the potential issue. Crews with the City of Greensboro will clear trees that have fallen into the street, but there are restrictions on how much work crews will do…

Michigan Watchdog, October 15, 2018: Township threatens nearly a half-million dollars in fines for removing trees on own property

Brothers Gary and Matt Percy, business owners in Canton Township, Michigan, face nearly a half a million dollars in fines after they removed trees from their own property without the township’s permission. Many of the plants the township is classifying as trees, their lawyer claims, are actually invasive plants. The Percy brothers are hoping to start a Christmas tree farm on the land, and are working toward planting 2,500 such trees on the property. “It is a shockingly high fine for allegedly clearing a retired grazing pasture in an industrial area,” their lawyer, Michael J. Pattwell, told Watchdog.org. The township is claiming the brothers violated a local tree removal ordinance that requires landowners to get government permission before removing trees from their property. The township defines a tree as a woody plant with a defined stem of at least three inches in diameter at chest height. Because the township does not know the exact number of trees removed, it hired an arborist to examine the make-up of trees on an adjacent property to estimate what trees were on the Percy brothers’ property before they removed them. In a settlement offer, the township proposed fines of about $450,000 for the removal of what it claims is slightly less than 1,500 trees, including 100 landmark or historic trees…

Columbia, Missouri, Missourian, October 15, 2018: Residents sue city for removing trees they say were outside utility right of way

A Columbia couple is suing the city for more than $25,000 in damages, alleging the city cut down several mature trees that were outside utility right of way. James and Susan Reynolds of 1301 Stonehaven Road allege that the city removed the trees from their property during the summer of 2017 and that the trees were beyond the boundaries of a 10-foot utility easement on the western fringe of their property. The petition outlines counts amounting to common law trespass, statutory trespass and inverse condemnation. “This is real estate they really cared about, and it was destroyed and taken without their consent and without compensation,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Christopher Braddock, said. The trees were within an approximate 40-foot area on the southeast corner of the property and removed for the purpose of maintaining utility lines, according to the petition…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, October 15, 2018: Downed trees in your yard or on your street: Is it the city’s responsibility to clean them up?

Do you have a tree in your yard, driveway, or even blocking your street? Michael has left tree limbs all across Greensboro. It can be frustrating and confusing. Do you have to clean it up yourself or is it the City’s responsibility? It is 100% the responsibility of the City to clean up tree debris on the road or on the sidewalk. But if there is a downed tree on your yard or driveway, the City of Greensboro cannot go onto your personal property and remove an entire tree. But if you take steps to cut the tree into smaller limbs, the city can assist you in removing debris. The City of Greensboro says residents who have this problem should call the City’s Contact Center hours from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.  Representatives will advise you on whether the city will remove/clean up the tree limbs, or if it’s the owner’s responsibility. Chris Marriot works for the City of Greensboro in the Field Operations Department. He is the Deputy Director. “We are asking residents to call the City Contact Center because the tree damage is sporadic,” Marriot said. “So call into the Contact Center so we know the location. Give us your name and address. We service on our waste routes somewhere in the range of 92,000 customers, and for us to just randomly drive and find places with tree debris, it could take months. So call in so we can get you on a list and we can get to you sooner…”

West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University, October 15, 2018: Landscape Report: Start Preparing Trees for Winter and Next Year

It all starts with providing some supplemental nutrition for small to medium-aged trees in the late fall when trees go into a state of dormancy. This is when trees stop active growth and begin to form terminal buds, drop leaves and develop cold resistance.  Adding fertilizer to trees too early in the season can push new growth which will be prone to winter damage. A fertilization program is used to maintain trees in a vigorous condition and to improve their immune system against pests. Fertilizing trees refers to the practice of adding supplemental nutrients (chemical elements) required for normal growth and development. However, you really can’t “feed” a tree, since trees are autotrophs. They use nutrients to feed themselves by making sugar in the leaves through photosynthesis. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are plant nutrients needed in the largest quantity and these are most commonly applied as a complete fertilizer. However, the addition of any soil nutrient is recommended only if soil or plant foliage tests indicate a deficiency…

Santa Cruz, California, Sentinel, Oct. 14, 2018: Wildfire safety tree-clearing program off to a bumpy start

PG&E’s wildfire safety program to clear trees and plants near power lines throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains has spurred confusion among property owners, leaving many of them wondering whether they have any say in the process. “I had no knowledge that it was happening,” said Lorrie Van Zandt, a Boulder Creek homeowner who had just moved from the property and was living elsewhere. She found out that trees on her land would be cut back only after getting a phone call from friends. The program, which PG&E began last month and hopes to finish by the end of the year, affects 7,100 miles of power lines in parts of the state that the California Public Utilities Commission has designated as high fire-threat areas. This includes 700 miles of power lines throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. As of Oct. 9, crews had inspected more than 278 miles of lines in the Santa Cruz Mountains and cleared trees and plants along 19 of those miles, according to PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, Oct. 13, 2018: Storied Congressional golf club cited for tree removal

Bethesda, Maryland’s tony Congressional Country Club, known for hosting such high-profile golf tournaments as the U.S. Open, recently was visited by some other, perhaps less welcome, guests: Montgomery County inspectors, who cited the club for denuding its picturesque fairways of shade trees without acquiring the proper permit. Large properties such as the country club are required to obtain a sediment control permit from Maryland’s most populous county if they clear more than 5,000 square feet of tree canopy. The club chopped down more than four times that amount without securing permission, according to county officials. After inspecting the grounds and comparing aerial photos with photos received as part of a complaint, authorities said the club appears to have removed roughly half an acre of tree cover in recent months – possibly in preparation for hosting several high-profile tournaments in coming years, including the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup…

Newsweek, October 15, 2018: Warning: Christmas Tree Spotted Lanternfly could infest homes

The spotted lanternfly could spoil many families’ holiday season, according to New Jersey agricultural expert Joseph Zoltowski, director of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry, speaking to NJ.com. Zoltowski says the tree-killing insect could potentially spread to homes by hiding in Christmas trees and leaving eggs to hatch. The spotted lanternfly, which is a native of eastern Asia, arrived in the U.S. four years ago in Pennsylvania and has spread throughout the eastern parts of the state. The bug has recently been detected in three New Jersey counties—Hunterdon, Mercer and Warren. It is believed to spread by attaching itself and its eggs to vehicles carrying wood, landscaping materials and agricultural produce, which would include the bark and branches of Christmas trees. “They’re very hard to spot,” said Zoltowski. A woman in Warren County, New Jersey, confirmed that she found lanternfly eggs attached to her Christmas tree once the insects hatched inside her home, according to Zoltowski. The expert said that there were two egg masses discovered in the bark, which are capable of storing as many as 30 to 50 eggs each…

Curiosity.com, October 12, 2018: There’s a tree that owns itself in Athens, Georgia

Tourists love trees: the Redwoods of California, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and the animatronic boughs of the Rainforest Cafe. But there’s only one tree, to our knowledge, that tourists flock to because it legally owns itself (ok, semi-legally): the aptly-named Tree That Owns Itself in Athens, Georgia. How Can a Tree Own Itself? Good question. The tree certainly wasn’t born (or didn’t sprout?) owning itself. For hundreds of years, it grew on a local family’s land and they owned it, in adherence with common sense and property law. It grew to a quite a stately size, too: in the early 1800s when Athens became an official city, it was the tallest tree in town. It wasn’t until 1890 or thereabouts that the tree made the local news: It had gained its independence. Being a tree, it had not been able to advocate for its rights. Instead, it lucked into them, thanks to a man named William H. Jackson. His family owned the tree, and Jackson, a University of Georgia professor, had grown up with it. He was emotionally attached to the tree and viewed it as a kind of bark-wrapped friend. So, legend has it, he gave it the legal deed to itself and a circular plot of land around its trunk…

Fox News, October 11, 2018: As Hurricane Michael topples trees, who is responsible for the cleanup?

As Tropical Storm Michael — once a Category 4 storm — continues on its rampage through Florida and the southeastern U.S., its strong winds and rains have toppled countless trees, leaving many to wonder: If a neighbor’s tree falls on your property, who is responsible? Typically, once a downed tree has fallen into your yard due to “an act of God,” it becomes your responsibility, Orlando-based attorney Tom Olsen told Fox News. “If a healthy tree comes down by act of God — lightning, hurricane, storm — each property owner is responsible for the damage to their own property,” Olsen said. Olsen noted that some instances could be different, including if the property owner knew the tree was diseased or dead. In those cases, someone could officially inform their neighbor, typically by certified mail, that a tree was defective, and then they could be responsible for any damage it caused if a hurricane brought it down…

Lincoln, Nebraska, Journal Star, October 11, 2018: ‘It’s a quality wood’ — Sawmill demo will show future use of doomed ash trees

Jewel Rodgers doesn’t have to look far to see the problems, or the solution. The community builder for the South of Downtown Community Development Organization knocks on doors in the Everett and Near South neighborhoods for a living, and she stands on front porches that feel like they’re falling in. She sees people sitting near the curb on cast-off furniture. And when she looks down, she sees the trash. “The corner of 13th and F is so littered with cigarette butts it’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said. But then she looks up, and she sees the thousands of trees that will fall prey to the advancing emerald ash borer. She thinks about all of that lumber, right there near all of the problems. Why not use it to make public benches? To build ashtrays and trash cans? To help homeowners repair sagging front porches? So on Saturday, Rodgers and the nonprofit South of Downtown group will show the potential in the doomed trees, hosting a sawmill demonstration and inviting woodworkers to showcase their work…

Washington, D.C., Business Journal, October 11, 2018: Mars needs chocolate. Lots of it. It just inked a big data deal to improve the cacao tree.

McLean-based Mars Inc. has struck a partnership with a St. Louis company to sustain its bread and butter: the cacao tree. Mars and Benson Hill Biosystems will work together to “improve the productivity and climate resilience of the cacao tree, essential to chocolate production,” the pair said in a release. Benson Hill promises a “revolutionary crop design platform” that combines machine learning and big data with genome editing and plant biology to “drastically accelerate and simplify the product development process.” “We want to enable farmers to produce more cocoa from less land,” Dr. Howard Shapiro, Mars’ chief agricultural officer, said in the release. “Benson Hill has built an impressive data and machine learning platform designed to provide insights that can improve crops faster. By tapping into the natural genetic diversity of cacao, we can speed up the evolutionary process necessary for improved productivity, disease resistance and resiliency to climate change…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, October 11, 2018: Mulch can be good for trees – or a disaster

It’s a sad fact that most of the trees planted in American landscapes today will probably be dead in 10 to 20 years. And the cause of many of these losses is simply because of improper use of mulch – layering it on too thickly and banking it up against the trunk of the tree. Garden writers, horticulturists and plant lovers have been writing about this for years, but sadly the message isn’t getting out. There is no doubt that when properly applied, organic mulches, such as wood chips, bark chips, or tub ground yard waste, can be of great benefit to trees. But used improperly, mulch can lead to their early demise. We know that mulch holds moisture in the soil and acts as a weed barrier. A nice layer of organic material not only looks tidy, it reduces a tree’s need to compete with weeds and grass for water and nutrients…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018: Thousands of Southerners planted trees for retirement. It didn’t work.

Over the past hundred years, the George family’s farm has been sharecropped, grazed by cattle and planted with cotton. By the late 1980s, Clayton George was growing soybeans and struggling to make ends meet. A new federal program offered farmers money to reforest depleted land. Pine trees appealed to Mr. George. He bought loblolly seedlings and pulled his pickup into a parking lot where hands-for-hire congregated.  “We figured we’d plant trees and come back and harvest it in 30 years and in the meantime go into town to make a living doing something else,” he said.  Three decades later the trees are ready to cut, and Mr. George is learning how many other Southerners had the same idea. A glut of timber has piled up in the Southeast. There are far more ready-to-cut trees than the region’s mills can saw or pulp. The surfeit has crushed timber prices in Mississippi, Alabama and several other states…

Scranton, Pennsylvania, WNEP-TV, October 10, 2018: ‘Just an impossible year’ – Vehicle damage, rain make things tough for tree farm

A tree farmer in Schuylkill County says this has been the worst season of weather in his four decades in the business.  And to make matters more difficult, over the weekend, a wild driver took out several trees with a vehicle. Wearing his cowboy hat and a custom belt from Mexico, Jeff Hill drove his four-wheeler around his tree farm on this day with plenty of energy, but he says this season has been a rough one because of poor weather, and now, a reckless driver. Nearly 1,000 acres of trees stand tall at J.C. Hill Tree Farms near Orwigsburg. Skid marks and tire tracks indicate the damage done over the weekend. “It was probably late Sunday night. They could not make the turn up here, flew in through my trees and ran them right over. It’s really a shame they didn’t stay sticking there because then, we would’ve had the culprit on track,” owner Jeff Hill said…

Chicago, Illinois, WMAQ-TV, October 10, 2018: Police Warn of suburban scammers offering tree removal service

Police are warning residents of a group of people posing as “tree service workers” in southwest suburban Palos Park. Officers stopped the group, posing as a crew of workers offering services for downed trees on Monday near 88th Avenue and 121st Street, according to Palos Park police. The scammers were going door-to-door offering help with the removal of downed trees at a discounted rate if customers paid up front, police said. They would then take the money and leave without ever returning to remove the trees. Police are warning residents to beware of services that require up-front cash payments and to expect written estimates and printed materials from legitimate tree services that are registered with the Village of Palos Park, police said…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal-Constitution, October 10, 2018: If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life. According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation’s highest “urban tree canopy,” defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. During the stormy summer months, fallen trees are fixtures in metro Atlanta’s landscape. The steps you take after a tree falls can mean the difference between headache and heartache. The first thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent, said Bob Delbridge, owner of 404-Cut-Tree, one of the largest tree service companies in the Atlanta area. “Occasionally we will deal directly with the insurance company. But that’s more likely if there is a storm that covers a large area, like a whole neighborhood.” Delbridge said. “Typically, the homeowner deals with their own insurance company…”

Charlotte, North Carolina, October 9, 2018: Tree trimming continues as Charlotte residents brace for Hurricane Michael

It’s been a busy time of year for Gus Holevas, the owner of Gus’s Tree Service in Huntersville. Holevas and his crew spent several days working for customers after Tropical Storm Florence moved through the Charlotte area in September. Now, his phones are ringing off the hook as Hurricane Michael prepares to make landfall in Florida. Holevas said he received close to 75 calls Tuesday from people looking to get trees removed before the storm passes through the Charlotte area. “Any tree service in Charlotte I bet you is busy right now,” said Holevas. He spent most of the day Tuesday at a home on Provincial Ct. in Huntersville. The residents wanted several large trees removed from their backyard. “People panic a little bit for this storm and I don’t blame it,” said Holevas. Jay Simolin, the owner of the house, pointed out the spots throughout his yard where trees had been taken down. “We basically just wanted anything down that if it fell, it would hit the house so we should be good for now,” said Simolin…

New York City, News12.com, October 9, 2018: Chainsaw partially severs tree trimmer’s arm

A mishap with a chainsaw almost cost a tree trimmer his arm Tuesday morning in Soundview. After driving almost 2 miles to White Plains Road and Bruckner Boulevard looking for help, the injured man and his co-workers got the attention of police officers Thomas Natoli and Amauris Rodriguez, from the NYPD’s 43rd Precinct. The officers made a tourniquet while emergency services were en route. The victim’s shirt indicated that he works for a private tree-trimming company, but News 12 was unable to contact the employer…

Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press, October 9, 2018: There’s no mystery behind oak tree masting: It’s a cycle of nature

The deer will eat well this winter. Thanks to a bountiful mass-seeding of oak trees, acorns lay thick on the ground in south-central Minnesota, as they do around the country. This phenomenon is called “masting,” and it happens every few years, said Eli Sagor, director of the University of Minnesota’s Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative. We took seven masting questions to Sagor and other experts to explain the how it works and what effects it might have. What causes a masting to occur in a specific year? It doesn’t appear to be related to good growing conditions in the spring and summer leading up to the masting, Sagor said. “That’s a little bit baffling, isn’t it?” he says. You’d think that, as with farmers’ crops, good weather would mean a bumper crop…

New York City, October 9, 2018: Is there a dangerous tree in your yard? Here’s how to tell

Staten Islanders love our trees — they give our homes and communities suburban charm — but, if unhealthy, they pose a serious danger. Homeowners should examine their trees regularly to ensure that they’re healthy, tree experts advise, because unhealthy trees are most in danger of crashing down during the next big storm. Clues to their instability are easy to spot, said Michael Cafaro, owner of Amboy Tree Service in Prince’s Bay. “Look for any bulging of the ground around the base of the tree,” said Cafaro. “Look for any type of extensive decay; big holes at the base. You’d know it if you saw it.” Decayed limbs are a sign of trouble, he said, adding that if the tree is swaying — be very concerned…

Lansing, Michigan, WILX-TV, October 4, 2018: “You’ll have to chop me down before you chop my tree down:” Trying to save a tree with a blockade

How far would you go to save a tree in your yard? One woman in Lansing decided to get creative when she saw the Board of Water and Light (BWL) cutting crews on her street Thursday morning. This all goes back to a story we brought you in September when people in the Colonial Village neighborhood complained that the BWL was getting overzealous in its trimming. Thursday one of them called News 10’s Alani Letang after she put up a blockade. And all she used was her cars, a sign, and her recycle bin to block the BWL’s contractors from physically getting to her tree. “I said no you’re not. You’ll have to chop me down before you chop my tree down,” said Stephany Burke, a neighbor trying to save her tree. It’s the wake up she didn’t plan for…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, October 4, 2018: Tree attack! Ficuses bewilder 24th Street merchants and pedestrians

Merchants and residents of the lower 24th Street corridor are under attack — from above and below. By trees. Problematic ficus trees are increasingly becoming a headache for area denizens, with roots causing damage to storefronts, raising the sidewalks unevenly and creating tripping hazards, and posing a constant danger of losing heavy limbs on windy days. “The trees can come down at literally any moment and kill someone,” said Marta Sanchez, the owner of the chip company Casa Sanchez, which used to have a restaurant on 24th Street. Sanchez, who grew up in the Mission, said two 24th Street properties owned by her 99-year-old aunt, Lupe Sanchez, have been damaged by ficus trees’ hulking roots growing into her buildings. In one of them, at 2762 24th Street, Sanchez said, the tree’s roots have infiltrated the property and damaged the building’s plumbing, causing the toilets to routinely clog. “Plumbers have been to the [the property] at least once a month,” she said…

Charleston, West Virginia, Gazette Mail, October 4, 2018: One Month at a Time: The problem with trees and what to do with them

It was about an hour before sunset when I got to the park entrance, though the hills and the trees made it look even later, like the light would be gone in half that time. It was quiet, just a few birds and the sound of water running through the creek. As expected, my cellphone reception had gone from three vigorous bars just a couple of hundred yards up the road to one very weak bar. Texts weren’t coming in. Texts weren’t going out. And I was standing in a parking lot, waiting for a man I’d never met, who told me he’d be bringing a knife, an ax and a saw. I’m not much of an outdoorsman. I’m not crazy about the woods and have a love/hate relationship with the quiet country neighborhood where I live. Seven years ago, I traded in the conveniences of city living for a small house on two-thirds of an acre near Elkview. I love all the space and privacy but hate the yard work. Because the property is on the side of a hill, it can take up to six hours to cut with a push mower if I let the grass get a little ahead of me. With all the rain we’ve been having, the grass has stayed ahead of me. The land came with a bunch of trees, including two apple trees, two pear trees and a peach tree that produces the sweetest, juiciest peaches I’ve ever tasted. One day, I hope to make a pie. During the derecho in 2012, the wind knocked one of the apple trees down. It took all summer for me to slowly saw and hack that thing into firewood, and I’ve had nothing but trouble trying to replace it…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, KFOR-TV, October 4, 2018: Luther man is angry after he says OG&E poisoned more than 100 of his trees

A metro man says OG&E showed up to his property without notice and killed more than a hundred of his trees. “No, there’s no notice and that crew confessed, no we didn’t try to knock on your door or they didn’t try calling me,” said Steve Morse, who lives on a rural property near the turnpike. “There’s well over a hundred trees at least that they poisoned.” Morse says he came home to find a crew on his property spraying his trees, which are near powerlines. He understands if the trees needed to be cut back, but says spraying them to death wasn’t necessary. “I don’t know, is this soil contaminated permanently or just what?,” said Morse. But his biggest fear is fire. “If someone was to throw a cigarette butt out on these dead trees, it would go up in a heartbeat,” said Morse, whose cabin burned to the ground during a wildfire several years ago. Now, he wants OG&E to make things right…

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Sonoma, California, Napa Valley Register, October 3, 2018: Calistoga property owner ‘startled’ by PG&E tree work

PG&E has been cutting down trees in Napa County in extreme fire-threat areas, and while the measures are necessary under state and federal guidelines, and no one wants a repeat of last year’s wildfires, at least a few property owners are aghast at the results. Jacque O’Neil now has what she calls a “ski run” down her property. In August, the electric company cut down what she says are some 1,000 trees on her and her husband’s 40-acre property about two miles up Old Lawley Toll Road in Calistoga. “They didn’t ask permission, they left debris everywhere, tore down fencing and a gate, and have decimated my property. This is atrocious,” she said. Dale Bleecher and his wife, Marla, own Jericho Canyon Vineyard, on 135 acres, across Old Lawley Toll Road from O’Neil. That property has also been affected by the tree cutting…

Traverse City, Michigan, October 3, 2018: Tree service worker faces embezzlement charge

A tree-service business owner found a growing list of payment issues and thousands of dollars in equipment missing when he returned from a winter in Florida, authorities said. The owner of Dave’s Tree Service heads south when business slows in the winter. He left Dennis Paul Stacey, 29, to prepare the business for the 2018 season. But he found issues with March job payments and missing equipment when he returned, according to court records. Grand Traverse County sheriff’s department investigators suspect Stacey, from Traverse City, instructed customers to pay him or write checks in his name, rather than the business’. Authorities also accused him of using chainsaws and other equipment — with an estimated value exceeding $1,000, but less than $20,000 — without permission, court records indicate. He returned “multiple tools” to the owner through a third party, according to court records. Court files additionally show Stacey took a business-owned pickup truck without consent. He challenged the charges…

Lansing, Michigan WILX-TV, October 3, 2018: When a county can step in and take down a tree

Police have released the name of the man who was killed when a tree fell on his car on Monday. Joseph Mull of Lowell was 32. Neighbors tell News 10 they had been complaining about the tree to the Clinton County Road Commission, but nothing was ever done about it. In an interview on Tuesday, the Road Commission told News 10 its not responsible for trees when they aren’t in the road. The “Right of Way” is the same for every county. The road commission or department can remove trees or other hazards up to 33 feet from the center-line of the road. Jackson County, for example, handles it on a case-by-case basis. “We always do an investigation of it and we go out at look at it, and if we see any concerns at all they we will get it removed as soon as we can,” Angela Kline of the Jackson County Road Department said. In other words, when it comes to trees on someone’s property, counties have the last say whether or not it is removed, thanks to the McNitt Act of 1931. “Its really their responsibility, but if we feel it’s going to be a danger to the motoring public, then we have the right to remove it and can. We have jurisdiction,” she added…


Newswire, October 3, 2018: New advice on tree planting to accelerate growth of new trees

There’s no doubt that October is one of the best months of the year for planting deciduous shade trees across nearly all of USA. Tree Top Pros, a tree service company with operations in Tampa, takes a fresh look at how to plant a tree. They debunk questionable planting advice such as deep planting holes and explain why. With more than one in ten trees in our urban forests either dead or dying, radical change in tree care and tree planting is needed. The company shares a 12-step tree planting checklist so that anyone can plant like a pro, if not better. It’s available hereThey claim the advice will enhance survivability of newly planted trees by a factor of 5. They also state that trees will grow at least 20% faster and taller each year if their simple advice is followed; most useful when trying to raise a large shade tree. There is a problem in our yards and urban forests. Tree research published earlier this year (2018) into the urban forest of Tampa, Florida indicated that 11% of all trees in the city were either dead or dying. In the experience of Tree Top Pros, this is a typical health profile of urban forests across cities in Florida and beyond. But the rate of attrition amongst newly planted trees is much higher. The advice shared will increase survivability of newly planted trees by at least 5-fold. This is because the planting guide directly addresses at least 80% of the known causes of early tree death…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, October 2, 2018: SF supervisors OK $14.5 million payment to woman paralyzed by tree limb

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $14.5 million settlement for Emma Zhou, who was paralyzed from the waist down in 2016 when she was struck by a 100-pound tree limb in San Francisco’s Washington Square Park. On Aug. 12, 2016, Zhou was with her two children in the park’s playground, which was bordered by several Canary Island pine trees, when a limb fell off of a 50-foot tree maintained by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. The heavy limb fractured her skull and severed her spinal cord. In November 2016, she filed a lawsuit in which her lawyers accused the parks department of maintaining the trees in a way that allowed large, weakly attached branches to grow back. Zhou’s lawyers also asserted that the city was aware of previous reports that branches had fallen in the park…

Lansing, Michigan, WILX-TV, October 2, 2018: County says it’s not liable for tree

The Clinton County Road Commission says it’s not responsible for the tree that fell and killed a man Monday. Neighbors tell News 10 they complained about the tree on Webb Road in DeWitt Township multiple times, but nothing was done. The Managing Director of the Clinton County Road Commission says It doesn’t deal with trees unless they’re on the road. So even though people asked the Road Commission to deal with it, it was really up to the person who owns the land. “This tree is outside the travel portion of the right of way, we maintain the travel portion of the right of way and anything outside of that we deem as the responsibility of the homeowner,” Joseph Pulver said. The Road Commission is going to let it stay the responsibility of the homeowner, even after the accident that killed a driver Monday. “We’re still looking into it. But at this time, we are not going to remove it,” Pulver said…

Live Science, October 2, 2018: Fossil of oldest flowering tree in North America discovered. And it was huge

During the late Cretaceous period, northeastern Utah was home to pterosaurs, duck-billed dinosaurs and fearsome therizinosaurs with claws that would put Edward Scissorhands to shame. Now, add to that list giant flowering trees. A fossil log found in the Mancos Shale of Utah reveals that huge angiosperms were part of the forest canopy in North America at least 15 million years earlier than previously believed. The preserved log was nearly 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter, 36 feet (11 m) long and probably came from a tree about 164 feet (50 m) tall, according to a new study published online Sept. 26 in the open-access journal Science Advances. It would have shared the forest with gymnosperms like conifers and ginkgo. The fossil is the first documented angiosperm greater than 9.8 feet (3 m) in diameter from prior to 75 million years ago, study researcher Michael D’Emic, a biologist at Adelphi University in New York, told Live Science in an email…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, October 2, 2018: Oakland expected to pay $1.75 million to family of boy killed by tree limb

The Oakland City Council is expected to approve a $1.75 million payment Tuesday to the family of a 16-year-old boy who died in 2015 when a tree branch he was climbing near Lake Merritt snapped and fell on top of his head. The teen, Jack Lewis, was an 11th-grader and member of the rowing team at Oakland Technical High School. A lawsuit his family filed alleged that city workers knew the Lakeside Park tree, near Fairyland, had decayed but did not mitigate the danger or warn the public. Lewis was at a birthday party Dec. 4, 2015, and climbing the tree along with several of his friends when the limb broke, causing him to fall. The branch, which the suit described as 20 feet long and a foot in diameter, landed on his head. Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene…

Lansing, Michigan, WILX-TV, October 1, 2018: Neighbors say tree accident was preventable

A Mid-Michigan man is dead after what authorities are calling a freak accident. Police say a tree fell on his car just before 8:00 Monday morning. The 32-year-old was killed when the tree snapped off and fell onto his car. Authorities say this was a wrong place, wrong time situation, but neighbors claim it could have been prevented. “Somebody died that didn’t need to,” David Stewart said. Stewart drives on Webb Road frequently. He says the Clinton County Road Commission cleaned up limbs from this tree when the wind knocked them down about a month ago. He said he asked workers to remove the tree itself. “I said, ‘the whole tree is rotted. The whole thing needs to come down.’ And they said they well, we’ll get with whoever they would report to and get back with me or get back and take care of it. And it’s quite obvious they never came back and took care of it,” he said. Mike May lives just down the street from where the tree fell. He and his wife have been driving out of their way to avoid the tree. “Every time we go by it, it’s like is it going to come down or not? You know, you fear for your life,” May said…

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, October 1, 2018: Proposed new Dallas tree regulations spark homebuilder opposition

Proposed Dallas regulations that could forbid removing trees from home owners’ back yards are the target of opposition from the Homebuilders Association of Greater Dallas. The Neighborhood Forest Overlay (NFO) plan, making its way through City Hall, is an additional step beyond tougher tree regulations already approved by the Dallas City Council in May. NFO would be an optional step neighborhoods could take to retain trees. Supporters hope to reduce clear cutting that sometimes occurs when small older homes are demolished to make way for larger new homes. New homes are replacing older homes now in many established Dallas neighborhoods with big trees…

Wilmington, North Carolina, Port City Daily, October 1, 2018: Billboards before trees: Company plans to withdraw request to allow removal of trees blocking ads

More than one year ago a request was made to the City of Wilmington by Guy Williamson, a real estate manager for Fairway Outdoor Advertising that would permit the removal of trees on public and private property that block the views of billboards — after several continuations, the item will be voted on at City Council’s next meeting. But there is a catch, the applicant of the request is asking for the item to be withdrawn from council’s agenda, however, since a public hearing and date have already been set, the item will remain. “This amendment was continued twice by Council at the applicant’s request with the latest action continued to the September 18, 2018 City Council meeting, which was cancelled, with all items moved to October 2, 2018. However, the applicant has now requested to withdraw the item altogether. Nonetheless, because the item was continued to a date certain Council meeting, it is on the agenda for formal action on the applicant’s request for withdrawal,” according to City Manager Sterling Cheatham. The request did not receive favor from the city’s Planning Commission, in April of 2017 the commission voted 6-0 against the approval of the request. Current city code prohibits the trimming or removal of trees in order to make outdoor advertising more visible, the request would have changed that…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, October 1, 2018: Oregon bans tree-killing herbicide amid sweeping investigation

The herbicide is called aminocyclopyrachlor. You might not be able to say it, but it was once a common weed killer used by the Oregon Department of Transportation and other public entities. Then, last week, Oregon became the first state in the U.S. to temporarily ban it from rights of way. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is investigating potentially widespread tree damage because of the chemical. “What we’re trying to get a handle on is, is this occurring in other areas? We are starting to hear about a situation in Eastern Washington,” said Rose Kachadoorian, pesticide program manager with ODA. In Central Oregon, she said trees were poisoned in at least four locations. ODA has prohibited the use of products with aminocyclopyrachlor until April, and lasting regulation could be established. Meanwhile, Kachadoorian said ODA will examine paperwork behind years of spraying in the state…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, Sept. 30, 2018: lawsuit against tree company over alleged price gouging in Wilmington

State Attorney General Josh Stein has filed a price gouging lawsuit against a tree trimming operator who allegedly charged a customer in Wilmington more than double the quoted price for services. Officials filed the lawsuit on Friday against Alva Wilson Lewis, the owner of A1 Tree & Storm Relief, A1 Tree and Storm Damage Relief and Big Al & Sons Tree Service, according a written statement released by the attorney general’s office. The lawsuit could be one of the first filed by state prosecutors that allege price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Florence that soaked a large part of North Carolina two weeks and brought flooding and heavy rains to the state. According to state officials, the landscaping company estimated that it would cost $4,000 to remove three trees from a customer’s property…

New London, Connecticut, The Day, Sept. 30, 2018: East Lyme homeowners in battle over four trees

You might think that a few peach trees would be a welcome addition along a street called Peach Lane in a subdivision called The Orchards. But you would be wrong. The neighborhood’s homeowners association says a few trees planted in the front yard of 5 Peach Lane must go, contending they could hurt surrounding property values and the uniformity of the neighborhood. Management has cited the homeowners, Purba Mukerji and Ali Rangwala, for being in violation of the declaration of The Orchards of East Lyme Development Inc. While Mukerji and Rangwala don’t particularly understand the stringency of the rules to begin with, their biggest concern is selective enforcement; they feel they’re being discriminated against. “We’ve always been saying: This is fine, do it for everyone, not just us, and then we are fine,” Mukerji said. The association first sent an enforcement letter to the couple nearly 14 months ago, and the matter remains unresolved. Mukerji and Rangwala have spent more than $1,000 in legal fees trying to keep their trees. So how did it come to this?

Leominster, Massachusetts, Sentinel & Enterprise, Sept. 30, 2018: As trees die, Leominster residents blame gas

As a lifelong city resident, Richard White can recall the ancient trees that lined many of the city’s streets when he was a child. “I remember as a kid running up and down Merriam Avenue and it was just a canyon of trees. It was fabulous. Now there’s almost nothing,” he said. The trees that have gradually been cut away over the decades were removed for varying reasons, but the trees that were taken down two years ago outside White’s Winter Street home he suspects were killed by a natural gas line leaking underground. “These were old trees. One they cut down that was killed by the gas was about 100 years old and probably 8-feet in circumference,” he said. “It’s a piece of history that’s gone.” When reached for comment about possible complaints customers might have been lodged about gas leaks killing trees in the city, National Grid, Leominster’s natural gas provider, responded saying that it’s very difficult to prove whether a gas leak had been the culprit…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 26, 2018: The trees in your yard: Are they just clutter?

… We were raised to believe that all trees are our friends, but this is not so. Many trees are tyrants. If they’re poorly sited, or have grown too big, or create a fire hazard, trees can easily qualify as the worst features of residential gardens. Many “trees” are nothing more than weak-rooted shrubs that have grown into 30-foot monsters waiting to collapse onto your roof during a windstorm. And yet we put up with their bullying. Why? Because trees have great PR. Poets have always loved them. They are in the Bible. The tree of life. The tree of knowledge. The family tree. Unlike humans, the older trees get, the more we respect them. Trees have special legal rights. In my Northern California town, some species—including giant, menacing redwoods—are deemed “heritage trees,” and you can be fined $5,000 for cutting one down without a public hearing…

NPR, Sept. 27, 2018: A drifting weedkiller puts prized trees at risk

Mike Hayes and I are sitting on the patio of Blue Bank Resort, the business he owns on Reelfoot Lake, in Tennessee. The sun is going down. It’s beautiful. What really catches your eye here is the cypress trees. They line the lake, and thousands of them are standing right in the water. Hayes tells me that they are more than 200 years old. They were here in 1812, when the lake was formed: A cataclysmic earthquake shook this area, the land dropped, and water from the Mississippi River rushed in and covered 15,000 acres of cypress forest. Yet these trees survived and became a home for fish and birds. “The fishing’s around the tree; the eagles nest in the tree, the egrets,” he says. “The trees define Reelfoot Lake.” Last year, though, Hayes noticed that the trees didn’t look right. Their needles were turning brown. Some were curling. “Something was going on that never happened before,” he says. Everybody had a theory: disease; drought; insects. “They thought of other things, but when it came down to it, it was a drifting chemical,” Hayes says…

Cleveland, Ohio, WJW-TV, Sept. 27, 2018: Cleveland residents waiting 23 years for city work crews to trim trees?

The Fox 8 I-TEAM has found you might have to wait decades for city of Cleveland crews to trim trees on your block. An internal e-mail exchange shows the city is on a “23 year cycle.” When you drive down some city streets, you might plow through tree branches hanging down over the roadway. Councilman Brian Kazy tried to get city crews out to West 125th Street and a manager with the Urban Forestry Department wrote, “We are on a 23 year trimming cycle.”In fact, the city told the councilman, that crews are not even working in his ward at all this entire year. Kazy said, “We just learned of the 23 year cycle, and I haven’t gotten an explanation on it.” Last year the I-TEAM revealed the city has been incredibly far behind on cutting dead and dangerous trees. As of last year, the backlog was more than 5,000 trees…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, Sept. 27, 2018: Millions of Connecticut trees are dying. What’s killing them?

Millions of Connecticut trees are damaged and dying from a combination of invasive pests, years of drought, old age, and major storms. Local officials in many cities and towns across the state are being pushed to the limit as they try to find the resources to deal with growing numbers of trees threatening to topple onto roads, sidewalks, parks and school grounds. In August, contractors hired by the city of Hartford began to take down several trees flagged for removal near a Goodwin Park basketball court, after a tree set to come down fell on an 11-year-old boy. An inspection of the red maple that fell on the boy determined the roots, trunk and crown were in poor condition and there was visible decay, city records obtained by The Courant show. Under a category called health, the inspector wrote: “Remove.” City officials worked to assess the health of trees. At least 230 trees have been marked for removal…

Amman, Jordan, Menafn.com, Sept. 28, 2018: ‘The worst kind of pain you can imagine’ what it’s like to be stung by a stinging tree

Stinging trees grow in rainforests throughout Queensland and northern NSW. The most commonly known (and most painful) species is Dendrocnide moroides (Family Urticaceae), first named ‘gympie bush’ by gold miners near the town of Gympie in the 1860s. My first sting was from a different species Dendrocnide photinophylla (the shiny-leaf stinging tree). It was like being stung by 30 wasps at once but not as painful as being stung by D. moroides, which I once described as the worst kind of pain you can imagine – like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time. I agreed to study stinging trees even after being badly stung. The puzzle was – what was eating the stinging tree? Stinging trees often have huge holes but no-one knew what was eating them. What could possibly eat the leaves that were so painful to touch? Stinging trees grow in light-filled gaps in the rainforest understorey and come in many different shapes, sizes and species (seven in Australia)…

Sisters, Oregon, The Nugget, Sept. 25, 2018: There’s trouble with the trees

Walking or driving around Sisters Country, one can’t help but notice some pretty unhappy trees. The most notable, of course, are the ponderosa pine trees along Highway 20 outside of town. Removal of the dead pines west of Sisters along the highway will start in October. That area was sprayed with an herbicide, which was later determined to be detrimental to the health of the ponderosas. Many other ponderosas are experiencing abnormally large needle dieback on the inside of the limbs, according to Amy Jo Detweiler of the Oregon State University extension office. Every summer, some needle dieback is normal and doesn’t indicate a problem with the health of the trees. There’s just more than usual this year. Several diseases affect the growth and survival of ponderosa pine in the Pacific Northwest and cause disturbances for the pines. These include root diseases, stem decays and diseases, foliage diseases, and dwarf mistletoes. These disturbances can result in dead trees, down wood, abnormal branches (witches’ broomstick), dead branches, dead tops, and broken stems. Disease and drought also promote insect attack and increase risk of wildfire…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, Sept. 26, 2018: Driver killed when tree falls onto truck on I-20

A tree fell onto a man’s truck and killed him while he was driving on I-20 in Douglas County on Wednesday morning, causing serious traffic delays, officials said. The man was traveling west in a pickup about 10:30 a.m. when the tree fell, Douglasville police Lt. Mark Edwards told AJC.com. He was found dead when officers arrived on the scene. No other vehicles were affected. The tree, likely a pine tree, fell directly across the cab of the truck, Edwards said. The man, who was the sole occupant of the pickup, has not been identified…

Beverly Hills, California, The Beverly Press, Sept. 26, 2018: Trees stay until sidewalk repair suit is heard

The removal of 18 full-grown ficus trees along Cherokee Avenue in Hollywood remains on hold as a civil lawsuit filed by United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles moves through the court system. A mediation hearing was held on Sept. 25 but yielded no significant breakthroughs on ways to preserve the trees, said Grace Yoo, an attorney and board member for United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles, which filed the lawsuit. The next step is for a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to consider the suit on Oct. 16. The city planned to remove the trees on Cherokee Avenue between Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue, and other trees in a project in South Los Angeles, because their roots damaged adjacent sidewalks. United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles’ lawsuit challenges the city’s Safe Sidewalks LA program, a 30-year, $1.4 billion plan to fix damaged sidewalks. The plaintiff is asking that alternatives to sidewalk repairs be considered before the city systematically removes trees…

Wausau, Wisconsin, WSAW-TV, Sept. 26, 2018: State inspects Christmas trees to prevent spread of invasives

“We had a little dry spell in the middle of summer, but made it through that,” says Dean Lemke of Central Wisconsin Evergreens. He’s expecting a Christmas tree harvest that’s about the same, maybe a little better than 2017. Lemke keeps a close eye on this 1000 acres all through the growing season. On this day he’s joined by Jennifer Oestreich from the State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The agency is in the process of inspecting trees in all 700-fields throughout the state. “This year the trees look absolutely fantastic,” she says. And they want to keep it that way for many years to come. Those greens that make our homes so cozy during the holidays, can also spread Grinch-like invasives like gypsy moths…

Las Vegas, Nevada, Review-Journal, Sept. 24, 2018: Amid tree deaths, Mount Charleston residents want to ‘halt the salt’

It sprouted from the rocky soil of Mount Charleston before the birth of George Washington and grew to the height of a 10-story building. Rose Meranto can hardly believe it’s gone. For the past 30 years, Meranto lived in the shade of the towering ponderosa. It filled the small yard of her cabin on Yellow Pine Avenue, where its lowest branches cradled lights and ornaments at Christmastime. All that’s left of it now is a stack of wood along the street and a 6-foot-tall stump a few steps from her front door. “I’m sorry that I get emotional over the tree, but this was no insignificant thing that took place,” the 87-year-old said, fighting back tears. “It breaks my heart to see this tree gone.” Meranto isn’t alone. All around the Old Town neighborhood, people are lashing out over the loss of their trees. Signs nailed to some of the still-standing trunks identify the suspected culprit: “This tree was killed by Clark County Public Works.” Mount Charleston residents blame salt-based, road de-icing chemicals used by county crews for poisoning their trees. If the salt doesn’t kill them outright, it weakens them, leaving them susceptible to beetles and disease. Other signs posted around Old Town urge the county to “Halt the salt…”

Washington, D.C., Washington Post, Sept. 24, 2018: Child dies in Loudoun after a tree falls on her, sheriff’s office says

A 7-year-old Loudoun County girl was killed over the weekend after a tree fell on her, according to authorities and a relative. Two children were swinging in a hammock tied to a tree when the tree fell on both, according to the county sheriff’s office. The incident, which the sheriff’s office called “a tragic accident,” occurred about 6 p.m. Saturday at a family gathering at a house on St. Francis Court in the Purcellville area. It was not clear why the tree fell. No explanation was available. After the accident, the girl was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she died, the sheriff’s office said. The second child, an 8-year-old boy, suffered injuries described as minor, the sheriff’s office said…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star-Tribune, Sept. 24, 2018: As ash trees succumb, conservationists rebuild a forest along the Mississippi River

As Minnesota’s ash trees fall to the invasion of emerald ash borer in the next decade, the forest that borders the 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities metro area is expected to lose one-fifth of its canopy. Tums out that’s not all bad. Conservation groups that work in the 54, 000-acre Mississippi National River and Recreation Area are using that environmental disaster to thwart a much larger one on the way – climate change. By replacing ash with other kinds of trees, as well as bushes and other plants, they hope to establish a for est that is more likely to thrive in a future of higher average temperatures and much more erratic precipitation. “We thought we could stack the deck,” said Katie Nyberg, executive director of the Mississippi Park Connection, the nonprofit advocacy and fundraising partner with the federal recreation area. “Rather than waiting for the [ash] trees to die and the buckthorn to come in, and saying ‘Oh, what do we do now?'” In fact, the impending ash borer crisis has brought together government land managers and conservation groups all along the river to share resources and think about the for est of the future, she said…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, Sept. 24, 2018: Falling tree kills Rochester man at Exeter job site

A Rochester man was killed Friday when he was struck by a tree while working at a job site, police said. Urban Tree Service employee Keith Hussey, 44, died at the 11 Garrison Lane scene, police said. Emergency workers were called to the home about 11:30 a.m. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified and is investigating. A representative of Urban Tree Service issued a statement on the death, but did not comment on the investigation or the details of the accident.  “On Friday we did lose an important and valued member of our family at Urban Tree Service and right now we are mourning his passing and offering condolences to his family and loved ones. At this moment we are not commenting beyond this,” the representative said…

Victoria, British Columbia, Sept. 23, 2018: High-value theft target: trees

This year, a resident of the Olympic Peninsula was sentenced to 30 days in jail for felling and stealing a bigleaf maple on federal land near Olympic National Park. The theft was one of many tree thefts in Washington state since demand for the shimmering, curly-grain pattern found in some bigleaf maple wood skyrocketed about 15 years ago. The patterned wood, called ripple or flame maple, is sought by makers of fine furniture and of guitars, mandolins, violins and other wooden musical instruments. The highest-quality wood can sell for as much as $200 for a half-meter-square, 10-centimeter-thick slab. British Columbia sees its own share of such thefts from parks, Crown lands and private property. The problem was getting so bad that, in 2007, police started cracking down on mills that accepted and processed curly maple wood. By educating mill owners and managers, the police made it difficult for tree poachers to move and process the wood. Once cut, the trees must be processed within two days or the wood loses its valuable characteristics…

Atlanta, Georgia, Saporta Report, Sept. 23, 2018: A wake-up call in effort to strengthen Atlanta’s tree ordinance

As I drove home one summer night down West Wesley Road, a large dark shadow swooped in front of our car. “Wow!” shrieked my 5- and 6 year-old boys from the backseat. “Did you see that?” It was a huge owl – probably with a wingspan of 6 feet or more. We added it to the animal bingo board game we play, not realizing not realizing that some of the bird’s habitat in our neighborhood was about to be obliterated. In our neighborhood of Margaret Mitchell, it’s not uncommon to see deer, foxes, owls, snakes, hawks and more – sometimes all in the same day. This is what makes Atlanta special and unique – the lush tree canopy that is home to these beautiful creatures within just miles of a major metropolitan center. I admit, growing up here, this is something I took for granted and never really thought about. Out-of-town friends always marveled at the lush vegetation, and I just assumed all cities were like ours until I started traveling and lived elsewhere – now I know it’s unique – but also in grave danger of disappearing. My rude awakening from this oblivion was two months ago. Driving to drop the boys at summer camp early one morning, the three of us witnessed a sight I’ll never forget: A wooded lot, of 2 acres or more, on West Wesley being bulldozed out of the blue. Huge, healthy oak and pine trees crashed to the ground one after another. By the time I picked the kids up that afternoon, every tree was gone. The stretch of forest we passed every day and assumed would always be there was now a huge gaping hole of red clay. It was shocking, devastating and left us all speechless…

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, Sept. 23, 2018: Customers complain tree removal company scamming customers to get more cash

A homeowner said a tree removal company tried to scam her into paying more money to remove a tree from her yard after she already paid for the job up front. A FOX31 investigation found customers reporting similar complaints to the Better Business Bureau. Virginia Schneck said Bernard’s Landscaping and Tree Removal was going door-to-door in her neighborhood. She was interested in getting branches removed from the silver maple tree in her front yard and agreed to hire the company. According to her contract, Schneck paid $1,400 for the tree’s removal. It said in the contract that there would be no additional costs outside the specified amount in the contract. The document shows both Schneck and the company’s owner, Anthony Bernard, signed the contract. Schneck took pictures as the crew began cutting down the tree in her front yard. Schneck said about 10 feet of the tree are still planted in the ground and logs are piled up on the grass, Bernard checked back in and said he didn’t have the right saw for the job. She said he asked her to pay an additional $200 and he’d return in a few weeks to complete the work…

Crystal Lake, Illinois, Northwest Herald, Sept. 23, 2018: Man’s leg amputated in tree removal incident in Nunda Township

A man’s leg was partially amputated in an incident with tree removal equipment Saturday. At 1:54 p.m., the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department responded to the 6900 block of New Hampshire Trail in Nunda Township, where someone reported that a man had suffered a traumatic injury, Battalion Chief Chris Kopera said. McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandra Rogers said one person had been using a stump grinder while another was holding a tension rope as a tree was cut down. The man holding the rope moved, and the slack from the line got pulled from the grinder. The rope then wrapped around the man’s leg, which got pulled into the grinder, causing the lower part of the leg to be amputated, Rogers said…

Pennlive.com, Sept. 20, 2018: Why are so many trees dropping their leaves already?

Yes, it’s almost officially autumn, but no, our trees shouldn’t be dropping their leaves yet. The falling leaves and baring trees aren’t a case of Mother Nature confusing September with October. Blame it on this season’s rain-fueled diseases that have caused leaves to discolor and drop prematurely. Fungal diseases such as rust, leaf spot, mildew, and anthracnose thrive in warm, humid summer weather. They cause leaves to spot, splotch, and yellow, and when the damage is bad enough, the trees shed the useless leaves. Crabapples, serviceberries, birch, cherries, sycamore, and oaks are among those that have been shedding lots of leaves since August. Many dogwoods and some pears aren’t looking the greatest either…

New Jersey Spotlight, Sept. 21, 2018: Utilities in NJ to be let get more aggressive trimming trees, clearing vegetation?

Last March, falling trees toppled more than 2,000 utility poles and over 100,000 miles of power lines in New Jersey, leaving more than 1 million customers without power, some for up to 11 days. It led the state Board of Public Utilities to recommend in a post-storm analysis a more proactive approach to cutting down and trimming trees to avert widespread outages, typically the primary reason that customers lose power. Yesterday, the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee took action to achieve that goal by approving a bill (A-2558) to allow more aggressive tree-trimming and vegetation management by the state’s four electric utilities. “We can’t do everything to prevent storm damage, but we can do what’s smart to protect our energy infrastructure,’’ said Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer), chairman of the panel and sponsor of the bill. “Making sure our trees and shrubs are properly maintained around energy infrastructure is quite simply common sense.’’ It also, however, is quite controversial. Homeowners and local shade-tree commissions often try to block vegetation management, particularly when utilities try to trim trees outside their rights of way…

Homer, Alaska, KBBI Radio, Sept. 20, 2018: Homer residents experiment with a tree from Alaska’s prehistoric past

Could climate change take forests back in time? Kenai Peninsula residents and scientists see evidence that warmer weather is bringing back at least one tree that hasn’t populated Alaska for millions of years. Across the street from Homer’s Pratt Museum, there’s a small tree growing on the side of the road. You’d probably miss it if it wasn’t for the wooden placard proclaiming it a “metasequoia.” “Just for your listeners, right now it looks 11 inches high,” Geoff Cobal said as he stood next to the tree off Bartlett street. Cobal planted the sapling about three years ago. It’s also known as a dawn redwood and can grow to be 100 feet tall. “But it looks like it might be 1 inch higher then when I planted it. Well, it looks like it’s about the same height as when I planted it. So, it’s not like doing great,” Cobal said as he laughed…

Richmond, Kentucky, Register, Sept. 20, 2018: Tips to properly maintain trees

David Seals has been as busy as a bee the entire year taking care of trees, and there are several tips he has for area homeowners to stay ahead of the game. “From early spring to early winter, it’s a busy time,” said Seals, of Absolute Tree Service. “We have, you know, ups and downs through summer, but it stays pretty steady. “This year, it’s been primarily storm damage stuff, and the other thing is, once you have a few storms that we’ve had and severe weather, then people really start to notice their trees, especially ones that are really big or really close to structures, or ones that have some kind of compromise, like a rotten limb.” And in order to take care of trees when they do become compromised, there are two things Seals said are important to do. One is for people who have trees in their yards to always be aware. “If they have big trees in their yard, just having someone inspecting them, making sure there’s nothing abnormal or issues with the tree, like if they see a lot of insects on them … or they maybe notice discoloring or the leaves are dying too soon,” Seals said…

Cleveland, Ohio, WOIO-TV, Sept. 19, 2018: North Ridgeville resident flummoxed over city’s threat to press charges over tree

A North Ridgeville woman says she’s getting conflicting messages from the city about a tree in her yard. First, a city worker told her it had to come down, but that the city would pay for it. Now, she’s gotten a certified letter in the mail, telling her she has to foot the bill, and threatening her with a crime if she doesn’t get it done quickly. It started in August, after Kathryn Corbin says a storm caused some branches from a large tree in her yard to fall onto Lorain Road. Before she could have them removed, the city did it, and then placed a note on her door. When Corbin called City Hall, she says a city worker informed her they were condemning the tree, and it would have to come down. “I said, ‘Well, how much is it going to cost me?’ He said, ‘Nothing. The city will take care of it…”

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, Sept. 19, 2018: Tree crushes man in Columbia Gorge; Oregon pays out $150k

The state has paid $150,000 to the estate of a man who died instantly when a tree fell across the Historic Columbia River Highway and onto his car. Jorge Figueroa, 27, had been visiting the Columbia River Gorge from the Seattle area on June 28, 2015, when the tree came crashing down onto the Saturn sedan he was driving. A lawsuit filed by Figueroa’s family said the tree was decaying and its trunk was marred by woodpecker holes that were “easily visible” from the scenic highway. The family faulted the Oregon Department of Transportation for failing to remove the tree, saying it posed a significant risk to the public at the “busy tourist destination” just east of Latourell Falls near Corbett. The case had been scheduled to go to trial this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, but was dismissed last month after Figueroa’s family and the state reached a settlement…

Bridgeport, Connecticut, Connecticut Post, Sept. 19, 2018: DCP, DEEP urge residents to assess oak, ash trees

Homeowners should make tree health assessments now, while those trees still have their leaves, officials said Wednesday. After several years of drought and invasive forest pests, Connecticut’s oak and ash trees have taken a toll. The Department of Consumer Protection and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection put out a news release explaining what residents can do to ensure the areas around their homes are safe from any possible falling trees in the future. Homeowners will notice a hardwood tree is dead or dying if it loses its leaves before the end of September or if it never produced any this season. “The lack of greenery during the growing season is clear indication a tree is dead and should be removed if it a threat to property,” the news release said. “Now is the time to identify and make a plan for those dead trees that may pose a risk to your home and yard,” said Chris Martin, the director of DEEP’s Forestry Division. “Tree removal contractors are very busy these days and you could be place on a long waiting list…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WCAU-TV, Sept. 19, 2018: Mom dies after being crushed by tree that her son cut down

A woman living in a tent at a Bucks County, Pennsylvania homeless camp died when her son cut down a tree that fell on her, Bristol Township police said. The woman was lying face down in her tent Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. when her son began trying to cut down a dead tree and send it away from the camp, which is  in the wooded area between Bristol Pike and Dixon Avenue.  Instead, the 50-foot-tall tree fell the opposite way, bouncing off a nearby tree on the way down and landing on his mother’s tent. The woman died due to blunt trauma to her chest. Police called the death accidental…

Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer, Sept. 18, 2018: A tree crew battles to clean up after Hurricane Florence, one house at a time

Kathy Matthews awoke around 4:15 a.m. Monday to a tremendous crash and leapt to her window to find an 80-foot pine only feet from her face and barging into her kitchen. Six hours later, Umberto Castillo was on the other side of the window, astride the trunk, trying to figure out what to do about it with his chainsaw. It would take a crew of eight men, four trucks and a crane to get the pine off the Matthews’ house and into the street where it could be chopped up and hauled away. For Jimmy Everett, it was one of three houses in the Triangle his tree service handled Monday, whiling away the day on local jobs while waiting for the call to head down east. Everett Tree Service has two crews working in Fayetteville and this one in the Triangle, but their real work will begin when insurance claims start coming in from Jacksonville and Wilmington. Everett was hoping to have been down there as early as Saturday night, but the slow movement of Hurricane Florence and blocked and flooded roads have conspired to push that back. And back. And back…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WRTV, Sept. 18, 2018: Indy mom saved thousands of dollars after RTV6 story prompts action to clean up downed tree

An Indianapolis mother has a clean yard days after calling RTV6 to help figure out who’s responsible for removing a tree she says was dumped there. Ashley Lamb says the tree on her property fell on power lines near Kenwood Avenue and West 32nd Street a few weeks ago. Indianapolis Power and Lights came out to fix the power lines and trimmed the tree, throwing the debris in Lamb’s yard. She reached out to RTV6’s Graham Hunter last week to get help cleaning it up, saying she didn’t believe it was her responsibility because it was IPL’s mess. A spokesperson from IPL told RTV6 their crew trimmed the tree and left the debris because it was an “emergency situation” and state regulations say they don’t have to clean it up. And it wasn’t IPL that came to the rescue. “I woke up this morning and met with the gas company, and he said that by 11 it would be cleaned up and sure enough, they came out and within 35-40 minutes it was all gone,” said Lamb. A Citizen’s Energy crew that fixed a gas line in the area from the incident came back out Tuesday morning and took care of the tree, even though it wasn’t their responsibility…

Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana Daily Student, Sept. 18, 2018: What’s that awful smell on the way to class? It might be a Ginkgo tree.

Less than a week away, IU’s fall comes with a distinct and rather unpleasant reminder that it has officially arrived. If you have walked past Maxwell Hall or the Student Building in the later months of the year, your senses have likely been overwhelmed by an obnoxious odor. The source of the smell is not from someone who forgot to clean up after their furry friend, but rather IU’s infamous Ginkgo trees. “I had a class near them, and I purposely walked out of my way to avoid them,” sophomore Niki Pizzato said. “The Ginkgo trees are the worst and should be nowhere near here.” Adorned with fan-shaped leaves, these trees stand tall and mighty near the Dunn’s Woods. The smelly giants are hard to miss mixed in among the American Beech and Red Maple trees. “The female trees are the ones that give off the smelly fruits in the fall,” said John Lemon, Jordan Hall Greenhouse supervisor. When stepped on or left to rot on the ground, these apricot-like fruits emit an odor that has been likened to the smell of vomit, dead fish or canine droppings…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, Sept. 18, 2018: Park Ridge aldermen deny property owner’s appeal to cut down four trees at ‘Shibley oaks’ site

Several burr oak trees believed to be remnants of a 19th century savanna will remain standing — for now — on a piece of privately owned Park Ridge property following a vote by aldermen Monday night. The City Council voted to reject an appeal filed by 819 Busse Highway LLC that sought the removal of four trees at the northeast corner of Busse Highway and Shibley Avenue, property that has been dubbed “Shibley oaks” by residents. Initially, the property owner had applied to have all 15 trees on the largely vacant, .75-acre site cut down, but only three were approved by Park Ridge’s city forester, city documents showed. Later, 819 Busse amended its request to be allowed to remove five of the 12 remaining trees, but, at Monday’s appeal hearing before the City Council, that number was further reduced to four after additional testing occurred. Aldermen, following the two-hour appeal process, unanimously rejected the removal of three trees and voted 5-2 against the removal of a fourth tree that stands partially in the path of a sidewalk. In the case of the sidewalk tree, aldermen Nicholas Milissis and Marc Mazzuca noted that the studies suggested the tree actually is in a poor enough condition to warrant removal…

Gainesville, Florida, Sun, Sept. 17, 2018: Tree-cutting methods decried and defended

Leslie Evans said she understands why trees need to pruned near where she lives on Northwest 78th Avenue outside of Gainesville. “We appreciate it because we have limbs down,” Evans said. “They fall on people, cause property damage.” But Evans was alarmed when she looked outside her window over the weekend and saw how the oak trees were being cut on the stretch of Northwest 78th Avenue from County Road 235 to County Road 241. “Never before have we seen trees cut like this,” she said. Evans took cellphone photos as evidence of limbs being shredded indiscriminately. By not making straight cuts, Evans said, the oaks run the risk for possible disease. “It’s just terrible seeing the canopy being cut that way,” Evans said. Alachua County Engineer and Public Works Director Ramon Gavarrete said the trees were cut due to public safety concerns for drivers who use the road…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WRTV, Sept. 17, 2018: Woman off the hook for fines from tree left in yard by IPL; still may be responsible for cleanup

An Indianapolis woman won’t be facing a fine over a downed tree left on her property, but she’s probably going to have to clean it up herself. The tree was initially on the woman’s property when it fell on power lines near Kenwood Avenue and West 32nd Street a few weeks ago. Indianapolis Power and Lights came out to fix the powerlines and trimmed the tree, throwing the debris in the woman’s yard. She reached out to RTV6’s Graham Hunter last week to get help cleaning it up, saying she didn’t believe it was her responsibility because it was IPL’s mess. A spokesperson from IPL says their crews trimmed the tree and left the debris because it was an “emergency situation” and state regulations say they don’t have to clean it up. Initially, the Marion County Health Department had issued a notice to the family saying they had 12 days to clean the tree up or they could face fines up to $2,500 per day. But the health department says they decided to close the case after finding out that IPL had trimmed the tree and left it in the family’s yard…

Washington, D.C., Post, Sept. 17, 2018: Scientists thought they had created the perfect tree. But it became a nightmare.

Carole Bergmann pulls her small parks department SUV into an aging 1980s subdivision in Germantown, Maryland, and takes me to the edge of an expansive meadow. A dense screen of charcoal-gray trees stands between the open ground and the backyards of several houses. The trees are callery pears, the escaped offspring of landscape specimens and street trees from the neighborhood. With no gardener to guide them, the spindly wildlings form an impenetrable thicket of dark twigs with three-inch thorns. Bergmann, a field botanist for the Montgomery County Parks Department, extricates herself from the thicket and in the meadow shows me that what I take to be blades of grass are actually shoots of trees, mowed to a few inches high. There are countless thousands, hiding in plain sight in Great Seneca Stream Valley Park. If it were not cut back once a year, the meadow would become like the adjacent screen, wall upon wall, acre upon acre of black-limbed, armored trees worthy of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. “You can’t mow this once and walk away,” said Bergmann, who began her 25-year career in the department as a forest ecologist but has been consumed by an ever-pressing need to address the escape of the Bradford pear and other variants of callery pear, a species that originated in China, along with other invasive exotics…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, Sept. 14, 2018: Cleveland considering new rules to protect the Forest City’s trees, expand the tree canopy

The city is considering new rules aimed at preventing removal of trees at development sites and expanding the Forest City’s tree canopy.
The rules are part of legislation now before Cleveland City Council. They would require developers to submit tree preservation plans before development projects could proceed and provide for civil penalties for damaging trees or removing them without approval. “This gives the urban forestry the authority, the ability, to put a dollar value on our trees,” Councilman Matt Zone, one of the ordinance’s sponsors, said in an interview. The ordinance would require tree preservation plans be prepared before development projects on one acre or more of land and any development project for four or more apartments, condominiums or townhomes on any sized lot…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal-Constitution, Sept. 16, 2018: ‘He was a fighter in the beginning’: 3-month-old killed when tree falls on home

A 3-month-old boy died when a saturated pine tree fell and crushed a mobile home in Gaston County. Police said the tree landed on the home on Moses Court near Dallas around 12:45 p.m. Sunday. The child, identified by his family as Kade Gill, was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The family was home in the living room when the tree landed on the home, family members said. “He was unresponsive,” father Olen Gill said. “As I approached the room, I see them pumping on his chest, and that time, I knew that it wasn’t good.” Olen Gill said his wife Tammy Gill was holding Kade on the couch when they were struck by the tree. “The tree had divided us,” Olen Gill said. “I’m in the kitchen and she’s in the living room on the couch…”

Odessa, Texas, American, Sept. 16, 2018: Tree roots pose little risk to home foundation

Fortunately, trees roots are lazy. Despite the hype, they usually pose no real risk to your home’s foundation when the trunk is at least a modest distance away from the structure. Generally, the minimum tree planting distance from a foundation is ten feet. However, to ensure that you can sleep well at night, you could plant it just a few feet further away. Still, when planting a tree only six feet from your home, your home will probably not experience any foundation damage. It’s difficult for homeowners to find solid information on the risk factors. The disagreement among good arborists is probably due to individual experiences, their understanding of how roots grow and historic differences between building codes. Roots grow where conditions are favorable. They’ll almost always grow away from solid objects. This tends to benefit homeowners when it comes to foundations. Most building codes require foundations to be poured at least twelve inches deep. Roots can easily lift sidewalks, driveways, and other shallow concrete structures as opposed to a foot-deep foundation supporting the substantial weight of an eight-foot brick wall buttressed by other walls…

San Diego, Union-Tribune, Sept. 16, 2018: The march of the tree root marauders

One of the great surprises in community mediation is how much distress trees cause in neighborhoods. And the tree problems you cannot see are usually more vexing than the ones you can. Above ground, a tree is a resplendent gift from nature. If it starts growing too large for its surroundings, there usually is ample time to anticipate the damage and plan on mitigation. Below ground, tree roots can be marauders that destroy infrastructures where no one is looking. By the time wreckage becomes apparent, repair bills could be substantial – and they won’t get any smaller with the passage of time. An early step in any conflict management is to reframe the dispute as a shared problem the parties can tackle together. When we pool ideas and assets, we can generate solutions that wouldn’t surface in us-vs.-them legal channels. Such cooperation is useful when grappling with invasive trees because the rules of this game are jumbled. Assigning individual liability can be as bewildering as it is contentious. California tree laws are clear about one thing: The health of a live tree takes precedence over the property rights of a person. From there, the legal landscape gets tangled…

Beijing, China, Xinhua News Agency, Sept. 16, 2018: Growth rings in trees synchronize on planetary level, scientists say

The growth rings in tree trunks are synchronized on a planetary level, according to recent findings by scientists at Italy’s National Research Council (CNR) and Padua University. Thanks to a four-year study named COSMIC, the scientists said they now have a precise method for dating past atmospheric events that occurred on a global scale, and can equip themselves in case they repeat in the future. “Year after year, plants record everything that happens on the planet,” researcher Mauro Bernabei from the CNR Institute of Tree and Timber (IVALSA) told Xinhua. “We discovered that there are no holes in this chronological sequence…”

Charlotte, North Carolina, WBTV, Sept. 13, 2018: Charlotte’s tree canopy problematic during Florence

If you drive down almost any road in Myers Park, the first thing that may strike you is the large tree canopy. “This is the whole reason Myers Park exists is tree canopy,” said Ed McLamb, a Myers Park resident. “We feel like the canopy defines the neighborhood,” said Mary Engle, who lives along Queens Road West. Although beautiful, during storms, the big trees can cause major problems if they come down. Many trees in Myers Park are well over 100 years old, and with saturated ground, many won’t be able to remain standing. “If we have a significant amount of wind, more are going to blow over,” said McLamb. He remembers Hurricane Hugo. “We lost a huge tree in our backyard. Trees were all over the road. You couldn’t go anywhere,” said McLamb. Residents like Mary Engle do their best to care for the trees year round. “We have our trees checked every year. We check for dead limbs and the health of the tree because if it falls, it will probably fall right on the house,” said Engle…

Washington, D.C., WJLA-TV, Sept. 13, 2018: Warning signs your trees are at risk

Crews with Adirondack Tree Experts were busy on Thursday. “We probably have had more people calling saying, ‘Hey, I’ve had a dead tree on my property for quite some time and now I’m concerned that the hurricane is coming and it’s going to fall on my house,” said owner, John Anna. Anna started Adirondack Tree Experts in 1994. He says the more rain we get, the more that homeowners need to be aware of their trees. “Any tree is a concern when the ground is wet,” he said. “Any tree.” He says taking care of your trees and keep a close eye on them is crucial…

Sonora, California, Union-Democrat, Sept. 13, 2018: Twain Harte Homeowners concerned about accelerated PG&E tree removals

Pacific Gas and Electric’s accelerated wildfire risk reduction program, with more than 100 contractors trimming trees and cutting down trees near power lines in numerous neighborhoods in Tuolumne County, have raised concerns this week among Twain Harte residents. Jim Johnson, vice president of Twain Harte Homeowners, showed where at least 17 trees have been marked for trimming or removal on a neighbor’s property near his place on Strauch Drive just north of Twain Harte Golf Club. “These are healthy trees,” Johnson said Thursday. “Half of them are cedars, which beetles don’t like. The sad thing is a tree like this, a healthy 150-foot Ponderosa, there doesn’t seem a need to cut that.” Twain Harte Homeowners have about 800 members in the Twain Harte area, Johnson said. On Wednesday, John Kinsfather, the president of Twain Harte Homeowners, sent an email to Alisha Lomeli, a vegetation management representative with PG&E…

Scientific American, Sept. 13, 2018: New tree species discovered — and declared extinct

Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. In 1951 a member of the Nigerian Forestry Service collected specimens of a rare tree in the highlands of northwestern Cameroon. It was soon identified as a member of the Vepris genus, a group of 80 or so large tree species that range throughout the African continent and the islands of Madagascar and Zanzibar. Unfortunately, the specimens were incomplete, and full identification of the species was not, at the time, achieved. Now, nearly 70 years later, the species has been named—just in time to etch that name on its tombstone. A paper published Aug. 24 in the journal Willdenowia identifies the species as Vepris bali and declares its likely extinction due to agricultural development in the tree’s only known habitat, the Bali Ngemba Forest Reserve. Researchers examined the original specimens and used molecular phylogenetic studies to identify the new species. The authors—from Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and the University of Yaoundé I—note that previous attempts to locate this species and complete the 1951 specimen, including “repeated targeted efforts” between the years 2000 and 2004 and at least six other studies, failed to turn up any sign that the tree still exists…

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, Sept. 12, 2018: 18-year-old Ohio woman dies after tree strikes car she was riding in

An 18-year-old college freshman has died after the car she was riding in was crushed by a falling tree. Sydney Kleptach died Monday at an Akron hospital, one day after the tree fell onto the car driven by her father. Kleptach and her father, Brian Kleptach, 48, were traveling in a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu around 4:15 p.m. Sunday when the car was struck by a falling tree in the 3700 block of Everhard Road NW in Stark County. Sydney was a 2018 graduate of GlenOak High School and a student at the University of Mount Union, where she was majoring in biology and French and on the women’s soccer team. According to her team biography, she was the president of GlenOak’s National Honor Society, lettered twice in soccer and earned four academic letters, and served as a student ambassador and board of education representative. She also earned several academic and athletic awards. And logged more than 900 hours of community service while in high school…

Atlanta, Georgia, WXIA-TV, Sept. 12, 2018: Worried about Florence knocking trees on your home? Here’s what to do

While it’s likely too late to get trees near your home removed, there are some things you should do now to prepare. “We’re getting a lot of phone calls. I’ve got five people in the office answering phones, and they have been busy all day today,” Patrick George, owner of Heartwood Tree service said. “Everybody wants their tree that they’ve been worried about for months and months taken down today (Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday).” But unfortunately, George says theirs is not a same-day industry.  “Our crews are booked it for several weeks out,” he said. But there are some things you can do now. “Prune your trees to make them a little bit smaller,” George suggested. “That gives them the same amount of strength but less weight that they have to hold up and less wind resistance.” George said he’s admittedly worried about this hurricane season in particular. “We’ve had good regular rainfall; we haven’t had that much serious heat, so the trees have been growing like crazy, they’ve got these giant sails that pick up all this wind…”

Curiosity.com, Sept. 12, 2018: You Can Find Clones of Isaac Newton’s Apple Tree All Over the World

History is full of apocryphal stories — tales like the one of George Washington and the cherry tree, or Marie Antoinette and her infamous dessert suggestion. In all likelihood, they aren’t actually true, even if they play an important role in how we understand these historical figures. Probably the most famous apocryphal tale from science is that of Isaac Newton and the falling apple that inspired the theory of gravity. As it turns out, that story might be more legit than you’d expect. And the proof is in a scattered forest of apple trees growing all over the world to this very day…

Daytona Beach, Florida, News-Journal, Sept. 12, 2018: NSB: 16 trees too many to cut down for planned neighborhood

Sixteen historic trees skirted death Tuesday night when commissioners took city staff’s recommendation and told the developer of a property off Old Mission Road to find a way to save them. The vote was 4-1. “Sorry, gentlemen,” Mayor Jim Hathaway told officials representing KWD 43 Investments, “you’re going to have to come back with another plan.” The Coral Gables-based land owner had asked permission to tear down the oaks on their property at the corner of Old Mission Road and Eslinger Road before they build on the parcel that sits south of State Road 44. The site, according to a historic tree removal application, has 55 such trees on the property. Staff recommended leaders deny the developer’s request and require a change in design to save at least some of the trees…

San Diego, California, KNSD-TV, Sept. 11, 2018: County settles with woman crushed by tree branch at De Anza Cove

The San Diego City Council approved a $750,000 settlement Tuesday for a woman who was crushed by a falling two-ton tree branch five years ago at De Anza Cove in Mission Bay. Witnesses say 32-year-old Lorin Toeppe was walking with her husband when a ten-foot section of the tree suddenly snapped and fell. Her boyfriend and several park visitors scrambled to find her in the pile of debris. Lorin’s attorney Daniel Balaban told NBC 7 her leg was crushed, her back was fractured and she suffered other crush injuries that damaged her nerves. “[Her injuries] really impacted her ability to get along in this world from every standpoint,” Balaban said. Balaban argued the city failed to properly maintain the tree in question. According to Balaban, the city originally argued it did nothing wrong and that with millions of trees it can’t possibly foresee every potential hazard. Lorin’s case actually changed state law. While you still walk park paths at your own risk, state and local governments can now be held liable for failing to maintain surrounding trees…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, Sept. 12, 2018: Tree-trimming crew tries to minimize potential damage from Florence

Before Hurricane Florence makes landfall later this week, tree-trimming crews hopped from job to job across the Triangle on Tuesday, trying to eliminate as many potential hazards as possible. Tim Robbins and his crew from Arbormax felled some 100-foot-tall trees, using cranes to lower them to the ground safely. “It’s a different feeling. We call it ‘hurricane mode,'” said Robbins, who ticked off the list of storms he’s responded to. “Andrew, Fran, Floyd, Isabelle, Irene, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Matthew,” he said. “I think that this is going to be as bad as any of them.” Arbormax normally gets 30 to 40 calls a day, but Robbins said it’s been getting more than 100 calls a day right now as people seek to prevent trees from hitting their homes…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Post-Gazette, Sept. 11, 2018: Is an early fall making the leaves fall early — or is it something else?

It began to look like fall in August, with dead leaves on the ground way ahead of schedule in Pittsburgh and many areas across Pennsylvania. But it’s not a seasonal change. The soggy weather is a pain in a lot of ways, and now you can add a less vibrant autumn to the list. An unusually wet year created an opportune environment for anthracnose, or fungi that is plaguing our greenery. “Anthracnose is kind of a fancy name for leaf spot or leaf blight,” said Linda Johnson, assistant professor of sustainability and environment at Chatham University. Because of the heavy rainfall we’ve had since the trees began budding several species-specific fungi under the umbrella term anthracnose are hitting trees not usually affected by blight…

Gainesville, Florida, Independent Florida Alligator, Sept. 11, 2018: Landmark 250-year-old tree saved by neighbor

A tree stood for 250 years, covered in gnarly vines and dripping in moss. It stood by as the land next to it was developed and then abandoned. It stood by as a new owner, Lee Malis, 59, carefully tended to a garden out front and cleaned up the yard. And when the tree was threatened, Malis stood by it. The live oak that looks over Malis’ backyard on Northwest Seventh Terrace has garnered more attention than he ever expected. The 5-foot-in-diameter, 250-year-old heritage live oak was supposed to be chopped down to make room for The Reef, a new apartment complex, in the northeast Gainesville neighborhood, Malis said. But then, a court case and fundraiser rallied around saving the tree…

Houghton, Michigan, Daily Mining Gazette, Sept. 10, 2018: What’s wrong with the alder? Wetlands trees dying off in cycle

The alder trees of Lake Superior wetlands are having problems, dying off en masse since around 2015. Walkers along the Nara Nature Park boardwalk may have guessed insects or invasives were to blame for the groves of dead shrubs. However, as it turns out, water levels are at fault.  The sustained high water levels on Lake Superior are making their habitat too wet and leading to the die off. Though more dramatic than usual, the sudden loss of the alders is a normal part of a wetland life cycle. “This is a natural process, I’m not alarmed. It’s just changing,” said Michigan Tech ecologist and wetland researcher Rodney Chimner.  He says he’s never seen such a dramatic die-off before. “When the Great Lakes go up and down, the Great Lakes expand and contract,” he said…

Charlotte, North Carolina, WCNC-TV, Sept. 10, 2018: Duke Energy faces tree trimming backlog as Hurricane Florence approaches

When Hurricane Florence arrives later this week, its heavy winds and constant rains could pose problems for electricity, including more than 10,000 miles of power lines on Duke Energy’s tree trimming waitlist. Records filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission in January show Duke Energy Carolinas has a more than 10,000-mile backlog in its vegetation management program. “The Company would not need to address the 10,000 mile back-log if a proper, cyclical vegetation management program had been in use by the Company prior to 2013,” the state filing said. As a result of that state meeting earlier this year, Duke Power Carolinas agreed to invest more resources in tree trimming. Duke Energy spokesperson Randy Wheeless said the company is increasing its funding for tree trimming by 25 percent or $20 million this year…

Auckland, New Zealand, Stuff.co.nz, Sept. 11, 2018: Oldest oak tree in New Zealand comes crashes down

New Zealand’s oldest oak has come crashing down, nearly 200  years after it was planted in the Bay of Islands.  It was around for the Northern Wars military settlement, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the growth of Te Waimate Mission, but New Zealand’s oldest oak which stood tall among the Waimate North vista toppled over around midday on Sunday. The oak was planted in Paihia in 1824 from an acorn brought from England by missionary Richard Davis. Davis later transplanted the sapling to Te Waimate across the road from the Mission House in 1831. Property owner Natasha Baird said the oak’s downfall sounded like a car crash. “We were outside and heard it crash, the cows got a major fright, it was really sad,” Baird said…

Los Angeles, California, KTLA-TV, Sept. 10, 2018: Man sentenced to federal prison for sparking blaze that damaged Joshua Tree landmark in Twentynine Palms

A Twentynine Palms man was given the maximum sentence of five years in federal prison on Monday for lighting a fire that destroyed parts of a natural oasis near Joshua Tree National Park earlier this year, official said. George William Graham, 26, was also ordered to pay more than $21,000 in restitution to the National Park Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a news release. The March 26 blaze at the Oasis of Mara — which sits behind the Joshua Tree Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms — destroyed seven California fan palms and scores of other plants, and had forced the attraction to shut down. The 26-year-old was found watching the flames’ progress by Park Service rangers, who subsequently arrested him…

Seattle, Washington, Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 9, 2018: Up and down the West Coast bigleaf maples are struggling — and scientists don’t know why

Fall is almost here, and with it some beautiful shift in foliage. But that doesn’t mean all of the trees in Washington are doing OK. In fact, something seems to be killing the bigleaf maples in the state — and scientists aren’t sure exactly what it is. “We’ve looked for everything we can possibly think of and what people smarter than us can think of,” Amy Ramsey, a forest pathologist with the state Department of Natural Resources, said to The Tacoma News Tribune, who initially reported the issue. “The public had questions, and we didn’t have answers.” Though bigleaf maples represent Washington’s biggest broadleaf tree, they appear all along the West Coast, from Vancouver to California. And through the entire population, strands of the maples are dying. Although several agencies have been studying the deaths — the DNR, U.S. Forest Service, and University of Washington among them — the culprit remains elusive. And the issue extends beyond losing a majestic tree: The bigleaf maple provides shade for salmon-bearing streams, flowers for pollinators, and seeds for animals. For humans, the tree is often used for everything from cabinetry to piano frames…

Lockport, New York, Journal, Sept. 9, 2018: Taxing the trees on your land 

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” In some strange perversion, those immortal words from Joyce Kilmer have taken on another meaning. They have become a battle cry for some assessors in New York. In their version the word “poem” is replaced with “taxable asset,” as some have taken advantage of state law to tax property owners for the trees on their property. Under this practice, tax assessors, with guidance from the state’s Office of Real Property Tax Services, analyze woodlots and forests to determine the market value of the timber were the land to be logged. This value is then applied to the assessment the same way that a capital item like a house would be. It can now be said quite literally that many municipalities are “sticking” it to landowners by considering a naturally-occurring tree a man-induced investment…

Salem, Oregon, AgWeek, Sept. 9, 2018: No more ash, no more maple. Which trees should we plant?

As summer transitions into fall, it’s a good time to plant trees before winter hits. Whether planting a line of trees for a shelter belt or just a few for eye appeal in front of the house, there are some important considerations when it comes to selecting the type of trees to add to the landscape. John Ball, a forest health specialist at South Dakota State University, recently addressed this topic at the 2018 South Dakota State Fair in Huron. Balls says a lack of diversity in the landscape has left trees vulnerable to the threat of disease. Instead of choosing the popular ash, maple or Austrian and Scotch pine trees, he offered some safe alternatives to consider planting this fall. “We need to discontinue planting ash due to the eventual loss (within the next 15-20 years) to emerald ash borer,” Ball said. Emerald ash borer originates from Asia and is thought to have entered the U.S. on wooden packing materials from China. The U.S. is home to 7 billion to 9 billion ash trees, according to the Arbor Day Foundation, and to date, the emerald ash borer has destroyed 40 million ash trees in Michigan alone and tens of thousands throughout the Midwest and Canada…

West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University Extension Service, Sept. 6, 2018: Landscape Report: Why tree inspections?

Trees provide many benefits for our homes with shade, beauty and improved air quality as just a few, however, if a tree has defects which could lead to a failure, your shade tree could become a liability. It is important to understand that tree owners have a legal duty to inspect and maintain their trees. All property owners should take reasonable steps to protect themselves and others by taking a look at trees around the property on a regular basis.  Here are some suggestions to consider in making your trees safer for everyone. In general, the law obligates tree owners to periodically inspect their property and take reasonable care to maintain it and this includes trees. Routine inspections also exhibit that the tree owner is actively managing their property and trees and thereby reduces their liability if a failure does occur…

San Francisco, California, KQED-TV, Sept. 6, 2018: PG&E plan to clear hundreds of trees for pipeline project sparks controversy

A September 10 special meeting organized by the Lafayette City council that would discuss a controversial plan by PG&E to uproot hundreds of trees, has drawn ire from residents who want the trees to remain. The pending tree removal is part of the utility company’s Community Pipeline Safety Initiative, a statewide effort aimed at improving public safety by clearing structures that could stand in the way of first responders attempting to access gas transmission lines. Tree roots also corrode the underground pipelines, which can lead to hazardous leaks, according to PG&E. The trees that are scheduled for removal include 207 on public property and 245 in Briones Regional Park. Critics of the plan say that removing hundreds of trees threatens local wildlife and significantly impairs the character of the neighborhood.  They say the city should have conducted an environmental assessment before authorizing the plan in 2017

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WHYY-FM, Sept. 6, 2018: Enemy No. 1 for Puerto Rico’s utility: trees

Nine months after Hurricane Maria, Julio Alvarado Feliciano was still working hard to restore power to Tanama, a community in the central Puerto Rican mountains. Feliciano is a technician with the island’s power utility, PREPA. His team reinstalled fallen utility poles and unspooled fresh cable on the ground. Then, the workers tried to haul the lines up from the ground. “We’re going little by little by little, raising them, raising, raising,” he said. But the work here is complicated, slow. It’s remote. More than that, it’s full of trees. Where a cleared corridor should run under the transmission lines, grows an orange orchard. Somewhere in the trees, a worker untangled the cable from the branches. Another man, mid-air in a bucket truck, cranked the cable tighter on the utility pole, elevating it. Hurricane Maria brought down about 80 percent of the island’s transmission lines — those are the cables that transport energy long distances from the power plants to more localized distribution lines and, eventually, to customers. PREPA’s infrastructure was old and poorly maintained, but much of the damage during the storm came from trees falling and blowing into lines and towers. Turns out, one of the most complicated pieces of technology – the power grid – is no match for a tree…

Seattle, Washington, Sightline.org, Sept. 6, 2018: No, Seattle’s growth boom is not a tree apocalypse


Since the end of the last recession, Seattle has consistently ranked among the fastest growing major US cities. Is all that growth leaving the Emerald City less emerald? Not really. Seattle’s best new data on the change in tree canopy over time does show a 6 percent decline between 2007 and 2015. Here’s the catch, though: most of the confirmed tree loss happened on land reserved for detached houses, the single-family zones that cover over half the city but where population has barely budged for decades. Meanwhile, the same study found no statistically significant change in tree canopy where the growth actually has been happening: the land zoned for commercial buildings and multifamily housing that absorbed the vast majority of Seattle’s new apartments, offices, and stores.  From 2007 to 2015, all that construction helped make room for 76,000 additional residentsand 65,000 new jobs—like adding about half of the neighboring city of Bellevue. It’s a remarkable success story: Seattle increased its stock of homes by 14 percent, confined almost completely to the 18 percent of city land where multifamily housing is allowed—with no measurable impact on trees…

Gainesville, Florida, The Sun, Sept. 6, 2018: ‘One tree saved’ — developer will spare live oak

It appears as if a centuries-old live oak will continue to live. The nearly 60-inch-wide tree is the center of a dispute between homeowner Lee Malis, who contends all but a bulge of the tree was within his backyard fence at 311 NW Seventh Terrace, and the developer of an apartment complex on adjoining property who planned to chop up the tree. Malis and six others on Thursday afternoon asked the Gainesville City Commission to halt the project until the dispute could be sorted out. Afterward a city official said the developer will submit new design plans that will preserve the oak. Malis credited the community’s response to his effort the save the tree and coverage of the issue in The Sun as the turning point. “The publicity and the community coming together — it’s just incredible. I was alone a week ago and now I have the whole city behind me in one week,” Malis said outside the commission meeting. “It’s a beautiful thing and I thank the people who helped me…We did well. We did win. The tree is not coming down. It’s one tree saved…”

Hartford, Connecticut, University of Connecticut, Sept. 5, 2018: UConn taking measures to preserve health of ‘Swing Tree’

The iconic “swing tree” near Mirror Lake at UConn Storrs is undergoing special treatment to help preserve its health, after experts determined recently that it wasn’t absorbing enough water at the roots. The tree has been home to two wooden swings since about 2010, and has become a popular spot for people who want to relax with friends or jot down their thoughts anonymously in the journal that makes its home in a nearby mailbox. The swings recently were taken down and will be put up again soon on another tree, at least temporarily – with the location still being determined – while experts treat the swing tree’s immediate problems and work on a long-term plan to maintain its health. UConn President Susan Herbst told faculty, staff, and students in her recent welcome-back message that arborists confirmed the tree is sick, and are taking steps to address the problems. “We have many special trees on our beautiful campuses, but this one stands out and we would hate to lose it,” she wrote. “So if you see work going on there or it is temporarily roped off, that’s why…”

Miami, Florida, Herald, Sept. 5, 2018: 6-year-old girl saw brother ‘crushed by tree’ as dying mom yelled for help, witness says

Johnny Hicks says one 6-year-old girl from Arkansas survived a tragedy that nobody should ever have to go through. In an interview with Fox16, Hicks said he was with his family on Saturday afternoon when a tree suddenly crashed on a nearby mobile home in Russellville. That accident killed 9-year-old Landon Huggins and his mother, Alisha Huggins, according to an obituary for the boy. Hicks recalled what he saw in the aftermath of the deadly accident as he tried to help. “A 6-year-old daughter just witnessed her brother being crushed by a tree,” he told Fox16, “(and) her mom’s screaming ‘help I’m dying’ from underneath…”

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, Sept. 5, 2018: A nearly 300-year-old Ferndale tree had to come down, then this happened

When a 12-inch-thick limb came crashing down into the back yard of his Ferndale home, John Fielder knew it was a sign of trouble. Further investigation proved it: The 78-foot-tall white oak tree, which had more than 275 rings, was infested with carpenter ants. The tree had to come down. Fielder grew up in the shade of this great oak, in a home that his grandparents had built in 1953. His grandfather was a carpenter. Fielder himself had spent five years working in hurricane-torn parts of Texas and the East Coast, serving with firefighters in the U.S. Forestry Service, removing fallen trees for cleanup and to reach victims, and taking care of trees to prevent fires and other dangerous situations. So he climbed the tree in his backyard and saw the branches weakened by tunnels made by the ants. He knew the importance of trees to communities, and the value within his own heart. But he also knew it would have to come down before causing major damage…

The Tower, Sept. 5, 2018: Could a tree grown from an ancient seed in Israel help cure diseases in the future?

Two Israeli researchers have launched an initiative that has transformed the way we understand the meaning of extinction and created a collaborative platform for Arabs and Israelis to explore. In fact, scientists throughout the Middle East, including in Jerusalem, Riyadh and Marrakesh, are looking to J-Date to solve global challenges. This J-Date, however, isn’t the well-known Jewish dating website, but an ancient variety of Judean date palm that vanished two thousand years ago when the Romans drove the ancient Israelites out of their homeland. In 2004, Sarah Sallon, a Hadassah Medical Center expert in Middle Eastern plants, contemplated an idea that some would call insane: bringing ancient seeds back to life to examine their value in healing human disease. Over the past few decades, a number of reports in scientific journals and popular newspapers have suggested that scientists could germinate ancient seeds. Many were myths. A few are true. No one, however, had ever brought an extinct plant back to life. In 72 CE, Jewish rebels under siege committed mass suicide at Masada – Herod the Great’s ancient cliff-top fortress – choosing death over Roman bondage. Nearly two thousand years later, in November 1963, a team of archeologists dug through the rubble and found evidence of widespread destruction: shattered frescoes, charred beams, gold coins, bronze arrows, ragged clothing – and containers of ancient seeds. In 2004 Sallon secured a few seeds from Israel’s Antiquities Authority, then contacted Elaine Solowey, one of the country’s foremost experts in sustainable agriculture. When Sallon broached her resurrection idea, Solowey’s initial response was disbelief, but she agreed to try and hatched a plan to draw the seeds out of dormancy…

Insurance Business, Sept. 4, 2018: California’s 129 million dead trees pose a major wildfire hazard

California’s current wildfire season – already its worst on record – is about to get even worse, as a new report reveals that the state currently has 129 million dead trees that could fuel the largest conflagrations. Spread across 8.9 million acres of land, the number of dead trees in California is 6,450 times the number of trees in Central Park – a metric California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) spokesperson Heather Williams has described as “astronomical.” The current wildfire season in California has seen more than 876,000 acres burn, compared to 228,000 for the same period last year, and the Mendocino Complex Fire that erupted this year is considered the single largest fire in state record, having burned more than 459,000 acres. As devastating as the current wildfire season is, experts believe it is just going to get worse – the recent fires have barely consumed the accumulation of dead trees and much more remain to stoke the next big fire, CalFire warned…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, WHTM-TV, Sept. 4, 2018: Woman says she was ripped off by tree removal company

Kumba Saho thought she was getting a good deal on a tree removal service. She was trying to help a friend, a widowed veteran in poor health, when she called Eckard’s Tree Removal. “The tree was dead and she was scared for the tree not to fall on her house or onto the neighbor’s house,” Saho said of her neighbor. Saho says Eckard’s owner Brad Eckard told her he could do the job for $1,200. She said she signed a contract and gave a down payment of $700 in June, but then Eckard disappeared. “He never calls me back or texts me back,” she said. Weeks went by before Eckard finally sent a text. “I will not be able to do it. You probably have to find someone else. I said OK, I need my money,” Saho said. “He said I will mail you a check tonight. The check never arrived…”

Auto Evolution, Sept. 4, 2018: Massive, 350-Year-Old Oak Tree Snaps, Crushes 7 Cars in California

The City of Pleasant Hill recognized a 350-year-old, massive oak tree as part of the heritage and named it Emma. Last week, a giant limb snapped off Emma and crushed 7 cars – and the city is refusing to cover any of the damage. According to homeowner Andra Cudd, speaking to ABC7, the moment she heard the thunder-like sound and the crash in the dead of night, she knew what had happened. As it turns out, everyone on her street knew the day would come when the tree would snap or fall down altogether, and they all feared the worst. “So my husband and I jumped up, I’m like it’s the tree it’s the tree! It was so surreal when we opened the door,” Andra Cudd tells the media outlet. 
Luckily, no one was hurt, but the giant limb did crush 7 cars on both sides of the street, 4 of them belonging to the Cudd family. Mr. Cudd still has some humor left to recognize the irony in the situation, as all his adult children had come over for a visit and parked their cars near the house. His own was parked farther down the road and was spared any damage by Emma. Andra Cudd tells ABC7 that the City recognized the tree and refused to do anything about it until this accident. All of her petitions to trim it were denied except one, and neither she nor any other homeowner was allowed to cut it down…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, Sept. 4, 2018: 5 mistakes not to make when planting new trees this fall

Although trees can be planted year-round, the optimal time (fall) is around the corner. Let’s look at my recommendations from a different angle today: Here’s what you should not do when planting your new trees. Mistake No. 1: Not establishing the true top and height of the root ball: Whether balled and burlapped (B&B) or containerized, there is almost always excess soil on top of the true ball that needs to be completely removed. Assuming the growers and nurseries have the plant at the correct height is almost always untrue. Once the true ball height has been determined, measure it so the planting hole can be dug to the right height. Mistake No. 2: Planting the tree in a small, smooth-sided hole: Commonly heard bad instruction is to dig the planting hole the same depth and width as the root ball. The truth is that the planting hole should be about three times wider than the root ball and have rough, not smooth, sides…

Augusta, Georgia WJBF-TV, September 3, 2018: Aiken residents outraged after tree cutting along historic streets

A group of local residents is outraged.  Some calling it a “slaughter” and a “hack-of-a-job” after subcontractors with a utility company cut several trees along streets in Aiken. “And to see it so being shabbily treated now by a public utility is just more than I can comprehend,” Board member of the  Aiken Land Conservancy Rob Johnston told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk. Johnston grew up in the All America City. “Back through the mid-50’s and through high school,” he said. He remembers the landscape from years ago. “This was always such a beautiful urban forest I was so proud of,” he added.Johnston and other citizens of the area grew concerned after a local utility company pruned some of the trees in the historic city.  Sampson is the president of the Aiken Land Conservancy.  She says when looking at the trees along Colleton Avenue you can see the devastation. “For these trees to live, their canopy is equal to the root base and they just slit the canopy in half,” she said…

Newburgh, New York, Times Herald-Record, September 3, 2018: Newburgh man trimming tree dies from electrocution

A Newburgh man died of electrocution while trimming a tree Monday morning on Maple Road, police said. John B. Nuzzolo, 39, was electrocuted when he came into contact with a live power line adjacent to the tree he was cutting about 9:17 a.m., according to a news release from Cornwall-on-Hudson police. Nuzzolo was sub-contracted by Simply Stump Grinding and Tree Removal Co. out of Newburgh to help with removing a large tree at 29 Maple Road, police said. Upon hearing reports of the electrocution, Central Hudson utilities de-energized the line by shutting off power to the area from 9:30 to 10 a.m., affecting 2,570 customers, CenHud spokesman John Maserjian said…

Gizmodo Australia, September 3, 2018: Why Hawaii is burning its massive Mangrove trees

All over the world, from Florida to Thailand, efforts are underway to restore mangrove forests. These ecosystems have been in serious decline for the last 10 years, and sea level rise is set to threaten them further. In Hawaii, however, heavy efforts are underway to eradicate the trees. In fact, the islands might be the only place where ecologists are trying to permanently remove mangroves. They’re invasive here — and they’re pushing out native flora and fauna that have called these islands home for much longer than the mangrove has. Seeing the towering trees along the eastern coast of Oahu in He‘eia, Hawaii, for the first time was an awe-inspiring experience. While the tallest mangroves exist in the African country of Gabon and along the Pacific coast of Colombia, Hawaii’s red mangroves are definitely impressive. But that doesn’t mean that the mangroves belong there. In fact, these trees came over in the early 1900s with the sugar industry, which hoped they’d help retain sediment during the heavy rains…

Independence, Missouri, Examiner, September 3, 2018: Think twice before planting these 6 potentially damaging trees

Providing shade and beauty, trees are a joy to behold, but some trees require more maintenance and upkeep than homeowners are willing to give. Invasive or messy, smelly or short-lived, some trees may not be worth planting. Big, mature trees are a sound investment, said certified arborist Tom Tyler of Bartlett Tree Experts in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Strategically placed trees are energy savers and can cut up to 56 percent of annual air conditioning costs and reduce heating needs by 20 to 50 percent in winter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.  “They cut wind, are aesthetically pleasing, catch rainfall and minimize runoff, which is a serious issue. They provide habitat for birds and wildlife,” Tyler said. However, some trees are known for their undesirable qualities. Think twice before planting these varieties…

San Jose, California, Mercury-News, Aug. 30, 2018: Section of 300-year-old tree falls, crushes vehicles in Pleasant Hill

A mammoth oak tree split and collapsed early Thursday, destroying six cars on a neighborhood street and damaging a seventh. Nobody was injured, but many on Hardy Circle were awoken from their sleeps after part of the approximately 100-foot high tree came down around 12:30 a.m., dropping branches as thick as the trunks on some other smaller trees in the neighborhood. Tree workers estimated it to be between 300 and 350 years old and between 75 and 100 feet high. Even after the collapse, the tree stood above almost all the others on the street and even loomed over the backyards of at least one house on nearby Soule Avenue…

Randolph, New Jersey, TapInto.net, Aug. 30, 2018: Randolph’s 300 Year-Old Liberty Tree lives out final day; Removal to take place Aug. 31

Dating back to 1720, the Liberty Tree (located behind Bank of America at the corner of Quaker Church Road and Center Grove Road) is the last tree left living in Randolph since the Revolutionary War.  The almost 300-year old tree is one of 26 designated historic landmarks in town, but unfortunately, Friday August 31 will be its last day standing. In recent years, the tree has been slowly dying.  This summer an evaluation determined the tree had deteriorated to the point to where it could easily be knocked down in a storm.  The recommendation was made that it should be removed to protect health and safety. Several years ago the Township’s Landmarks Committee contacted Dr. Tom Ombrello, a professor at Union County College specializing in propagating old trees.  Dr. Ombrello volunteered his services to assist the committee with an effort to grow a new tree from the acorn of the original tree.  The effort resulted in a seedling that is currently growing in a greenhouse overseen by Dr. Ombrello…

Phys.org, Aug. 29, 2018: Are trees on farms the future for the timber industry?

A multi-disciplinary research team is developing new models for growing trees on farms to help meet the needs of landholders, investors and the timber industry. Project leader Professor Rod Keenan said the need for wood is increasing to meet future timber demands of Australian housing. “The increasing use of wood in construction for design and environmental benefits will increase this demand as will the substantial push for renewable and sustainable products to replace plastics,” Prof Keenan said. “We are examining whether timber industry investment in trees on farms can provide their wood needs and also provide shade, shelter, carbon, water and biodiversity benefits. A survey mailed to selected owners and managers of land in south-west Victoria and Gippsland asks about current agricultural activities, views on planting trees for harvest in the future and the importance of different factors when considering integrating trees with other land uses. “We are working with industry, landholders and the finance community to develop innovative ways to provide benefits to farming and the environment, and meet demand for timber and wood products,” Professor Keenan said…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, Aug. 30, 2018: A truce on Tampa’s trees? It looks likely.

Plenty of people at Thursday’s Tampa City Council meeting said what was happening was historic. For decades, builders and tree advocates had been foes, battling over the city’s tree canopy. Advocates said builders wanted to weaken the city’s nearly half-century old tree ordinance to make it easier to chop down trees, especially on smaller lots, to build houses. Builders said even a tree smack dab in the middle of a lot was expensive and time-consuming to remove, with a review board making the final call. They wanted to streamline the process. On Thursday, a deal looked done. Neighborhood groups, including Tree Something, Say Something, backed a compromise that allowed trees to be saved by adjusting setbacks on other parts of a lot. And they backed a plan to keep better track of a city trust fund set up to keep money from builders who cut down trees on lots that don’t have enough space to plant a replacement. Builders praised advocates’ willingness to compromise. They urged council members to take action instead of waiting for a complete overhaul of the ordinance, scheduled for early next year…

Aiken, South Carolina, Standard, August 29, 2018: ‘Stop the slaughter’: Some Aiken residents furious about tree trimming

A contingent of Aiken residents gathered along a Colleton Avenue parkway on Wednesday morning to decry the latest round of tree trimming in the area. The trimming – pruning limbs away from power lines, as companies and crews are allowed and instructed to do – was described by group members as “slaughter,” a “butcher” job and, at several points, “rape.” The group, comprising six or seven people, was seemingly led by Joanna Samson, the president of the Aiken Land Conservancy. “I’m miserable about it,” Samson said, standing beside a pile of branches. “I was out here crying.” Samson and the others did not take issue with the fact that trees need to be cut back. Samson acknowledged trimming’s public safety applications, and she did not blame the crews doing the work. It was the way the cutting was done, and how much was removed, that proved to be the flashpoint…

San Francisco, California, August 29, 2018: North Beach Neighbors Angry After Contractor Damages Trees In Park

Neighbors in San Francisco are outraged after a mistake by a contractor damaged the roots of 10 trees in a North Beach park badly enough that they have to be removed. According to city officials, the damaged roots have made the trees too unstable. Public Works said a contractor damaged the trees’ roots during the construction of a playground at Washington Square Park in North Beach. Angry residents say the city needs to do a better job supervising its contractors. While not much has changed in the park for the last 60 years, its playground recently had a major renovation. Unfortunately, the renovation is coming at a huge cost that can’t be measured in dollars. Ken Maley of the organization Friends of Washington Square is heartbroken. In a matter of days, 9 Canary Island pines and one olive tree that have stood on the corner of the park since the late 1950’s are coming down because they have become a safety hazard…

Science Magazine, August 29, 2018: To save iconic American chestnut, researchers plan introduction of genetically engineered tree into the wild

Two deer-fenced plots here contain some of the world’s most highly regulated trees. Each summer researchers double-bag every flower the trees produce. One bag, made of breathable plastic, keeps them from spreading pollen. The second, an aluminum mesh screen added a few weeks later, prevents squirrels from stealing the spiky green fruits that emerge from pollinated flowers. The researchers report their every move to regulators with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). “We tell them when we plant and where we plant and how many we plant,” says Andrew Newhouse, a biologist at the nearby State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF). These American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) are under such tight security because they are genetically modified (GM) organisms, engineered to resist a deadly blight that has all but erased the once widespread species from North American forests. Now, Newhouse and his colleagues hope to use the GM chestnuts to restore the tree to its former home. In the coming weeks, they plan to formally ask U.S. regulators for approval to breed their trees with nonengineered relatives and plant them in forests…

Washington, D.C., Post, August 29, 2018: 5 toxic plants you should know — and avoid

Plants cannot run from existential threats. They have to sit there silently and take a licking. But they’re not stupid. Many grow armor of sorts — though how deer can devour rose thorns without leaving a trail of blood has always puzzled me. More insidiously, some plants produce chemicals that either assault your skin or make you sick if you eat them. As a result, many pose risks to those who stumble across them, whether in the garden, the city park or some of the beautiful mountain trails that lace the central Virginia Piedmont. This is the domain of Alfred Goossens, a retired flavor chemist whose Madison County home has a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He is close to Old Rag, a favorite hiking mountain for folks across the region. But you don’t have to go on a three-hour country walk to find plants that want to bite you. The other day, I joined Goossens and Don Hearl, both Virginia Master Naturalists, in a stroll of Goossens’s own 14-acre property…

Washington, D.C., Post, Aug. 28, 2018: The diseased tree had to come down. But what was a rusty shovel doing inside?

It took five days to disassemble the massive black oak that towered over Lanier Drive in Silver Spring — 60 feet tall, the trunk close to eight feet across — and when it was finally down, this was the question on everyone’s mind: Where did that shovel come from? The big tree was hollow on the inside — distressingly so — and sticking up from the void at the center was a rusty shovel, the shaft of its upward-pointing blade entombed in a woody stalagmite. “We were standing here looking at it, scratching our heads,” said Bob Freedman, who lives two houses down. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Mark Mendez, who lives around the corner. “It’s a mystery,” said Suzel, the woman in whose front yard the tree once stood…

Austin, Texas, KXAN-TV, Aug. 28, 2018: Tree trimmer hit by driverless truck killed in Bastrop

A man is dead after being hit by a truck while trimming trees in Bastrop County Tuesday morning. Bastrop County ESD No. 2 says crews were dispatched to the corner of Makaha and Ahumoa Drive at 8:25 a.m. That’s in the Tahitian Village. When they arrived, a man in his 50s was pronounced dead. The man worked for a local tree trimming company; officials have not released the name of the company. Officials say the man was trimming trees, trying to clear the right of way, when a truck somehow went over the barrier, veered off the road and hit the man. “I saw it was coming fast and just…drew to the left,” said eyewitness Gelacio Merac.  Merac says construction crews have been out in his neighborhood off and on over the last few weeks preparing to pave the steep hills leading to their homes. This, however, was the first time a tree company was out clearing the sides of the road. Merac says they had just started for the day.  Neighbors tell KXAN the truck, which had a wood chipper on the back, didn’t roll that far before hitting the man, but picked up speed quickly. They say the man was working on the side of the road when the truck hit him and pushed him to the bottom of the hill.  “He was working hard, and now he is dead and it’s like, life just changed too quick,” Merac said…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, Aug. 28, 2018: West Dundee ash trees infested by emerald ash borers almost completely gone, officials say

West Dundee has gained “much-needed ground” in ridding the village of its ash tree population. Since 2012, more than 1,000 parkway trees infested by the emerald ash borer beetle have been cut down, West Dundee Public Works Director Eric Babcock. “It was a huge task when it first started and we’re getting to a point where we’re almost done,” he said. The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic green pest whose larvae feeds under the bark of ash trees, cutting off nutrient flow essential for a healthy tree, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. It was first discovered in Kane County in June 2006. The number of trees slated for removal in West Dundee continues to dwindle. In 2016, 160 affected trees were taken down. That number dropped to 126 trees in 2017. This year, only 40 parkway trees were identified for removal. “Some towns with big budgets were able to go through and get rid of them all right away,” Babcock said. “The approach we took was more piece by piece based on a growth criteria…”

Berkeley, California, Berkeleyside, August 28, 2018: Berkeley disciplines developer after redwood trees chopped down

A tree came down on University Avenue and it certainly made a sound. The city of Berkeley has reprimanded the owners of 1698 University Ave., at McGee, after construction work on the property led to the removal of three redwood trees and four acacias last week. The trees were chopped down beginning Friday evening, after concerns over their stability prompted the city to clear the site, evacuate neighbors and require the removal. In a notice of violation issued Monday, the city said owner United Commonwealth Business Holdings failed to meet multiple conditions of its project permit, including the preservation of the trees. “Our immediate focus was on ensuring the safety of workers on the site and neighbors,” said Berkeley spokesman Matthai Chakko in an email. “With that complete, on Monday, we issued a notice of violation.” According to planning and code enforcement staff, the property owner not only failed to keep the trees intact, as was required by the use permit, but also neglected to make mandated status updates, submit noise and traffic control plans, and install required safety barriers around the construction site…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, Aug. 27, 2018: Towns struggling with costs of removing dead, dying trees

In Wolcott, the problem is ash trees killed by the Emerald ash borer. Essex is losing 200-year-old white oaks from drought and gypsy moths. Lyme is seeing trees “dying at a rate we’ve never known before,” according to one local official. “The volume’s overwhelming,” Lyme Tree Warden Lars Anderson said last week of the trees in his town that were badly damaged by multiple years of drought and plagues of invasive insects. Local officials in many cities and towns across Connecticut are being pushed to the limit as they try to find the resources to deal with growing numbers of trees threatening to topple onto roads, sidewalks, parks and school grounds. Lebanon spent about $80,000 last year hiring contractors and using town workers to remove potentially dangerous trees, according to Jay Tuttle, the town’s highway foreman and tree warden. His initial budget for tree work in 2017-18 was $16,500…

Boulder, Colorado, Broomfield Enterprise, Aug. 27, 2018: Tree selection and planting basics

We moved into a new neighborhood a couple of months ago. One of the main attractions of this particular house was the very private and park-like backyard. Well, a few weeks after we moved in, we woke up on a Saturday morning to the sound of saws. One of the neighbors behind us were cutting down 20-year-old pine and spruce trees. These were healthy, beautiful and very large trees!  The house behind us sits higher on a hill than we do. Prior to the removal of those trees, we couldn’t see their house, not even the roof line. All of the sudden, we have a full view — not only their entire house, but the whole of their backyard to-boot. I literally stood on the deck and cried. You know how it is when you finally get settled into your new house, then all the unexpected challenges start to pile up? It wasn’t just the loss of the privacy that upset me. It was the loss of large mature landscaping. Colorado has not proven to me to be the easiest place to sustain a beautiful yard. After crying over spilled milk for three weeks, I came to a conclusion. Yes, the neighbors had the right to cut down those trees, but we also had the right to plant some of our own…

Seattle, Washington, Investigate West, Aug. 27, 2018: Seattle tree-protection proposal could be backward step, tree advocates say

When Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson set out to pass a long-stalled strengthening of Seattle’s tree-protection ordinance, fans of the urban forest called it wonderful news. They said his move last fall was far overdue considering how Seattle’s development boom is reducing the leafy canopy that gave “The Emerald City” its nickname. But when Johnson aides recently released their third suggestion this year for how to update the city law, the pro-trees people said that despite Johnson’s claims to the contrary, the changes would be unlikely to save more trees. In addition, they say, Johnson’s proposal appears to remove important existing protections for big trees, which studies show shade and cool streets while helping neutralize air and water pollution and reduce residents’ stress levels while improving cardiovascular health. “This is going backwards. It isn’t getting stronger,” said Steve Zemke, a pro-tree activist and member of the Urban Forestry Commission, which advises the City Council.  “Who’s it going to benefit most? The development community…”

Phys.org, Aug. 27, 2018: Tree species richness in Amazonian wetlands is three times greater than expected

Throughout the alluvial plains of Amazonia, there are immense forests that are flooded for almost half the year. These Amazonian wetlands encompass a wide array of types of vegetation in or near stream gullies, including blackwater and whitewater inundation forests, swamps, white sand savannas, and mangrove types. According to a new study, the region’s wetlands are inhabited by 3,615 tree species—three times more than previously estimated, making these the world’s most diverse wetland forests in terms of tree species richness. The results published in the journal PLOS ONE include the most comprehensive list of wetland tree species produced to date. The authors compiled data available from tree inventories and botanical collections covering the nine countries spanned by the Amazon Basin. “The list with the names of all the species is the main contribution made by this survey, which is open access. It will serve as a basis for future studies to fill the gap in botanical knowledge of the region’s wetlands, especially on tributaries of the Solimões and Amazon rivers. If there were more inventories, the number of species could quickly triple again,” said Bruno Garcia Luize, first author of the article and a doctoral researcher at São Paulo State University’s Bioscience Institute (IB-UNESP) in Rio Claro, Brazil…

Associated Press, Aug. 26, 2018: Nebraska lawmakers to address fast-spreading tree problem

Nebraska lawmakers are looking for new ways to fight a fast-spreading tree species that crowds out other plants, destroys valuable ranchland and threatens the Great Plains from Texas to the Dakotas. Eastern red cedar trees are native to the Plains but have spread out of control without the natural prairie fires that kept them in check centuries ago. The trees suck up sunlight and groundwater at the expense of other native plants and turn grasslands into barren patches of dirt.The issue has caught the attention of state lawmakers, who will convene a hearing Friday at the Capitol to brainstorm ways to keep the problem from worsening. “Once they get established, they just spread and choke out everything,” said Sen. Dan Hughes, of Venango, who is conducting a legislative study to see what the state can do. “It can cut your available rangeland by 60 to 70 percent, but you’re still paying property taxes on those acres. It has a pretty significant economic impact…”

Lima, Ohio, limaohio.com, Aug. 25, 2018: State urges residents to report signs of beech tree disease

State officials are urging Ohio residents to report any signs of a disease affecting beech trees that’s been found in nine Ohio counties. Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources says beech leaf disease affects American and possibly non-native beech trees. It was discovered in Lake County in 2012. The disease has spread to other northeastern Ohio counties and has been found in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. Researchers are trying to determine the cause. Officials say no infected tree has been known to recover. Symptoms include dark striping or banding on leaves; shriveled, discolored or deformed leaves; and reduced leaf and bud production…

JSTOR Daily, Aug. 23, 2018: How Eucalyptus trees stoke wildfires

News reports about wildfires in California —currently battling its largest fire ever — and Portugal, which has also been battling huge fires in recent years, highlight the dangers posed by eucalyptus trees. But why, when eucalypts are native to Australia and neighboring islands? Fire certainly wasn’t on the minds of those who spread eucalypts around the world. As geographer Robin Doughty details it, eucalypts were taken from Australia after Europeans first arrived in the late eighteenth century. He describes a combination of “push” and “pull” factors. The pull was the appeal of exotic, ornamental plants by botanists, royals, and other estate owners. The push factor was originally a single individual. The German-born botanist Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller migrated to Australia in 1847. Within a decade, he was the world’s leading evangelist for eucalypts. Through books, correspondence, and, rather more to the point, the mailing of seeds, this Johnny Eucalyptus helped spread the tree around the world. The best place to see eucalypts in the United States is in the southern half of California. One of von Mueller’s correspondents was the president of Santa Barbara College, who joined the eucalyptus cult in the 1870s. The region between San Diego and the Bay Area was the locus of a veritable boom in Australian trees. The re-forestation was sold as a get-rich-quick scheme, harvested as lumber for fuel and furniture, with a sideline in miraculous eucalyptus oil. By 1900, Berkeley had fourteen species growing within its boundary; another one hundred and fifty species were being tested in the state. But the speculative boom, as so many others, went bust. For one thing, petroleum was the up-and-coming fuel. And it turned out that the best lumber was from mature trees, not the quickly harvested plantation types. A glut of eucalyptus oil meant that if often went rancid before marketing…

National Center for Biotechnology Information, Aug. 24, 2018: Tree water balance drives temperate forest responses to drought

Intensifying drought is increasingly linked to global forest diebacks. Improved understanding of drought impacts on individual trees has provided limited insight into drought vulnerability in part because tree moisture access and depletion is difficult to quantify. In forests, moisture reservoir depletion occurs through water use by the trees themselves. Here we show that drought impacts on tree fitness and demographic performance can be predicted by tracking the moisture reservoir available to trees as a mass balance, estimated in a hierarchical state-space framework. We apply this model to multiple seasonal droughts with tree transpiration measurements to demonstrate how species and size differences modulate moisture availability across landscapes. The depletion of individual moisture reservoirs can be tracked over the course of droughts and linked to biomass growth and reproductive output. This mass balance approach can predict individual moisture deficit, tree demographic performance, and drought vulnerability throughout forest stands based on measurements from a sample of trees…

Waterbury, Connecticut, Republican-American, Aug. 23, 2018: Officials warn of increasing danger of dead trees

Officials said the state is plagued by millions of dead or dying trees at risk of falling, potentially putting the public at risk. Local media reports many of the trees are suffering from years of drought and damage from invasive insects such as the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer. Local officials and private tree-care companies are trying to take down the trees most at risk of falling, but the large number is creating a backlog and some municipalities are running out of funding for tree removals…

Highland, Indiana, Aug. 26, 2018: Highland commissions branch out to include tree board

The list of boards and commissions working under the Town Council has branched out to include the Tree Advisory Board. It was officially created in February after being recommended by the 2017 Highland Urban Forest Management Plan. A passage in the related ordinance says the board “will serve as an advocacy and advisory group to become a catalyst for active urban forest resource management within the community.” Combining its own opinions with research, forestry experts and Highland department heads, the board will make recommendations to the Town Council for annual updates of the forestry plan. Among its functions, the board will monitor the enforcement of codes that regulate trees on residential parkways and town-owned property, said new board member and former Highland Town Manager Richard Underkofler…

Chattanooga, Tennessee, The Chattanoogan, August 16, 2018: No one injured in crane accident on Wednesday

A crane operated by Big Woody’s tree trimming business toppled on top of some townhomes in the Jackson Square subdivision in the 1700 block of E. Boy Scout Road around 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Fortunately, no one was injured. Chattanooga firefighters and police officers responded to the scene and promptly shut down E. Boy Scout Road to protect the general public. After determining a course of action, two wreckers with Doug Yates Towing and Recovery were brought in to lift and remove the crane from the townhomes. It was a tricky operation as precautions had to be taken so that an underground gas line and high-voltage power transmission lines above were not adversely impacted. The wrecker operators worked in tandem to slowly lift and remove the crane. Shortly after 6 p.m., the operation was completed…

Redding, California, Record-Searchlight, August 16, 2018: Some trees will recover after Carr Fire, others won’t

Q: Our property, consisting of 6 acres, was completely burned. The fire burned through areas with significantly varying results. Some areas were left with nothing more than black sticks of manzanita. The fate of those areas are obvious. Other areas are much less obvious and the core of my question. Will an oak tree with a small percentage of green leaf survive? What about one with nothing but dead leaf? Are different types of oak trees more or less capable of coming back than others? How about manzanita or other types of common indigenous plants?
A: You are correct in thinking that in the areas where all that is left are black sticks the plants are not going to recover but in the other areas you may see plants return to normal growth next spring. The good news is that oak, pine and chaparral — which includes plants like manzanita, buckbrush and toyon — are relatively resilient in terms of potential for recovery after wildfire. The most important factor for oak tree recovery is the extent and depth of damage to the cambium the layer of tissue just under the bark that supports the structures that carry water and minerals from the roots through the tree. Oak trees with white- or pink-colored cambium under burned bark likely will survive, but dark or yellowish/caramel looking cambium tissue indicates it is also damaged and lessens the likelihood of survival…

Akron, Ohio, Beacon-Journal, August 16, 2018: Davey Tree Expert Co. to ‘adopt’ Akron’s Signal Tree for 5 years

The Davey Tree Expert Co. will “adopt” Akron’s centuries-old Signal Tree for the next five years to ensure the tree receives proper care, the company said in a news release. The iconic Signal Tree, in Summit Metro Parks Cascade Valley Metro Park, is a burr oak believed to be more than 300 years old. Davey Tree has helped provide care for the tree for more than 40 years. The adoption means the Kent-based company will now provide regular maintenance, and conduct annual assessments of the tree. While no one knows for sure why the tree is shaped with three tongs, legend holds that American Indians shaped the tree to provide direction for transportation routes. According to Metro Parks Chief of Natural Resources Mike Johnson, officials are sure the tree signaled something. But with Delaware, Mingo, Seneca, Erie and Shawnee tribes all active in this region, the tree could indicate anything from a favorite hunting site to a spiritual gathering place…

Phys.org, August 16, 2018: Researcher discovers genetic differences in trees untouched by mountain pine beetles

A University of Montana researcher has discovered that mountain pine beetles may avoid certain trees within a population they normally would kill due to genetics in the trees. UM Professor Diana Six made the discovery after studying mature whitebark and lodgepole trees that were the age and size that mountain pine beetle prefer, but had somehow escaped attack during the recent outbreak. After DNA screening, survivor trees all contained a similar genetic makeup that was distinctly different from the general population that were mostly susceptible to the beetle. “Our findings suggest that survivorship is genetically based and, thus, heritable,” Six said, “which is what gives us hope.” In western North America, whitebark pine, a high elevation keystone species recommended for listing as an endangered species, and lodgepole pine, a widespread ecologically and economically important tree, have experienced extensive mortality in recent climate-driven outbreaks of the mountain pine beetle…

Miami, Florida, WPLG-TV, August 15, 2018: Native palm trees under attack in South Florida, researchers say

Cabbage palms are a part of the native landscape of the southeastern United States, standing tall as the official state tree for both Florida and South Carolina. Because it’s a native species, the cabbage palm is important from both an ecological and environmental perspective. The fruits of the tree serve as an important food source for native wildlife and some species of birds will nest in the canopy But cabbage palms across South Florida are dying from a diseased called lethal bronzing. “This disease is caused by a type of bacteria that can only survive in a plant or insect host, sort of like a virus,” said Brian Bahder, of the University of Florida Agricultural Extension Office in Davie. The bacteria is introduced into the trees by an insect that feeds on the leaves of cabbage palms.  “And the bacteria is present in the saliva of this bug and it gets injected into the palm … (It) eventually causes symptoms and eventual death of the palm itself,” Bahder said. At the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services, researchers are attacking the problem from multiple angles…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times, August 15, 2018: South Asheville tree vandalism suspect arrested, police say

Police arrested a man Tuesday for reportedly vandalizing a giant oak tree at the corner of Mills Gap and Sweeten Creek roads. The department said Asheville resident Steven Barry McGuinness, 59, was arrested and charged on one misdemeanor count of injury to real property this week. It is in connection to a tree that was spray-painted with red and yellow paint over the weekend, forming cross signs. The tree also had been cut three-quarters of the way through, which a Duke Energy official said put it at risk for damaging power lines on Mills Gap. Duke worked with N.C. Department of Transportation crews to remove the tree Monday. It briefly snarled traffic as crews closed the intersection during rush hour to remove it…

Missoula, Montana, Missoulian, August 15, 2018: Tree thinning project proposed for Pattee Canyon

An order to remove wildfire fuels on 1,725 acres in the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area this fall will be implemented without a current environmental assessment, which is allowed under legislation passed earlier this year. The massive 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill contained an amendment to the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which allows for “categorical exclusions” that don’t need to go through the full-blown and lengthy environmental impact statement process or the smaller environmental assessment effort for two reasons. The projects must be for fuel reduction purposes on less than 3,000 acres, and be within the Wildland Urban Interface. “Because of the presence of homes and development, these areas are priority fuel reduction locations for the Missoula Ranger District,” Boyd Hartwig, a communications officer, wrote in a press release. “Reducing fuels mitigates the potential for costly and high-intensity wildfire and can also reduce the exposure to firefighters during future fire events…”

Southern Living, August 15, 2018: So many suckers!

When you plant a tree or shrub, it’s supposed to stay where you put it, right? It isn’t supposed to sprout little shoots in the lawn 12 feet away. Alas, some plants have a bad habit of doing just that, which infuriates my faithful readers. Let’s review the cases of four common offenders, before Grumpy gives you a solution you probably won’t like. Southerners looooooove their crepe myrtles, until shoots with reddish leaves start popping up through the grass all around. Why does this happen? Root damage. Any time you sever a root while digging or throwing the javelin, the root doesn’t die. No, it decides to grow a brand new crepe myrtle and sends up root suckers. Removing or transplanting a big crepe myrtle can result in hundreds of suckers. Solution: Be careful where you plant a crepe myrtle, so you won’t need to transplant it. Plant anything that’s going underneath or beside it at the same time, so you won’t cut roots. If it’s already too late, you can try two things. First, apply Bayer Advanced Brush Killer to the shoots according to label directions. Don’t get any on plants you don’t want to kill. Or just keep cutting off the suckers at ground level. Without leaves to make food, the suckers eventually starve…

Salt Lake City, Utah, KSL-TV, August 14, 2018: ‘We lose a brother:’ Draper battalion chief killed by falling tree during California wildfire

City officials say a Draper firefighter died after a tree fell on him as he battled the Mendocino Complex Fire in California Monday. Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matt Burchett, 42, died in a hospital after sustaining injuries while fighting the blaze north of San Francisco, Draper Mayor Troy Walker said during an early-morning news conference. Burchett was struck by a falling tree and was airlifted within 40 minutes to a medical center after other firefighters administered medical aid, according to the Associated Press. He died soon after. Three other firefighters were also injured when the tree fell Monday, though officials have not yet confirmed where those firefighters were from. Burchett was one of five Draper firefighters sent to California to help fight the fire. Burchett was the crew’s task force leader…

Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Scene, August 14, 2018: It’s been 15 years since tree limbs in Cleveland killed 50 million people’s power

Only three days after half of Cleveland’s west side lost power, thanks partially to a backup line that’s been out of service since 2016, we commemorate the 15 year anniversary of the time Northeast Ohio killed power for more than 50 million people in the United States and Canada. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 began when tree limbs in the Cleveland area irritated powerlines, tripping circuits that led the system to draw large amounts of power from electric lines around Lake Erie to fill the gap. FirstEnergy’s alarm system intended to alert staff in Akron of the problem failed due to a technical bug, and a domino effect of blackouts followed suit. Investigators later reported FirstEnergy could have prevented the outage by monitoring and shutting down power to a limited region. What should have been a manageable, local blackout cascaded into collapse of the entire electric grid…


Knoxville, Tennessee, News Sentinel, August 14, 2018: Tree service worker rescued after being pinned 50 feet above the ground

A tree service worker escaped with only minor injuries after being pinned by a falling branch while suspended about 50 feet off the ground in South Knoxville. The worker, whose name was not available, was removing the tree piece by piece outside a residence Tuesday afternoon when he tried to cut off a branch and it buckled over, pinning his leg as he hung in a safety harness. The Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad’s vertical team and Rural Metro firefighters responded to the scene on the 3500 block of Maloney Road. The worker, however, was able to cut the branch loose and free himself. Rescue crews then threw the man a line, which he secured to the tree so they could lower him to the ground. “What made it easy was the rope skills of the climber,” said Rural Metro spokesman Jeff Bagwell. “The climber knew what to do…”

Chattanooga, Tennessee, Times-Free Press, August 14, 2018: Tree now at center of development debate

A tall, old tree is at the center of a debate between Mountain Creek residents living near the old Quarry golf course on Reads Lake Road and a developer who wants to turn his property into homes and apartments. Just how large the tree measures was a crucial point for residents attempting to prove the post oak was either a state or national champion that shouldn’t be cut down due to its historic classification. It was not, and developer James Pratt with Pratt Home Builders believes residents are trying to throw any excuse at him to stop the development. But some residents still say they believe saving the tree is crucial for the area, and they hope Pratt takes that into consideration when developing the property. “I think when we recognize that we have something like this, we should do what we can to preserve it,” resident Lorraine Forman said…

August 13, 2018: California fire map: 2,000-year-old Bennett Juniper threatened

The Bennett Juniper, largest juniper tree in the United States, is in the path of the Donnell Fire in California’s Sierra Nevada. Firefighters were building hand lines to attempt to contain the southern edge of the fire before it reached the tree and nearby structures in the Stanislaus National Forest. The Bennett Juniper is 82 feet tall. Its trunk at 5 feet off the ground is 14 feet in diameter, according to its steward, the Save the Redwoods League. The age has been hard to ascertain because of rotting wood at the heart of its core. The more conservative estimates put it around 2,000 years old. Some botanists believed it to be close to 6,000 years old, making it the oldest living tree on earth, the Save the Redwoods League said…

Denison, Texas, Herald Democrat, August 13, 2018: Denison enacts tree preservation, mitigation ordinance

The Denison City Council recently approved a new ordinance aimed at protecting the city’s native trees from clear-cutting and widespread removal during what has become period of growth and development. In addition to banning clear-cutting of protected trees 18-inches in radius or larger for larger developments, the new tree preservation ordinance also sets ways to mitigate the damage from tree removal. The motion to approve the new ordinance passed in a unanimous 6-0 vote with council member Kris Spiegel absent for the meeting. “The original idea behind this ordinance was to prevent clear-cutting,” Planning and Zoning Manager Steven Doss said during the meeting. “This ordinance does that, but then it kind of has grown into something different. Through our conversations with the (Planning and Zoning) commission, there was a desire to go one step further and not only prevent clear-cutting but also to set standards. If we aren’t going to allow clear-cutting, what are we going to allow?” City officials said the ordinance is primarily focused on larger developments, and does not apply to single-family residential lots of less than 10 acres…

New York City, The New York Times, August 10, 2018: He spoke for the tree. Then he got fired.

On a little hillside in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there is a patch of brown mulch that, until very recently, was a tree. It was not a rare kind of tree. It was not even a whole tree. It was the 10-foot-high living stump of what was once a mighty London plane tree, with a hollow inside big enough for people to stand in. The hollow tree had friends and fans. Children played in it. Adults stood in it and contemplated the inside-out view of the landscape. It served as shelter in downpours. People called it the treehouse tree. But according to the garden’s management, the treehouse tree was an accident waiting to happen. It had sprouted a bushy head of new branches that it could not support in the long run. Playing inside it was against the garden’s rules. The garden wanted to take the tree down to make room for a “vigorous young tree” that would help “make for a much healthier collection overall,” it said in a letter to members…

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times Picayune, August 13, 2018: Trees die when too much fill covers their roots – here’s why

Tree roots breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. They obtain the oxygen they need from the tiny air spaces in the soil. Because of this need, 85 percent or more of a tree’s roots are located in the upper 12 inches of soil where oxygen levels are highest. Many people are not aware of how shallow tree root systems are, and assume they must grow deep into the soil. With that attitude, they think applying fill over the roots should not make that much difference. Knowing that the roots are shallow due to their need for oxygen makes it easy to see why fill can kill trees.  If you apply too much fill over the roots of a tree, it blocks the ability of new oxygen to filter down into the soil. The roots use up the oxygen, and when it is not replenished, the roots suffocate and die. As they die, they stop absorbing the water the tree needs, and the tree eventually dies of thirst…

Science Magazine, August 9, 2018: Fears lessen that invasive fungi will completely wipe out Hawaii’s iconic native tree

Hawaii’s red-blossomed ‘ōhi’a is tough enough to colonize recent lava flows, but until this summer the iconic native tree seemed doomed. Four years ago, an invasive fungus began to kill ‘ōhi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha) on the island of Hawaii; by now, the blight has spread across 800 square kilometers. The news got worse in May, when dying trees tested positive for the fungus on the neighboring island of Kauai, fueling fears that rapid ‘ōhi’a death (ROD) would span the state. But the picture brightened at a meeting on Oahu late last month. Aerial surveys and studies on land and in the lab now suggest that some ‘ōhi’a will survive. The killer fungus turns out to be two distantly related species, one of them less deadly to ‘ōhi’a, and some trees seem to have a native resistance to both strains. Management practices such as fencing out animals also appear to slow the spread of the fungus. “We are not going to see an extinction of ‘ōhi’a,” predicts Flint Hughes of the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station in Hilo, who is coordinating ROD research. “As we understand it more, our management tools are improving and we are learning about the potential weak points of the fungus and the strengths of ‘ōhi’a”…

Discover magazine, August 8, 2018: Despite deforestation, earth is gaining trees as land use changes

Scientists like simplicity as much as anyone. Elegant equations take up less room, well-designed experiments reduce clutter and Occam’s razor generally advises to keep things simple (within reason). But how far can you take it?  Say you want to know the exact amount of tree loss Earth has seen over time — can you look at a bunch of old satellite photos and just compare the greener areas? Well, according to a Nature paper out today, yes we can! The authors did almost exactly that, analyzing 35 years of satellite data to determine the changes in land cover. And while the methods may sound straightforward, the results are a bit less intuitive: It turns out Earth is actually gaining tree cover and losing bare ground cover. It’s sort of good news, and will help scientists better understand and model our planet’s changing climate…

Madison, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, August 9, 2018: Dutch elm disease claims “Elmer,” a campus tree more than a century old

The University of Wisconsin–Madison campus is saying goodbye to a beloved natural landmark. An elm tree that has stood for more than 100 years fell victim to Dutch elm disease and is in the process of being removed from the Hector F. DeLuca (HFD) Biochemical Sciences Complex by UW–Madison grounds staff. The tree – often known informally as Elmer – has a rich past with the Department of Biochemistry and surrounding departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), such as the Department of Horticulture. Thousands of students who have taken biochemistry courses or frequented that area of campus have gazed up at the old elm or enjoyed breaks in the shade it provided…

Victorville, California, Daily Press, August 9, 2018: How to remove a tree stump

So you removed that old or diseased tree from your property. That’s one problem solved … but now you’re left with a second dilemma: How to remove the tree stump? Check out this list of practical solutions. First: Why remove a stump? The question “How to remove that tree stump?” is best answered with another question. Why remove the stump? Your reasons will help determine the removal method you’ll use. Common motivations for getting rid of a tree stump are (1) Improve the appearance of your property. An ugly old stump has negative curb appeal; (2) Make it easier to cut the grass. You’ll also avoid accidental damage to your mower and other lawn care tools…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, August 8, 2018: Hartford Flagged Tree That Fell On 11-Year-Old Boy For Removal But Waited To Hear Objections

A large tree that fell Tuesday night at Goodwin Park, sending an 11-year-old boy to the hospital, had been flagged for removal last week by Hartford officials who waited 10 days to see if any residents objected to it being cut down. City officials said that the tree was identified as a problem on July 27, but was spared by the municipal ordinance requiring the waiting period so residents may challenge the decision. The ordinance allows for a tree to be removed immediately if city workers determine it’s an immediate danger. Officials said that was not the case with this tree. The tree, which stood next to a basketball court at the public park, came down on its own, apparently splitting at the base. A group of children playing basketball on the South End court heard it snap…

Huntington, West Virginia, WSAZ-TV, August 8, 2018: Trim your tree or pay the price

One village is going to great lengths to trim trees blocking the road. But if you don’t do it yourself in Oak Hill, Ohio, you’re going to be sent a bill. It’s the latest as cities and communities across the Tri-State and Kanawha Valley look to tidy up their town. Officials said it’s a safety issue they can’t afford to ignore any longer, for more ways than one. There’s a few spots that make drivers swerve, as long as someone isn’t in the other lane. We took a drive with Mayor Rob Leonard Wednesday afternoon. Even just pulling out of City Hall shows the problem. He said it’s the cause of multiple wrecks in recent years, including at least one involving a school bus. Tom Miller has lived in Oak Hill his entire life. “They need to trim them back, and I think it’d help a lot,” Miller said. The City Council will have a final reading to its tree trimming ordinance Tuesday, putting some teeth into its current ordinance for residents who don’t comply…

Portland, Oregon, KPTV, August 8, 2018: From Oregon, with love: Capitol Christmas Tree to come from Willamette National Forest

With summer in full swing, most people aren’t thinking about Christmas yet. But for the people tasked with choosing a national Christmas tree, the deadline is fast approaching, and they’re looking to the Willamette National Forest. Oregon is known for its trees, so you’d think finding a Christmas tree here would be a simple task… right? Not so much, says Jim Kaufmann, director of the Capitol Grounds and Arboretum at the Architect Capitol. “It’s almost like finding a needle in a haystack,” Kaufmann said. This isn’t the first year the Capitol Christmas Tree has come from Oregon. In 2002, the Capitol Tree came from the Umpqua National Forest. This year’s tree is coming from the Willamette National Forest. Kaufmann says it’s his job to choose the tree that will stand on the Capitol’s west lawn…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star-Tribune, August 8, 2018: S. Minnesota homeowner fatally shoots dog believing it was peeing on his trees

A southern Minnesota homeowner was charged with a felony for shooting and killing a dog because he believed it was peeing on his trees. Brian J. Johnson, 63, of Good Thunder, was charged in Blue Earth County District Court last week with animal cruelty and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 30. “I have mixed feelings, but I want justice for my dog and what he did,” said Carrie Dolsen, who adopted Diesel as a rescue puppy about four years ago. “He was our kid.” Jim Kuettner, Johnson’s attorney, said, “The dog was repeatedly coming onto Mr. Johnson’s property and [urinating], and the owner was not doing anything about it.” According to the criminal complaint, a witness approached a police officer midafternoon on June 3 and said there was a dog on Willard Street that appeared to be ill. The officer found the dog vomiting and took the dog to its home. Two days later, police were notified by the Dolsen family that the dog had died, and a week later they were told that Diesel had been shot in the abdomen with a pellet gun…

Miami, Florida, Herald, August 7, 2018: Key West’s official tree is being devoured by caterpillars

Key West’s majestic Royal Poinciana trees, with their fiery orange-red blooms and sprawling branches and roots, are under siege by a caterpillar that feeds on them at night. The Royal Poinciana, which the city earlier this year crowned the official tree of Key West even though it is invasive, attracts a stubborn type of caterpillar that wildlife experts simply call the Royal Poinciana caterpillar.  At just under two inches long, the caterpillar is coated with black and brown stripes.  Rare for a member of the cutworm species, these caterpillars climb high trees and hide during the day in dirt, mulch or opened seed pods, according to Michelle Leonard-Mularz, of the Monroe County Extension Services, part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. And they are gobbling up Poinciana canopies around town…

Mobile, Alabama, WALA-TV, August 7, 2018: Citrus trees in Southern Alabama facing devastating disease


Citrus trees in Mobile and Baldwin counties are facing a threat from a pesky pest. The disease known as “Citrus Greening” which is causing problems around the world could wreak havoc here in Southern Alabama after being first spotted last year. “Citrus greening is a death sentence for citrus trees,” said Dr. David Battiste, an Assistant Professor at the University of South Alabama. A tiny bug called the Asian Citrus Psyllid is causing big problems. “Florida has lost 70 percent of its citrus trees over the last 10 years to the citrus greening disease,” Battiste said. So far, it has been spotted in multiple states in the U.S…

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, August 5, 2018: Columbus’ Urbn Timber turns salvaged trees into ‘live edge’ furniture

For many furniture companies, success is measured by the number of pieces sold or net profit. While those things are important at Urbn Timber, the fast-growing South Side business has another, higher goal. “For us, it’s about this: How many trees can we save,” said Treg Sherman, one of three partners in the business. Founded in 2016 by Sherman, Tyler Hillyard and Tyler Sirak, Urbn Timber collaborates with Columbus arborists Jacob Sauer Tree Care, Joseph Tree Service and Russell Tree Experts to salvage trees that have been removed because of storm damage, to make way for new construction or are hazardous because of disease or death. Urbn Timber then transforms the wood into “live edge” slabs. “It’s almost like a granite shop,” Hillyard said. “You pick your slab, take it home, or we can custom-build (tables) for you,” Sherman said. The idea for the business originated with Hillyard, who as the son of a homebuilder spent the summers and weekends of his boyhood working on projects with his father and brother. “I saw the value of wood,” Hillyard said. “When I was 16 or 17, I knew I wanted my own mill…”

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, August 7, 2018: Beware the scary ‘sudden branch drop,’ when trees start self-pruning during the summer

Houses and cars can be smashed and people can be seriously injured and even killed by a strange tree action — a curious natural “pruning” that is happening right now in North Texas. Big limbs just fall out of the blue with a loud “crack.” Often these failed limbs curiously reveal no obvious external defects, and the inner wood is broken bluntly, with no sharp splintering. The absence of obvious visual warning signs like cracks and color changes make this danger hard to predict. This scary tree reaction is usually a complete surprise. It is called “sudden branch drop,” “high temperature limb drop” and “summer branch drop.” Theories about the cause include branch movement and tissue shrinkage, internal cracking, internal moisture changes, gas releases inside limbs, and microscopic changes in cell wall structure. Consistent warning signs are lacking and there are still no definite answers. Trees that are subject to sudden drop are usually mature, with limbs that are very large, mostly horizontal, sweep upward toward the end and extend out beyond the main canopy. Mostly these failures occur on hot, still days with no wind. My best theory is that this is a tree’s response to demands when transpiration exceeds the capacity of the roots and vascular system. This imbalance of moisture causes the tree to abort limbs…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun Times, August 6, 2018: Jackson Park trees cut down – near Obama Center site – despite lawsuit, promises

The city and Chicago Park District are cutting down trees in Jackson Park – in a project related to the Obama Presidential Center – despite a pending lawsuit, and city and federal approvals still needed and a pledge from the Obama Foundation CEO to keep trees intactuntil the permitting process is complete. The Chicago Park District is digging up baseball fields in Jackson Park south of the proposed Obama Center complex. The reason? The diamonds are being removed to make room for a track field displaced by the Obama Center, to be located on 19.3 acres carved out of Jackson Park. The Obama Foundation is paying the Chicago Park District up to $3.5 million to fund a new multisport athletic field on the baseball site. That’s because the field is being bumped for the Obama Foundation. The projects are inextricably connected…

Jacksonville, Florida, Times-Union, August 6, 2018: Tree trimmer fell as wasps swarmed him in Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach police say a tree trimmer died from injuries after falling about 20 feet as wasps swarmed him after he disturbed a nest Saturday afternoon. Joseph English, 57, sustained severe head trauma, a broken back and other injuries when he fell off a ladder onto a brick pathway next to a driveway of a home about 2:30 p.m. in the unit block of 28th Avenue South, police said. English died Sunday at Memorial Hospital. He was employed by Daddy and Girls landscaping service. Company owner Larry Lyles told police he was working with English when the accident happened. He said English was on a ladder trimming a palm tree when he apparently disturbed a wasp nests and the insects attacked him, according to the incident report. A co-worker said she heard English yell and when she looked up, she saw him drop a hand saw he’d been using. English was trying to come down the ladder rungs when he appeared to let go and fell backward, she told police…

Charleston, West Virginia, Gazette-Mail, August 6, 2018: As PSC weighs how ApCo should use savings, tree-trimming program critiqued

As the state Public Service Commission mulls how utilities like Appalachian Power should use their federal tax savings, members of its independent staff have raised issue with a program the electric company wants millions of those newfound savings to go toward. Appalachian Power’s Vegetation Management Program (VMP) began in 2014. The company used to remove vegetation from right-of-ways as needed, but changed its approach and implemented the program after the 2012 derecho caused widespread power outages in the state. Philip Wright, the company’s vice president of distribution operations, said in testimony earlier this year that managing vegetation can involve pruning trees with equipment or ground crews, removing “danger trees,” applying herbicide, clearing brush and widening rights-of-way. The PSC sought increased service reliability and reduced recovery time for weather-related service disruptions when it approved the proactive program. The program, though, comes at a cost to customers…

Aberdeen, South Dakota, News, August 6, 2018: Common tree diseases, and how to fight them

It is not uncommon to start seeing various leaf diseases on trees and plants this time of year. Many of these diseases can reoccur annually, and some depend on what kind of weather we are having in the spring and summer. Apple scab is a common ailment that affects apple and crabapple trees. It appears on leaves as dull, brown, irregular spots and can change to light green velvety spots. These leaves will normally start to fall off the tree in various degrees. The best way to manage this disease is to plant varieties that are resistant to apple scab. There are treatments available, but they are very timely and aren’t always successful. Fireblight is another apple disease which quickly turns leaves brown/black and they do not drop to the ground. The bark in this area will look shriveled and also turn brownish/black. There is no effective treatment for this disease other than pruning out the infected branches…

Kentucky Forward, August 3, 2018: Asian long-horned beetle threatens maple trees, other hardwoods in Kentucky

An Asian insect pest, which threatens maple trees and other hardwoods in North America, has been found on Kentucky’s doorstep. Multiple infestations of the Asian Long-Horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) were found beginning in 2012 in southern Ohio’s Clermont County, just east of Cincinnati. While there have been no reports of infestations in the Kentucky counties to the south, just across the Ohio River, state forestry officials are on alert. “We’re hoping this is one (insect pest) that we don’t have to deal with,” said Abe Nielsen, Forest Health Specialist with the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “It’s important that landowners are educated about the beetle so they can be on the lookout for signs of infestation.” Federal and state forestry officials have been effective in keeping the infestations from expanding, but there is still a lot of active management going on in southern Ohio. “With more than $2.5 billion in standing maple timber and a $5 billion dollar nursery industry that employs nearly 240,000 people, it is vital we do all we can to keep this tree-killing pest from spreading across Ohio,” said David Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture…

Bloomberg News, August 2, 2018: Lumber producer sees Canada-U.S. tussle over trees dragging on

The odds of settling a long-running dispute between the U.S. and Canada over lumber are looking pretty bleak, according to a key producer. There’s been no progress to settle the Canada-U.S. fight over softwood lumber as governments have been more focused on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, said Yves Laflamme, chief executive officer of Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products. The company is currently paying about $80 million a year in tariffs, and it’s likely Canada’s legal battle to fight the U.S. restrictions through the World Trade Organization will drag on for another four years, he said. “I’m not optimistic at all on lumber,” Laflamme said Thursday in an interview following the company’s second quarter earnings call. “I’m not expecting any settlement…”

Washington, D.C., Post, August 3, 2018: 10-year-old girl dies after tree falls on home in Virginia

A 10-year-old girl died after a tree fell on her house in Virginia following days of heavy rain, authorities said. The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said Lydia Gherghis died after the tree toppled into her home in the 6200 block of Highmeadow Place off U.S. Highway 15 in Warrenton, Va., around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. A person called 911 and said “someone may be trapped inside” the home, according to authorities. The tree had fallen into the bedroom area and trapped the young girl underneath. She was unresponsive, officials said, and was pronounced dead “a short time later.” Officials said it is not known what caused the tree to collapse, but “due to the recent rainfall and ground saturation all possibilities are being investigated,” officials said in a statement…

Salem, Oregon, Capital Press Ag Weekly, August 2, 2018: Christmas trees need a boost

No ag industry is under greater threat than Christmas tree growers. Fake trees have established a beach head in the marketplace, as more consumers are “going plastic” and buying Chinese-made artificial trees in a box. Or consumers are skipping the tradition altogether. No ag industry is under greater threat than Christmas tree growers. Fake trees have established a beach head in the marketplace, as more consumers are “going plastic” and buying Chinese-made artificial trees in a box. Or they are skipping the tradition altogether. The challenges cannot be ignored. That’s why we were surprised that a recent checkoff vote by Christmas tree growers was so close. Fifty-one percent of growers supported continuing the industry checkoff, while 49 percent opposed it. If opponents have a problem with the current ad and marketing campaign they need to fix it, not abandon it and leave the industry defenseless. With aggressive foreign competition chipping away at the market, U.S. tree growers have no choice but to tell their story and remind consumers of a classic and classy Christmas tradition. They need to talk about tradition, about family, and about memories that for many people represent the most precious time of the year…


Santa Fe, New Mexico, New Mexican, August 1, 2018: Tree of heaven or hell?

Here in the high desert, gardeners and nature lovers learn to regard almost anything that grows well on its own with respect and admiration. But there are exceptions. When a non-native plant is so adaptable that it spreads with abandon, sucking up nutrients and water and crowding out less robust species, it threatens native habitats and is a nuisance in gardens: it becomes “invasive.” Santa Fe has its share of invasive trees, notoriously Siberian elm, but also Russian olive, salt cedar (or tamarisk), and the ultra-aggressive tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima. Like many invasive species, ailanthus was introduced as an ornamental before its less desirable features became apparent. Sometimes called “stink tree,” this native of China was brought to the United States via Europe in 1784 and soon escaped cultivation. It looks a lot like our native sumac, but its flowers and leaves emit a fetid odor, unlike those belonging to the Rhus genus. Tree of heaven is fast-growing, quickly shading out other plants. Though an individual specimen is relatively short-lived, ailanthus is very difficult to control because it spreads not only by seeds but also by root sprouts, clones of the mother tree that prolong its life indefinitely. It’s seen in weedy colonies along roadsides and in Santa Fe neighborhoods…

Houston, Texas, KPRC-TV, August 1, 2018: Cherished oak trees may be removed against SW Houston residents’ wishes

Several large oak trees dot the landscape along what residents call little Glenshire Bayou in southwest Houston. The trees are located on private property that was recently sold to a land developer, and the residents said they are a big part of their community. When neighbors saw some trees on the property being cut down, they immediately contacted the Brays Oaks Management District. Sheri Cortex said she reached out to the new land owner on behalf of her community and said he seemed open to talking. “Upon hanging up the phone with him, however, he decided to contact the demo gentleman and said (to) level the property, put up no trespassing signs, we’re not saving anything,” Cortez said. Cortez said she has tried to make further contact with the land owner since their initial phone conversation, but hasn’t had success…

Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, August 1, 2018: NJ orders quarantine for tree-destroying spotted lanternfly, but will it work?

New Jersey officials have instituted a quarantine for three counties in the hopes of stopping a tree-destroying insect from spreading to other parts of the Garden State. The quarantine in Warren, Mercer and Hunterdon counties is similar to ones ordered in recent years in nearby eastern Pennsylvania where the spotted lanternfly — a native of Asia — was discovered in the U.S in 2014. But despite a quarantine, the spotted lanternfly has spread rapidly in Pennsylvania from five counties last year to 13 this year.  Still, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration is hopeful this will work. “The spotted lanternfly is an excellent hitchhiker, with the ability travel on all types of vehicles as well as various landscaping, wood-based materials and agricultural produce,” Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “It’s imperative that we stop the movement of this pest before it can make an impact on New Jersey.” Under the quarantine, businesses and residents in the three counties are required to inspect any outdoor items such as camping equipment, sports equipment, patio furniture, building materials and garden items before moving them out of the area…

Cleveland, Ohio, WJW-TV, August 1, 2018: Tree trimming causing outrage in Tremont neighborhood

Residents in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood are up in arms after recent tree trimming along West 14th Street, Scranton Road, University Road, and many other side streets. “I think that’s a shame because if you could see how they trimmed them, those trees are probably going to die in a few years,” said Tremont resident, Wally Skoropos. “I was furious. It’s gonna take years for those trees to grow back. Our neighborhood has to look at them,” Ward 3 Councilman Kerry McCormack told Fox 8. McCormack says the trimming was done by contractors hired by First Energy to prevent future power outages. “It looks like they were in a hurry and didn’t care. They could have easily have shaped it differently,” said Denys Morgan, resident. Councilman McCormack says he will voice those concerns when he meets with First Energy officials Thursday…

San Francisco, California, July 31, 2018: What is making U.S. beech trees sick?

Ohio biologist John Pogacnik admits to mixed feelings about having discovered the latest disease imperiling a major American tree. Pogacnik first noticed American beech trees with striped and shriveled leaves in 2012 during a routine survey of forests owned by his employer, Lake Metroparks. He didn’t think much of it at first: Just a few trees looked sick, and it had been a strange year, with an unusually warm winter and dry spring. By the next summer, Pogacnik was seeing ailing trees throughout the six-county region in northeast Ohio where his agency manages more than 35 parks. He alerted colleagues at the Ohio Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service. “I’m glad to have found it, to just put it out there and let people know,” he said. “But it’s still not the greatest feeling in the world.” Beech leaf disease has now popped up in nine Ohio counties, two other states and Canada, and its spread shows no sign of slowing. The disease has already felled young saplings; mature trees, some hundreds of years old, appear to be on the brink of death. Scientists fear the beech could soon face a plague as serious as those that have devastated chestnut, elm, hemlock and ash trees. “It has all the signs of a significant, emerging pathogen,” said Constance Hausman, a biologist at Cleveland Metroparks…

Toronto, Ontario, July 31, 2018: ‘It’s like a cathedral’: Toronto votes to save what could be city’s oldest tree

The self-described guardian​ of a massive, 300-year-old red oak tree in Toronto is celebrating after city council voted in favour of buying the property that is home to the heritage tree. “For me what happened at city hall, personally, all the stars aligned after 12 years,” Edith George, who has been fighting to protect the tree, told As It Happens guest host Piya Chattopadhyay. Toronto city council voted Monday to move forward with negotiations to buy the North York home where the tree  —  believed to be the oldest in Toronto — resides. The tree is protected by the city, which requires homeowners to get approval before chopping it down. Back in 2015, city council voted to explore how to buy the tree and build a parkette around it but nothing came to fruition. In April, George, who lives in the neighborhood and is an adviser to the Canadian Urban Forest Council, learned that the owners who bought the property in 2015 planned to put it back up for sale and could try to have the tree removed in the process…

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, WISN-TV, July 31, 2018: Mystery tree trimmer: Some Oak Creek residents want to know who is hacking trees

Some Oak Creek homeowners want to know who’s hacking their trees at night. It’s happening in the Glen Crossing subdivision near 13th Street and Glen Crossing Drive. One resident said his son saw a man last week trimming the trees in front of their home, but when the son tried to approach him, the mystery man ran off. “Why would a person come out and trim branches, leave them there laying neatly around each tree. I find that very strange,” Rob Johnston said. Neighbors said the man goes around at night trimming trees and leaving limbs behind. They know it isn’t professionally done because they’ve checked with the city, and no one has gone out there. Plus, the job isn’t well done. “This looks like someone who didn’t know what they were doing. The city would not leave that. They would have cut this,” Johnston said. Some neighbors have even seen the man in action, usually after 10 p.m., but they’ve never caught him on camera…

Vancouver, Washington, Columbian, July 31, 2018: Is your tree too big?


I am often asked to evaluate a situation where home owners want to drastically reduce the size of a large tree. When I ask them why they want to reduce a mature tree’s size, the response is often “It is just too big. We didn’t realize it was going to get this big when we planted it.” They are often worried about what might happen if the wind blew the tree over. I start by explaining that the tree is just growing to its natural height. The maximum size reduction that should be made in a tree is 20 to 25%. When properly pruned by that much it normally takes 2 years until it regrows to its former natural height with strong branches. Home owners or unscrupulous arborists will sometimes prune a tree more than 25%, but the damage done to the tree destroys its natural growth and often kills the tree within a few years. The worst type of pruning that can be done is to stub back all major branches to an arbitrary height. This is referred to as “topping”. Topped trees typically regrow many slender, weak branches. A mild wind storm will often snap a number of branches and they end up littering the ground. The tree will still regrow to its former size in 2 years or less. The major wounds made by shortening large branches are often infected with damaging insects or diseases…

Boston, Massachusetts, WBUR Radio, July 29, 2018: How a ‘garbage tree’ — and bird poop — forced us to choose between nature and neighbors

The white mulberry overhung our gravel driveway when my husband and I moved into our Cambridge house 20 years ago. It was a large tree; tall, leafy and fertile. Each year, on a day in early summer, we would awaken to a huge squawk and rush outside. Every bird in the city seemed to have landed on our mulberry tree. The fruit was ripe. For weeks, we watched cardinals, robins, catbirds, blue jays, chickadees, goldfinches, doves — and, once, a Baltimore oriole — gorging themselves on mulberries. After eating, they flitted to our backyard to wash up in the birdbath and see what else was on offer in the garden. Many hung around all season. Some, with later broods, nested. We became birdwatchers without leaving our backyard. Our neighbors hated this tree, which overhung their driveway as well. We couldn’t really blame them. The berries formed an unsightly squishy mat on the gravel. Within weeks, the fruit would sprout into a forest of junior mulberry trees which had to be weeded out. Worst of all, a rancid stench would rise from the stones as the berries fermented in the sun…

Baltimore, Maryland, The Sun, July 29, 2018: Marks calls on county to plant 112 trees in downtown Towson after tree removal

County Councilman David Marks is calling on Baltimore County to replace the trees it took down last year on the site of a former fire station in Towson. Under the proposal, drafted by the Green Towson Alliance, a green-space advocacy group, and passed on to the county by Marks, the county would plant 112 trees around downtown Towson. The trees would replace the 30 that the county removed on the site at the corner of York Road and Bosley Avenue on April 1, 2017. “The trees were removed contrary to a County Council resolution,” Marks said. “I think this is a good way of bringing closure.” Beth Miller, a Green Towson Alliance member, said planting trees around downtown would bring many benefits: They would cool the streets, clean the air and absorb stormwater. “And then, they just look nice,” Miller said. “They’re just beautiful…”

Firehouse, July 30, 2018: Hotshot killed by fallen tree at California wildfire

A firefighter was killed Sunday morning battling the massive Ferguson fire near Yosemite National Park, marking the second firefighting death in Mariposa County and the eighth fire-related death as more than a dozen wildfires rage across the state. Brian Hughes, captain of the Arrowhead Interagency Hotshots, was killed when he was struck by a tree while working with his crew to set a back fire — a tactic designed to limit a fire’s spread — on the east side of the fire, according to the National Park Service. He was treated at the scene but died before he could be taken to a hospital. He was 33. “The team at Sequoia and Kings National Parks is devastated by this terrible news,” parks Supt. Woody Smeck said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to the firefighter’s family and loved ones. We grieve this loss with you.” Hughes, who was originally from Hilo, Hawaii, had worked with the Arrowhead hotshots for four years. They are an elite crew of 20 firefighters based at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks…

Fort Collins, Colorado, The Coloradoan, July 29, 2018: How to build a ‘fire’ wall and save Fort Collins’ ash trees

Let this not deflate you, City Manager Darin Atteberry. The same with you, Colorado State University President Tony Frank with all your collegiate heft. You as well, CSU football coach Mike Bobo, though we hoist much on your shoulders, new stadium and all. None of you is the most important man in Fort Collins. That person would be Ralph Zentz. And I promise you, he was not seeking the title. Zentz is the city’s senior urban forester. All that’s weighing on his mortal frame is one-third of the shade cover in this city, and a lot of the beauty and enjoyment. That certainly applies in my house, where three tremendous ash trees guard our front yard and two provide the backyard canopy that makes our deck so luscious. Ashes make up 15 percent of Fort Collins’ urban forest. They are now threatened by the emerald ash borer, or EAB, which is reaping devastation in Boulder and Longmont and has been detected as far north along the Front Range as Lyons…

Panama City, Florida, News Herald, July 26, 2018: World’s only 4-headed palm tree cut down

When the chainsaw revved to life, a small gasp ran through the crowd gathered around the world’s only known four-headed pindo palm. This was it. The iconic St. Andrews tree really was about to be cut down. “It’s like watching history collapse,” said John Dunn, as he watched the tree fall. “It stings.” For the past two years, park visitors have watched the palm’s green fronds slowly fade to brown despite Panama City’s attempt to save the popular photo spot. Experts have been flown in, chemical treatments and injections tried, and maintenance made a priority, but a study sent to the city by Bartlett Tree Experts spelled it out — no matter what the city did, the tree would be dead within three years. With that grim prognosis in mind, the city decided to remove the tree while there was a chance the wood was solid enough to be used to create commemorative plaques. So early Wednesday, Gulf Coast Tree Service dismantled the tree limb by limb, sending each “head” soaring through the air by crane before landing with a thud in a waiting truck…

Washington, D.C., Post, July 26, 2018: Strong to severe storms are likely Friday, and heavily saturated soils make tree falls a big worry

The siege of moist air, torrential rain and flooding is about to come to something of a pause in time for the weekend. But it does so with a grand finale of sorts, from strong to severe showers and thunderstorms ahead of an approaching cold front on Friday. The most likely time for strong to severe thunderstorms should focus on Friday afternoon into early evening. Some of the storms could be intense, with the threat of flash flooding, intense lightning, large hail and damaging wind gusts. Additionally, given the overabundance of rainfall and fully saturated soil across the region, many tree root systems are stressed and weak. Already in recent days, there have been news reports of trees toppling over in the muddy, wet ground, with nothing more than mild breezes pushing against them. Thankfully, these reports have been spotty…

Traverse City, Michigan, Record-Eagle, July 26, 2018: Study: Tree cover receding

A nationwide loss of tree cover includes all the Great Lakes states but Minnesota, according to a new study. Reasons for the changes include development, storms, disease, fire, pests and property owner choices on what to do with their land. On the plus side of the equation are planting efforts, tree growth and natural regeneration, the study said. “This trend will likely continue into the future unless forest management and/or urban development policies are altered, particularly given the threats to urban trees associated with development, climate change, insects and diseases, and fire,” the study reported. For example, the invasive emerald ash borer has devastated tens of millions of ash in Michigan, many of them street trees that had been planted to replace elms previously killed by Dutch elm disease, said Kevin Sayers, the state urban forestry coordinator at the Department of Natural Resources. “It’s like a series of waves,” Sayers said, adding that the new worry is the Asian long-horned beetle. That wood-boring invader threatens maple, birch, elm, willow and other hardwood species, according to the National Invasive Species Information Center. Michigan was the first Great Lakes state to report the emerald ash borer in 2002. It lost 0.8 percent of its urban and community tree cover between 2009 and 2014, the study said…

Savannah, Georgia, Savannah Morning News, July 26, 2018: Tree lawns keeping Savannah green

Savannah is boosting its green infrastructure by requiring that tree lawns — the space between the sidewalk and the curb — be replaced when commercial buildings are built or rehabbed. An amendment covering tree lawns passed more than a year ago, but is just now starting to bear fruit. “We try to encourage the continuation of the historical precedent of planting trees,” said Ted Buckley, a landscape architect with the city’s Greenscapes Department. “Oglethorpe started that process essentially when the city was first founded; I think somebody told me once upon a time that we’re on our fourth forest since then.” Squares and parks figure into that forest, but so do tree lawns. Savannah adopted a tree lawn amendment to its Landscape and Tree Protection Ordinance in February 2017. It requires construction of a tree lawn when a property is developed, rehabilitated, or improved for non-residential or multifamily purposes anywhere “they existed historically or exist in the current nearby context.” In practice that means in the historic districts north of Victory Drive, Buckley said. Downtown resident Philip Perrone, a native New Yorker who moved here about seven years ago, pushed for the changes when he noticed how many trees lawns had been swallowed by parking or sidewalks. As a member of the Park and Tree Commission, he documented examples of lost tree lawns and lobbied for the amendment. He expects to see a “profound effect…”

Danbury, Connecticut, News Times, July 25, 2018: Danbury is removing dozens of dangerous trees after deadly crash this week

Local foresters are examining dozens of potentially dangerous trees across Danbury after a massive tree fell and killed a 45-year-old man Tuesday along Padanaram Road. The city’s forestry division has identified 46 trees along city roads this summer that could pose a risk and need to be removed, Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola said Wednesday morning. Crews are in the process of removing those trees this week, in addition to 40 others that were taken down shortly after severe thunderstorms rolled through the area in May causing a macroburst and a tornado that toppled hundreds of trees, damaged dozens of homes and killed two, he added.
But officials are still trying to determine who has responsibility for the large tree — which was at least 3 feet in diameter — that fell on a pickup truck on Padanaram Road around 9 a.m. Tuesday killing the passenger, Walter Cardenas Salinas. Padanaram is owned by the state of Connecticut and doesn’t fall under the city’s responsibility, Iadarola stressed. Kevin Nursick, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said state officials are aware of the accident and investigating whether the tree was on the state’s right of way or if it was located on private property…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, July 25, 2018: Conn. man allegedly impersonates Bruins owner to get special treatment on tree work

A Connecticut man was arrested in New York last week after allegedly impersonating Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs multiple times in efforts to get special treatment for removing a fallen tree, police said. Jeffrey Jacobs, 37, allegedly called a tree company during a storm in February 2017 to request that it move a tree that had fallen on his Wilton, Conn., home. Jacobs told the company he was the owner of the Bruins, Wilton police Captain Rob Cipolla said. Months later, when Jacobs had not yet paid his bill, the tree company sent the outstanding charge to the Bruins owner himself. Staff for Jeremy Jacobs — knowing that the Bruins owner did not have any connection to the Connecticut home — alerted police. Police found Jeffrey Jacobs at his Wilton, Conn., home and gave him a warning, considering the outstanding debt to the tree company a civil issue, rather than criminal, Cipolla said. But just a few months later, in November 2017, Jacobs was stopped by a Wilton police officer for a stop sign violation, and he once again tried skirting the ticket by impersonating Jeremy Jacobs…

Lexington, Kentucky, WTVQ-TV, July 25, 2018: Woman says crews “butchered” her trees while working to restore power after storm

Kentucky Utilities says all power knocked out in Friday’s storm is back on but one woman says crews did more harm than good. Sammi Hazen says her farm in Versailles was hit hard during Friday’s storm. “We had some trees down and two big trees down over there. Some branches and some of that,” said Hazen, owner of PlayMor Farm. Hazen says it took days for her to get all the debris cleaned up but finally by Tuesday things were getting back to normal until she came home to find this. “I drove in. I stopped. I couldn’t believe it,” said Hazen. Hazen says while she was out a crew contracted by Kentucky Utilities came onto her property to make sure the power was working but then started cutting branches off a line of her trees. “They said that the trees were touching the lines and that they were trimming them. I don’t consider that trimming them. That’s a butcher job,” said Hazen. Hazen says she’s furious because she had just put the farm on the market, now with the trees cut she doesn’t know how she’s going to be able to sell it…

Magnolia, Arkansas, Reporter, July 25, 2018: Homeowners should not be in a rush while dealing with “problem” trees

Managing downed, bent or damaged trees can be something of a perennial task in Arkansas, but in the wake of recent, wide-spread storms, experts with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are urging Arkansans to employ caution and good judgment when considering “problem” trees in their vicinity. Tamara Walkingstick, associate professor of Extension Forestry and associate director for the Division of Agriculture’s Arkansas Forest Resources Center, said that in the wake of a storm, the most important thing to keep in mind is that unless a damaged tree is on a power line, it can probably wait. “You don’t need to immediately do something,” Walkingstick said. “If you do have damage to your power lines, don’t try to deal with it yourself. Let the professionals at the electric company deal with it.” Once property can be toured safely, homeowners should conduct a visual assessment of what sort of tree damage they have. This can range from split trunks and injured limbs, down to large or small debris on the property. Walkingstick said one of the most common question she — along with Cooperative Extension Service agents around the state — receives is whether a split tree can be fixed. “The answer is really ‘no,’” Walkingstick said. “A tree is essentially dead once it has been split — you can’t tie, screw or tape a split branch or trunk back to the main part of the tree. If more than 50 percent of a tree’s crown — the portion of a tree that produces leaves — is damaged, it will likely not recover, and a homeowner should consider removing the tree, she said…

Killeen, Texas, Daily Herald, July 24, 2018: Killeen resident questions why the city is cutting down shade trees

In the middle of record summer heat, at least one Killeen resident is irked that the city is cutting down shade trees in her neighborhood as part of a sidewalk project. “This situation is so devastating because now the whole block has no trees,” said Lucinda Frazier, a resident of the northeast Killeen neighborhood. “Why would anyone want to destroy so many trees?” Frazier said folks walking in the neighborhood including Gray Drive and Culp Avenue would stop under the trees during walks to cool off. The trees are in the right-of-way belonging to the city, but Frazier and her mother had become attached to the trees they could see out of the living room window. “Now Mom doesn’t want to even look outside,” she said.  Frazier said the city did not give residents advanced notice or an explanation: People just looked outside and realized stumps had taken the place of trees. “It’s probably so no one would be able to state their opinion or ask questions to stop this,” Frazier said. “This is a sad situation in my opinion…”

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, July 24, 2018: South Omaha man accused of using pipe bombs to blow up tree

A south Omaha man is accused of making and using pipe bombs to blow up a tree in his yard. Details in a search warrant affidavit said the man did this because the tree was dropping sap on his vehicle. 6 News is not identifying the man because police have not arrested him or charged him with anything.  The first pipe bomb was discovered near the end of June by one of the man’s neighbors. Ron Evans found the detonated pipe bomb in his yard.  “I’ve been finding pieces. The first one I found was the whole pipe bomb. The second one was just a whole bunch of pieces, and they were pieces of different sized pipe bombs,” Evans said.  Evans reported it to police, and told officers he believed it was his neighbor.  About two weeks after Evans’ report, police received a second report from a home about a mile away. Patrick Foster found a detonated pipe bomb near the front door of his house… The woman then told police the man makes the pipe bombs and places them in the tree in front of the home in an attempt to blow it up because “the tree drops sap on his vehicle,” the affidavit said.  “Maybe call an arborist or something rather than trying to blow up your own tree,” Foster said when he heard about the man’s attempts…

Los Angeles, California, KCRW Radio, July 24, 2018: LA removes street trees to repair sidewalks

The Department of Public Works voted this morning to remove 18 Indian Laurel Fig – a variety of Ficus trees – and the canopy they provide on Hollywood’s North Cherokee Avenue. Those particular trees have outgrown that area and they’re creating an unsafe situation and condition for people, pedestrians, wheelchair users, along that corridor. And so the board today made the decision to remove those trees and replace them with others that would provide a safer passageway,” said Elena Stern, spokesperson for the Department of Public Works. Urban forestry advocates say there are other ways to make streets safer without ripping out old trees. The city says it’s impossible, because of the way the roots of the ficus trees have spread too far and torn up sidewalk. Old trees provide great beauty to LA’s streets. But there are also environmental reasons for creating and preserving tree canopy — they provide shade and help keep cities cooler and reduce the heat island effect. They can then keep people’s air conditioning bills down…

Washington, D.C., WJLA-TV, July 24, 2018: Arborist offers tips on tree safety after heavy rain

Chris Miller, a certified arborist at Rock Creek Tree, Turf & Landscape, says, so far, emergency calls about downed trees following this week’s heavy rain have trickled in. “If this event had higher winds, I think we would have been off the charts,” he said. He says during this storm, they have taken calls from concerned customers. “They’ve just been worried about it, ‘Hey, the soils are really wet, I know that I’ve been worrying about this tree for a long time and this is kind of heightening my concern,’” Miller said, describing the calls they’ve gotten. He says there are red flags that homeowners can look out for. “Pretty quickly, you should be able to notice if it’s a really dangerous event, the ground is cracking or there is mounding, especially on the upper side or the backside of the tree…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Inquirer, July 24, 2018: What to do if a tree falls on your house

Here’s some advice I would give others whose home is damaged in a natural disaster: Leave the house and property as soon as possible, and call emergency services to check the safety of the house and gas and electrical lines. Don’t do what I did and walk around snapping pictures. Photo documentation is important, but it can wait. Just get out. Call your insurance company and document what happened. Consider hiring a private adjuster to advocate for you and make all the required phone calls. (The process can become a second full-time job.) Make sure the adjuster is licensed and reputable and be clear on the commission. If you’re able to factor in funds for a designer for the rebuild, hire one. Otherwise, brace yourself for an overwhelming number of rebuild decisions: flooring, fixtures, and finishes, for instance. If you don’t already know a contractor, seek recommendations from friends who have done renovations…

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, July 23, 2018: Toxic tree takes toll on garden

The pepper, tomato and eggplants struggled to grow, turned yellow and eventually were snatched away by unseen, evil Machiavellian hands. Similar plant types have faded away for no apparent reason during the past few years. An apple tree located a few feet away from the garden died last year. An unbiased observer easily identified the culprit when his opinion was sought. “You’ve got Juglone toxicity,’’ he said. “Your problem is that tree.’’ The tree is a walnut growing a few feet from the garden’s edge. It had started life as a struggling twig, which needed mulch and water to survive. I learned to love the tree variety from my father, who collected several gunny sacks of walnuts and butter nuts each fall before squirrels hustled them away. The nuts were left to dry on a shed’s low roof. Dad cracked them in winter and mother used their meat to make fruitcake, cookies and pumpkin bread. From its humble origin, as a nut buried by a forgetful squirrel, the tree has grown to more than 40 feet with a near-perfect canopy. The poison secreted by a tree of that height can reach 80 feet, which effectively covers the garden…

New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Science, July 23, 2018: Drought and tree mortality: Science reveals harsh future for world’s forests

As a series of catastrophic droughts over the past few years has made clear, a future of increasingly extreme weather events will make life harder for the world’s trees. A growing body of research is illustrating exactly why that is. A new paper in the journal Nature, co-authored by Yale’s Craig Brodersen, highlights an emerging scientific field that uses 3D imaging and other technologies to better understand the inner workings of plants and trees — and what its findings have revealed about the vulnerabilities of these living organisms. Brodersen, an assistant professor of plant physiology ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, has been at the forefront of this field, developing techniques to describe the hydraulic systems of plants and predict how a warming planet will likely affect these functions. In an interview, Brodersen describes some of the important insights this field has revealed over the past two decades and the potential consequences for the world’s forests…

Pine Bluff, Arkansas, The Commercial, July 23, 2018: Use caution, good judgment when dealing with damaged trees, experts say

Managing downed, bent or damaged trees can be something of a perennial task in Arkansas, but in the wake of recent, wide-spread storms, experts with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are urging Arkansans to employ caution and good judgment when considering “problem” trees in their vicinity. In the wake of a storm, the most important thing to keep in mind is that unless a damaged tree is on a power line, it can probably wait, said Tamara Walkingstick, associate professor of Extension Forestry and associate director for the Division of Agriculture’s Arkansas Forest Resources Center. “You don’t need to immediately do something,” Walkingstick said. “If you do have damage to your power lines, don’t try to deal with it yourself. Let the professionals at the electric company deal with it.” Once property can be toured safely, homeowners should conduct a visual assessment of what sort of tree damage they actually have. This can range from split trunks and injured limbs, down to large or small debris on the property…

Chicago, Illinois, WLS-TV, July 22, 2018: Falling branch knocks out tree trimmer, leaves him dangling

An Evanston tree trimmer was critically injured after a large tree branch fell on him Saturday afternoon. Firefighters said a large branch fell on the man, knocking him unconscious and leaving him hanging in a large tree at about 3 p.m. in the 2700-block of Princeton Avenue. Getting him down from the tree required a joint effort. “The Evanston people with six or seven vehicles were able to get up there, but they required the Skokie ladder to come from the other side, forming a ‘V’ so that they could reach the man and bring him down safely,” said neighbor John Morrison. Fire officials said the tree trimmer was trapped more than 20 feet in the air. He was transported to an Evanston hospital in critical condition…

Brunswick, Georgia, The Brunswick News, July 22, 2018: Tree ordinance will be good for St. Simons Island

Hammering out a tree ordinance for St. Simons Island has not been as easy as it seems like it should have been, but it is done. The Glynn County Commission recently took an important step toward preserving not only the trees on St. Simons Island, but also the character and charm of the place. A special committee and the two planning commissions have been working out the details of the new ordinance since 2015. It was not always smooth sailing. It looked like the ordinance would pass in April of 2017. It did not. From then, it took more than a year and several more meetings to get something together that commissioners agreed would do what is necessary to save roughly 50 percent of the remaining tree canopy…

Middletown, New York, Times Herald-Record, July 22, 2018: Loggers clearing hundreds of trees in Deerpark park

Loggers are taking down 911 trees in Deerpark’s Boemler Park, according to forester Laurie Raskin of DHW Forest Consulting, LLC, who is overseeing the project. The Deerpark Town Board approved the logging last summer. “Forest management is long overdue,” said Town Supervisor Gary Spears. “It opens the canopy and allows the sun in for regeneration. We had several bids and chose the logger with the best management practices, price and time frame, so they get in and out and people can use the property.” The logging is expected to generate $100,000 for the town, which will help lower taxes, he said. Bill Malzahn, a park neighbor, is upset. He has hiked and fished for decades in the 500 acres of woods and pond off Peenpack Trail. He contends the town bought the land from William Boemler for $10 in 1971 on the condition that it not be “touched” for 99 years. “There was no mailing to let us know,” said Malzahn…

Greenville, North Carolina, The Daily Reflector, July 21, 2018: Be wary of these five landscape trees

Not all trees are created equal. While most trees that cover our landscapes provide us with aesthetic and ecological benefits, there are a few that probably do not belong here. Some trees can be invasive, some are insect and disease prone, and others may not grow well in our eastern North Carolina environment. I have come up with five trees that I will caution you to plant. As a disclaimer, I am not telling you what to plant or not plant. This article is based on research, observation and experience. I know I am not the first one to raise an issue with Bradford pear trees, and I certainly won’t be the last. Back in March, Mark Rutledge wrote a column in The Daily Reflector titled “Celebrate National ‘Cut Down’ Your Neighbor’s Bradford Pear Week,” and it remains one of my favorite newspaper columns of the year by far. Though Mark has several humorous remarks throughout the column, he touches on several great points. Bradford pear trees are a cultivated ornamental pear that originated in China. These trees have since cross-pollinated with native pear trees throughout the U.S., producing offspring at a rapid rate. A rate so rapid that these trees are considered invasive. The branches of Bradford pear trees are rather weak, and broken branches will only become more common as the tree matures. These trees are also highly susceptible to a disease called fire blight…

Manchester, New Hampshire, WMUR-TV, July 19, 2018: Manchester tree worker stung hundreds of times by bees

A city worker in Manchester was taken to a hospital Thursday morning after he was stung hundreds of times on Beech Street. Officials said a crew from the Park and Recreation Department was cutting down a tree that had been damaged during a recent storm when a worker in a bucket truck disturbed a bee hive while cutting into the tree. The worker was unable to get out of the bucket until a neighbor ran out to help pull him free, officials said. That resident, Randy Graham, was stung about 20 times. “(The worker) immediately got stung by hundreds of bees, and he was stuck in the bucket,” District Fire Chief Al Poulin said. “A neighbor came over and assisted the gentleman out of the bucket. He was strapped in at the time, so he wasn’t able to get himself out of the bucket…”

Salem, Oregon, Capital Press Ag Weekly, July 19, 2018: Christmas tree growers narrowly approve checkoff

Christmas tree farmers have narrowly approved a national checkoff program that raises about $1.8 million a year to promote and research the crop. Though 51 percent of growers voted in favor of continuing the Christmas Tree Promotion Board during a recent referendum, the program continues to face uncertainty. Another referendum would normally be required in seven years, but the USDA — which oversees the research and promotion checkoff — has announced that growers will again vote on its continuation in about one year. The agency hasn’t specified why another vote will occur so soon, but a referendum may be held at the request of the secretary of the USDA, the Christmas Tree Promotion Board or by more than 10 percent of eligible farmers. Roughly 1,500 Christmas tree growers across the U.S. who sell more than 500 trees a year and pay 15 cents per tree to fund the program are eligible to vote in the referendum…

Salisbury, North Carolina, Post, July 19, 2018: All hail the mighty pine tree

Do you know what the state tree of North Carolina is? If you said the pine tree, you are correct. In 1963 the pine tree was designated the state tree of North Carolina, but did you know it goes further back than that? Since the early 1700s through the late 1800s North Carolina was the world’s leading producer of turpentine, pitch and tar, all used in the naval industry, this is why North Carolina is called the Tar Heel State. During this era pine products were more valuable than gold… There are eight types of pine trees that are considered native to North Carolina — the Eastern White Pine, Loblolly Pine, Longleaf Pine, Pitch Pine, Pond Pine, Shortleaf Pine, Table Mountain Pine and Virginia Pine. Pine trees are a member of the conifer family and are considered evergreens, meaning they keep their needles all year long. Pine trees can get very large and very old depending on the type of pine tree. By today’s standards, a large pine tree is 3 feet in diameter, but in the 1800s, 6 to eight feet in diameter and 250-300 years old was normal. Redwood trees are in the same conifer family as the pine tree…

Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV, July 19, 2018: Southfield man says pine tree left on power lines 4 months after storm

Metro Detroit is expecting thunderstorms this weekend, which means many residents will be holding their breath, hoping the power doesn’t go out. DTE Energy officials said power outages are mainly caused by fallen trees. One Southfield resident has been waiting for months after a storm forced a tree down on his line, and nobody came back to clean it up. Warren Newton called Local 4 consumer investigator Hank Winchester to solve the problem. Thousands of Metro Detroit residents lost power in March. There were downed power lines and tree branches everywhere. The storm knocked down a pine tree onto Newton’s power lines, and four months later, it’s still on the ground. “I haven’t heard from anyone,” Newton said. Crews came out in March to trim the tree so the lines could be restored, but once it was down, nobody came back. “They promised within a week they would haul it away,” Newton said. “Nothing. No results. No response…”

Science Daily, July 18, 2018: 5,000 percent increase in native trees on rat-free Palmyra atoll

In one of only a few studies of its kind, scientists measured the effects of rat removal on the tropical Pisonia grandis forest at Palmyra Atoll, which provides critical seabird nesting habitat. Before removal, no seedlings of native Pisonia grandis trees were found in research plots. Immediately following removal of invasive rats, seedlings proliferated and plots had an average of 8 seedlings per square meter. For five native tree species, including Pisonia grandis, fewer than 150 seedlings were counted in the presence of rats, and more than 7700 seedlings were counted five years after rats were removed. Lead scientist Coral Wolf from Island Conservation said: “Once rats were gone, changes became immediately apparent. We were so excited to walk into a forest stand of towering Pisonia trees and find a mat of tiny seedlings carpeting the forest floor — something that hadn’t been observed at Palmyra in recent decades as far as we know.” Palmyra’s tropical rainforest also provides important habitat for a native gecko, insects, crabs and other rare species…

Macon, Georgia, WMAZ-TV, July 18, 2018: Verify: Can power companies go on private property to trim trees?

Some of you have emailed us asking if power companies can come onto your property to trim trees. Flint Energies is one company that says long tree limbs interfere with the power lines. If a homeowner likes a tree just the way it is, can a power company trim it anyway? 13WMAZ talked to the Georgia Urban Forest Council and Marion McLemore at Flint Energies to learn the policies. Haratio Griffith spends his day sitting outside with his friend in the front yard. He says the tree limbs provide shade but they can grow pretty long. “He has them under control, but you see the power lines, you still have limbs that’s growing through there,” Griffith said. Griffith says he tries to trim his own trees if an electric company doesn’t come out to do it. “If it falls down on your power lines, you might be out of the phones or you might be out of lights for a couple of days,” Griffith said…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, July 18, 2018: Shield trees from lawn mower nicks with ample mulch

Many of us have trees growing in the middle of our lawns. Trees and grass aren’t natural companions, but you can make it easier for them to live together, according to Dave Lane, lawn supervisor at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. For starters, put the tree first. “You always want to watch out for the health of the tree,” Lane said. “Turf is secondary.” A lawn can be established from sod or seed in a few weeks, but it takes decades to grow a tree. Think of it as an investment in curb appeal and property values: Studies have shown that mature trees can add thousands of dollars to the price of a home. One serious danger to trees isn’t the grass itself, but the lawn mowers and string trimmers we use to keep it tidy. If these power tools come near a tree’s trunk, they can easily damage its bark. That can be devastating for the tree because the life-giving vessels that distribute water and nutrients are in the bark’s inner layer. They can be severed if a lawnmower bangs the trunk or a string trimmer gets too close and scalps off the bark…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, July 18, 2018: Remove trees too close to buildings before they become a problem

Although it’s something I’ve written about many times before, having just recently looked at a tree growing butt-up against a building, I thought I would, once again, tackle the subject of trees next to structures, and what to do about them… I recently looked at a pretty large pecan tree, and by large I mean a more than 30-inch diameter trunk, which is growing up against a building. In this particular instance, in the struggle for space and footprint, between the tree and the building, the tree is winning, hence the request for a quote on removal. The reason this particular tree makes such a good example for a column about trees against structures, is because removing it will be a very tedious job. It’s large, it’s tall, it’s over the building, the area behind the building it’s pushing against contains more buildings/infrastructure, and there are also electric and other utility wires involved. As removals go, it’s not that complicated, there’s just a lot of it, and there will be a lot of “piecing out,” which means a lot of time. In short, the removal of this tree is going to cost several thousand dollars. I’m not sure how old this particular tree is, but I’m willing to bet that at any time during the first 20 years of its life, removing it would not have been nearly the expensive proposition it currently presents. Now, I’m a guy, so I understand all about procrastination, but even I view a couple of decades as plenty of time to deal with a problem before it gets out of hand. Not only that, but in its first few years, taking out that tree could have been accomplished in just a few minutes…

Los Angeles, California, Times, July 17, 2018: Massive tree die-off brings unprecedented danger as wildfire burns near Yosemite

The Ferguson fire burning through Mariposa County has already charred nearly 10,000 acres and killed a firefighter working the front lines. But its true destructiveness might lie ahead as it burns a path through a tinderbox already primed for disaster. On either side of the Merced River, hillsides are filled with trees that have been killed by five years of drought and a bark beetle infestation, according to state maps. The ground is carpeted with bone-dry pine needles, which are highly combustible. These conditions, combined with dry, hot weather, have officials fearful that the fire could grow far worse as it burns near Yosemite National Park. Fire “moves very fast through dead needles, and dead trees produce a lot of dead needles,” said Mike Beasley, a fire behavior analyst for the U.S. Forest Service. “The dead pine needles, no matter where they end up, whether they’re still in the tree or draped in some old, decadent brush, or laying on the ground, they contribute significantly to rapid rates of spread…”

Charleston, South Carolina, WCIV-TV, July 17, 2018: Lowcountry tree trimmers busy as heart of hurricane season nears

It’s typical to see trees scattered across the Lowcountry after a hurricane, but a local business is working to get rid of the branches ahead of the storm. “It’s tedious,” said Gren Winthrop, owner of Winthrop Tree Service. “It’s hard especially for the guys working in the field.”  Winthrop said this hurricane season is keeping his five field crews as busy as they’ve ever been, even though a major storm hasn’t hit the Lowcountry. “I would say this is about as busy as we get. We’re working six days a week and barely keeping up with the phone calls,” Winthrop added. He said his crews are pruning about 100 trees a week, and pulling up to 50 dead and dying trees straight out of the ground in some weeks. A report from the South Carolina Department of Insurance shows huge losses to residential property after the last two hurricane seasons. Across the state, the department issued a combined payout of more than $200 million after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Tropical Storm Irma in 2017…

Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, July 18, 2018: New tree-destroying bug found in New Jersey

A colorful bug that is a major threat to fruit and hardwood trees has been discovered in New Jersey, state officials said Tuesday.  An invasive species that hops from plant to plant, the spotted lanternfly was found recently in Warren County after spreading throughout 13 counties in eastern Pennsylvania despite a quarantine there. The bug was found in late June on its preferred host – a tree of heaven. But it is known to feed on the bark and leaves of more than 70 plant and tree species including willows, maples, poplars, tulip poplars, birch and ash.  “I don’t know if you can stop this from spreading,” said Bob O’Rourke, a district manager for The Davey Tree Expert Company in Morris Plains. “They’re great hitchhikers. They can get on any smooth surface like the underside of a car and be moved rather easily…”

Pierre, South Dakota, Capital Journal, July 17, 2018: Man cutting tree roots in lawn slices open gas line with saw; street evacuated

A homeowner cutting tree roots in his lawn next to his sidewalk in the 500 block of Oneida Street punctured a natural gas line Tuesday evening, causing the Pierre Fire Department and Police Department to evacuate several homes nearby and barricade a block or more in each direction. No one was hurt. The man had concrete for a new sidewalk poured earlier Tuesday and he was trying to clean up some tree roots exposed by the sidewalk work. He was using a trowel and an electric saw, he said. When the saw cut through the yellow plastic gas line, it was obvious from the sound and smell what had happened. “I got the hell out of there,” the man told the two men working to put a temporary shut down on the gas line until a permanent fix can be made. For about 45 minutes the block was cordoned off as a crew clamped down on the 2-inch gas line on the other side of the sidewalk. It appeared the gas line was not the required 12 inches below the surface of the ground on the lawn side of the sidewalk where the man had cut into it…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 16, 2018: ‘Jumping tree lice’ threaten more than 14,000 Winnipeg ash trees

Beleaguered Winnipeg trees are under a fresh attack from a new foe this season: the cottony ash psyllid, also known as jumping tree lice. The tiny, yellow-and-black bugs were first spotted in city trees last year, but their impact was considered low at the time, said city forester Martha Barwinsky. That changed this year thanks to a dry season, she said, although city tree experts are still determining the extent of the infestation. “This spring, of course, a lot of the black ash trees were very late to leaf out, much like last year. But as they started to leaf out, the impact was even greater,” she said. “We’re finding, actually, much more advanced stages of the cottony ash psyllid this year…”

Quincy, Massachusetts, Patriot-Ledger, July 16, 2018: State’s highest court weigh in Randolph neighbor’s tree dispute

The state’s high court has weighed in on what it calls a “distinctly neighborly” dispute over a 100-foot-tall sugar oak tree near the property line of a Randolph home. The Supreme Judicial Court on Monday upheld the decision of a lower court that had dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mary Shiel against her neighbors, Keli-Jo and John Rowell, claiming that the couple’s tree had caused algae build up on her home. Shiel had demanded money to pay for the damage to her roof and an injunction requiring that branches overhanging her property be removed. The court said in its decision that it saw no reason to “uproot” long-established Massachusetts law that prevents landowners from holding their neighbors legally responsible for damage caused by their healthy trees. It also noted that the law allows property owners like Shield to remove any part of a tree that hangs over their property…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, July 16, 2018: Beware voracious borers picking off birch trees

A voracious insect – the bronze birch borer – is picking off beloved birch trees throughout Oregon. Common for many years in Eastern Oregon, the hard-to-control beetle first showed up west of the Cascades in 2003 in Portland, where it has killed hundreds of trees. It slowly migrated and is now found in abundance as far south as Klamath Falls, according to Nicole Sanchez, a horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension Service. Sanchez has cowritten a detailed fact sheet on the problem called Homeowner Guide to Managing Bronze Birch Borer in the Upper Klamath Basin. The information is relevant for the entire state. The first sign of infestation is flagging branches with sparse, stunted and yellowing leaves at the tree canopy, she said. Twigs will fall and eventually the branches lose their leaves. Ultimately – often before a homeowner notices – the tree will have so much damage it’s impossible to save. Caught in early stages, death can be averted. “If you don’t know you have an infestation, it’s usually too late,” said Sanchez. “Then you have to take the tree out, which is expensive…”

Miami, Florida, WSVN-TV, July 16, 2018: Tree Trouble

Government officials tell us to prepare our homes for hurricane season, but storm preps got residents of one South Florida in big trouble with city hall. 7’s Brian Entin has more on the “Tree Trouble. Richard Masone makes a point to stroll around his neighborhood to keep an eye on things. He is the president of the Hallandale Village Homeowners Association. Richard Masone, Hallandale Village HOA: “Pretty much managing, yes. I want to see where all our money is going towards, want to keep the place up, so our property value stays up.” The association’s insurance company told him to get the trees trimmed to protect the property from hurricanes, so he hired the same licensed company the community has used for years. Richard Masone: “They came, they trimmed the trees beautifully. Our insurance company is happy.” But Hallandale Beach Code Enforcement officers weren’t so happy with the tree trimming. Roger Carlton, City of Hallandale Beach: “We are on this. It’s unacceptable behavior. They enormously exceeded any reasonable amount of trimming…”

Eugene, Oregon, Register-Guard, July 13, 2018: Southwest Eugene neighbors settle tall tree lawsuit

A long-running legal dispute among neighbors over view-obstructing tall trees in southwest Eugene is over. The two sides reached a settlement earlier this week that requires two homeowners to cut down at their expense about half of the 23 trees that were at issue in the case. Following a 2½-day trial in February, Lane County Circuit Judge Mustafa Kasubhai had ruled that homeowners Jeff Bauer and Tom Heyler violated a Hawkins Heights subdivision covenant — unique in Eugene — that prohibits owners from allowing trees and shrubbery to “unreasonably interfere with the view from other lots.” The neighborhood is south of West 18th Avenue and east of Bailey Hill Road. Heyler had attempted to exempt his property from the view covenant by securing signatures from surrounding homeowners. But Heyler said he decided that the cost wasn’t worth the fight. “We did what we had to do,” said Heyler, who estimated that he and Bauer have incurred a total of about $60,000 in legal fees. Heyler said he’s glad the case is over but other than that, “I have no good things to say about it.” Todd Johnston, the lawyer for the uphill neighbors, said they appreciated “all of the court’s effort in analyzing this issue and are obviously happy with the result…”

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, July 15, 2018: 40-Foot Tree Limb Falls On Person At Elk Grove Summerfest

A 40-foot tree limb came crashing down onto a man at the Elk Grove Summerfest. He was rushed into emergency surgery. It happened at the Elk Grove Park Saturday in a grove of oak trees. “It’s like getting struck by lightning. You can’t really prevent it,” said Scott Shipley, who was just 10 feet away when it happened. Shipley was in the crowd enjoying live music when the branch snapped. “I hear a crack behind me and I turned around and there’s a big old tree branch right on the ground with a gentleman laying next to it,” he said. “He was just flat on his back, out cold.” Shipley was a medic in the Air Force and stabilized the victim until paramedics arrived…

New York City, The New York Times, July 15, 2018: California Is Preparing for Extreme Weather. It’s Time to Plant Some Trees.

For years, there has been a movement in California to restore floodplains, by moving levees back from rivers and planting trees, shrubs and grasses in the low-lying land between. The goal has been to go back in time, to bring back some of the habitat for birds, animals and fish that existed before the state was developed. But in addition to recreating the past, floodplain restoration is increasingly seen as a way of coping with the future — one of human-induced climate change. The reclaimed lands will flood more readily, and that will help protect cities and towns from the more frequent and larger inundations that scientists say are likely as California continues to warm. “We thought we were just going to plant some trees out here and get some birds to move in,” said Julie Rentner, executive vice president of River Partners, a conservation group that is restoring hundreds of acres of farmland on the outskirts of Modesto in the Central Valley, where agriculture has overwhelmed the natural environment. “Now we’ve got this whole much larger public benefit thing going on.” Researchers say it is unclear whether climate change will make California drier or wetter on average. What is more certain is that the state will increasingly whipsaw between extremes, with drier dry years, wetter wet ones and a rising frequency of intense periods of precipitation…

Redding, California, Record Searchlight, July 13, 2018: Redding needs a tree ordinance now

The City of Redding needs a tree ordinance that will protect many of our native trees which are currently being cut with little regard to alternatives that would save them or require planting replacement trees elsewhere.  Many people think Redding has a tree ordinance, but it doesn’t. Instead, it has a tree management ordinance which is basically a series of guidelines with no enforcement powers to prevent clear-cutting of every native oak tree on every undeveloped parcel in Redding should a developer so choose, and the Redding Planning Department agrees. Our current ordinance was put together in 2006 with a committee of real estate developers, city staff and a minority of just two members representing the public. The result is a toothless ordinance with many loopholes allowing tree protections to be waived or ignored. The result has been devastating for preserving our native trees, especially native oaks. Last year, 700 oak trees on Churn Creek Road at South Bonnyview Road were cut down, with only three oak trees being spared… 

NPR, July 12, 2018: A company cut trees for a pipeline that hasn’t been approved. The landowners just filed for compensation

A Pennsylvania family that lost more than 500 trees to make way for the stalled Constitution Pipeline project asked a court on Thursday to dissolve an injunction that gave the company access to their property, and to determine compensation that remains unpaid. The Hollerans of New Milford Township in Susquehanna County argue that the pipeline will never be built after it was blocked by New York state environmental regulators, and say they have not received compensation more than two years after chain-saw crews felled the trees before the natural gas pipeline received all its needed permits. The family received widespread media attention when federal marshals armed with semi-automatic weapons and wearing bulletproof vests patrolled the isolated 23-acre farm in early March 2016 in an attempt to protect the tree-cutting crews from a handful of protesters. Twenty-eight months later, the Hollerans are asking a judge to overturn the injunction that allowed Constitution, operated by the Williams Companies, possession of about five acres of their property on which to build the pipeline…

Tampa, Florida, WTSP-TV, July 12, 2018: Tampa residents complain utility contractors making mess out of their trees

As we all know, trees falling on power lines is very common during storms. It’s why TECO does year-round tree trimming, but several people in one Tampa neighborhood are complaining their trees are being “butchered,” comparing contractors hired by TECO to trim trees to a bad hairdresser. “You want it trimmed, but you don’t want to take off too much,” one neighbor said. “I’m all for it because my electricity goes out when the storm comes, but the power is at the top and my tree is now gone at the sides.” Bill Rogers said he liked his trees blocking his neighbors’ view of his yard. Now it’s left in an odd shape with hardly any branches. He says his palm tree looks more like a skeleton. “I didn’t particularly like how they butchered up the palm trees. It didn’t look like they trimmed them carefully,” he said…

New York City, Queens Chronicle, July 12, 2018: Problematic tree has to go, Avella says

In his many years as an elected official, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) hasn’t seen another arbor-related situation like the invasive roots from a tree on 13th Avenue just feet west of 162nd Street in Beechhurst. “We’ve always come across situations where city tree roots, obviously, uplift the sidewalk and then go on to the private property, which the city refuses to address,” the senator said during a press conference at the site Monday. “In this case though, the roots of this tree have literally taken over the property of these two houses.” The tree roots have caused problems for the yards of adjacent homes at 12-44 162 St. and 160-37 13 Ave. And a property across the street has started to experience its own problems from the roots. They’re visible on much of the ground around the homes — including a lawn and a garden, which has a fountain that’s off-balance because of the roots. Those are far from the only problems. “Our sewer was crushed from the tree roots,” Virginia Centrillo, who lives in the 13th Avenue home, said at Avella’s press conference in reference to her home’s private sewer system. She said she’s already spent tens of thousands of dollars getting her sewer system fixed, and she expects it to cost her as much as $60,000…

Phys.org, July 12, 2018: Study forecasts growth rates of loblolly pine trees

The ability to predict weather patterns has helped us make clothing choices and travel plans, and even saved lives. Now, researchers in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment are using similar predictive methods to forecast the growth of trees. In a study published in Ecological Applications, researchers used ecological forecasting to predict how changes in temperature, water, and concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere in the Southeastern United States may affect the future growth rates of trees. The paper brings together efforts from two projects funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the first, known as PINEMAP, hundreds of researchers collected forest growth data from the past 35 years and developed mathematical models to quantify how pine forests may respond to climate change. The second project, led by R. Quinn Thomas, assistant professor of forest dynamics and ecosystem modeling in Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, focused on quantifying uncertainties in how climate models predict how forest and agricultural ecosystems, along with decisions like the timing of crop or forest harvest rotations, influence climate temperature and precipitation patterns…

Sacramento, California, KCRA-TV, July 11, 2018: Heads Up: Summertime tree limb drop is here

As temperatures hover in the mid-90s for the foreseeable future, arborists say you can bank on more tree limbs to drop suddenly. The phenomenon is likely to occur more in the days ahead, according to Stacy Barker, an arborist with Bud’s Tree Service. “We absolutely can bank on it,” he said. “Whenever we see the temperatures rise above 90-95 (degrees), especially for consecutive days as we’re seeing next week, we can just about bank on we’re going to be answering emergency calls like this.” In West Sacramento, a 30-foot eucalyptus branch toppled a fence at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction field office. It fell from a height of about 12 feet, Barker estimated. “We do know that the phenomenon is particularly common in several different species of trees, eucalyptus being one of them. Oaks, ash, willow and elm to name a few [more]…

Tampa, Florida, WFLA-TV, July 11, 2018: Tree safety tips after massive oak trees damage property in Tampa Bay area

Strong storms are the norm in the Tampa Bay area and large Live oak trees fell recently, causing significant damage, but a local arborist said there are key signs help spot unhealthy trees.  Two massive Live oaks came crashing down in Clearwater Tuesday and in Seminole Heights on the 4th of July, damaging homes and smashing vehicles. Frank Roder, owner of the home that was damaged in Seminole Heights said he believes lightning struck the tree, which is one of the largest in the neighborhood. “We found some paperwork when the house was built 100 years ago, there was talk about it being built under this grand ole oak tree, so God knows how old that tree was,” Roder said. He isn’t 100 percent sure that lightning was the sole cause but he said the tree appeared to be healthy. Landscapers in Clearwater said the tree that toppled over there likely fell due to unseen issues with the root system rooting away. “They decay through age, disease or really a lot of rain and soft soil,” said Greg Chew with Good Views Garden and Landscape. Hillsborough County forester Rob Northrop is encouraging homeowners to hire a certified arborist to check large trees…

Denton, Texas, Record-Chronicle, July 11, 2018: Scientist finds beauty in dusty oak trees

University of North Texas geography professor Alexandra Ponette-González sees oak trees as big dust collectors. As it turns out, they are pretty good at it. Two years ago, Ponette-González began a major research project to figure out just how well some of the city’s trees could filter soot from the air. She received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to help pay for the work. “It’s been a topic in the [scientific] literature and the general conversation for a while,” she said. But until now, few scientists have set out to measure how much soot trees actually take out of the air and send back in the ground. The idea is important because doctors know that it’s bad for people and animals to breathe in soot, or more specifically, black carbon. The compound sticks to lung tissue and damages it. Coal miners, for example, can get deadly black lung disease from breathing black carbon. Most soot in the atmosphere comes from vehicle exhaust, cooking fires and other burning…

Mumbai, India, Speakingtree, July 12, 2018: Mission possible: Bringing a tree back to life doable but initial hours hold key to survival

While the entire attention has been on the trees earmarked to be chopped down to facilitate redevelopment of colonies, no one has paid much attention to trees falling during the gales the capital has recently seen. A small group of NGOS, RWAs and green activists are, however, making it their mission to “rescue” such trees and replant them — a task blighted by low survival rates. On Monday, NGO Greencircle of Delhi and the New Delhi Municipal Council used ropes and a JCB truck to replant a rohida tree (Tecomella undulata)uprooted by a storm in Lodhi Garden. The NDMC staff dug a pit close to the fallen tree and a JCB and tractor move the tree into the pit. Precautionary spraying of insecticides and pesticides was followed by the erection of two supporting wooden legs on the tree trunk. The staff carried out a similar procedure last month to save an Amaltas. Suhas Borker, founding member of Greencircle of Delhi, said the idea was to send a message that each tree counted and efforts had to be made to save every single one of them. “The rohida is considered a community tree. People bathe under it in the belief that it will rid your skin of diseases. People even hang their clothes on the tree for its medicinal properties,” said Borker, who has long been working to save these trees in Lodhi Garden. NDMC officials pointed at the new leaves that the replanted Amaltas was sprouting, symbol of success in reviving uprooted trees. Saving trees, however, is not an activity that can be planned at leisure. Experts point out that there is a window of a few hours after which the chances of survival of a replanted tree goes down drastically…

T&D World, July 11, 2018: Five things to know about tree growth regulators

Tree growth regulators (TGRs) increasingly are being integrated into vegetation management programs across the U.S. and changing the way trees are cared for under power lines, around them, and along rights-of-way. For those who are not familiar with TGRs — and even for those who are — there may be a few things about them that are surprising to learn. From reducing maintenance costs to improving crew safety to creating better customer relationships, TGRs do more than just regulate tree growth. While they are becoming more commonplace in utility vegetation management programs, there are some aspects of TGRs even professionals may not know… Broadly defined, a growth regulator is simply any chemical used to alter the growth of a plant or a part of the plant. While one could technically argue water and nutrients are chemicals that alter the growth of plants, growth regulators more specifically work with plant hormones to achieve their result. There are growth regulators that can stimulate accelerated growth by promoting the formation of auxins, decrease fruit production by affecting the formation of cytokinins and ripen fruit by increasing ethylene…

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, July 10, 2018: East Dallas effort succeeds in stalling tree removal

In East Dallas, a movement to stop the removal of decades old trees has stalled a developer’s plans. A petition now has more than 1,200 signatures asking EDENS, the developers of Casa Linda Plaza, not to move forward with a plan to remove five trees that have shaded the land for nearly 60 years. According to Dallas City Councilman Mark Clayton, EDENS requested permits to do so in May in order to pave more parking. He said they told him they planned to do so in order to widen the current sidewalks to make them more pedestrian friendly. In addition, he said, EDENS already had a plan in place to more than replace what was scheduled to be removed. “There is always the fear when a tree is removed that everything is going to be scraped and the only thing left is concrete. The city has a tree mitigation plan and they are doing more than the city even requires them to do,” wrote Clayton…

Associated Press, July 11, 2018: Pollution controls help red spruce rebound from acid rain

The gray trunks of red spruce trees killed by acid rain once heavily scarred the mountain forests of the Northeast. Now those forests are mostly green, with the crowns of red spruce peeking out of the canopy and saplings thriving below. A main reason, scientists say, is a government-enforced reduction in the kind of air pollution that triggers acid rain. “We’ve seen it go full arc from declining for some unknown reason, to figuring out the reason, to them doing something about the cause and then the tree responding and rebounding again,” said Paul Schaberg, a plant physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service and a co-author of a new study on red spruce who has been researching the species since the 1980s. “It’s just an amazing science arc.” In the 1960s through the 1980s, pollution — mostly from coal-powered plants in the Midwest and car emissions carried by the wind and deposited as acidic rain, snow and fog — devastated Northeast forests and lakes, leaching nutrients from soil and killing aquatic life. Red spruce are particularly sensitive to acid rain and, at the height of the die-off, some forests lost 50 percent of them. But decades later, not all the environmental damage is turning around at the pace of the red spruce…

Providence, Rhode Island, WPRI-TV, July 10, 2018: Homeowner double-billed after wrong trees are cut down

Susan Stone planted a cedar tree a few years ago and it grew to be taller than she is. “I’ve been watching it grow for three to four years, and now it’s gone,” Stone told Call 12 for Action. “It just made me sad.” The tree was mistakenly removed by a local tree service Stone hired to trim a different tree and remove four shrubs. The company got rid of the shrubs months ago but left three of the stumps. “I asked her when they would be back out,” Stone recalled. “[An employee of the tree service] said they completed the job and I said no, that they hadn’t.” Stone said she marked the stumps with red ribbons so when the crew returned, they would know exactly what to remove. But instead of grinding the stumps, the tree service cut down Stone’s cedar tree, a small fir tree and another shrub. “I was pretty much hysterical,” Stone said. Then Stone was double-billed for the work. The invoice totaled $900. “I don’t believe it’s my responsibility to pay for work that they messed up,” she said…

Kingsport, Tennessee, Times-News, July 9, 2018: Bloomingdale couple upset about tree trimming debris

American Electric Power kicked off a new program in Kingsport earlier this year whereby trees, limbs and brush near and under power lines would be trimmed every four years. The idea is this type of routine maintenance would increase AEP’s reliability and decrease the number of outages due to high winds and storms. But for one Bloomingdale couple, the tree trimming work that recently took place on their property has not been the most pleasant of experiences. Jerry and Vickie Foulk live on Bancroft Chapel Road. In early June, a private company — hired by AEP — came to their home to trim the trees away from the power line that ran across their backyard. The Foulks’ home sits on about six acres. The backyard slopes down an embankment and is mostly wooded and undeveloped. When the trimming was done, the company left all the cut limbs and logs lying in the backyard…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, July 9, 2018: Tree cut down after branch kills 2 men at Rock Island fireworks show

A towering oak tree has been cut down in western Illinois after a huge branch fell and killed two men watching a fireworks show. Sixty-one-year-old Daniel Mendoza Sr. of Rock Island and 72-year-old Lawrence Anderson of Moline were killed July 3 outside the county courthouse in Rock Island. Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos gave part of the tree to family members Saturday. He says the tree was considered dangerous after the deaths and needed to come down. Witnesses said they heard a cracking sound; some assumed it was fireworks from the show. Daniela Mendoza says her family plans to use wood from the tree to make memorials for her father and Anderson…

Oakland, California, KTVU-TV, July 9, 2018: Parents concerned about aging and distressed trees at city parks

Over the weekend, part of a tree crash landed on a San Jose playground. And while no one was injured, plenty of parents were panicked.  It happened early Saturday at River Glen Park. A Chinese Pistache tree split and fell, landing right on a children’s playground. “You want to believe that the trees that are at the park which are so beautiful (it’s what makes this park so great) that they’re safe. So it’s alarming,” said parent Bonnie Hennum. It may be alarming, but it’s not uncommon.  Witnesses say a large tree branch fell next to the playground at Fleming Park two months ago. And in October of 2016 a tree limb fell at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo crushing a bunch of empty strollers. San Jose’s arborist estimates there are about 1000 limb failures on city trees each year. “We know we are underfunded. We just do not have enough to do all the tree work we would need to do on an annual basis,” said Russell Hansen, the San Jose City arborist…

Riverside, California, University of California, July 9, 2018: Can dwarfed citrus trees help us save water and money?

UC Riverside scientists are investigating whether dwarfed citrus trees can help citrus growers to save time, money, fertilizers, pesticides, water and labor. In 1998, as part of a series of preliminary Citrus Research Board (CRB)-supported trials, navel orange trees treated with a dwarfing agent were planted at the Lindcove Research and Extension Research Center (LREC). The dwarfing agent used in these trials, a small RNA molecule named “Transmissible small nuclear Ribonucleic acid” (TsnRNA”) resulted in a dramatic reduction in tree size.  Most importantly for citrus growers, fruit yield per canopy volume and fruit quality (size, color, sugar/acid ratio) of these TsnRNA-treated trees was not affected while double number of trees could be planted in the same land surface (up to 400 trees per acre). Almost 20 years after planting, the threat of HLB brought about a renewed interest in this potential technology. When growers saw the dramatic reduction in size of these trees during a visit to LREC in November 2014, they expressed a strong desire to explore this technology. Production of commercial dwarfed trees is key to the successful development of high-density plantings (potentially under protected screens – CUPS), which will be critical to meet future citrus production challenges. To assess the potential savings offered by the employment of this application, UC Riverside scientists are investigating nitrogen fertilizer requirements, nutrient uptake efficiency, water-use efficiency, pesticide application efficiency and savings in labor time for several horticultural operations such as hedging, spraying, fruit harvesting, and tree inspections…

New York City, WABC-TV, July 5, 2018: Tree branch almost falls on Wisconsin newlyweds

A newlywed couple in Wisconsin was sharing how they fell in love when a tree almost fell on them. Taping an interview while sitting at a picnic, Cheyenne and Lucas Kopeschka barely escaped as a tree branch came crashing down onto their table. The new bride suffered minor injuries, but was able to finish the interview and later said that “our love is forever going to be stronger than that tree… ”

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, July 5, 2018: Tree trimmer dies following chainsaw injury in Thornton

A man trimming trees in Thornton who was injured by a chainsaw Thursday afternoon has died from his injuries, according to a spokesperson with St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood. Authorities dispatched a medical helicopter to the 9200 block of High Street in Thornton in an effort to save the man’s life. Some of the accounts of the incident might be considered graphic for some readers. The man was stuck in a tree just behind a home. Witnesses described injuries to his arm and midsection as severe. Much of what happened in the tree is a bit of a mystery to the public and news media. Authorities in Thornton remained mum on details. “I heard somebody screaming hit me, hit me again,” neighbor Ron Miller said. “I assumed they were down there fighting.” Whether it was a fight or a tragic accident– witnesses say a chainsaw was involved. A medical helicopter was needed to get the injured man to a hospital…

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 2, 2018: Giant Bell Township oak may be one of the biggest in the state

For a forester in Pennsylvania, finding a red oak tree with a circumference of about 26 feet and a height of 120 feet is about as likely as seeing Bigfoot. But a giant does exist just beyond the fields of a Bell Township farm, rivaling some of the largest red oaks in the state, according to preliminary measurements. And it probably has been there for 400 years. Tom McQuaide of Torrance, a forester with Pennsylvania Forest Management, is in the process of submitting the tree’s measurements for inclusion in the Champion Trees of Pennsylvania, a registry of the state’s largest trees measured by several factors, including height and girth. The largest red oak in the state is in Delaware County. It has an 18-foot circumference, smaller than the Bell Township specimen’s, but it is 145 feet tall, according to the Champion Trees website. “Let’s just say, 100 years ago, there wasn’t equipment in the state to cut down this tree — it was too big to handle,” said McQuaide, a burly man who looks diminutive next to the base of the red oak, which could hide half a dozen men McQuaide’s size. Not that he is looking to cut it down…

Terre Haute, Indiana, WTHI-TV, July 5, 2018: People aren’t the only ones who struggle in intense heat during the summer, trees do as well.

Young trees are very fragile and intense heat like the Wabash Valley has been dealing with can damage trees soon after you plant them. Tree experts say taking care of a tree begins with how you plant it. They say nearby plants can take much-needed water away from the tree you are trying to grow. “It is important to be sure that the root zone is free of competitive plants that are going to take away the water even grass takes away water from your tree. Trees don’t really prefer grass they like mulch like they have in the forest.” ISU grounds manager Stephanie Krull says. A Vigo County Parks Department tree expert showed me how to properly situate a healthy tree and what its surroundings should look like. “So we’ve planted this tree and unfortunately we didn’t get to mulching the tree immediately and so what we wanted to do and what we’ve done here is strip the sod layer off around the tree so we don’t have any competition growing and we’re not throwing that mulch on top of the sod or grass layer” Adam Grossman with Vigo County Parks Department says…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, July 4, 2018: Two dead after branch falls from tree during Rock Island fireworks show

Two men died late Tuesday from injuries suffered when a huge tree branch fell while people watched fireworks outdoors at the Rock Island County Courthouse. Daniel Ortiz Mendoza, 61, of Rock Island, was pronounced dead at the scene about 10:30 p.m., and Lawrence Anderson, 72, of Moline, was pronounced dead at 11:32 p.m. Tuesday, according to Rock Island County coroner Brian Gustafson. Both died from “multiple traumatic crushing injuries” after the limb from the huge oak tree at the courthouse fell and struck them, said Gustafson, who performed autopsies on both men this morning in Ogle County in Oregon, Illinois. Gustafson said his deputy arrived at the scene first, and Gustafson arrived later. Also injured was a 21-year-old pregnant woman from East Moline, who was reported to be near full term, according to a news release from Rock Island Sheriff’s Office. She was taken to Unity Point where the baby was delivered and the baby and mother are both in good health. Also at the scene was Dave and VanLandegen, of Rock Island, retired director of court services for Rock Island County. He and his wife, Cindy, always watch the fireworks from that area, he said. VanLandegen heard “an ungodly sound … a crashing,” he said. “We were about 20 feet away. You could feel the wind when (the limb) came down…”

Davenport, Iowa, KWQC-TV, July 4, 2018: Arborist weighs in on possible cause of deadly tree branch collapse

The Rock Island County Sheriff has launched an investigation into what caused a large tree branch to collapse at Red, White and Boom in Rock Island Tuesday killing two people. The branch was 8′ 2” in circumference at its base, and 45 feet long, according to Sheriff Gerald Bustos. “The oak tree that we are talking about, I believe to be about 100 years old,” Bustos said. “It has been on the courthouse lawn for every picture I can find going back in history.” The ongoing investigation will include an arborist to look for any potential cause of the collapse. The sheriff, and locally trained arborist, Mickey Covert, say the tree appears healthy. “This is a healthy tree,” Covert said. “Many trees have dead on it and on the tips.” Covert told KWQC that based on his training, he believes that water and moisture got gathered in the area where the branch met the tree. “What we have here is what we call the branch collar,” Covert said demonstrating his belief on a tree across from the Rock Island County Courthouse… “The weight of the lead affected all the moisture and stuff that was gathering right here. It started with water and moisture gathering…”

Choteau, Montana, Acantha, July 4, 2018: Watch for tree illnesses caused by moisture

… With all the moisture we have been getting this spring and early summer, I am expecting to start seeing signs of several diseases in trees. If your apple or other fruit-bearing trees suddenly start having the tips of branches and leaves die, the tree is probably being attacked by the a bacterial disease called Fire Blight. Prevention is difficult. Other than planting resistant varieties, we are mostly limited to pruning out dead wood in the fall or early spring. Pruning out diseased limbs during the hot summer months generally only spreads the disease further into the tree. If you have bur oak trees, you may at some point see some large blisters appearing on the leaves that eventually die. This disease is a fungal infection called Oak Leaf Blister. Some trees can look terrible, but basically you just need to sweep up all those leaves in the fall and get them away from the tree. The final one I have seen around the county is a fungal infection of ponderosa pines called Dothistroma Needle Blight. If the outside half of the needle is dead and turns orange or red, and the inside half of the needle stays green, that is what you have. Repeated years of re-infection can ultimately kill even fairly large trees. With this disease, if two years of needles are infected, the tree needs to be treated by a professional arborist…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, July 3, 2018: What does scorching heat mean for trees and plants?

The summer has just begun and already it’s a scorcher, with stretches of 90-degree-plus days beginning in May. What does that mean for trees and garden plants? “Plants can cool themselves as long as they have water,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at the Plant Clinic of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Their cooling mechanism is to draw water up from their roots and let it evaporate through tiny holes in their leaves. When water changes from liquid to vapor, it dissipates heat. Think of the cool sensation you get when water evaporates from your skin at the beach. “Fortunately for plants, we’ve had plenty of rain so far this year,” Yiesla said. According to the office of the Illinois State Water Survey, most places in northeastern Illinois have had twice or three times as much rain in recent weeks as the long-term average. That rainwater has soaked into the soil where plants’ roots can absorb it and pass it up to their leaves for cooling purposes. That doesn’t mean we can afford to let all plants fend for themselves. Some plants, such as those in containers, still need to be watered — and in hot weather they need watering more often…

Las Vegas, Nevada, KSNV-TV, July 2, 2018: Illegal fireworks blamed for Vegas tree fire

A neighbor shooting off illegal fireworks on Saturday caught Robert Arvizu’s palm trees on fire. The flames spread to the lawn and the front of the house. “The neighbor told us ‘sorry, but we caught your house on fire,” said Arvizu. Arvizu’s first thought was to get his family to safety. “The scariest part? We have a 2-month old baby,” said Arvizu. “It smelled like smoke. She couldn’t stay here last night. “ This is exactly what local police and firefighters are trying to prevent this 4th of July. The website ISpyFireworks.com is giving people an outlet to report illegal fireworks. The northeast portion of the valley sees much of the activity. “The website gives us an idea of trouble areas,” said LVMPD Officer Laura Meltzer. “And we can use that information to plan for next year.” In the meantime, over at Rainbow Boulevard and Ann Road, UNLV Rodeo is hoping to raise a little cash selling safe and sane fireworks…

Kingsport, Tennessee, Times-News, July 2, 2018: Man who allegedly cut tree that fell on mobile home charged with felony vandalism

A Hawkins County man was charged with felony vandalism Friday for allegedly cutting down a tree last week that fell through the roof of his girlfriend’s daughter’s mobile home, causing a reported $10,000 worth of damage. The victim’s mother, Linda Goodman, reportedly told Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Adam Bledsoe Friday that her boyfriend, Jerry Wayne Mowell, cut down the tree because “he was worried that it was going to fall.” The victim, Jennifer Hickman, resides on Gillian Road off Ebbing and Flowing Spring Road near Rogersville. Hickman told Bledsoe she suspected the tree cutting was related to an ongoing dispute between her and her boyfriend, Roger Reed, and Goodman and Mowell, who live on the same road. On June 23, Goodman was charged with simple assault related to an incident involving Reed. Hickman reported the tree cutting on Friday June 29, but she stated the last time she was home was on June 25, so the cutting occurred between June 26-28. When Bledsoe arrived at the residence Friday morning, he observed a large tree resting on the roof of the home that appeared to have been intentionally cut down, as well as a branch that had gone through the roof into a bedroom…

NPR, July 2, 2018: Spotted lanternfly battle is on: Can Pennsylvania stop this invasive threat to trees and plants

International trade brings in fruits and vegetables, computers and cars. But a downside to imports includes fighting against an onslaught of invasive species that hitch rides on wooden pallets, shipping containers, boxes and produce. The spotted lanternfly, a brightly colored red and black moth and one of the latest invaders, landed in Pennsylvania’s Berks County around 2012 and has munched its way across 13 counties, threatening grapes, orchards and hardwood trees. State and federal officials want to stop it, and they’ve spent about $20 million this year on research and eradication efforts. “We’ll go in with all of our force to try to eliminate that population before it can expand further and impact other businesses and industries outside of the region,” said Leo Donovall, the spotted lanternfly program director in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “The ultimate goal is that we can potentially shrink this population down to the point where it is manageable or even potentially to eradicate it.” Donovall helped identify the pest when it was first discovered in Berks County in 2014. He says in 2016, the lantern fly infestation covered about 174 square miles. By the end of 2017, more than 3,000 square miles in southeastern Pennsylvania had spotted lanternflies, primarily in Berks, Montgomery, Northampton and Lehigh counties. The USDA will hire about 100 people this summer and spend $17.5 million to stop its spread…

Worcester, Massachusetts, Business Journal, July 2, 2018: Group highlights recent tree worker deaths

A local coalition focused on worker safety is calling attention to the safety needs of tree workers in the wake of two recent deaths. MassCOSH, a local coalition for occupational safety and health, said on Friday that the death of David Bova, 34, who fell 50 feet from a tree while working outside a home in Rowley, should prompt enhanced safety measures among employers. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration official said an investigation into Bova’s death is underway. “Over the years, we have seen too many tree workers die needlessly on the job,” Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, executive director of MassCOSH, said in a statement. “We demand employers in this field use every safety precaution to keep their workers safe.” On June 11, Lewis Umbenhower, 38, fell to his death as he was working on a tree in Medway. MassCOSH also said that in October of 2010, Bova, who was from Salem, New Hampshire, was involved in a separate yet similar accident, where he fell 40 feet from a pine tree and was airlifted to a local hospital. MassCOSH described tree work as an “increasing problem” due to increased demand associated with impacts of extreme weather…

Washington, D.C., Washington Post, June 30, 2018: Ever noticed chunks of trees on utility pole wires? What’s up with that?

Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why is there a tree branch hanging from that electrical wire? That last one has obsessed Answer Man for years: rough sections of wood about the size of a football or basketball completely around a wire on a telephone pole. Once he started noticing them, Answer Man started seeing them everywhere. Did anyone else even care? “I personally call them ‘tree chunks,’ ” said Mike Hyland, senior vice president of engineering services at the American Public Power Association in Arlington. Before we get to what tree chunks are and why they exist, it’s useful to get a crash course in what is now called the utility pole. Of course, it started out as a telegraph pole, holding up the wires that spider-webbed across the country in the middle of the 19th century. They often followed railroad line rights of way…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, July 1, 2018: Meet Iowa’s big-tree hunter

Trees that survive storms, disease, pests and development, rising through several human generations to become the biggest of their kinds, have a way of putting our lives into perspective. Mark Rouw has been finding and documenting the state’s largest trees for more than 40 years to help Iowans learn more about the natural environment and to provide some protection for the quiet giants. “I call him the ‘Rain Man’ of trees,” University of Iowa Arborist Andy Dahl said of Rouw, referring to Rouw’s near-perfect recall of the locations of big trees throughout the state. “It’s just amazing what he does.” Rouw, 61, of Des Moines, maintains Iowa’s list of state champion trees and their runners-up as an unpaid volunteer, updating an ever-changing spreadsheet of the state’s largest trees of species from Balsam Fir to Rusty Blackhaw. He drives out to river bottoms and uplands to measure newly-discovered big trees and make sure state champions still are standing. “It’s a little bit like birders, who are searching for a new bird on their life list,” Rouw said. “If I find a big tree, the next step is to find one that is even bigger…”

Kottke.org, June 27, 2018: How tree trunks are cut to produce lumber with different shapes, grains, and uses

At ArchDaily, José Tomás Franco walks us through the cut patterns that are most used to saw wood into different shapes & sizes. The lumber we use to build is extracted from the trunks of more than 2000 tree species worldwide, each with different densities and humidity levels. In addition to these factors, the way in which the trunk is cut establishes the functionality and final characteristics of each wood section. Let’s review the most-used cuts. Each cut pattern produces wood with grain patterns and composition that makes it more or less suited to particular uses. For instance, the “interlocked cut” produces thin boards that are “quite resistant to deformation”…

Berthoud, Colorado, Reporter-Herald, July 1, 2018: New Berthoud program will help citizens inoculate trees against emerald ash borer

The town of Berthoud, which  celebrated 35 years as a “Tree City USA” this Arbor Day, is piloting a $15,000 program to help its residents proactively battle an invasive species bent on destroying a significant portion of the town’s tree canopy. Ash trees currently comprise about 25 percent of the town’s tree population, according to Town Forester Josh Embrey. The trees are mostly located in what is considered Old Town Berthoud, and all are at risk of a mass die-off due to the emerald ash borer, a destructive, non-native beetle responsible for killing more than 100 million ash trees throughout the United States. “We’re trying to save as many of these trees as possible,” said Pat Karspeck, vice chair of the Berthoud Tree Advisory Committee. “It’s not the homeowner’s fault; they usually bought the property with 30- to 75-year-old ash trees…”

USA Today, June 28, 2018: Deadly ‘zombie trees’ pose risk nearly year after Hurricane Harvey

Arborists say that 10 months post Hurricane Harvey, they’re just beginning to see many trees showing signs that they didn’t survive. Paul Johnson, the urban and community forestry program leader with the Texas A&M Forest Service, said although many trees showed signs of life since Harvey, they might have just been exhaling their final breath.  “A lot of these trees left out here looked OK,” Johnson explained, “and then, over the last month or so, they really started to drop their leaves and they’re dying back.” He’s been inspecting trees at Bear Creek Park in Texas this week.  “You can almost consider them a zombie tree,” he said. “They are dead but they just don’t know it yet.” Weak trees can pose dangers to people and property. In the past 30 days at least three people have been killed in the US by falling trees, including a teen who was attending a Boy Scout summer camp in Georgia and two journalists in South Carolina who were covering storms in Polk County, Florida, this week…

Jacksonville, Florida, WJAX-TV, June 29, 2018: Woman claims she was conned by convicted tree trimming scammer

A woman said she was scammed by a tree trimmer who was previously convicted for fraud after he took money from clients without finishing the job. Large pieces of a chopped-up tree lie on the side of the road in front of Ray’s home. She said it has been there since last week. “He (Ayers) said he would take it down for $175, and he said that he would come back on Monday,” Ray said. But Ayers never returned, Ray said. So Ray tried calling Ayers. “One of the phone numbers isn’t even working, and the other number, nobody ever answers,” Ray said. News4Jax reached out to Ayers for comment by phone, but there was no answer. Shelly Ray told News4Jax she filed a complaint to the city over Arthur Ayers. Ray said she knew something was wrong when she Googled Ayers’ name and found previous News4Jax articles on Ayers…

Haverhill, Massachusetts, Eagle-Tribune, June 28, 2018: Salem man dies after 50-foot fall

Federal investigators are looking into the death of a worker from Salem, New Hampshire who died after falling from a tree in Rowley Thursday morning. The Essex District Attorney’s Office said 34-year-old David Bova was working on a crew from Mayer Tree Service of Essex at a private residence at 29 Main St., Rowley, mid-morning Thursday. Bova was in the tree preparing to remove a branch when he suddenly fell from about 50 feet up. He was taken to Anna Jacques Hospital where he was pronounced dead, the statement from the DA’s Office said. While foul play is not suspected, the matter remains under investigation by the Essex State Police Detective Unit and the Rowley Police Department. In October 2010, Bova fell 40 or 50 feet from a pine tree and was airlifted to a Boston area hospital by medical helicopter. Bova was working on a 60-foot pine at 180 Jackson St., Methuen, when that accident occurred, according to Methuen police…

San Francisco, Chronicle, June 28, 2018: It’s official: Giant Ogden walnut tree is largest in Utah

A little more than 100 years ago, the owners of a new white brick bungalow with a welcoming porch planted an English walnut tree in their backyard. The home and the neighborhood are gone, but the tree is still growing. State officials confirmed recently that it holds the record for the largest English walnut in Utah. Turns out, it’s remarkably old, too. Utah State University Professor Mike Kuhns, who first noticed the tree earlier this year, took a corer to it last week, but the tree is so large he was only able to collect rings back to 1969. “My increment corer only went in 16 inches and we would need a core more than twice that long to get to its center,” he said. Michael Kuhns, Wildland Resources Department Head at Utah State University, found the tree in downtown Ogden that turned out to be the largest English walnut in the state. The tree is located off Park Boulevard and is currently owned by Ogden City. Assuming the tree kept growing at the same rate over the years, Kuhns calculates the tree is 104 years old. “Very few trees in urban areas make it to 100 years old, and most only live for 15 to 20 years,” he said. “It is not only a tremendous biological and environmental resource because it is large, but it is likely a cultural and historic resource because of its age…”


US News & World Report, June 27, 2018: Boy who lost leg during camping trip gets $47.5 M settlement

A boy who lost his leg and part of his pelvis after a tree fell on his tent during a camping trip at a public park will receive $47.5 million from a California municipality and utility in a lawsuit settlement, an attorney said Wednesday. Zachary Rowe was a 12-year-old camping with his family in San Mateo County Memorial Park in 2012, when a rotten 72-foot-tall tanoak tree fell and crushed his tent while he slept. Doctors determined the only way to save his life was to amputate his right leg, buttock and pelvis. He underwent 30 surgeries and initially spent six months in a hospital. San Mateo County and its contractor, Davey Tree, will pay $30 million to settle the case, while a contractor for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Western Environmental Consultants, will pay $17.5 million, attorney Tim Tietjen said. The boy sued San Mateo County, alleging a dangerous condition of public property and negligence by Davey Tree, which the county had hired in 2007 to inspect its campsites for hazardous trees. He also sued PG&E and its vegetation-management contractor, WECI, for negligence in failing to maintain the area around its power lines…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, Greensboro woman fights with tree removal company

When you hire someone to do work at your home, doing your homework is key. A Greensboro woman says it could’ve saved her a lot time and trouble. Nancy Sutphin hired a local company to remove trees from her yard, but was left with a huge mess. She and her husband are out more than $7,000. They turned to WFMY News 2’s Taheshah Moise for help. We’ve chosen not name the company, because the couple is still working with the business to resolve the issue. Nancy says she hired a company last Tuesday to remove six trees in her yard because they offered the best deal and could get the job started the next day. Nancy says her first mistake was not looking them up through the BBB. “They have an F rating with the Better Business Bureau,” she found out. A day later, she says they took down three trees and hauled some of the wood away…

Boston, Massachusetts, WHDH-TV, June 27, 2018: ‘The wall just exploded’: Crane topples over, crashes through couple’s family room

A Rhode Island homeowner says he was sitting in his family room with his wife Monday when a massive tree service crane toppled over and crashed through the roof. A tree company was working in Jack Fandetti’s North Smithfield yard when the crane suddenly came crashing down. “It was like someone threw a hand grenade through your family room and the wall just exploded,” he said. “We didn’t know what to do. We jumped over the sofa and ran out of the house.” The front of the truck lifted completely off the ground and its front tires went up into the air. The crane shattered several windows and destroyed half of the home…

Los Angeles, California, Times, June 27, 2018: Ordinance including hefty fines for illegal tree removal gets final OK in Laguna Beach

The Laguna Beach City Council unanimously passed the second and final reading Tuesday of an ordinance that will levy stiff fines for illegal removal of trees. The regulation, first approved in May, provides for penalties ranging from $1,000 to $30,000 for removing a tree without authorization. In addition, the ordinance would levy a “citation fee” ranging from $100 to $500, along with to-be-determined recouping of city costs in enforcing the ordinance. The biggest fines would be for repeat offenses and taking out “heritage” trees, defined as distinctive trees that because of their size, age or special features promote the city’s beauty, character and sense of history. The ordinance also protects privately maintained trees in the public right of way and trees that are part of a landscape plan that went through a design review process…

New York City, The New York Times, June 27, 2018: Tropical forests suffered near-record tree losses in 2017

In Brazil, forest fires set by farmers and ranchers to clear land for agriculture raged out of control last year, wiping out more than 3 million acres of trees as a severe drought gripped the region. Those losses undermined Brazil’s recent efforts to protect its rain forests. In Colombia, a landmark peace deal between the government and the country’s largest rebel group paved the way for a rush of mining, logging and farming that caused deforestation in the nation’s Amazon region to spike last year. And in the Caribbean, Hurricanes Irma and Maria flattened nearly one-third of the forests in Dominica and a wide swath of trees in Puerto Rico last summer. In all, the world’s tropical forests lost roughly 39 million acres of trees last year, an area roughly the size of Bangladesh, according to a report Wednesday by Global Forest Watch that used new satellite data from the University of Maryland…

Princeton, New Jersey, Planet Princeton, June 26, 2018: Residents: Princeton tree ordinance either inadequate or not enforced

On paper, the municipality of Princeton’s policy for preserving shade trees sounds good. But for at least one resident, the policy has been worthless in practice when it comes to a local developer’s activities. Hawthorne Avenue resident Galina Chernaya has been trying to protect her mature shade trees from being destroyed ever since she found out a developer received approvals to tear down the house next to her property this winter.In January, Chernaya met with Princeton mayor Liz Lempert to find out what could be done to protect her maple trees, which are located near the border of 260 Hawthorne Avenue, a neighboring property that was bought by RB Homes. Chernaya said she was assured that there was a protocol that must be followed before trees are removed on the other property or work is done bordering her property near the roots of her trees…

Richmond, Virginia, WWBT-TV, June 27, 2018: Neighbor’s tree crashes into home; homeowner foots the bill

A Chesterfield couple is out of a home after storms caused a massive tree to crash right into it. Even though the tree belonged to their next door neighbor, the couple with the damaged property has to foot the bill. It’s the scenic trees of this neighborhood off Ferncreek Place in Chesterfield that drew Bill and Jamie Hiner to their home five years ago. “It was almost like being in the country, but you still had the closeness of neighbors,” said Bill Hiner. After Sunday’s storms, their idyllic dwelling is looking a lot worse. “There was this horrific noise and a thud and the house shook,” said Bill Hiner. “Our entire living room, our entire dining room, our entire foyer, our kitchen, our second floor loft was damaged,” said Jamie Hiner. Even though it was their neighbor’s tree, the thousands-of-dollars worth of damage will come out of the Hiners’ pocket. That’s because if a healthy tree falls and damages property, it is considered an Act of God…

Columbia, Tennessee, Daily Herald, June 27, 2018: West 7th tree trimming mishap ‘will be fixed’

A mishap last week involving a Tennessee Department of Transportation employee trimming along West 7th Street resulted in damage to branches and excess debris, along with a knocked out power line. TDOT conducts annual tree trimming along state road rights of way, but typically not in the summer months when leaves are in bloom and the chance for excess debris is much higher. City staff members, including Mayor Dean Dickey, Assistant City Manager Thad Jablonski and Director of Development Services, were joined by State Rep. Michael Curcio (R-Dickson), Caledonian Financial CEO Montee Sneed and Columbia Main Street Executive Director Kristi Martin on Monday to assess the damage, and discuss if a solution could be found. Jablonski said the incident happened due to a relatively new TDOT employee who was “trying to impress his supervisor” by taking the initiative in response to a citizen complaint. He didn’t realize until it was too late that the trimming was actually causing more harm than good. “We walked down as soon as we heard about what happened to the trees on West 7th, and that was the trees had been damaged after a cutting maintenance truck had come through to cut branches. Several of us walked down and saw the debris in the road and it was pretty clear what had happened,” Jablonski said. “He had gone all the way down West 7th, which affected our trees between South Garden Street and the Polk Home, and just kept going down Trotwood and hit a phone line…”

Clayton, Georgia, News-Daily, June 25, 2018: Officials: Boy Scout killed by falling tree at camp in Newton County

A 14-year-old Boy Scout from Texas was killed Monday at the Bert Adams Boy Scout Camp in Newton County. The CEO of the Atlanta Council of Boy Scouts of America, Tracy Techau, said it was a weather-related incident where a tree fell on the boy during a storm. Jeff Alexander, a spokesperson for the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, said the boy was in his tent along with his bunkmate when a tree crashed down onto him just minutes after a weather alert was issued. “This is a very difficult time for our Scouting family,” Techau said in a statement sent to FOX 5 Atlanta. “We offer our deepest condolences to the victim and his family, and we will support them in any way that we can. Please join us in keeping all those affected in your thoughts and prayers.” Officials said the Boy Scout was attending the fourth and final week of summer camp. The name of the boy has not yet been released…

Chattanooga, Tennessee, WRCB-TV, June 25, 2018: How a local tree company prioritizes calls of tree damage

Robert Paden’s team of eight is prepared to answer as many calls as possible following a busy few days. Paden allowed Channel 3 to tag along for his call on Signal Mountain Monday. He says most jobs require more than what a property owner expects. “We had three big trees fall, and they got hung up into two other pines, that are in close proximity to the house, and those pines have an immediate threat to the house now,” says owner Robert Paden of Paden Tree People. What started as a job to remove three downed trees quickly turned into a five tree job. Paden uses machinery that can lift up to 900 pounds. With more storms in the forecast for Monday and this week, he expects the phone calls to continue every day. “We do 24/7 around the clock work, so if I get a call at 10:30 at night, and something needs to be done, we’ll rally the crew and get out there,” adds Paden. Here is how he prioritizes…

Portland, Oregon, KPTV, June 25, 2018: Vandals tagging trees at Hillsboro natural area

Neighbors of a Hillsboro natural area say trees are being tagged with spray paint and they want it to stop. Walking through Jackson School Woods Natural Area, it’s quickly apparent that someone has spray-painted quite a few trees. One neighbor estimates close to 100 trees have been tagged with graffiti. Police aren’t sure who is doing, but officers guess it could be kids or teens living in the area. 
Police tell us they were called to the area in April on a report of graffiti on several trees. Since then much of it had faded or been painted over. According to neighbors, it appears someone recently came back and tagged more trees…

New Delhi, India, NDTV, June 26, 2018: Tree, thought to be extinct 2 million years ago, now grown in Australia

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state is cultivating the rare Wollemi Pine or the “Dinosaur Tree” as an “insurance policy” for the sustenance of the fragile species, researchers said on Monday. Previously thought to have been extinct for 2 million years and only known from fossil records, Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1994 at a remote canyon in the state’s Blue Mountains region, reports Xinhua news agency. “It’s one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants from the time of the dinosaurs and there are less than 100 trees left in the wild,” NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said. The new population of ancient trees translocated by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, acts as an “insurance policy” for the original group. “Creating a self-sustaining insurance population will ultimately boost numbers to secure species in the wild,” Upton said…

Cincinnati, Ohio, WCPO-TV, June 25, 2018: I-Team: 3 years after local woman’s death, has Cincinnati’s tree removal system improved?

Every Sunday for nearly three years, Errol Carr Sr. stood along Reading Road with a sign. It said “Justice for Jackie.” Carr wanted to make sure people knew where a city tree had fallen and killed his wife of 17 years. And he wanted Cincinnati’s Park Board to do something so it wouldn’t happen again. His son, Errol Carr Jr., recalled his father’s dedication: “Every Sunday with a sign, ‘Justice for Jackie.’ The last three years have been devoted to her and to resolve this situation with the city.” He never got to see that wish come true: Carr Sr. died of a heart attack on April 17. He was 71 years old. His obituary called Jacqueline Carr the “love of his life.” A WCPO I-Team investigation found the problems that may have led to her death still haven’t been fixed…

Muskogee, Oklahoma, Phoenix, June 24, 2018: Protect tree trunks during the summer

As many homeowners know, trees are an important aspect of any landscape. They also are a significant investment. Keeping them healthy through proper management and care ensures they’ll be around for many years. Unfortunately, one of the most common stresses to urban trees is caused by humans, one that can easily be avoided.  The trunk of a tree not only provides support to the branches and leaves, it’s the main conduit for water and nutrients up and down the tree between the leaves and root system. The cambium layer, which lies just below the bark, is a thin area responsible for this movement. If damaged, the movement of this vital solution up and down the tree is hindered. Now that we’re in the height of summer, the lawnmower and weed trimmer are getting a good workout. However, if you’re not careful, you can easily damage your trees with these pieces of lawn care equipment. This stress often is referred to as lawnmower or string trimmer blight – mechanical injury to the trunk of the tree by careless use of equipment near the trunk. This injury usually results in wounds that can eventually be fatal to a tree, depending on severity of the damage and how often it occurs…

Southern Living, June 24, 2018: 6 Trees You Should Never, Ever Plant

Fall is the best time of the year to plant a tree, but look before you leap. Some trees are nice. Others are monsters. Here are six monsters you should never, ever plant in a residential neighborhood, lest you earn your neighbor’s hatred and Grumpy’s scorn. Terrible Tree #1 — Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) What’s wrong with it: Weedy, short-lived, insect- and disease-prone, invasive roots, unattractive most of the year. Yes, I know. You grew up with mimosas in the yard (sniff), they remind you of Meemaw’s garden (sniff, sniff), and they’re so pretty when their fluffy pink flowers open in early summer. But let’s get real. The flowers last about two weeks. Then they’re replaced by scads of these large, ugly, brown seed pods that hang there until the next spring. So for two weeks of beauty you get 50 weeks of gross. Plus, seedlings from your tree will sprout in everyone’s yard within a quarter-mile…

Mumbai, India, Times of India, June 22, 2018: How toxic air is causing malnutrition in trees

Besides affecting human health, air pollution is also causing malnutrition in trees by harming a fungi that is important for providing mineral nutrients to tree roots, finds a new study. Mycorrhizae fungi is hosted by the trees in their roots to receive nutrients from the soil. These fungi provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from soil in exchange for carbon from the tree. This plant-fungal symbiotic relationship is crucial for the health of the tree. However, high levels of the nutrition elements like nitrogen and phosphorus in the mycorrhizae changes them to act as pollutants rather than nutrients, the findings showed. The signs of malnutrition can be seen in the form of discolored leaves and excessive falling of leaves. “There is an alarming trend of tree malnutrition across Europe, which leaves forests vulnerable to pests, disease and climate change,” said lead researcher Martin Bidartondo from Imperial College London…

Bend, Oregon, The Bulletin, June 21, 2018: Environmental groups blast ODOT, Forest Service over pesticide error

After an improperly applied herbicide killed hundreds of ponderosa pine trees near Sisters, a number of environmental advocates are arguing that the Oregon Department of Transportation, or its contractors, should have known better than to apply the weedkiller in the first place. “Had a private company done that, every entity in the country would have been on their doorstep,” said Dan Harshbarger, a La Pine resident who lost trees on his property in a similar incident. During the comment period for a U.S. Forest Service project to remove dead and dying trees along a 12-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 20 to the northwest of Sisters, the agency received comments from environmentalists arguing that the various agencies involved in the project didn’t abide by instructions from the Environmental Protection Agency posted on the chosen herbicide label. Representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Forest Service argued that the agencies didn’t violate instructions on the label, but acknowledged that there had been a serious mistake. “We just collectively dropped the ball on that, and it’s unfortunate,” said Ian Reid, Sisters district ranger for the Deschutes National Forest…

Fort Collins, Colorado, The Coloradoan, June 21, 2018: Fort Collins to uproot thousands of ash trees as invasive beetle creeps closer

Their killer hasn’t hit town yet, but Fort Collins’ ash tree population is already dwindling. The city’s forestry department will have removed and replaced about 350 ash trees by the end of 2018, and foresters are asking for a major funding boost to take out another 750 by the end of 2020. And they’re just getting started. The end game is a remodeled urban forest: Thousands of trees throughout the city will vanish, replaced by young trees that aren’t imperiled by the emerald ash borer. The glittering green beetle will destroy all untreated ash trees when it inevitably arrives in Fort Collins. Ash trees, once revered for their hardiness and bountiful branches, make up about 15 percent of our urban forest and provide one-third of tree shade in the city. About 5,600 ash trees slated for removal and replacement remain on city property. City foresters hope to uproot and replace as many as they can before the ash borer gets here. To that end, the department is requesting about $700,000 from the city’s 2019-20 budget — nearly four times its current funding for ash borer prevention measures…

Business Insider, June 21, 2018: This machine can dig up a tree stump in seconds

This machine can dig up a tree stump in seconds. The Rotor Stump Grinder is available in 8 different models, using either power-take off or hydraulics and featuring a drill or cylinder attachment. These grinders can weigh up to 2,500 kg. The cylinder can easily remove the whole stump, these stumps can then be cleaned and used as fuel. It can extract stumps up to 70 cm wide in one piece or can remove larger stumps in pieces.  These tools can all easily be attached to a tractor or a hydraulic arm, and they can chop up to 100 stumps an hour…

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 21, 2018: Around the world in 80 trees

The first time Jonathan Drori saw his father cry was when a spectacular old Cedar of Lebanon near their home was struck by lightning. Watching its dead trunk and limbs being sawn up, the young Drori ‘thought about the huge, heavy, beautiful thing that was hundreds of years old and that I had thought invincible, and wasn’t, and my father, who I had always thought would be in benign control of everything, and wasn’t’. After a long career at the BBC — during which he produced more than 50 science documentaries — Drori has returned to the subject of trees, and our relationships with them, to produce one of the most quietly beautiful books of the year…

Houston, Texas, MSN, June 20, 2018: After 57 years, Meyerland ‘hero tree’ is struggling

For more than half a century, the live oak has sprawled gracefully along the northern side of the Meyerland Plaza shopping center. It rises from a sea of concrete, its trunk crammed between a vast parking lot and the cracked sidewalk that lines Beechnut Street. A marker at its base declares it the “Hero Tree” — dedicated in 1961 to Gary Herod, a man who sacrificed his life to save others. Everyone had heard the story back then — how Herod, an Air Force pilot, crash-landed his jet one night in an open field near Brays Bayou so his plane wouldn’t land in a neighborhood full of unsuspecting families. The chamber of commerce dedicated a tree in the new, popular Meyerland Plaza so everyone could see the tree and appreciate it. A few years later, Houston ISD named a school Herod Elementary. Fifty-seven years later, as Herod’s story is starting to fade, so is the tree. It’s hidden behind a construction fence now, a few dozen yards away from where a closed BBVA Compass Bank will soon be torn down to make way for a new H-E-B. An arborist has declared the live oak to be “in decline,” strangled by concrete and likely not strong enough to handle the stress of new construction…

Entomology Today, June 20, 2018: Got Spotted Lanternfly eggs on your tree? Send ‘em through the wood chipper

As the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) has begun to spread in the eastern United States, entomologists, pest management professionals, and government agencies have gone into high gear in an effort to stop it before it marches across the country. While enlisting the public’s help in spotting and reporting the pest, research is also underway to examine its biology and behavior and the management practices that will aid in preventing its spread. Because the spotted lanternfly’s primary target is Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)—though it will also feed more than 70 other plant species, including grapes, hops, and fruit trees—one of the first questions asked was how infested wood should best be handled. A study published this month in the open-access Journal of Insect Science provides an official answer: chipping. The spotted lanternfly lays its eggs in small masses, which resemble splotches of mud, often on tree trunks and limbs. In 2015, shortly after the invasive insect was first discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania, researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture began a study on whether putting infested woody debris through a wood chipper would destroy spotted lanternfly egg masses. The results were clear: In 11 trees’ worth of woody debris infested with spotted lanternfly egg masses, not a single nymph emerged after chipping…

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chronicle Herald, June 20, 2018: Christmas tree growers grapple with freeze damage

Freezes and frosts have damaged more than half of the Christmas tree crop in some parts of Nova Scotia this spring. “The trees that were slated to be harvested this year, they’re estimating that half of them just won’t recover in time to be harvested,” said Angus Bonnyman, executive director of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, in an interview Tuesday. “It takes eight to 10 years to have a marketable tree so it’s quite a loss.” The council has been talking with the provincial Agriculture Department and the Federation of Agriculture on possible emergency funding to help growers. Bonnyman didn’t have a damage estimate but noted that Nova Scotia growers export at least $15 million in trees each year. There is no provincial crop damage program for the Christmas tree industry, nor is there anyone in the government dedicated to Christmas tree industry issues, he said. “We want to be on record as saying there was significant damage and we’re talking now…”

Salisbury, Maryland, WBOC-TV, June 20, 2018: Replenishing trees in Pocomoke City

Earlier this year, Pocomoke City got rid of more than 70 trees for safety reasons.  Marc Scher has worked downtown for more than 50 years, he was sad when the city got rid of the trees. “I’m glad they’re replacing the trees, we will get our trees back,” says Scher  Ruth Copes runs errands downtown, she agrees saying Pocomoke is not the same without it’s trees.  “Pocomoke City, it looks like a ghost town,” says Copes.  City officials say the overgrown trees were a safety hazard, forcing the city to knock them down. Neighbors like Steve Cooper say the town actually looks better with no trees. “I like Pocomoke like this, everything is open and it looks good, it’s nice and clean, where the trees block everything,” says Cooper…

Boston, Massachusetts, Curbed Boston, June 19, 2018: Cambridge tree canopy might need a permit process to preserve it: Councilor

Cambridge’s tree canopy is in such precipitous decline, according to one City Council member, that the city has to take an immediate action that will impact private property owners. In an op-ed for Cambridge Day, Councilor Quinton Zondervan writes that Cambridge’s tree canopy declined 7 percent from 2009 to 2014. He also notes that an imminent assessment “will show even further loss.”  To stem the trend, Zondervan is proposing that Cambridge amend its tree ordinance to require that private property owners acquire a permit to cut down a healthy, sizable tree—or one of at least 8 inches in diameter and 4 feet high (per the current ordinance).  The permit would not carry a fee, and, Zondervan writes, “would be granted … under most circumstances.”  The idea, he writes, is to get a dialogue going about Cambridge’s canopy, one that Boston is starting to have across the Charles River. Boston is falling woefully short of a goal set last decade to expand its canopy 20 percent by 2020…

Western Farm Press, June 19, 2018: Pressure bombs help with crucial tree nut watering decisions

A device whose concept was born in the 1960s has become a key part of the water-saving toolbox for many California tree nut growers. The pressure bomb, or pressure chamber, has advanced in sophistication over the years, but its purpose is essentially the same: to tell a grower whether a tree is stressed by too little, or too much, water. University of California farm advisors who’ve been promoting the device in recent years say it’s essentially a blood pressure test for tree leaves. By testing a leaf with the device, a grower can see how well a tree is pulling water up from the soil, and can plan to provide irrigation when the tree really needs it. The device has also helped with research. Ken Shackel, UC-Davis plant scientist, says the pressure bomb and other monitoring devices most recently helped researchers determine that it’s better to hold back on irrigating walnut trees in the spring rather than in the summer…

Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press, June 19, 2018: Staking young trees results in a healthier tree

Summer storms are plentiful so far this year. The recently removed stakes (fence post) around my apple trees will soon be going back in place. Heavy winds have rocked my young trees from their upright stance. I should have waited one more year, but mowing around the stakes can be a pain and I was impatient. Staking trees is critical when trees are young or newly planted. Older trees that are established are difficult if not impossible to correct. When staking trees, using the correct materials are important. I prefer to use a fairly stiff wire/cable threaded through a piece of old garden hose secured to steel fence post. Slide the piece of protective hose into place so that it makes direct contact with the tree. A bare wire or cable will easily cut through and destroy bark, as a tree moves and sways in the wind. There are other types of strapping material available as well. At least two stakes should be used for each tree, giving support in two directions for more stability. Three stakes even better! A tree may need the stakes in place one to three years depending on how crooked it was to start with. You may need to readjust and tighten your system once or more a year. If your tree is recently planted, overwatering can result in tipping over. Try re-setting it, cut back on the excessive watering, and no staking may be needed…

West Palm Beach, Florida, WPTV, June 19, 2018: Tiny bug can help you preserve your citrus trees

With Florida citrus production at its lowest level in decades, scientists are doing what they can to find ways to slow citrus greening, which right now as no cure, and has killed thousands of trees. Lyn Marino shows the signs of citrus greening in her Port St. Lucie backyard. “See it there, that’s when they’re inside the leaf,” says Marino as she points at a wilted leaf on a lemon tree. This master gardener then learned of a new program from the University of Florida’s St. Lucie County Extension Office. Urban Horticulture Agent Kate Rotindo says they’re working with the State Department of Agriculture to release tamaraxia wasps.  The wasp is a natural predator of the Asian citrus psyllid, that has crippled the citrus industry. “The female lays its eggs in the nymph stage of the citrus psyllid and the female actually eats the nymph stage or the small stage of the psyllid,” said Rotindo…

Fast Company, June 18, 2018: This DNA database for trees will help track illegal logging

On his vacation over Memorial Day weekend, Jakub Bednarek headed into the forest near his home in Leavenworth, Washington, and collected samples of maple leaves to send to a lab for DNA analysis. Bednarek, who also works as a biologist in his day job, is one of 150 volunteers in a project this summer that stretches along the Pacific Coast. The project’s aim: to create a genetic map of a particular species of maple, which can then be used to help identify illegally harvested wood. DNA testing has been used on black market timber in the past–in a case in 2015, for example, when a sawmill owner was convicted of trading illegal wood, scientists used DNA analysis to identify the exact stumps of the trees that had been cut down. But it can also be used at a broader level; by mapping how the genetics of a particular species of tree changes by region, it’s possible to identify where particular timber came from. The current project is studying one particular species, the Bigleaf maple, which are prized for their patterned wood and often illegally harvested. “The goal with this is that we have enough samples distributed widely enough across this geographic range that we can say we’re pretty sure that this was sample from a national forest in Washington,” says Meaghan Parker-Forney, a science officer at the nonprofit World Resources Institute’s Forest Legality Initiative, one of several partners on the project. “If somebody’s claiming it came from Northern California, we can say no, that’s actually not true…”

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, KSFY-TV, June 18, 2018: Tree services bombarded with business as they look to save ash trees

Concerns over the Emerald Ash Borer continue as it threatens the existence of hundreds of thousands of trees in South Dakota. Tree and lawn care experts are being bombarded with business as they work to save thousands of ash trees. “It seems ridiculous for us to cut them down when I know that they are treatable,” Sioux Falls Resident Jessica Miller said. Throw a rock anywhere in Sioux Falls and you’ll probably hit an ash tree. With 85,000 ash trees in the city, the Parks and Recreation department said the trees are very common. “At this point we know already we have way too many ash trees in Sioux Falls regardless if the Emerald Ash Borer was in Sioux Falls or not,” Sioux Falls Parks Operations Manager, Kelby Mieras said. To deal with the infestation the city of Sioux Falls plans to remove trees next year instead of treating them. “Our target is about 3,800 trees both on public property, parks, and other public property and also street trees,” Mieras said…

New York City, New York Times, June 18, 2018: A renewed view of some of the world’s oldest trees

John Muir, the naturalist who was most at home sleeping outdoors on a bed of pine needles in the Sierra Nevada, called giant sequoias the “noblest of God’s trees.” For three years, some of the most striking examples of these towering marvels were off limits to visitors in Yosemite National Park. After a $40 million renovation — the largest restoration project in the park’s history — the Mariposa Grove, a collection of around 500 mature giant sequoias, reopened last week. What Muir called a “forest masterpiece” is now back on display. The renovation addressed a problem that the park has struggled with for years. On the busiest summer days, more than 7,000 cars may converge on the park, which is about a four-hour drive from San Francisco. The gridlock they create amid the stunning chutes of water running down the steep granite slopes of Yosemite’s glacier-carved valley results in a kind of drive-by naturalism that frustrates many. In the Mariposa grove, which is a 45-minute drive from the Yosemite Valley floor, the traffic brought exhaust fumes and engine noise to the foot of some of the world’s oldest living things. Park rangers feared that the asphalt covering the root systems of the trees could damage them…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, June 18, 2018: City grapples with equity in its tree canopy

City councilors, acknowledging Boston has fallen dramatically short of its goal of planting 100,000 trees by 2020, discussed Monday the need for additional funding to keep trees alive and add new ones to streets and parks. At the hearing, Councilor Ayanna Pressley also stressed the importance of tree equity across its neighborhoods, underscoring how trees should be available to everyone in the city, not just certain neighborhoods where planting has been prioritized. “We need to continue to fight to make sure it’s reflected in the . . . budget so that we have the staffing resources necessary to ensure preserving tree health, to ensure we’re keeping pace with our planting goals in order to achieve equity in tree canopies,” Pressley said in an interview after the hearing. Thomas M. Menino, Boston’s former mayor, pledged a decade ago to expand the city’s tree canopy by 20 percent, or about 100,000 trees. But the city has planted fewer than 10,000 street trees since 2007, and it removed nearly 6,000 in that time period. Bottom of FormT